In honor of my Northeastern family and friends and my home of New York City, I wanted to put together a guide to the best beach getaways so you can escape the snow once flights are back up and running. Based on personal experience, a few of my favorites include:
Paddleboarding at Playa Blanca in Punta Cana
1) Punta Cana
I luckily was able to avoid the snowpocalypse as I had been in Punta Cana and my flight home to NYC was cancelled. Not a bad place to be stuck. The flight is less than four hours, and the destination truly weaves resort paradise with responsible tourism and secluded nature experiences. The highlight experience for me was paddleboarding from the pristine Playa Blanca Beach — where I spent a lot of time enjoying PUNTACANA Resort & Club‘s water sports and annual Kite Fest Punta Cana — to the Punta Cana Ecological Reserve. You can hike into the tropical forest and enjoy trails littered with crystal clear freshwater lagoons, some approved for swimming. Across the street heading away from the beach, the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation has trails full of gardens and local conversation projects. At night, head to the beachfront Don Queco Cigar Bar for some local rum and cigar pairing under the stars.
A glimpse of my Saint Lucia trip
2) Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia isn’t just great for beautiful beaches, but soft adventure and delicious cacao culture, with chocolate tours and unique desserts abounding (don’t miss the Chocolate Laboratory at Jade Mountain for tastings and classes). My homebase for the trip was Soufriere, a town located inside a volcano located inside a volcano, although you can only see the steaming grounds in certain areas. I personally opted for activities like ziplining over a cacao plantation at Mourne Coubaril Estate, hiking four miles round trip to summit Gros Piton, wandering the colorful Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens and ATVing over beaches with ATV Paradise Tours Saint Lucia — all highly recommended!
Snapshots from my Tobago trip
3) Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago are sister islands with very different personalities. While Trinidad does have beach and nature offerings outside of the capital of Port of Spain, Tobago is the ideal choice for those seeking an idyllic beach getaway. Make sure to visit Pigeon Point, where you partake in watersports with the eco-minded Radical Sports on a beautiful white sand beach. I also recommend a bird-watching trip through the world’s oldest legally protected forest reserve (established April 13, 1776) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, a treat whether you’re into bird viewing or not.
I recently had the chance to visit the Cayman Islands, and what most wowed me was the ability to get away from mass tourism on Grand Cayman and head to the quiet and serene nearby islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. If you’re into snorkeling or diving the islands are home to 365 official dive sites — one for every single day of the year. Make sure to dine on some local lionfish, an invasive species destroying local reefs and killing endemic fish that the islands have taken to culling, cooking and eating. It’s truly a meal you can feel good about.
What’s the best beach getaway you’ve ever been on? Please share in the comments below.