Sandy Ground Anguilla is the village on the northern coast that serves as this island’s main harbor and port of call for large ships on Caribbean cruises. This is your starting point for shore excursions if you are a passenger. If you’ve arrived from another island country or territory on a sailing yacht, this is where you must check in for customs and immigration. With a population numbering only in the hundreds, the village of Sandy Ground Anguilla is nonetheless a busy place and there are several hotels near Sandy Ground Beach as well as good services and facilities. If you’ve arrived by boat, there is an outlet for car rentals so you can get to other parts of the island. There are also some scuba diving shops and operators who will take you out snorkeling.
Sandy Ground Beach is set in a wide protected bay in the shape of a crescent. The long curving beach is made up of fine white sand and lined with swaying palms. It is a wonderful beach for children on family vacations because there is plenty of room to play on the sand and the shallow waters are almost always calm. Children will love beach combing here, especially the big piles of conch shells that can be purchased from local fishermen. Behind Sandy Ground Beach are some picturesque cliffs backed by a large salt pond. The many salt ponds are part of the history of the island, as this is where salt as been traditionally processed for export. There is an old salt factory here. Today, the ponds provide a rich natural environment that shelters a variety of birdlife where you can see herons, stilts, egrets, and other waders.
Shoal Bay Beach on the northeastern coast is more popular with visitors. This is considered the most beautiful of the island’s beaches. It is about two miles long and has many dining spots, music bars, and hotels. Because of this, that popular beach can be quite crowded. Sandy Ground Beach is much less crowded and is one of the first choice for locals. Because this is the main port, there are plenty of restaurants, little dining spots, and music bars where you can hear some good local jazz and reggae. You’ll even find an Internet café here.
Most of the hotels near Sandy Ground Beach are relatively modest little guesthouses—no large flashy beach resorts. There are also a number of apartments and other vacation rentals, including some of the charming Caribbean-style cottages located right on the beach. For luxury hotels near Sandy Ground Beach, you are pretty much limited to small properties offering some resort facilities like swimming pools and tennis courts and deluxe villas.
Sandy Ground Anguilla is a busy working port, with plenty of small boats catering to visitors on holidays, fishing boats, and water taxis. But the size of the beach means you often will have large patches of sand, sun, and surf to yourself. One of the most popular events held here is the annual Anguilla Regatta held in May. This is also the place to catch the free boat (leaving every 30 minutes or so) to Sandy Island.