A terrible year for damage
lavizzara/shutterstockThis year's hurricane season has wreaked unimaginable havoc on some of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world for serious R&R on white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Barbuda, Dominica, Turks and Caicos, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, and St. Barts are among the most affected destinations, with many facing humanitarian and public health crises. You can take action for those affected by donating to Global Giving, which works internationally with local nonprofits to send aid where it's needed most, and that includes those affected by this year's horrific hurricanes. (Here's what those hurricane categories really mean when you hear about them.) You'll also want to come up with new travel plans for your warm-weather desires, and we have you covered with the safest balmy spots to escape to this fall.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Alex Tihonovs/shutterstockYou won't be able to put your camera down when exploring this 30-mile stretch of rugged shoreline along the edge of Italy's Sorrentine Peninsula. The crowds flock to this region in summer to beat the heat with frequent dips in the Mediterranean Sea, but if you come in fall, you'll have lower-priced hotel options and less of a fight to get a beach chair. Positano is among the most sought-after areas here, and for good reason. Its pebble beachfront and steep, narrow streets colored with pastel-hued boutiques and cafes will make you feel like you're in a dream. For one of the best views in Positano, stay at Hotel Villa Franca, where engulfing panoramic views follow you from your room to the rooftop pool, and all the way into the dining area, where you can watch the sun sink while sipping back Prosecco and indulging in perfectly roasted octopus. Take the hydrofoil to Capri if you want to see even more Mediterranean beauty. Rent a boat from Gianni's Boat Rentals to experience the cove-studded coastline and gawk at the gorgeous yachts casually anchored about. The fabled Blute Grotto is an absolute must-see as well. If you want to gasp at the shimmering sea from your room, there's really no better place than Punta Tragara. With views of the famous Faraglioni rock formations from the comfort of your balcony, it might be hard to leave the hotel, but you'll surely want to take a steep walk down to the nearby beach clubs for refreshing dips and a spritz. And once you're all planned, check out these must-read vacation books to plop down on the beach with.
MNStudio/shutterstockLet the tourists have Honolulu, and head to Kauai, Hawaii's hidden gem. If you are in desperate need of solitude, this is your fall vacation dream come true—without not a lot of white noise or distraction, you'll be able to breathe at last! Take a hike that ends at a waterfall or stunning beach, like Na Pali Coast's famous Kalalau Trail, which features the 300-foot Hanakapi'ai waterfall as well as isolated beaches. The trail will test your endurance, as it weaves through one of the world's most famous natural wonders, the Na Pali coast. But with 180-degree views of the pristine Pacific, who can resist? And if big-name hotels aren't your thing, you'll love the simple vibe Kauai has, where the only type of glamour you'll find is nature itself. Itching to escape to Hawaii? Take a look at these important things to know before booking your Hawaiian vacation.
San Diego, California
Sean Pavone/shutterstockSunny SoCal is a perfect fall getaway for those looking for beach life with a little city mixed in. An eclectic area, you can rent beach cruisers and coast along Pacific Beach's boardwalk, dipping in and out of restaurants for a taco and beer, or opt for a more remote escape, like Catamaran Resort & Spa. The reasonably priced hotel offers its own private beach so you don't have to share your peace with the giddy locals soaking up the sun in October after all the tourists have gone home—though it is nice to watch the stroke of the surfers from sun up to sun down. For a little nightlife, head into the city's downtown neighborhood, the Gaslamp Quarter, where you can experience clubs, dive bars, and cocktail lounges after consuming innovative cuisine at the numerous independent restaurants in the area. Here are all the reasons you should take a vacation in fall.
Cape Town, South Africa
kavram/shutterstockCape Town is a port city on South Africa's southwest coast, where warm yet mild temperatures are perfect for strolling the beach or exploring the galleries and eateries. September to November is considered shoulder season, so while you'll experience enviable weather, there will be fewer crowds and lower prices. As far as moods go, there's something to suit everyone here, especially when it comes to the type of beach you're looking for. The glittering coastline alone Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula features bustling beach bars as well as unspoiled coves. Foodies, rejoice. There is much to nosh on here thanks to its crossroad of cultures. Join in on the burger trend happening in Cape Town right now at IYO Burgers, opting for the Ostrich Burger stuffed with Brie, for a delicious bite of something a bit out of your comfort zone.
Santorines/shutterstockOne of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is even more beautiful than the pictures. From the half-sphere buildings and the vibrant houses carved into cliffs, to the piercingly-blue water and mesmerizing black sand beaches, you won't be disappointed. Sunsets lovers' jaws will drop each night as the sky ignites to a candy-colored hue. The summer temperatures back off and provide a pleasantly mild atmosphere for a leisurely walk or a relaxing sunbath by the sea. And don't be afraid to take a dip in the water, as the sea temperature retains the heat from the summer. Get your Greek food fill in Santorini in one of the various no-frills tavernas offering everything from fava with capers and mackerel fritters to white-aubergine pie. A standout is surely Selene, an unmarked restaurant featuring incredible sea urchin and artichoke salad. The brodedo (a fish stew) is also a must. Love Greece's cuisine? There's no better place to learn how to make your diet more Mediterranean.
Steve Photography/shutterstockPortugal's southernmost region, Algarve is known for its Mediterranean beaches, whitewashed fishing villages tucked into low cliffs, and golf resorts. Praia da Rocha, which is Portuguese for "Rock Beach," is one of the most sought-after sandy coves in the region, featuring unique limestone rock formations you won't see anywhere else. For the outgoing individual, the central coast between Lagos and Faro is lined with villas, hotels, bars, and restaurants. Families will find the most accessible entertainment between Quarteira and Lagos (central and western Algarve), while Albufeira, Praia da Rocha and Lagos are the best for partying. If you've been saving all year and just want to splurge, the Golden Triangle—a name of a triangle of resorts which comprise the most affluent tourist area of the Algarve—is a must. Vale Do Lobo Resort offers a golf course and a private beach. And if you want to keep your dinner authentic and chill, check out Adega Vilalisa, a small whitewashed cottage with a blue painted border tucked away in a narrow village street. You won't find a menu here, so prepare to be surprised (and totally satisfied). If you take a trip to Lisbon, be mindful of your wallet, or so says this survey.
Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia
Tanya Puntti/shutterstockFeel like island hopping? Whitsunday Island, a collection of continental islands in Queensland, Australia, will likely be up your alley. The islands are located in the center of the Great Barrier Reef on the Queensland coast. However, most of the island are uninhabited national parks, so you'll have to stick to the four islands The clear, protected water of the Whitsunday Islands will have you mesmerized, whether you're snorkeling the wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef, sailing from island to island, or tucked under an umbrella while reading your favorite novel, you won't escape relaxation here. As for which Whitsunday Island is best, it all depends on what you're looking for. Families and resort-lovers will prefer Daydream Island, honeymooners and high-end travelers will like Hayman Island, and experienced divers, snorkelers, and self-sufficient campers will enjoy Hook Island. If you enjoy snorkeling, be sure to check out this list of beaches with the clearest water in the world.