Bermuda is an undeniably picturesque place that conjures visions of delicate pink beaches with palms swaying in the breeze, but it’s also a great location for those who like their vacations action-packed. While the island is known worldwide for its sailing, tennis and golf, it’s also home to many more activities for every fitness level.
For those who want to take it easy (it’s vacation, after all), head to one of the country’s highly touted beaches. There are plenty to choose from, but some of the best vistas can be seen from the south side of Bermuda. Closest to the bustling town of Hamilton is Elbow Beach, which boasts some of the calmest waters on the island. Warwick Long Bay Beach has beautiful streaks of the pink sand and blue sea, and close by you’ll find the world-famous Horseshoe Bay Beach. Perfect for families, Horseshoe Bay offers rentals, changing rooms and food.
Over in St. George’s, hit up Tobacco Bay Beach. The original British settlers grew tobacco there when they first landed in Bermuda, and now it’s home to a pretty stretch of sand that’s beloved by locals – revelers hold popular bonfires at night and there’s a restaurant on site.
Biking might not be the first activity that comes to mind when you think of Bermuda, but thanks to the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park, it’s an enjoyable option. In the 1930s and 1940s, Bermuda operated a train that ran from St. George to Somerset. That now defunct route is home to nine sections of one mile to three-and-three-quarter mile stretches of biking and walking paths. You can navigate it yourself with a bike rented from companies like We Ride Bermuda (weridebermuda.com), or you can join a comprehensive bike tour such as those done with Fantasea.
A word to the wise: in Bermuda, a bicycle is known as a ‘pedal bike’, whereas a moped or scooter is known as a ‘bike’. Be sure to clarify when you’re reserving a rental.
Fishing is a huge draw throughout the summer months, when marlin, yellowfin tuna, and wahoo frequent the surrounding waters. Spiny lobster season spans September through March, and the conditions are right for shore fishing year round. Many companies offer charters, including Albatross Fisheries and Charters and Jump Dem Bones (fishwithalbatross.com; bermudabonefish.com). June and July are popular times to go to Bermuda for their fishing tournaments.
Snorkeling and scuba diving
Because of the hundreds of shipwrecks that dot the waters around Bermuda, it’s often lauded as one of the best dive sites in the world. Many companies (like Dive Bermuda) will do guided tours to the wrecks – expect to see wildlife ranging from parrot fish to sea bream to the occasional sea turtle.
Snorkeling is an excellent alternative, especially for families, and there are many places where the water is shallow enough for children, such as Clarence Cove. It’s a small beach, but it’s rarely frequented by tourists and it's close Hamilton. Alternatively, check out Church Bay Beach, one of Bermuda’s most popular snorkeling sites, thanks to the close proximity of the reef to the shore.
If you prefer to enlist the help of a guide, try an outfitter like the Island Tour Centre (islandtourcentre.com), where three and a half hours of activities include sightseeing and a snorkel. They also have a shipwreck snorkel available.
One of the most adrenaline-pumping ways to explore the island is on a jet ski. They’re fast and furious, but they also afford you up-close views of shipwrecks, beaches, and inlets. Many places will do a guided tour, complete with a brief history of the islands, such as K.S. Watersports (kswatersports.com) or Somerset Bridge Watersports on the Dockyard end of the island (bdawatersports.com).
If you’re looking for something a little quirkier, try hydro-biking. What looks like the love child of a bike and two kayaks is actually a fun way to cruise the waters around the islands. Speeds top out at 10 miles an hour.
Kayaks are also popular for exploring; many outfitters, including Blue Hole Bermuda and H20 Sports (h2osportsbermuda.com), offer everything from snorkeling gear to stand up paddle boards to parasailing.
Lauren Finney traveled to Bermuda with support from the Bermuda Tourism Authority (gotobermuda.com). Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.