Monserrat is a true cultural experience. The island supports a wealth of different activities including hiking, scuba diving and photography. There are a whole range of restaurants and eateries to tantalize your taste buds too. But most importantly, for some, there are multiple places equipped purely for relaxation.

Montserrat has a number of wonderful beaches for chilling out during the day and letting your hair down or taking part in water-based activities to view the wonderous coral reefs beneath the ocean’s surface.

Rather than the white sandy beaches known throughout the rest of the Caribbean, Montserrat has black and gray beaches due to the volcanic ash from the eruption in 1995 from the Soufriere hills. It’s a true photo opportunity and something totally unique.

1. Little Bay Beach

Little Bay Beach is one of the most popular on the island due to its notoriously calm water for swimming. It’s an easily accessible beach with lots of restaurants, bars and shops close by for convenience. The local eateries include the Summer Breeze and Time Out Grill restaurants for lunches watching the boats drift in and out of the bay and the local bars serve homemade Soufriere stout and smoothies made from local fruits.

The beach also has its own changing facilities if you don’t want to walk around in your beach clothes all day.

However, because it’s such an amazing beach for location, it can get a little busy, so if it’s peace and quiet that you’re looking for, this one may not be for you.

2. Woodlands Beach

The Woodlands Beach is a quieter picnic spot. It’s not local to many bars or restaurants, so you will need to fetch your own food and drinks, but it’s a beautiful and serene beach to soak up the rays and settle down with a book.

The beach does have changing and shower facilities of its own and is a known spot for sea turtle watching.

3. Bunkum Bay Beach

This party style, gray sand beach is known for the slightly rougher ocean coming into the bay. However, it’s still swimmable here. Due to the types of water and the deeper ocean in place, you’ll see many scuba trips around this area.

The beach unfortunately doesn’t have its own changing facilities. However, it does have a bar and pool table ready to get your vacation rolling.

4. Isles Bay Beach

The Isles Bay Beach is at the southern part of the island with views of the volcano and old town area. It’s a pretty beach with green surrounds and is located right next to the richer areas in Montserrat. The beach is understated sophistication, with a beautiful beach bar serving local fruit juice and smoothies and a selection of cocktails. The beach is also a great picnic spot, not too loud, but just right. It’s the ideal place to watch the sun go down in an evening.

5. Foxes Bay Beach

Foxes Bay Beach is a rustic sort of beach with pure black sand stretching across the bay. It’s on the southern end of the island in the section most affected by the volcano.

Because it’s such a quiet beach, there are no changing facilities here and there aren’t any nearby restaurants or bars either.

You’ll need to take along your own picnic. But it’s an amazing and picturesque place for a romantic day together.

6. Lime Kiln Bay Beach

Lime Kiln Bay Beach is known for its clear blue water and calm Caribbean Ocean. It’s a great place for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving and is a known hotspot for turtles, eels and rays.

The sand, much like Foxes Bay, is completely black – the ideal Instagram opportunity. As Lime Kiln hasn’t been developed since the last eruption, there are very limited facilities, with no changing facilities, restaurants or bars. The beach also isn’t within walking distance of many hotels unless you fancy a hike.

It’s a good idea to ask for a ride and pick up and take a picnic with you. However, if relaxing and unwinding is your intention, then this beach is perfect as it doesn’t often have more than 10 families on there, even in the busy season.

7. Rendezvous Beach

The Rendezvous Beach is at the North of the island and is one of the few beaches that hasn’t been transformed into a grey or black sandy picture. The sand here is white or slightly tan and the water is clear and calm.

The beach offers nothing in the way of facilities, but it’s a known spot for hiking trails to begin and end due to the amazing views that you get of the ocean as you climb the hillside behind it.

It’s a great resting place after a hard day hiking, or somewhere to relax and have a family picnic, gazing at the natural beauty all around you.