Wilderness Adventures: Getting close to nature can be an experience of a lifetime, especially for those of us who spend most of our time working at a desk. There are many cool tours and safaris to go on in the United States that are great for kids and grown-ups alike. See the amazing Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), polar bears, moose and other wildlife on one of the national parks or sign up for a week-long adventure. Find great things to do in the U.S.
The jewel of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is home to more than 1,200 islands, but travel between them has long been dictated by expensive yacht charters and sluggish public ferries. In 2018, that’s set to change, now that UberBOAT, from the popular ride-sharing app, has launched on-demand transfers and private tours along the Dalmatian Coast. Hit the high seas in the direction of Šolta, a hilly isle a mere nine nautical miles from Split (the second-largest city in Croatia).
Cruise ships and luxe lodges are familiar sights in western Greenland, but more recently, the untamed tundra of the east has begun opening up. Natural Habitat Adventures is leading the push: two seasons ago it debuted Base Camp Greenland, a seasonal eco-lodge comprising eight rustic but cozy tented cabins, which visitors use as a home base for exploring East Greenland by boat, helicopter, and on foot. When you’ve had enough of the wilderness, return to the western shore. Upscale additions there include the glamping retreat Camp Kiattua, which has tipi-like tents with fireplaces and fur-draped furnishings, and the new Ilimanaq Lodge, which feels like the Arctic’s answer to the overwater bungalow. Each of 15 Scandi-inspired cabins feature floor-to-ceiling windows and oceanfront terraces for whale-watching and iceberg-spotting. —Lila Battis

Rising above its associations with the annual hot-air-balloon festival, Albuquerque will this year set out to prove itself as a fully-fledged destination. The Sawmill District, just north of the historic Old Town, is being revived as a creative center, anchored by the arrival of the Hotel Chaco. The design of this boutique property, which opened in April, is inspired by the state’s indigenous culture, with handmade Navajo wool textiles and pueblo-inspired motifs. Come spring, downtown ABQ will also see the arrival of a new entertainment hub: the $40 million One Central, which will have a sleek bowling lounge, as well as upscale stores and restaurants. And just outside town, visitors will soon be able to experience the striking Sandia Mountains in a nail-biting new way. The proposed Mountain Coaster, an alpine sled-style ride that plunges riders down the mountainside in a total vertical drop of 380 feet, is due to open this fall. Getting to Albuquerque is becoming even easier, thanks to new nonstop flights from major U.S. cities via Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines. —Melanie Lieberman
The Emerald Isle has seen a rush of American visitors recently, spurred by favorable exchange rates and increased airlift. If you haven’t yet made the trip, now’s the time to go. Adare Manor, a hotel set in a grand 19th-century mansion on 840 acres of rolling County Limerick countryside, reopened in November after an 18-month overhaul. The picturesque estate now has a new 42-room wing, a redesigned golf course, and the first La Mer Spa in the British Isles. Ireland’s whiskey scene has been quietly blooming for the last decade, and recently historic estates have embraced the trend. In August, Slane Castle in County Meath opened its new distillery to the public, and later this year, the iconic Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow will debut its own craft facility. In Dublin, Pearse Lyons, a wealthy Irishman with Kentucky-bourbon bona fides, recently opened his namesake distillery in the former St. James’s Church, and more whiskey destinations with visitor centers are soon to come from the Dublin Liberties and Roe & Co. And now that Luas, Dublin’s light rail system, has finally completed its latest expansion, getting around the city is a breeze — the $433-million project has linked two lines and added new stops near many of the city center’s most popular sights. —Lila Battis
Those who think they’ve seen and done it all in the Bahamas should think again. Baha Mar, the multibillion dollar hotel and casino development on Nassau’s Cable Beach, will be fully up and running when Rosewood resorts launches there this spring. (Baha Mar’s Grand Hyatt and SLS properties are already drawing visitors with their sophisticated, contemporary rooms.) On neighboring Paradise Island, the iconic Ocean Club resort is under new management with Four Seasons. And at Atlantis, the adults-focused Cove resort now has an outpost of Sip Sip restaurant, Julie Lightbourn’s Harbour Island favorite, while the family-friendly Coral Towers debuted a new lobby, guest rooms, and pool courtesy of star hotel designer Jeffrey Beers. And T+L’s World’s Best winner Kamalame Cay has added stylish beach bungalows — stand-alone suites that start at a whopping 450 square feet and feature private verandas and outdoor showers. —Jacqueline Gifford
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The capital may be set on banks of the Potomac, but it’s never had a reputation as a great waterfront city. That could all be about to change, thanks to the $2.5 billion, 24-acre District Wharf, which opened in October just south of the National Mall. The shiny new InterContinental Washington D.C.-The Wharf offers access to the development’s new parks, music venues, 50-plus shops, and 20 restaurants — which include projects from area chefs like Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella, and wunderkind Kwame Onwuachi. This is also set to be a banner year for culture: the Freer and Sackler galleries, sister museums that champion Asian art, recently reopened after a 20-month renovation, the National Gallery of Art will host the first-ever show dedicated to Cézanne’s portraits from March to July, and the Kennedy Center continues its inaugural season of hip-hop programming curated by Q-Tip. —Brooke Porter Katz
Though decades of civil war made parts of the island unsafe, tourism is on the rise in Sri Lanka, where international visitors exceeded 2 million for the first time in 2016. The momentum is particularly strong along the south coast, which has the highest concentration of hotels and resorts after Colombo. The 172-room Amari resort recently opened on the beachfront in Galle (known for its UNESCO-protected Dutch fortress) with ocean views from every balcony. Water also plays a central role at Alila Koggala, a new luxury eco-resort with 36 suites and private villas, opening 20 minutes outside of Galle in June. The property sits on the serene shores of Lake Koggala and will feature an ayurvedic spa where treatments can be taken on a platform floating on the lake. Further along the south coast, Mirissa Beach is attracting travelers in need of a full mind-body reset. The laid-back surfer town — think Venice Beach minus the tech crowd — comes alive at night with bars and barbecue restaurants overlooking the turquoise bay; when you’re ready to turn in, there are earthy, low-key lodges peppered throughout the jungle, such as Surf & Yoga, which offers daily on-site yoga and private surf lessons. —Alex Schechter
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