A report by Annie Daly for Lonely Planet.
No matter where you go in the Caribbean, the beaches are bound to be beautiful. But those in St Lucia, a tropical island nation located in the Eastern Caribbean, are known to be especially gorgeous.
While the island is covered with soft white sand and surrounded by crystal-clear water, it’s the incredibly lush landscape – most notably its iconic twin volcanic peaks, Gros and Petit Piton – that takes its sandy stretches to stunning new levels.
Whether you’re looking to plop in the sand with a book and a beer and some sweet mountain views, or you’re looking to be a bit more adventurous on your beach trip, St. Lucia’s got you covered. Read on for the best beaches around the island for every kind of beach bum.
Editor’s note: During COVID-19, please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government health advice. Events may be subject to change.
Jalousie (aka Sugar Beach)
Best for epic views of the twin peaks
Did you even go to St. Lucia if you didn’t spend at least one afternoon baking in the sun while admiring the views of the stunning twin peaks? This beach is THE place to make that happen. Nestled right in the middle of the two mountainous landmarks, Jalousie Beach looks and feels incredibly green – but it’s also known for its powdery white sand and its quintessential Caribbean blue waters.
Half of the beach is owned by the luxury hotel Sugar Beach Resort (hence its nickname Sugar Beach), but fortunately, you don’t need to be a guest to enter. There is also a portion of the beach that’s accessible to the public. Aside from the epic views, the beach is also a favorite among snorkelers and scuba divers, who are lured in by the 1800ft dropoff at the base of the Pitons.
Grand Anse beach
Best for turtle spotting Yes, yes, most people head to the beach for its saltwater and its sand. But this east-side beach also has turtles! Lots of turtles! And not just any turtles, either – these are endangered leatherback turtles, aka the largest of all sea turtles. During the nesting season (which goes from March until August), travelers come to watch them crawl out of the water and lay their eggs.
Not a turtle lover? Not a problem. Grand Anse is also a stunning beach in and of itself, especially if you’re into that off-the-beaten-path vibe. Due to its location on the eastern side of the island, Grand Anse is decidedly more wild and remote than its west-side cousins, with a long stretch of unspoiled sand (one and a quarter miles) that’s perfect for a peaceful solo stroll on the beach. Not surprisingly, though, the secluded beach is a bit hard to get to – you may want to take a 4×4. Ask a local for the best way to get there when you want to go, as the conditions tend to change with the weather.
Best for families
Reduit is one of the most well-known family beaches on St. Lucia for a reason: It’s got tons of amenities. For one thing, it’s located in the capital of Castries, super close to lots of beach shops and restaurants in the adjacent Rodney Bay village (Spinnakers is a perennial favorite for bar-and-grill cuisine). There are also lots of places to rent snorkeling equipment, or try windsurfing or water skiing or jet skiing. But the piece de resistance may just be Splash Island, the Caribbean’s first open-water sports park that features inflatable slides, swings, monkey bars, and even a climbing wall.
For all of the lively activity, though, the best part about Reduit is that it doesn’t ever feel annoyingly packed or loud. It may be perfect for kids and families, but with about five miles of sand, there’s certainly room to spread out – so it doesn’t feel overly crowded. And the waters are super calm, too (basically zero waves).
Cas en Bas beach
Best for local life
For beach bums on a mission to find the local hangout spot, the beachfront shack that truly captures the spirit of your destination of choice, Cas en Bas is for you. And that’s because it’s home to Marjorie’s, one of the island’s most popular spots for local flavor — in all senses of the word. The owner, Marjorie, serves up tasty and affordable meals that attract both locals and travelers alike. But the real appeal is Marjorie herself, whose warm and welcoming vibe reels you in and makes you want to hang out all day (there’s even a photo of Marjorie with the late Amy Winehouse, who was known for doing just that).
Aside from Marjorie’s, the rest of the beach at Cas en Bas highlights the local life, too. Located on the northeast coast – away from the more touristy west side – the beach has a more rugged and homey feel, with local men and women fishing along the shoreline. You’ll even spot the occasional horse (and yes, you can ride them).
Anse Chastanet beach
Best for black sand lovers
First things first: This entire beach is technically inside a resort of the same name. But don’t worry – it’s free to enter whether you’re a guest or not. Just park your car in the resort’s free parking lot, and walk right on in.
Now, the beach itself: It is stunning! As the darkest black sand beach on the island, Anse Chastanet reflects St. Lucia’s volcanic history. It’s also one of those beaches where you feel completely immersed in nature, as it’s lined with tall palm trees and other lush foliage, and you can even hear the tropical birds chirping in the background. Plus, thanks to the beach’s coral reef, there’s epic snorkeling and diving right there by the shore – no need to take a guided boat tour out to deeper waters (though you can definitely do that, too). For those seeking even more serenity and seclusion, there’s a sweet little walking path on the north side of the beach that leads to an even smaller and quieter beach, Anse Mamin.
Pigeon Island National Landmark
Best beach for culture buffs
Located on the northern side of the island, Pigeon Island is a 44-acre national landmark and island reserve that, contrary to its name, is not actually an island – it was joined to the mainland in 1972. The reserve has two lovely beaches with crystal-clear water, soft sand, and gorgeous mountain backdrops to boot.
But Pigeon Island isn’t only about the beaches. While there, travelers can also visit the nearby Pigeon Island Museum and Interpretive Centre to learn about the island’s colonial history. After that, most visitors hike to the top of Fort Rodney, where you can explore historic ruins – and check out the sweeping panoramic views of the landscape below. On a clear day, you can even see the nearby island Martinique in the distance!