The north coast has the greatest concentration of beaches in the country, ranging from powder-white sandy swimming beaches to wild, rocky shores. Public beaches can get crowded and busy with boat traffic at the weekend, but during the week you can easily find a lovely stretch to spread out your picnic blanket.

Hotels may line Trou aux Biches but it is open to everyone, and one of the best swimming beaches on the island, with good snorkelling. Tucked away at its northern end is the white sand of Mont Choisy, which at nearly 2km is the longest and most beautiful public beach in the north; the sandy bottom makes it an excellent swimming beach and it’s a top spot for waterskiing and wakeboarding. Grand Baie Beach itself is famed for its emerald waters, but as it’s crowded with boats, it’s better for views than swimming. A couple of kilometres north, the white-sand cove of Pereybère is one of the most popular beaches with both visitors and locals – the protected swimming area means it’s safe for families and there’s a small beachside restaurant and a few snack stalls at weekends, as well as sunloungers for rent. Small but sweet, nearby La Cuvette is the north’s prettiest swimming cove. To get away from the crowds, head for Anse la Raie, a narrow strip of white sand on a protected bay which, although a bit shallow for swimming, overlooks filao islands in the bay; or take the steps down to the sea at the wild Bain Boeuf, one of the best places to take in the views in peace.

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