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British Virgin Islands's insider take:

Cane Garden Bay. A long, sheltered curve of white sand on the north coast, this has many water-sports facilities and is lined with restaurants and bars that remain lively well into the evening.

Long Bay. Aptly named, this white-sand mile is busier at the east end, where there are several guesthouses and a resort, but tranquil in the west.

Apple Bay Beach. A surfing center near Long Bay with famous full-moon parties at Bomba's Surfside Shack and a Friday night fish fry.

Smugglers Cove. At the west end of the island, this clear, calm stretch of water with good snorkeling is hard to access by land and therefore very quiet.

Elizabeth Beach. At the east end: one of the widest beaches in the islands. Not to be confused with Lambert Bay, a.k.a Elizabeth Bay, on the north shore, though nobody would mind finding themselves there instead.

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