By Danielle Miller
In December 2020, I moved to Barbados, with my Bajan husband Steven, and our two little boys, Leo and Charlie. Of course I had visited the island many times, but now this was going to be home, and it was time to get to know the island inside out – every inch and every stretch of sand. So Steven came up with an idea to show us his island – we decided to challenge ourselves to visiting 52 beaches in 52 weeks, starting in January 2021.
Bajans were intrigued by our project: ‘Do we even have 52 beaches in Barbados?’ ... ‘You mean you’re going to go to the beach every weekend? What if it’s raining?’ ... and, ‘What do you mean you can’t come to Pebbles again til’ next year?’ But we were also met by a lot of enthusiasm, great suggestions for our list, and friends and family joining us at obscure, far-flung beaches they hadn’t been to in years.
Now, we’re the kind of couple that love a spreadsheet. So we made a list, and slowly chipped away at it, keeping track of our target each week. Sometimes we fell behind, but sometimes we had a run of three beaches in a week.
We were at the beach at 6am during lockdown (not hard when you have a baby waking you up at 5am). We hid under an umbrella in the sea in the pouring rain (our three year old Peruvian-born city boy was afraid of rain back then). We explored rock pools, caves, chased crabs, watched horses swimming, dug holes and built thousands of sandcastles (that were destroyed seconds later of course). We had countless picnics, leisurely Sunday lunches with friends, and quick after-work sunset swims. And we watched our city-born boys grow from weary of the sand and sea, to the beach-loving water babies we’d hoped they’d become.
Danielle is a writer, editor and digital consultant, based in Barbados. Visit her website danielledawnmiller.com to learn more about her work.
⭐️ Steven’s Favourite
Diving into the Atlantic-facing waves made Steven feel finally ‘at home’. Leo was apprehensive of the seaweed and sand, but we kept him happy digging a big hole!
Had a lovely swim in the beautiful calm lagoon protected by the rocks at low tide. Charlie had a long nap on a beach chair, under a shady sea grape tree.
We sat in the shade of the big cliff at the far end of the beach. Steven and I had a swim, but was too rough for the little ones. Leo loved throwing coconuts up the cliff with Keith and watching them roll down.
I really loved this tiny hidden beach in between the rocks. We had an early morning swim with coffee in the sea. A beautiful start to the day.
I’ve always loved this beach, and shed a few ‘happy tears’ in the sea thinking, we actually live here now, and can do this every week. Enjoyed a Chefette picnic from across the road.
Nice spot in front of Carib Beach Bar. Leo loved chasing the chickens and he and I had a lovely walk along the shoreline.
Steven and Leo galloped along the water's edge and explored the rock pools. Boys were fascinated watching the surfers. Bumped into friends with their kids.
Huge sweeping beach that's popular for a reason. We went for a long walk and lovely swim. Nice views of the cruise ships off the port.
A really special experience at one of our favourite beaches – an early morning picnic breakfast watching the race horses having their 'sea bath' on a Sunday morning.
An early morning swim in the lovely rockpools. Leo spent the whole time hugging the village pot hound! We bumped into Steven’s mum and our neighbours.
Lovely early morning swim on this gorgeous West Coast beach. Steven joined after work. Saw a washed up Portuguese Man o'war.
Big sweeping bay on the west coast with calm sea. We saw moon jellyfish along the beach. Steven was surprised by beach erosion.
Took us a while to find the public beach access but was worth it. Beautiful quiet beach right in the middle of Worthing and we enjoyed a lovely early morning family swim.
Beach day with Steven's parents. Lots of digging in the sand for the little ones and a refreshing swim in the waves for Steven and I.
A lovely after-work swim with Steven’s parents. Rum punch in the sea for the adults and hotdog dinner for the boys.
We loved exploring and collecting sea glass and shells. Charlie had a long swim with Steven in the calm pools and we bumped into some friends staying at a beach house.
Not a very wide beach for playing with kids, but a favourite for learning to surf. We dug a big hole and Charlie loved playing in his ‘sand pool’.
Really calm and beautiful West Coast beach. It was quiet and peaceful and we watched some scuba divers heading into the sea.
Lovely Sunday afternoon and lunch with our toes in the sand at Sea Shed Restaurant. Great food, drinks and perfect setting on a gorgeous beach.
⭐️ Leo's favourite.
He loved exploring the rock pools and collecting shells in his bucket. Was not a fan of the hundreds of hermit crabs though!
Both kids loved splashing in the gentle waves after our walk on the boardwalk. Lovely mojito and dinner at Chill Cafe as the sun set.
Found a quiet spot in between the hotels. Was an unusaully rough day, but still had fun playing in the sand.
Relaxing Sunday afternoon on a beautiful day. I enjoyed a piña colada in the sea from Coral Reef hotel. Steven enjoyed the snorkelling.
Sea was very rough – only Steven had a swim, but we enjoyed exploring, especially going through the cave. Leo kept asking if there were any bears! (Ginger Bay Beach is completely eroded and no longer exists).
Quick swim on this stretch of sand right in the middle of Speightstown on Leo's birthday. It was a Monday so very quiet and the beach bars were closed.
A special lunch at Lone Star Restaurant to celebrate Charlie’s birthday, followed by a swim in the sea with my parents and brother visiting from Grenada.
A rainy day, but that didn't keep us away from the beach. We all had a quick swim, hiding under an umbrella in the sea!
⭐️ Danielle's favourite.
Stunning turquoise waters with calm lapping waves – perfect for cooling off on a hot day. We all enjoyed a relaxing afternoon swim on Father's Day.
A fun adventure driving through the swamps and chasing crabs along the eastern end of the beach.
Visited Steven’s parents, staying at a friend’s beach house along this hidden beach. Steven enjoyed the snorkeling and we had a nice walk and swim.
Enjoyed a lovely swim on this beautiful beach but no shade. Had a quick lunch at Zaccios.
Endless beach fun with Steven's sister and her family who were staying in a beach house here. The water was lovely at low tide with little pools in between the rocks.
A family favourite for picnics in a dramatic setting. We had a lovely day with Steven’s sister and family visiting from England.
Wild and rugged with lots of driftwood. Boys loved jumping on a fallen tree trunk. Only Steven had a swim, but great for walking and exploring.
The boys and I met Steven for an impromptu Friday evening after-work swim with a spectacular sunset. The perfect way to start the weekend.
Quick late-afternoon swim. Leo discovered the fun of being buried in the sand!
A great afternoon jumping in the waves and exploring the hidden 'mini-beach' behind the big rocks. Felt like our own private hideaway.
Another Atlantic-facing east coast beach with the wild sea that Steven loves. He has a quick swim after we had a walk exploring the ruin on the clifftop with the boys throwing rocks into the sea.
A relaxing afternoon watching Steven body-board. The boys loved exploring the rockpools, looking for crabs with their new reef shoes.
Huge sandy beach in front of the hotel. A quick dip in the sea on a cool, overcast evening. We loved dodging the waves on the old jetty.
Some friends introduced us to this favourite spot of theirs. Had a picnic lunch and saw lots of beautiful fish. Will have to bring the boys for snorkelling when they're older.
Beach afternoon with Steven's cousin and her son. Fun shoreline rocks and reefs with rockpools to explore and play on. Not great for swimming because of all the rocks.
We timed it wrong with the tides – need to come back at low tide. But enjoyed a long walk, exploring the rocky shoreline and collecting 'treasure' along the way.
Beautiful, secluded windswept bay. We sat under shady coconut trees and watched the waves and laughed at Charlie trying to lift a huge coconut.
A chilled vibe at the beach bar, with men playing dominoes and families enjoying the beach. The boys made friends with a little girl and dug a huge hole with her.
Public beach access has eroded and it was high tide so we waded with the boys on our shoulders. Worth it for the lovely walk and swim along the sweeping bay.
Wild, rugged and remote. We explored the crab-filled rivers and collected driftwood. Leo loved jumping down the sand banks and ‘smashing the big waves’.
Really fun and different. Steven and Leo went exploring in the shallow bay and river looking for fish and crabs. Charlie was asleep in the truck the whole time!
A secluded beach along the rugged north-east coast. Only Steven swam in the wild sea but we enjoyed collecting driftwood and running from the big waves.
We didn't time the tides very well, but still enjoyed paddling in the rockpool, searching for sea anemone and walking along the long beach.
Beautiful beach with a lovely view. We had a long walk and Charlie loved watching all the boats coming out of the marina.
Beach much bigger than Steven remembered. Was busy with lots of tourists. Leo loved swimming in the waves, and being burried in the sand. We saw a turtle surfing the waves, which was special.