Church Bay is a home of a small beach that is favorite for snorkeling. It is located in Southampton Parish along South Road. It is at the western end of the south shore beaches. Across the road is St. Anne’s Church, hence the name Church Bay. Coming from Hamilton City or from the Royal Naval Dockyard, get on board bus route #7. For bus schedules, refer on this post and download the brochure.
Church Bay Park
Church Bay Park is a slightly long stretch of grassland with various trees and flowering plants. It is sitting on top of the hill overlooking the beach. The park is another favorite for picnic. It has a few tables with benches. If they are all occupied, setting up your mat on the ground is also nice. As with other parts of Bermuda, camping is only allowed on Sunday leading to until Sunday after Cup Match. Camping permit from the government is required.
The park offers a few parking spaces on both end and at the middle near the entrance to the beach. It has a separate toilet for men and women located beside the road. There is no place to buy or rent anything that you need in the area. So make sure to bring all the things you will need.
Church Bay Beach
The entrance to the beach is in the middle where the toilet and the parking lot is also located. You will walk on a wooden stair to go down. No other access can be used as the bay is lined with cliffs. The beach maybe not as spectacular as the others, but it has its own character worthy of a visit.
It is a small, rocky cove with few stretches of white to pinkish sand. During high tide, a vast portion of the beach disappears and the water tends to go deep quick. Just a few steps from the shore into the water can be dangerous to non-swimmers and to the kids. However, it is more friendly when it is low tide. The water is shallow and are not so rough. Most of the rocks are not pointed and are not too slippery, although wearing a protective footwear especially when you go snorkeling on the reefs is advisable. Sharp edges or points on the reefs are inevitable.
Snorkeling in Bermuda
This is a popular snorkeling spot. There are no corals under the water but there are series of reefs serving as a host to colorful fish and other marine creatures. Parrot, angel, butterfly, seashells, etc. Big and small fishes alike, they are fun to watch as they eat. The shallow parts of the reefs are like aquarium for fish fries and fingerlings. The series of reefs in the water provide a barrier and offer protection from strong waves.
On top of the hill overlooking the cliff, there used to be a fort to defend the bay. The only prominent sign telling its history is a replica of a stone found in the area inscribed with the year 1612. This was found in 1955 when they cleared the area. The original stone is kept in a museum in Bermuda Aquarium located in Flatts Village.
Most people go to the more popular Horseshoe Bay along south-shore beaches. Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is also a nice side trip. If you’re looking for a place to eat, try Henry VIII Restaurant, Sushi & Pub, Gulfstream and Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel. All of these are just one bus away. Just let the driver know where do you want to get off. Better yet, you can do a hike along the road and enjoy the scenic views along the way. Scooters can also be a good choice. The Reefs Resort and Club is a short walk from Church Bay.