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April vacation with toddler, great beaches! Help, please.

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Hi all -

I'm new to this forum and am seeking the wisdom of all the posters out there.
My husband and I will be taking our first real family vacation (just us three) with our 22 month old son in early April. We desperately want to head to the Caribbean for some sun and beach fun.

I've been researching like crazy and am running into all the usual problems, high cost, bad trip advisor reviews, only giant resorts...etc. I need the help of experienced Caribbean travelers. Here is what we're looking for, any and all ideas welcome!

1. An island with calm beaches (st. martin looks amazing - but I've read too much about crime there. It may be the experience of only a few, but I lived in New Orleans for years and don't want to be worried about looking over my shoulder when I'm trying to keep my eye on the kid). What other Caribbean islands have the calm beaches that St.Martin has?

2. A hotel with direct access to one of these great beaches.
3. Not all inclusive (or option to not be all inclusive - breakfast at the hotel would be nice, but we like to get out and explore and meet people when in a new place).
4. Nice towns for dinner and shopping nearby.
5. Day trips to other beaches with activities would be a plus.
6. I'd prefer to spend less than $300.00/night - of course, less would be better - but everything I've been interested in seems to be in this price range. (not including plane fare).
7. Preferably a non-stop flight from NYC. Although a great option would be worth having to take a second plane or ferry.

I genuinely appreciate any help you can offer!!

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