Deciding whether to watch the sunset from a hammock between coconut palms or from the infinity pool on a hilltop village sounds like a dream dilemma. But when you're overdue for a vacation, even that choice can feel overwhelming.
One surefire place to start: Santorini, Greece, whose blue-domed churches, blanched villages, and picture-perfect sunsets catapulted it to the No. 1 island in the latest T+L World's Best reader survey. The results are your shortcut to planning an easy, breezy beach getaway.
Turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and tropical settings fill travelers' daydreams and Pinterest boards. And many of this year's winners indulge those fantasies; notably, four Hawaiian Islands (Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai) made the top 10. But T+L readers took the meaning of island life a little further, beyond thatched-roof bungalows and coconut palms.
Car-free Mackinac Island in northern Michigan—where horse-drawn carriages and a 127-year-old hotel pull visitors back in time—came in at No. 18, while the natural splendor of the San Juan Islands off Washington State earned the No. 10 spot. After all, untouched wilderness and a pervasive adventurist spirit hold a certain fascination, too.
Whatever your fancy, there's something about being completely surrounded by water that puts you at ease and sets you loose from the daily grind.
Here are 20 ways to plot your next escape.