Once a British naval hot spot, Antigua offers a genteel take on the leisurely life. Located in the middle of the Caribbean Islands, Antigua is loved for its chalky white beaches, boating (featuring the Caribbean’s largest regatta) and ideal weather year-round. Barbuda, just 25 miles north of Antigua, features 17 miles of beaches, a bird sanctuary and colorful offshore wrecks and reefs ripe for exploration.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
Flight time: 4.5 hours from New York City; 9 hours from LA; 7 hours from Chicago; 7 hours from Dallas
Getting around: Car (drive on the left!) and taxis
Entry requirements: Passport and return ticket (a departure tax is due when leaving the country)
Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC) and US dollar
When to Go: Antigua at its best
Best weather: Anytime. The Antiguan climate is one of the most idyllic in the Caribbean, thanks to constant sea breezes and trade winds. Temperatures hover around 80 degrees but can rise to 93 degrees during the hot season from May to November.
Best prices: May to November; exact dates vary by hotel. Hurricane season swirls from June to November (September is the trickiest).
Festival highlights: Cheer more than 300 racing yachts during Antigua Sailing Week in late April and early May, or take in one of the Caribbean’s most intoxicating Carnivals, which runs from late July to early August.
What to Do
Abundant beaches: Rimmed by 366 public beaches — one for each day of the year, plus one for luck — there’s a sandy paradise for every beach personality. Some of the best include Half Moon Bay for windsurfing, Dickinson Bay for restaurant hopping and people watching, and Five Islands Peninsula for a clothing-optional experience.
Seafaring lore: History lovers and yachters shouldn’t miss Nelson’s Dockyard National Park at English Harbour in Antigua. Built in 1784, this former naval headquarters now hosts charming old restaurants, craft shops and historic buildings.
Shipyard views: For a stunning panoramic view — of English Harbour and the island of Montserrat — plus steel-pan music, barbecue and a superb sunset, spend your Sunday afternoon at Shirley Heights Lookout, a restaurant perched on a bluff at the south side of the island.
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