Union Island—just 3 miles (5 km) long and a mile (1.5 km) wide but with about 3,500 residents—is the commercial center of the southern Grenadines—a popular anchorage for those sailing the Grenadines and a crossroads for those heading to surrounding islands. Clifton, the main town and a port of entry for yachts, is small, with a bustling harbor, a quaint town square with a busy market, a few simple beachfront inns and restaurants, businesses that cater to yachts, and the regional airstrip—the busiest in the Grenadines. Hugh Malzac Square, in the center of town, honors a local islander and the first black man to captain a merchant-marine ship. The ship was the Booker T. Washington; the time, 1942.
Taxis and minibuses are available to get around the island, and water taxis go between islands—including Happy Island, a man-made islet in the harbor where you can get a good stiff rum punch and even some grilled lobster or fish. The Easterval Regatta occurs during the Easter weekend with festivities that include boat races, sports and games, a calypso competition, a beauty pageant, and a cultural show featuring the Big Drum Dance (derived from French and African traditions). Union Island has several small inns and hotels, some directly on the waterfront and others inland.