After several summers of travel restrictions, many of us are ready to get back out there and venture further from home. Although regulations are always evolving and precautions must still be taken, air travel is on the rebound and vacation-minded travelers are seeking meaningful experiences that offer exciting food and wine, memorable historic sites, and endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Here are six destinations where you and your family can enjoy everything from grand chateaux to breathtaking natural wonders. And to make getting to and from the airport an equally enjoyable experience, be sure to book a round-trip ride with one of New Jersey’s reputable private limousine companies.
Loire Valley, France
Less than three hours from Paris, the Loire Valley seems like it’s worlds away. The region is dotted with more than 300 historic châteaux, the largest of which is Chambord. These splendid residences for the French monarchy were often designed by artists like LeonardoDa Vinci. The valley is also the home of Sancerre–a wine as popular duringFrench summers as rosé is in America. Looking for “royal” accommodations? The luxurious Fleur de Loire opens in June in a property once owned by King Louis XIII’s brother.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
With pleasant temperatures virtually year-round, there is no bad time to visit what some consider to be the most charming small town in Mexico. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this colonial-style city is known for its colorful town square, bustling local artisan markets, and vibrant wine and gastronomic scenes. Museums, art exhibition spaces and live music performances also abound in this cultural hub.
The largest of the 227 Greek islands, Crete is packed with ancient ruins, lively cities, and breathtaking beaches. Delve into the region’s history and mythology (humans have lived on the island since the 7th millennium B.C.and it’s the birthplace of Zeus), or explore the rich creative community by visiting museums like the Mediterranean Architecture Center or galleries like the Municipal Art Gallery or the Redd Gallery.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
The world’s largest marine biosphere reserve will be expanding more than 20,000 square miles – a conservation measure aimed at increasing protections for the thousands of species that populate the archipelago’s waters. Explore the region via land (Montemar Eco Luxury Villas in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island features giant tortoise ponds and an organic coffee plantation), or sail to more remote islands to spot sea lions, Galápagos penguins, and marine iguanas.
Australia has fully reopened its borders to vaccinated travelers, many of whom will be making Queensland their destination. This northeastern state is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system which hosts thousands of marine species. You can join Aboriginal elders and Traditional Land Owners on an excursion to tag and rescue the reef’s beloved sea turtles. A visit to the Daintree Rainforest UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must before heading to the surfing beaches of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
Alberta’s turquoise lakes and majestic mountains have always attracted outdoor-lovers, but the area’s fresh focus on its indigenous heritage has been a draw for international travelers. Stop at Fort Edmonton Park to view the Indigenous Peoples Experience, a 30,000-square-foot immersive exhibit exploring First Nations and Métis culture. The annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival in Jasper National Park is also including more Indigenous voices in its programs. No visit is complete without enjoying the array of activities and iconic views in Banff, Canada’s oldest national park.