British Virgin Islands
WITH ABOUT 35 ISLANDS situated miles apart, consistent trade winds, and strong currents, the BVIs inspire connect-the-dots sea kayaking. But one route stands out: a 14-mile open-water crossing from Virgin Gorda to Anegada, a flat, coral-limestone island that was once a pirate haven with blissful beaches, low-slung brush, and almost as many iguanas and flamingos as locals. Horse Shoe Reef envelops the land in thick and treacherous coral growth, meaning boats need to steer clear or join the 200 or so offshore shipwrecks. But the inner-reef waters are ultra-calm, and your kayak will allow you to snug along the shoreline and squeeze through the narrow inlets to salt ponds, where you'll find some of the Caribbean's most diverse and abundant wildlife. Look for brown boobies, pelicans, herons, egrets, and ospreys flitting among the piles of conch shells. Then kayak to the north shore, where you can snorkel for treasure or paddle south to fish the flats.
PLAYTIME: Arawak Expeditions offers custom trips to Anegada and throughout the islands, as well as multi-day camping trips. arawakexp.com
ISLAND LIVING: Virgin Gorda's Biras Creek Resort is a luxurious, eco-friendly resort with 33 suites. Last year's face-lift added two new plunge pools, a brand-new fleet of kayaks, and a bicycle for every guest. Doubles, $615; biras.com