No matter what your ideal getaway is, one thing is certain: the best vacations in Florida happen when you immerse yourself in the climate and culture, taking full advantage of the year-round warm weather, getting to know the native wildlife, tasting homegrown produce and Gulf-caught seafood and checking out the beaches, even from under a hat and tons of sunscreen. Book a foodie tour or pub crawl, dance the night away at a blues festival and wake up in time to make a mimosa toast along the water.


When historic rainfall pummeled California last February, the damage to Big Sur was severe. Mudslides cut off access to Highway 1, the region’s only thoroughfare, from the south; then a crack ripped through the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, blocking the northern end. Almost overnight, this 90-odd-mile stretch of craggy coastline — long beloved for its sense of remoteness — became an island. Nearly a year later, Big Sur is stirring back to life. The bridge has been replaced and a major slide has been cleared. After an elaborate renovation, the 160-acre Ventana Big Sur has reopened as the first Alila property in the U.S. — and is a luxurious rival to Post Ranch. The place is a stunner, whether you’re facing a forested canyon from the pool or enjoying pink and orange sunsets from the terrace. In addition to the plush ocean-view suites, clad in weathered wood, there are now glamping tents nearby that marry rusticity and comfort, with amenities like luxury linens and fire pits. —Jonah Weiner
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U.S. travelers have historically overlooked Mauritius in favor of other Indian Ocean destinations like the Seychelles and Maldives. That could all change, though, now that this remote, idyllic island some 1,200 miles off the African coast has become easier to reach. A flurry of new airline services launched at the end of 2017: KLM began servicing Mauritius from Amsterdam, and British carrier Thomas Cook Airlines introduced biweekly flights in November. Upon arrival, travelers can take in dreamy lagoon views from the newly reopened One&Only Le Saint Géran, fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation. Every room and suite now has a private terrace or balcony, marble baths with cascade showers, and sophisticated teak, stone, and leather accents. Guests can also look forward to updated dining experiences — like lunch spot La Pointe, which grills fresh-caught seafood over firewood and coconut embers, or open-air restaurant La Terrasse, which offers Mauritian specialties. Unchanged at Le Saint Géran is its aura of exclusivity, thanks to the resort’s unique position on a private peninsula jutting out from the island’s eastern shore. —Melanie Lieberman
U.S. travelers have historically overlooked Mauritius in favor of other Indian Ocean destinations like the Seychelles and Maldives. That could all change, though, now that this remote, idyllic island some 1,200 miles off the African coast has become easier to reach. A flurry of new airline services launched at the end of 2017: KLM began servicing Mauritius from Amsterdam, and British carrier Thomas Cook Airlines introduced biweekly flights in November. Upon arrival, travelers can take in dreamy lagoon views from the newly reopened One&Only Le Saint Géran, fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation. Every room and suite now has a private terrace or balcony, marble baths with cascade showers, and sophisticated teak, stone, and leather accents. Guests can also look forward to updated dining experiences — like lunch spot La Pointe, which grills fresh-caught seafood over firewood and coconut embers, or open-air restaurant La Terrasse, which offers Mauritian specialties. Unchanged at Le Saint Géran is its aura of exclusivity, thanks to the resort’s unique position on a private peninsula jutting out from the island’s eastern shore. —Melanie Lieberman
Known as the Tibet of Japan, the remote Iya Valley is tucked away in the mountainous interior of Shikoku, the least visited of the country’s four main islands. Tourism to the region took a leap forward when it hosted the World Rafting Championship in 2017 — putting its turquoise Class Four rapids firmly on the adventure-travel map. New ziplines and hiking trails are sprouting up in the canyons, while upgrades have been made to accommodations in the area’s traditional thatched-roof farmhouses, or minkas. Chiiori House is the most luxurious; the property also maintains an excellent portfolio of more affordable options. —Adam Harney Graham
Florida vacations can be anything you want them to be. Whether your idea of a great time is camping in a nature preserve, building sand castles, shopping at outlet or boutique malls, trying local cuisine at fine restaurants, tubing down rivers or riding roller coasters, tailoring a trip to your own level of adventure or relaxation is easy when you visit Florida. The state is filled with things to do, people to meet and places to explore, and each region, city and neighborhood has carved out its own identity, suiting a variety of visitors of all ages.
Philip, while under the influence of drugs, commits to memory an anti-viral formula sent via messenger. The information is passed on to fellow Traveler Derek via Jenny so it can be synthesized and distributed to other Traveler teams as well as people targeted to be saved in order to minimize the spread and mutation of a flu like virus that historically killed 70,000 people. However, two weeks after dissemination, people around the world start getting sick with a virus even more dangerous than the original one. With no contact from the Director, and the death toll rising, Marcy and the team rush to find a solution before it's too late.
A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell
Just an hour and a half north of Melbourne, Nagambie Lakes is one of Australia’s oldest viticulture areas, with some vines dating back to the mid 19th century. This part of Victoria has long been considered a great day-trip destination for its outdoor activities — waterskiing, rowing, and sailing — and renowned wineries. Now there’s reason to linger, thanks to the November debut of the Mitchelton Hotel, a 58-room resort and spa at Mitchelton Winery. With its fine-dining restaurant, the Ministry of Chocolate, and 5½ miles of trails circumnavigating the vineyard, it’s the perfect base for a weekend in the region. Start your trip with a tasting on-site — Mitchelton is known for its Riesling — before venturing to other nearby wineries like Tahbilk, which has been producing quality vintages since 1861, and Goulburn Terrace, which specializes in natural wines. Other popular local vintners include McPherson Wines, David Traeger Wines, and Box Grove Vineyard. —John Scarpinato
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