Antigua may have a beach for every day of the year, but it’s definitely not the only thing the Caribbean island has to offer. You may have probably come for the beaches, but the rolling southern hills, four national parks, centuries of history and culture, national phenomenons and breathtaking views will make you want to stay forever! Explore Antigua through some of these awesome places you don’t want to miss.
Discover Nelson’s Dockyard National Park
If you’ve heard of Antigua, you may have heard a little something about Nelson’s Dockyard. Or maybe you haven’t until today and that’s totally fine! But, it’s kind of a popular site to explore on the island because there are so many ways to see it! In short, Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is a naval dockyard that was once home to the British fleet during the Napoleonic Wars in the late 1700s. Now, it’s one of the island’s most popular historical attractions. Explore the area via history and heritage tours, hiking a variety of nature trails, browsing the local shops, boat watching in the dockyard and so much more!
Explore Antiguan history at Betty’s Hope
Explore a part of Antigua’s history at the retired sugarcane plantation dating back to 1650. Once a flourishing and successful agricultural enterprise, the sugarcane mills have been restored into an open-air museum where visitors can learn about the history of the plantation and its ongoing conservation efforts of Antiguan history.
Take in the views at Shirley Heights
Probably one of the most well-known and iconic attractions of Antigua is the Shirley Heights Lookout–and for obvious reasons! The views from up there are absolutely breathtaking and picturesque, you may think it’s a dream! But, don’t worry, we’ll give you a pinch because this place is a true paradise. Take in views of the English and Falmouth Harbours from 490 feet height to watch the sunrise or sunset for an unforgettable experience. Go earlier in the day and wear comfortable shoes for the trek up to the top from the English Harbour. The views are so worth it! Plus, you get to hang out at the popular Shirley Heights Lookout Bar & Restaurant for a much-needed break.
Visit Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary
Operated by the Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society, the Antigua Donkey Sanctuary is home to more than 150 stray donkeys that have finally found a safe place to call home. Their awesome and friendly staff loves getting to introduce visitors to the resident animals to brush them, feed them, learn about them and take Instagram-worthy photos, too, of course! Getting there is an adventure in itself, but just follow the signs and long, unnamed, dirt road from the highway until you see the main sign for the Humane Society. There’s no entrance fee, but donations are always accepted!
Experience the natural phenomenon at Devil’s Bridge
If you want to explore Antigua, experiencing the natural formation and rugged terrain of this cultural landmark is a must! Located just outside the village of Willikies, Devil’s Bridge “is the result of millions of years of ancient reef formation.” Waves from the Atlantic Ocean that have been crashing into the limestone rock formation for thousands of years have since created a natural bridge. Due to the limestone surface and constant waves, the rocks are often very slippery–so, visitors are told to use caution and explore at your own risk…walking across the bridge is also not recommended!
Hike along a variety of Antiguan trails to get the best views
The Caribbean is known to have some of the best hiking trails in the world–the views are always so breathtaking! Antigua is no exclusion to this, as it has more than 50 scenic trails to choose from around the island. Some will take you along the stunning coastal areas, while others cut through the southern hills. Two of the most popular are the 5.4-mile loop “Pillars of Hercules” and the just over 4-mile “Boggy Peak Trail” up Mount Obama. Several other scenic trails can be accessed from Green Castle Hill National Park, Fort Barrington National Park and Nelson’s Dockyard.
Needless to say, Antigua is so much more than just “the island with 365 beaches–a beach for every day of the year.” Antigua is home to so much culture and history, that a trip there wouldn’t be complete without exploring some of these awesome places! After working up your appetite with all this adventure, be sure to stop by some of the delicious must-eats of Antigua!