Full confession: I am a Hamptons devotee. In New York City, this statement will get you mixed responses (most of them negative). It's not that I particularly enjoy sitting in endless stretches of traffic each weekend, making restaurant reservations a month in advance, or paying exorbitant prices for basic commodities. At the root of my regular Eastern Long Island pilgrimage is only one logic explanation: I love getting out of the city on summer weekends.
It's easy to fall into a routine when it comes to summer weekend escapes, but as I was reminded recently when I attended America's Cup in Bermuda with Vineyard Vines, there are a trillion fantastic destinations only a stone's throw away from my doorstep, and they probably don't involve packed trains, crowded beaches, or women in full hair and makeup at brunch.
Ahead, these destinations deserve to be on your summer weekend escape plan—whether you're just looking to read a book on the beach or go for a four-hour hike. Better yet, each of them is only a short flight away from major U.S. cities. Don't delay planning your summer weekends—these locales are calling your name, no matter where you live.
From New York City: Hamilton, Bermuda
For New Yorkers, escaping to Bermuda can actually be quicker than driving out to the Hamptons. A short two-hour flight will get you straight to the crystal clear shores of the British territory without ever having to sit in endless Eastern Long Island traffic. Watch sailboats race during America's Cup in June, explore the island's breathtaking beaches, and regal in local delicacies like Bermuda fish chowder and rum swizzles—the national drink. With the legendary Hamilton Princess newly reopened after extensive renovations, there is no reason not to visit this picturesque island.
From Dallas: Jackson, Wyoming
For those who are looking to escape the Texas heat, Jackson, Wyoming, is calling. While the area is most commonly known for skiing, the breathtaking nature of the area in summer, and the many restaurants, galleries, and shops in the area, rest assured there is no shortage of things to do. Best of all, Brooklyn-based design firm Studio Tack recently renovated a 1950s ski resort into the new Anvil Hotel, which has the look and feel of an upstate cabin we'd all want to move into. Its restaurant, Glorietta, has a wood-fired oven and a beverage program designed by Death & Co—so you won't go hungry or thirsty.
From Los Angeles: Todos Santos, Mexico
Another resort that's calling our name this summer is Hotel San Cristobal, a beachfront property on the coast of the Mexican Baja California Sur. Ride your bikes along the beach, sample the local cuisine, or sip a margarita by the pool—this place has everything you need to entirely unwind, even if you only have two days. Consider it your quieter, more grown-up version of Cabo. Spring breakers need not apply.
From Washington, D.C.: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan is making waves on the travel scene lately, and with a short skip away from most international airports, it's easy to see why. A nonstop flight from Washington, D.C., for example, will get you to the Puerto Rican capital in under four hours without ever having to cross customs. Walk the historic cobblestone streets of the old city, visit nearby beaches, feast on arroz con dulce, and listen to "Despacito" without restraint.
From San Francisco: California's Channel Islands
For something a little different than a weekend in wine country or a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, head to the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California for a weekend of kayaking, snorkeling, or hiking. The picturesque setting will instantly put you in holiday mode. The Channel Islands are a national park, so there are no hotels on site, but you can stay in nearby Santa Barbara or even camp on the island if you're up for an adventure.
From Miami: Cartagena, Columbia
Skip town and head to Cartagena for the weekend—the flight is only two hours and 30 minutes from Miami. The Columbian metropolis is filled with history and colorful architecture to please the most avid Instagrammers. Wander the color-filled streets and markets, load up on local ceviche, and soak up the sun—it's dry season in Columbia. Stay at Casa San Agustín to get the ultimate authentic experience in a 17th-century colonial heritage setting.
From Boston: Reykjavík, Iceland
Skip yet another weekend on Nantucket or the Cape this summer, and board a direct flight to Iceland instead. One of 2017's hottest destinations lends itself perfectly to a summer vacation when it's at its warmest. Visit the infamous Blue Lagoon, nosh on the freshest Nordic seafood, or head out of the city for some truly breathtaking landscapes. With Icelandair's new direct flights from most American cities, you can land on Icelandic soil in just five hours.
Next up: the island destination that should be on your bucket list (but probably isn't).