McLean Robbins

Correspondent

  • Washington, D.C., USA

McLean Robbins is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who lives in Washington, D.C. The freelance luxury lifestyle writer specializes in travel, hotels, spas, weddings and social media for national magazines and websites. Her work has appeared in publications including Robb Report, AOL, The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, DailyCandy and many more. She is also an experienced digital content and SEO strategist, working with businesses across the country to help develop engaging Web content. Robbins holds an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.

  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    Where is the best nightlife in Antigua?

    Look forward to a friendly, laid-back nightlife scene with plenty of excellent Caribbean music and steel drum bands when you visit Antigua. The most famous party on the island is the Sunday evening barbecue and beach bash at Shirley Heights. Arrive early to watch the sun set over English and Falmouth Harbours from the ridge. If it’s gambling you crave, find it at the Grand Princess Casino in Jolly Harbour.
     
    If you prefer a casual cocktail on the water, English Harbour, home to Nelson’s Dockyard, offers several restaurants where you can do anything from sip a wine flight to order a martini or a casual beer. Our favorite is the low key Admiral’s Inn (try the fresh fruit daiquiris). Sugar Ridge Hotel also includes the Sugar Club, which offers popular Friday night entertainment and dancing. Ask the locals or your hotel concierge what’s happening on the nights you’re in town — if you’re lucky, you can hear some of the island’s native music, soca, which sounds like a poppy mix between hip hop and reggae.
  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What is the best way to see Antigua in one day?

    A popular dock for Caribbean cruise ships, Antigua is a small island that is easily seen in a single day. Begin at Nelson’s Dockyards, where you can stroll past historic buildings and marvel at mega-yachts (and pick up any touristy souvenirs you desire) before setting sail, either on a guided cruise or on a sailboat rental. We recommend Adventure Antigua, a friendly locally-owned company that combines relaxing stops at area beaches with snorkeling, hiking up famed mini-islands such as Hells Gate and even a bit of eco-tourism. Guides are well-versed in everything from the island’s history to the patterns of the sea turtles that come to nest on Antigua’s beaches year after year. Or skip the cruise and simply check out on one of the island’s 365 beaches, nearly all of which offer pristine white sand and public access. End the night with dinner and drinks at Sheer Rocks or Carmichael’s, both excellent restaurants serving cocktails and refined local seafood in a breathtakingly beautiful setting.
  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    Where is the best shopping in Antigua?

    Antigua’s best shopping is at its local markets, including the Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market in St. Johns. You can purchase local fruit and handmade goods while interacting with friendly locals. If it’s souvenirs you crave, find them at Nelson’s Dockyards – you’ll be able to seek out jewelry, tee shirts and more from local artisans. For local art, peruse Art on the Ridge, at Sugar Ridge Resort, where you’ll find an excellent selection of locally made goods including jewelry, oil paintings and pottery. Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, Antigua does not offer high-end or luxury shopping – you’d be best off taking back a jar of hot sauce by local company Susie’s for your loved ones.
  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Antigua?

    Antigua is an exceptionally family-friendly island. With a beach for each day of the year, a wide variety of water sports and friendly locals, the island is ideal for exploring with children. Here are a few of our favorite activities:  
     
    1. Tour the Dockyards. Admiral Nelson’s dockyard is one of the top tourist attractions on the island, and part of a 15-mile national park that’s the only remaining Georgian-style dockyard in the world. Peruse open-air market stalls for tourist tchotchkes (pick up a bottle of the local hot sauce) or pop into the restored building (we loved the British-style telephone booth). If it’s luxury you crave, you can walk the docks and gaze at the mega-yachts that come to dock in English Harbour – some of the world’s greatest ships come in and out of this port.
     
    2. Shirley Heights. Want to have some fun? Shirley Heights is actually the name of a military complex that runs across a large ridge, but tourists know it as the name of one of the biggest parties on the island. On a clear day, you can see the neighboring island of Montserrat. We’d suggest leaving soon after the sunset with children, but the early afternoons are low-key enough for older kids.
     
    3. Hit the Sea. Enjoy the island with a sail, snorkel or scuba dive. Naturally protected by coral reefs, the island’s crystal clear waters make it easy to see the island’s many types of sea life. If you’d prefer to take in the island via powerboat, tour company Adventure Antigua offers day-long and half-day tours that have an eco-component. Tour guides are well-versed on the island’s natural species and educate kids and adults alike in fun, friendly way.

    4. Beach Lovers United. With 365 white sand beaches, nearly all of which are public — it’s hard to go wrong with a day at the beach.
     
    5. Rainforest Adventure. It’s hard to believe, but the island known for its little rainfall and abundant sunshine boasts a vibrant rainforest. Take a morning canopy tour and ziplining adventure, perfect for adventurous families.
  • On June 27, 2012
    McLean Robbins answered the question: McLean Robbins

    What are the five best things to see and do in Antigua?

    Antigua offers something for everyone, from adventure seekers to leisure lovers alike. Here are a few of our favorite things to see and do:
     
    1. Tour the Dockyards. Admiral Nelson’s dockyard is one of the pre-eminent tourist attractions on the island, part of a 15-mile national park and the only remaining Georgian-style dockyard in the world. Peruse open-air market stalls for kitschy souvenirs (pick up a bottle of the local hot sauce) or pop into the restored building (we loved the British-style telephone booth). If it’s luxury you crave, you can walk the docks and gaze at the mega-yachts that come to dock in English Harbour – some of the world’s greatest ships sail in and out of this port.
     
    2. Visit Shirley Heights. Want to party? Shirley Heights is actually the name of a military complex that runs across a large ridge, but tourists know it as the name of one of the biggest parties on the island. Arrive early and wander the 18th century buildings, and then stay for sunset over English and Falmouth Harbours, the most famous view on the island. On a clear day, you can see the neighboring island of Montserrat.
     
    3. Go underwater. Enjoy the island with a sail, snorkel or scuba dive. Naturally protected by coral reefs, the island’s crystal clear waters make it easy to see the island’s many types of sea life. If you’ve never seen pink sand, hop a quick flight to sister island Barbuda, which is famous for its pink beaches.
     
    4. Hit the beach. With 365 white sand beaches, nearly all of which are public, it’s hard to go wrong with a day at the beach.
     
    5. If you’re a history buff, visit the town capital, St. Johns, and tour the historic cathedral, a baroque masterpiece. If you can, visit on a Saturday, where you’ll enjoy a vibrant local market.