Horseshoe Bay is undoubtedly the most popular beach in Bermuda. It’s got the best facilities, is big enough to accommodate large crowds, and is easily reached from the cruise ship terminals at Dockyard and many hotels.
It’s arguably the most beautiful, but there are many others that would give that accolade to Warwick Long Bay, Elbow Beach, or Jobson’s Cove. TripAdvisor users seem to think so though. In 2013 they voted it the 8th best beach in the world.
Horseshoe Bay is situated in Southampton Parish. It is part of a network of beaches that run along the southern shore of the island and are collectively referred to as South Shore Park. From west to east the major beaches in the park are Horseshoe Bay, Chaplin Bay, Stonehole Bay, Jobson’s Cove, and Warwick Long Bay. They are close together and linked by a coastal trail. So if you arrive at one beach and it’s not for you, it’s really easy to move to another.
The beach is named because it’s supposedly shaped like a horseshoe. It’s actually more of a gentle crescent though. Like most of the beaches on the south shore it’s also known for its soft, pink sand. The water is crystal clear and the sand is regularly cleaned and is free of stones.
There are actually two beaches at Horseshoe Bay. The main (crescent-shaped) area lies to the east of the main entrance and stretches for around 1/3 mile. To the right is Port Royal Cove, a sheltered cove with calm, shallow waters. It’s great for children and is also known as Baby Beach. The beaches are separated by a large rock formation. Adventurous visitors like to climb it and dive into the ocean. It’s also a good vantage spot and an excellent place to take panoramic photos of the beach.
The Horseshoe Bay Beach Cafe is situated near the main entrance to the beach itself. It’s essentially just a fast food outlet selling burgers, hotdogs, fish sandwiches, French fries, ice cream, soft drinks, and water. Prices are reasonable for Bermuda but more than you would pay in the US. It’s not gourmet food but is perfectly acceptable for the beach. If you’re looking for more upmarket beachside restaurant or bar try Mickey’s at Elbow Beach.
There’s also a beach rentals facility here. Prices in 2014 are $11 per chair/umbrella. You’ll need to pay a small deposit too (it’s returned when you take them back). They sell towels but don’t rent them. There’s nothing to stop you bringing your own chairs and umbrellas other than perhaps an over-zealous bus driver who could, theoretically, ask you not to board with them.
A shower and toilet block is also near the main entrance. It’s clean and free to use. The showers are particularly welcome and mean that you don’t have to return to your cruise ship or hotel to get spruced up.
There are a couple of hazards that need pointing out; rip currents and the Portuguese Man o’ War.
Rip currents are reasonably common on the main beach. They form when multiple waves hit the beach and water builds up. The water attempts to return to the ocean but is forced sideways by more incoming waves. It runs along the shore until it finds and escape route, and forms a fast moving channel of water flowing back out into the ocean.
It’s fairly easy to spot a rip current if you know what you are looking for. They flow seaward and counteract the incoming waves, resulting in a deceptively flat and calm-looking area of water. They are more powerful at the surface and will drag you out into the ocean but not under. If caught in one, the best action to take is to remain calm and allow the current to pull you. Its power will dissipate and then you should swim parallel to the shore until you are clear of it, and then return to the beach.
The Portuguese Man o’ War looks like a jellyfish but isn’t. It’s a siphonophore and is composed of many smaller organisms. A true jellyfish is a single organism. The most distinctive feature of a Portuguese Man o’ War is the gas-filled bladder that allows it to float. It’s has a bluish colour and is translucent. This isn’t the dangerous part though. What you should be worried about is a sting from its tentacles. They can be fatal, but this is rare.
Fortunately Horseshoe Bay is one of the handful of beaches in Bermuda where lifeguards are on duty (May to October only). They are stationed at the centre of the main beach and keep their eyes peeled for swimmers in difficulty. They also have the knowledge and equipment to treat anybody unfortunate enough to have been stung by a Portuguese Man o’ War.
Horseshoe Bay can get busy in the summer, especially on days when cruise ships are visiting the island. Most of the ships that visit regularly spend three days at Royal Naval Dockyard (Kings Wharf/Heritage Wharf). Most cruise ship passengers will visit Horseshoe Bay on day one or day two, and will spend their final day at Dockyard.
Although there will be many people visiting the beach at peak times, it only gets really busy close to the main entrance and the café. Just walk to the far end and you’ll almost certainly find a lot more space.
To reach Horseshoe Bay by public transport you will need to take bus number 7 (Dockyard – Hamilton). The stop at Dockyard is very close to the cruise ship terminals (Kings Wharf/Heritage Wharf). You really can’t miss it. The adult one-way fare is just $4.50 if you pay in cash (less if you buy a token, transportation pass, or book or tickets). There are no ferries to Horseshoe Bay.
The bus stop is at the top of an access road, and is about 1/3 mile from the beach itself. If you don’t fancy the walk the ‘To the Top’ shuttle service costs just $2.
The taxi fare from Dockyard to Horseshoe Bay Beach will be about $33. From Hamilton the fare will be around $22. Various private minibuses also provide a shuttle service from Dockyard. Taxis and minibuses will drop you off on the car park, which is next to the beach.
Cruise ships passengers should be wary about visiting Horseshoe Bay on the day their ship departs. Bermuda has good bus and taxi services, but if a few hundred cruise ship passengers decide to leave the beach just before their ship departs, they will become swamped. Don’t forget the bus to Dockyard is coming from Hamilton and will already have picked up passengers in the capital and from other popular spots before it even reaches Horseshoe Bay. We’d strongly advise you to spend your last day visiting the attractions at Dockyard or at least give yourself plenty of time to make it back to the ship.
Reviews and Additional Information
I have a small portable shade tent about 2lbs. that I use at local beaches where I live. It is very small and lightweight, lighter then a beach umbrella fits easily in my suitcase. Will I be allowed to use this I lieu of paying for an umbrella or is it a no no?
Would love to be able to stay for at least 10 days. Just can’t afford that. Been to Bermuda 5 times on the ship. I go to Horseshoe Bay all 3 days and just love it. The last day there when we are leaving, I am actually in tears!
I am so looking forward to my third visit on the beautiful island of Bermuda in June. Since it is forty some years since my first visit to Horseshoe Beach I am happy to hear that Dean is offering rides up and down the hill to South Road. Please tell me that it is still so!
Not a review but a few questions. Are there lockers or anything where we can leave our wallets, camera etc while swimming? Thinking of taking a cruise to Bermuda in May but it would just be my husband and I and I am not sure what the best way to visit the beach would be as far as valuables are concerned. Also, does anyone have any idea how the weather and beach is there the beginning of May? Thanks to any that can help.
I will always remember my visit here for as long as I live. There’s a huge rock you can climb. If you are young enough to manage it you must do it. The views from the top are wonderful.
Horseshoe Bay is a brilliant beach. I disagree that is actually pink as noted in many websites and books. It has a pink hue at best.
The main area beach was crowded when we were there, mainly with cruise ship passengers like ourselves. There are less busy areas if you are prepared to walk to the edges.
This is one amazing beach. The water was crystal clear and there is a child-friendly area at one end. However, I thought the prices for the chairs and umbrellas were too high. If you are with a family it costs an absolute fortune ($11 each). This is a high price to pay for the privilege of just sitting comfortably in the shade.
Horseshoe was a bit too busy for us. We stayed for a while then took a hike to Stonehole Bay.
The beach is very nice. It may seem busy when you first see it but walk to the end and it gets quiet. You can buy food and drinks and rent beach chairs and parasols. There’s a local guy who charges a couple of dollars to go back up to the main road in his taxi. That was appreciated after a long day here. There are also showers, restrooms, and a place to get changed.
$1 down the road and $2 back up. Worth it on a hot day.
The beach is very beautiful but also extremely busy. You need to get there early if you want a spot close to the water. Undoubtedly the pinkest sand and bluest water I have ever seen.
Just returned from Bermuda today and liked Horseshoe Bay a lot. A hurricane was coming, so the waves were rough. Liked the little cove to the right. Sand was soft and beach was pretty, but full of seaweed 🙁 A nice 80 + year old driver (taxi) took us back to our ship for $33.00.
Just came back (8th time I believe) and yes, the beaches are the best… also tried shelly bay, john smith and elbow beach this time. Lots of jellyfish in May, be careful! I have to add that the bus ride to John Smith was horrid as the brakes caught and lurched at every turn and stop. I was on antibiotics and really I just wanted to vomit! What,s up with that?
Bermuda is my paradise – Horseshoe Bay is the most picture perfect beach. Been there 12 times in my life, but it’s been 7 years and I’m finally getting back there in June on the Holland America Veendam – people there have always been very nice – don’t have a bad thing to say about the island – love it! I hope that Snowey, the white cat up at Tio Pepe’s is still around so I can see her again while I’m sipping margarita’s there 🙂
Just got back from Bermuda. Spent two days at Horseshoe Bay Beach. Could hardly stay out of the water. Beautiful views, caves and people on the Island and on the Norwegian Cruise ship could not be more helpful and nice. Plan to return again in the future.
I just returned from my first cruise trip to Bermuda, which I loved. The Horseshoe Bay Beach was gorgeous with its clear turquoise water which was comfortably warm, gentle waves, caves formed from volcanic rock, warm, smooth pink sand, and friendly people. We took the bus from Hamilton to the beach,and found the drivers, locals and workers to be very friendly and helpful.
I just came back from a Norwegian 7 day cruise to Bermuda (7/31/11-8/7/11). Bermuda is spectacular. The Horseshoe Bay is the most beautiful beach that I have ever been to. Everyone should visit Bermuda at least once.
Just came back from a week cruise to Bermuda and had the best time ever. To see the horse shoe bay beach was incredible. If you are going to Bermuda you must go see horse shoe bay beach. You will love it.
Hey guys, thanks for all the positive comments. I’m Dean the driver of the ‘To The Top’ shuttle service that takes you back up the hill and I’m glad I can help. Horseshoe Bay Beach is considered to be the best beach in Bermuda, it’s the most popular for the tourist and locals.
At times it does appear crowded when there are a few ships in the island at the same time but that’s just because most people will tend to lay out on the half of the beach that is nearest to the entrance and facilities but even in that half there is still plenty of room. We also have many other beaches that are breath taking.
The sand is pink, the water is beautiful and the cove to the right of the entrance is perfect for the little kids and adults who are unsure about being in the open ocean.
Sometimes our beaches do have plenty of seaweed if the wind and waves blow it in our direction but that does not happen too often and our Parks Department does a great job of clearing it up. It is usually cleaned up within a week or so and that is very good considering that Horseshoe Beach is not the only one they care for, they do all the beaches whenever that problem arises. Unfortunately some of you may have arrived when seaweed was present but it never covers the whole beach, it also is a necessary part of nature which helps to control beach erosion during the winter.
Soon the beach facilities will be up-graded and expanded with much more showers, toilets and a larger food area which will enhance the experience.
Sorry to hear that some of you have had a bad experience with rude behaviour from some locals. People the world over are generally well behaved but sometimes someone somewhere stumbles out of the wrong side of the bed and instead of going back to sleep they decide to carry their dark cloud around all day, don’t let it spoil your day, be happy, maybe you’ll rub off on them.
Our public bus system is very reliable and I’ll be here to take you back up to the main road where special buses leave about every 15 minutes back to your ship.
The fair up the hill is $2 per. person, children under 10yrs. ride for free.
I get here at 11am and the special buses run until just after 6pm after that you can catch the regular bus but the wait will be a little longer.
Horseshoe Bay Beach is rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world by the Travel Channel and we in Bermuda are proud and happy to share this piece of paradise with you so please come again.
Just got back a few weeks ago from a 7 day Norwegian cruise to Bermuda. I was at beautiful Horseshoe Bay on Beachfest. It was stunning even though it was wall-to-wall people we were able to find a nice spot over in a quieter cove. I was wishing after the long walk back up the hill that we had taken the shuttle. Next time for sure.
Hi Dean Ming. I am bringing my 79 year old mom to Bermuda in August. Do you also provide transportation DOWN the Hill?? Thanks for your reply!
This isn’t Dean, but the bus does go down the hill too. From what I remember it’s cheaper down the hill too. Think it’s only a dollar. If it’s not, it’s 2 dollars.
Although I live in Bermuda Horseshoe Bay is the best beach by far and if you want a nice beach to swim at Horseshoe Bay is the best. Waves are kind of big so bring a boogy board to ride the waves on your tummy, but don’t bring a surf board unless you are surfing in a hurricane!
I have traveled to Bermuda twice on Royal Caribbean Cruises on the Grandeur of the Seas and loved this beach. I have gone to many other beaches over the years but this one you remember for the rest of your life. I highly recommend seeing this one.
My husband, children & I just returned home from a NCL cruise on the Dawn from NY to Bermuda. We’re still talking about it. We travel every year to different islands and parts of the world. Horseshoe Bay is by far the most gorgeous beach we’ve ever been at. We brought our own snorkeling equipment and saw the most amazing colorful fish. It was paradise. The water was so clear and the sand a light pink. The rock formations around the beaches were beautiful as well. We climbed some and got beautiful views of the beach and took some fantastic pictures. We will definitely go back, hopefully soon!!
Just came back from disembarking the Norwegian Dawn. Absolutely amazing. I also loved climbing up the tall rocks on the western side of the beach to get a spectacular view of the entire area. Hope to go back to it again.
Just got back from Bermuda. Loved the entire experience. Sweet and friendly people, streets are very clean, beautiful, but pricey shops. If you opt for the bus ride to Horseshoe Bay Beach you’re in for one hell of a ride. Very scenic, but the turns are killer. Well worthwhile though if your destination is Horseshoe Beach. You shouldn’t leave the island without seeing this. It just takes your breath away.
Midnight, full moon, Horseshoe Bay, just the two of us. It was the most romantic and magical night of my life. 20 years later, I remember it still.
I love it! I’ve been there 4 times and can’t wait to get back. Beautiful beaches, friendly people and awesome sights. Horseshoe Bay Beach tops them all!
I was there in May of 2003 with a few of the family. It was truly a beautiful beach and I’ll be going back there for our 50th anniversary this 4th of July!
I always spend my summer and Christmas break from work in Bermuda and Horseshoe Bay is the beach I love to spend time at. But then I do love Bermuda.
This was my favourite place in all of Bermuda. I’m really looking forward to going back in the near future. The water was beautiful, the food wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t extremely crowded. Just the best.
I just got back from a Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda. The island is absolutely beautiful. I love that everyone drives on the opposite side of the road, different than the American way. Horseshoe Bay is gorgeous, just as beautiful as St. Martin, St. Thomas and Aruba. I totally agree with people who say it is the most beautiful beach on the island. Loved Bermuda’s culture, history and people. I would go back in a heartbeat to see more of the island. I told my parents to put this island on their list of places to go see. Horseshoe Bay had a lot of people but everyone was so spread out, you did not even notice.
Me and my family loved it. The water is crystal clear and not crowded. It was very calm and relaxing. I will go back one day.
Do NOT buy snokeling equipment at Horseshoe Bay. Their policy is a RIP OFF!! I bought a mask and snorkel at the end of the day to have it available for snorkeling at another beach the next day. The mask was defective. When I returned the next morning to swap the defective mask for another one, the manager absolutely refused to work with me. The mask had not been used. I did not ask for a refund. I simply wanted to swap an unused, defective mask for a good one. Buyer beware!!! Do not expect typical customer service at Horseshoe Bay.
Bermuda is the best place to visit. You can’t go there without spending the day at Horseshoe Bay. Look for cab T1088 Maeme is one classy lady that can give the best tour and history of the island. Can’t wait to go back!!
This is the best beach in Bermuda.
Just wanted to let you know that when I visited Horseshoe Bay this year I discovered that ‘To the Top’ shuttle service is now $2.00 per person. When I asked why I was told that this is the first increase he has made since he began the business 10 years ago, and gas is now just under $7.00 per gallon in Bermuda. After I thought about it, I still say it is a bargain. So if you are cruising to the island, don’t miss Horseshoe Bay. It is awesome!!
We visited Horseshoe beach 5/11/09. It is the most beautiful place on Earth. I loved the pink sand, the multi-colored ocean, rock formations, the cave, the friendly people, and the fish sandwich. We will definitely return someday. Hopefully soon.
I worked briefly in Bermuda during 1987. Horseshoe bay was my favourite beach then and it looks like its still as good as ever. Hope to return some day.
I was to Horseshoe Bay Beach in October of 2008 and by far the water was crystal clear blue and the sand noticeably pink. The small cove and rock formations are definitely worth checking out. This beach is by far the most beautiful beach I have ever visited. I would definitely urge anyone to go at least once in their lifetime. Serene, beautiful, peaceful and I will never forget it! And yes the dollar back to the top is worth it and the driver was very nice and informative!
Horseshoe bay is a really nice beach. It is one of the top ten beaches in the world.
I love Horseshoe. It is awesome. The water is crystal clear and the sand is beautiful and really noticeably pink. I highly recommend it to any tourists.
10/19/08 We cruised with NCL out of New York to Bermuda. Horseshoe Bay is the best beach in the world.
The small cove is fantastic. The rock outcroppings, the shallow water, the sound of the breaking waves on the rock make this secluded spot a tropical paradise.
To The Top Shuttle Service caters to people who can not or do not want to climb the steep hill at Horseshoe Bay. Dean Ming is the owner/operator of the service, and he give the tourists an interesting bit of info. about the island as you ride up. It’s a dollar a ride and it’s the best bargain you’ll get anywhere in the world! He’ll take you up or down.
Bermuda is the best place on earth. I lived there for 5 years and am now about to return for a 2 week visit. I can’t wait. There truly is no other place like it.
I was at Horseshoe Beach a few days ago. It was absolutely breathtaking! We loved it so much we are planning to go back!
The water was spectacularly blue, clean, but salty. The life guards were diligent, helpful. The beach had sea weeds scattered about. Overall, the beach was nice, but not the nicest.
I can’t wait to go back to Horseshoe Bay. It is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. I found all the people to be very friendly too!
I have been to Bermuda several times. It is a very beautiful island and Horseshoe Bay is the prettiest beach I have ever seen. It is absolutely breathtaking. The people of Bermuda are very friendly and helpful. Not once have I ever experienced rude or an unpleasant personality. I have always experienced the exact opposite. When my husband and I travelled to Bermuda with our young children we always offered help with the stroller or holding a door for us etc. If you ever get a chance I highly recommend travelling to Bermuda at least once in your life! I hope to visit again someday!
I went to Horse Shoe Bay Beach with my husband. It was a romantic and beautiful day. It was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to.
I went to Bermuda and visited Horseshoe Bay and it was like you were actually in a dream. It was paradise. I am definitely going back and I recommend anyone to go. You and your family will really enjoy it.
Horseshoe Bay was breathtaking. From the moment we stepped on the beach we felt like we was in heaven. Just being in such a beautiful atmosphere brought my wife and myself so much closer together.
I have been to Bermuda six times and my next trip is this June! I have to say it is the most relaxing location I have ever been to! Get my Dark and Stormy ready!
I was there in August and it was by far the most beautiful place I have ever been. Several of the pictures I took there have been blown up and decorate my house. I have never been anywhere that I have loved as much as this place.
To respond to "Chandlier’s" comment about the local Bermudians. They were very friendly to my husband and myself. We were staying with a friend of ours here on the island and found people to be very helpful and genuine.
Of course not all people are friendly you cannot judge them all by one experience you had with a Bermudian and think it’s very rude to post such a comment.
These islands are paradise and just a note about the others who said Bermuda did not have the "Caribbean" feel to it. News flash but Bermuda isn’t considered in the Caribbean nor is it even close. Though some locals live here and have Caribbean culture it’s not native to Bermuda.
I love this place for it’s people, hospitality, and the blue waters that surrounds these islands that we as visitors should be glad to be visiting
I’m from Bermuda, born and raised. I love all the comments. Horseshoe has been my favourite since I had one.
I went to Horseshoe Bay Beach in September 2007. It was incredible. All the locals were so nice and it was so worth the dollar to have the gentleman bring you to the top of the road at the end.
This beach is beautiful indeed. It does get crowded when there are cruise ships in Hamilton. If you go on an "off day" the beach is not crowded and very peaceful. Move to the far end, climb the rocks and you’ll find several small and very private beaches with great snorkeling. The local people are also very warm and pleasant which is one of the main reasons to visit Bermuda.
I’m from New England so I’m used to cold dark gray water. Horseshoe Bay beach was and still is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. The sand and waters color and temperature were perfect.
The water is really blue.
Steph, Bill did not mean that cruise ships ‘sail by and make noise’, he was stating that when the cruise ships are in – as in docked in Hamilton or wherever – the beaches can be crowded and noisy or busy.
I went to Horseshoe Bay in its off season (11/30/07) and the beach was lined with seaweed, but it was still very beautiful and the water was not that cold. I did some body surfing and got taken under a number of times. The caves that lined the water were very entertaining and fun to explore. I had to have taken at least 60% of my total 250 vacation photos here and set them as my computer background.
The locals in Bermuda were not friendly at all and there was no "caribbean spirit" to the island. It felt very aloof and untropical.
Went to Horseshoe Bay on October 2nd. Absolutely gorgeous, undeniably the most prettiest place I’ve ever been to. Came in from a cruise ship. The natives, as well as the bus drivers were very rude, and it was obvious they hated tourists. Guess I can’t blame them even though I felt like slapping one of the drivers!! I doubt Bermuda would be much without tourists. So natives, shut up and get over it!
BEAUTIFUL BEACH, CLEAR BLUE WATER, LIGHT PINK SAND. SO SO BEAUTIFUL. VISITED ON 10/2007
My wife and I visited the beach and thought it was a wonderful place to visit and enjoy. As well, very beautiful and relaxing.
WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACH I’VE SEEN. THE WATER WAS SO INVITING YOU COULD EASILY STAY IN IT FOR HOURS.
That Bill guy is full of it. I’ve been to Bermuda and horseshoe bay way over 4 times and there are no ships that go by and if they do i didn’t hear any noise. Bermuda is beautiful and especially horseshoe bay beach.
This is the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. The water is crystal clear and you can see all of the fish as they swim around you. The facilities were great and for the most part clean. I recommend getting there very early, as there is usually a crowd of vacationers later on in the day.
We were there on 8/6 late afternoon. Although the snack stand and rentals were closed by then, it was not too crowded, and we had a great time on this amazingly beautiful beach. The walk down the hill is steep, and the bus ride to and from is quite interesting!
The road down to Horseshoe Beach from the main South Road is quite steep, and takes about 5 – 10 minutes to walk. There’s a guy there who gives lifts up and down for a dollar per person.
I visited Horseshoe Bay Beach on July 6. It was amazing – beautiful, clean (but a little crowded). Visitors should be very careful of the undertow. A wave knocked me over, pulled me under and took my sunglasses far out to sea!
I was there on cruise day. WAY too many people. However, a beautiful beach. Check out Tio Pepes, a great place to eat at the top of the hill. Value and quality can’t be beat.
I was just there this past Thursday 6/7/07. What a beautiful beach!!!!!
The water was pristine and the sand comfortable and cool to the touch!!! My niece couldn’t believe she could see her toes as we went deeper and deeper into the water. What a wonderful experience!!
I went here about a week ago and it is the most beautiful beach i’ve ever been to. I’ve never seen such clean sand, blue water, and the mini cliffs were so much fun to climb. It’s a great place for families to visit and i’d recommend a visit to see this wonderful part of Bermuda.
Horseshoe Bay does have the best facilities of all the beaches in Bermuda, but when the cruise ships are in the crowds can be unbearable. Elbow Beach is much quieter.