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Just Back: Chasing Summer on New York's Fire Island

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Its either unchecked hedonism or outright denial that led me to New Yorks Fire Island the weekend after summers unofficial demise. While most vacationers packed up their share-houses and kissed farewell to the spit of sand off Long Islands south coast over Labor Day, I was still dreaming of bike rides, summer ales, and one last coat of sun. It doesnt hurt that hotel prices fall off a cliff once beachgoers pack up their white (I paid $225 per night at Clegg's Hotel, while rates during summers apex can be double that). So I found myself at the Island Mermaid pulling on a straw filled with its signature Rocket Fuel (a dark rum piña colada with a Cruzan 151 sinker at the bottom and a pond of Amaretto floating on top) and stretching summer out as long as possible before the looming cold throws its death grip around New York City. I wasnt ready for fall, not yet.

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Photographing Oahu's Surfing Scene

Oahu's North Shore

Photographer Brown W. Cannon III talks to T+L's Christine Ajudua:

“Most days when you’re riding around Waimea Bay, it’s open and calm and really beautiful. It’s right in the middle of Oahu’s North Shore, this five-mile stretch that’s known to be one of the world’s greatest surfing destinations. Waimea doesn’t break often—not until the waves are twenty feet or bigger—but when it does, it is a monumental experience. The day I took this photo, the swells were reaching fifty feet—the kind that roll in only every few years. I’ve been going to the islands since I was born, and have seen this maybe two or three times. There are plenty of guys who will hop planes from all over the globe to surf sets like these, but what amazes me most is that so many people will travel there just to witness them. In Hawaii, there’s a real sense of respect for the ocean—the locals talk about having a spiritual connection to it—so there’s something poignant about seeing all these tan bodies converge on the sand, captivated by the Pacific.”

Photo by Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos

5 New East Coast Beach Hotels

The Tides Beach Club in Kennebunkport, Maine

From Maine to New York, these new East Coast properties are making a splash.

Kennebunkport, Maine: Housed in a charming Victorian mansion on secluded Goose Rocks Beach, the 21-room Tides Beach Club (doubles from $325) recently opened with several brighly accented suites decorated by Jonathan Adler.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Provincetown’s Harbor Hotel (doubles from $179) has 129 mostly turquoise-and-lime rooms, plus art exhibits by local painters.

The Hamptons, New York: With a Cynthia Rowley boutique, a Nobu restaurant, and a poolside Bathing Club, the super-stylish Capri (doubles from $295) is a Southampton standout. For a haute-summer-camp vibe in Montauk, there’s Ruschmeyer’s (doubles from $475), complete with 19 cabins (dubbed “crash pads”) and an on-site beer garden.

Shelter Island, New York: Between the patisserie and the pétanque court, not to mention the Côté Bastide toiletries in the eight airy suites, Francophiles will love La Maison Blanche (doubles from $295), just a short walk from the shore.

Photo by Rick Lew

Guess Where? Lighthouse

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Can you guess where this lighthouse is? Hint: Hurricane Irene could blow by it this weekend.

Log in and leave your guesses below and check back on Monday for the answer.

UPDATE 8/30/11: We had one correct guess from ChristyPotter! This is the lighthouse in Barnegat Light, New Jersey.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of T+L's Photo Contest

Scavenger Hunt Launched at Florida’s South Seas Island Resort

family on the beachScavenger hunts built around a destination’s unique characteristics are quickly becoming my favorite trend in family travel.  Engaging a kid in something beyond the hotel swimming pool is a sneaky way to keep them learning while on vacation and to cultivate passionate travelers and fun travel companions.

Sarah Khan reported this month about Colonial Williamsburg’s current patriot/spy game that has young visitors in blue neckerchiefs burning up the cobblestones.  Now there’s a new way to play at a family destination.

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Last Minute Travel: Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival

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You probably mapped out your Labor Day weekend months ago. Wait. What? You're still looking for something to do? If you're down for a little last-minute travel, I highly recommend going to the second annual Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival in Piscadera Bay from September 2-3. With headliners like Sting, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Bradford Marsalis Quartet, it should be an amazing weekend on this beautiful island. (Located well outside of the hurricane belt, might I add?) Tickets are $185 and are still available at www.curacaonorthseajazz.com.

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Just Back: Tacos in Tamarindo

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If you follow the dusty, pebble-scattered dirt road to Playa Langosta from Tamarindo on Costa Ricas dense Pacific coast, youll observe a small stop sign jutting from tropical foliage, demanding you to halt—for tacos. The sign serves equal parts recommendation and warning, as its the last place to catch a bite before Tamarindos ubiquitous eateries give way to Langostas private beach estates.

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Ritz-Carlton's Second-Ever "Reserve" to Open in Puerto Rico

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Soon there will be a new reason to be enchanted by Puerto Rico. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced that it will open its second-ever Reserve property—one built to LEED Silver standards—in Dorado Beach. The luxury island destination first grabbed travelers' attention when Laurance S. Rockefeller opened one of his eco-friendly RockResorts in the area more than 50 years ago. In December 2012, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve hopes to boost interest in the tropical sanctuary with a 115-room oceanfront hotel and residences and a renovation of the original Dorado Beach Resort.

The brand's exclusive Reserve extension features "low-density" boutique resorts in exotic corners of the world, with more indigenous materials, as well as local products and traditions. At this time, the only other Reserve location is Phulay Bay in Krabi, Thailand.

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Beach Tomato's Top 5 City Beaches

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Expert advice from our friends at Beach Tomato: The perfect beach isn't always about undiscovered sands in far-away places. Sometimes, tucked in the most frenetic of cityscapes there's that paradisiacal pocket of bliss. The urban buzz makes the sands come alive—for after-work sundowners, to do your morning workout, or to meet friends as the weekend arrives. As coastal capitals the world-over show us, beach-life and city-life can go hand in hand. Here are our favorite city beaches right now:

1. Hat Jomtien near Bangkok, Thailand
A 90-minute taxi ride from downtown Bangkok drops you in the upbeat beach town of Hat Jomtien. Just a few km south of its big brassy sister Pattaya, Jomtien feels a world away. The vibe is calmer and the waters clearer, attracting a host of water-sporties and in particular windsurfers who ride on the light coastal breezes. A long, straight stretch of sand with plenty of shade it has all essential elements of a typical Thai beach town. Without the go-go bars.

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Guess Where? Coastal Town

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As a heat wave is melting New York, I'm day-dreaming of this gorgeous coastal town where the average summer high hovers just below 70. Can you guess where this is?

Log in and leave your guesses below and check back on Monday for the answer.

UPDATE 7/25/11: We stumped you this time! Some people guessed Monterey on our Facebook page. They were close, but not quite right. This is Carmel Bay in California. If you look closely, you can see the golf course at Pebble Beach in the upper left corner.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

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