Pink sand beaches, impeccable sunsets, secluded coves…I count a romantic escape with hubby to this remote island 1100 miles off the coast of South Carolina as one of the highlights of my lifetime.
Come and see why we love it so much. Here are 25 things to do in gorgeous Bermuda – and why you need to book a flight today.
The sunset will blow your mind
I’ve been to nearly two dozen countries in my life, and the sunset in Bermuda is by far the best I’ve ever experienced. Aqua-green waters mix with the blue and pink sky — and the sun just hangs on the horizon waiting for you to admire her.
I recommend a sunset dinner at Coconuts at The Reefs. This is where we enjoyed our first meal on the island, making sure to time our reservations with the sunset. Be sure to tell them that is your intention so they get you one of the best tables. The food was spectacular, and the scenery was the icing on the cake.
I also tell you below about the AirBnB we stayed at…seriously the best accommodation we’ve ever enjoyed. You know what made it even better? Watching the sunset from within the cliff-side infinity pool while sipping champagne. If you can’t do that (or the house is taken) then plan a picnic on any of the Southampton beaches. You won’t be disappointed!
The flight is short and direct
My Atlanta friends will love knowing that you can catch an easy flight from Hartsfield-Jackson. Delta serves a direct flight to and from Bermuda every day, with flight time under 3 hours (under 2 hours from Boston.) That means that you, like us, can easily leave the kids with the grandparents for a romantic getaway…or bring them along and enjoy one of the shortest international expeditions from our area.
The Blue Hole cliff jump is incredible
One of the most fun afternoon adventures we had was to cliff jump straight into a salty blue hole! The water was more salty than the Atlantic Ocean, and we could easily float. It was extra clear, with colorful fishes all about…and the volcanic stalactites along the edges were amazing.
Blue Hole Park is just over the bridge as you come from the airport. Immediately to the left is a gravel road. Here you will park and walk about a quarter-mile to a clearing where you can see the viewing platform. If you’re nervous about jumping from the edge, you can get into the water beside the platform.
You won’t find nicer people anywhere
When I tell you that every Bermudian we met was nice, I am not exaggerating. EVERY person…and not just “sorta” nice. I mean they were generous, warm-hearted, helpful and downright Southern!
One man told me that tourism was their greatest industry, and that he loved showing his beautiful country to everyone who visits.
On another occasion, Dan and I were trying to catch a taxi over at the Royal Naval Dockyard, late at night (there is no Uber in Bermuda.) It looked like we were out of luck, and we were wondering what the heck to do…when along came an off-duty cab driver. He stopped…and offered to carry us to our AirBnB…even while his wife was in the car and they were on a date night together.
“I was worried about you being stranded here. There are not usually taxis here at night on a weekday. We are so happy to find you.” What?!? We were happy to be found! And y’all – they were so cute together on the ride, talking about how long they have been married, and how they love the island and raising their kids here. I was smitten with them both.
Transportation is fun and easy
The scooter is the iconic mode of transportation in Bermuda. It’s what you often see in the all advertisements. Another new and unique way to get around is the electric Twizy cars. That’s what Dan and I rented, and we LOVED it! (FYI – only Bermudians can drive cars on the island.)
But both the scooter and Twizy are two seaters – not exactly family friendly or economical. For larger groups, or those looking to spend money on something other than transportation, try the public bus and ferry system – the kids will love taking a ‘boat ride’. You can get a pass that is good for one, three or seven days.
Money exchange is not an issue
The Bermudian dollar is equivalent to the American dollar. And sure, the paper money is brilliant colors and carries a fancy picture of the queen…but you don’t have to worry about exchanging your dough; they are excepted interchangeably.
Waterlot Inn is an unbeatable dining experience
We splurged one evening at Waterlot Inn…and y’all, this was by far the best dining experiences I’ve had in my life. Not exaggerating.
AAA Four Diamond and Wine Spectator Awards…sunset views sitting dockside on Jew’s Bay…and steak-making history that spans over 300 years. You heard me!
The building was constructed in 1670, and you can dine in the original building like we did. It’s truly captivating, and if you can only get a drink here, at least do that.
Snorkeling is accessible and easy
Snorkeling is MUST when you head to Bermuda, and there are two ways to enjoy it. First, you can opt for a tour out to one of hundreds of shipwrecks or reefs. In fact, the entire island is girded with reefs from 1/2 mile to 7 miles out. There are several tours that will take you on private or public tours that include snorkeling, but plan to spend several hours on an adventure like this – great for couples but harder if you have kids.
If you are limited on time or have restless kids, I recommend snorkeling at the beaches. We snorkeled at three of the five top beaches there, and each one was breathtaking! Tobacco Bay Beach was my favorite, with plenty of blue Parrot Fish hanging about the rocky shallow edge.
West Whale Bay Beach was incredible, also – and there is hope to see a whale and experience an amazing sunset in the grassy knoll. Just watch the tides; this beach is completely covered at high tide.
Church Bay is another great location, but a little choppy for young kids. For families, Bermuda recommends Snorkel Park. We didn’t make it there, but learned later that this location offers snorkeling rental equipment, chairs and such – all near Royal Naval Dockyard. John Smith’s Bay is another rocky area where the fish love to hang out.
Finally – don’t skip a stop at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, with comprehensive exhibits that help you better understand all that lives beneath the ocean around bermuda.
Hello…the sand is PINK
The beaches on the South Shore have pink sand. Pink Sand Beaches.
There are tiny red organisms that live in and under the reef. When they die, they mix with bits of the reef and find their way to the beach, creating a pink hued sandy oasis. Want pictures in the most pink part? Head close to the water, as the waves push up the color over time, so the “washed out” color is closer inland.
The texture is also unique. It is soft like sand, but not “sandy.” Do you remember oobleck? That’s what it reminds me of…it is almost soft and a little weighted.
One of our favorite places to explore the pink sand was along Warwick Long Bay – it’s Bermuda’s longest beach. If you take the main entrance in, but take the trail to the right as you enter the sandy area, it leads to Jobson’s Cove. This is a small and sheltered spot five minutes away – perfectly secluded and ideal for a romantic interlude or toddler swimming (because of the tame waters.) Jobson Cove is the what we photographed in the first photo above.
The Old Railway Trail makes “reuse” fun
One of my favorite things to do on vacation is explore via two wheels. Bermuda has 21 miles of bike paths from former railroad tracks that lead past historic sights, gorgeous beach views and through towns where you can stop for a beverage or meal. The trails aren’t contiguous yet, but will be in the future.
We recommend riding with Social Cycles for a guided tour that will show you the best places to explore (or just rent you a bike for your own adventure.) Their Island Adventure tour is 5 hours, and it includes views of the dockyard, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Horseshoe Bay (Bermuda’s most popular beach), and more…and they circle you back to the cruise ship if that’s your starting point.
The Rum Swizzle at Swizzles Restaurant will teach you to drink like a local
Chances are when you visit Bermuda, you’ll have more than a few Rum Swizzles, one of the official drinks of Bermuda (the other is the Dark and Stormy). The best one is at the Swizzle Inn Pub and Restaurant where the drink originated. Swizzle’s is a tourist favorite for sure, but you’ll also see locals grabbing a quick bite before heading to the airport. Get the Bailey’s Bay Fish Sandwich. It’s an original and delicious (and big enough to split too.)
No bugs also means no Zika
We saw more than a dozen babymooners. Why? Because there is no known local transmission of Zika virus in Bermuda. In fact, I can’t recall any flying insect pests.
If you’re looking for a place to explore while pregnant or with little kiddos…or you’re simply wary of travel due to Zika, Bermuda is your answer.
The party action on Front Street is gaming
When the sun goes down, you want to be on Front Street in Hamilton. Start at The Pickled Onion. Yes, that’s the name. You’ll find dancing, and great live music every day of the week – plus it’s open until 2am on the weekends so you’ve got a place to go late into the night.
Cafe Cairo is another late night option for dancing. As the name suggests, you’ll find an Egyptian theme here, along with a hookah lounge, belly dancers, and a view of the water from the outdoor terrace.
That’s just a sample of the party places – but there are a dozen more along Front Street!
Spiny lobster will make your mouth water
Forget Christmas. September – March is spiny lobster season, and it is the best time of the year! Spiny lobster (aka rock lobster to by Athens B-52 fans. Same difference.) has a hard shell and no claws, with plenty of delicious meat along the tail. Seriously – spiny lobster is so delicious and succulent – and affordable!
You can get it at almost any restaurant during season (and we think you should) but the real treat is purchasing one from a roadside stand in Hamilton, and bringing it back to the AirBnB to grill them up with a little butter and salt!
Condé Nast is rarely wrong
Condé Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 31st annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Bermuda recognized as the #1 Island in the Caribbean and Atlantic Region. Nearly half a million people voted for this, a record-breaking number of submissions – and this island gem stood out on top! And with just cause, as well.
There are underground caves you can totally explore
It’s a tourist favorite; we admit it. But when the lights go on.. illuminating the crystal blue-green water reflecting white stalactites, some more than a million years old, you have to experience it at least once. Locals also spilled the beans that you can swim in the caves at Grotto Bay Beach Resort – we can’t confirm the swimming, but do know there is a spa with the caves at Grotto Bay, so there’s that. Twist your arm, right?
The West End booted the Navy but kept the cool
At the tip of the West End you’ll find the Royal Navy Dockyard – one of the most popular attractions. The Dockyard is home to the cruise ships, but it also serves as a hub for sightseeing, shopping, dining, and much more.
We adored learning about Bermuda’s history from the National Museum of Bermuda; I highly recommend a stop here. The kids will love visiting the Spirit of Bermuda, a 3-mast replica vessel which you can tour (and even “walk the plank!”)
There are also plenty of shops here to pick up a something-special; plus tours for everyone including glass bottom boats, historic tours, and more. A very popular excursion is a dolphin swimming experience with Dolphin Quest. The beach in this area also rents jet skis, kayaks, SUPs and other water equipment.
Want to do something really fun? Take the Ferry there like Sue and I did (pictured above.)
We could learn a lesson from their progressiveness
Like Jamestown, the first slaves were brought to Bermuda in 1620s soon after the British colony was established in the island. Native American slaves were brought in large numbers from as far as Mexico, and Irish slaves were abundant as well. It’s a sad sad time in world history.
I bring it up because I was impressed that humanity and progressiveness fell upon Bermuda much sooner than other parts of the world. In America, the war effectively ended slavery in 1863, followed by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865. But in Bermuda, slave trade was outlawed in 1807 (though all slaves were not freed until 1834.) This day of freedom is celebrated as the Emancipation Day in Bermuda.
I would be remiss if I did not express disappointment about the current government’s backward stance on same-sex marriage. There have been repeated attempts to ban this in Bermuda, sadly. Fortunately, as I write this, it is legal (though the government is appealing the appeal – strange.) However, I will say that I found the PEOPLE (not the government) to be very accepting and open. We can only hope that this desire by the people will eventually sway the government’s persistent legislation attempts.
There are fantastic views for a picnic
During our guided bike trip, we stepped off for a short hike through shaded forest where wild chickens roam, to a gorgeous hilltop view at Scaur Hill Fort Park. Dexter, our guide from Social Cycles, played in these woods as a kid and pointed out native plants, including lots of edible varieties along the way. At the top, a catered picnic awaited us. Dexter can do the same for you, or you can order your own picnic from Utopia. Best.Hummus.Ever.
You can come face-to-face with Lemurs
The Bermuda Aquarium Museum Zoo is a fabulous place to see local fish without getting wet. The Zoo next door has free-range lemurs and golden lion tamarinds. But the lessor known secret is the boat excursions through Harrington Sound to Trunk Island, a private oasis recently acquired by the Zoo. Look for packages that include a trip here – and if you don’t see them, ask.
You’ll learn about Bowlers and Batsman
We’re talking about the game of Cricket of course. We did not get to do this on our trip, but it is on my bucket list for next time. But why just see a match when you can participate in the biggest Cricket event of the season – Cup Match. Cup Match is held over two days in the summer and includes lots of different activities and revelry all centered around a rival game between two teams that conjured thoughts of the Quiddich World Cup from Harry Potter.
You can commune with the dead
If you enjoy history, a walking tour is Historic St George is a must. This is where the founder of Bermuda – Sir George Somers – and his men landed in 1609 after their ship wrecked at a nearby reef. You’ll walk streets that feel much like they did in the 17th century.
You can do a traditional tour of this former Bermuda capital and UNESCO World Heritage site, or stroll the cobblestone streets at night like we did during a haunted history tour. The stories weren’t too spooky, but the costumed ‘ghosts’ were a bit unnerving and lots of fun. The tour stopped at key points of interest including the beautiful St. Peter’s Church, the oldest Episcopal church in the Western Hemisphere. The cypress wood doors and lantern poles are exquisite, even in the dark.
If you can’t walk it, try the Minibus Service. You can hop on an off along the route with covers Kings Square, Unfinished Church, Tobacco Bay, Fort St Catherine, Alexandra Battery, Gates Fort at the north-eastern end and also parts of St. David’s Island.
Soak up an exclusive Bermuda experience
There is no way we could explore all Bermuda has to offer in just a few days. Our Bermuda tourism guide suggested using Winnow to find truly unique adventures for our return trip. Winnow is an app that connects visitors to local operators have developed truly unique experiences. Take a hands on bee keeping class, view the sunset from a private beach house, feed fish from your hands, and a whole lot more.
This AirBnB offers all you ever need
Dan and I went to Bermuda for a conference, but we left Atlanta early in order to celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary. So before the conference, we stayed at this AirBnB, which was heaven. Seriously – we’ve stayed in plenty of AirBnBs all over the world. This is at the top of our list!
This 1-bedroom apartment is one of the few rentals on the island with its own Twizy charger (which we put to good use.) It’s incredibly private, super clean, and ultra charming. Inside, we loved the huge windows, towel warmers, snorkel equipment, wifi, bluetooth speakers, and so much more.
Outside – heaven. No, really.
You’re situated on a cliff above the ocean, facing the sunset. Have morning coffee on the adirondack chairs, watching the fishing boats set out. In the evening, a cocktail before dinner, watching the sun fade into the horizon is crazy romantic.
The apartment is connected to the main house, but feels very private. We visited while the hosts were out of town and had the infinity pool all to ourselves. Does it sound amazing? It was!
The owners are exceptionally awesome, too. They arranged airport pick up for us, and that gentleman let us into the house and explained everything to us (he’s been with them several years.) They left us maps and tips (their own tips – not just tourism documents printed out.) They checked to make sure everything was OK, and really wanted to know we were having a great time.
If (when!!) we go back to Bermuda, this will be the place we ALWAYS stay!
Fairmont Southampton makes resort life uncomplicated
If you are visiting with the family, or you prefer a hotel over a home, then Fairmont Southampton is where you want to be. It is Bermuda’s largest full-service luxury beach sitting on the south shore, convenient to the best snorkeling beaches.
Spend your days relaxing at the resort pool, or pull up a chaise lounge at the sprawling private oceanfront beach club with Dive Centre, 11 tennis courts, jet ski rentals, and more. Unwind in the Willow Stream Spa with an indoor spa pool and fitness facility, or tee off at the Turtle Hill Golf Club, an award-winning 18-hole par-three championship golf course.
There is a kids camp available for days and evenings, and a children’s pool. Kids under 5 yo eat free with an adult purchase, and under 12 yo can eat at 50% off the regular menu. Finally, there are complimentary toddler’s toys, board games, puzzles, and children’s books that can be signed out for use during your stay – in addition to cribs, connecting rooms, and special family packages.
Fairmont Princess Another Great Adult Choice
For a fun girls (or guys) weekend, The Fairmont Princess & Beach Club is a the right choice. This Fairmont property is located on the harbor, and within walking distance of shops and restaurants. If you don’t stay here, you’ll still want to visit for a couple reasons, first the incredible art collection that includes original works by Andy Warhol, Lui Ye, Jeff Koons and Banksy.
Second, you’ll want to have dinner at Marcus, the restaurant of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. The only thing better than the food is the ocean views. Be sure to try the darkier and stormier drink too.
The third reason to visit is the 1609 Bar and Restaurant which is located right on the water. It’s one of our favorite places for evening cocktails.
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Disclosure: We received a special rate to Fairmont Southampton as part of the conference we attended. This post may also contain affiliate links.
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