It’s that time of year when you officially hit the wall, tired of bundling up your kids in endless layers and scraping ice off the windshield, and start dreaming of tropical getaways, where your biggest concern is whether to order the strawberry or mango margarita. (Our preference: one of both.) Thankfully, with Spring Break around the corner, you have the opportunity to plan such an escape.
Here are seven beach destinations to consider, along with the low-down on the weather and flight time from New York, Washington and Chicago (if you happen to be close to one of those spots), courtesy of the travel experts at Beaches Resorts.
#1 – Jamaica
Jamaica is home to a breathtaking landscape of rolling mountains lined by endless white sand beaches, carpeted by lush foliage and crisscrossed by rolling rivers and cascading waterfalls. Sounds pretty nice, right? There are also tons of activities for the family to enjoy, such as taking a lazy raft ride on Montego Bay’s Martha Brae River. Have older children? Climb world–famous Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios. Or watch your kids’ eyes widen as they witness the cliff divers at Rick’s Café in Negril. All while you enjoy the unrivaled friendliness and hospitality of the Jamaican people. In fact, Jamaica, in 2019, was ranked the “#1 Caribbean Destination” and the “#14 Best Destination In The World” by tripadvisor®.
#2 – Barbados
This lush West Indian island in the Caribbean is the perfect spot for both adventure- and relaxation-seeking families. To the west, you’ll find calm waters and good swimming. To the east, there are massive, competition-caliber waves. Wherever you stay, enjoy the turquoise waters, soft-sand beaches, catamaran cruises, and mouth-watering island fare.
#3 – Bahamas
Why The Bahamas:
Spend a day building sandcastles on a stretch of pristine, white-sand beach and splashing in the crystal-clear, shallow waters. Dive into one of the countless pools or, if getting your hair wet is not in your game plans, simply watch your kids zoom down a waterslide. The Bahamas is a place where you can get cozy with a dolphin, saddle up for a horseback ride and take a stroll with flamingos–all in one day. There are plenty of family-friendly resorts and restaurants, and activities kids and parents alike will love, all of which can be enjoyed in warm weather.
#4 – Turks & Caicos
Why Turks & Caicos:
Looking to get away from all the hustle of modern life? Well, Turks & Caicos offers a true island escape from the usual family chaos, with crystal-clear waters, tons of islands inhabited only by wildlife, and 12 miles of powdery white-sand beaches. The Turks & Caicos islands don’t just feature one of the best beaches in the world, but also some of the top diving destinations. From bird watching to whale sightings, Turks & Caicos offers something for all nature-loving families.
#5 – Antigua
Antigua is best known for exceptional resorts, restaurants, water sports and bustling harbor towns. Antigua also has hundreds of beaches from which to choose, from local favorite Pigeon Point to the kite-surfing paradise of Jabberwock Beach. You and the family can mix it up—a day spent in a secluded cove, another spent people-watching at a more touristy spot. The folks in Antigua are also super friendly and eager to share their love of the island; in fact, taxi drivers that serve the hotels need to pass a test on history of the island and basic hospitality–so kids will get a li’l knowledge along with their fun in the sun!
#6 – Grenada
If your family is seeking an authentic Caribbean vacation, consider the lesser-known Grenada. This English-speaking island, sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, is home to some of the friendliest people in the Caribbean, and the lush and hilly terrain offers a visually spectacular welcome for visitors that arrive by land and sea.
#7 – Saint Lucia
Why Saint Lucia:
Tucked between Barbados and Martinique, St. Lucia might not be the first Caribbean island you consider for a family holiday. However, thanks to excellent scuba diving, beautiful sandy beaches, and hiking at the Pitons, St. Lucia can be a great option for families headed to the Caribbean.
Among the perks of this little dot of lush greenery: a one-of-a-kind “drive-in” volcano, not to mention its legendary chocolate. Saint Lucians also are warm and welcoming, thrilled to have children partaking in their beautiful home for everything from sailing and diving, to whale watching and rainforest zip-lining.