Ask any local which is the best place for snorkelling in Bermuda and they’ll inevitably say Church Bay. The reef is relatively close to the shore and provides shelter from the waves. Parrotfish and other colourful fish gather here meaning that snorkelling feels like swimming in a natural aquarium.
The beach itself is small and a little rocky. It’s not the best place for sunbathing but most people come here to snorkel. In the summer months there’s a concession stand that rents masks and snorkels, fins, lifejackets, chairs, umbrellas etc. If it’s not manned you should leave the money in the honesty box.
Church Bay Park lies above the beach and is a great place to stop and relax. As well as breath-taking views of the ocean it also boasts picnic tables and restrooms. A steep path leads down to the beach.
Church Bay is located in Southampton Parish, just off South Road and to the west of The Reefs hotel. Bus number 7 runs between Hamilton and Dockyard (Heritage Wharf and Kings Wharf) and stops near the entrance to the beach. There’s a free parking lot for scooters and cars.
Tobacco Bay is another good beach for snorkelling. It’s situated at the opposite end of the island and will appeal to visitors staying in St George and the eastern parishes.
Reviews and Additional Information
Welcome to Bermuda. Come visit Church Bay the #1 Snorkeling Beach on 7 Dockyard-Hamilton South Shore bus route. There is an abundance of species very close to shore as well as fantastic variety of fish, coral and reef formations just a short snorkel from the beach.
Rentals open daily Monday-Sunday renting mask and snorkels, fins, snorkel vests, umbrellas, chairs. All gear is for the duration of the renters stay.
Make Church Bay one of your Bermuda experiences. See you soon, Mark
Been to Church Bay many times. Truly the best snorkeling (if weather permits). Abundant parrot fish close to shore among so many other species of reef fishes. For the more adventurous, swim out to the rocky outcrop to ‘sea gardens’ and save on boat trips.
Remember if you are not a strong swimmer always wear a safety vest. Snorkle with a partner. It’s more fun and safer.
There were few people here when we came. The snorkeling was good. We were advised to choose here or Tobacco Bay for the best snokeling but chose here because it was a lot closer to our cruise ship and only one bus ride.
This a great little beach. Not crowded like Horseshoe. In fact I’d say there were less than 15 people there. It’s more of a beach for snorkel fanatics than sunbathers. Go out to the boiler reefs and you won’t be disappointed by the amount and variety of fish you see.
Forget about booking a snorkel trip on one of the boats and just come here instead. We were so impressed we went twice. One day the water was calm and the other it was choppy. We were ok, but I think when it’s choppy it wouldn’t be suitable for novice swimmers. The beach wasn’t crowded at all. We had brought our own gear but you could also rent it here.
New vendor at Church Bay Beach rents chairs and umbrellas at the TOP of the stairs. You have to haul it up and down instead of everything being in the cave on the beach. I brought my own snorkel gear, so didn’t ask about it, but they didn’t have it out in the open. There is a small shed there now, it could have been inside.
I wanna thank you for your patronage in 2010-2012. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting, serving, helping, saving guests that visited Church Bay and am gonna miss the beach and all it’s lovely visitors.
Unfortunately, my permit was terminated on 2012 and was not renewed by the park authorities for the 2013 season. I wish the new operator all the best and hope they continue the fine tradition of friendly, efficient, professional service to be provided to all guests. Be safe and always use a life vest!
Sorry to hear the Louie. All the best in the future.
on a beautiful calm day you can’t beat Church Bay,snorkelling is great.Lots of colourful reef fishes close to shore.Unfortunately during the summer months we get lots of southerly winds ,waves and swells that make it a challenging for most snorkellers.The best alternative site would be Daniel’s Head in Somerset on the West of Island about 2.5 miles from Cruise Ship terminalin Dockyard.Calm ,clear and Daniel’s Island for great snorkelling much more protected from wind,waves and ocean swells.Can also rent snorkle gear etc.at reasonable prices.
Arriving Sep 2011–want to try snorkeling Church Bay–is Louis Ooi still there with snorkle rentals?
My husband and I just got back from a cruise and spent several hours at Church Bay. It was AMAZING!!. We snorkeled for several hours and hated to leave. Even for a novice snorkeler like myself it was wonderful. I kept closer to the shore, but my husband swam out to some of the larger reefs. He has been snorkeling for over 50 years and said it was some of the best waters he had ever seen. We plan to come back in April 1011. In the mean time our thoughts and prayers are with all the wonderful people of Bermuda as they deal with Hurricane Igor.
Thanks to Louie, we had a great time snorkeling at Church Bay. We saw so many different species of fish, including beautiful parrotfish. Although the water was a bit rough, Louie was always looking out for us and kept coming over to make sure we were all right. He’s the best!
I’ve been diving and snorkelling over 25 years in Bermuda. I’ve never seen so many species of fish in such a small area. Absolutely fantastic! The concession is open Mon-Sat.
The prices are great.. Mask and snorkle $8, fins $7, beach chairs $8, umbrellas from $8, vest $7. These prices are not hourly but for the duration of the renter’s stay. Ask me how I know all these stuff. I run the place. See you all at Church Bay for the best snorkelling.
Louie, we will be arriving October 7th, 2012 with Royal Caribbean and will definitely see you at the beach for some amazing snorkeling!! See you then!!
I will arrive 9/11/17 for 3 days. Can you predict weather? How do I get from cruise ship, Norwegian Dawn, to the beach.
Church Bay is awesome. Lots of fish, tide pools, great little beach and not overly crowded. Known Boyd for over 8 years. I ran the concession at Horseshoe for 3 seasons. I want to thank Boyd for his help and hospitality for getting me started where he left off. Bless him. He has a store in the Mall in Dockyard, so stop by to say hi.
I just returned from Bermuda and I love snorkeling. Naturally ever snorkeling question I asked led me to Church Beach from multiple sources. The access was easy from the #7 bus… a path down the hill to about fifty wooden steps brought you to the beach. It is a beautiful pink beach with wonderful clarity to the water that runs from shore out to some large outcroppings and boulder/coral formations. The water is in varied pools that run up to perhaps 20 feet deep. Wave action was moderate the day I was there. You need to be a solid swimmer to get the most out of this setting; but oh, is there a lot to be had!! Schools of parrot fish of great size and stunning colors… goat fish… brain coral… it is stunning. The swim was great and the hardest thing of the day was leaving!!
As good as the snorkeling was… and it was the best… Boyd was better! He was packing up for the day when I arrived (it had been a slow day) and when I said that I wanted to snorkel he unpacked, took out his book, and read for a couple hours while I had the water to myself. He first guided me to the best areas and told me what to look out for. After the swim I helped him pack up and we talked about world politics, Bermuda, the cruise industry (I was off a cruise boat) Bermuda history, and he gave me a tour of the neighbourhood … Horseshoe Beach… a ride to the local lighthouse… and even offered me a cup of tea. The snorkeling was a joy and can’t be beat, but the addition of time that Boyd was willing to share made the experience a most kind and authentic experience. It is wonderful to know that Bermuda has places like this and people like Boyd.
I was way up on the cliff at the concession and I got some great shots of our friends who were in the water with several brightly coloured parrot fish. The guys at the concession and all of the locals who stopped by were very pleasant.
We just went on a cruise, and tried snorkelling on Grand Turk, which is supposed to be good. We also stopped at Bermuda, and found many more big, colorful parrot fish,etc., at Church Bay than we found at Grand Turk. Thank God they re-opened it, ’cause 2 years ago it was closed due to storm damage. This spot rules for snorkelling!!!
Just got back from a early June 2007 trip to Bermuda. This was my 5th trip from the USA and always go snorkeling at Church Bay. Mid afternoon when the tide is down slightly seems like a good time to go. The clarity of the water and number of fish this year was outstanding. I believe I chatted with Boyd one day. Nice fellow and very talkative. yes, the water can be rough at times and it’s usually a good idea to partner. I’ll be back in Sept 2007 or June 2008.
The water here can be pretty rough though. I wouldn’t recommend it for young children.
The snorkeling here is really great. Lots of parrotfish to see.