You’re stumped for choice when it comes to beaches in Tobago. A good rule of thumb: the further north you go, the quieter the beaches become. Here are our top 25, grouped by region — Crown Point and the southwest, the Leeward (Caribbean) coast, and the Windward (Atlantic) coast.
- Canoe Bay (entrance fee): off the Milford Road, this might be Tobago’s calmest and shallowest bathing beach, perfect for young families. Rarely crowded, with excellent facilities including bar and beachfront cabanas
- Pigeon Point ($20 entrance fee): Tobago’s picture-postcard beach. The water by the white coral sand is calm and warm and shallow, protected by Buccoo Reef and great for swimming and snorkelling. Thatched huts with picnic tables shelter you from the sun, and the on-site bar and restaurant provide refreshment and entertainment. Several water-sports businesses operate here: surfing, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking and more. Some glass-bottom boat tours also start here for the Reef and Nylon Pool. Make sure to take a photo or a selfie (or wefie) in the little thatched cabana at the end of the much-photographed jetty!
- Store Bay: a stone’s throw from the airport, this relatively small, shadeless beach — cupped on both sides by small coral cliffs — is the heartbeat of Crown Point and one of the most popular (and busy) beaches in Tobago. Glass-bottom boats often leave at least twice daily for tours to Buccoo Reef and the Nylon Pool. It’s great for swimming, and snorkelling under coral cliffs at the southern end. There’s excellent craft shopping, food stalls, and changing rooms (small fee).
Leeward/Caribbean Sea coast
- Arnos Vale Bay: Tobago’s best snorkelling beach — the reef lies immediately off the sand. The beach is within a hotel compound
- Back Bay: isolated and hidden from the road, accessible through the cliff-side trail of a now-abandoned estate, this is a wonderfully secluded small bay with golden sand. There’s even a little pool that nature seemed to make just for two, where water flows in and out with the tide. NB: take extra care due to the isolation of this beach; it’s best to go in a group
- Bloody Bay: a secluded, breezy beach with golden sand and clear blue waters, nothing at all like its name (a sign gives an explanation of how it was earned). Great swimming, with new facilities on site
- Buccoo: this narrow fishing beach is the centre of the action for Goat and Crab Races at Easter time. There’s a small beach bar on site
- Castara Bay: a stunning, quiet and unspoilt beach in a friendly fishing village, with calm water and fine golden sand, the centrepiece of a thriving fishing community. You can watch fishermen bringing in their nets (“pulling seine”) or bread baked in old-fashioned dirt ovens, made fresh twice a week. Excellent facilities including a restaurant, stores and craft stalls, with accommodation options and a waterfall nearby
- Culloden Beach: just past the Footprints Eco Resort entrance, this small, narrow beach is not recommended for swimming but is great for snorkelling
- Englishman’s Bay: a quiet and secluded, almond-fringed, crescent-shaped bay, hidden by trees, this is one of Tobago’s best-kept secrets, but not for much longer (it’s been voted one of the Caribbean’s best beaches). Its deep, clear waters offer good swimming and snorkelling. There is craft shopping and a restaurant on site
- Grange Beach (“The Wall”): just past the Mount Irvine Golf Course, this beautiful, long, thin beach is ideal for swimming. It’s slightly obscured from the road by a stone wall. Turtles nest here, in season
- King Peter’s Bay: a quiet, calm bay with dark sand, good for snorkelling and spear fishing
- Parlatuvier: a seine fishing village with a tranquil, white/pink sand beach and a few snackettes. The beach offers good snorkelling and a chance to see magnificent frigate-birds. A fish market operates here
- Mount Irvine: divided in the centre by a headland, with Old Grange Beach to the left and “Little Irvine” to the right. This pair of beaches offers excellent facilities, snorkelling and surfing (November to April). The hotel side offers refreshments and beach amenities, and is ideal for swimming, snorkelling and water-sports (gear rental is available on site). A fish market operates Monday–Friday in the evening. NB: beware of the manchineel trees — don’t shelter under them if it rains (they produce a poisonous milky latex which irritates eyes and skin)
- Stonehaven Bay: a magnificent, rugged dark-sand beach with good swimming, snorkelling, and facilities nearby. Also popular for long beach walks or jogs. Turtles nest here in season
- Turtle Beach (Great Courland Bay): this long, dark-sand beach is a retreat for leatherback turtles during the nesting season (March to August). Good for swimming and popular for horse riding and water-sports
- Cotton Bay: A beautiful, private and secluded beach, accessible from the sea only. It is favourite boat tour stop (see our Eco Escapes section)
- Man-o’-War Bay: the main beach for the serene village of Charlotteville, ideal for swimming. Its deep natural harbour can accommodate cruise ships. The area is well endowed with cottages, guesthouses and eateries. The village is the main venue for the Fishermen’s Festival, held in June
- Pirate’s Bay: a stunning pink sand beach with crystal-clear water and a fabulous view, accessed via dirt track and 150-odd steps from the end of the Charlotteville seafront, or by sea. Great for swimming and snorkelling.
Windward/Atlantic Ocean coast
- Bellevue Bay: accessed off the Belle Garden Bay Road junction, the waters of this sheltered coarse-sand beach are relatively calm. There is seine fishing and a lifeguard on duty
- King’s Bay: a picturesque long stretch with calm water and good facilities. Villagers pull seine in the afternoons, so it’s a good place to buy fish
- Little Rockly Bay: a scenic stretch lined by coconut trees, with crashing waves loved by wind-surfers, and stunning Atlantic views. The area has several accommodation options, as well as restaurants and hangouts. Also popular for long walks and jogs
- Minister Bay: the surfers’ standby if Mount Irvine is not performing, this black-sand beach lies to the north of Bacolet Point
- Speyside & Blue Waters: Tobago’s dive capital, with sandy beaches within swimming distance of the reef. Speyside and Blue Waters beaches (the latter accessed via Blue Waters Inn) are both great for swimming and snorkelling. Glass-bottom boat trips to Angel Reef, Goat Island and Little Tobago start here. The village of Speyside has good water-sports facilities, accommodation options and several good restaurants (including Jemma’s Treehouse)
- Pinfold Bay (or Studley Park): a sheltered area where local families take their children; this was the site of Tobago’s original capital, Georgetown, and the remnants of Fort Granby can be found on the nearby headland.
Tips & tricks
- Lifeguards are typically on duty 9am–5pm or 10am–6pm, but not at all beaches. Red flags indicate unsafe bathing areas
- Permits are required both for camping and for turtle-watching. Contact a reputable tour guide, your hotel, or the Forestry Division to make arrangements
- Tropical sun can quickly give a bad burn, even through cloud, so use your sunscreen.