Courtesy of Bitter End Yacht Club
Best for Peace and Quiet
The easternmost of the British Virgin Islands, scrubby Virgin Gorda is at once laid-back and empty; like St. John, much of the island is protected parkland. It isn’t especially easy to reach—you’ll have to take a puddle-jumper or ferry from either St. Thomas or Tortola.
The best way to explore Virgin Gorda is by chartering a boat (your resort can arrange one for a day), as there are few roads and not all are well maintained.
Worth the Splurge
A sister resort of St. John’s Caneel Bay, Little Dix Bay (888/767-3966 or 284/495-5555; littledixbay.com; doubles from $725) was also built by Laurance Rockefeller. Recently renovated rooms line the wide bay with one of the island’s best beaches, and the open-air pavilion is a center of activity from breakfast through afternoon tea, and well into the night at its candlelit bar.
Biras Creek (800/223-1108; biras.com; doubles from $895, including meals) has only 33 suites and is ultra-private—it can be reached only by boat or helicopter.
The Bitter End Yacht Club (North Sound; 800/872-2392 or 284/494-2746; beyc.com; doubles from $860, all-inclusive) is all about water activities—sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing.
On an expensive island, the Nail Bay Resort (800/871-3551 or 284/494-8000; nailbay.com; doubles from $155) is a pleasant surprise. Guest rooms are basic but come with kitchenettes.
The most famous beach is The Baths. A series of small coves, its many granite boulders look like marbles tossed into the blue bay. Tip: go early or late in the day to avoid crowds.
Even if you aren’t staying at Little Dix, have dinner at its elegant Sugar Mill (284/495-5555; dinner for two $135). The menu is haute Caribbean with Asian accents.
Thee Artistic Gallery (284/495-5104), near the yacht harbor in Spanish Town, sells treasures from the sea—starfish, shells, and coins found in shipwrecks from the days of buccaneers.
The Fat Virgin Café (284/495-7052; lunch for two $25) sits on the water near the Biras Creek resort and has a casual atmosphere and a basic menu (roti, conch fritters).
Buck’s Market (locations at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor and Gun Creek; 284/495-5423) is popular with yachtsmen, who stop in for staples, but it’s also the place to put together a gourmet picnic lunch for the beach.