Given the current state of the world economy, something as simple as where you spend your summer vacation can be a contentious issue, especially if you have the cash to spend: while the usual playgrounds of the wealthy in Europe (Spain, Greece, Italy, the south of France) are still an option, the economic problems in that part of the world might mean people living there won’t approve much of conspicuous consumption, never mind that they could use the tourist dollars. There’s also the carbon footprint to consider since crossing the pond racks up those emissions, especially if it’s done on a private plane. But this doesn’t mean you should opt for a staycation and stop looking longingly at those Gulfstream aircraft for sale–there are a lot of destination options within the continental United States, and the menu widens when you include the rest of North America and the Caribbean. Here are a few that should suit a variety of tastes:
Sometimes called Colorado’s best–kept secret, this town has worn a lot of faces over the years: starting out as a Native American hunting ground, it became a mining town, then a ghost town, before being revived as a ski resort and film festival venue.
Nowadays, the outdoor recreation doesn’t stop with the snowmelt but continues all year long, with mountain biking, hiking, rafting, and other outdoor activities making it an ideal summer alternative for people who aren’t into the whole beach thing or have become jaded by it. Plus, as a town that boasts residences owned by celebrities, its facilities don’t exactly constitute roughing it: there’s an ample choice as far as shopping, dining, and places to stay.
For people who’re into the whole see-and-be-seen party atmosphere and who’ve spent the first half of the year working on their beach bods, Miami is still the place to be: models, rappers, yuppies, starlets . . . you name it and this simmering melting pot has it. Some of the best chefs, mixologists, and designers have come together to provide the most chic food, drinks, and accommodations for the well-heeled crowd. And with the Latino beats, Hispanic cuisine, and abundance of Spanish being spoken around you, you can have the exotic-foreign-travel feel without experiencing the hassle of actually leaving the country.
St. Barthelemy, Caribbean
For when you want a more exclusive enclave, the Caribbean is a good place to go, and St. Barts is an especially good spot since it has the spas, villas, restaurants, and whatnot to complement the natural beauty of rolling hills, beautiful beaches, and yacht-friendly harbor that the island provides. With this, plus its proximity to the continental United States, St. Barts is the place to go if you don’t want any drunk college kids or gawky tourists to spoil your party.
One of the up-and-coming places to be, this town is on the map because of the combination of its beautiful beaches, gentle clear waters, and bay, which allows large yachts and cruise ships to dock in port. Unlike the other vacation spots in Mexico, such as Cancun or the Mayan Riviera, Zihuatanejo still retains an authentic feel. Given its rising popularity though, if you want to experience the place before it transforms into a tourist attraction, you had better go soon.
Brandon Peters is an entrepreneur, writer, and travel enthusiast. Though he doesn’t have his own plane, he’s fascinated by the kind of mobility having one provides.