In the world of travel, hurricane season doesn’t just mean canceled flights and questions about travel insurance coverage. It can mean major savings on some of the most sought-after tropical destinations in the Caribbean and Florida. While the crowds flock to family vacation meccas like Orlando and the Carolinas, here’s a look at five hotspots where savvy travelers can save big this summer (and how to spend a day should a rain cloud pass over).
St. Maarten. This sunny isle of the French and Dutch can be quite pricey during the winter, but hurricane season brings deep discounts, with summer hotel prices 41 percent cheaper than high season. While the beautiful beaches are the big draw, an “off” day may have you looking for things to do indoors. The Dutch side of the island boasts 12 casinos and boutiques are plentiful. With many artists making their home here, visitors will find a number of unique art studios and galleries to explore. For history buffs, the Museum Sint Maarten displays an impressive collection of historic artifacts and cultural information about the island.
Where to Stay: The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa is a great choice. This luxury full-service property offers a kids club, spa and rates from just $169/night this summer.
Barbados. Summer hotel rates at 35 percent less than during high season make Barbados a great choice for a summer escape. With a wealth of spa destinations, a rainy day is just an excuse to be pampered. Or tour the island’s famous rum distilleries and visit its well-known pottery studio, Earthworks.
Where to Stay: Fans of small boutique hotels will love the Silver Point Hotel. This 54-room property offers many amenities typically seen in larger luxury properties, such as a spa and poolside cabanas, but with rates from $121/night.
Cayman Islands. These popular islands can demand big bucks for hotel rooms during the winter, but is serving up savings of 35 percent during this off-season. And travelers looking for some time away from the beach will find plenty to do. From the Cayman Motor Museum with its impressive collection of exotic and rare cars to an underwater experience in an Atlantic submarine, the Cayman Islands offer much more than just sun and sand.
Where to Stay: Budget-travelers who don’t want to give up charm and service will enjoy the Sunshine Suites. From just $132/night and a short walk across the street to the beach, this property has won awards and great reviews for its friendly staff and exceptional service.
West Palm Beach, Florida. This South Florida gem really does have it all—big summer savings (35 percent) and a community of arts and culture that is the perfect complement to its beautiful beaches. Its South Florida Science Museum just reopened after at $2.4 million expansion and renovation. Museums abound including the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, the Norton Museum and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and performing arts can be found year-round at the Kravis Center and the Matz Jupiter Theater.
Where to Stay: At 80 years young, the Boca Raton Resort – Waldorf Astoria Collection is as timeless as it is luxurious. It’s set on 345 acres of pristine resort grounds, with its own shopping village and nearly every amenity imaginable. Its summer rates from $149/night are an absolute steal.
Ft. Myers, Florida. Visiting Florida’s southern gulf coast isn’t just a paradise of shells and soft sandy beaches. Its many inland options of things to do make for tough decisions on how to spend your time. The Baily-Matthews Shell Museum is the most comprehensive museum in the Western Hemisphere devoted solely to shells. Or visit the visitor education center at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, giving visitors a view into how animals are admitted, diagnosed, treated and released back into the wild. The Thomas Edison & Henry Ford winter estates also make for a great tour.
Where to Stay: The general Ft. Myers area is also home to Captiva Island and its South Seas Island Resort, a destination all its own. With nearly 20 pools, a waterpark, a sea school, and endless activities, it’s a premier family resort, and from just $184/night this summer, a deal that’s hard to pass up.