Exploring Tortola's Beaches

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Tips for Exploring Tortola's Beaches 

In this guide, we share insider recommendations for your Tortola adventure. Discover a variety of stunning beaches, from vibrant, family-friendly shores to tranquil, hidden alcoves. Be sure to visit Virgin Gorda, home to the natural wonder, 'The Baths'. It's a must-see. Also, consider a day trip to the charming Jost Van Dyke. If you're an outdoor enthusiast, we have tips for activities like hiking, diving, and surfing to keep you energized.

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Tortola Beaches Visit Neighboring Island - Active Individuals - Day on the water


This article will provide some insider information on what to do and where to go during your visit to Tortola. With a range of beaches to explore, from lively, family-friendly shores to secluded alcoves, there's a perfect spot for every type of beach goer. Whether your ideal day involves a bustling beach with restaurants and bars or a tranquil oasis of natural beauty, each locale offers its unique slice of the island's irresistible charm.

Click on the map image above to enlarge.

This drone video below provides a great view of Tortola's beaches. It features beautiful footage of Brewers Bay Beach, Cane Garden Bay Beach, and Long Bay Beach. There are also intermittent shots of Road Town and East End. It's definitely worth the effort to watch. The video is about 5 minutes long.


Long Bay Beach

Location Long Bay Beach

Pelican Peak's preferred beach, Long Bay Beach, is a stunning stretch of white sand that extends for an entire mile. Located just a ten-minute drive from the villa, this serene beach usually sees only a handful of tourists. If you're looking to dine in style, the Long Bay Resort features a top-notch restaurant, 1748, housed in a charming old sugar mill. Apart from the stylish beach bar at Long Bay Resort, there aren't any other catering facilities directly on the beach, making it an ideal spot for a personal picnic with your own cooler. We have a cooler at Pelican Peak, and the small supermarket at the bottom of the hill sells ice.


Smuggler's Beach

Smuggler's Beach

Just a brisk twenty-minute drive from the villa will bring you to the breathtaking beauty of Smuggler's Cove. This crescent-shaped beach stands as one of the most picturesque spots in the area, renowned for its serene beauty and the calm, crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, making it an idyllic spot for swimming and snorkeling. Its relative seclusion lends an added charm, though it does mean that it may be less developed in terms of amenities compared to more frequented beaches like Cane Garden Bay.
To reach it from Long Bay, head west. As the road starts to ascend, take a sharp right turn and follow the rut-lined dirt road until you notice beach parking on your right. You'll find a second parking area just a little further along.
Adorned with pristine white sands, this magnificent beach features two appealing catering facilities. Patricia, a friend of Pelican Peak and its proprietors, runs a cozy bar nestled amidst the trees on the left side of the beach, adjacent to the parking area. If Patricia is not around, Nigel's bar, colloquially known as "Nigel's", situated on the right side of the beach, is ready to serve you a refreshing cold drink. 


Cane Garden Beach

Cane Garden Bay Beach

This is by far the most famous of Tortola's beaches. More tourists hit this beach than any other, especially on a cruise ship day, be forewarned. Always check the cruise ship schedule when going to Cane Garden Bay. Cane Garden is a vibrant beach, cozy bars, and tempting restaurants, each contributing to a lively, inviting atmosphere. Did you know that Cane Garden Bay was features in a Jimmy Buffett song?

Along the beach are numerous restaurants, beach bars, and shops offering a variety of local and international cuisine and drinks, beachwear, and souvenirs. My favorite place is the Paradise Club Lounge, Bar, & Restaurant, a lovely place for lunch and cold beverages. Another popular place is Myett's Restaurant - a great spot for both lunch and dinner. 

The lively beachfront is a popular place for locals and tourists alike, and it's not uncommon to find live music performances in the evening. 

Cane Garden is a 15-minute drive from Pelican Peak. To get there, drive along the coast towards Windy Hill, and turn left at Stoutt's. On your way back, don't forget to stop at Stoutt's Lookout Bar for a cold drink and to enjoy the lovely, cool breeze after a beach day.


Brewer's Bay Beach

Brewers Bay Beach

Brewer's Bay Beach is just north of Cane Garden Bay on the northwest side of Tortola. It's a perfect beach for those looking for a quiet, private experience. You might often be the only person there enjoying a peaceful day on a beach filled with palm trees. Green hills surround the beach, adding to its relaxed feel. It's an excellent place for swimming and snorkeling in calm waters. You might even see sea turtles.
Just off the beach, along the road, there's an old sugar mill and the ruins of a rum factory.

Although there aren't many places like bars, restaurants, or bathrooms, the relaxed and quiet feel of the beach makes up for it.


Hidden Beaches Lava Flow and Trunk Bay

Two stunning beaches grace the north side of Tortola: Rogues Bay, also known as Lava Flow, and Trunk Bay. However, it's important to be aware that there is a significant undercurrent on this side of the island, which can make swimming potentially hazardous. The map below helps locate hidden beaches. It marks reference points and roads. You can click on the map to enlarge it for a closer view.

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Click on the map image above to enlarge.

Lava Flow Beach

Lava Flow Beach

Lava Flow is an exceptionally beautiful beach, but getting there can be challenging, requiring a four-wheel-drive vehicle. It's the most secluded beach on Tortola, and despite my numerous visits, I seldom encounter other people. My family and I used to camp here, and it always felt like spending the night on a deserted island.

This video showing Lava Flow beach you might enjoy watching.

To reach Lava Flow:

  • Head east on Ridge Road.
  • After you pass the mountain-top laundromat on your right, look out for a road on your left, which appears almost immediately.
  • Travel less than 1/4 mile, and you'll come to a fork in the road.
  • Take a left and continue downhill. If you're heading downhill with views of the beach appearing at various points on your left, you're on the right track.
  • Once you spot a yellow house with a red roof, make the final switchback to the left.
  • You can click on the map featured in the introduction to view the mentioned reference points marked on it.

Please be aware, though, the road is steep and can be tricky. We recommend parking your vehicle and walking the last 1/4 mile to the beach. Especially during the rainy season, the path can become unmanageable for vehicles.


Trunk Bay Beach

Truck Bay Beach

Trunk Bay, another stunning white sand beach on Tortola's North Shore, is more accessible. There's a well-maintained road leading down to the beach. As you drive down, you'll be treated to breathtaking views where nearly all the islands from Guana Island to Necker Island can be seen.

Check out this beautiful time-lapse sunset at Trunk Bay:

To reach Trunk Bay:

  • To reach Trunk Bay, head east on Ridge Road and make a left turn just before the mountain-top laundromat. 
  • Look for a chocolate brown house that marks the left-hand turn.
  • After traveling less than 1/4 mile, the road will split. At this point, take the right fork and continue driving down. 
  • This road will lead you directly to the beach.
  • You can click on the map featured in the introduction to view the mentioned reference points marked on it.


Josiah's Bay Beach

Josiah's Bay Beach

Josiah's Bay Beach is located on the eastern end of the north shore of Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. This beach is a favorite among both locals and tourists. It's one of the most popular surfing destinations in the British Virgin Islands, known for its consistent surf breaks, especially in the winter months, and it caters to surfers of all levels. The beach has beautiful white sand and appears just like a picture-perfect postcard. Remember that there's limited shade, so bringing an umbrella would be a good idea. The location also offers a beach bar and a surf school for renting boards.



Visit Neighboring Islands
A visit to the BVI wouldn't be complete without exploring our neighboring islands, particularly Virgin Gorda. There, you'll find a natural wonderland known as The Baths — an absolute must-see. Arranging a relaxed day trip to the island of Jost Van Dyke is a breeze; the ferry to JVD departs from West End near Pelican Peak — a day on JVD guarantees an unforgettable experience.


Day on the water

For those with a seafaring spirit (and a budget that allows), why not hire a boat — captain optional — and navigate the islands at your own pace? After all, the true beauty of The Virgin Islands unfolds in all its glory when viewed from the water's edge. To rent boots, with or without a captain, either in a group or privately, please refer to this separate blog post that I wrote.

Boat Rental

Active Individuals
Can't resist the call of the great outdoors? If you've got energy to burn, we have some excellent tips for outdoor activities like hiking, diving, and surfing.