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Panoramic landscape of Shirley Heights, Antigua

Things to do in  Antigua

Welcome to Antigua

For visiting sun-seekers, Antigua offers the expected Caribbean splendors—white-sand beaches, elegant resorts, and colorful reefs—alongside a generous dollop of history. Admiral Nelson resided here in the 18th century; explore that naval heritage at the UNESCO-listed Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. Meanwhile, one of the top things to do in Antigua every spring is enjoy the internationally regarded Antigua Sailing Week, which brings in yacht regattas and jetsetter types. For the rest of the year, life runs on island time—expect relaxation and rum punch in between snorkeling trips, rain forest ziplining, and tours of the capital, St. John’s.

Top 15 attractions in Antigua

Nelson's Dockyard National Park

One of the best historical sites on Antigua, Nelson's Dockyard National Park has been at the center of Antiguan activity since the first settlers arrived in 500 BC. Today, the centerpiece of the park is the actual dockyard itself, originally developed as a base for the British Navy in 1725. It is now home to old ships and numerous historical artifacts.More

Fort James

If you want to see fantastic views of the Caribbean waters, one of the best places to go on Antigua is Fort James, which sits in an ideal position overlooking St. John's Harbour. Built by the British in 1706, the fort was intended to prevent the French from invading the island. Today, see its remains including the cannons, gunpowder magazine, and foundation of the wall.More

Devil's Bridge National Park

Despite its ominous name, Devil's Bridge National Park is one of the most unique must-see sites, a natural arch carved by the sea out of the soft and hard limestone ledges of the cliffs along Antigua. As enormous breakers from the Atlantic repeatedly hit the rocks throughout the years, the ocean waters eventually eroded away a soft part of limestone to create a bridge-like arch.More

St. John's Anglican Cathedral (St. John the Divine)

Finished in 1848, St. John's Anglican Cathedral, an impressive freestone structure, serves as a reminder of Antigua's European roots. Built in the neo-baroque style, the cathedral seems out of place on the Caribbean island, with its iron fence, stained-glass windows, and two lofty towers with cupolas on top. The cathedral remains an active place of worship, with services taking place throughout the week.More

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

Located in Antigua's capital city, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is the place to learn more about the nation's history and cultural legacy. The museum is housed in the Colonial Court House, built in 1747, making it the oldest building still in use in the city. Through its numerous engaging exhibits, the museum tells the story of the nation, from its geological birth to political independence.More

Heritage Quay

If you’re in the mood for duty-free and high-end shopping on Antigua, Heritage Quay is the place to find good prices on luxury items. This shopping complex has dozens of shops selling everything from Rolex watches and diamond jewelry to duty-free cigars and liquor, not to mention designer clothes, cosmetics, electronics and more. Throughout the shopping center you’ll spot troupes of local performers playing steel pan music. You’ll need to show a passport and travel documents to take advantage of the duty-free shopping. There is also an arcade where vendors sell T-shirts, souvenirs and local arts and crafts, and can negotiate deals if you’re willing to haggle. A food court features a wide-range of bars and restaurants, from pizzas and island dishes, to seafood.More

Shirley Heights

With panoramic views of the small island and the vast Caribbean, Shirley Heights is Antigua’s most popular lookout point. Visitors often go up for views of the sunset and stay for live music and drinks at the on-site bar and restaurant.More

Betty's Hope Historic Sugar Plantation

On the Caribbean island of Antigua, Betty’s Hope is a former sugar plantation established by Sir Christopher Codrington in the 1600s. Now a museum and historic landmark, the site is dedicated to the memory and lives of the slaves who endured inhumane hardships on the island.More

Dickenson Bay

The blazing-white sands of Dickenson Bay are home to a handful of Antigua’s larger resort hotels, including Sandals, Halcyon Cove and Antigua Village. Along the beachfront you can also find a hub of restaurants, beach bars, and water sports operators renting kayaks, windsurfing boards, snorkeling gear and more. The bay is known for having consistently calm waters, which makes it a great place for families with kids to play in the water, or for snorkelers who want to visit the mile-long stretch of reef that runs along the shore. The one thing you won’t find at Dickenson Bay is a secluded stretch of sand, as it’s one of the most popular beaches on the island, but if you want get away from the crowd, head south to the next beach over along Runaway Bay.More
Stingray City Antigua

Stingray City Antigua

With hundreds of gigantic stingray gliding amid vibrant coral reefs and schools of tropical fish, Stingray City is the best place in Antigua to spot wild stingrays in their natural environment. Dive into the warm Caribbean waters to swim and snorkel in an area known for its southern stingrays and learn more about the magnificent creatures and their conservation.More

Cades Reef

Just off the coast of Antigua sits Cades Reef, an underwater park and one of the island’s best snorkeling and diving spots. With clear visibility and a wide variety of sea creatures, a trip to the reef makes an exciting family-friendly break from the beach.More

English Harbour

Situated at the southernmost point of Antigua, English Harbour is one of the island’s oldest and most historic landmarks. Buildings along the waterfront date back to the colonial era, while the harbor itself is an internationally acclaimed sailing location.More

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium

Named after a famous West Indies cricket team captain, the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua is a massive open-air arena dedicated to the popular sport of cricket. Easily recognizable thanks to its distinct blue shades, the stadium was built in 2007 for the Cricket World Cup when numerous matches were held here and around the island.More

Prickly Pear Island

You can spend a day on an uninhabited Caribbean isle with a boat tour to Prickly Pear Island. This tiny islet sits off the northeast corner of Antigua, and it’s a popular destination for day-trippers and cruise-shippers looking to lounge on its sugar-sand beaches. Beneath the crystal-clear waters lie fields of shallow reefs loaded with tropical fish, and you can grab snorkeling gear to fin your way among the fishes. The only man-made structure on the island is a shack beach bar and restaurant where you can satisfy a craving for rum drinks at the open bar, and have a lunch of chicken, conch and lobster. Snorkeling equipment and a guide are usually included in the trip, and when it’s time to relax, you can find beach chairs, umbrellas and picnic tables on the beach.More
Antigua Cruise Port (Heritage Quay Terminal) Tours

Antigua Cruise Port (Heritage Quay Terminal) Tours

Located in the West Indies, Antigua is the main island that makes up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The region’s history and geography have made it internationally known as a sailing and yachting destination, and Antigua Cruise Port is one of the most popular stops on cruise itineraries. Ships dock in the capital city of St. John’s.More

Top activities in Antigua

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All about Antigua

When to visit

Antigua has two seasons: a wet season and dry season. Most visitors tend to aim for the dry season, which runs from December through April, with average temperatures around 82°F (28°C). The wet season typically peaks between June and November, while May makes for a slightly more affordable shoulder season option. Antigua Sailing Week is a highlight of the spring calendar, but stick around until July to discover the island’s festive Carnival celebrations.

Getting around

At just 108 square miles (280 square kilometers), petite Antigua is best explored by car. Taxis are plentiful around the island, which is helpful as public bus service is generally unreliable and best avoided. Antigua is connected to neighboring islands by ferry and plane, while a wide variety of boat tours—from snorkeling excursions to catamaran circumnavigation voyages—are a popular way to explore.

Traveler tips

US dollars are widely accepted across Antigua, which means there’s little need to stock up on the Eastern Caribbean dollar before visiting. Don’t forget to bring your passport and your tickets or boarding passes with you to score duty-free prices at shopping destinations such as the Heritage Quay in Antigua’s capital of St. John’s, where you can browse luxury fashion, perfumes, watches, jewelry, and more.

People Also Ask

What is Antigua famous for?

Antigua is known, first and foremost, for its white-sand beaches flanked by crystalline waters—some 365 of them—as well as its ample opportunities for snorkeling and diving. It’s also known for its compact size—as the island is only around 14 miles across, getting from point to point is a breeze.

Can you swim with dolphins in Antigua?

You won’t see dolphins in captivity in Antigua, where swim-with-dolphins programs have been abandoned in favor of less-exploitative experiences. That said, dolphins do show up in the waters around the island from time to time, and the best place to witness the sensitive marine mammals is from aboard a sightseeing cruise.

What is the nicest beach in Antigua?

Antigua has 365 beaches, so it would be unfair to deem one the nicest of them all. However, top contenders include Darkwood Bay and Dickenson Beach (both of which have lots of facilities), chilled-out Ffryes Beach, pretty Half Moon Bay, and secluded Rendezvous Bay.

Does Antigua have nightlife?

Antigua's nightlife is largely geared towards tourists, and many of the island's numerous beaches have open-air bars that stay open well into the night. Casinos such as King Casino and Grand Princess Casino are also popular, while Abracadabra, a cross between an Italian restaurant and a nightclub, is a great place to go dancing.

What language do they speak in Antigua?

English is the official language of Antigua and Barbuda and it's used across the country in business and education. Many Antiguans also use Leeward Caribbean Creole English, a creole based on English, in casual conversation, but most people switch to standard English when speaking to foreign visitors.

Is Antigua expensive to visit?

Antigua can be expensive. As it's an island, a lot of food and other goods sold here need to be imported. Accommodations near the coast, particularly in the southern and western parts of the island, tend to be expensive, but if you're willing to stay in the St John's area, you'll find a number of budget-friendly options.


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