Historians say Christopher Columbus sailed by Anguilla in 1493, but didn’t land. What a shame. We’re certain he probably wouldn’t have left had he stopped.

Situated in the northern Caribbean and just 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, Anguilla is the ideal spot for travelers seeking barefoot luxury in secluded environs. Not surprising, celebs like Paul McCartney, Channing Tatum and Beyonce have made it their “go to” getaway.

Though any day spent on Anguilla is sublime, the optimum time to visit is from May through August, the island’s shoulder season.

Perhaps the island’s greatest lure is its pristine, postcard worthy beaches (12 miles worth!). Turquoise waters lapping upon soft, bleached sand creates a remarkable backdrop for a relaxing vacation. Average temps of 80 degrees certainly help.

The beaches are seriously incredible. Whether you opt for the more active Shoal Bay, dotted with restaurants and beach bars; or prefer the off the beaten path Savannah Bay with few other patrons and great snorkeling, it’s a win no matter where you drop your beach towel.Couples and families alike will appreciate the low-key privacy Anguilla offers. Weddings are popular, and local hotels and resorts cater to weddingmooners and honeymooners extremely well.

Families will also appreciate the kid-friendly outdoor activities, a low crime rate and many calm beaches for smaller vacationers in tow. In addition, some hotels like the Allamanda Beach Club provide kitchenettes, perfect for families with toddlers (because sometimes a quick PB&J is the only thing they need!).

With limited commercial development, you won’t find an abundance of lively nightlife or busy shopping areas. However, crazy good snorkeling and diving, as well as varied gourmet dining opportunities more than make up for it.

With more than 30 beaches to choose from, it’s likely you won’t exhaust your list of places to snorkel. Shoal Bay East is popular. It’s calm and great for beginners. Venture to the outer edge, though. Lots of reefs draw a variety of marine life. Also perfect for beginners, Meads Bay is located on the west end of the island. It’s easily accessible, and you’ll discover lots of fish right off the beach. No matter where you end up, don’t be surprised to find manta rays, sea turtles, and brightly hued schools of fish swimming about.

There are good diving opportunities at any of the seven marine parks, including Stoney Bay and Scrub Island. Stoney Bay boasts the 960-ton Spanish galleon, El Buen Consejo, while Scrub Island is known for shark spotting.

We recommend you either exercise a lot while you’re here, or just expect a little gain. Savoring a meal at one of the 70 restaurants on Anguilla is something you’ll want to do often. From gourmet cuisine to roadside barbecue stands, it’s all here. Check out Straw Hat (in Meads Bay) and Smitty’s on the Beach (Island Harbor). Also, don’t miss a meal at Scilly Cay Restaurant. It’s located on a small island off the east end of Anguilla, and serves sumptuous fresh lobster. It’s not surprising this place has been thriving for more than 26 years.

Anguilla is the remedy for cookie cutter all-inclusives that seem to permeate many Caribbean islands. Here you’ll discover some of the best vacation prices with excellent choices in resorts, hotels, and villas in all of the Caribbean.

For vacationers searching for respite from a harried, calendar filled existence; this unspoiled island fits the bill.