Once a British naval hot spot, Antigua offers a genteel take on the leisurely life. Located in the middle of the Caribbean Islands, Antigua is loved for its chalky white beaches, boating (featuring the Caribbean’s largest regatta), and ideal weather year-round. Barbuda, just 25 miles north of Antigua, features 17 miles of beaches, a bird sanctuary, and colorful offshore wrecks and reefs ripe for exploration.
Before You Go: Need-to-Know Info
- Language: English
- Flight time: 4 hours from NYC, 10 hours from LA, 8 hours from Chicago, 7.5 hours from Dallas
- Getting around: Car (drive on the left!), taxis
- Entry requirements: Passport, return ticket
- Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC), US dollar
When to Go: Antigua & Barbuda at Their Best
- Best weather: Anytime. The Antiguan climate is one of the most idyllic in the Caribbean, thanks to constant sea breezes and trade winds. Temperatures hover around 81 degrees but can rise to 93 degrees during the hot season from May to November.
- Best prices: Mid-April to mid-December; exact dates vary by hotel. Hurricane season swirls from June to November (September is trickiest).
- Festival highlights: Cheer more than 300 racing yachts during Antigua Sailing Week in late April and early May, or take in one of the Caribbean’s most intoxicating Carnivals, which runs from late July to early August.
What to Do
- Abundant Beaches: Rimmed by 366 public beaches — one for each day of the year, plus one for luck — there’s a sandy paradise for every beach personality. Some of the best include Half Moon Bay for windsurfing, Dickinson Bay for restaurant hopping and people watching, and Five Islands Peninsula for a clothing-optional experience.
- Seafaring Lore: History lovers and yachters shouldn’t miss Nelson’s Dockyard National Park at English Harbour in Antigua. Built in 1784, this former naval headquarters now hosts charming old restaurants, craft shops, and historic buildings.
- Shipyard Views: For a stunning panoramic view — of English Harbour, Eric Clapton’s house, and the island of Montserrat — plus steel-pan music, barbecue, and a superb sunset, spend your Sunday afternoon at Shirley Heights Lookout, a restaurant perched on a bluff at the south side of the island.
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