Long Weekends at the Beach: Bermuda

This post is the first in a new series entitled Long Weekends at the Beach. Posts in this series will highlight an island or beach destination that is perfect for a short getaway over a long weekend. Today’s featured location is Bermuda, so let’s get ready to soak up some sun!

For some cinematic inspiration, check out this video from my trip:

Bermuda has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Turquoise blue water, pink sand, incredible rock formations, rainbow-colored houses, what more could you ask for? It is a true island paradise. This post will provide a 4-day itinerary perfect for a long weekend getaway, as well as some important tips and things to know about staying on the beautiful island of Bermuda.

Beautiful rocks formations line the pristine South Shore beaches.

There is, however, one major draw-back to consider when planning a trip to Bermuda: transportation on the island. Bermuda is a small island, but you will still need some sort of vehicle in order to get around effectively. Unfortunately, due to its small size, and to combat road congestion, tourists are not allowed to rent cars on the island. This means that you will likely be stuck either renting a scooter, which can be dangerous, or relying on public transportation, which can be unreliable (often very unreliable). That is, of course, unless you opt for option three, taking taxis everywhere, which can be downright expensive. Now don’t get me wrong. This is not a reason to not visit Bermuda. It is just something to take into consideration when planning your trip, especially when considering things like where and how long to stay.

You may also get lucky like we did and get free rides from the friendly locals (this happened to us twice during our stay), but I wouldn’t rely on this.

Bus stop on the main road along the South Shore (South Road).

If you like to read a bit about your destinations before you visit, I recommend this book by Moon Handbooks. I used it to help plan my trip and it was fantastic.

The above is an affiliate link, and if you click it to make a purchase I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I use such commissions to cover things like website hosting fees so that I can maintain the blog and continue writing for you! I only endorse products that I have personally used and would recommend to a friend.

4-Day Itinerary

This itinerary gives you 4 days and 3 nights in Bermuda (assuming a typical long weekend from Thursday to Sunday or Saturday to Tuesday).

Day 1: Arrive and explore eastern South Shore beaches.
Day 2: Explore western South Shore Beaches.
Day 3: Hamilton and the Royal Naval Dockyard.
Day 4: Final beach day (pick your favorite) and depart.

Travel Tip: You need to spend some time thinking about exactly where you want to stay when visiting Bermuda. As I mentioned above, the answer to this question should be highly dependent on where you want to visit. This is not New York City. Don’t think, oh, we can stay uptown and easily make it downtown for the nightlife and then back uptown for a peaceful night’s sleep. You will be sorely disappointed. Also, accommodation on this small island runs on the expensive side. If you plan to stay at one of the islands major resorts, you will pay upwards of $500 a night. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly accommodation, this will still run you at least $100 a night, likely $150+. Budget accommodation on the island is limited and sell out early, so if you are able I recommend booking early.

When we visited Bermuda, we booked the trip on a whim about 3 weeks before we left because JetBlue was having a sale (why not, right?). So not only were we looking for accommodation at the last minute, but our trip also happened to fall during the America’s Cup Race, which Bermuda was hosting that year. Suffice it to say, budget options were limited. We opted to stay at the Sandpiper Guest Apartments along the South Shore so that we could take full advantage of the South Shore’s many amazing beaches. The beaches here are pristine, dotted with rocky outcrops and intimate coves. You can easily spend an entire day (or two) wandering along the sandy coastline.

Day 1: Explore Eastern South Shore Beaches

Depending on where you stay along the South Shore you can alter this itinerary to fit your location better. If you have the choice, plan to arrive as early as possible on the island to give you maximum time for exploration. Unfortunately for us, our flight that was originally supposed to arrive at 2pm got delayed 3 hours so we didn’t arrive until 5pm. Luckily, we had chosen to stay along the South Shore so we had beaches right across from our front door. From the Sandpiper Guest Apartments, walk east along South Road to check out the nearby beaches (Surf Side Beach, Elbow Beach). Surf Side Beach is just a few steps down the road. Elbow Beach is a bit father up the road, and cannot be reached from Surf Side Beach (you have to go back up to the road and then follow the path down to the beach). A lot of the beaches in Bermuda are isolated from other beaches by rocky outcrops, and this can change depending on the tide so be careful. You may arrive at low tide and easily get from one beach to another, but be sure to watch the tide as it comes in so you don’t get cut off from your starting point. Start off at Elbow Beach, the larger of the two, in the afternoon. Follow the signs to the beach and enjoy the atmosphere. Elbow Beach is home to resorts that will have lovely beach umbrellas and games set up (but don’t worry, all beaches are public). If you like to snorkel head out into the waves (just be sure to watch out for the rocks near the shore).

Impressive rock formations at Elbow Beach.
Yellow beach umbrellas at Elbow Beach.

After soaking up the sand and sun at Elbow Beach, head back down the road toward the Sandpiper to reach Surf Side Beach. Just before the gas station on your left there will be a path down to the beach. The gas station is also a good place to stop and pick up a few snacks to take with you (there is even a hot bar with several dishes to choose from). Head down to the beach and enjoy the beautiful colors highlighted by the setting sun.

Sunset at Surf Side Beach.
Beautiful moss-covered rocks at Surf Side Beach.
Revel in the pinkish hue of the sand at Surf Side Beach.

Day 2: Explore Western South Shore Beaches

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 9.34.27 PM
Image Credit: Google Maps

Today is the ultimate beach day, and not just for lounging beach-lovers. You will certainly have time to lounge on the beaches, but this day also includes an amazing walk between beaches with incredible views. The walk is about 4 kilometers and will take you to some of Bermuda’s best and most famous beaches. Pack a picnic and spend the day wandering along the beautiful coastline with your feet in the sand and your eyes on the horizon.

Be sure to pack snacks and lots of water, and head out to explore the western beaches of the South Shore. Head down to the beach as soon as you see an opportunity, and your amazing day will begin. Take your time and enjoy the different beaches, some great for laying in the sun, some perfect for snorkeling, others simply offering fantastic viewpoints.

Below is a photo story showing highlights along the journey from Warwick Long Bay Beach to Horseshoe Bay Beach.

Warwick Long Bay Beach.
The path through South Shore Park.
Impressive landscapes are everywhere you look.
Secluded Jobson’s Cove.
Stonehole Bay.
View above Chaplin Bay.
Middle Beach.
Horseshoe Bay Beach.

Horseshoe Bay Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Bermuda, and is the perfect place to end your trip. Horseshoe Bay Beach has changing/restroom facilities, a shop with gifts and snacks, and even a restaurant. This makes it much more crowded than the beaches you will pass along the way. This is a great place to refuel and relax before taking a dip or maybe even snorkeling (I ran into a HUGE shoal of fish on my trip out). From here you can catch the bus back to your hotel.

If you like to film your snorkeling trips with a GoPro, I recommend this waterproof telescoping pole from Amazon. This is what I used to shoot the underwater video you saw above, and I’ve used it on many trips since. It is great because it adjusts to three different lengths, is completely waterproof, and even has storage in the base in case you need it. It also floats so you don’t need to fear dropping it while you’re swimming.

The above is an affiliate link, and if you click it to make a purchase I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I use such commissions to cover things like website hosting fees so that I can maintain the blog and continue writing for you! I only endorse products that I have personally used and would recommend to a friend.

Day 3: Explore Hamilton and the Royal Naval Dockyard

On your third day in Hamilton catch a bus into the city. This is an entirely different experience from yesterday’s beach tour. Wander around a bit before making your way to the ferry to catch a boat to the Royal Naval Dockyards.

The main street in the capital city of Hamilton.
A view of Hamilton from the water.

On our trip we happened to be on the island during the 2017 America’s Cup so we got to watch some of the races from the Dockyard.

Oracle Team USA vs. Emirates Team New Zealand at the America’s Cup.
The 2017 America’s Cup, hosted by Bermuda and sponsored by Louis Vuitton.

Day 4: Final Day

On your last day, pick your favorite locale and spend your last few hours soaking it all in. You can even venture into the interior of the island to get some amazing views of the colorful houses from the hill.

When you turn your gaze inland you will see an amazing array of rainbow-colored houses.

Be sure to look out for wildlife on your trip. There are a lot of beautiful birds on the island, and of course opportunities for spotting fish in the water abound. Not all animals are friendly, however, and as you walk along the beaches be sure to watch out for the highly venomous Portuguese man-of-war, whose stings are extremely painful (pay close attention if you see one because they have very long tentacles that may trail several feet from the body).

Yellow-breasted Kiskadee.
Get out there and snorkel!
Portuguese man-of-war on the beach.

Now it is time to head back to reality, but I guarantee you will never forget the time you spent on Bermuda.

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Long Weekends at the Beach_ Bermuda!

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