Running on a beach in Bequia, Caribbean. photo by Nicholas Klenske.Finding a favorite beach in the Caribbean can be a tough task. There are endless spectacular places to choose from, and they all boast beautiful waters and velvety sands. Yet any beach aficionado knows that not all beaches are created equal. Some of my favorites in the Caribbean stand out for very special reasons.

Anguilla is one of the quieter islands in the Caribbean. It’s home to Shoal Bay, with one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The sand is so white it almost gleams silver in the sunlight, and the waters are crystal-clear. The first time I was at Shoal Bay, I snacked on fresh local produce in a shady spot under the palm trees before heading to the water.

Canouan, a tiny island in the Grenadines just north of St. Vincent, has over half a dozen beautiful beaches, but my personal favorite is the beach at Mahault Bay on the northern tip of the island. When I first visited Mahault Bay, I was a little worried when I saw that the beach could only be accessed through a resort. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the lengthy stretch of sand here is actually remote and secluded. I was shocked that at the height of winter and I was the only person there. That made soaking up the sun and curling my toes in the sand all the more gratifying.

But one doesn’t come to the Caribbean to be isolated the whole time. When it comes to feeling like I’m on a tropical island vacation, Pigeon Point Beach in Tobago is my absolute favorite. I enjoy it so much precisely because it’s so lively. Every time I visit Pigeon Point, I’m charmed by the locals that flock to this spot. These friendly fellow vacationers are more than content to share their preferred beach with so many tourists. Not only that, but the restaurants and bars on the beach make for a great break from the sun.

Although Pigeon Point’s eateries and full facilities definitely draw in more tourists than other beaches, it’s never packed. I always find it very easy to find a spot on the sand to call my own. I also love the ambiance here: there’s plenty of diversity to fit whatever mood I happen to be in. That means it’s good for relaxing, snorkeling, sunbathing, reading, or having a cocktail in the bar while a DJ works the turntables.

A somewhat calmer but equally popular beach stop is St. Jean Beach on St. Barthelemy. When I spent the day here, I was of course enticed by the calm, clear waters and the white sands. However, what made my day at St. Jean were the airplanes taking off and landing right overhead, so close that it seemed you could reach up and touch the tip of a wing.

Apart from the plane watching, I was tempted to try kite surfing, but figured my time in the Caribbean would be ruined if I broke an ankle in pursuit of extreme sports. Instead, I spent my day kayaking, sunbathing, and enjoying an ambience reminiscent of the French Riviera.

While I prefer these beaches above all others, the reality is that on each of the thousands of Caribbean Islands , it’s just about impossible to find a bad beach.

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