We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

chicago, IL
Level Contributor
815 posts
43 reviews
Save Topic
Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

Our trip is coming up this weekend and I typically like to find out if there are any off the beaten path things to see/discover. I asked this question prior to going to Turks and Caicos and got the answer 'if we told you, than it wouldn't be a secret anymore'. I get that, but we are quite adventuresome and are just looking for fun things to take our scooter to and explore. It could be anything from a lesser frequented beach, to a cave down some 'hidden' road. We've done some crazy things to find the stuff less frequented. I should write a book! Ended up off roading it in Jamaica (not on purpose) and the next thing you knew our tiny rental car was engulfed in jungle and out of nowhere there was a cow in front of us. But that was our funniest memory. Not that we could have planned that, but we love discovering roadside places to eat at (does that exist in Bermuda?), etc

thanks!!

USA
Level Contributor
28,262 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

Sorry....but in a place as tiny as Bermuda, most of the paths are well beaten...though some a bit less frequently than others.

Though '..hidden in plain sight..' the stretch of the south shore between HORSESHOE BAY and WARWICK LONG BAY has several smaller, rock-crenellated, semi-secluded little beaches and coves (from east-to-west--Jobson's Cove, Stomehole Bay, Chaplin Bay, Hidden Beach, Middle Beach, Wafer Rocks Beach, Butt's Beach, Peel Rock Cove) that usually don't see much traffic...in that they takes a bit of effort to get to...either beachcombing along the foreshore (some sort of '..water shoes..' are a good idea for wading out around or climbing over rocks) or along the paths through the dunes behind or clifftops above. You can usually find a little cove or beach that you can have pretty much all to yourself for the better part of a day.

To the east of here along the south shore is the lovely little ASTWOOD COVE that usually doesn't see much traffic.

To the west is CHURCH BAY, which is the best '..snorkeling-from-the-beach spot in Bermuda.....but too easy to get to from the main South Road bus stop above.

Out at Bermuda's far east-end, on Saint David's Island are a few lovely little beaches that usually don't see much traffic--TURTLE BAY (just past Clearwater Beach, near the end of the airport runway) and a bit farther along the pedestrian-only service road (no motor scooters beyond the gated entrance) through the COOPER ISLAND NATURE RESERVE are LONG BAY beach on the eastern shore and WELLS BAY beach on the Castle Harbour side (though access to Wells Bay beach may still be restricted as a green sea turtle nesting area??).

If you want to go farther afield, you can rent a small (13''-17'), outboard-powered (30-35 hp) self-drive skiff and explore portions of Bermuda's inshore waters on your own.

BERMUDA CRUISING MAP--

dreamcatcherboatrentals.com/docs/cruising_ma…

For the western and south-western shore (Sandys/Somerset) areas--

H20 WATERSPORTS--(at: seaward-end of Cambridge Rd on Mangrove Bay..next to Public Wharf...Sunfish, Lasers & Day Sailers also)--

http://www.h2osportsbermuda.com/

SOMERSET BRIDGE WATERSPORTS--(Soimerset Bridge/Ely's Harbour)--

http://www.bdawatersports.com/

For Hamilton Harbour, the Great Sound and the '..Paradise Lake..' '..lagoon..' (Long, Nelly's, Ports, Eta islands) areas--

AQUATIC BERMUDA--(downtown Hamilton waterfront)--

http://www.aquaticbermuda.com/

DREAMCATCHER BOAT RENTALS--(downtown Hamilton waterfront)--

http://dreamcatcherboatrentals.com/boats.html

For the east-end / Castle Harbour & Castle Islands (Castle & Charles islands)--

BLUE HOLE WATERSPORTS (at: Grotto Bay Beach Resort)--

http://www.blueholewater.bm/

TUCKER'S POINT DIVE & WATERSPORTS--(at: Tucker's Point Hotel & Spa)--

http://www.divinginbermuda.com/

Any/all of these areas are sufficiently different and interesting to explore and will provide you with any number of isolated coves and beaches to nose a dinghy into to swim, snorkel, picnic or just lie on the sand. All of the boat rental operations are good...but given the different locations and factors of S/T/D (given boat rental rates, perhaps the equation should be S/$/D ??), most will best serve a single area only.

Try hiking through Tom Moore's Jungle at the WALSINGHAM NATURE RESERVE in Hamilton Parish.

A fairly well beaten path but worthwhile nonetheless...try walking/hiking sections of the BERMUDA RAILWAY TRAIL--http://www.bermudarailway.net/ --Two sections that are especialy scenic are the section the runs along (and in places over) the north shore, from Coney Island to Shelly Bay (approx. 2 mi.--pedestrian or pedal bicycle only) with wonderful north shore ocean views all along the way....and...the far western section, from Mangrove Bay (just behind the Somerset Police Station) to Somerset Bridge (you can ride motor scooters along this section) with wonderful Great Sound water views along the route.

If you're looking for an entirely atypical, non-touristy activity...you could try herding feral chickens. At the rate the feral chicken population is growing in Bermuda, it'll soon be an organized '..sport..'...and you'll be among the very first to discover it.

Reisterstown, MD
Level Contributor
27 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

Great list KDKSail.

Are there any local sports you could add to the list that American's/landlubbers might enjoying watching? Like weekly sailing club races ... cricket matches ... Are there any vestiges of the Bermuda horse racing culture left on the island? Do your equestrian olympian's train somewhere on the island?

Also, architecture. Are there any neighborhoods where we can see an abundance of older/authentic Bermuda architecture? -- Limestone construction, slate roofs, cedar sashes, butteries ...

Greenville, North...
Level Contributor
141 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

I enjoy the Castle Island area. Only accessible by boat, you can rent a small motor boat from Blue Hole Watersports (as mentioned above by KDKSail). Good snorkeling around it and the other small islands in the area. I've been there several times over the years and always seen something interesting there. Castle Island itself is small and has a few of it's ruined fortifications ready to explore with some great views of Bermuda from it. You are very unlikely to run into anyone else exploring it as it takes a bit of a rock scramble to get up on the island (a trail through some light woods to get across the island).

The area itself has 2 beaches that stay shallow for quite a bit, perfect for anchoring and picnicing. On any given day you could have the place completely to yourself for hours, or you might be sharing the views with locals and their boats plus jet ski tours, kind of a roll of the dice.

USA
Level Contributor
28,262 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

>>>...Also, architecture. Are there any neighborhoods where we can see an abundance of older/authentic Bermuda architecture? -- Limestone construction, slate roofs, cedar sashes, butteries ...<<<

For an area with the most historic architecture and traditional building methods, you should spend some time walking through the maze of lanes and alleyways of the '..olde towne..' of Saint George's...Aunt Peggy's Lane, Needle & Thread Alley, Church Lane, Printers Alley, et al.. A few years ago, I did this on a Sunday afternoon and encountered an older, Bermudian gentleman who'd lived on Saint George's Island all of his life and had retired a few years before after a lifetime working in the Bermuda building trades who walked 'round with me. On Sundays, the commercial trades were off for the day but the local homeowners doing renovations and restorations to their properties with the help of families and friends, were still hard-at-work and this gentleman seemed to know all of 'em so I was able to tour through some on-going projects and chat with some of the proud owners. I'd just completed a small bathroom remodeling project at home and thought that I'd had challenges and problems until I saw what these people had to contend with in theirs......No contest...not even close.

While you're in this area, also stop at the remarkable UNFINISHED CHURCH, up on Duke of Kent Street. all of the elements of basic, gothic architecture writ small for tiny Bermuda, with curious juxtapositions...verdant green grass where polished stone flags should be.....blue sky and palm fronds where colorful stained glass should be...blue sky, flecked with clouds where vaulted stone arches should be....It's a '..romantic ruin..'.

TOWN of SAINT GEORGE'S--

http://www.stgeorgestown.bm/

http://www.bermudaworldheritage.org/

experiencebermuda.com/maps/…StGeorgesMap.pdf

It may sound nuts but you should also stop at almost any public bus shelter. You'll find many of the most basic elements of traditional Bermudian building methods on display in these structures.

The COMMISSIONERS HOUSE up on the hill out at the ROYAL NAVAL DOCKYARD complex at Bermuda's far west-end is also worth a look. It's a fine example of '..pre-fabricated..', colonial British Empire export. Another fine example is the recently restored, cast iron gazebo/bandstand in VICTORIA PARK, located just behind City Hall in downtown Hamilton.

And just for the helluv'it...be sure to take notice of the Mies van der Rohe BACARDI HQ building out on Pitts Bay Road in downtown Hamilton---Bauhaus-in-Bermuda.

TOWN of SAINT GEORGE'S--

http://www.stgeorgestown.bm/

http://www.bermudaworldheritage.org/

experiencebermuda.com/maps/…StGeorgesMap.pdf

You might also stop at some the BERMUDA NATIONAL TRUST properties scattered about Bermuda

BERMUDA NATIONAL TRUST--

http://www.bnt.bm/

Reisterstown, MD
Level Contributor
27 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

Thank you KDKSail -- that is exactly what I was looking for.

We are staying at Belmont Hills, and will likely spend most of our time at the nearby beaches and in Hamilton. But I'm hoping to spend one full day making my way from Saint George's back to Paget Parish by bicycle.

Let me know if this sounds resonable: Early in the morning take the 20 minute ferry from Hamilton to The Dockyards, and then the 45 minute ferry to Saint George's (only because spending 1 1/2 hours on ferry's sounds more enjoyable to me then an hour on a bus -- let me know if I'm wrong about that). Then we'll rent our bikes in Saint George's, spend maybe 2 hours seeing the sights there, before heading for the bike path. We'll plan out maybe a half dozen or so spots we want to stop and see (or dine at) and hope to be back at our condo by early evening to shower and go to dinner. We're all avid bikers (20 mile bike ride would not be that big a deal for us, unless we're talking LOTS of hills). I'm hoping the bike shop will be willing to retrive the bikes from our hotel (?) or that they will have another facility in the Hamilton area that we can drop the bikes off at.

chicago, IL
Level Contributor
815 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

thanks to KDKsail and CoveLuker! Excellent, excellent, excellent helpful information!!!

USA
Level Contributor
28,262 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

>>>..Let me know if this sounds resonable: Early in the morning take the 20 minute ferry from Hamilton to The Dockyards, and then the 45 minute ferry to Saint George's (only because spending 1 1/2 hours on ferry's sounds more enjoyable to me then an hour on a bus -- let me know if I'm wrong about that)...<<<

Though the #1--Hamilton-Saint George's bus route is scenic...the ferry rides out through Hamilton Harbour, across the Great Sound...out along the north shore and 'round the eastern shore, through Town Cut (imagine squeezin' a cruise ship through here??) and Saint George's Harbour is an absolute pleasure. Make certain that you take the 08:30 AM Blue Route ferry to Dockyard. When large cruise ships first arrive in the early AM, there can be a crush of cruise passengers to board the ORANGE route ferry to Saint George's. It wouldn't hurt if someone '..held your place on-line..' for the Orange route ferry at the dock rather than wandering around.

>>>...Then we'll rent our bikes in Saint George's, spend maybe 2 hours seeing the sights there, before heading for the bike path. We'll plan out maybe a half dozen or so spots we want to stop and see (or dine at) and hope to be back at our condo by early evening to shower and go to dinner. We're all avid bikers (20 mile bike ride would not be that big a deal for us, unless we're talking LOTS of hills). I'm hoping the bike shop will be willing to retrive the bikes from our hotel (?) or that they will have another facility in the Hamilton area that we can drop the bikes off at....<<<

I'm not sure what sort of inventory of multi-speed, mountain-type, pedal bicycles OLEANDER CYCLES keeps at their downtown Saint George's rental location...but it's probably be a good idea to make a specific -pre-reservation with them (or telephone the day before) to make sure that they have pedal bicycles on hand when you arrive.

Bicycles rented in Saint George's may be returned to either the Oleander rental shop in downtown Hamilton (on Gorham Road) or the main Oleander facility up on Valley Road in Paget

OLEANDER Locations--

www.oleandercycles.bm/rentals/locations

You should understand that the BERMUDA RAILWAY TRAIL hiking/biking trail out at the east-end is NOT '..continuous..'...and at various places, you must rejoin the main roads to make connections between BRT trail sections. It runs out along the northern shore of Saint George's Island, out to a '..dead-end..' at the end of FERRY REACH. You must then turn around and backtrack along a portion to the main road, to cross the Swing Bridge across Ferry Reach and the main Causeway across Castle Harbour on the main road, until you can re-connect with the BRT along the north shore at BAILEY'S BAY...then around the Village of Flatts and either through or around the City of Hamilton to get to Paget Parish.

You should also bear in mind that the bicycle ride from Saint George's to Newstead-Belmont Hills Hotel in Paget along the BRT is probably going to be 12-15 miles (depending on route). While Bermuda isn't terribly '..hilly..' to an experienced cyclist...it's a lot more '..hilly..' than many expect.....(which is why we always ride rental MOTOR scooters).

Reisterstown, MD
Level Contributor
27 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

KDKSail -- you are an absolute wealth of knowledge about Bermuda. I feel like I have a private concierge that knows me and is guiding me towards a custom designed vacation that fits like a glove. If you live in Bermuda full time, you will have to allow us to buy you a drink -- or three -- at happy hour one night while we are on island.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
380 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

A few additions to the excellent recommendations already mentioned:

1)Spittal Pond Nature Reserve - park the scooters and walk the trails in here-see longtails nesting in the rocks along the shoreline, enjoy vast birding, see Portugese Rock with it's inscription of 1543 from an earlier time, and enjoy great views. (On South Rd in Smith's parish...just down from John Smith's Bay beach)

2)Flatts: scenic water views on inlet - stop on the Flatts Bridge bridge if there about noon, and watch water direction switch from Harrington Sound to ocean. Can see rays and jellies and many other interesting fish.

3)When traveling down South Road (on way to Dockyard) go down Whale Bay Rd and go to end and park. Walk path around to West Whale Bay park and see old fortifications on edge of Port Royal Golf Course. Lovely views.

4)Just past Somerset Bridge, go up to Scaur HIll Fort and see the amazing views from here of Great Sound and Dockyard. Go down into tunnels of fort for some extra fun!

USA
Level Contributor
28,262 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Off the beaten path - Best Kept Secrets

Sorry...just your garden variety '..dreaded tourist...' who's been doin' Bermuda for longer than I'd care to admit. As for the drink...buy a the stranger sittin' next to you at the bar the drink. On the theory that '..what goes around, comes around..'...sooner or later some other stranger will by me a drink in a Bermuda bar....and I'll remember where it came from.