If I could find my passport, I'd be in the Bahamas by now...
March 21, 2011 5:45 PM   Subscribe

Winter beach getaway for the desperate New Englander without a passport?

Okay. It snowed again today here in Boston and I've had it up to here with winter. Between work, life changes, and this damn weather, for the first time in my life, I now understand why people would want to go do nothing for a few days on a beach, and damn it, I've earned this. I've checked out this, but I'm kind of looking for the inherently less kid-friendly version. Specifically, all I want is to:

- be able to lie on a beach that's warm enough for a bikini
- read my trashy fantasy novels in relative peace
- and drink Old Fashioneds (MA has this crazy no-open-container-on-beaches thing and I'd like to find somewhere that doesn't)
- not have to worry about having to drive around town looking for food because hey, I'll be drinking!
- Keep it under 250$ a night? (I'm hoping to take advantage of last minute deals, if I can find any.) I could go up to maybe 400$ a night if I can con a friend into joining me, though.
- Trying to avoid immediate Miami-area if possible - my folks are there, and don't understand that visiting them != vacation or relaxing!
- Somewhere I can go ASAP, preferably by mid-April. I'm not limited to weekend travel - I could do a few weekdays instead if that makes it way more affordable/realistic.

If I could find my passport, I'd be in the Bahamas by now. I've dug around and can't find many all-inclusive resorts in the US except for this and it's a little spendier and difficult to get to (far from an airport) than I'd like. And my only impression of Club Med is from lots of kid-friendly commercials, so I'm guessing it's not my style?

Seriously, you'll be my hero if you can suggest something. Anything!
posted by amestar_runner to Travel & Transportation around The Bahamas (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I live on Maui. I would come to Maui or Kauai. You can stay at a B & B. The airfare is a killer, but you can get deals. I came from New England. Maui is a New Englanderʻs idea of paradise. There was a reason all those missionaries came here from New England.

Or if that is too much, Sarasota. Easier to get to, great beaches, lots of food. Not as charming as Hawaii.
posted by fifilaru at 5:51 PM on March 21, 2011

Puerto Rico? U.S. Virgin Islands?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:54 PM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Ah, I'd been under the impression I would need a passport for Virgin Islands/Puerto Rico, but you're right! That's now high up on my list, but if I can find something in the continental US, I'd be even more excited.

(I detest flying, and the thought of ending a relaxing vacation with 6ish(?) hours of flying makes me a sad panda. :-/)
posted by amestar_runner at 6:03 PM on March 21, 2011

With regards to the Virgin Islands, there are direct flights from Boston that only take ~3-4 hours (flew to St. Thomas from Boston this January). However, they're in the middle of tourist season (and everything's a bit pricy), so I'm not sure if this would be within your stated budget. (Ended up spending ~$110 a night, per person, for a condo with my boyfriend. We spent more on food/transportation, though--will look up later if you're interested). What about Florida? Southern California? Hope you find your beach vacation--this snow's getting depressing!
posted by Stephanie Duy at 6:11 PM on March 21, 2011

posted by mareli at 6:13 PM on March 21, 2011

FYI, my mom lives in St. Thomas so I travel there more than the average Joe. I'm pretty sure you will need a passport to LEAVE the US Virgin Islands (but not to enter--it has to do with the Virgin Islands' designation as a US port of entry, hence all the duty-free shopping there).

What about Miami? Key West? South Florida is in the upper 70's-low 80's this time of year, and I know American flies direct from Boston to Miami.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:15 PM on March 21, 2011

thinkingwoman: I believe that you can make do with a valid state license. My boyfriend forgot his passport, and wasn't asked to show it at any point during check-in on the way back to the states.
posted by Stephanie Duy at 6:17 PM on March 21, 2011

30 A in Florida! From Destin to Panama City Florida.
It is a great area with clear water and powder white beaches. Can't get much better than this. Go to VRBO (vacation rentals by owner). Two airports to fly into, Destin or Panama City. You can stay in Grayton Beach area where there are a number of restaurants close by, The Red Bar (on the beach) being the best choice but crowded. Alcohol is allowed on beaches with proper container (no glass) you can rent chairs to be delivered to your desired location on the beach. Set up and taken down by 6pm. Fires permitted on beach with permit and wash pail in sand, market is close by, you can have bicycle or Scooter delivered to your house, what can I say. A great place to hang and relax...and meet great people who are looking for the same thing as you are and come back every year to get it.
The great beaches here are Blue Mountain, Santa Rosa Beach, Grayton Beach, Sea Side, Water Color and Sea Grove to name a few of the best ones. Have fun.
posted by analogtom at 6:20 PM on March 21, 2011

Not particularly a comment on where to go but a bit of a reminder that spring break for many high schools and institutes of higher learning spans the next few weeks. Plan accordingly to make sure you are not vacationing where there is one big giant fraternity/sorority party!
posted by labwench at 6:59 PM on March 21, 2011

I couldn't find my passport two weeks before a trip to St. Martin. If you can take a little time off work now, you can get your passport replaced in literally one day by getting an appointment for an expedited passport at a State Dept. passport center. Note that I am not talking about one of these private "get a passport quick!" services. This is something you can do yourself, and it'll cost about $200. (But only $60 of that is for the expedite fee; if you've lost your passport, you'll have to pay the full fee for a new one anyway.)

More information here. I did this without a hitch before my above-mentioned trip. Since you say you live in Boston, I'm guessing there's a State Dept. office some reasonable distance away from you. The only problem is that you need to go twice: Once, on the day you've made your appointment, to file your application, and then, the next day, to pick it up. Also, big issue: You need to actually have overseas travel booked within the next two weeks. That means you need to bring your airplane ticket confirmation with you.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:42 PM on March 21, 2011

I live in St Thomas USVI and can say definitively you do not need a passport coming or going. Airfare from Boston is cheap right now and there are plenty of places that will fit your requirements.
posted by Bango Skank at 7:46 AM on March 22, 2011

Virginia Beach is starting to get pretty warm - it was 75 F and 80 F the last couple of days. Currently 60 F, but it's warming up again after this weekend. I'm sad it's going back to the 50s for a couple of days because I was looking forward to going to the beach next weekend.

There are a number of advertised specials to try to fill up the hotels (right on the waterfront) before tourist season starts at $100 or less a night, plus it's well within driving distance (if, like me, you don't mind road tripping) or a short flight.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:36 AM on March 22, 2011

Oh, and nearby other destinations would be Sandbridge or the Outer Banks. The beaches for all of these have really nice, fine sand, but in Virginia Beach proper you'd be around restaurants, shops, hotels, etc, (I've never been to the Outer Banks, but Sandbridge seemed to be mostly rental-houses).
posted by bookdragoness at 9:39 AM on March 22, 2011

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