Flight time: 3 hours
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is famous for its 23 miles of wide, sandy coastline and eight stunning beaches, not to mention 300 days a year of sunshine. Accommodations range from glamorous, beachfront resorts to modest B&Bs. A new addition is Kimpton Goodland Hotel (2900 Riomar St., 954-908-7301, the chain’s first property in the area. The sleek, chic hotel was an adaptive reuse project that revitalized the former 1950s Escape Hotel by upgrading the amenities while retaining its nostalgic midcentury design elements. Stroll to the nearby white sandy beach or settle into a lounge chair beside one of two pools, including one on the roof. A fitness center, kids’ programs, complimentary bikes, a bar and the Botanic at The Goodland restaurant, with its Latin- and Caribbean-influenced menu, are among the amenities. For shopping, strolling and sidewalk dining, hop aboard the free Sea Breeze tram for a short ride to Las Olas Boulevard, the heart of Fort Lauderdale. It’s also home to the Stranahan House (335 SE Sixth Ave., 954-524-4736, the town’s oldest surviving structure, now a museum furnished with period antiques.
Flight time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Castries, St. Lucia
A big part of relaxation is learning to breathe, and the diving and yoga experts at the Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort (1504 Castries Labrelotte Bay, 877-522-0722) have a new way to help you master the technique. The underwater breathwork program is a sunrise dive that promotes the calming benefits of diving with the healing effects of breathing. Divers lead participants underwater where they hold various yoga positions and move through breathing exercises. The excursion ends with a scenic dive tour. The all-inclusive resort on 60 acres along the island’s northwest coast also boasts swimming pools, motorized sports, activities for kids and adults, and plenty of ways to unwind, including a spa and in-water hammocks.
Flight time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Charleston, West Virginia
Outdoor enthusiasts, grab your gear. The scenic state of West Virginia has the country’s newest national park, and it’s packed with ways to commune with nature. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (104 Main St., Glen Jean, West Virginia, 304-465-0508), about an hour south of Charleston, spans more than 70,000 acres and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including eagles and falcons, and more than 30 hiking trails, many of them offering panoramic views. Ride river rapids, go rock climbing and be dazzled by the 1,500-foot wide Sandstone Falls before retiring to a campsite, rustic cabin or one of several national chain hotels in the area. If you’d rather not cook over an open fire or sleep under the stars, head to the buffet at Smokey’s on the Gorge (219 Chestnutburg Road, Lansing, 304-574-4905), tucked into a timber pavilion overlooking the gorge, then retire for the night at the 1902 Queen Anne-style Historic Morris Harvey House (201 W. Maple Ave., Fayetteville, 304-646-7561).
Flight time: 1 hour
Toronto might be a northern city, but the new Mountain Bay Cliffs at the 330-acre theme park Canada’s Wonderland (1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, 905-832-7000) is designed to make you think you’re in the tropics. From the highest point on this multilevel water attraction, divers can plunge into a deep blue pool from a height of 25 feet. Those who prefer something less dramatic can opt for tube flumes and water slides. Also new to town is 1 Hotel Toronto (550 Wellington St. W, 416-640-7778), recently opened near the entertainment district. Built with reclaimed materials and appointed with locally crafted furnishings and native greenery, the property features four dining rooms, including the indoor/outdoor 1 Kitchen Toronto and a rooftop bar and pool with sweeping views of Lake Ontario. Guests can rent electric cars to visit local attractions, including the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas St. W, 416-979-6648), which presents “Picasso: Painting the Blue Period,” an exhibition featuring more than 100 works from the master painter, Oct. 6-Jan. 16.
Flight time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Every second Friday night of the month, Mobile’s Lower Dauphin district comes alive with the LoDa ArtWalk, when thousands of people turn out to stroll the city sidewalks and take in an array of visual and performing arts while dining and drinking at a variety of local establishments. Now the event has a new interactive component with Roll Mobile, an invitation for participants to lace up their roller skates and zip around beneath a giant, sparkling disco ball to the beats of live music on Bienville Square . While you’re there, check out the city’s newest drinking hotspot, the rooftop deck of Greer’s St. Louis Market (260 St. Louis St., 251-305-4215), a full-service grocery store featuring local craft beers, a cafe and an array of to-go dishes. Local seafood and produce are featured at three new additions to the city’s culinary scene. The Hummingbird Way Oyster Bar (351 George St., 251-408-9562) serves the state dessert, bourbon-laced Lane Cake. The claim to fame at Southern National (360 Dauphin St., 251-308-2387) is its smoked chicken mini ravioli, and Squid Ink Eclectic Eats & Drinks (102 Dauphin St., 251-405-0031) has created a following for its Squid on a Shingle, featuring spicy calamari served on chargrilled bread.
Flight time: 1 hour