Stroll the beaches: Bermuda’s sands—long, pink hued, and sugar soft—are spectacular. Top spots are the south shore’s Horseshoe Bay and Warwick Long Bay. A day at Horseshoe Bay comes with all the amenities, including a snack shop, umbrella rentals, lifeguards, and lockers. As a result, more tourists tan here, but the shore is never blanket-to-blanket bodies. Warwick Long Bay, often a bit less crowded, has public bathrooms. Elbow Beach, a wide stretch of sand, typically has calm waters conducive to swimming.
Dive and snorkel: Bermuda’s more than 350 shipwrecks and the water’s visibility from 70 to 100 feet dazzle both scuba enthusiasts and snorkelers. Some plunges to dive for include L’Hermanie, a French frigate sunk in 1838 that has canons and a host of sea critters, and the Marie Celeste, a paddle wheeler downed in 1964, that features coral twisted around the 15-foot paddle wheel.
We’re avid snorkelers. Floating along reefs, pointing out purple fan, yellow brain coral, teal parrot fish, blue tang, and scores of spotted and striped beauties is a way we share our love of the ocean. The reefs start close-in at Church Bay, making access possible from the shore, but be careful of the sometimes rough water. Tobacco Bay and Horseshoe Bay are also good snorkel spots. Avoid Royal Naval Dockyard’s Snorkel Park. On cruise ship days passengers pack the place so you’re as likely to get a fin in your face as see a fish.
Discover more sea and land attractions: At Royal Naval Dockyard’s Dolphin Quest, you can get close to bottlenose dolphins. We stood waist deep in water to pet the friendly beauties, listen to their clicks, command them to jump and we received a rubbery nose kiss.
With young kids and those who don’t want to get wet but do want to see underwater wonders, visit the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo. At the aquarium, the 140,000 gallon North Rock coral reef tank holds hundreds of brightly hued fish. Watching the Bermuda Underwater Institute’s simulated “dive,” a video with sound effects, you see submerging whales, schools of toothy sharks, and clusters of floating jelly fish. Elsewhere on property meet American alligators, Madagascan lemurs and Galapagos tortoises.
Explore the forts: Royal Naval Dockyard, completed in the 1820s, was utilized by the British until 1951. The area now is home to the island’s biggest cruise ship pier so the place is crowded when the vessels come to port. Part of the complex houses shops, restaurants, and galleries catering to the cruise passengers. In The Keep, a six-acre inner fortress, the National Museum of Bermuda displays artifacts ranging from 1878 sounding machines to harpoons and whale vertebrae and has an exhibit on Bermuda’s slave trade.
Fort St. Catherine, begun in 1614 and enlarged over the centuries, isn’t part of a bustling harbor marketplace. Walking here we found it easy to imagine an era of sentinels searching the sea for enemy vessels. We also liked the fort’s maze of interior passageways and the views from the ramparts.
Have you visited Bermuda? What are your favorite spots and activities? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.