I’m Rachel Sawden (@rachelsawden) and welcome to my guide on the best things to do in Bermuda. I was born and raised mostly in Bermuda. My father is English and my mother is Jamaican. I’ve been traveling back and forth across the pond to visit family since I was a baby.
When I was two years old we moved from Bermuda to the English countryside. We lived in a house with a nature reserve just beyond my backyard. I loved exploring the nature reserve along with all of the other nearby forests and medieval ruins in the area.
We moved back to Bermuda when I was eight and I fell in love with the ocean. I spent my childhood and adolescence exploring tidepools and coral reefs. I also loved reading about far off lands, countries and cultures. So I became eager to go out traveling and explore the world too.
My aunt and uncle were avid travelers and would send us postcards from far-flung places around the world. I couldn’t wait to travel and see these amazing destinations for myself. But of course, Bermuda was my home and I was always happy to return to this beautiful island paradise.
Exploring the Hidden Gems of Bermuda
I’m always finding new places to explore in Bermuda even though I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve spent many winter months with the goal of driving down random roads and driveways. I’ll stop at park signs that I’ve never seen before just to see something different.
There are so many hidden gems and interesting properties and parks in Bermuda. Then when you get out to some of the tiny islands in the harbour you just keep finding beautiful places. Bermuda is just awesome!
My Favourite Places: Flatt’s Inlet & Ely’s Harbour
Flatt’s Inlet would have to be my favourite place in Bermuda. When I was an ocean-obsessed child I made my parents take me to the Bermuda Aquarium which is located in Flatts Village near the inlet. I was always playing underneath the pier with the small sea life in the tidepools.
It’s such a peaceful place to sit and watch turtles and spotted eagle rays glide by. The water turns an electric turquoise when the sun is high. Across the inlet is Flatts Village which consists of multicolored houses. It’s just so beautiful and will always hold a special place in my heart.
As a passionate photographer, my favourite place to shoot is in Ely’s Harbour. There are two stunning little uninhabited islands floating in glowing turquoise water that make for super tropical shots. The photos there make you look like you are cast away on a deserted island paradise.
10 Best Things To Do in Bermuda
Bermuda is located in the warm waters of the Sargasso Sea just a couple hours flight from New York City. There is so much natural beauty to experience here. But it’s not just nice beaches and sunny weather that attracts visitors. The cultural and historical treasures are just as impressive.
Check out my top 10 recommendations for things to do in Bermuda:
1. Go Scuba Diving in Bermuda
You simply have to experience Bermuda from under the water. It’s a whole different world down there. Bermuda has some of the healthiest coral reefs in the world and there are amazing reef structures and caverns. We also have a ton of shipwrecks teeming with fish and sea life.
2. Explore Tom Moore’s Jungle
Walsingham Nature Reserve aka “Tom Moore’s Jungle” is a nature reserve with so much natural diversity to explore. There’s lush jungle trails, brackish ponds, subterranean caves and epic sinkholes which you can swim in. Tom Moore was an Irish poet who enjoyed writing in this area of Bermuda.
3. Swim with Cute Little Turtles
Turtles are some of my favourite sea creatures and you can find them in a number of locations across Bermuda. Somerset Long Bay is home to the most chill turtles. You can also spot them at Shelly Bay and Baileys Bay.
4. Tick Whale Watching off your Bucket List
If you come to Bermuda in March/April then you’ve arrived at the perfect humpback whale migration season. You basically have two options when it comes to this bucket list activity: you can either go on a boat tour or buy a pair of binoculars and witness their beauty from off the South Shore.
5. Climb to the Top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
For the best views make sure you climb the 185 steps of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1846 and is one of only two cast-iron lighthouses still in existence. Enjoy beautiful views over South Shore and Little Sound as well as Hamilton and the Royal Naval Dockyard.
6. Rent a Boat or Go on a Boat Charter
7. Drive around the Island in an Electric Car
The best way to see Bermuda is to hire an electric car. They’re super fun and make for the perfect eco-friendly alternative to conventional cars. These cars are compact, safe and cute. It only takes an hour to drive from end to end in Bermuda so you’ll have plenty of time to go exploring.
8. Walk the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park
Bermuda had a railway that ran the length of the island in the 1920’s. It only lasted four years but the trails the tracks used to lie on are now walking trails. The Bailey’s Bay trail is the longest and most beautiful trail. You can choose to go hiking or biking through 18 miles of historic, scenic paths.
9. Visit the Historic Town St. George’s
St. Georges was Bermuda’s first capital and dates back to the early 1600’s. Meander through the streets, go shopping and find historic houses. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a haven of British colonial architecture as well as unique natural attractions nearby like Tobacco Bay Beach.
10. Discover the Beach Trails between Warwick Long Bay & Horseshoe Bay
Between Bermuda’s most famous and popular beaches – Warwick Long Bay and Horseshoe Bay – spans a string of immaculate beaches, coves and cliffs all waiting to be discovered. The best thing about this adventure is that you’re more than likely to find a spot with no one else around.
The Fascinating Early History of Bermuda
Bermuda has a fascinating history. This is true despite the fact that it’s only 21 square miles in size and many people still don’t realise it exists. It has played quite a big role in shaping the world as we know it.
The island is a volcanic atoll that was uninhabited until the early 1600’s. Sailors crossing the Atlantic used it as a navigation point as its barrier reef system was too dangerous to traverse. It was known as the Devil’s Isle as it was thought to be haunted. Screams could be heard by passing ships.
In 1609, the Sea Venture got blown off course on its way to the Jamestown colony and was wrecked on the reefs. The wreck survivors, including John Rolf who famously went on to marry Pocahontas, found an island abundant with food and supplies.
What was thought to be devils were actually birds and pigs. When the Spanish sailed by they would throw pigs overboard so they knew where to get food if they ran out. Those marooned on Bermuda spent 10 months building two new ships: The Deliverance and The Patience.
A group stayed behind in Bermuda to settle the island for England while the rest sailed to Jamestown. Upon arrival they found the colony about to die and the supplies from Bermuda saved Jamestown. That place would eventually become a country known today as the USA.
Bermuda in the 20th & 21st Century
Bermuda spent the next few hundred years attempting agriculture but ended up becoming a hub for shipbuilding and piloting. In the 1950’s with the introduction of commercial airlines and Bermuda’s proximity to the East Coast – the island’s tourism industry emerged.
The owner of PanAm Airlines lived here and famously commuted to New York every day. Bermuda became a playground for wealthy East coasters. In the 1960’s College Weeks, the precursor to Spring Break was born.
As commercial airlines became cheaper and islands in the Caribbean molded their tourism industries after Bermuda, the island had to adapt. In the mid 1970’s Bermuda became a low-tax jurisdiction for companies wishing to set up offshore. It has been a popular spot for insurance industries, for example.
There are so many other stories with Bermuda like the time we helped the USA gain its independence from Britain during the revolutionary war by stealing British gunpowder. Or when we helped the British try and burn down the White House in the War of 1812. I could go on forever!
Friendly, Small Community of Bermudians
Bermudians are world famous for our friendliness. It’s a small community (population of 65,000) so you’re bound to run into someone you know every time you leave the house. If you have a bad attitude or are rude, word will spread quickly and someone will eventually tell you about yourself!
Bermudians take politeness and manners very seriously. If you don’t greet people with a good morning/afternoon/day, you will get a cold response and in some cases, no service. These are all important things to keep in mind for your visit to this island paradise.
Phenomenal Seafood & Drinks of Bermuda
The food in Bermuda is phenomenal. We have a lot of fresh fish so when you go to a restaurant ask for the local catch. You must try a fish sandwich. The traditional sandwich is fried fillets of fish with raisin bread, coleslaw, tartar sauce and hot sauce. I like mine a little different though!
Art Mel’s and Woody’s are definitely the best restaurants around town. Woody’s is really fun and an authentic Bermuda experience. It’s a local watering hole so there are always characters grabbing drinks. Make sure to get a Dark and Stormy or Rum Swizzle to wash down your fish sandwich.
My Favourite Memory of Bermuda
When I was first getting into Instagram, I met with Jess Meyrick who goes by the name “The Wondering Dreamer”. She was the largest and pretty much only creator on the island at the time and she showed me the ropes.
A photographer who worked at one point for @beautifuldestinations came to the island too and reached out to me to shoot. We had an amazing time shooting together. Then he, Jess, another photographer friend and I all went out to Ely’s Harbour (one of my favourite spots) to shoot together.
It was awesome taking turns with each of the photographers and finding new little nooks and crannies to shoot and create. That was a really fun day and those shots of Bermuda are still some of my favourites.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Bermuda is expensive. There’s no getting around that. You have to be prepared for a little sticker shock in terms of prices. Airbnb has helped quite a bit to get Bermuda opened up more by making stays more affordable.
I always recommend checking out Airbnb if the hotels are out of your price range. If you want to party then Friday night is the only popular night in Hamilton (the capital). Unlike other islands where you’re confined to your resort areas, you can go explore Bermuda without a care in the world.
There is so much to see and do so make sure you do a little bit of research and plan ahead. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my guide on the best things to do in the beautiful Bermuda. You’ll enjoy every moment in this paradise.