Looking for island choice help

Old Aug 30th, 2016, 08:04 PM
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Looking for island choice help

Looking for some advice! We are planning a multigenerational family trip to the Caribbean for August 2017. It will be 8 adults (ages 40-65) and 5 kids (ages 5, 9, 10, 11, 15).

Only my dad has been to several islands, the rest of us are for the most part Caribbean newbies. We are looking to find an island that has easy access from the Philly area, can offer beautiful scenic views, can have some days of lazy beach days and some with hikes or day trips, some adventure, and fishing.

We also really want to rent a house to still have our sacred time as a family instead of a bunch of hotel rooms. So therefore we need a place that offers safety, close to a town, etc.

I am a planner and researcher and I'm having a hard time trying to narrow this down since I have no experience going here! I love the look of St Lucia so far, my dad loves Belize and Tortola. We've ruled out Belize since I don't think it will be best for our kids ages. We've also ruled out PR, Bermuda and Bahamas. Thanks so much for any insight!
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Old Aug 31st, 2016, 03:07 AM
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Take a look at St John, USVI. Gorgeous island good for Caribbean newbies. Lots of rental places,but most not on the beach. Prices will be lower in August, but it will be hot! Try to get a place with AC in bedrooms.
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Old Aug 31st, 2016, 03:33 AM
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Jimmie beat me to it.

Your wish list describes St. John perfectly. Fly from PHL to STT then short ferry ride to St. John.

Safe island with plenty of wonderful calm water beaches for relaxing & swimming, a nice small town and 2/3's of the island is a national park so there's lots of hiking opportunities. You'll also find easy access to day sails, water sports and fishing charters.

You should have no difficulty finding a rental villa that can accommodate your group of 13 adults & children but be aware none will be beachfront as there are no true beachfront villas on the island, however, no matter where you rent you'll only be a short drive away from a beach.
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Old Aug 31st, 2016, 06:10 PM
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This is really helpful and an island that was not on my radar... I would say that something with walkable beach access would be ideal rather than having to drive to a beach. I would love to hear a few other ideas as well to pitch to my family! Thank you!
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Old Aug 31st, 2016, 06:56 PM
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I also agree with St. John and everyone above beat me to it too! It offers a family friendly island with beautiful beaches and nice homes to rent!

If you would stay in condos, Grand Cayman is another nice family friendly island with great beaches, lots of snorkeling and water activities. It has many condo complexes where you could maybe all stay.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 05:11 AM
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Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands) is a little more difficult to reach but with many of the same characteristics as St. John and you can easily find a beachfront villa that can accommodate your family.

With a group your size you can fly into either STT or San Juan then go by private charter flight (don't balk at the cost of a private charter - with 13 people your "per person rate" will end up being very reasonable) to Virgin Gorda. Look at beachfront or beach access villas on Mahoe Bay. These upscale villas are located on a 3/4 mile long golden sand uncrowded beach lapped by calm gin clear turquoise blue waters with a wonderful "triple" snorkeling reef 100' or so off-shoer that runs the entire length the bay - you can snorkel for hours and not see it all. The bay has a western exposure with fantastic views of neighboring islands and cays and, of course, the setting sun. In short it doesn't get any better ANYWHERE in the Caribbean.

They island has plenty of hiking trails, lots of other beaches to visit plus some good restaurants. Water sports, daysails and fishing charters are available at the marina. Also, the island has an area called "The Baths" - a series of house size boulders that create caves and grottos that both the adults and children can explore for hours at a time. It is one of the best natural wonders in the Caribbean.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 05:29 AM
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My recommendation would be Virgin Gorda in the BVI. Similar to St John but bit more quieter where you can walk to the beach from the villa. Check out Mahoe bay villas. We stayed at Bellamare several years ago and it was a memorable vacation for all of us.
I know you checked off the Bahamas but not sure you considered the Bahama out islands (entirely different from Freeport, Nassau etc). Very safe (some of the safest islands in the Caribbean), gorgeous beaches, fishing, and tons on villas on the beach. One that may be suitable for your family is Eleuthera.
Grand Cayman may be a good choice as well but you will have to do with Condo's on 7 mile beach instead of villas.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 07:45 PM
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Thank you. I am looking into both. I am curious if anyone has feedback on St Lucia or other direct flight locations from philly/NYc as well that you!
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Old Sep 5th, 2016, 10:06 AM
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As many mentioned above, St John.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 06:10 AM
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I'd recommend St Croix. It's US territory, so it will be the most familiar for Americans, especially the older ones. Because of its size (you could fit 10 St Johns in it), you get a far more diverse choice of scenery and activities. This means something for everyone which might be handy given your large inter-generational group.

Like everywhere, it has the incredible beaches, tons of water activities, beautiful scenery, etc, but its diversity sets it apart. Where else will you find a dry, almost desert-like environment (east end) and a wet lush rainforest (west end) on the same island? And lots of rolling pastures with all sorts of wild & domesticated animals in the middle? From crab-racing to disco bingo, it's also a kind of wacky place but in a fun way.

Most of all, it's not over-developed. Why travel to an island just to see hillsides chock-fill of concrete developments? Travel-wise, AA does flights from Philly to St Croix in a bit over 6 hours with a quick stop in Miami. Plus hundreds of villa rentals to choose from, many right on the water with pools (like ours...but unfortunately your group is too large for us Renting a home is definitely the way to go as a family group. Enjoy!
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Old Sep 26th, 2016, 12:17 PM
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Without a shadow of a doubt, St. Lucia is very much worth it. I would recommend checking out the following accommodation and you may contact the owner for additional details. It is a spectacular villa as you will see and she also has a smaller cottage on the property that may also be used for your family.

Check it our for yourself. It is called Zandoli and you can find it at www.vrbo.com and use ID#147628.

You would not regret a decision to stay there. I ta;k from personal experience as I have stayed there a few times.
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Old Sep 26th, 2016, 12:21 PM
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Sorry for the small typo. I meant "talk" not "ta;k".

Let us know what you have decided as it is always nice to know the rest of the story.
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Old Sep 26th, 2016, 01:22 PM
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I am from the Philly area. Please be sure to check out flights from Newark much less usually, or even JFK. We own a timeshare in Aruba and we love it there we fly out of Newark every year. Aruba is very much like USA which is appealing to some and not to others. Starbucks dunking doughnuts etc. TGIF plus many local restaurants as well. It is about 4.5 flight non stop. I am sure you could find something there and in August I would be concerned with weather. St. Crox I would love to go to myself and I have never been to St. Johns. They both sound lovely as well.
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Old Sep 28th, 2016, 08:35 AM
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We had a smaller family getaway at The Buccaneer on St Croix, which I highly recommend.

We had three oceanfront rooms for six adults family members, but their 'beach house' looks so awesome for a larger group.

http://www.thebuccaneer.com/accommod...houses-en.html
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