Outdoor markets, warmly lit downtowns, cozy restaurants, cheerful locals... there is something special about American…
Long before the arctic-blast blew its way into many areas of the country, I was dreaming about a tropical vacation. Somewhere warm with good food, white sand and sparkling blue water. Nothing fancy, just a chance to escape the grey skies, bitter cold and blustery winds at home.
So with the warmth of the Caribbean calling my name, here are my top picks.
You know I’m not one to just sit on the beach, but doesn’t this cabana look wonderful right now? The Cayman Islands are a favorite of adventure seekers, beach goers and wildlife enthusiasts. You spend the day on Seven Mile Beach, visit the Cayman Turtle Farm or hike the interior of Grand Cayman on the Mastic Trail (2 miles). And then there’s the scuba diving and snorkeling in a true underwater paradise.
St. Kitts & Nevis
If you’ve never been to the sister islands of St. Kitts & Nevis, make sure you put a visit on your list. The resorts here are impressive and the scenery lush and gorgeous. While the main attraction is the beach, you’ll find some excellent adventures and history around the islands. Visit the British colonial town of Basseterre, the Brimstone Hill Fortress and Berkeley Memorial Clock for some of the most photographed sites. St. Kitts is a bit wilder and louder than the quieter sister of Nevis. And you never know when you might spot a celebrity frolicking in the surf.
With strong British roots, having gained independence in 1966, the island continues to hold afternoon tea and horse races at Garrison Savannah. When you’re tired of laying on the beach sipping your rum cocktail, take off for the Soup Bowl to watch the surfers (or do some yourself), hike the amazing shoreline of Bottom Bay (go in the morning), and visit Animal Flower Cave to swim in its rock pools and take a few hundred photos.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The three islands that make up America’s Caribbean paradise have a lot to offer. You could spend all your time on one island, but for a little more fun, plan a day or two on all three. You’ll get a healthy dose of beaches, pampering, wildlife and colonial history. If you are into hiking, you can explore 22 different trails within the Virgin Islands National Park (St. John) which contains Annaberg Plantation, Caneel Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay. Take your camera and beach gear and spend the day at Magens Bay (St. Thomas), well-known for its photogenic coast and amazing swimming conditions.
Turks & Caicos
Known for its crispy conch fritters, relaxed vibe, snow-colored sand and shimmering surf, this network of 40 islands is a perfect, secluded getaway for beach lovers and snorkelers. Make sure you spend a day at Grace Bay (Provo) which is popular for its 12 miles of beach, snorkeling at Bight Reef and some of the area’s best-liked restaurants. For the snorkeler looking for another amazing spot to explore the underwater world of sea creatures, head over to Smith’s Reef (Provo).
Where is your favorite place in the Caribbean?