Panoramic landscape of Shirley Heights, Antigua

Things to do in  Antigua

Good vibes on the tides

For visiting sun-seekers, Antigua offers the expected Caribbean splendors—white-sand beaches, elegant resorts, and colorful reefs—alongside a generous dollop of history. Admiral Nelson resided here in the 18th century; explore that naval heritage at the UNESCO-listed Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. Meanwhile, one of the top things to do in Antigua every spring is enjoy the internationally regarded Antigua Sailing Week, which brings in yacht regattas and jetsetter types. For the rest of the year, life runs on island time—expect relaxation and rum punch in between snorkeling trips, rain forest ziplining, and tours of the capital, St. John’s.

Top 15 attractions in Antigua

Nelson's Dockyard National Park

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One of the best historical sites on Antigua, Nelson's Dockyard National Park has been at the center of Antiguan activity since the first settlers arrived in 500 BC. Today, the centerpiece of the park is the actual dockyard itself, originally developed as a base for the British Navy in 1725. It is now home to old ships and numerous historical artifacts.More

Devil's Bridge National Park

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Despite its ominous name, Devil's Bridge National Park is a unique must-see, a natural arch carved by the sea out of the soft and hard limestone ledges of the cliffs along Antigua. As enormous breakers from the Atlantic repeatedly hit the rocks throughout the years, the ocean waters eventually eroded away a soft part of limestone to create a bridge-like arch.More

Fort James

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For a fantastic view of the Caribbean waters, one of the best places to go on Antigua is Fort James, which sits in an ideal position overlooking St. John's Harbour. Built by the British in 1706, the fort was intended to prevent the French from invading the island. Today you can see its remains, including the cannons, gunpowder magazine, and foundation of the wall.More

Shirley Heights

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With panoramic views of the small island and the vast Caribbean, Shirley Heights is Antigua’s most popular lookout point. Visitors often go up for views of the sunset and stay for live music and drinks at the on-site bar and restaurant.More

St. John's Anglican Cathedral (St. John the Divine)

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Finished in 1848, St. John's Anglican Cathedral reflects some of the history of the European presence in Antigua. Built in the neo-baroque style, the freestone structure seems out of place on the Caribbean island, with its iron fence, stained-glass windows, and two lofty towers with cupolas on top. The cathedral remains an active place of worship, with services taking place throughout the week.More

Betty's Hope Historic Sugar Plantation

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On the Caribbean island of Antigua, Betty’s Hope is a former sugar plantation established by Sir Christopher Codrington in the 1600s. Now a museum and historic landmark, the site is dedicated to the memory and lives of the slaves who endured inhumane hardships on the island.More

Dickenson Bay

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White sand, blue water, and a celebratory spirit characterize Dickenson Bay. As one of Antigua’s most popular beaches, it's ideal for people-watching, meeting new friends, and embracing the vibrant Caribbean culture. You’ll spot kayakers, swimmers, and windsurfers enjoying the calm bay waters, while others relax at beachfront eateries.More

Heritage Quay

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A 1-stop shopping destination, Heritage Quay bustles with visitors. This extensive shopping complex offers luxury duty-free products alongside local artwork—perfect for finding gifts for loved ones (and yourself!). With candy-colored buildings and a laid-back atmosphere, this is the ultimate vacation shopping experience in Antigua.More

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

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Located in Antigua's capital city, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda is the place to learn more about the nation's history and cultural legacy. The museum is housed in the Colonial Court House, built in 1747, making it the oldest building still in use in the city. Through its numerous engaging exhibits, the museum tells the story of the nation, from its geological birth to political independence.More

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium

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Named after a famous West Indies cricket team captain, the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua is a massive open-air arena dedicated to the popular sport of cricket. Easily recognizable thanks to its distinct blue shades, the stadium was built in 2007 for the Cricket World Cup when numerous matches were held here and around the island.More

English Harbour

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Situated at the southernmost point of Antigua, English Harbour is one of the island’s oldest and most historic landmarks. Buildings along the waterfront date back to the colonial era, while the harbor itself is an internationally acclaimed sailing location.More

Cades Reef

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Just off the coast of Antigua sits Cades Reef, an underwater park and one of the island’s best snorkeling and diving spots. With clear visibility and a wide variety of sea creatures, a trip to the reef makes an exciting family-friendly break from the beach.More
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Antigua Cruise Port (Heritage Quay Terminal) Tours

Antigua Cruise Port (Heritage Quay Terminal) Tours

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Located in the West Indies, Antigua is the main island that makes up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The region’s history and geography have made it internationally known as a sailing and yachting destination, and Antigua Cruise Port is one of the most popular stops on cruise itineraries. Ships dock in the capital city of St. John’s.More

Prickly Pear Island

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This tiny islet off Antigua plays the part of an uninhabited island paradise to a T. Ringed by coral reefs with a white sandy beach, Prickly Pear Island gives visitors plenty of space to relax on lounge chairs while sipping tropical cocktails from the bar. Or, spend the afternoon snorkeling in its clear blue waters.More

Stingray City Antigua

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With hundreds of gigantic stingray gliding amid vibrant coral reefs and schools of tropical fish, Stingray City is the best place in Antigua to spot wild stingrays in their natural environment. Dive into the warm Caribbean waters to swim and snorkel in an area known for its southern stingrays and learn more about the magnificent creatures and their conservation.More
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All about Antigua

When to visit

Antigua has two seasons: a wet season and dry season. Most visitors tend to aim for the dry season, which runs from December through April, with average temperatures around 82°F (28°C). The wet season typically peaks between June and November, while May makes for a slightly more affordable shoulder season option. Antigua Sailing Week is a highlight of the spring calendar, but stick around until July to discover the island’s festive Carnival celebrations.

Getting around

At just 108 square miles (280 square kilometers), petite Antigua is best explored by car. Taxis are plentiful around the island, which is helpful as public bus service is generally unreliable and best avoided. Antigua is connected to neighboring islands by ferry and plane, while a wide variety of boat tours—from snorkeling excursions to catamaran circumnavigation voyages—are a popular way to explore.

Traveler tips

US dollars are widely accepted across Antigua, which means there’s little need to stock up on the Eastern Caribbean dollar before visiting. Don’t forget to bring your passport and your tickets or boarding passes with you to score duty-free prices at shopping destinations such as the Heritage Quay in Antigua’s capital of St. John’s, where you can browse luxury fashion, perfumes, watches, jewelry, and more.

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People Also Ask

What is Antigua famous for?

Antigua is known, first and foremost, for its white-sand beaches flanked by crystalline waters—some 365 of them—as well as its ample opportunities for snorkeling and diving. It’s also known for its compact size—as the island is only around 14 miles across, getting from point to point is a breeze.

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Can you swim with dolphins in Antigua?

You won’t see dolphins in captivity in Antigua, where swim-with-dolphins programs have been abandoned in favor of less-exploitative experiences. That said, dolphins do show up in the waters around the island from time to time, and the best place to witness the sensitive marine mammals is from aboard a sightseeing cruise.

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What is the nicest beach in Antigua?

Antigua has 365 beaches, so it would be unfair to deem one the nicest of them all. However, top contenders include Darkwood Bay and Dickenson Beach (both of which have lots of facilities), chilled-out Ffryes Beach, pretty Half Moon Bay, and secluded Rendezvous Bay.

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Does Antigua have nightlife?

Antigua's nightlife is largely geared towards tourists, and many of the island's numerous beaches have open-air bars that stay open well into the night. Casinos such as King Casino and Grand Princess Casino are also popular, while Abracadabra, a cross between an Italian restaurant and a nightclub, is a great place to go dancing.

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What language do they speak in Antigua?

English is the official language of Antigua and Barbuda and it's used across the country in business and education. Many Antiguans also use Leeward Caribbean Creole English, a creole based on English, in casual conversation, but most people switch to standard English when speaking to foreign visitors.

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Is Antigua expensive to visit?

Antigua can be expensive. As it's an island, a lot of food and other goods sold here need to be imported. Accommodations near the coast, particularly in the southern and western parts of the island, tend to be expensive, but if you're willing to stay in the St John's area, you'll find a number of budget-friendly options.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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