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Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

As a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, Everglades National Park encompasses a landscape that is critical to the environmental health of our world. 960 1280

iStock; Roberto Adrian 2012  

River of Grass

River of Grass

Famously called a "river of grass" by Florida writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Everglades is a complex system of ecosystems including cypress swamps, mangroves, tropical hardwood forests and hammocks, the Florida Bay, and of course, sawgrass marshland. 960 1280

iStock  

Get Up Close

Get Up Close

The wheel-chair accessible Anhinga Trail and Shark Valley Tram tour let park visitors view wildlife at a comfortable distance while guided canoe and kayak tours will take visitors into the mangroves and marshes.  960 1280

iStock; Karen Massier  

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

With 99 percent of Biscayne underwater, visitors will want boat access to enjoy the park. Those without a vessel can contact the Dante Fascell Visitor Center for guided boat tours. 960 1280

iStock; Robert Zehetmayer  

Lights on Miami

Lights on Miami

At the tip of the Boca Chita Island, this lighthouse stands, with Miami on the horizon, as the park’s beacon and unofficial symbol. 960 1280

iStock  

Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve

For those seeking Florida wildlife, Big Cypress is the place to go. The park offers the most diverse population of plants and animals in the Everglades including ghost orchids, the Florida panther and the giant cypress tree. 960 1280

iStock; David S. Wallace  

Ocala National Forest

Ocala National Forest

With four natural springs and 600 other rivers, lakes, and waterways, the Ocala National Forest beckons for kayakers to carve paddle strokes through its aquamarine waters. Though not a national park, it's federal land and water worth enjoying. 960 1280

iStock  

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Located 70 miles west of Key West, seaplane, ferry, or a chartered vessel are the best ways to reach this island sanctuary. Upon arrival visitors will be rewarded with beautiful beaches, the impressive Fort Jefferson, and underwater coral reefs perfect for snorkeling. 960 1280

(C)2012 Lorraine Boogich  

Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, maldives, hotel, resort, luxury, asia, four seasons
Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

One of two Four Seasons properties in the Maldives, Landaa Giraavaru occupies an entire 18-acre island, complete with pristine white sand beaches and traditional over water huts. 960 1280

Andrew Shiva [CC BY-SA 3.0 or Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons  

Filitheyo Island Resort

Filitheyo Island Resort

Located on the North Nilandhe Atoll, Filitheyo Island Resort offers over 100 villas, beautiful surroundings and pristine waters. 960 1280

GARDEL Bertrand/Getty Images  

W Retreat & Spa

W Retreat & Spa

Whether you're soaking in your oversize plunge pool or catching a glimpse of the Maldives’ famous yellow fin tuna through the glass-bottom floors, the W Retreat & Spa offers all the amenities you could ever ask for. 960 1280

DOELAN Yann/Getty Images  

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

As its name implies, the Taj Exotica offers its guests a day in Paradise. Set on over 50 acres, this award-winning private resort is the perfect place to catch your breath and escape from reality. 960 1280
Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi

Like a page out of Robinson Crusoe, Soneva Fushi is located on a no-shoes-required, remote island in the Maldives that is filled with intrigue, discovery and tropical excitement. 960 1280

Martin Westlake/Getty Images  

PER AQUUM Resort Niyama

PER AQUUM Resort Niyama

Just 40 minutes by seaplane from the capital city of Malé sits the PER AQUUM Resort Niyama, an overwater paradise fit not just for honeymooners, but for families too. Niyama also plays home to Subsix, the world's first underwater nightclub. 960 1280

Rubina A. Khan/Getty Images  

One&Only Reethi Rah

One&Only Reethi Rah

Located on one of the largest islands in the Maldives’s North Male Atoll, One&Only Reethi Rah has 130 private villas, some set on the Indian Ocean or a serene lagoon, and others secluded in lush jungle surroundings. 960 1280

DOELAN Yann/Getty Images  

Maldives at Kuda Huraa

Maldives at Kuda Huraa

Stay at the cozy Four Seasons' Maldives at Kuda Huraa, a relaxed island retreat, with over-the-lagoon bungalows and beachside, thatched-roof cottages. 960 1280

Marka/Getty Images  

Cocoa Island by COMO

Cocoa Island by COMO

Cocoa Island by COMO is composed of 33 thatched-roof bungalows that perch like tropical birds on the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. 960 1280
Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort

Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort

Wanderlusters seeking paradise will be plenty pleased by this luxury resort in the Maldives, where powdery white sand gives way to astonishingly clear water and thatched-roof bungalows perch like tropical birds above the surf. 960 1280
Dusit Thani Maldives

Dusit Thani Maldives

The Dusit Thani, a Thai luxury hotel, has expanded into the Maldives, so now you can get a big taste of Thailand amid the islands of the Indian Ocean. 960 1280
PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

Just about everything is over the azure Indian Ocean waters at the PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi resort in the Maldives, save for a few beach bungalows and the windowed underwater LIME spa. 960 1280
Velassaru Maldives

Velassaru Maldives

Velassaru is on a private coral island, a 25-minute speedboat ride from the Maldive’s Malé airport. However, with 5 restaurants, 2 bars, a spa, and amazing amenities, you definitely won't be roughing it. 960 1280

shan.shihan/Getty Images  

548942607 - Leland, Michigan
Northern Michigan

Northern Michigan

New summertime visitors to the beaches of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, particularly the counties that surround the increasingly hip town of Traverse City, are often heard saying two things: “I can’t believe I’m in Michigan,” and “I can’t believe this is a lake.” Just a two-hour plane jaunt from NYC, this idyllic little corner of the state is another planet from Detroit. Here you’ll find teal blue waters expanding out from unpopulated white beaches, charming villages like Northport and Leland, and welcoming locals who seem happy to let you in on their little secret. 960 1280

Stephen Saks  

Northern Michigan

Northern Michigan

With a growing farm to market foodie scene, even Mario Batali is happy to call this northernmost part of the Lower Peninsula home. Climb the staggering sand dunes of Sleeping Bear National Seashore, pick cherries, sip tasty local Rieslings and Cabernets, sail, swim, paddleboard, and know you are in on something good. 960 1280

Stephen Saks  

Wellfleet, Cape Cod

Wellfleet, Cape Cod

While the turned-up-collar set hop the ferry over to Nantucket, the artsy crowd heads up Cape Cod’s Route 6 to the beaches and pine forests of the Outer Cape, the northernmost part of the peninsula. Wellfleet, with endless shores on both the Atlantic and the bayside, a thriving summer cultural scene and woodland ponds that would make Thoreau feel at home, is an ideal escape for the barefoot beach lover with a paperback in her pocket. 960 1280

MyLoupe  

Wellfleet, Cape Cod

Wellfleet, Cape Cod

Stop by the buzzing Wellfleet Public Library to get the scoop on where and when the local concerts, art shows and poetry readings are happening. Ride bikes along Route 6’s railway trail, watch the waves roll in from the Beachcomber Bar – a seaside hangout with a wicked lobster roll – or attend world-class plays at the Harbor Stage Company Theater. And don’t leave the Cape without sampling the famous Wellfleet oysters. 960 1280

Boston Globe  

Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard

Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard

If you are drawn to New England’s islands, but don’t want to hustle amid the throng, ferry out to the 300-year-old fishing village of Menemsha on the western point of Martha’s Vineyard. You will not find the lively tourist action of nearby Edgartown, but you will find quiet beaches begging for evening bonfires, fish shacks serving up the fresh catch of local fishermen – many of whose families have been trolling these waters for five generations – and what many argue is the best sunset in the Northeast. 960 1280

Julian Castle/LOOP IMAGES  

Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard

Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard

Settle in for a lobster dinner at the mainstay Home Port restaurant, get back to nature at the clothing optional Lucy Vincent beach or throw your own fishing line in at the Menemsha jetty, a favorite spot for a sunset-drenched end to a perfect summer day. 960 1280

Walter Bibikow  

Casco Bay Islands, Maine

Casco Bay Islands, Maine

While the presidential types may be savoring their summers in nearby Kennebunkport, you, too, can find blissful seclusion in Maine by retreating to one of the Casco Bay Islands. An archipelago that spreads out from the bay surrounding Portland, the largest of these islands are accessible within an hour’s ferry ride from the city; but with bald eagles swooping overhead and air filled with salty sea spray, you feel like you’ve journeyed much further. 960 1280

Portland Press Herald  

Casco Bay Islands, Maine

Casco Bay Islands, Maine

On Bailey’s Island, eat lobster plucked fresh from the bay at landmark seafood joint Cook’s Lobster and Ale House. Or let your kids roam freely at Great Diamond Island where golf carts and bicycles are the only vehicles allowed. Long Island, a wee three-mile stretch of land populated by about 200 people year round, is a favorite thanks to its ample beaches with sands so pristine they are said to whistle as your feet shuffle through them. 960 1280

Visions of America  

The Rhode Island Coast

The Rhode Island Coast

No matter where you are in Rhode Island, you are not too far from the ocean. The smallest state in the union (only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long) has so many inlets and coves, that its total coastline adds up to a whopping 400 miles. So while it is worthwhile to stroll amid the Gatsby-esque “summer cottages” of Rhode Island’s most celebrated summer town, Newport, there are seaside gems spanning the entire state. Just hit Highway One and explore.  960 1280

GrandviewGraphics  

The Rhode Island Coast

The Rhode Island Coast

In Westerly, play croquet on the green lawns of the Ocean House, a Grande Dame of a seaside resort that dates back to 1868. A visit to the luxurious Stone House, a hotel and restaurant in the sleepy beach town of Little Compton, will let you decompress while keeping a low profile. Sample some of the seafood shacks in the funky little village of Galilee on Point Judith, and take pleasure in knowing that no matter where you are, it won’t take you long to get to the beach.   960 1280

Richard Cummins  

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