This destination may not have the most enticing name (Virgin Gorda translates to “Fat Virgin”), but there’s plenty to explore on this enchanting isle, and the one-of-a-kind grottoes of its secluded baths are unbelievably romantic. The unique name was given by Christopher Columbus in 1493 when he saw the silhouette of a portly or pregnant woman lying on her back in the topography of this eight-and-a-half-square-mile island. (It’s the third largest of the British Virgin Islands.)
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
Flight time: 6 hours from New York City; 11 hours from LA; 7 hours from Chicago
Getting around: Taxi, ferry and rental car (keep left!)
When to Go: Virgin Gorda at its best
Best weather: The BVI receives little annual rainfall. The temperature ranges from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and a steady trade wind keeps humidity low.
Best prices: September and November
What to Do
Hike national parks: Go for a hike at Little Fort National Park, the site of a wildlife sanctuary and the stone-wall skeleton of an old Spanish fort. Other good spots for wandering include Devil’s Bay National Park, one of several pristine parks given by the Rockefellers to the BVI government in the 1960s, and Gorda Peak National Park, the island’s highest point. You can also head to the island’s newest park, The Copper Mine, for beautiful views of Tortola, the Dogs and other islands.
Try the Baths: This popular strip of beach features caves, grottoes and pools formed by huge granite boulders — some as big as small houses! For more privacy, follow the shoreline north to quieter Spring, Crawl, Little Trunk and Valley Trunk bays, or head south to Devil’s Bay.