Budget

Budget Beaches

by Sarah Tuff

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Splurge on a pedicure—you'll be mostly barefoot on St. John. Cove after perfect cove look as if they were carved by an ice-cream scoop, and the underwater snorkeling trails are as plentiful as the footpaths among crumbling sugar plantations. If the beaches seem familiar, it's because they're among the most photographed in the world, thanks to the condo-free shores and the sailboats bobbing in baby-blue waters. In the town of Coral Bay, buy bikinis from the "store" inside a VW bus, order cheeseburgers off an old windsurfing board, and fall asleep to crashing waves in a breezy beach cottage for as little as $70. (Another plus: These days St. John is one of the only Caribbean islands you can get to sans passport.) And while St. John may be best known for ritzy resorts such as Caneel Bay, it's also home to Cinnamon Bay Campground, part of Virgin Islands National Park, which protects two thirds of the island. No tents required: You can rent one of the campground's 15-by-15-foot cottages, each with four twin beds, a fan, picnic table, and grill.

Fly Buy: Check for flight specials to St. Thomas on Spirit Air (800-772-7117; www.spiritair.com) or even US Airways (800-428-4322; www.usairways.com). Reach St. John by ferry—round-trip is a mere $10 per person.

Cinnamon Bay Campground
Tel: 340 776 6330
Two-bedroom cottages for four from $100; campsites from $30

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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