This Romantic Caribbean Island Has Secluded Beaches, Fresh Seafood Restaurants, and Gorgeous Hotels

Palm trees on the beach shore in The Valley, Anguilla
Palm trees on the beach shore in The Valley, Anguilla

Diego Mariottini/Getty Images

The Dominican Republic brims with all-inclusive resorts. Much of St Barts is about megayachts and swanky restaurants. Families and spring breakers flock to the Bahamas. Nevis exudes an off-the-beaten-path allure (and celebs love it). For a sun-splashed getaway with a little bit of everything that makes a Caribbean vacation so enticing — adventure, relaxation, oceanfront accommodations, and breathtaking beaches — plus a whole lot of luxury, you really can't beat Anguilla in the Lesser Antilles. It's one of the most picturesque and romantic islands and has some truly next-level resorts with service and amenities that rival virtually anywhere. Not surprisingly, Anguilla is a top destination for honeymoons and babymoons.

Ready to dip your toes in the warm ocean waters, frolic on the white sand, and sip fresh-cracked coconuts? Before jetting off to paradise, scroll on for everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable trip to Anguilla.

Best Time to Visit Anguilla

Anguilla has great beach weather year-round, but it's especially faultless in the winter and early spring. Prices and demand are highest during this time (especially on holiday weekends) with many people attempting to trade ice and snow for blue skies, sunshine, and consistent temps in the low 80s. Travelers can score good deals from May to August because it marks the start of hurricane season, though the chance of a big storm remains low.

If you're really trying to pinch pennies (though, to be clear, Anguilla is never what we'd call cheap), it may be tempting to take advantage of the reduced rates and lack of crowds in September, October, and early November. Just keep in mind that many businesses will be closed and inclement weather may impact your travel plans.

Best Anguilla Beaches

Rendezvous Bay

The beach at Rendezvous Bay in Anguilla
The beach at Rendezvous Bay in Anguilla

Courtesy of Anguilla Tourist Board

You'd be hard-pressed to find a prettier beach on the island of Anguilla than Rendezvous Bay, or one with a better view of St. Martin. A stunning place for seaside strolls, swimming, and snapping photos, the palm-fringed crescent of snow-white sand lapped by aqua tides look like the product of a really good Instagram filter — but we assure you, it's all natural.

Little Bay

A secluded cove in northwest Anguilla that's only reachable by boat, Little Bay is the definition of a hidden and halcyon gem. The remote location definitely helps combat the crowds, guaranteeing you'll only have to share the aquamarine ocean and white sand with a handful of other sun worshippers and snorkeling enthusiasts.

Shoal Bay East

The beach at Shoal Bay East in Anguilla
The beach at Shoal Bay East in Anguilla

William A. Boyd Jr./Courtesy of Anguilla Tourist Board

Calm waters, coral gardens, and abundant marine life add up to Shoal Bay East topping the list of the best spots in all of Anguilla for snorkeling (and that's really saying something). And because it's always lovely to relax after searching for vibrant tropical fish, umbrellas and lounge chairs are available for rent.

Sandy Island

For even more peace, quiet, and tropical scenery, it's worth booking a boat excursion to Sandy Island, a sliver of white sand surrounded by turquoise water. Day trippers can catch some rays, go snorkeling along the pristine reef, and sip rum punch at the one brightly colored restaurant.

Things to Do in Anguilla

Big Spring Cave

Archaeology might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Anguilla, but maybe it should be (or, at least, in the top five). Big Spring Cave is a prehistoric Amerindian ceremonial site that dates back to 600 A.D. and showcases many anthropomorphic petroglyphs alongside freshwater springs.

Fountain Cavern

Another site with a lot of Pre-Columbian historical significance, Fountain Cavern preserves a fascinating array of ancient artifacts from the indigenous Amerindians, who lived on Anguilla some 1,500 years ago, including petroglyphs etched into the bedrock and carved stalagmites.

Scrub Island

Aerial view of Scrub Island - Island Cay, in Anguilla
Aerial view of Scrub Island - Island Cay, in Anguilla

Courtesy of Anguilla Tourist Board

Scrub Island is small, uninhabited, and steeped in myth. Despite being located not far from the eastern tip of Anguilla, it has a windswept, uncharted appeal with wild goats roaming free and near-empty beaches. Legends swirl around the abandoned hotel, wreckage of a smuggling plane, and notorious Deadman's Bay, making for a mystical and memorable day trip.

Best Anguilla Resorts

Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel, Anguilla

Two Bedroom Beachfront Jonquil Suite at Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel
Two Bedroom Beachfront Jonquil Suite at Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel

Edgardo Contreras/Courtesy of Belmond

Generations of travelers remember Cap Juluca as the Anguillan resort that started it all. Luxury continues to hit new levels at this beloved Belmond property. Besides an immaculate setting on Maundays Bay and white-glove service, guests beam about the white-washed architecture, superb restaurants, and spa treatments. Suites aren't just for snoozing, but rather full-blown sanctuaries with king-sized beds, double tubs, and private pools just steps away from the waves.

Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection

It's no secret that Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection knows a thing or two about luxury. That's abundantly clear at this beachfront icon that somehow manages to make glamour look effortless with decor so chic and colorful it's an instant mood boost, gracious hospitality, and an utterly intoxicating atmosphere. It's also a place that's tailor-made for romance, whether you're blissing out on a striped lounge by the tumbling oceanfront infinity pool, lazing in a palm-shaded hammock, or doing date night at Celeste.

Quintessence Hotel, Relais & Châteaux

Couples seeking relaxation and romance will be in total ecstasy at the Quintessence Hotel, an adults-only retreat overlooking the shores of idyllic Long Bay. Framed by lush tropical gardens, this intimate Relais & Châteaux property combines the best parts of a grand mansion and a luxury beachfront resort. There are nine sophisticated villas and suites — all of which come with 24/7 butler service — plus an infinity pool, spa, tennis courts, a celebrated French restaurant with an impressive wine cellar, and a well-curated art gallery.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla

Aerial view of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla
Aerial view of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla

Courtesy of Four Seasons

The rebranded Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla (formerly the Viceroy Anguilla) shows off a more modern aesthetic and kid-friendly setup than many of the luxury properties on the island. That certainly doesn't mean it's anything less than an ideal spot to unwind. Thoughtful service, three pools, sprawling suites and villas, and activities ranging from kayaking to volleyball ensure a family vacation full of ease and excitement where you won't have to lift a finger.

Best Anguilla Restaurants

Blanchards

Blanchards Garden View on Anguilla
Blanchards Garden View on Anguilla

Courtesy of Blanchards

Set on photogenic Meads Bay, Blanchards is renowned as one of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. The menu highlights local ingredients with plenty of delicious seafood as well as vegetarian and vegan options, the service is always stellar, and the choice to dine in the open-air dining room, at the bar, or outside on the leafy patio keeps things feeling delightfully laid-back.

Sharky's Restaurant

Sharky's Restaurant has the rare distinction of being adored by locals and tourists alike. It's also one of the few places in Anguilla that's not on the beach — but don't let that be a deterrent. The outdoor patio and live music give it a great vibe. And once you try the stir-fried lobster, it's all you'll dream about until the next visit.

Jacala

A fantastic spot for lunch or dinner, Jacala treats diners to artfully plated seafood dishes (the lobster risotto, conch ceviche salad, and red snapper get rave reviews) as well as a beautiful beachfront position and warm ambiance. Oh, and in case you need another reason to check it out, Martha Stewart is a fan.

The Cap Shack

The Cap Shack at Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel
The Cap Shack at Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel

Edgardo Contreras/Courtesy of Belmond

Some of the best (and no that doesn't necessarily translate to fanciest) bars and restaurants are at high-end hotels, so it should come as no surprise that The Cap Shack calls Cap Juluca home. It's a breezy beachside eatery but done the Belmond way. That means attentive service, fabulous views of Maundays Bay, and taste bud-tantalizing food — the tuna poke bowl and lobster roll are not to be missed.