Taking the family to the beach can create lifelong memories, as long as every member of the family is satisfied. To help you choose your next family beach vacation, U.S. News considered factors like safe waters, kid-friendly attractions, dining options, spacious accommodations, multi-generational appeal and overall accessibility. The list below features destinations across the country that are most ideal for family getaways, according to travel experts and our readers. Weigh in by voting below, then use this list to plan your upcoming travels.Read More
Category Virgin Islands
The editors at Islands Magazine have put together a list of the 5 best beaches in the Caribbean, and Tulum, about two hours south of Cancun, Mexico, tops the list. Tulum, they say, “is where ancient Maya ruins line the coast atop 39-foot cliffs that overlook turquoise water and cotton-soft beaches. The views from the bluff impress, but a look back at the iconic Pyramid El Castillo is worth a swim out to sea.”
I’ll never forget the day I visited Tulum with my wife and sister. It was in late June and perhaps the hottest, most humid day I have ever experienced. We had an excellent tour guide, who was Mayan and very proud of his heritage and filled with valuable and interesting information about the ruins. However, 45 minutes into our tour, we were so hot and the beach was so close that we politely excused ourselves from the tour and climbed down the stairs to the welcoming waters of the Tulum Beach. It was the most refreshing swim I think I have ever had!
I since found out that while you can access that small beach from a wooden stairway from behind the center of the ruins, the better beaches are to the south of the ruins, along the road that goes to Boca Paila. You can access the beaches through the cabana resorts along the road. The sand is powdery with isolated rocks and the water is warm but the waves can be rough at time. Snorkeling is pretty good when the sea is calm.
Is Tulum the best beach in the Caribbean? Well, I don’t know about that, give...Read More
USA Today has just named its Top 10 Beaches in the Caribbean, and one of them is one of my favorites: Magen’s Bay on the Island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I recently had the opportunity to visit Magen’s Bay with my wife, Diane, and we loved the soft sand and clear, calm water.
You won’t find hotels and bars on the shores of Magen’s Bay, which is protected much like a national park and is run by the Magen’s Bay Authority. There is a small ($4 when I was there) entrance fee, and the authority provides a rustic park-like concession stand. It also rents snorkeling equipment, lounge chairs, kayaks, paddle boats and other non-motorized boats.
The bay is surrounded by an arc of mountains and islands, protecting the waters from the rough waters of the Atlantic and creating a calm respite of beauty and relaxation. Many say Magen’s Bay is more like a salt-water lake than an ocean. Walking from one end of the mile-long white sand beach to the other reveals stunning views of cliffside mansions (one, we’re told, owned by Bill and Hillary Clinton and another by Adam Sandler) scattered on the hills, green and blue hued waters, yachts, sailboats, kayaks and swimmers. Way off to the right of the beach, past the boat rental area, be sure to take a walk along the rocks in the soft shallow sand (but watch your step) for beautiful views of the clear water and the beach behind you. You also might see a sea turtle or ray in this area.
We went sn...Read More
The Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley
TripAdvisor’s latest list of unique beaches is one you just can’t miss. From Hidden Beach in Mexico (pictured above) to an iceberg beach in Iceland, it’s not only for the inquisitive but for the adventurous. Which ones would I be most likely to visit? That’s easy. Being a fan of warm weather and sunshine, Iceland, for all its beauty, is not going to make my list. My favorites are Hidden Beach, Mexico (yes, you’ll have to click on the link to find out where in Mexico this hidden beach is); The Baths in the British Virgin Islands; Maho Beach, St. Martin; and Horsehoe Bay Beach, Bermuda. Which would you most like to visit?Read More
The magazine’s Number One Caribbean destination for families is the Turks and Caicos Islands, and what a perfect choice it is. You can’t talk about Turks & Caicos without talking about Grace Bay, often ranked among the very best beaches in the world.
Parents Magazine says: “For beach fun, this network of islands — especially the popular Providenciales (aka Provo) — is unbeatable.”
TripAdvsior says: “White-sand beaches, calm clear water and a bountiful barrier reef make the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales a hot spot for families, snorkelers and divers,” according to TripAdvisor. “Some call rock-free Grace Bay Beach the best in the world. For an unusual experience, divers can walk along the ocean floor at Smith’s Reef, where underwater signs describe the reef’s ecosystem. Additional destinations include Iguana Island (home of endangered rock iguanas), the country’s only golf course, art galleries and a casino.”
As you would expect, Providenciales has some amazing beach resorts, and while they can be pricey you will find affordable options as well. Be sure to check out the reviews and compare prices on TripAdvisor.
The other Best Caribbean Destinations mentioned by Parents Magazine, with our links to TripAdvisor reviews...Read More
As much of the country continues to suffer a cold winter, TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, announced the results of its TripIndex Caribbean, a cost comparison of a one-week trip for a family or group of four to 20 popular Caribbean destinations during the travel period of March 1, 2014 – April 30, 2014. The TripIndex Caribbean evaluated travel expenses including the average round-trip airfare from the continental U.S., a seven night hotel stay, dinner for six nights and a half-day snorkeling excursion for four.
The average cost for a one-week trip for a family or group of four traveling to the Caribbean during the spring travel period is $7,152, and they can expect to pay around $3,253 for round-trip flights and $2,772 for one week in a hotel.
- U.S. travelers seeking Caribbean value may consider several destinations in the Greater Antilles, including Puerto Rico, the least expensive destination on the TripIndex with a total cost of $4,609; Jamaica which ranks as the second best value ($4,631), and the Dominican Republic at #4 ($5,315).
- The most expensive Caribbean spots are located in the Leeward Islands: St. Barthelemy (St. Bart’s) is the priciest Caribbean destination on the Index at $12,486 – 17 percent more expensive than the second priciest on the list, Anguilla ($10,709). The British Virgin Islands round out the top three costliest Caribbean spots at $9,712 for the week.
“After a particularly harsh winter, many Americans are desperate to escape the Pola...Read More
“Cocktails are the champions of the Caribbean and although every island and every beach bar boasts its own boozy claim to fame, a really fine drink can morph a great holiday into a grand one.” So says Melanie Reffes writing in USA Today in her Sexiest Bars in the Caribbean roundup, adding: “And the right watering hole can keep you lingering long after your thirst is quenched. (Posted via Scoop.It! from Caribbean360.com.)
Bottom’s up, beach lovers!
For a moment, I’ll leave chilly NYC behind, and get lost in the sunny memories of my first visit to the Virgin Islands….
Beautiful beaches, great weather and lots to do. It’s hard to beat the U.S. Virgin Islands!
See on www.huffingtonpost.comRead More
The Palms at Pelican Cove is a small, friendly St. Croix hotel with a family atmosphere. It was voted “Best Beach Resort on St. Croix” 2012 by readers of the Virgin Islands Daily News, is on a beach that was the first in the Virgin Islands to be awarded a “Blue Flag” from the Foundation for Environmental Education, and is a 2013 Travelers’ Choice resort on Trip Advisor, where travelers have ranked it the best hotel in the entire U.S. Virgin Islands.
“This resort hotel is the most friendly and accommodating hotel we have ever experienced,” writes on visitor. “We had our wedding hosted at the Palms and I don’t think we could have chosen a more perfect place,” writes another. And other representative comments: “Chuck offers free snorkeling tours (day and night) right in front of the hotel and we were able to see dozens of tropical fish and starfish… we even saw a giant Moray eel! He takes underwater photos for you to help capture the moment and is very knowledgeable about the local marine life. We never felt rushed and you can tell he genuinely loves snorkeling with his guests.” … “I really liked the beach and the grounds in general. They seemed natural but there was constant cleaning and manicuring. We had a nice view of the ocean with swaying palms and blooming flowers.” Read more comments and compare prices.Read More
There are a lot of great reasons to visit Caribbean islands. Warm weather, new cultures, lots of beautiful hills and sometimes cliffs, not to mention interesting and welcoming people. But there is one reason above all to visit the Caribbean: BEACHES! The Caribbean has some of the best beaches in the world, from the pink sands of the Bahamas to the inviting white sands of Aruba. USA Today has compiled a list of what it believes are the Best Beaches of the Caribbean, a list that you could definitely argue with depending on your personal preferences but that at least highlights some of great islands and beaches you will want to add to your bucket list if you haven’t already had the pleasure of experiencing them. Below is the USA Today list, with links to some TripAdvisor pages where you can find out more about the islands, beaches and the hotels/resorts and restaurants that line them. The links will also allow you to read reviews from travelers who have been there and compare prices on places to stay. Happy beaching!
- The Bahamas
- Grand Cayman
- Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
- St. Barths
- St. John
- Spanish Virgin Islands (Culebra and Vieques)