Nonstop Caribbean: Fly Right to the Beach

When the days grow chilly, it's time for a long weekend on the beach. We've compiled a list of every island you can reach nonstop from the mainland U.S. and Canada—because nothing kills the fun like a layover.

Where to stay: At laid-back Bird Rock Beach Hotel, there's an outfitter for diving and fishing (800/621-1270, birdrockbeach.com, from $90). The Ocean Terrace Inn has three swimming pools, and it's only a quarter-mile walk to the city of Basse­terre (800/524-0512, oceanterraceinn.com, from $109).

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The island boasts long stretches of beach with white, golden, and volcanic sand. The verdant interior, meanwhile, is home to some of the region's best hiking.

Must-do: The hard-to-miss Pitons--St. Lucia's twin volcanic peaks--overlook Soufrière harbor. The larger Gros Piton is the only one you can climb. Self-guided treks are prohibited, but Gros Piton Tours leads four-hour hikes (758/489-0136, $25).

Where to stay: A family-run guesthouse, La Haut Plantation has 13 hillside rooms. Like its infinity pool, most have a view of the Pitons (758/459-7008, lahaut.com, from $100). Ti Kaye Village Resort is 75 minutes from the airport, but you'll be rewarded with one of 33 ocean-view rooms and cottages, each with a veranda and a hammock (758/456-8101, tikaye.com, from $175, includes breakfast).

Did you know? Two Nobel laureates hail from St. Lucia: Derek Walcott (Literature, 1992) and Sir Arthur Lewis (Economics, 1979).

About half the size of Washington, D.C., the island is the smallest landmass in the world to be shared by two countries: the Netherlands (St. Maarten) and France (St. Martin).

Must-do: At Loterie Farm, a 150-acre nature reserve on the French side, take a hike among mahogany and mango trees--or sail between the trees on zip lines in the Fly Zone (011-590/590-87-86-16, loteriefarm.net, admission $5, Fly Zone $40).

Where to stay: Right on the French side of the border, the family-run Les Balcons d'Oyster Pond rents bungalows with marina views (011-590/590-29-43-39, lesbalcons.com, from $120). Another winner, on the Dutch side, is the Pasanggrahan Royal Guest House, a former governor's estate. The name derives from an Indonesian word for "place of rest," and the four-poster beds and open-air dining options certainly make it feel that way (011-599/599-542-3588, pasanhotel.com, from $158).

Trinidad, the larger member of the two-island nation, is home to the modern capital, Port-of-Spain. Sleepier Tobago has quiet beaches and towns. Just north of Venezuela, the islands are among the most ethnically diverse in the Caribbean.

Must-do: Scope out parrots and hummingbirds in the rain forest at Trinidad's Asa Wright Nature Centre (868/667-4655, asawright.org, $10). In Tobago, go snorkeling at Angel Reef, off the fishing village of Speyside (868/660-4888, tobagodiveexperience.com, $25).

Where to stay: Rooms at Coblentz Inn Boutique Hotel have themes reflecting Trinidad's heritage (868/621-0541, coblentzinn.com, from $180, includes breakfast and minibar). Pax Guest House, on a historic Benedictine estate along Trinidad's Northern Range, offers spectacular views of the rain forest (868/662-4084, paxguesthouse.com, from $45). On Tobago, Kariwak Village is a family-run holistic retreat where guests bliss out with outdoor yoga and tai chi sessions (868/639-8442, kariwak.com, from $125). Adventure Eco Villas is on a 12-acre organic fruit farm. The beach is a five-minute walk (868/639-2839, adventure-ecovillas.com, from $130).


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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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