Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beautiful Bermuda Beaches

"Bright sunshine, crystal clear turquoise water and pink tinged sand.  The enchanting beaches of Bermuda are often the main reason for cruising to this paradise island.  There are so many lovely beaches to choose from and never enough time to experience them all.  So with the majority of cruise ships docking in Kings Wharf, lets take a look at the beaches you may want to explore from there.

 Snorkel Park is a relatively new area located in the northeast corner of the Royal Naval Dockyard.  The fact that it is so close to the ship and doesn’t require taking a cab, bus or ferry to get there makes it a perfect choice for families that may be looking for a hassle free way to spend a few hours making sand castles or wading in the calm water.  For those with young children, load up your stroller with towels and beach toys for the easy stroll. Unambiguous signage points the way to the limestone tunnel marking the entrance of this waterfront playground.  There is no charge to enter.  The beach here is small but you can rent chairs, umbrellas, paddleboats, kayaks, etc.  As the name implies, Snorkel Park is a great place to don a mask and fins and swim with the fish.  There are marked trails, a sunken cannon and other underwater features for you to explore. However, the highlight here is the Sea-Scooter Safari.  It’s a great way to zip around and observe parrotfish, angelfish, and gray snappers feeding on and around the coral reefs.  For those looking to frolic in the sea there are two slides that plunge into the ocean and a water trampoline fun for kids of all ages.  Food and drink is available at Hammerheads Bar & Grill.  At night it becomes a lively bar adults will want to return to for drinks, music and munchies!

 Glass Beach, although I doubt this is its real name but that's what I've always called it, is a fun place to visit!  I wouldn’t recommend the area for swimming and there are no facilities of any kind here, but for many this area is very special!  It is one of the best places on the island to comb for beach glass! The area is about a quarter of a mile from the main Dockyard entrance but not really walkable because there are no sidewalks.  Hop on any bus leaving the Dockyard and ask the bus driver to drop you off at the Military Cemetery on Malabar Road (also known as ‘The Glade,’ it has memorials to many Royal Navy personnel from warships stationed here during the mid-19th century).  Across the road you will see a cluster of bright blue apartment buildings called Albert’s Row. Walk between the buildings to a pathway in the back.  If you bear right you will come upon a patio (note the imbedded glass in the concrete) and a stairway that leads down to a small beach. The treasure hides here!  Loads of green and white beach glass, and if you’re lucky you may find some brown too! This is a fun way to hunt for a perfect Bermuda souvenir!  Climb back up the stairs, head for the main road, and wait at the pink pole for a bus to return you to the ship or elsewhere.

  Horseshoe Bay is east of Kings Wharf on the south shore of the island.  The #7 bus, which you can pick up steps from where your ship is docked, will get you there in about 20 minutes. The quintessential pink-sanded beach is also the best-known beach on Bermuda.  You’ll want to remember your camera to capture the beauty of the rough and jagged limestone cliffs contrasting against the smooth, shimmering azure waters, as countless number of photographers and tourists have done before you!  Lifeguards stand watch all summer long and there is a concession stand to rent chairs, umbrellas, snorkel equipment, and all the stuff you might possibly need for a day in the sun. There are restrooms, changing rooms, showers, a snack bar and ice cream counter.  The sweet, icy snow cones are yummy and can really hit the spot! No wonder it seems like every passenger on every cruise ship heads here for the day! Get there early as they often run out of sand chairs and you might get stuck with a flimsy, resin upright chair. To escape the crowds just walk a bit further down the beach and you’ll find that the throngs of sun worshippers thin out rather quickly.  When you’re ready to head back to the ship look for the shuttle van that will save you from hiking uphill back to the bus stop. After an exhausting day playing in the sun and surf, it will be the best $2 you’ve ever spent!

 Tobacco Bay Beach is a great choice if you’d like to spend part of the day exploring historic St. George, designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. Most of its buildings were constructed in the 17th to 19th centuries and the authorities have made a deliberate effort both to prevent development, and to hide any signs of later changes. From Kings Wharf it’s an enjoyable 45-minute ferry ride to St George. You can then explore the town a bit which I definitely recommend before either taking a 15-minute walk or the $3 shuttle ride to Tobacco Bay.  This is a small beach with sand that is powdery soft and more white than pink.   All the beach necessities you need are available for rent and there’s a snack bar to pick up lunch.  Tobacco Bay is surrounded by limestone rock outcroppings that separate the bay from the open ocean. The result is a somewhat shallow pool ideal for swimming. Although there are no lifeguards on duty, the tranquil waters make it a family favorite.  Snorkeling is a delightful way to spend your time, as turtles, and colorful fish are among the inhabitants of the coral and rock formations of the bay.

 There is no better way to spend a day in Bermuda than by relaxing on the exquisite pink sand or swimming along with the sea creatures that live in the crystal clear blue waters.  Aren’t you ready for a tranquil day in paradise?  Let Direct Line Cruises help you take the first step."

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