Aruba is a popular destination even though there aren't non-stop flights from Pittsburgh. It was over 20 years since I was last year so I was far overdue for a visit. It is a beautiful island with turquoise water and white, sandy beaches. There is a mix of all-inclusive properties as well as those that are not. It of course had changed a lot since my last visit. It feels very Americanized as there are so many restaurants and shops that can be found in the USA.
There are two main areas of the hotels - the low-rise & high-rise area. There is much more activity in the high-rise area. There is a walkway by the beach between the hotels, which is nice for those who want to walk, but not necessarily in the sand. There are many shops and restaurants in this area within walking distance of the hotels so there are many dining options for those that don't have meals included with their package. One thing I liked is the stores opened in the afternoon and stayed open later in the evening. Often when you go to an island after a day on the beach there is not much to do outside of the resort in the evening. In Aruba there were a lot of people out and about.
I did stay in an all-inclusive property which had everything included - meals, drinks and non-motorized watersports with lots of other activities throughout the day. I did look at other hotels that weren't all-inclusive and there were some very nice ones. All-inclusive is not for everyone so it's nice to have the option to dine at some of the local restaurants.
As I mentioned, there is so much shopping available. This ranges from up-scale stores to local crafts, so those who like to shop will be delighted with all the options!
Due to the fact that there aren't a lot of all-inclusives, Aruba does tend to be a higher in price than some other popular destinations. If you want a tropical vacation, but want to feel that you are still in the USA with all the shopping & dining options then Aruba may be the perfect choice for you.