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As we enter the “will it never end?” stretch of winter, your thoughts are probably turning to the warm waters and balmy temps of the Caribbean. And here’s the thing: If you’re planning an island getaway, you don’t necessarily have to stay in a hotel; the region offers choices that go far beyond the familiar. From an Airstream trailer in Aruba to a private island in the Turks and Caicos Islands, here are four alternative ways to experience the Caribbean.

Wild Lotus Glamping in The Grenadines. (Photo: Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon)

Go Glamping in the The Grenadines
If you’re the outdoorsy type—or even if you think you aren’t—consider a Caribbean glamping getaway, courtesy of the family that runs Wild Lotus Glamping. I spent three nights at their beachfront set-up in Antigua, and really enjoyed the off-the-grid oasis, a cluster of six spacious Lotus Belle tents—complete with antique reproduction furniture, outdoor showers and private barbecue grills—on Valley Church Beach. The Antigua operation is temporarily closed, but you can still live out your Crusoe-esque castaway fantasies at two new Grenadines locations, on Bequia and Mayreau.

Sarah at the Airstream Airbnb in Aruba. (Photo: Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon)

Get Away From It All in an Airstream
Eagle Beach and Palm Beach are just a few minutes’ drive away, but I’ll bet you won’t miss them much when you stay in the middle of Aruba’s cunucu (desert) at the island’s—and the Caribbean’s—only Airstream airbnb. The 30-ft.-long, 2-bedroom Flying Cloud RV has the mod cons you need (including air-conditioning, a kitchenette and even a telescope for stargazing). There’s also an outdoor bathroom (my favorite simple luxury) and a hammock overlooks a private saltwater pool, surrounded by a cacti-studded landscape.

Discover An Out Island Oasis
Savvy Caribbean travelers know that there’s so much more to the Bahamas than New Providence’s Nassau; there are more than 700 Out Islands in the archipelago. One of them is 110-mile-long Eleuthera, where The Cove is an intimate retreat for sun-seekers who don’t need casinos or duty-free shopping to distract them from their goal—enjoying the sublime and simple pleasures of sun, sea and sand. Here, a cluster of 29 cottages, villas and suites overlook two postcard-perfect scallops of sand, lapped by that iconic Bahamian blue. My best advice: Ask mixologist Sanchea to make you a sky juice (coconut water, gin and condensed milk), take it to the water’s edge, and spend as much time there as possible.

Two-Bedroom Beach Villa at COMO Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos.

Pick a Private-Island Paradise
If you think a private-island resort that’s a celebrity favorite and where even entry-level rooms start at more than $500 a night is bound to be pretentious, think again. What I loved most about my stay at COMO Parrot Cay, a 100-acre Turks and Caicos all-inclusive enclave, wasn’t my swanky beach villa (with a private pool, naturally), the top-notch butler service, or the impressively stylish inventory in the on-site boutiques. What impressed me most was that, despite all the Dior beach totes and Vilbrequin swim trunks, the vibe was completely casual and refreshingly unaffected.