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Which island with an 18month old and things to see and do

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Hi there,
My partner and I have travelled a lot but generally backpacker style pre parenthood and never to the Caribbean, I found this website and the info seems great, hoping you can help! We are planning on flying from the UK to San Francisco and renting a small RV to explore Yosemite for a week and we would like to stop off for a week in the Caribbean on the way home for relaxation and home comforts after roughing it! April/May 2013.
We are looking for more than just a beach, although I LOVE beaches, but my partner has ants in his pants and likes to explore. Can you recommend somewhere that isn't too busy/touristy which ticks these boxes and has things we can do with our daughter who will be 18months. We are not after kids club for her, but maybe a baby listening service for an evening or two.
Also can you recommend whether we would be better renting a villa or going to a resort with our needs.

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    Welcome to Fodor's!

    Before we address the 'where', I think it would be reasonable to talk about the logistics of your plan.

    You are essentially talking about two separate trips. Are you looking at a direct flight from the UK to San Francisco, or are you planning a layover somewhere? It's going to be nearly impossible to get anywhere in the Caribbean direct from San Francisco, so that means leaving San Francisco and changing planes in (most likely) Miami on your way to an island.

    If you could book a UK-MIA-SFO-MIA-UK flight, that might work better. You could factor in a week-long stop in Miami on the return, and book a separate trip from Miami to your island.

    You also need to factor in the amount of travel time, as SFO-MIA-island is likely to take a full day, if not longer. That's going to shorten your actual vacation time in either the States or the islands.

    I would look at where you can get to easily from MIA (or another gateway), because the last thing you want to do is pick an island that requires multiple flights/ferry rides to get to.

    One more thing to think about - that time of year can be Spring Break season - meaning some destinations will be over-run with vacationing college-age students on drunken party weeks. Pick your destination or your travel dates to avoid that.

    I hope that makes sense, and if not come on back with more questions, and we'll start narrowing things down. Also, specific recommendations are easier if we know your budget (in actual dollar amounts) and what activities you're looking for.

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    Hi and thanks for the info so far.
    Definitely want to avoid spring break,do all students have them at the same time or is it spread over a few weeks? Our dates are very flexible at this point.

    Also sounds like a great plan to choose an island that will be a direct flight from Miami.
    We could certainly look at a few days in Miami to break up the journey before heading home.

    Budget is around $3000-$3500 for a week for Caribbean part of trip, excluding flights as that will be paid for as part of the earlier trip budget.
    Activities would need to be toddler friendly and enable us to explore on our own a bit but we haven't got anything specific in mind (probably not being overly helpful here!)

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