Details: British Virgin Islands
American offers one-stop flights from Dulles to Tortola's Beef Island Airport, with fares starting at $404 round trip. Spirit and Delta offer connecting flights from Reagan National to St. Thomas starting at around $300 round trip. A handful of companies run ferries from St. Thomas's Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook docks to Tortola (West End or Road Town docks) for around $55 round trip. We used Smith's Ferry Service (1-284-495-4495).
WHERE TO STAY
Sebastian's on the Beach
Little Apple Bay, 1-284-495-4212
Sebastian's serves a range of travelers, with options including simple garden rooms and oceanfront villas. The beach is thin, but the much broader Long Bay Beach is within walking distance. Double rooms from $110 in high season.
Josiah's Bay Road, East End; 1-284-495-2477
An eight-room hotel about a mile uphill from the beach, with a great restaurant-bar area adjacent to a nice-size pool with swim-up access to the bar. Rooms from $139 in high season.
WHERE TO EAT
Carrot Bay, 1-284-495-4863
A local favorite, this simple waterfront restaurant is short on frills but high on quality. The ginger-grilled chicken and steamed fish are highlights. Entrees from around $16.
Jolly Roger Inn
Soper's Hole, West End; 1-284-495-4559
Fronting the West End ferry harbor, the JR turns into a party more often than not. The fish chowder is nice, as are the pizzas. Owner Lou Schwartz is an institution. Pizzas and other entrees from $17.
The Last Resort
Bellamy Cay, Trellis Bay; 1-284-495-2520
Don't come here for a quiet romantic dinner: the band gets too loud. Do come here for the buzzy, insouciant atmosphere and the food, such as the baby back ribs and the ravioli appetizer. Entrees from $18.
WHAT TO DO
Rent surfboards or stand-up paddle gear, from $45 a day or $210 a week. The HIHO Web site has details on a variety of surf and stand-up paddle spots.
For more variety, including kayaks, windsurfers, snorkel gear and more, plus surfing and windsurfing lessons.