Caribbean Beach Vacations: No Passport Necessary!

Caribbean Beach Vacations

Meg Massie

A Caribbean beach vacation is the perfect way to trade in your winter blues for the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Make time for a romantic getaway with someone special, or take the whole family to the islands for plenty of all-ages entertainment. With so many American territories in the Caribbean, you can escape to practically another world without even bringing your passport. If you're not from the US, we still recommend checking out these great Caribbean beach vacation ideas.

The islands of the Caribbean each have their own unique flavor, but one common thread is that a Caribbean beach vacation on any island will be a relaxing experience. There are plenty of ways to get active, of course, but no matter where you go, you'll leave your stress on the mainland. Here are our top picks in the Caribbean.

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands: The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

Easily the nicest hotel on the island, the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas offers a great blend of romance and family fun. Honeymooners should try the His & Hers Spa Getaway, a romantic dinner at Bleuwater, and a Sunset Sail aboard the Lady Lynsey. If you come here for a family Caribbean beach vacation, everyone will love all the watersports activities. Lessons and equipment are all available right on the hotel's beach -- try paddleboarding, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, and more.

St. John, US Virgin Islands: Maho Bay Camps

If your idea of the perfect Caribbean beach vacation is getting close to nature, St. John is the island for you. Two-thirds of St. John island is the US Virgin Islands National Park, and here's where you'll find Maho Bay Camps, an eco-resort where you can stay in tent cottages or apartment accommodations. Resort activities include sailing, diving, national park tours, hikes, yoga, and a "Trash to Treasures" art program where the resort's trash is recycled into craft items and fine art.

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands: The Palms at Pelican Cove

Winner of the Best Hotel on St. Croix in 2009, The Palms at Pelican Cove is a small but luxurious resort in the town of Christiansted. Bring your Caribbean beach vacation to the Palms for a home-away-from-home experience, though perhaps a bit more luxe than your actual home! Come in the spring to take advantage of seasonal turtle watch programs sponsored by the St. Croix Environmental Association, where you can witness sea turtles nesting on the beaches and baby sea turtles making their way to the water for the first time.

San Juan, Puerto Rico: El San Juan Hotel & Casino

Puerto Rico is another American territory in the Caribbean. Beach vacations to San Juan are easy -- just a quick flight away from Miami, and plenty of beautiful resorts to choose from. We recommend El San Juan Hotel & Casino, where you can soak up the sun on a private beach, or enjoy a famous Puerto Rican pina colada at one of many swim-up tiki bars at the pool. When the sun sets, head inside to one of the hotel's seven restaurants, or try your luck the high rollers in the casino.

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