In the thick summer heat, we know that in Bermuda the ocean is the only place to be. Enjoy our list of the top 5 places to enjoy Bermuda’s best medley of sun, sea and sand in partial or absolute solitude.

1. Ideal for the Whole Family: Clearwater Beach
Clearwater has a special charm for those of us who remember when it was part of the American base and therefore forbidden territory to most Bermudians. Once the base lands were returned to us, in 1996, it became a public beach and has since become a much-loved swimming spot, thanks to its two sandy beaches and its seemingly endless stretch of sheltered ocean. In fact, the beaches are strictly speaking “artificial” since they were made for army personnel use after landfill was created to make the runway for the base. Round the corner is Turtle Bay, completely natural and named after the green turtles that once bred prolifically here. Both beaches are good for snorkeling. Clearwater is ideal for families, with water shallow enough for the small children and deep enough not to frustrate those of us who want a serious swim.

2. For the Solo Swimmer: Whalebone Bay
This secluded historic park, located at Ferry Reach is great for those who want a leisurely bathe in complete peace and quiet. The sand here is unique in Bermuda for its traces of ground volcanic rock, proof that our island sits on top of an inactive volcano. Its name most likely recalls a time when a whale’s carcass was present in the area. Nearby is located the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science, or BIOS, who find the bay ideal for research on silverside and reef silverside fish found here.

3. The Ultimate in Natural Beauty: Clarence Cove at Admiralty House
Once you arrive at Admiralty House gates, you follow the twisting trail down the rocky hillside until you reach Clarence Cove. There you will find two beautiful sandy little beaches tucked around this lagoon-like inlet of the north shore. Whatever the weather, the water is always calm and always a brilliant turquoise emerald.

4. For the Adventure Seeker: Church Bay
Named after the picturesque St. Anne’s Church on the other side of the road, compact Church Bay is our best public beach for snorkeling, thanks to the boiler reefs which even at high tide are well within reach from the shoreline. The reef is a haven for parrotfish, blue and yellow grunts, wrasse, and angelfish. This beach is best for experienced swimmers since once in the water you’ll find the ocean floor is slippery rock and that you very quickly become out of your depth. Facing south to southwest, the water nearly always has a touch of surf. The beach, framed on one side by pillared limestone formations, lies at the foot of a clifftop parkland, a favourite spot for our taxi drivers who often stop here a while to savour its shade and panoramic views of the ocean. Poodle Rock, one of the protruding rocks, also attracts their attention. A convenient wooden staircase at the edge of the bay grape, yucca and palmetto woodland takes you down to the sandy cove.

5. For the Sunset Enthusiast: West Whale Bay
Whale Bay Park consists of a grassy field and small area of woodland surrounding a nearby nineteenth-century fort, which now overlooks Port Royal Golf Course. Like Church Bay, West Whale Bay is tucked below a clifftop although the incline is not as steep so steps are not necessary. However, this is an elusive beach because it literally comes and goes according to the tides. So it’s best to check for low tide before visiting. When evident, the shore is sandy and inviting. Its southwestern position makes it the best beach for dramatic sunset views.