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It has been a brutally cold summer here in Northern England, even by Yorkshire’s rather wet and wild standards. When the mercury hit 68 degrees on July 4, we expats attended a barbecue in short sleeves and sun dresses. Some of the days have been very nice, but peppered with bouts of frightful thunder and lightning. It’s just a mess. So I’ve been looking through old photographs and pulling out photos of some of the happiest sunny travel memories I can remember in order to keep warm. Here are my top three favorite destinations for sun and relaxation.

Beach sunset. Photo by deannanmc

1. Kauai, Hawaii

The Garden Isle is Hawaii’s lushest and most laid-back–and if you’ve ever been to O’ahu or the Big Island you know that’s really saying something. How lush? Well, it’s been used as a filming location for movies like Tropic Thunder and Jurassic Park, both of which are notable for the wildness of their jungle scenes.

Kauai coast. Photo by deannanmc

The Na Pali coast and Waimea Canyon are phenomenally gorgeous, but it’s those nearly deserted beaches and pristine sand that really make Kauai a grand getaway: settling down on one of those with a towel and your favorite book makes you feel like you’re at the end of the world. And as nice as those beaches are, I enjoyed my jaunt through the center of the island even more–kayaking up a river and hiking barefoot to a waterfall to swim in the same rivers that the kings and queens of Hawaii once bathed. Utterly majestic.

2. Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos coast. Photo by deannanmc

Everything you’ve heard about the buildings is true: they really are that perfect, pristine shade of white. While I didn’t stretch out on any of the beaches, I did wander the coast to see the iconic windmills, the friendly pelicans, and sampled beverages from as many coastal hole-in-the-wall bars as I could find. (A Pink Cadillac, strawberry juice and champagne, is a perfect sipper for those Aegean sunsets.) There are a lot of cheap touristy dives, but if you’re willing to just kick back and dig the scene, Mykonos glows.

3. Aruba

The license plates read “One Happy Island” and the weather is generally around 82 degrees with no humidity. Do you really need anything else? How about banana boat and water tubing rides, horseback tours of the desert and coast, and the fun, youthful scene in Oranjestaad? If you really want a party, visit in the winter between January and Mardi Gras, where Carnival rages on. It’s a tiny wee island that packs in a lot of spectacular weather and spectacular people. Definitely a Caribbean must.

Where is your favorite toasty warm destination? Are there any I should add to my must-see list?

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  1. SpencerNo Gravatar
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I would love to get to Aruba one day. I hear it is absolutely fantastic!

  2. Shagufa AnwarNo Gravatar
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Why don’t you visit Bandarban in Bangladesh? The wild hill and falls of Nafakhum and the serene Boga Lake brings you this close to nature…..its amazingly unspoilt!

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