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Best Miami Beaches

Best Miami Beaches to Visit in 2017

With their white sands and electric blue waters, many of the Miami beaches are among the finest in the world. But with so many bays to choose from, how do you decide where the best ones are? Whether you are a resident of Miami or just visiting for a holiday, our list of the best beaches will help you find what you are looking for.

Miami Beaches

Image by Ricardo’s Photography, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)

Five Best Miami Beaches

Hobie Beach

For solo riders or families, beginners and professionals, Hobie Beach is the ideal spot for surfing, sailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, and just about any other water adventure or activity you can think of. Named after Hobart “Hobie” Alter, the legendary surf and sailing pioneer, this beach provides plenty of water-based action.

Matheson Hammock Park Beach

Ideal for families with young children, Matheson Hammock Park Beach features a manmade atoll pool and several scenic nature trails. The atoll pool makes it a great spot for younger children as there are no waves other than the gentle tidal movement of Biscayne Bay.

Crandon Park Beach

Lined with palm trees, Crandon Park Beach, located in Key Biscayne, has lovely shallow waters making it a popular destination for families. It also has sand as soft and white as flour, making it popular for romantic getaways.

Surfside

Surfside is not only a beautiful beach, it is a beautiful experience. Here, community is the word and the first Friday of every month sees residents and tourists alike gathering for a community get together and picnic.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Beach

Frequently listed as one of the top ten Miami beaches, this State Park offers much more than most beaches and provides visitors with the opportunity to go quad riding, kayaking and snorkeling. The beach is overlooked by the county’s oldest historical landmark, a lighthouse built in 1825.

Lighthouse Miami Beach

Image by Kent Wang, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Very Worthy Mentions

  • South Beach
  • Sunny Isles Beach
  • 46th–63rd Street Beach
  • Haulover Beach Park
  • Orlando

OK, so Orlando is clearly not a beach in Miami… BUT, at a mere three hours’ drive away this city is too good to be missed. Especially when you consider Orlando is the home of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and a wealth of other waterparks and amusement parks.

Where will you visit?

What are your favorite Miami beaches and where else would you recommend?

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Best Cheap Summer Family Vacations at the Beach

Ahhhh summer vacation.

To my family, this means lazy days on the water, relaxing and enjoying the company of family and friends. Pools, beaches and lakes all get the job done!

Summer is a great time to escape together as a family. And this year, there are plenty of amazing deals out there, making a fabulous and important family getaway more accessible than ever before.

After consulting my travel industry friends and scouring the web for the best deals, I’ve discovered some amazingly cheap options for summer beach vacations this year.

The good news is it’s not too late to plan and book your family’s summer getaway. If you’re looking to book a family beach vacation this summer, consider heading to the southern United States, or even Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, for the best off-peak season deals. Airline travel packages are also very inexpensive right now, and a good way to stretch your vacation dollar. Or stick close to home and explore regional lakes.

Do you represent a destination or hotel with a cheap summer vacation package that would appeal to families? I’d love to know about it!

Here are the 20 best cheap summer family vacations at the beach for 2015. 

St John, US Virgin Islands from $93 per night

Flying to the U.S. Virgin Islands is always a little pricey, but flights are at their cheapest during the summer months. Between May and December, Cinnamon Bay Campground on St. John is a screaming deal for families. Kids under 16 stay free with paying adults. Kids love this eco-resort camp with platform tents connected by a series of wooden walkways. The beach alone offers enough fun to keep the kids busy with swimming, sailing and snorkeling in the waters protected by the US Virgin Islands National Park.  Read more about camping on St John.

Camping on St John

Book it! Cinnamon Bay Campground is considered the best campground in the Virgin Islands, and perhaps in all of the Caribbean.

Key Largo, Florida from $169 per night

Consider booking a vacation rental in the Florida Keys. Key Largo, the first and northernmost of the Florida Keys, is only about a one-hour drive from the Miami airport but feels like a world away. All you’ll need here is a rental car and some sand toys for a relaxing, inexpensive family beach vacation this summer.

cheap family summer vacation

Book it! Book an ocean front condo at Home Away.

Or, consider Hawks Cay Resort, a family favorite located on Duck Key with beautiful rooms and family suites starting at $229 per night.

Placencia, Belize

With 22 acres of soft white sand, family-friendly accommodations, onsite water sports, four restaurants and more, Roberts Grove Beach Resort in Placencia, Belize, is a perfect family beach getaway. Kids love the three fresh water pools as well as the private beach, but don’t miss out on local tours of the Mayan Ruins and nearby towns and villages. Rooms have mini-fridges and plenty of room to spread out. Plus, kids 12 and under always stay free!

cheap summer family beach vacation

Book it! Get 1 night free for every 5 nights booked through November 30th.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from $204 per night (including flights!)

The Dominican Republic is an up-and-coming beach destination know for easy access and affordable prices year round. Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic. At the heart of the city is the Zona Colonial, where you’ll find one of the oldest churches, charming cobblestone streets and the oldest surviving European fortress among other New World firsts.

For many vacations, airfare is the largest expense. Consider booking a package through an airline, who often subsidize the price of the airfare in combination with ground services like hotels and tours.

Malecon-Santo-Domingo

Book it! The Be Live Experience Hamaca Beach offers excellent value for money. Superior rooms start at only $167 per night.

 

For an amazing deal, book a vacation through American Airlines vacations and stay at The Hilton Santo Domingo, a luxury hotel right in Santo Domingo with a pool on site. Beaches are about 30km away, and day excursions can be booked via the hotel’s concierge. 

San Juan, Puerto Rico from $133 per night (including flights!)

Americans don’t need a passport to escape to this tropical island that is a territory of the U.S. Thanks to the addition of new and increased services from airports around the U.S. in recent months, flights to Puerto Rico are now among the cheapest to the Caribbean. Expect to find deals on flights and hotels during the summer months, when the Spring Break crowds have left and the deep sea fisherman have not yet arrived.

cheap summer family beach vacation

Book it! Book flights and a stay at The Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan (Condado), you’ll be close to Condado Beach and San Juan Cathedral. This 4-star resort is close to La Fortaleza , Palacio de Santa Catalina and Puerta de San Juan. 

Nicaragua from $147 per person per night 

Skip Costa Rica, Nicaragua’s more expensive neighbor, and instead spend a week or two exploring this up and coming destination.

Today, Nicaragua is safe, friendly and affordable. You’ll find access to high-quality health care with several highly specialized hospitals, especially in the greater Managua area, and self-driving in Nicaragua is easy. This is a destination best explored when you can take your time.

nicaragua pacific coast beach

Book it! I love the team at Vapues, an in-country Nicaraguan tour operator, for their great prices and fast, friendly correspondence. 

Also check out Luxury Link for hot deals on luxury hotels in Central America here!

Lake McConaughy, Nebraska from $145 per night

Nebraska’s largest reservoir at 35,700 acres, Lake McConaughy is a surprisingly large lake in the heartland of the United States. Camp right on the lake’s white sandy beaches, and rent a pontoon boat and spend a full day exploring the shores of this largely uninhabited area. Located 9 miles north of Ogallala, the lake offers excellent fishing, boating, and camping.
cheap summer family beach vacation

Book it! Book one of these fully-furnished cabins for a comfortable place to sleep for the whole family, including a full kitchen and an escape from the wind, which can be pretty intense here from time to time.  

Clear Lake, Iowa from $125 per night

Travel to Clear Lake, Iowa for a good, old-fashioned Midwestern lake experience. Rent a condo or cabin in Clear Lake and spend the days swimming and boating in the calm, clear waters.

cheap summer family beach vacation

Book it! Your best bet in Clear Lake is to book a vacation rental, like this one from VRBO.

Lake Tahoe, California from $108 per night

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, making it an ideal destination for a summertime beach vacation. With 72 miles of tranquil sandy beaches, snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear water, these beaches provide a breathtaking backdrop for beach lovers.

Enjoy the soft sandy beaches at Zephyr Cove or the beautiful backdrop of Emerald Bay. If you’re keen to get off the beaten path, check out one of the boat-only-access campgrounds offer a camping experience. Large outdoor pavilions with covered seating create the perfect venue for barbecues, corporate events, weddings and receptions.

cheap summer family beach vacations

Book it! Families love the Aston Lakeland Village Beach and Mountain Resort for their full schedule of kids programming and an on-site kids club.

Charleston, South Carolina from $99 per night

Wild Dunes is an island resort near Charleston, South Carolina. Relax with your family along the serene Isle of Palms, South Carolina beach or one of the resort’s pools. Choose from vacation homes and condo rentals with a variety of views and locations along the resort, the AAA Four Diamond Village at Wild Dunes guest suites or AAA Four Diamond Boardwalk Inn guestrooms both located in the heart of the resort  for your summer family beach vacation.

cheap summer family beach vacation

Book it! Select dates this summer are available for only $99 per night.

Riviera Maya, Mexico from $261 per adult per night

The area known as the Riviera Maya stretches along the Eastern coast of Mexico, starting in Cancun and extending South through Playa del Carmen almost all the way to Tulum. Mexico’s Riviera Maya is super easy to access, safe, and offers a wide range of accommodations, including plenty of comfortable vacation rentals perfect for families and multi-generational groups.

Paradisus Playa del Carmen

Book it! I loved the Paradisus Esmerelda for families. Kids love the on site cultural activities and unique classes ranging from tango lessons to sushi-making classes. This summer, kids stay free at this amazing all-inclusive resort. Consider booking one of the swim up rooms for the best experience!

San Diego, California from $112 per person per night (including flights!)

Consistent sunny weather and 70 miles of magnificent coastline are what draw active families to San Diego. Mission Beach, La Jolla and Coronado are all perfect places to spend a leisurely day with the family.

cheap summer family vacations

Book it! Expedia has excellent flight + hotel packages this summer. This package includes 7 nights at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort offers amenities for the whole family.

Ixtapa, Mexico from $119 per person per night

Ixtapa and the sister-city of Zihuatanejo both offer some of the best beaches on the Western Pacific coast of Mexico. Here you’ll find soft, golden sand and amazing sunsets. This health-concious region is also a great place to stay active by surfing, hiking or joining a fabulous yoga class on the beach.

cheap family beach vacation

Book it! If you’re looking for a larger resort with plenty of family-friendly amenities, The Club Med Ixtapa has continuously high marks among traveling families. 

Los Cabos, Mexico from $159 per night 

The Mexican beach towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, commonly referred to as one combined destination of Los Cabos, is a popular family destination. From getting up close and personal with wildlife, to pirate-themed boat rides, there is plenty for kids to do in Los Cabos.

yoga in los cabos mexico

Book it! Many hotels in this area have been closed since the hurricane in 2014 and are offering some amazing “re-opening” specials during the summer of 2015, like this package at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos Resort.

Ocean City, Maryland

If miles of beach and a famous wooden boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants are calling, Ocean City is the spot for you and your family.  From fishing charters to kayaking to jet-skis, the options of this great destination seem endless.

Book it!  The Princess Royale offers direct access to Ocean City MD beachfront and has a 4 story indoor atrium. This hotel has been around for a long time and has 4 star+ ratings on TripAdvisor and Google.

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, Florida from $24 per night

A little-known beach on the Florida Panhandle with 10 miles of white sand and spectacular sunsets. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is a fun, inexpensive beach getaway. If your family is into camping, this is an ideal spot to pitch a tent and enjoy an extremely cheap beach vacation this summer.

cheap family beach vacation

Book it! If you would prefer not to camp, the El Governor Motel, in the nearby town of Mexico Beach, is a 50-minute drive from St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. All 120 guest rooms include balconies and sweeping views of the Gulf; amenities include a beach-side pool and a tiki bar. The motel runs a campground directly across the street.

Oval Beach, Michigan from $120 per night for a cottage 

Surprisingly, the state of Michigan boasts some of the longest stretches of white sandy beach anywhere in America. The state’s Western shore bordering Lake Michigan is home to gems like Saugatuck Michigan’s Oval Beach.  Here you’ll find lovely sand dunes and beautiful sunsets that set the stage for a perfect family beach vacation.

cheap family beach vacation

Book it! The Beachway Resort is the closest hotel to Lake Michigan’s Oval Beach. Situated between downtown Saugatuck and Lake Michigan overlooking the Saugatuck Harbor, this family-friendly hotel is a great option.

Have you discovered a great summer family beach vacation deal? I’d love to know about it! Leave me a comment below. Happy travels!

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riviera maya best cenote

Riviera Maya Best Cenotes: Take the Plunge

Wondering which are the Riviera Maya best cenotes? It can be hard to choose because there are literally thousands of the natural caves filled with fresh water in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. These underwater sinkholes were are formed millions of years ago when limestone caves collapse, revealing underground pools.

Today, you can explore Cenotes in a number of ways. Some Cenotes are unmarked and people just stumble across them while exploring the jungle, and others, like Rio Secreto, are massively developed and include tours and meals.

Snorkeling in a Cenote is a fun and unique way to see underwater life. It would be impossible to list them all, so I’ve put together a list of the Riviera Maya Best Cenotes for families.

Most of the Cenotes have a small entrance fee, ranging from US $5 to $10 per person per day. While some do have restaurant facilities, it’s always a good idea to pack a cooler with food and drinks when you head out for the day. water shoes (as opposed to flip flops) are a very good idea for safety and comfort. Also, it’s best to bring your own snorkel gear so you don’t have to rent it on site.

When visiting the Cenotes, be sure to respect the posted signs. Most Cenotes do not allow sunscreen, creams or lotions of any kind in the water as it causes massive damage to the natural underwater ecosystem. Bugs, especially mosquitoes, can be bad around some of the Cenotes, yet most don’t allow insect repellent to be worn in the water. Again, please respect this. You can spray yourself once you exit the water.

Here are the Riviera Maya Best Cenotes:

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is one of the Riviera Maya Best Cenotes and simply a must-see. Located just outside of Tulum, it is well marked and easy to find. Head into Tulum town on the 307 highway and take a right at the second stop light (this is the main road to Coba). After about 2 miles you will see the Gran Cenote on your right. Here you will find changing facilities, bathrooms and a small restaurant on site.

The water here is crystal clear and you’ll find impressive stalactites under water along with fish and sea turtles.

Dos Ojos Cenote

Located across the street from the Xel-ha water park, Dos Ojos consists of two connected sinkholes with a large cavern between them (accessible only if you’re scuba diving here.) If you plan on snorkeling, enter the 2nd Cenote (the one on the right) and take an immediate left at the bottom of the stairs. Walk until you find a nice entrance point for snorkeling, one of two wooden decks with stairs.

Dos Ojos Cenote in the Riviera Maya

It does get crowded to try to get here early in the day if possible. After you’ve explored the Dos Ojos Cenote, relax in one of the hammocks on site (or bring your own) and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Ponderosa El Eden

This beautiful Cenote is located about 3km south of Puerto Aventuras. After arriving at the Ponderosa El Eden Cenote, you’ll walk on a short path that takes you to the Cenote. Be sure to bring your own cooler for food and drink as there is no restaurant on site.

Ponderosa El Eden has a large island in the center of it. Kids love climbing up the large tree in the middle of this island and jumping into the water. Enjoy unlimited visibility under the water, and a wide variety of fish, eels, turtles and plant life. It’s easy to see what makes it one of the Riviera Maya best cenotes.

Chaak Tun

Located across the 307 highway across from Playa del Carmen (at Av. Juarez). To reach Chaak Tun, head past the guard and continue about 5 km to where the bumpy dirt road begins.

Chaak Tun is best visited after 1pm, when all the large tour groups have finished their morning tours.

Included in the price of admission is a safety helmet and life jacket. Walk down a few hundred feet through a well-kept wooden walkaway to where the cave opens to a small courtyard with tall trees that rise into the jungle and with a variety of birds, singing and making different sounds. While snorkeling keep your eyes peeled for a stone replica of the famous Virgin of Guadeloupe at the bottom of the water of the Cenote.

Rio Secreto 

Rio Secreto is actually a series of Centoes connected by an underground river. Simply look for the highway signs that mark the turn off about 5km south of Playa del Carmen.

Rio Secreto Cenotes in the Riviera Maya

If you are keen to learn more about the geology of Cenotes on an organized tour, you may want to consider Rio Secreto. While this option is more pricey than the do-it-yourself options listed above (adults are US $80 and children are half price) the 3 ½ hour tour offers a bilingual guide, equipment and they even serve you lunch after! Children must be at least 4 years old to visit Rio Secreto.

Want more? Check out our Riviera Maya Family Travel Guide.

Have you been to a Cenote in the Riviera Maya? What did you think?

 

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christmas beach vacation

Best Christmas Beach Vacation Ideas

The holidays are a magical time of year. The snow falls, the fireplace crackles and the egg nog flows.

I absolutely love the preparation, the planning and the excitement of the holidays. And especially with young kids in the house, the holiday energy reaches a fever pitch by Christmas Eve.

I love the holiday season. I really do. But I have something to admit.

Last year we spent the week between Christmas and New Years in Mexico on the island of Isla Mujeres. And this Christmas beach vacation was a-freaking-mazing!

Because to be honest, by the time Christmas actually arrives, I am kind of over the holidays. I’m usually pretty wiped out after all the shopping, decorating, eating, drinking and merry-making from Thanksgiving all the way through December.

So packing up and heading south on Christmas day was one of the best decisions we made all year. If you’re considering a Christmas beach vacation, I can wholeheartedly endorse that idea!

Here are a few of my top picks for the best Christmas beach vacation.

The Bahamas Out Islands for a Family Christmas Beach Vacation 

The Bahamas Out Islands are considered to be the “Caribbean Connoisseurs” destination. Consider the Out Islands if you’re looking for a place to relax, reconnect and keep away from the crowds.

bahamas out islands

The Abacos, a 120-mile chain of islands (kind of a mini-Bahamas within the Bahamas), are perhaps the most accessible of the Out Islands. Here you’ll also find the widest range of accommodations; bungalows, villas, vacation rentals and a few larger resorts. The tourist board website is a great place to start looking for a place to stay in the Out Islands.

While you’re in the Out Islands, be sure to enjoy the white – and the pink – sandy beaches. You’ll find a variety of nature trails and hikes spread out among the four national parks located within The Abacos, where you can see orchids, Caribbean parrots and exotic marine life. Kids also love seeing these famous swimming island pigs in the Bahamas Out Islands!

Belize Beaches for an Amazing Family Beach Getaway

Just short 2.5-hour flights from many airports in the southern Unites States, the best Belize beach vacations all include the island of Ambergis Caye. Originally put on the map as a mecca for divers, this funky beach town has grown into a fun home base for a week at the beach. Activities on Ambergis Caye revolve around the water; diving, snorkeling, boating, and fishing. Golf carts are the main form of transportation on this island.

Las Terrazas Resort is an Ambergis Caye family favorite. When traveling to the beach with kids it’s important to stay someplace where you can spread out as well as prepare some of your own meals. This family-friendly hotel checks all the boxes. Select fro a range of “town home” rooms available, all including kitchen and sitting area. And the La Terrazas private, white sand beach is one of the largest on Ambergis Caye.

christmas beach vacation

Especially if you have older kids, you may also want to consider a visit to San Ignacio while on your Belize Christmas beach vacation. Here you can visit ancient Mayan ruins and learn about the culture and history of this part of Central America. I like to plan this active and historical type of activity early in the vacation, so you can fully relax once you get to the beach.

Spend the Holidays with the Family in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a seriously fun place to visit around Christmas, as this country is host to one of the most traditional Christmas celebrations in the region. The celebration goes on for weeks. There are three Christmas parades; El Carnival with dancers and musical groups from all across the country, El Tope, a parade of show horses and decorative hand-painted ox carts, and the favorite, El Festival de Luzes, a nighttime parade filled with thousands of decorative lights.

These are magic events and well worth scheduling your trip to be in San Jose during one or more of these parades.

christmas beach vacation

Costa Rica is a great option if you’re keen to stay active during your Christmas beach vacation. Spend a portion of your trip next to the magnificent Arenal volcano on Guanacaste’s white-sand beaches.

Then head to another amazing beach, one of the best in the country in fact, at Playa Conchal. I love this Christmas beach vacation package from Vacations Costa Rica, which combines these spectacular Costa Rica beaches.

Consider Isla Mujeres for an Easy Family Christmas Beach Vacation

My family spent Christmas on Isla Mujeres island last year and loved every minute of it. Even though this island is only a quick ferry ride from Cancun, it feels miles away from the mega-resorts, crowds and shopping malls.

Condo in Mexico

We stayed at the Ixchel Beach Hotel, and of course loved having a kitchen and spent a fair amount of time in their beachfront pool. But what we loved most was being right on the magnificent North Beach, the best beach on Isla Mujeres island. The water here is a stunning shade of turquoise and stays very shallow far out, so you don’t have large waves and it’s safe for small children.

During the week between Christmas and New Years there were many private boats parked near North Beach, creating a very fun, festive atmosphere every day.

Be sure to rent a golf cart on Isla Mujeres at least one day during your trip to fully explore the island.

Book a Family Christmas Beach Adventure to the U.S. Virgin Islands

St. John, which along with St. Croix and St. Thomas make up the U.S. Virgin Islands, is perhaps best known for maintaining over two-thirds of it’s land mass as protected national forest. You won’t find a single resort or condo on any St. John beach.

No cruise-ship ports or airports either. While there is a main town, a number of private villas and a few hotels, St. John maintains a totally natural and pristine atmosphere.

Camping on St John

If you’re feeling adventurous or looking to save money on accommodations, consider camping on St. John. That’s right, I said camping! Kids love the adventure of camping on the beach, and you’ll love sleeping just a few feet away from the magical blue ocean in this secluded part of the Caribbean.

So what do you think? Is a Christmas beach vacation something your family would consider?

Out Islands image by Scott Smith via Flickr

La Terrazas image by Patton via Flickr

This post is part of the fun Travel Advent Calendar series, check it out here for fun travel posts the entire month of December!

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Camping on St John

Camping on St John

Camping on St. John is usually not top of mind for most travelers planning their next Caribbean vacation. It can be easy to fall into a little bit of a rut when it comes to beach vacations–wanting everything easy and done for you.  No one is knocking all-inclusive vacations in Cancun, but sometimes you want something a little bit different!

Camping on St. John

The notion of unzipping a tent and peaking my head out to a spectacular sunrise was all I needed to dig into it more.  Not to mention the fact that these pristine views lack the big time price tag that accompanies so many of those resorts.  

We loved camping in the Grand Canyon, but were unsure about camping in the Caribbean. To get a better idea of what we might be in for, we spoke to a few frequenters of the Caribbean and learned some more.

Here’s what we found out about Camping on St. John:

Although Caribbean has a lot to explore, the number of places you can camp in the tropical paradise are few. In fact, the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John is one of the only safe and family-friendly Caribbean destinations for camping. (It’s worth noting that Jost van Dyke is a close second. It’s renowned for camping, but getting up-to-date details requires a lot of research. If you have more information about camping there, please let us know!)

The U.S. Virgin Islands, made up of St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas, may be best known for protecting more than two-thirds of its land as national forest. As such, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any resorts, condos, cruise ports or airports on the beaches of St. John. But don’t let that deter you– there is still a town with private villas and a few hotels scattered among the pristine, natural island.

It’s for this reason you’ll find yourself returning to St. John over and over again.

What to pack for a camping trip on St. John

Packing for any trip requires planning, and it’s especially true for camping trips. We’ve talked about what we pack for backpacking and weekend getaways, yet packing for camping in the Caribbean is an entirely different undertaking. Unless you want to pay outrageous bag fees, you’ll have to be smart about what you bring.

Luckily, there are two main campgrounds on St. John that provide many of the amenities and camping supplies you’ll need. They offer things like clean sheets and towels on a weekly basis, as well as small kitchens with basic cooking essentials.

Camping on St John

Although most of the regular St. John’s campers recommended bringing select dry goods from the states, you can still find a handful of food and drink options when you arrive. There are grocery stores in St. Thomas and St. John that have adequate selections, and St. John has several great restaurants where you can easily dine out for any meal you don’t feel like cooking.

In the end, the simple island lifestyle makes your packing list a short one. You’ll want to bring enough to be cosy and comfortable in the evenings (read: slippers and games) but you won’t need much else. The must-haves include swimsuits, coverups, sandals, snorkel equipment, and, of course, a camera!

Getting around St. John

We’d be lying if we said traveling to St. John from the U.S. was always a breeze. Chances are you may need to change planes a few times. But at least United States citizens don’t have to worry about immigration. Since it’s part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, you actually don’t even need to bring your passport.

That said, it’s recommended you bring it anyway. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a boat from the island and visit some of the nearby snorkeling locales. Some of the daily snorkeling trips hop along the neighboring islands, and these will require a quick visit to customs and another stamp in your passport. All well-worth carrying the extra ID.

Once on St. John, the easiest way to travel the island is via a rental car or, our favorite, a 4×4 vehicle. Whatever you rent, make sure you get a vehicle that can carry you across the rugged island roads in ease and comfort. By car, you can travel from one end of the island to the other in about 45 minutes. But don’t let the ease of exploration fool you– there is no shortage of things to see and do.

If you’re visiting St. Thomas too, you can rent a car there and take it with you on the ferry to St. John; however, this ferry only runs a few times each week, so you’ll have to plan accordingly. It may well be easier to just rent a car when you arrive in St. John.

The bottom line about camping on St. John

The bottom line is a sandy one. Camping on St. John will leave you with a remote, pristine, family-friendly, and affordable Caribbean beach vacation.

If you’re looking for an adventure, getting to St. John is just the start. There is surely enough to see and do on the island for more than a week-long stay. That said, the beach is easily the main attraction for this destination, and you’ll be lucky enough to sleep surprisingly close to the ocean. THAT is what makes camping on St. John such a memorable experience!

Not sure where to start? One of the main campsites with camping accommodations is the Cinnamon Bay Campground on St. John. For decades, they’ve been catering to guests with rave reviews who return time and time again. But be aware that they run on island time, so patience is encouraged when waiting for a response. If that wasn’t reason enough to book well in advance, they often sell out of spaces a year ahead of time. Better get started!

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