Summer is that carefree season when we cut loose, pack our bags and go in search of new adventures. Whether you want to go across the country or across the globe, here’s a short list of destinations to consider for your next getaway.
Quivira Golf Club — Los Cabos, Mexico
If your ultimate summer fantasy is getting a hole-in-one on a course that would test the pros, it’s time to cross the border to Los Cabos, Mexico.
In recent years, this area has become a world-class golf destination, thanks in part to Quivira Golf Club. Since it opened in 2014, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at the tip of the Baja Peninsula has received major accolades from seasoned golfers.
That’s partly because few courses are built into such a breathtaking, dramatic landscape of windswept dunes and sheer granite cliffs that soar above the sapphire-blue water of the Pacific Ocean.
Play starts at the beach and climbs progressively higher into the seaside cliffs.
Quivira Golf Club is open to Quivira residents and guests at one of four Pueblo Bonito resorts. The closest is Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, which recently opened The Towers at Pacifica, a five-star, oceanfront property.
When you’re looking for sun and sand, there are many hotel choices, but Baha Mar, a new $4.2 billion megaresort in Nassau, offers so much more than just a spectacular beach.
Sure, it has all the amenities expected at a world-class property — an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, a luxurious spa, even a cavernous casino, but it also provides a few surprises, like an extensive exhibit of island artworks and a captivating nightly water show where fountains shoot water 110 feet into the air while a video of Bahamian dancers plays against a cascading “screen” of water.
A heavy emphasis on Bahamian culture makes this sprawling tropical paradise stand out from the rest.
The resort encompasses three hotel brands: Grand Hyatt, SLS and Rosewood, a five-star property that opens in the spring.
Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm and Shop — Door County, Wis.
On Washington Island in Door County, Wis., visitors who arrived by ferry stroll through windswept fields of sun-kissed lavender, breathing in the fresh, clean scent. That may sound like an ad for fabric softener, but the scene plays out every year at Fragrant Isle, the largest lavender farm in the Midwest.
The lovely thing about lavender is there are so many ways to enjoy the unique herb: eat it, bathe in it, or take your cue from the farm’s youngest visitors, and just roll around in it.
The shop sells a line of luxurious skin care products made from lavender grown on the farm as well as delicious lavender-infused delicacies.
AmaWaterways Mekong River Cruise — Cambodia and Vietnam
Few Americans can say they have received a blessing from a Cambodian monk while he showered them with fragrant jasmine petals, but anyone who has sailed on an AmaWaterways Riches of the Mekong River cruise can.
That’s just one of many memorable experiences offered on an eight-day cruise that sails from Siem Reap, Cambodia, the gateway to the ancient temple ruins of Angkor, wends through several small colonial towns and fishing villages in Vietnam, and concludes in Ho Chi Minh City.
The 124-passenger AmaDara is a luxurious respite after a long day of sightseeing.
Nature lovers who treasure Yosemite National Park’s natural wonders will have something to celebrate this summer: the reopening of Mariposa Grove. For nearly three years, this hallowed forest of ancient sequoia trees has been closed for a $36 million restoration project meant to balance visitor needs with ecological protection.
It may be hard to believe that humans, which look so insignificant next to these colossal monoliths, could possibly harm them, but 4 million park visitors a year were taking a toll on the trees’ delicate, far-reaching root systems.
New elevated walkways help preserve what are some of the largest and oldest organisms on the planet.
To restore the grove to the peaceful sanctuary it’s meant to be, a parking lot that was in the middle of the forest has been relocated, a gift shop dismantled, and tram tours discontinued.
Another recent park improvement is the 2016 addition of Rush Creek Lodge, the first resort to open in the region in more than two decades. Nestled on 20 wooded acres just outside the park entrance, the property has 143 rooms with sizable decks perfect for catching dazzling sunsets over the Sierra Nevada.
Ask Portlanders their favorite place to find a peaceful Zen moment, and the 12-acre Portland Japanese Garden, which celebrated a $33.5 million expansion last year, is sure to come up.
For more than 50 years, tourists have flocked to this urban oasis in Washington Park to cherish the ephemeral beauty of delicate spring cherry blossoms, but locals know each season is glorious in its own way, and now there’s even more to enjoy.
The centerpiece is the hilltop Cultural Village designed by internationally acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
A new visitor center and a tea house-like cafe are welcome additions, but the heart of the village is the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center in the Tateuchi Courtyard, a venue for activities that highlight the culture that gave birth to the Japanese garden art form.
Also noteworthy is the Ellie M. Hill Bonsai Terrace that exhibits what can only be described as living sculptures — fragile, meticulously pruned bonsai trees representing harmony between man and nature.
Bodie Island Lighthouse and Currituck Beach Lighthouse — Outer Banks, N.C.
North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands dotted by quaint resort towns, is known for an impressive array of historical lighthouses that offer sweeping, panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean to anyone willing to make the strenuous climb up those narrow, spiraling staircases.
The 170-foot Bodie Island Lighthouse at the northern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore has its original Fresnel lens and is boldly painted in starkly contrasting black and white.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse, on the other hand, is a simple red brick tower, one of the few lighthouses in the region that is unpainted. Informative exhibits highlight the area’s rich maritime history.
Summer means road trips, so put on your cowboy boots and head to Nashville.
Country music fans will want to catch “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s,” an exhibit that opens at the Country Music Hall of Fame May 25 and runs through Feb. 14, 2021.
In the 1970s, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and other performers rebelled against the commercially successful, but creatively stifling “Nashville Sound.” They began recording in Austin, Texas, long before it was known as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” producing original music that became known as the Outlaw Movement.
The exhibit chronicles the evolution of the sound through artifacts, visual art and historical film footage.