Wide, white-sand beaches? Check. Photo-worthy wildlife? Check. These three islands are some of our readers’ favorites.
Sure, people are always giving props to California for its year-round perfect weather, but what about Florida? You know, the sunshine state. Florida may not be known for its dry heat like California, but St. Pete Beach, Florida’s humidified residents can often be seen sporting tank tops and tan lines around the Christmas tree! But to avoid the throngs of holiday-time snowbirds covering the beaches, it’s wise to hit the sand and the Gulf of Mexico’s lusciously warm waters a little early—say, like, now.
6:24 p.m.: You’re on the verge of sensory overload. It’s golden hour at the new 160-room One&Only Hayman Island, a green haven on the Great Barrier Reef, and you’re reliving the day’s adventures. It began with a seaplane flight over this, the world’s largest living structure, touching down to snorkel in a pristine lagoon that exploded with color: rainbow-hued parrot fish bobbing among forests of staghorn coral, glowing purple and pink; green turtles and manta rays commuting casually by. (And don’t forget the giant clams, whose magenta lips slowly closed into contented grins as you swam past.) Lunch was a picnic and a chilled Barossa Valley rosé on the blazing-white sands of Coconut Beach. Now you’re back in a breezy cabana, met by a server with a tray of tart passion-fruit daiquiris to cleanse your palate for the evening ahead. What next? Take a short hike to Sunset Peak to catch the day’s last light? Maybe. Book an “Ocean Dreaming” massage, performed as you float on the warm tides of the Coral Sea? That sounds more like it. Then you remember you’ve planned a kayak trip tomorrow morning to one of Hayman’s secluded coves, and decide it’s best to tuck in early. So you head back to your suite, order up a platter of Sydney rock oysters, and count the shooting stars.
Photo by Petrina Tinslay Photography
Travelers who love nothing more than to put their toes in the sand will want to visit these four beaches in destinations from Florida to the Galápagos.
Seaside Beach, Seaside, Florida
Pastel wood-paneled houses border the dunes on picture-perfect Seaside Beach, along Florida’s Gulf Coast. You’ll spend your day by the water, followed by a ride on a cruiser bike and a family-friendly seafood dinner in town.
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As one of the industry’s most sought-after stylists, Serge Normant is the ultimate globetrotter—a shoot in Paris one day; overseeing his New York City salons the next. The man behind Hollywood's most luxurious locks (he’s styled the likes of Julia Roberts, Reece Witherspoon, Gisele Bündchen, and more) sits down with T+L’s Katie James to reveal his tips and tricks for mastering summer hair—at home and abroad.
This is about Italy’s secret coast—the other Sardinia. Not the Sardinia of the Aga Khan, yachts, celebrities, oligarchs, and tycoons. Not, in other words, Porto Rotondo, where Italy’s Caviar Left came every summer to populate a brand-new colony built to its high-flying specifications. That vociferous, in-your-face Sardinia reminds me of the film Swept Away, whose director, Lina Wertmüller, was inspired by my aunt, the designer Mariuccia Mandelli, who founded Krizia; her even more formidable sister Giancarla; and their court of influential intellectuals and entrepreneurs. Lying topless in the sun—it was part of the liberation of forceful women nurtured in a traditional society—they conducted lively conversations, mostly about politics, that anyone might have mistaken for fights and that resounded across the wild Mediterranean maquis.
Summer in the city can be stifling, with its sticky-hot subway cars and the odor of leftovers slowly broiling behind every restaurant. For those of us who don’t have a Hamptons-home perched on a sandy stretch of beachfront, it can be hard to slip away from the city for the ultimate, sink-your-toes-in-the-sand summer escape.
That is, until the pop-up beach became a thing.
Four hotels that put the beach within reach.
Ambergris Cay, Belize: All 26 candy-hued, thatched-roof casitas at Matachica Resort & Spa sit right on the sand, with hammocks in matching colors. Book a Sea-View Cabana room—the Caribbean is just 125 feet from your door, with Belize’s famous barrier reef just a two-minute dive-boat trip beyond. $$
San Diego: The new 78-suite Pier South Resort has balconies with sweeping views of the Pacific and California’s southernmost beach. Our two favorite ways to chill out here? Surfing lessons and a Green Flash (jalapeño-infused tequila, pineapple juice, and Midori) by the waterside fire pit. $$
Who doesn't need a beach escape within easy reach? Watch this quick video for three T+L favorites.
There’s not much to do in the low-key island village of Islamorada in Florida’s Upper Keys, and guess what? That is precisely the point. Start with a rum runner cocktail from the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar before unwinding at Cheeca Lodge, a popular beachfront hotel that gets bonus points from moms everywhere thanks to its stellar kids camp.