Read Family Travel Forum's useful tips on how to have a great vacation in the British Virgin Islands and the top family-friendly resorts.
An archipelago of 50 islands, cayes and rocks spread over 59-square-miles, the British Virgin Islands (BVIs to the cognoscenti) are known for calm, clear waters and steady breezes, and are perfect for boating adventures and underwater explorations.
The most well-known of the BVIs include Tortola, the largest island in the chain with the capital of Road Town, and Virgin Gorda which offers more in the way of fine hotels and amenities. The islands do not offer many cultural experiences, but if you enjoy outdoor activities, glorious beaches and peace and quiet, you are sure to find them there. Several small, private islands such as Peter, Necker and Guana Islands offer very deluxe, one-per-island resorts.
Family-Friendly BVI Accommodations
Many families prefer to stay at least one week in the BVI, and enjoy having their own villa or condo unit. The following list of accommodations on Tortola are in the higher-end price bracket, but they are either free-standing homes by themselves, or part of smaller, two to three unit apartment complexes that offer more privacy.
Mount Sage Villas
Mountainside apartments, nearby Sage Mountain National Park and Rain Forest, two-bedroom, two-bath, two-floor apartments, full kitchen, living room, private balcony, car rental available, “convenience yet seclusion.”
Long Bay Beach Resort
Luxury resort offering shopping, horseback riding, diving, tennis, fine restaurants, beachfront and hillside apartments of various appointment.
“The most colorful villa in Tortola,” minutes from the beach, tree-filled garden, separate bedrooms, each with bath, off of courtyard.
Two-bedroom apartments, full kitchen, full bath, living and dining rooms, accommodates family of four, balconies w/ sea views, car rentals and maid service available.
The Villas at Fort Recovery
One and two-bedroom villas and a large three to four-bedroom house on a private beach. Very luxurious property built around a 17th century Dutch fort, with view of six islands. Activities include swimming, boating, snorkeling, mountain biking and yoga.
To read more about Tortola, enjoy the Greenberg’s review of their Tortola BVI vacation. To read more about deluxe resorts on Virgin Gorda, including the Bitter End Yacht Club, Biras Creek Resort and Little Dix Bay, check out the first-hand reviews by FTF families.
Natural Attractions Abound
Of course, you’re not going to stay in your resort or private villa for the entire vacation. Virgin Gorda is known for its scenic beauty and, in addition to beaches, has The Baths — a very famous waterfront rock formation — and a copper mine. This account of a family vacation by chartered yacht around Virgin Gorda BVI describes some island highlights.
Tortola has the Sage Mountains Rain Forest and a botanical garden. Rum distilleries and diving wrecks are other attractions.
Mostly, it is avid swimmers, snorkelers, scuba divers, fishers and sailors who seek out the magnificent turquoise beaches, and even if your family just wants to rest and read, the beaches truly are quiet and very relaxing.
Sightseers will enjoy knowing that some inter-island travel is available, particularly to other islands such as St. Thomas and St. John (which are U.S. Virgin Islands), St. Bart’s and St. Martin.
Useful Facts for the BVI
Although these islands are part of the British Commonwealth, currency on the islands is the US dollar. English is the spoken language, and driving is on the left side of the road as in the U.K.
As far as climate is concerned, the weather is generally fair and breezy year-round with an average temperature of 90°F during the summer and 85°F during the winter. Winter holiday-goers should plan their vacation carefully as the passing fronts from mid-December through mid-January, known as the Christmas Winds, can cause windy and rainy weather.
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