Antigua beyond the beach: this island offers much more than sparkling sands.

Author:Gumbs, Alisa

WITH A BEACH FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR, IT'S obvious why the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda would be a beach bum's dream. But if you can drag yourself away from the 365 white and pink sand beaches, there's so much more to do on these Eastern Caribbean islands.

Known as the sailing capital of the Caribbean, Antigua is host to a year-round calendar of sailing activities. But the true can't-miss event for enthusiasts is the annual Antigua Sailing Week--a world-class regatta that attracts hundreds of entries--at the end of April. If sailing's not your sport, the island's also known for its devotion to cricket. The national stadium, named after retired legend the "master blaster" Sir Vivian Richards, hosts international cricket tours and an annual festival.

Adrenaline junkies can get their rush by land, sea, or air. You can breeze through the lush rainforest by zip line with Antigua Rainforest Tours; take in the aerial view on a helicopter ride; or go caving and snorkeling on "Eli's Eco Tour," designed by a local former Olympian.

The twin islands are a haven for nature lovers. Hiking trails abound. There's a four-month turtle watching season during which Hawksbill sea turtles nest and lay eggs. And the pristine island of Barbuda is home to the largest frigate bird sanctuary in the Caribbean, in Codrington Lagoon National Park, with more than 170 bird species.

If you're looking to party, grab a Wadadli--the local lager--and head to Shirley Heights on...

To continue reading