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Back to the Beach: Seaside

Combining Main Street U.S.A charm with inspired design and civic planning, this picture-perfect Florida community charms with pastel cottages and sugar-white beaches.

Back to the Beach: Amelia Island

A newly reimagined luxury resort on this timeless northeast Florida barrier island promises a family-friendly escape to paradise.

Getaway: Sea Island revisited

The official portrait of the 2004 G8 Summit shows the leaders of the world’s top industrialized nations strolling down a Georgia beach at Sea Island. The prime minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, is gesturing animatedly to an amused George W. Bush. Tony Blair stuffs his hands casually in his pockets like a GQ model. Putin scowls. They walk ten abreast along the flat, smooth beach.

Fairhope, Alabama offers golf, galleries, and grub

Alabama didn’t end up with much oceanfront, but the towns tucked along Mobile Bay provide enough culture, architecture, and good food that visitors don’t miss the white sand. Fairhope, on the eastern side of the inlet, is just five hours or so from Atlanta and in some ways has more in common with Highlands, North Carolina, than sand-and-surf destinations like Panama City Beach.

Searching for zen in Costa Rica

You know those “moments” that the travel industry promises if you just hop on a plane and get to an exotic beach? Those moments of existential bliss, of zen-like relaxation, possible (we’re told) only by traveling great distances and coughing up great gouts of cash? I don’t have those moments. At least I didn’t until one rainy afternoon on the west coast of Costa Rica.

Cape San Blas will rekindle your love for the Florida Panhandle

“Well,” I said to my husband, “I don’t think I have ever dined out looking so grubby in my life—but I don’t remember when I last felt this relaxed.” With another swig from a bottle of PBR, I leaned back in the wooden bench on the wide front porch of Indian Pass Trading Post and listened as Kerry James, whose sun-streaked hair and leathered skin testified to decades of beach bumming, belted his way through “Sweet Caroline.”

Get away to Oahu

Last winter I was so sick of holing up in my house, hiding from Atlanta’s dreary, cold weather, that I found myself daydreaming about a warm, tropical vacation.

Get away to Cumberland Island

While I was sifting through the hoards of conch shells, disc clams, and horseshoe crab remnants left on Cumberland Island National Seashore by a generous surf, something in the distance caught my eye: two majestic creatures at water’s edge, standing so close together that they appeared as one hulking beast.

Get away to Canyon Ranch

“I’d highly recommend the shrimp pita,” the waiter says. “It’s under 500 calories.”I see it on the sepia-toned menu, along with the minuscule mahi mahi wrap and the five-ounce portions of beef tenderloin and tuna. Next to each item is a series of numbers that, according to a handy decoder, lists not just the price but also the amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, sodium, and gluten in the dish.

Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort

With its platinum blond sand, cerulean water, and sexy New Urbanist architecture, the Panhandle is the supermodel of Florida beaches. But beauty, as your mother warned you, isn’t everything.

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