What comes to mind when you think of the Caribbean? White sandy beaches, clear waters, sunny days? Well, you are not wrong.
The Caribbean is home to some of the cleanest oceans and beaches where you can swim in turquoise waters while enjoying the spectacular scenery of reefs and cays.
But where has the clearest water? If you’re researching the best Caribbean islands to visit with kids, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to find a picture-perfect destination that the whole family will love; and one thing at the top of most people’s wish list is crystal clear waters, but the options can be overwhelming.
Where will you make your first stop? These places stand out, and you should visit at least one of them in your lifetime.
If you’re still undecided on where to stay, why not check out our guide to the safest places to visit in the Caribbean with kids?
- Exuma, Bahamas
- Shoal Bay, Anguilla
- Lindquist Beach, St. Thomas
- Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
- Eagle Beach, Aruba
- Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Island
- Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
- Guardalavaca Beach, Cuba
- Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
- Playa Blanca, Guatemala
- Palomino Island, Puerto Rico
- Crane Beach, Barbados
- Wrap Up
The Exumas consist of 365 islands (cays), and the largest of them is Great Exuma, which measures 37 miles in length. Together with little Exuma (joined by a bridge) and the Exuma Cays, Great Exuma forms the Exuma district.
All islands in the Bahamas have clear waters, but the Exumas have stunning sapphire blue waters, whose brilliant colors are visible from outer space.
Perhaps one of the main attractions in the area is four-legged local celebrities. A visit to Big Major Cay, one of the islands, will afford you a swim with the resident pigs. They are very social and will swim out to get treats whenever a boat arrives at the Cay.
If you enjoy snorkeling, you are in for a treat. The Exumas host a secret underwater cave called the Thunderball Grotto located along the way to Compass Cay. The high tide usually hides the entrance to this cave, but once you find it, you will discover a world teeming with fish and other marine life.
When you get to Compass Cay, sharks circling below the dock will be a sight to behold. Unlike great whites, these are gentle and friendly nurse sharks that will allow you to pet them by running your hands over their skin.
There are several resorts and retreats to stay in when in the area. You can dine in the resorts or look for local spots to grab drinks, chat, and chill.
Shoal Bay, Anguilla
Shoal Bay is one of the top-ranked beaches in Anguilla because of its intense turquoise blue waters and pinkish-hued white sand.
The two-mile-long beach is also one of the busiest in Anguilla due to its convenience of having multiple on-site rentals for water sports gear. Whether you are into snorkeling, diving, or kayaking, you will get everything you need to have fun in the sea.
When you get famished, several hotels, restaurants, and beach bars line most sections of the beach.
You can book a stay at one of the posh hotels along the beach or check out the Shoal Bay Villas if traveling on a budget. It is a comfortable and affordable hotel offering beachfront units. From either the beach or your villa, Shoal Bay will give you incredible views of the sunset and unforgettable memories.
Lindquist Beach, St. Thomas
St. Thomas hosts the capital of the US Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, and has some of the cleanest waters around it. The best place to experience this is at Lindquist Beach, one of the most popular destinations for locals and non-locals.
However, it is not free. The beach is part of the 21-acre Smith Bay Park, so residents with IDs part ways with $2, while non-residents pay $5 to access the safeguarded area. Entry is free for children under 13 years of age, though, and if you have a car, it will only cost you $2 for parking.
Once you get in, the beach has warm, crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming. There is also beautiful white soft sand on the beach to play, train, or rest on as you enjoy the cool breeze.
Since the beach is on the northeast part of St. Thomas, you will have beautiful views of other Islands in the region, including the British Virgin Islands.
The area is also a haven for nature enthusiasts because it has multiple indigenous trees, and you can camp in the park to spend more time in the peaceful environment.
There are no restaurants at the beach, though, so ensure you carry food for the day trip or camp. However, the Park authorities keep the area clean and provide amenities like picnic benches, bathrooms, and a lifeguard.
Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Contrary to its name, Devil’s Bay is a picturesque horseshoe-shaped bay that almost looks like paradise.
To get there, you need to take a 15-minute hike from The Top of The Baths. If you have a boat, there is a dinghy dock and mooring buoys to help you navigate to shore.
Once you get there, the bay offers clear blue waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Be sure to carry a bathing suit and an underwater camera to capture the moments.
You can also relax under the shade umbrellas on the beach as you enjoy the breeze and take in the view.
Explorers are in for a treat because there is a second trail leading to the Baths, and it passes through massive granite formations on white sandy beaches.
The boulders form arches, natural tidal pools, and tunnels, so be prepared to wade through water, crawl, and climb ladders if you take this route.
The area is a bit secluded, and you will enjoy some quality time there. But when you get hungry, you have to go back to the Top of the Baths as it has one of the few restaurants nearby.
Eagle Beach, Aruba
Aruba is one of the safest Caribbean islands, having low rates of both petty and violent crimes. The country also hosts Eagle Beach, which was the third-best beach in the world in 2019 according to the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
With soft white sands, beautiful blue waters, and stunning Caribbean Ocean views, Eagle Beach is a popular destination for the islanders. The area generally has a relaxed vibe and offers several water sports, while nearby restaurants and resorts will give you the best in local cuisines.
A few other attractions you will spot on this beach include the two renowned and most photographed Fofoti trees of Aruba. They appeared in several campaigns that advertised the country as a favorite tourist destination.
Also, four sea turtle species nest in the island country, and most of the nests are on Eagle Beach.
It is important to note that local families have a tradition of camping on the beach during Easter week, so it might not be the best time to enjoy the beautiful waters due to the crowding.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Island
Located on the western side of Grand Cayman Island, Seven Mile Beach is a long coral-island crescent that borders the sparkling clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Rated as one of the best beaches by Caribbean Travel + Life magazine and the fourth-best Caribbean beach by Trip Advisor, Seven Mile Beach lives up to its expectations.
Apart from the beautiful stretch of soft sand, the sea has calm waves, making it perfect for swimming and parasailing. There are a few small reefs offshore, such as the cemetery reef and an artificial one close to the Marriott Hotel, that you can explore by snorkeling.
It is possible to walk along the entire stretch of sand because it is open to the public. The area is well developed, and you will find resorts/hotels to grab a bite, drink or even stay for the night along the stretch.
Despite its name, Seven Mile Beach is about 6.3 miles long. But it was not always this way. Erosion continues to reduce the size of the beach annually, and who knows how it will be in the future.
In the meantime, the shoreline offers access to some of the cleanest waters for watersports and other fun activities.
Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
No clear borders define Bavaro Beach as it stretches from Macao to Cabeza de Toro, touching the neighboring beaches. However, it is the primary and longest beach in Punta Cana, and its waters give a range of colors ranging from light turquoise to oceanic blue.
You should expect all kinds of activities on the beach, ranging from swimming to parasailing, snorkeling, kayaking, jogging, fishing trips, and volleyball. There are several hotels in the area, and they are the key providers of these beach activities/amenities.
The core part of the beach is publicly accessible from a few subparts, such as Jellyfish, Bibijagua, Corales, and Corcecito beaches. Once you find your way through, walk along the stretch to look for a hotel providing the activity you need to enjoy the clear waters.
Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
On the northeast corner of Providenciales (Provo) lies Grace Bay Beach, a beautiful stretch that is the centerpiece of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
It has soft white sand, but the highlight is the turquoise blue water, which makes a perfect playground for swimming, parasailing, paddleboarding, and general fun (splashing).
On top of that, there are no rocks, corals, seaweed, or pollution along the stretch. As such, you get a smooth and even transition from white on land to blue on the ocean.
Such beauty ranked the bay in either first or second positions in the World Travel Awards and Trip Advisor rankings among the best beaches worldwide 19 times.
According to the World Travel Awards, Grace Bay is currently the leading beach destination worldwide. It is also the second-best beach globally from Trip Advisor rankings, so you can tell it is a worthy destination.
An extensive barrier reef located about one mile offshore protects the beach from ocean swells, making the waves calm and safe.
If you are into watersports, there are all kinds of resorts that offer them along the stretch. Most of the activities occur between the sand and barrier reef to keep things safe.
Guardalavaca Beach, Cuba
Unlike other beach destinations in Cuba, like Varadero, Guardalavaca Beach is not too commercialized, which means it is more pristine.
Untouched vegetation, white sandy beaches, and a clean blue sea make the shore ideal for nature enthusiasts, and you can think of it more like a pearl or a hidden gem of the Cuban northeast coast.
Apart from the sand, there are waterfalls, cliffs, jungles, and caves along the strip, resulting in a dramatic landscape that is a paradise for explorers.
The clarity of the water gives visibility up to 20 meters deep, so you can easily find diving sites along the 4-km (almost 2.5-mile) stretch of the beach. There are a total of 32 diving sites, and most are accessible via boat.
If you prefer snorkeling, a coral reef about 300 meters out provides the ideal microclimate for marine life.
The same reef protects the beach from erosion by slowing and breaking waves. The result is a calmer shoreline with a smooth slope and shallow waters for kids to splash and play.
It is best to visit this beach and generally all other Caribbean destinations from November to April. The ocean is calmer during that time, and there is a less likely chance of a hurricane developing. Temperatures are also more bearable during this period.
Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Some call Grand Anse Beach the granddaddy of all beaches in Grenada, which becomes evident when you visit the place. It is a 2-mile strip of silky white sand next to beautiful turquoise blue waters with incredible views of the capital, Saint George’s, and the surrounding hills.
Nearby restaurants, hotels, shops, and markets create a convenient backdrop where you can get meals, drinks, and watersports gear to get a feel of the water.
The beach lies southwest of the island, and you can access it via water taxi, minibus, or car from the capital. Entry is free, so you only need to carry some cash to pay for your meals and hire water sports gear.
Playa Blanca, Guatemala
Guatemala is not usually known for its coastline, but Playa Blanca has some of the best white sands and clear waters to swim, lounge, and suntan.
It is a highly secluded area because the poorly developed tourism infrastructure is less attractive to many vacationers. However, this might be an advantage if you enjoy privacy.
Additionally, the beach is quite large, so you will have a long stretch of coastline to explore the beautiful waters with fewer crowds.
To get there, you need to take a 30-minute boat ride from Livingstone to the main section of the beach, which is at the mouth of River Dulce.
Onshore, the sand on the beach slopes gently, leaving shallow waters to walk on and splash around. Kids will have loads of fun here. On top of that, the waves are calm, so it is safe for the entire family.
Along the beach, you will find hammocks strung between several coconut palms for resting and relaxing. A few places sell basic food and drinks, so you do not have to carry lunch.
If you have some cash to spare, the Marina at River Dulce sells cheap second-hand yachts. You can buy one to explore the waters around the beach.
The adventures do not stop at the waters. Back in Livingstone, excursions to the Mayan abandoned cities & pyramids, national parks, and mysterious caves will take you back in time as you learn the history of the ancient civilization. It is a fascinating country.
Palomino Island, Puerto Rico
Palomino Island is a private island, and being off the turquoise east coast of Puerto Rico, it has clear blue waters that live up to the name given to them. Parts of them have emerald green tones, forming beautiful shades of the Caribbean Sea.
The waters are perfect for watersports, swimming, snorkeling, etc., and since the island is private, it is suitable for those who enjoy secluded spaces. The beaches are super clean due to less crowding, while the interior has lush greenery.
Access to the island is only via boat, and you can combine the tour with a stopover at Cayo Icacos, one of the most popular offshore islands on the Puerto Rico east coast.
Crane Beach, Barbados
Once a harbor, Crane Beach is currently one of the most beautiful beaches in Barbados. It even got listed as one of the ten best beaches globally by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
The area got its name from the crane that loaded and unloaded ships back in the day. The Crane Resort and Residences replaced the crane on the cliff above the beach and has become a favorite for honeymooners since 1867, the year it opened.
It offers incredible views of the clean white sandy beach and turquoise blue waters where you can swim or use the powerful waves to boogie board.
The resort provides some services to the beach, such as 24-hour security. However, since it is a public area, the Barbados government provides lifeguard services, but the station remains empty on a few occasions. Therefore, you must exercise caution and take care of your loved ones at all times.
There you have it! We have curated this list by sampling different regions in the Caribbean that have clear waters, so you have a lot to explore. Happy traveling!