Family vacations have been something I’ve been very fortunate to do since I was young. It’s rare to see families travel together once adulthood hits—many of us move to different cities, get married, have kids, and other priorities that occupy our “fun time,” but that’s what I feel makes my family special.
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You see my parents, sister and I have lived in Richmond, VA our entire lives. I know some of you are thinking that sounds boring AF, but when you love your city and can travel it makes it pretty easy to keep a home base. I love traveling so much and there are a handful of cities I’ve visited that I know I could enjoy living in, but the one thing that has always held me back is my family. Knowing I’d have to leave them behind and only see them a few times a year has never been a decision I’ve been willing to make. And so traveling to see other places developed into a passion of mine that has never slowed. As soon as I get home from a trip I start thinking of the next place I wan to go. It’s an endless cycle, but I wouldn’t change it.
A few years have gone by since I’ve taken what had been a yearly family trip so this year I decided the time was right since I now have an awesome woman to enjoy the journey with me.
St. Barth is a French island in the Caribbean with amazing food, beaches and culture. It was my first time taking an entire vacation here – the others were day trips or overnights and boy did we have fun. I found this awesome place managed by Eden Rock called Villa Xanadu that overlooked the airport, Baie de St. Jean and Eden Rock itself. It was perfect in every way.
Eden Rock – Sand Bar is a restaurant right on the beach. There is an actual restaurant with traditional tables and there is also the ability to sit directly on the beach on loungy couches. We chose the beach and it was amazing. Highly recommend.
Eden Rock – On The Rocks is the restaurant and bar at the top of Eden Rock. I would definitely recommend a least getting a drink. The view is killer, there is a DJ playing great tunes and you’ll likely see someone famous if you look around. The night I was there Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys owner) was sitting right near us.
Le Guanahani – Indigo on the Beach is the beach restaurant at Le Guanahani, a Boutique Luxury Hotel. They keep the grounds pristine and I mean that literally. There is a guy that rakes any seaweed up when it hits the shore. The food and service are top notch. Look for the cat that lives there and has possibly the best life of any cat ever. Hike around the rocks on the point and you can catch some great wave spray—or get pounded by one, which I did.
Cheval Blanc – Isle de France is a beautiful resort located on Flamands Beach. Like the prior dining spots it was nothing short of amazing and I would make sure you go here. Excellent Planter’s Punches and they hook you up with shots of vanilla rum after your meal. Awesome outdoor shower, quiet pool area, and models walk around the tables during lunch wearing stuff from the shop at the hotel.
Bagatelle is an Italian restaurant located on the port in Gustavia. They have other locations around the world (L.A., Dubai, St Tropez, etc.) and it’s apparent they know what they’re doing. Service was excellent, their White Truffle Pizza was the best I’ve had, a DJ was playing awesome tunes and to top it off there was a magician that so smoothly approached our table and gave us a short personal show that was something you would see in Las Vegas. After the meal, they brought over a bottle of house-made liquer and gave us all a shot. Really amazing experience.
Bonito is situated up in the hills overlooking the port of Gustavia. This restaurant continued the theme of providing top quality service, incredible food, all open-air, views to die for and yet another DJ playing tunes you just wanted a copy of. Oh, we did get a copy because he was selling his music if you asked.
Santa Fe is located high up in the hills in the town of Lurin with spectacular views of St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustatius and Saba. Go here for lunch or early dinner to catch the sunset out on the patio area.
Le Piment is a place you go if you just want to chill and forgo the big night out. It’s a roadside locals joint with good food and more wallet-friendly prices.
JoJo Burger is another low key, no frills joint with a ton of character. It was started by a couple of surfers and it’s all open air, with surf videos playing, and a more local vibe. They also have adult milkshakes so that had my vote.
Le Select – famous spot to get a cheeseburger since 1949. It’s right in the middle of town and perfect to s simple lunch.
There are 14 beaches on the island and we hit 10 of them: St. Jean, Lorient, Marigot, Grand Cul-de-Sac, Grande Saline, Gouverneur, Flamands, Shell Beach, Colombier “Rockefeller Beach,” and Anse des Cayes.
There is plenty of info online about these beaches, but my favorites are St. Jean–very calm, Eden Rock is amazing, Nikki Beach is there if you want to party and you can walk over to the airport runway; Columbier –you have to hike about 15-20 minutes, the beach is beautiful and there aren’t many people; Flamands–perfect beach, amazing food and a pool with big day beds to relax on; and, Marigot/Grand Cul-de-Sac which has a few great restaurants, pristine beach and pool area, a nice breeze.
If you’ve never been to St. Barth I can say without hesitation you will have an amazing time, just be prepared to spend some dough. The locals here are very used to catering to the high-end clientele so expect amazing service and attention to details you might have never experienced elsewhere.
Note: The fireworks show in the video was Jeff Gordon’s (4-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion) 10-Year Vowel Renewals.