Beach therapy is how I thought of it, the last time I was supine on a lounge chair planted in the sand. Having spent too many childhood summers by the sea, I pay for it now with umbrellas and cover-ups. But the pleasure remains—and beach vacations have been added to my I-would-be-a-less-stressed-out-person-if-I-did-this-more-often list.
We address my problem (and, perhaps, yours) this month, with a seasonally appropriate selection of alluring U.S. beaches ("T+L Guide: 20 Great American Beaches"), along with everything you’ll need to book your very own trip. Beyond our sandy shores, writer Eleni N. Gage leads the way to a trio of "secret islands" in her native Greece. Indeed, for many worldly-wise travelers today, the authentic and hidden have supplanted the hot and happening, and with this same thought in mind, Travel + Leisure’s wine and spirits editor, Bruce Schoenfeld, uncovers five burgeoning but lesser-known wine regions, from Chile to New Zealand and Spain to Virginia ("Wine-Lover’s Guide: 5 Regions to Visit Now"). In search of what he posits may be the best Asian food anywhere, T+L special correspondent Peter Jon Lindberg sets off for the Pacific Rim capital of Sydney, Australia (for help finding spectacular som tam and unforgettable char siu, read "Sydney, Asia"). And in Doha, Qatar, Michael Z. Wise explores that other Gulf State capital that is reinventing itself as a Middle Eastern cultural oasis ("Bridging the Gulf"). Closer to home, landlocked but culturally rich Santa Fe ("Seeking Santa Fe") is vividly rendered by a former resident, the writer Joan Juliet Buck, an aficionado of the annual Indian Market in August and the vibrant contemporary-art scene alike.
As for my own summer vacation plans—they do have a beach element. It’s the 90th birthday of my dear Aunt Sally, and next month my family and I are heading to a resort near her apartment in Florida to celebrate. Fortunately for me, there are cool and shady cabanas with easy access to the sand and the sea.
Trip Tips: Beaches I Love
Here are a few of my favorite seaside resorts outside the United States.
Pamalican Island, Philippines; 63-2/759-4040; amanresorts.com.
Turks and Caicos; 877/754-0726 or 649/946-7788; parrotcay.como.bz.
Evason Hideaway & Six Senses Spa at Ana Mandara
Nha Trang, Vietnam; 84/58-728-222; sixsenses.com.
Harbour Island, Bahamas; 800/688-7678 or 242/333-2030; islandoutpost.com.