For many years, my favorite beach in the world was a half-mile stretch of sand on the southwest part of Antigua called Darkwood.

That’s saying a lot considering I’ve been island hopping since I was three weeks old. I’m also a former print travel writer. But when it came to white sand that’s worth walking on, Darkwood was pristine perfection.

My grandfather introduced Darkwood Beach to me when I was a little girl. I think he liked it because Darkwood was as close as possible to visiting a secluded beach. The 365 beaches in Antigua are all public so finding a spot without crowds always seemed like a win. And later, a well-guarded family secret.

For decades, my family visited Darkwood Beach to take dips in the crystal blue water. It was also our spot for packed picnics and fun in the sun — like skipping rocks. Although after all those lessons by my grandfather, I still lack the skills to skip rocks.

Years later, cruise ships visiting Antigua now bring passengers to Darkwood. On a recent visit, I spotted an inflatable water park area. Clearly, this addition was for tourists. There was no way the beach of my childhood was the same on the days that cruise ships were in port.

But since I was at Darkwood on an off day, I was able to enjoy the seclusion. My feet stood on the same warm, white sand of the once secluded beach. Little fish swam around my toes as I waded in the azure water. I collected shells to put in the jar I keep in my apartment. Rocks even ended up in my hand so I could try and skip them.

While Darkwood is no longer my favorite beach, it’s still worth a visit when in Antigua.