Choose the Right Island Vacation for Your Travel Style
The first day of spring might be right around the corner, but all over the country Punxsutawney Phil’s six-more-weeks-of-winter prediction is coming true. Fortunately for those in need of a break from shoveling snow and thawing fingertips, prices are dropping at tropical island resorts as peak season ends. Whether your definition of paradise is an exotic hideaway for two, an adventure with friends that stretches your dollar or treating yourself to a lavish suite at a 4-star resort, we’re mapping out our favorite island getaways for every travel style.
For a wallet-friendly getaway with the entire squad … visit the Dominican Republic
Major airports around the country offer daily flights to the Dominican Republic, so planning a group trip is a breeze -- even with multiple departure cities. On the eastern edge of Hispaniola, Punta Cana’s diverse landscape of tropical rainforest, mountain ranges and powder-soft beaches has made it a playground for adrenaline junkies. The whole crew can pack itineraries -- and Instagram feeds -- with envy-inducing exploits like zip-lining through the jungle canopy, horseback riding on the beach or scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters surrounding Catalina Island.
Opened in November 2016, the Blue Beach Punta Cana is easy on everyone’s budget with the option of room-only or all-inclusive rates. Groups can spread out comfortably in the resort’s two-bedroom suites equipped with kitchens, allowing for homemade meals that bring everyone together while cutting back the food bill. Guests have access to the property’s bars, restaurants, yoga classes and water sports.
For a romantic retreat … visit St. Lucia
A perennial favorite for honeymooners, St. Lucia woos visitors with dramatic views, secluded resorts and unspoiled landscapes. The volcanic island teems with excellent hiking terrain for couples who like to get their hearts racing, botanical gardens overflowing with natural beauty and pristine beaches to drink in the sunshine -- and a few rum cocktails, of course -- with your one and only.
Be among the first to stay at the Harbor Club, a boutique hotel opened this year on Rodney Bay and surrounded by upscale dining and nightlife. From the marina, visitors set sail on boating trips, snorkeling excursions and whale-watching cruises; guests can also hop on the complimentary water taxi to reach a private beach on Pigeon Island. The boutique resort features only 115 rooms, but its five restaurants, four swimming pools with cabanas and three bars make every moment on property feel intimate.
For traditional luxury … visit Bermuda
One of the last remains of the once vast British Empire, Bermuda maintains its reputation of seaside civility that’s been cultivated since the 17th century. High tea is still a daily custom here, world-class golf courses dot the tiny island’s 21 square miles, and there isn’t a single fast-food chain to be found. It’s hard not to look at life through rose-tinted glasses while surrounded by sherbet-colored cottages and pink beaches. Even the treacherous reefs ringing the archipelago are now known as one of the world’s top diving destinations.
Overlooking Hamilton Harbor, the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa pampers guests with free airport and beach shuttles as well as a water taxi into town. The 4-star resort’s suites are equipped with kitchens, Jacuzzi tubs and private balconies. All guests have access to the hotel’s spa and infinity pool.
Elisabeth Barker is a Division 1 athlete turned globetrotter and travel writer. Based in New York City and Miami, she is the founder of @skirtandasuitcase an online community focusing on inspirational travel, fitness and healthy lifestyle habits.