With just a few days before the first day of summer, you've maybe found yourself with no travel plans and unsure of where to spend your hard-earned vacation days. No worries, we've got you covered!
Whether you're a history buff, foodie, or a beach lover, there's a destination we have in mind for you. Scroll down for NYLON editors' destination picks for summer (and fall and, well, anytime really).
Soufriere, Saint Lucia
For those looking to decompress and unplug, the island of Saint Lucia, situated in the eastern Caribbean Sea, offers serenity, spectacular scenery (see above), and enough nature and water to fill your days with hiking, snorkeling, and exploring local landmarks, if simply laying on the beach is not enough for you.
Where to Stay: Situated on 600 acres of lush jungle mountain, Jade Mountain offers some of the most stunning (and secluded) rooms you'll ever see. Called Sanctuaries—because yes, that's exactly what they are—they feature a three-wall design (meaning one wall is entirely missing, giving guest unparalleled views of the Caribbean Sea and the Piton mountains) and a private infinity pool. In addition to making you feel like you're at the edge of the world, you will feel like you're sleeping right under the stars in a bed carefully prepared by your major domo (butler), who can also arrange a private dinner or a massage to take place in your room (you will want to ask for both). If you thought it couldn't get more idyllic, know that there's no televisions or telephones (though, there is Wi-Fi for those who don't want to unplug entirely). If you do manage to leave your sanctuary and feel like interacting with more than just your major domo, there's a chocolate-making lab on property (which holds more than 2,000 cacao trees), where you can take a class or have a tasting; nature trails that you can walk or bike; a beach with a scuba center with a full diving program; and daily sunrise yoga on the property rooftop.
Where to Eat: Start your night with cocktails and light bites at Jade's Celestial Terrace as you watch the sun explode in the most stunning array of orange and pinks before setting into the sea. Next, proceed down to the Anse Chastanet for the beachside Lionfish dinner where one the of the most destructive and invasive fish species gets turned into a multi-course tasting menu with paired wines. Head down a few steps to the beach or return to the Celestial Terrace for a nightcap under the stars, which there are many off in St. Lucia. For a true farm-to-table experience, tour Jade Mountain's on-property Emerald Farm—that grows organic produce ranging from mangos to salad leaves and herbs for the restaurants—before indulging in an all-vegan meal made from same produce at dinner or in your Sanctuary.
What to Do: Get a rush from hiking up the Pitons—made up of the Gras Piton, towering at nearly 3,000 feet above sea level (yes, it's not for the faint of heart)—and the Petit Piton. Considering that the name Soufriere translates to "sulphur," it should serve as no surprise that the city boasts sulphur springs. The smell is, again, not for the faint of heart, but the relaxed feeling and soft skin you get after caking your body in the mud (don't wear a light-colored bathing suit) and immersing in the springs is worth it. If you didn't get that from earlier, the sunsets in Saint Lucia are spectacular, so make sure to take a sunset cruise. Hosted on a 60-foot catamaran, Jade Mountain's Jazzy Sunset Cruise offers music, drinks, and bites as you take the beauty in.
Los Angeles, California
While those of us in New York probably think of L.A. as a winter destination, i.e. the perfect escape from all the cold and ice, it should not be ruled out for summer vacation, either. In fact, it's arguably better to visit L.A. in the summer, because even though it's hot, it's, you know, a dry heat. And, as ever, there's tons to do in the sprawling city, from hitting up the beach to heading to an outdoor concert to hanging out at your hotel pool. Just make sure to go on at least one hike, so you can feel like you did L.A. the right way.
Where to Stay: Why be on the periphery of things? Stay right in the center of the action at Dream Hollywood, which is located right off Hollywood Boulevard. Even the standard room is pretty luxe (though, nothing compares to its Presidential Suite, where Cardi B got ready for the Grammys this year), and the complimentary amenities guests receive include hotel car service during the day (it really beats an Uber) and access to the tricked-out gym, as well as to the super-chill rooftop pool. Also, NBD, but this hotel's bathrobe is legitimately the most comfortable one I've ever worn. Put it on, get into the insanely comfortable bed, order some avocado toast (hey, you're in L.A., and the hotel's avocado toast is delicious), and spend the night in. Or, eat at one of the hotel's restaurants, like Beauty & Essex, Tao, or Luchini Pizzeria. You basically can't go wrong.
Where to Eat: Everyone's pretty aware by now that L.A. has one of the top dining scenes in the country, but too many options can lead to decision-making paralysis, so I'm going to make this easy for you. My can't miss spots (or some of them anyway), include: Konbi, for perfect egg salad sandwiches; Night + Market Song, for so-hot-it-makes-you-cry Thai food; The Apple Pan, for excellent, no-frills burgers (sorry, but In-N-Out is really overrated); Kismet, for incredible Middle Eastern-inflected food and great, funky natural wines; Go Get 'Em Tiger, for amazing lattes and breakfast sandwiches; Mariscos Jalisco, for the best fish tacos; Soban, for exemplary banchan; and, yes, Sqirl. Get those jams to go! (Just remember, if you're packing for air travel, those jams need to be checked! I've made this mistake before.)
What to Do: What should you do while in L.A.? I mean, will you have any time to do anything other than eat? And lounge by the pool? I don't know! But, if you do have more time, I'd recommend you check out... Grand Central Market. Which has lots of great places... to eat, including the DTLA Cheese + Kitchen, which has one of the best cheese selections I've ever encountered. As long as you're Downtown, do check out The Last Bookstore, which has every literary treasure you can imagine, and feels exactly like a bookstore should: timeless. Oh, also, you know: Hike Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park, check out a Dodgers game, see a movie at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, drive out to the beachside diner where The O.C. was filmed. Just have fun. It's L.A. It's, like, the law there.
Costa Smeralda, Italy
If you want to feel like you've stepped into a scene from a movie, one where you overlook emerald waters, yachts, and mountains as you sip on an Aperol Spritz (a Negroni if you're in that other camp) as the sun sets, northern Sardinia's Costa Smeralda in the summer offers a mix of laidback beach life, luxurious hotels and boutiques, and a booming nightlife.
Where to Stay: Cervo Hotel, Hotel Cala di Volpe, Hotel Pitrizza, and Hotel Romazzino are the four hotels to stay at in Costa Smeralda. While you can't go wrong with any of the luxe properties, Cervo is the most casual one in the heart of Porto Cervo town, close to high-end boutiques and the Stella Maris church that holds an El Greco painting; while Cala di Volpe is the stunning property that played host to royalty like Grace Kelly, Princess Diana, and Beyoncé and Jay Z, and boasts a boat that can take you to the private beach (casual, I know). Both Hotel Pitrizza and Hotel Romazzino offer seafront villas with their own pools if privacy is what you're after.
Where to Eat: The perk of staying at one of the aforementioned properties is the access to the many restaurants that they and the town of Porto Cervo hold, ranging from the on-property restaurants to Il Pomodoro, famous for its pizza and located in the town of Porto Cervo, and international chain Novikov. The most exciting of the bunch though this summer is Matsuhisa, a pop-up restaurant from chef Nobu Matsuhisa (yes, of Nobu fame), that's housed inside Cala di Volpe's Bar Pontile which, speaking of scenes from a movie, served as the background for Roger Moore's James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
What to Do: Rent a car and visit Sardinia's archeological treasure, the pre-historic nuraghe, made up of large Nuragic stone structures about which little is known. Afterward, visit the Thursday market, selling clothes, crafts, and Pecorino cheese (a must in Sardinia!), in the quaint, artsy town of San Pantaleo that also offer picturesque views from its mountain.
Are you looking to get as far away from your office as possible? Well, if you're based in the States, look no further than the literal other side of the world: Sydney, Australia. A bustling city filled with sprawling parks and in close proximity to breathtaking beaches, Sydney has also earned its reputation as a fashion hub for both Australian and international designers. While it's had its own Fashion Week since 1996, it's recently focused on showcasing Resort collections every May, bringing a global, fashion-savvy crowd along with it.
Where to Stay: If you're looking to explore the city but want a quieter place to rest your head, the wharfside Ovolo Woolloomooloo offers stunning views of the Sydney Harbor, while still in close proximity of the Sydney Central Business District and Potts Point neighborhoods and the Sydney Opera House. Bonus? It's located right next to the iconic Harry's Café de Wheels, where you can eat all the meat pies and hot dogs your heart desires.
Where to Eat: Sydney has a lot of good food. Ms. G's serves up an interesting take on modern Asian fusion, while Chiswick's casual fine dining turns to the best of Australian's seasonal, fresh produce. For cocktails, taste the unique and inventive concoctions from PS40, or head to the tiny, standing room-only Cantina OK! for a selection of mezcals and rare Mexican spirits. Looking for something more low-key? Head to legendary dive bar Mary's in Newtown for burgers and beers.
What to Do: Go for a stroll down Oxford Street in the Paddington neighborhood to shop all of the best Australian designer boutiques, or (on a Saturday) head to Glebe Markets to score the best vintage, handmade jewelry, and home goods. Roam through The Royal Botanic Garden, and follow the trails to walk straight into The Sydney Opera House. And if you're looking for some truly 'grammable moments, visiting the stunning Bondi Beach—only a short drive outside of the city—is a must.
Paso Robles, California
Wine Spectator hailed Paso Robles—located between San Francisco and Los Angeles—as one of the most exciting wine destinations in its most recent issue. And for good reason! The central coast city now holds more than 200 wineries. It's not just wineries that are popping up either—boutique hotels and restaurants are sprouting equally as fast! All to say, don't be surprised when, with its unpretentious attitude and equally mesmerizing rolling hills, it's the destination name that beats out names like Napa and Sonoma.
Where to Stay: Holding 16 rooms, Hotel Cheval is located right off the historic town square. The boutique hotel, with a subtle equestrian theme ("cheval" means horse in French), boasts outdoor wood-burning fireplaces, a library, and a "S'mores Butler" who, every evening, makes complimentary s'mores from a cart stocked with gourmet and crowd-favorite ingredients. To get you prepared for the many tastings to come, there's a free sommelier workshop with a tasting. For the more seasoned, the hotel's wine concierge can create a personalized wine tasting itinerary based on a varietal, up-and-coming wineries, or the best of what the city has to offer.
Where to Eat: A modern California Mexican restaurant, Fish Gaucho is a favorite among locals, where oak-grilled flat iron carne asada and chilaquiles with duck leg confit are served alongside strawberry-basil and tangerine-thyme seasonal margaritas. As the name would suggest, Hatch Rotisserie & Bar is a rotisserie restaurant in the historic Grangers Union Building serving wood-fired specials like porchetta, baby back ribs, and prime rib with comfort food sides, as well as seasonally-inspired cocktails and locally-produced wine, beer, and cider.
What to Do: We already told you what the appeal of this destination is, but it bears repeating: wine tasting. Our current favorite is Booker Wines, whose belief that high-quality wine can exist without much intervention results in awarded Oublié, a light blend of Grenache, Counoise, and Mourvedre, and a delicious Fracture Syrah. Check out its two new brands, My Favorite Neighbor and, as recently as this month, Harvey & Harriet. Some of the other notable wineries include Tablas Creek Vineyard, that produces some of the most popular organic and biodynamic wines in the area, and Herman Story Wines, whose red blends are as popular as the labels that will make you want to get a bottle in the first place.
Chile has a number of bucket list places to visit: the extraterrestrial-looking Atacama desert, where NASA tests its technology; the Elqui Valley, whose lack of artificial light has made it the world's first International Dark Sky Sanctuary and the home to many observatories (it's going to be the destination to be during next month's total solar eclipse); and Patagonia, a region shared by Argentina and Chile and divided by the Andes Mountains, that boasts glacial peaks and turquoise lakes. Plot how you're going to see all those while in Santiago, Chile's bustling capital and largest city, that sits in a valley encircled by the snow-capped mountain ranges (see above).
Where to Stay: Located in the modern Las Condes District, Santiago Marriott Hotel boasts a heated outdoor pool, full-service spa, and luxurious rooms overlooking the mountains. The onsite restaurant Latin Grill, that sees award-winning chef Luis Cruzat's inventive takes on Chilean classics, and the proximity to the must-visit Parque Araucano, where you can ride a bike or have a picnic in, are added bonuses.
Where to Eat: To get a feel for the Chilean cuisine, have lunch at the Central Market, housed in a historical wrought-iron building, where you'll find some of the freshest seafood. For dessert, hit Emporio La Rosa creamery that offers ice cream in local flavors, like lucuma (South American fruit) and miel de ulmo (honey from the ulmo plant), but also innovative ones like pineapple-ginger, rose, and custard apple-orange. For the best in the area, dine at Boragó and Restaurante 040, both of which have landed on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list and showcase Chilean cuisine in modern ways.
What to Do: Visit the bohemian, brightly colored neighborhood of Bellavista. Walk around the streets, lined by trees and graffiti-covered walls and packed with outdoor tables; buy jewelry and artsy gifts from the many artisan boutiques and shops; and hike up the San Cristobál Hill that stands almost 1,000 feet above Santiago. Literature lovers should visit La Chascona, Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda's former house and now a museum, where works of Chilean art live alongside iconic Italian designer Piero Fornasetti's furniture and Neruda's original chinaware and cutlery.
Dublin is the perfect place for music lovers, beer drinkers, history buffs, and foodies. The plane ticket, while not cheap, is worth it, because, once you're there, you can explore Dublin on a budget. To prepare for your visit, read Sally Rooney's latest novel, Normal People,, and listen to some up-and-coming Irish bands.
Where to Stay: A wonderful, family-owned spot is The Academy Plaza Hotel. It's located in a prime sightseeing area, and it's within walking distance of the Jameson Distillery, Trinity College, and the National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland. To top it off, free breakfast is included with booking.
Where to Eat: You cannot leave Dublin without trying a proper, full Irish breakfast complete with bacon, sausages, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, white pudding, black pudding, and Irish soda bread. Get it at Art Café. Not a meat-eater? Try their scones with clotted cream and black tea, which is the alternative definition of "heaven."
What to Do: Experience the true heart of Dublin through a Dublin MusicalPub Crawl. More of a moving concert than anything else, two local musicians will lead you to privately booked pubs, with small performances at each. Going on this tour will instill in you a love for Irish music that you never knew you needed. Find the time to also pop into the oldest building in Dublin: The Christ Church Cathedral. If you time it right, you can catch The Choir at Christ Church Cathedral performing. It's an otherworldly experience listening to one of Ireland's finest choirs amongst ancient artifacts and manuscripts. Also, in their medieval crypt, they're currently housing "The Tudors" exhibition of original 16th-century costumes.
Cairo and Giza, Egypt
For the history-obsessed, one of the most exciting museum openings is the upcoming Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, a city a short distance from Cairo. Looking on the pyramids and the Sphinx, the 5.2 square foot museum is said to become the world's largest museum devoted to a single civilization, with a whopping 50,000 pieces, which will include an impressive Tutankhamun collection. While summers tend to get very hot in Egypt, and it's a destination best visited in fall or winter, the prices will also be the lowest during this season (also I went to Egypt in August which, while I wouldn't necessarily recommend as being the best idea, is possible to do and still enjoy.) Once the museum debuts—as well as Kenneth Branagh's Gal Gadot-, Armie Hammer-, Letitia Wright-starring Death on the Nile—though, expect an influx of travelers year-round.
Where to Stay: Have the pyramids serve as your backdrop from your stately decorated room at the luxurious Marriott Mena House that used to be a palace and now holds acres of lush lands, a stunning pool, and a lavish spa with Cleopatra-worthy treatments like Arabian coffee and dead sea body scrubs and foot baths which you'll need after all the exploring.
Where to Eat: Travel back in time by visiting the historical cafes in Cairo, like Cafe Riche, known for attracting artists, writers, and politicians since 1908 thanks to its proximity to Tahrir Square; and El-Horreya Café, formerly a breeding spot for political debates (the name translates to "freedom" in Arabic). For a more modern taste, La Bodega is a hip restaurant and lounge that serves an eclectic menu, with everything from couscous to lasagna to gazpacho, alongside popular cocktails.
What to Do: Until the Grand Egyptian Museum makes its debut, take in the other historical sites such as the iconic pyramids in Giza; rent a felucca, traditions wooden sailing boats, during sunset to take along the Nile; visit the still-impressive Egyptian Museum, that previously held the Tutankhamun collection that's being relocated to the Grand; and shop at the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo's souk that sells everything from ornate hanging lights to clothing, shisha pipes, and fresh fruit stands that include the incredible strawberry and mango juices.
Raleigh, North Carolina
While this North Carolina city may not scream foodie destination, just this year alone, the area earned four James Beard Award Semifinalist nominations, firmly establishing it as one. Eat your way across the city by visiting its many notable restaurants, food trucks, halls, and farms.
Where to Stay: Don't waste any time with your food tour, and stay at the Umstead Hotel And Spa. While the boutique property is located in Cary, North Carolina, 10 miles west of downtown Raleigh, not only does it feature acres of manicured lawns and an outdoor pool, but it also holds Herons restaurant, for which executive chef Steven Devereaux Greene earned a Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist nomination. Spring for the eight-course tasting menu featuring seasonal ingredients from the property's own culinary farm.
Where to Eat: At the other James Beard Award recognized restaurants: Outstanding Chef winner Ashley Christensen's comfort-food driven Poole's Diner, which firmly put the award-winning chef on the culinary map (though she has since opened four more restaurants, including the contemporary Death & Taxes which was a final nominee for Best New Restaurant a few years ago); Cheetie Kumar's Indian-and-Asian-inspired Garland; and Oscar Diaz's Mexican-influenced, seafood-heavy The Cortez.
What to Do: Once you're done with your food tour, make sure to check some of the excellent breweries. With 25-plus options in the area, you can pick from drinking your craft beer in an airplane hangar-like or West Texas-themed brewery. Make sure to stop by Brewery Bhavana that's part brewery and taproom, part dim sum restaurant, bookstore, and flower shop (it sounds like a lot but it works).
While the islands of Greece typically get the most attention during the summer, the relaunch of the iconic Astir Beach—an exclusive beach resort on the Athens Riviera notable in the '60s for the likes of visitors like Jackie Onassis, Frank Sinatra, and the Beatles—should put the capital back firmly on the map as a destination rather than a stopover on the way to somewhere else. With renovations that resulted in lodgings at the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel, high-end shopping, notable restaurants, and a beautiful beach, it will remind modern travelers why it was the destination to be at back in the day—and still is now.
Where to Stay: Previously home to visitors like Elizabeth Taylor, David Bowie, and Greta Garbo, the Hotel Grande Bretagne is located in the city center and boasts a roof garden restaurant from which you can see the Acropolis (it's a stunning scene at night when the Pantheon is lit up). In addition to holding grand rooms, a multi-awarded full spa, and a rooftop pool, it also serves as the boutique location of the popular fashion label Zeus & Dione.
Where to Eat: The Michelin Guide-recognized Nolan features a fusion of Greek and Japanese cuisines in dishes that result in Saba noodles with smoked fish and tahini sauce and bean noodles with octopus. For something more low-key, hit the Varvakios Central Market where you should try everything from feta to olives and seafood (meaning: more octopus). Coffee is a staple in Greece, so try the country's version of iced coffee, freddo, espresso or cappuccino served over ice, or frappe, instant coffee (I know) mixed with water, ice, and sugar, in the many unassuming, old-school cafes called kafeneias. For something stronger, visit MoMix, the first molecular mixology bar in Athens.
What to Do: Athens isn't only full of historical sites, like the Acropolis, and treasures, likes ones found at the National Archaeological Museum. In fact, it has a booming contemporary arts scene in the form of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the only museum in Athens dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art, and the newish Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, the urban complex build to hold the opera and national library by architect Renzo Piano. Similarly, while the beach might not come to mind when thinking "Athens," in addition to Astir, there are plenty of other stunning options to be found in close proximity to the city.