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Ebony Escapes! to the best of the Caribbean

Lysa Allman-Badwin | 6/5/2014, 2:19 p.m.
Believe it or not, the school year is fast coming to a close, and I don’t know about you, but ...
Views like this in St. Thomas are among the delights waiting for families year-round when vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Cayman Islands Tourism, 212-889-9009, 345-949-0623, www.caymanislands.ky

Bahamas

Coming in at lucky No. 7 is the Bahamas. Traveling only about 50-some miles off the coast of Florida to an island playground comprised of 700 islands dotted over 100,000 square miles of ocean makes it a very desirable, easy and cost-effective trip for many families. Although the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau is one of the most popular and well-known accommodations, Parents also recommends the Grand Lucayan in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island and the Graycliff Chocolatier Factory Tour for those with a sweet tooth or chocolate fancy.

Bahamas Tourism, 242-302-2000, www.bahamas.com

Barbados

Encompassing only 166 square miles and divided into 11 parishes, Barbados features an extensive network of paved roads navigated on the left-hand side, taking visitors to a number of tourist spots such as Farley Hill National Park, featuring the majestic ruins of Farley Hill Great House, lush vegetation, a newly renovated play park and popular picnic spots. Parents’ lodging suggestions include the Bougainvillea Beach Resort and the Hilton Barbados Resort.

Barbados Tourism, 800-221-9831, www.visitbarbados.org

Mexico

Although Mexico is technically not part of the Caribbean, Parents points out that the allure, beauty and family-friendly environment of the Riviera Maya, flanking the Caribbean Sea, was enough for them to add it to their top 10. In addition to noting all-inclusive resorts like the Azul Beach Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, the magazine says local cultural enrichment like those found at Xcaret, “a Disney-esque water-themed eco park,” are worthy additions to your vacation.

Riviera Maya Tourism, www.rivieramaya.com, www.visitmexico.com/en/mayan-riviera

U.S. Virgin Islands

Last but certainly not least, they named the U.S. Virgin Islands, where families can choose from the more bustling and touristy island of St. Thomas, to the more laid-back and culturally rich islands of St. Croix (the capital) and St. John. In the latter, Parents recommends the newly renovated Westin St. John Resort & Villas, as well as the also recently renovated Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas.

U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism, 800-372-USVI, www.visitusvi.com

So grab the passports, sunscreen, swimsuits and sense of adventure, and let’s enjoy the best of the best in the Caribbean!

“10 Best Caribbean Destinations for Families in 2014”

www.parents.com

Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at lallmanbaldwin@kc.rr.com.