The New York Times just published its annual “52 Places To Go” in the coming year story, and it contains some old favorites, as well as some entirely new ones. Here are some in both categories:
The Times’ Number 2: The British Virgin Islands. Still recovering from the hurricanes of 2017, the BVI are coming back. Rosewood Little Dix Bay, for example, reopened this month. Richard Branson’s private Necker Island (its Red Dock is pictured above) is on schedule to reopen by April. The Bitter End Yacht Club will open its new marina this summer, with accommodations to follow in the fall. A development, including three hotels and a marina, is planned this year for Norman Island.
Number 18: La Paz, Mexico. Just up the coast from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz is one of the region’s most dynamic cities, but so far it has resisted large-scale development. It did extend its waterfront Malecón by three miles, and it remains a fishing and cruising center. Espiritu Santo, a treasure of inlets and cliffs, is one of La Paz’s unique attractions. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with other areas in the Sea of Cortez, which is so rich with marine life that it’s often called “the aquarium of the world.”
Number 19: Grand Isle, Louisiana. A flat, narrow, seven-mile-long barrier island south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico, Grand Isle is the home of world-class fishing, birding and beaches. Its Butterfly Dome is filled with native butterflies and plants, and its Birding Trail winds through oak forests. In the spring, migratory birds from South and Central America fly there. The future of the island (population: 1,464) is far from certain, as it has suffered from rising sea levels in the past few years.
Number 22: The Bahamas. Only four months after Hurricane Dorian, Great Abaco is still too damaged to visit, but many of the other hundreds of islands in the Bahamas, including the 120-mile-long Exumas chain, were not touched. Grand Bahama Island has bounced back; cruise ships are now docking in Freeport, and several hotels are reopening there. One of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville resorts is scheduled to open in Nassau in June.
Number 45: Belle-Île, France. The largest island off the coast of Brittany in northwest France, Belle- Île has become increasingly popular lately. It’s one of the greenest and most pristine destinations in France, with new restaurants and renovated hotels. Once the 19th Century hideaway of artists (including Claude Monet), the island has 56 miles of hiking trails, maintained by a team that also rebuilds the dunes along its protected coastline. If you want to learn more, read my friend Don Wallace’s book, The French House, about how he and his family restored an old home there. Read more: