Anytime you see two or three cars parked on the shoulder of the road, it is probably a location with public beach access.
Aside from Hideaways private beach, none of the beaches have any bathroom facilities or anywhere to eat, drink, use beach chairs or purchase anything. Please be sure to bring whatever you may need with you. If you want to pack a picnic lunch there is a cooler in the pantry. There are beach chairs and beach blankets under the stairs.
Jolly Hall Beach. Jolly Hall Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Island and is just a short walk from the villa. Walk down the beach to the left. Step over a small rocky area. This is also a nice beach and good for swimming. As far a I know, it doesn’t have a name. Continue walking a little further and you will come to a small road. Cross the road and you will be on Jolly Hall Beach.
Palm Bay’s Beach. The beach in front of the villa is quite shallow especially at low tide. It is protected by Stocking Island so is not usually wavy. The ocean here has a sandy bottom but there is also some vegetation. I prefer the beach just left of it. It is totally sandy and, although shallow, it is deep enough to swim.
Turtle Beach (Hooper’s Bay): The best place to see sea turtles is at Hooper’s Bay. There is a yellow beach access sign about a mile towards the airport (left out of the parking lot). Park on the street. There is a narrow path between two huge houses that leads to the beach. Turn right on the beach and walk almost to the end. There are three docks. You will be able to find the turtles swimming around the docks. I found them to hang out mostly at the last dock.
Tropic of Cancer beach. Often touted as the most beautiful beach on the island, Tropic of Cancer is said to be located on the Tropic of Cancer line. It’s a wide, large beach but the road leading to the beach is full of potholes and pretty treacherous. There will be a little wooden hut where you can park, but the sign is washed out so don’t look for a sign just look for the hut. There is a sign on Queens Highway to indicate the road to the beach. It’s not very large so you have to keep an eye out for it. Continue to the end of the Road turn right, drive a short distance and you’ll see the hut on the left. If you are coming from Santana’s, there is not a sign from that direction, so it is very difficult to find.
Cocoplum Beach. A beautiful beach with shallows and little sand bars that appear at low tide. Great spot for young kids in particular. This is the best spot to find sand dollars. You can spot the white sand dollars in the sand in the shallows. Be gentle and keep the living ones in the water. Living sand dollars are darker. The bleached sand ones are dead shells. They are plentiful, but please leave them behind for others to find and enjoy. Cocoplum is also a bit tricky to find and doesn’t seem to have a sign for the turn off. If you are driving north to Rolleville look for the three-way junction. Continue on towards Rolleville. The entrance is the first road to the right past the junction. There is a large box painted blue. It is a gravel and mud track. You will know it because someone will say this can’t be the right road. Park at the beach near some sunny abandoned shacks that are used for occasional beach parties. One of the things I love about Cocoplum is that there is plenty of shade. After noon, sun lovers can sun while being a few feet away from shade lovers. Cocoplum Beach is in the general vicinity of Big D’s conch spot so if you are heading out to this beach it would be a good day to stop there for lunch. There is also an ice cream parlour a little further down from Big D’s.
Starfish beach is on the north end of Stocking Island. The beautiful red starfish, some measuring more than a foot across, like to gather in the last cove before the inlet. You can also find some sand dollars and white crabs here. Look for hermit crabs that like to hide in the bushes near the beach. The five-pointed star fish are most common but, if you are lucky, you might find a six pointed or the rarest four pointed one. Be sure not to take any of the sea creatures out of the water for more than a momentary photo op. Starfish in particular are very sensitive creatures.
Flamingo Bay Beach is a pristine expanse of powdery sand and translucent water stretching for 1/4 of a mile. It runs from Stevenson to Rocher’s point.