Family Vacations to Anguilla
|Meads Bay, Anguilla (Digital Vision)|
Anguilla (pronounced an-gwill-a), a tiny island of merely 35 square miles, offers the sort of creature comforts that castaways dream aboutcrab cakes with mango sauce followed by coconut ice cream. Along with hosting some of the Caribbean's best restaurants, Anguilla boasts the region's most beautiful beaches. A chic getaway, the island attracts its share of Hollywood glitterati but also makes plenty of room for normal folks. On Anguilla, you typically don't get handed attitude with your room key, despite the fact that the island hosts several top resorts. With a population of more than 13,000, and hotels scattered over several locales, Anguilla is delightfully free of the traffic jams that afflict some Caribbean vacation spots.
What to do here? Swim, sun, and stroll miles of stretches of beach. Rendezvous Bay and Maunday's Bay on the Caribbean, and Meads Bay and Shoal Bay East on the Atlantic, are exceptionally lovely with sugar soft sands and calm turquoise waters. At Shoal Bay East, kids snorkel the close-in reef or walk along the sands looking at the tiny silvery fish caught in the tidepools. Various outfitters offer sailing, fishing, and boating adventures. Dolphin Fantaseas offers swimming encounters with the friendly creatures. On Sunday afternoons, Uncle Ernie's, a longtime beach eatery, serves heaping plates of barbecued chicken to tourists and locals. Teens and parents play golf at the Temenos Golf Club, Anguilla's first 18-hole course, which opened in November 2006. Another spot children love is Play-A-Round, a complex with mini-golf, bumper boats, and a climbing wall.
Malliouhana's open-air restaurant combines French and Caribbean cuisine, offering memorable meals of crayfish and vegetable ravioli with lemon basil sauce, lobster and crab pancakes, or poached lobster with ginger and Jamaican spices. Blanchard's fusion cuisine features swordfish with toasted corn dressing and jerk shrimp in a special hot sauce. Just right for a leisurely lunch, Trattoria Tramonto serves homemade pasta and Mediterranean-style red snapper on café tables set along the nearly-deserted sands of Shoal Bay West. Straw Hat's tuna with Asian noodles is to die for, as is their seared Anguillan red snapper with lime, ginger, and saffron. Hibernia, in the northeastern hills, specializes in French-Asian cuisine with a Caribbean flare, using fresh local foods (www.hiberniarestaurant.com).
TIPS: Gain points with your teens by taking them to a happening music festival: Moonsplash rocks along Rendezvous Bay during the weekend of March's full moon. The rhythms start at the Dune Preserve, a café and bar owned by local musician Bankie Banx, and the dancing spills out onto the beach (www.bankiebanx.net; www.dunepreserve.com).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication