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Athletic families will be right at home at this laid back sailing and sun resort on a tranquil Caribbean isle.

After our visit in the mid-90s my family wanted to return to this resort precisely because of its laid-back, toes-in-the-sand lack of structure. Guests had unlimited use of the Bitter End Yacht Club’s enormous fleet of sailboats, motorboats, dinghies, and windsurfers when they visited the casual 25-acre hideaway at the “bitter end” of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. In many ways, despite their latest nods to the family market, that’s still true at this classic Caribbean get-away-from-it-all resort as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Accessible only by boat, the Bitter End has a mile of beachfront backed by craggy peaks covered with lush tropical gardens, plus three different beaches roped off for swimming (one even has a raft with a diving board). Steady trade winds and calm seas make for near-perfect sailing conditions and visiting sailors often dock and dine in the Bitter End’s open-air restaurant or English Carvery.

A fleet of 100 watercraft is available to guests, with 70 moorings and 20 slips welcoming visiting boats. Daily boat excursions offered by the resort provide kiteboarding lessons, diving, or explore secret snorkeling spots and island attractions such as the Baths. Sailing classes for guests (offered by the resort’s team using John Kantor’s course manuals) are available for every age and skill level.

In the latest developments, the popular BEYC Junior Sailing program has expanded with lessons for children ages 6-18 and is part of a daily supervised program (holidays and summer) with snorkeling, windsurfing, guided walks, afternoon crafts classes and other activities. Parents are encouraged to try sailing or perfect their skills, enjoy the resort’s new Spa at Bitter End, or relax on their own while their children are gainfully occupied. There are even two movie screenings nightly in the canopied, toes-in-the-sand Sand Palace cinema.

As always, 85 casual rooms and bungalows (cooled with A/C or large ceiling fans) are situated along the beach or tucked into the hillside, or you can stay on a live-aboard yacht.

With two restaurants and a bakery, Bitter End offers three menu-served meals a day included in the price. Fresh local seafood is a dinner specialty. Don’t forget to check on their special Admiral’s Family Vacation packages, with special adjoining room rates available for adults and children ages 6-18.

Resort Report Card

Name: Bitter End Yacht Club
Address: Virgin Gorda
British Virgin Islands
www.beyc.com
Phone: 800/872-2392
Seasonal Rates: $$$ – $$$$
Hotel Setting: A
Hotel Staff: A
Choice of Activities: A
Quality of Amenities: B
Bonus: Great learn-to sail program for the entire family.
Note: Best for a sporty family with school-age kids, this lively one-of-a-kind family-owned resort is about as far from the bland ambiance of a chain hotel as you can get.

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This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.