Panoramic landscape of Shirley Heights, Antigua

Itineraries for Your Trip to Antigua

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2 Days in Antigua for First Timers

Curated by Lydia SchrandtLydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

With enough beaches to fill a year, two days may not seem like enough time to spend in Antigua. But trust us—you’ll still be able to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea, and soak up the island’s British history and culture. Here’s how to make the most of your short stay.

Day 1: Morning

Kick off your trip with a guided sightseeing excursion around Antigua. Round island tours let you see a lot in a little time, including Nelson’s Dockyard, Shirley Heights, the Blockhouse ruins, and English Harbour. Alternatively, focus your attention on St. John’s with a walking tour to Heritage Quay and the town center.

Day 1: Afternoon

Dive deeper into the local culture. Foodies might take a Caribbean cooking class, while history buffs visit the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda or one of the island’s historic plantations. Or, if you’re looking for a little retail therapy, you’ll find it along St. Mary’s Street or High Street.

Day 1: Night

Party like a local at the weekly Shirley Heights barbecue, hosted every Sunday evening with live music, food, and dancing. If you’re in town on another night of the week, you’re sure to find rum cocktails and Antiguan bands at the bars of Heritage Quay.

Day 2: Morning

It’s time for some outdoor island adventure, and options abound. Explore Antigua by off-road buggy, zipline through the tropical canopy, marvel at the scenery on a guided hike, or go horseback riding along Runaway Beach.

Day 2: Afternoon

Cool off in Antigua’s turquoise waters. Hit the nearest beach, rent a stand-up paddleboard and glide through Dickenson Bay, or go snorkeling at Cades Reef. Alternatively, look for hidden coves on a guided jet-skiing tour of the picturesque shoreline.

Day 2: Night

Toast to two days well spent during a sunset cruise along the coast. See the historic structures of Nelson’s Dockyard and English Harbour from the water as you sip a final rum punch.

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