It may be known for its sumptuous sands, but there are so many more things to do in Antigua than just relaxing.
Full of colourful character, you’ll find an array of activities, from exploring historical sights, witnessing magnificent wildlife, and of course, sampling some flavourful local foods.
Not sure where to start when visiting Antigua? Our expert, Jasmine, shares her favourite things to do on the beautiful island for a luxury holiday.
"There's so much to do in Antigua. Beyond the picture perfect beaches, you've got exhilarating activities and cultural experiences to keep everybody happy, from historic sites to zip-lining adventures." — Jasmine, Travel Specialist
1. Xtreme Circumnavigation Tour
If you’re looking for a seriously fun thing to do in Antigua, while taking in the island's stunning natural beauty, then an Xtreme Circumnavigation tour is thoroughly recommended.
Set off on this fast-paced eco-trip, where you'll be whisked all around the island’s coast by boat, taking in its 365 beaches and every rugged coastal cliff.
A 45-foot speed boat will collect you directly from Blue Waters Beach in the north of the island and show you the most beautiful and secluded spots that Antigua has to offer.
Expect sea spray in your hair, idyllic views during your lunch stop — and maybe even the chance to snorkel over lively coral reefs and swim with magnificent stingrays.
"The water is so clear that you can literally see right the way down, making it a haven for snorkelling. The colour of the corals are mesmerising and there are so many species of fish to see — not to mention swimming with populations of sea turtles, including threatened hawksbills and leatherbacks." — Jasmine, Travel Specialist
2. Snorkel at Stingray City
Stingray City is one of the most iconic sites in Antigua to go snorkelling. Along with enjoying stunning stretches of beach, you'll get close enough to the stingrays to have some magical sightings.
The shallow depth of the natural ocean pool means this is an activity perfect for all ages, and you don’t actually have to be able to swim. Regardless of your age or swimming ability, this is a surreal, eye-opening experience that you and your loved ones can cherish forever.
Be warned that there is a risk attached to swimming with the stingrays, as they are beautiful but ultimately wild animals of the ocean. Make sure you listen to your guide and follow all instructions to the letter.
3. Go on a Beach Bar Crawl
With so many taxis, minivans and buses available to drive you from bar to bar, an Antigua beach bar crawl is the ideal way to end the day. Enjoy the local rum and listen to Caribbean beats as you watch the sunset on the island.
Need a recommendation, or prefer to be guided on which bars you should frequent? The experts recommend Boom, near Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, and Turners Bar, on the beach at St. John’s, as just two spots that you should make sure you hit.
The local tourism authority has caught on, and has launched a Beach Bar Trail: a trail of beach bars that guide you to the best spots along Antigua’s coast. We’d recommend you follow it – there are nearly 400 beaches and an abundance of bars on the island, after all.
4. Sail Across Azure Waters on a Private Yacht
Celebrating a relationship milestone or enjoying a couples' escape in paradise? Dial up the romance factor on a private yacht charter and sail over bright turquoise waters with a crisp glass of Champagne in hand.
Not only will you get to see the island's pristine beaches from another perspective, but a sunset cruise is also one of the most romantic things to do in Antigua. Picture yourself sailing into blush pink skies as the sun falls below the horizon and the island illuminates in the distance.
Tuck into a light lunch on a day charter and splash around with water sports, or get dressed up and feast on a delicious grilled lobster for dinner with the warm Caribbean breeze caressing your skin. Bliss!
"For something special, we can arrange a private yacht to pick you up and take you to a secluded cove on the island, where you can enjoy a delicious lunch. Or, you can sail to the English Harbour and dock there for a fabulous meal in one of the many restaurants — we'll take care of everything, from pick up times to restaurant reservations." — Jasmine, Travel Specialist
5. Explore Nelson's Dockyard National Park
Come and learn about the rich history of Antigua’s 18th-century dockyard, which is still in operation as a working dockyard for boats and yachts today.
Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is a cultural heritage site and marina that first became famous as the British Royal Navy’s safe haven for protecting ships from hurricanes and monitoring attacks.
These days it’s a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, the largest of Antigua’s national parks, and a lively and buzzing area that attracts culture and history-buffs. It is, of course, named after the legendary Vice-Admiral of the British Navy, who still reigns supreme as a symbol of empire and exploration.
Take a look around the small museum, browse the shops that are dotted around the area and stop for lunch at one of the local restaurants.
Shirley Heights is close by, as well as other historical sites in Antigua, including:
- Fort George,
- Fort Berkeley,
- Fort Charlotte and
- Dow's Hill
6. Spend a Sunday at Shirley Heights Lookout
Overlooking the English Harbour, Shirley Heights is a former military complex and gun battery that offers a far-reaching view of the surrounding landscape and the harbour below.
Once at the top of this magnificent trail, you'll be able to savour panoramic views of protected bays, rolling hills and (if you’re there at the right time) stunning sunsets.
Make sure you remember your camera to take advantage of this truly unforgettable vista.
The Shirley Heights BBQ party is also very popular with tourists and locals alike, who come together every Sunday evening to celebrate the week on top of Shirley Heights. A true Antiguan institution, the Sunday afternoon party has taken place every week for over 30 years, and when you visit, you’re sure to see why.
With a steel drum band, flowing drinks and local food sizzling away on the barbecue, the Shirley Heights afternoon party guarantees an extra-special night in Antigua with the fun-loving locals.
"If you're looking for an authentic experience of Antigua, then a visit to Shirley Heights is a must! Perfect for all ages, I'd describe it as Antigua's answer to fish Friday in Barbados, where you'll hear all the local music and can shop for local handicrafts to take a piece of the island home with you." — Jasmine, Travel Specialist
7. Visit Devil's Bridge
This natural rock arch near Indian Town Point provides a great photo opportunity and a chance to see Antigua’s natural beauty in full force.
The area around the arch features several natural blowholes that shoot up water and spray at regular intervals, and the Atlantic Ocean splash is the perfect thing to cool you down after a long day in the sun.
This is one of the main spots on the island's tourist trail and an adventurous thing to do in Antigua.
8. Pig's Paradise Antigua
One of the most interactive wildlife experiences in the Caribbean, Pig's Paradise Antigua is a unmissable, family-friendly day trip for animal lovers.
Paddle and swim with these beautiful creatures on a secluded beach on the west coast of Antigua and handfeed the adorable piglets with milk bottles. Learn everything there is to know about pigs and pig care during your visit — plus, refreshments and snacks are also included in your pig beach experience.
Pig's Paradise Antigua is not just a tourist attraction, though. Their main goal is provide a rescue sanctuary for these intelligent animals, where they can live happy and healthy lives, which is why they adhere to the highest standards of humane care guidelines.
The team also aims to change the public's perception of farm animals as more than a food source and spread awareness to other compassionate animal-lovers.
9. Zip-line through the Antigua Rainforest
Feel relaxed and free as you swing through the luscious Antigua rainforests, skimming over the top of the far-reaching green canopies.
Zip-lining in Antigua is one of the most exciting and fun days out that tourists can have, as you get to see the beauty of the forest and feel the adrenaline rush that comes with being high up in the air.
This is an activity that’s great for families, as well as for groups of friends or couples looking for a more adrenaline-inducing adventure. Try Antigua Rainforest Zipline Tours — the premier zip-line tour provider on the island — for more information.
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10. Hike to the Pillars of Hercules
Found at the entrance of the English Harbour on the southern tip of the island, Pillars of Hercules is a unique geological formation comprising a large limestone rock rising out of the dazzling Caribbean Sea.
Enjoy a day trip to this natural wonder and do a half-day hike along the coastline to get up close to the rock. Marvel at the pillars that have been naturally carved into the cliff face over time by relentless wind and the crash of ocean waves.
While you're here, make the most of surrounding locations, such as the scenic Galleon Beach— a 200-meter-long stretch of golden sand known for offering excellent turtle sightings.
Looking for a unique experience in Antigua? Try Deep Sea Fishing!
For a truly unique activity in Antigua, charter a fishing boat and seize the finest catch from around this idyllic Caribbean island.
Joined by a knowledgeable crew, you can enjoy whole-day, half-day, eight-hour or four-hour expeditions, with an endless supply of refreshments and snacks on board to keep you going!
Drop your line into these crystal-clear waters and you can expect to catch all manner of marine fish, including Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, White Martin, King Fish, Barracuda and Yellowfin Tuna, to name but a few.
Once you've cast your last line, glide over gentle waves back to Antigua's white sand beaches to relax after an exhilarating day at sea.
Start planning your Antigua adventure
These are just a few of the most amazing things to do in Antigua, of course. Our collection of handpicked hotels offer so much more, from private dining experiences to playing golf under the warm Caribbean sun and tranquil treatments in state-of-the-art spas.
Speak to one of our Travel Specialists to start planning your bespoke Antigua holiday and they'll help you create the perfect itinerary for you and your family.
"Travelling to Antigua with Inspiring Travel means you'll have the 24-hour support and services of our Destination Manager, Diana. As soon as you arrive, you'll be met my Diana and her team, who will fast track you through the airport and whisk you away to one of our handpicked luxury properties, all of which are located along the island's idyllic west coast." — Jasmine, Travel Specialist
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