One of our guests, a native Chicagoan, was inspired by the early winter weather this year, and shares her top picks for beaches in the Caribbean below.

Unless I’m gliding down powdery slopes, I find every excuse to escape cold weather. Since our winters in Chicago are usually frigid – and can seem to drag on forever – I try to head down to the Caribbean as often as possible during these months. Here, there’s no shortage of gorgeous sunny beaches with soft sand, inviting turquoise waters and palms swaying in the breeze, but I do have a few favorites that offer great escapes.

1. Dickenson Bay, Antigua: One of the island’s best beaches, this sandy stretch just north of St. John’s offers breathtaking scenery, serene blue waters and radiant sunshine. Nearby restaurants and bars are so laid-back that you can just towel off, slip on your sandals and go – enjoying a refreshing drink or bite to eat with the Caribbean breeze on your face.

Antigua Antigua Antigua

2. Colombier Beach, St. Barts: Still referred to as “Rockefeller’s Beach,” this secret hideaway can only be reached by boat, or by rugged hiking trails, which are actually worth the trek for the stunning views you’ll see. David Rockefeller used to own property surrounding this beautiful beach – it’s a spot that’s nicely secluded and really feels like a hidden gem.

St. Barts St. Barts St. Barts

3. Dunn’s River Beach, Jamaica: This island is full of beautiful beaches, but this is one of the most stunning – it features a spectacular 600-foot waterfall at Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios. It has a fun and laid-back atmosphere, and the beach is perfect for sunbathing and swimming – plus, you can easily enjoy a lively trek up the river, the mist of the cascading falls cooling you off.

Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica

4. Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia: Tucked away in a sheltered cove just north of Soufrière, Anse Chastanet feels like a genuine exotic island getaway. One of the best locations for snorkeling in St. Lucia, you can discover coral and marine life right off of the beach. Surrounded by emerald mountains on one side and the cerulean waters of the Caribbean on the other, this beach also has the most beautiful dark sand – volcanic sand that glistens in the sun. I never tire of this unique beach…as soon as I arrive, time seems to slow, the sun relaxes my entire body and the harsh Chicago weather seems to be a distant memory.

St. Lucia St. Lucia St. Lucia

The beautiful islands of the Caribbean are never more alluring than in the winter. And discovering new beaches and tropical escapes is a pastime that I can easily see lasting a lifetime!

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