My husband and I really enjoy long walks on beaches when we are on vacation. We have been to Maui twice, Kona, Waikiki, several places in Mexico, Florida, California, a cruise ( he doesn't enjoy them) and last year we went to Grand Cayman. We would like to try somewhere in the Caribbean this year and wonder where? Think safe, long walks on beaches or hiking, NOT all inclusive- we love to try new restaurants / seeing where we visit. WE start from MN.
My husband and I really enjoyed Barbados. We ended up splitting our visit between 2 rental properties (through VRBO). One with a pool away from the water and the other was smaller but had gorgeous sunset views over the Carribbean. There are some really great restaurants and Friday is a big fish fry in Oistin. All of the beaches are open to the public, so we made our way around the island trying different locations and there are plenty of opportunities for long walks. One side of the island is the Carribbean Sea with the calm, peaceful blue water and the other side is the Atlantic and rough, but beautiful. It might be a haul from MN, but I would recommend looking into it. If you go, make sure you make it to Crane Beach, it's beautiful.
St Kitts, St John, and St Maarten all have lovely beaches. TC
We'll leave this advice to other contributors.
I too loved Barbados, especially the 'wild side' on the Atlantic.
Other good choices are St Lucia, St John, and Grenada. Barbados is a good choice since it has slightly bigger towns and thus more restaurant choices and nightlife options. I liked Grenada and St Lucia for the mountains and waterfalls to hike to. and though I didn't partake of any lengthy hikes they are both good for that also.
I liked St. Thomas and Antigua.
Pretty much any of the St.'s are lovely.
The very undeveloped island of Anguilla was a place we visited several times when we spent a summer on St. Maarten a few years back. It has some of the best beaches I've ever seen anywhere in the world. There are also several offshore islands you can visit that look like something from a Corona commercial...Sandy Island is one of them that we really enjoyed. The sand on Anguilla and the surrounding islands is white, white, white and of a very fine consistency. Some beaches are rugged and others are lined with palm trees just as you hope to find on a tropical vacation. Again, it's very undeveloped but there are several places on the island where you can get excellent food. If you're looking for a castaway vacation this is a great place!
St. Maarten is also nice. The island is much more developed but there are many amazing beaches to visit. We like Orient Bay and Pinel Island on the northeast French side of the island. There is great snorkeling and there are some nice hikes up into the mountains that you can take if you like hiking in the heat and humidity.
How about the Abacos?
Not the Carib, but not a crowded mess either.
sue, Aruba has some stunning desert-like scenery and beaches. Provo Island in the Turks & Caicos. It does seem difficult to get to some of these destinations (e.g., St Lucia) from the midwest without multiple stops.
I really liked St. John. The fact that much of the island is US national park has protected it to some extent. There's also a nice range of lodging – from national park style lodging at Cinnamon Bay (with an amazing beach) through the luxury resorts. Good hiking trails also.
My wife and I have been on so many cruises that we've lost track of them. We get tired of going to Mexico and the Bahamas, but the price is right. We've also been to bed and breakfasts on Puerto Rico and to St. Thomas and St. Johns many times.
Our favorite cruises are out of San Juan, and we've been to virtually every island from San Juan to Barbados. It's a little modern of an island for our taste.
We find the hotels on St. Lucia to be the most luxurious we've seen anywhere in the world. See JadeMountain.com Sandals has some incredible facilities there too.
We went on a tour of St. Lucia with Cosol Tours, and our driver was Yellowbird Cosol. He took us all over the island, stopping to feed us with vine ripened bananas, pastries, etc. We met up from time to time with a bunch of Cosol's vans and a dump truck full of beer and liquor. It was a great day, and St. Lucia stands out as a place we want to spend more time in.
Not in the Carribean, but Bermuda is our favorite beach destination.