Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Fri March 18 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | March 18, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Island Idylls: 5 Spring Break Beaches Without The Crowds

    Island Idylls: 5 Spring Break Beaches Without The Crowds

    PHOTO: Port Antonio, Jamaica. (photo by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates)

    After facing the tumultuous snowstorms, blackouts and overall frozen havoc of the winter season, travelers are primed for getaways in March and April that serve up lots of sun and beachy relaxation. However, a good portion of the western world shares the same idea and locales in Mexico, Florida and Jamaica become Spring Break party central. This hedonistic vibe isn’t for everyone, so for those travelers looking for tropical vistas without the frenzy, considers these low key destinations:

    Amelia Island, Florida

    Practically the entire Sunshine State will be teeming with rowdy Spring Breakers, except for Amelia Island. This small barrier isle off the Northeast coast of Florida and about 40 minutes from Jacksonville, offers 13 miles of secluded beaches and nary a loud noise unless you count splashing manatees. Billed as “a different side of Florida” this family-focused island is welcoming and slow paced. Highlights include the Amelia River Cruise, which explores the island’s shrimp boating history and supplies hands on experience with deploying and retrieving shrimp nets and American Beach, a historic African American enclave with a towering sand dune dubbed Nana.

    READ MORE: The Open Road Awaits: 5 Iconic Road Trips for Spring Break

    St. Helena Island, South Carolina

    Revel in Lowcountry paradise on the Sea Island of St. Helena, which is only 64 square miles wide but packed with history and personality. Separated from the mainland by the Beaufort River and miles away from neighboring barrier islands, St. Helena provides a serene mix of coastal landscapes and historic landmarks. Don’t miss the Penn Center, a museum and cultural center where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. drafted his “I Have A Dream” speech or sampling culinary specialties by the local Gullah community, like shrimp and grits.

    Barbuda, West Indies

    The sleepy sister island to Antigua is so under the radar that, it’ll only be you and local frigate birds on Barbuda’s stunning pink sand beaches. With a population under 18,000, and only a few hotels, Barbuda really delivers peace and serenity for those who crave it. Hop the 90-minute ferry over from Antigua and stroll the island’s eight miles of rosy-hued beaches. You’ll also want to visit the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, a haven to thousands of the striking sea birds and Martello Tower, ruins from an 18th century fort with a 56-foot tower that marks the highest point on the island.

    Port Antonio, Jamaica

    While the crowds head to the resort meccas of Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios, hole up in the scenic landscape of Jamaica’s “garden parish.” Blessed with mountain views, lush vegetation and pristine beaches, Port Antonio is considered one of the prettiest areas on the island. Popular with locals for weekend getaways, this small town is filled with beauty at every turn. Check out a bamboo raft ride down the Rio Grande River and taste the specialties at Boston’s Beach, which is famous as the jerk center of Jamaica.

    READ MORE: Spring Break 2016: Travel Agents Dish on the Perfect Family Getaway

    Vieques, Puerto Rico

    Located seven miles off the Eastern coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques is largely undeveloped since it was occupied by the U.S. Navy for 60 years, who used it as a bombing range. The military activity stopped in 2003, opening the island’s undisturbed beauty for fans of off the beaten path escapes. Most of Vieques is an official  National Wildlife Refuge, with miles of green spaces, 40 naturally landscaped beaches and wild horses roaming free. A Bioluminescent Bay boat tour is a must — microorganisms give the water a gentle glow. Also, visit Fuerte de Vieques, a 19th century fort and museum, which focuses on the island’s art and culture. 


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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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