With an interior landscape dominated by immense, dormant volcanoes – including the 3,800-foot Mt. Liamuiga – it is certainly no stretch to say that St. Kitts is home to some of the Caribbean’s most unique geography. While Mt. Liamuiga provides excellent hiking and ecotourism opportunities, another strange feature helps St. Kitts stand out as an incredible beach destination. Southeast of the towering mountain interior, a long peninsula separates the placid waters of the Caribbean Sea from the dramatic scenery of the Atlantic Ocean. On each side of the peninsula, visitors will miles of unique beaches, including picturesque rocky landscapes along the northern side and soft stretches of sand beside calm, blue water on the southern side. One of the most popular beaches in St. Kitts – South Friars Bay – sits on the southern side of this peninsula, just minutes away from Basseterre and many of the island’s top resorts.
Known as one of St. Kitts’ top family-friendly destinations, South Friars Bay is a great place to enjoy everything from swimming and snorkeling to sunbathing and picnicking. The beach at South Friars Bay resembles the idyllic Caribbean paradise, boasting a wide stretch of white sand bordered by palm trees, while the water offshore is warm, shallow and crystal-clear. Though South Friars Bay has long been a popular weekend destination for local families, tourists will always find ample room to relax or play in the sand. Though South Friars Bay isn’t the most popular snorkeling destination in St. Kitts, the coral reefs that protect each end of the beach offer a number of unique sights and conditions are almost always very favorable for young explorers. Families hoping to enjoy snorkeling and other water sports at South Friars Bay will find several rental shops and tour operators along the beach offering a variety of kid-friendly activity options.
Just off the beach, visitors will find scenic natural areas that include placid salt ponds and dense mangrove swamps that serve as home to numerous species of sea birds. On the northern side of the peninsula, those in search of more dramatic shoreline sights can visit North Friars Bay – a rocky, windswept beach that feels like a world away from the sandy landscapes of the protected southern beaches. As the waters offshore from North Friars Bay are subject to consistent trade winds, the area is popular with surfers and travelers that enjoy the sight of crashing waves. Nearby Sir Timothy’s Hill – accessible from the Simmonds Highway, the main road along the peninsula – is another popular sightseeing destination, as visitors can enjoy views across the entire beach and the sparkling blue Caribbean Sea beyond.
Despite serving as one of the top family beaches in the Caribbean, South Friars Bay is also home to one of the island’s most vibrant beach bar scenes. The numerous friendly cafes and bars located along the beach are known for serving affordable drinks and snacks during the day, while several remain open well into the evening and feature live entertainment and special events. Most of the beachside eateries also offer lounge chairs for rent, each complimented with palapa shades.
Conveniently situated as the first southside beach along the Simmonds Highway, South Friars Bay can be reached easily by shuttle or taxi. As South Friars Bay is located less than a mile east of Frigate Bay and many of St. Kitts’ top resorts, the beach can also be reached via bicycle or on foot.
As tourists flock to St. Kitts each year to experience some of the Caribbean’s most diverse natural sights and outdoor recreation opportunities, the island’s southeastern peninsula has become one of the top beach destinations in the region. Best of all, travelers staying in Basseterre and other southern shore resort areas can reach the peninsula’s top beach – South Friars Bay – in just a matter of minutes.
Justin Burch writes articles about travel in St. Kitts for the Marriott Resorts.