Filling in the southwestern scoop of the island’s distinctive fishhook shape, the Great Sound forms a natural harbour that hosts everything from cruise ships and sailboats to sea life.
The Great, Calm Sound
The Great Sound is bordered by land on three sides and open to the North Atlantic Ocean. Most cruise ships arriving in Bermuda dock at King's Wharf in Royal Naval Dockyard, which sits at the entrance to the Great Sound. Little Sound to the south and Hamilton Harbour to the east are also part of this body of water.
A coral reef stretches across the entrance to the Great Sound from the Dockyard to Stovell Bay, forming a natural barrier that helps buffer the waves and currents of the Atlantic Ocean. This is why the Great Sound is praised for its relative calm compared to the island’s outer shores.
The Great Sound is known for near-perfect sailing conditions.
Many small islands dot the Sound, especially toward its eastern half: Hawkins Island, Long Island, Marshall Island, Hinson Island and Darrell's Island are just a few. You can sail around the islands on a boat charter, or rent a pontoon boat or jet ski to go island-hopping on your own.
With Bermuda's temperate year-round climate and the Great Sound's near-perfect sailing conditions, getting on the water is the way to go. Of course, Bermuda offers abundant options when it comes to on-the-water adventures.
- Take a Sunset Cruise – The Great Sound at sunset is a spectacular sight. Popular with couples, families and groups of all kinds, sunset cruises are a perfect way to wind down while soaking up beautiful views. For more of a high-energy vibe, consider a cocktail cruise or party cruise to celebrate sundown. Learn more about boat cruises.
- Rent a Boat – Rent a pontoon boat, jet ski or kayak to explore the Great Sound on your own. This is ideal if you have a whole day or more to spend. Find out more about sailing and boating in Bermuda.
- Book a Private Charter – For romantic or intimate excursions, nothing beats a private charter. Sit back and relax as your captain whisks you through jewel-toned open waters and island-dotted bays. Learn more about boat charters.
- Ride the Ferry – Arrive or depart from the Hamilton Ferry Terminal and you’ll cruise right through the Great Sound. This affordable ride may be brief, but it's a great way to experience the island breezes and beautiful views. See more about Bermuda’s ferries.
See it from Land
Prefer to stay on land or want to see the Sound from above? Here are a few photo-worthy vantage points.
- Fort Scaur – Hike to the highest point in Sandys Parish and you’ll be rewarded. Explore the old ramparts and enjoy sweeping views of the Great Sound from this scenic spot. Explore Scaur Hill Fort and Park.
- Gibbs Hill Lighthouse – If you’re up for an even more ambitious climb, head for the top of the 117-foot-tall Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton Parish along Bermuda's South Shore. Aside from being airborne, it’s the best way to get a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling Great Sound.
- Lagoon Park – Just south of the Royal Naval Dockyard, this park is named for its tree-lined lagoon but also offers Great Sound views.
- Spanish Point – At this waterfront park north of Hamilton, you can watch boats sail in and out of the Great Sound. It’s also a great picnic spot.