Nevis, Alexander Hamilton's Home Island, Should Be Your Next Vacation

It's got sun, sand and stories of a founding father.
02/06/2017 04:35pm ET | Updated March 28, 2017

For “Hamilton” fans who have seen, read, cycled, and heard it all, there’s still one more way to connect with the story: Visit the island of Nevis.

Alexander Hamilton, the founding father at the center of the record-busting Broadway musical, grew up on this tiny Caribbean island in the mid-1700s, when it was a British colony. He was born illegitimate, abandoned by his father and soon orphaned when his mother died, and these humble beginnings are said to have informed some of the political views that earned Hamilton a notable place in American history.

Hamilton lived on Nevis as a young boy before moving to a neighboring island and then, around age 17, to the U.S. As beach lovers, however, we’d never want to leave this place:

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Pinney's Beach on Nevis island
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A view of neighboring St. Kitts from Nevis
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The Nevis Botanical Gardens
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Horseback riding on Pinney's Beach

Nevis is one of two islands that make up the country of Saint Kitts and Nevis, located just east of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nevis is known as the more relaxed of the pair, and Nevisians, as they’re called, pride themselves on their laid-back lifestyle.

However, it wasn’t always this way: Nevis was a busy and wealthy trade hub for the sugar industry in the 18th century. In fact, Hamilton’s family owned a sugar plantation, though he had no claim to it. Its ruins still stand just outside the capital of Charlestown.

There’s major debate about exactly when and where on the island Hamilton was born, but landmarks abound nevertheless. There’s Hamilton Beach, which shares his name, and a suggested walking route that many believe is the path young Hamilton walked to school. His legacy also lives on in the Hamilton House, a restored stone building that also serves as the island’s local history museum:

Even if you’re not a “Hamilton” fan, Nevis is an ideal place to unwind. The island is basically one big mountain peak, bordered by perfect beaches and old sugar plantations. Guest houses and inns cluster right up to the water, and historic sugar plantations have been converted into stunning resorts. Oh, and there’s a Four Seasons, too.

Hiking, snorkeling, swimming and horseback riding are perfect ways to spend your days in Nevis. End with a drink at Bananas Restaurant on the Hamilton family’s former sugar plantation, which comes highly recommended by former visitors.

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St. Paul's Church in Charlestown
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A sugar mill converted into a cottage
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Pinney's Beach

According to U.S. News, the best time to visit Nevis is May or June, after the high tourist season ends but before the rainy season sets in. It’s easiest to fly into Puerto Rico, then take a connecting flight over to Nevis. Bring a book for the long journey ― we think Hamilton should work just fine.

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