St. Eustatius/Statia Main

At first glance, Statia (as the Dutch island is called by its 2,500 or so residents) isn't your typical Caribbean getaway. For starters, the beaches are less than memorable and nightlife is almost nonexistent. But if history is a passion, and your pursuits take you both underwater and high into hills, this is an island to remember.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Statia (pronounced STAY-sha) was one of the Caribbean's richest ports, whose wealth earned it the name "The Golden Rock." Vestiges of the past remain not only in the main town, Oranjestad (where the nicely restored 17th-century Fort Oranje stands on a cliff overlooking the waterfront), but offshore, where the submerged ruins of old city walls, warehouses, and shipwrecks lie in clear, shallow water easily accessible to both divers and snorkelers. For a more in-depth look at the island's past, take a walking tour of the town, and stop by the Historical Foundation Museum, housed in what was, in the late 18th century, one of Statia's grandest, merchant-owned houses.

Inland, a dozen nature trails cross Statia's landscape. The granddaddy of them all is the climb to the 2,000-foot summit of The Quill, a dormant volcano that dominates the southern part of this often overlooked gem of the Netherlands Antilles.