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St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

In 1956, the philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller donated 5,000 acres of St. John, more than two-thirds of the island, to form the Virgin Islands National Park. He had come to St. John on a sailing trip only four years prior. Enraptured by its beauty, he started buying up large swaths of land to ensure that it would never be developed. An additional 170 acres would be set aside to create...

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Mackinac Island, MI

The Grand Hotel lives up to its name. From its sweeping, 660-foot front porch (guests are charged $10 general admission to set foot on it) to its unrepentant evening dress code (dresses or pantsuits for ladies, coats and ties for gents, in all areas of the hotel), the Grand Hotel provides a constant reminder of its rich and luxurious history as one of the United States' most distinctive...

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Kiawah Island, SC

Host to golf's Ryder Cup in 1991, Kiawah Island is more than just one of the top locales in America for golfing. A mere 30 minutes from Charleston, South Carolina, the barrier island boasts ten miles of sublime Atlantic beachfront bordered by sweetgrass and dunes. Families can spend hours walking the sand to scour for seashells or swim in the warm waters and maybe catch a glance of dolphins...

Lake Louise, Alberta Canada

In 1892 a young employee of the Canadian Pacific Railroad named Thomas Wilson came upon a gem of a lake in the Canadian Rockies that sat beneath a towering glacier. He would write in his journal: "As God is my judge, I never in all my explorations saw such a matchless scene." Taking his recommendation, Canadian Pacific would build a one-story log cabin to serve as a hotel for guests who...

Avon, CO

Inspired by the log and stone architecture of the national-park lodges, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is much more refined than its rustic predecessors out West. At the 9,000-foot base of Beaver Creek Mountain, a mere 30-minute drive from Vail, Colorado, the Ritz is one of the premier resorts in the Colorado Rockies. Let the doorman in that Stetson cowboy hat open the door into the main...

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Cayo District, Belize

Home to the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, Belize has long been popular with scuba divers who head to the island of Ambergris Cay to float among the manta rays, turtles, dolphins, and sharks. As of late, however, travelers are heading inland to hike in a rainforest full of parrots and butterflies, visit rarely seen Mayan ruins, and canoe along the Macal River. This is where...

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Waikoloa, HI

A canal boat weaves through the overgrowth of ferns under a tall banyan tree and past a cascading waterfall. Swans, cranes, flamingos, even parrots can be seen along the shore. Then the boat comes to a stop and you disembark only to go snorkeling with neon-colored fish or go eyeball-to-eyeball with dolphins in the large lagoon. Afterwards, you shower and head to a luau to dine on kalua pig...

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Lake Buena Vista, FL

If you can't make it to Kenya's Masai Mara to see the pride of lions that inspired The Lion King, then at least visit Walt Disney World's reproduction of an African safari at Orlando's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Enter the large lobby of the sprawling hotel, boasting a thatched roof, rope bridges, and mud fireplaces, and plant yourself by the four-story observation windows. You'll soon spot...

Quepos, Costa Rica
A mere two miles down the road from Manuel Antonio, Si Como No Resort is perched high on a ridge overlooking the Pacific. All of the 58 rooms are nestled into the lush grounds, with high ceilings, adjoining living area, and balconies offering spectacular views of both forest and sea. Splurge for a top-floor suite and the vista becomes that much more stupendous. Si Como No caters to both families...
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WHISTLER, British Columbia Canada
Located at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain, this modern retreat goes the distance to make your young ones feel comfortable and special. You provide the names and ages of your kids in advance, and the resort prepares a personalized newsletter for them upon arrival. They're also given a stuffed Whistler bear and provided with child-sized bathrobes and slippers. Complimentary high chairs are...
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