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Beach Vacations that Aren’t in Florida

4 Beach Vacations that Aren’t in Florida

Don’t take it personally, Florida. There is no end to the number of adventures to be had in the sunshine state, from the picturesque to the unusual. But when it comes to beach vacations and ocean view destinations, Florida does not have the monopoly that people think it has. Far from it, in fact! If you are planning to soak up the sun this summer, whether with your family or on a private getaway, it’s time to branch out and experience something else besides Epcot. Take a look at four of the most phenomenal beach vacations that have a little more culture and flair than Orlando.

4 Beach Vacations Outside Florida

1. Samana, Dominican Republic

If you are a beach vacation aficionado, you might not even need to read the rest of this article. Samana is perfectly situated for quick access to not one, not two, but three world class beaches. Soak up all the sun you need and enjoy the best ocean views in the world in Samana Bay. There are lots of activities to keep you occupied if you can manage to peel yourself away from the stunning white sand beaches.

There are waterfall hikes and zipline excursions for the adventurous members of your party. Deep sea fishing excursions can be arranged for the sportsmen and women out there. Still craving more beach time? Take a horseback tour of the Samana peninsula and drink it all in. When you are ready for a quick bite or a major meal, Samana boasts a variety of fine dining options. You can find everything here from local Dominican specialties to Thai and French cuisine that will have you returning night after night.

Two people sitting on a beach bluff in Negril Jamaica

2. Negril, Jamaica

Jamaica is renown for its vibrant culture, music, food, and style. The nightlife in cities and towns across the country can make for a memorable vacation, but what Jamaica does best is beach life. Negril offers a number of exciting activities and attractions that are related to its prime beachfront location.

You can hit surf on a boogie board, sailboat, or anything in between. Go for a long walk on the aptly named Seven Mile Beach and check out the amazing natural formations of the Negril Cliffs. Get a private glass-bottom boat tour of the bay or dive off the coast to find dolphins and exotic reef life. Once you’ve had your fun in the sun, maybe you are ready to put on your dancing shoes and see if Jamaican nightlife is worth all the hype (it is).

You can find everything from classic beach bars to pulsing nightclubs in Negril. There are even services that offer bar crawls after the sun sets. One Love Bus Bar Crawl might be just the thing you are looking for to get acquainted with party culture on the island.

3. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata is an idyllic beach getaway for those who want the very best of the best amenities, excursions, and comfort. The numerous luxury resorts will entertain and pamper you like royalty. You can explore the famous Paradise Island by your desired mode of transportation: sleek speedboat or catamaran.

Amber Cove is a popular docking point for cruise ships, and rightfully so. From there you can access restaurants and cafes with authentic local flavor, or take a quick hike to stunning waterfalls and lush jungle ecosystems.

If you want the experience of a lifetime, set up a dolphin encounter at Ocean World Park! You can swim with the well trained dolphins before watching their exciting stunt-filled show! Puerto Plata will also appeal to the foodie in you. There are a ton of fine dining options in the area, especially elegant takes on Caribbean and creole cuisine.

Aerial view of the clear blue waters surrounding Turks and Caicos

4. Turks and Caicos

For the ultimate beach vacation, you have to find your way to the tiny caribbean island country of Turks and Caicos. This destination is far off the beaten path and you can find pristine beaches that you can lounge on all by yourself. And what beaches they are! Check out Half Moon Bay and Grace Bay for ocean view sunsets that will change your life.

Dive just offshore to untouched reefs teeming with shimmering tropical life. Better yet, enjoy the most remote, jaw dropping snorkeling while on a private catamaran cruise around the island. Would you rather eat what you see out there? Charter a fishing boat for a half day or full day of deep sea fishing and eat your catch that evening!

The Caicos Conch Farm is definitely worth a visit for a totally unique and informative afternoon. When you are done, mingle with locals in Providenciales every thursday at the weekly Thursday Night Fish Fry. There are plenty of all inclusive packages available to make beach vacations in Turks and Caicos an unforgettable experience!

Conclusion

Move over, Florida. You are still beautiful in your own way, but there is no questioning the appeal of these superb locations.  We hoped you enjoyed reading about  Beach Vacations that Aren’t in Florida.

Was this article helpful and informative? Leave us a comment with your thoughts in the section below.

 

 

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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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