Surprising summer beach vacations

Off-season or under-the-radar, these hotspots are worth booking right now.

Go beyond the Hamptons and Ibiza. Several beaches around the world have become magnets for jetsetters thanks to breathtaking backdrops, an effortless “it” factor and, of course, the perfect combo of sand and sea. The following spots are just as awe-inspiring—sans the crowds. Go now and you’ll catch them in their best moments.

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  • Tulum, Mexico

    Tulum, Mexico

    Unlike nearby Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, Tulum is a star on the rise, but not yet overrun. It’s bohemian and chic, sexy and quiet, and you definitely won’t run into mobs of families. The food scene is also on point. Recently, Rene Redzepi, chef of world-renowned Noma in Copenhagen, hosted a seven-week pop-up restaurant (ending May 28, 2017), for which $600 tickets sold out within hours. But hurry: New high-end properties like Nomade and Nest are attracting visitors from far and wide, and existing properties have expanded, like Jashita (with a new $12,000/night, two-level penthouse) and Be Tulum (with two luxury villas with private pools).

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  • Ko Olina, Oahu

    Ko Olina, Oahu

    The main international airport is here, which means Oahu is more crowded than the other Hawaiian islands. But, Ko Olina, a tiny beach area, is still relatively unknown—for now. It’s a quiet, pristine sanctuary with beautiful, natural beaches. The recent opening of Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina put it on the map (guests can arrive via helicopter or yacht transfer, the first hotel in Oahu to offer this). Several mega resorts have broken ground (including $2-billion, 26-acre Atlantis Resort with aquarium), so get here fast before it turns into the next Waikiki.

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  • Maldives


    Come summer, the crowds thin out since it's off-season. Sure, it’s also monsoon season, but rains, if they do storm through, don’t last long and the average temperature still hovers at a sweet 80 degrees. Check into Milaidhoo Island Resort, a new 50-villa property set in the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, meaning it’s significantly beautiful. The resort epitomizes contemporary Maldives style (think local woods, island décor), and there’s plenty to do from elevated dining and a pampering spa to myriad water sports. Baros Maldives, one of the oldest properties that opened in 1973, is a classic fan favorite. It’s garnered Instagram love for its floating piano deck, a sandbank in the midst of azure waters, and unique amenities like glass-bottom canoes and glow-in-the-dark snorkeling. Another reason to go soon: Scientists allege the Maldives may disappear in the not-so-distant future. 

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  • Montreal, Quebec

    Montreal, Quebec

    When hordes of tourists take over the city this summer (Montreal celebrates its 375th anniversary this year), friendly locals will always be quick to give tips and recommendations—but they’ll likely forget to mention Cap Saint Jacques Nature Park in the West Island. During the summer, this sublime, natural beach oasis along a tranquil lake becomes the hottest spot in town. Beachgoers can partake in water activities like kayaking and windsurfing, or simply lay back for proper sunbathing. There’s also biking and hiking trails throughout the nature park should you want to explore the stunning pinewood landscape. Stay in downtown Montreal and take a day trip. The Ritz Carlton Montreal dates back to 1912. Expect a grand lobby, rooftop saltwater pool, and Daniel Boulud restaurant. Alternatively, Le Germaine Montreal, is a chic and contemporary boutique hotel that is centrally located.

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  • Estepona, Spain

    Estepona, Spain

    Hot spots like Ibiza, Mallorca, Tenerife and Malaga will always reign, though Estepona, a charming resort town, is hot on their heels as one of the coolest beach destinations in the Costa Del Sol region. Right next to Marbella (you can see Morocco from here), the picturesque beach town recently closed off 87 streets to make more room for pedestrian traffic (rent a bike for the best way to explore), and the impeccable beaches are sprawling with some of the warmest waters this side of Spain. Estepona isn’t a party town; it’s more about the well-preserved culture and unspoiled beaches. The town has the largest wall murals in the country, new boutique hotels are slated to open, and the busy boardwalk ensures plenty of prime-time people watching. The best hotel to book is Kempinski Hotel Bahia, a five-star seaside resort with insane views as well as the best Spanish tapas in town. 

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