A view of the Maldives looks almost too good to be true. Photo courtesy Parker and Mandy Ewing.

Take a look back at some of our readers’ most magical beach vacations

The winning combo of rest and relaxation is often the best medicine when you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Or maybe you’re more of the “work hard, play hard” type. Either way, our readers know a thing or two about how to recharge—particularly if sunny sands and crystal blue waters are involved. From the Florida Keys to the Dominican Republic and everywhere in between, here are some standout beach vacations as experienced by our adventurous readers in issues past. Click the destinations for all the trip’s details.

Italy & Greece

Leslie and Errol King took a three-week, romantic getaway to Italy and Greece to celebrate their anniversary in 2018. They started their journey in Florence and from there, traveled to Cinque Terre, San Gimignano, Sicily, and the breathtaking island of Oia in Santorini, Greece, which Leslie said was “a foodie’s dream!”

“For lunch,” she said, “we would lounge by the resort pool and enjoy fresh squid and tomato fritters with local beers (complete with chocolate sprinkles on the rim).” But on top of the food and historic landmarks, Leslie says the views were to die for.

“Santorini is renowned for the most beautiful sunsets in the world,” says Leslie. “To say it’s romantic is an understatement.”

Maldives & Dubai

“The Maldives represent the pinnacle of the beach/tropical experience, and Dubai is most unique city in the world,” says Mandy Ewing, who went to the Maldives and Dubai with her husband Parker in 2015. But the most splurge-worthy experience for Mandy strayed far from the desert, obsessing over the water villas built atop the islands’ shallow seas. “The rooms were first-class but we never got over the views from our back deck,” she says.

Florida Keys

Jackie and Melvin Harvey celebrated Jackie’s 47th birthday in the Florida Keys last year with the help of travel advisor Kristin Diehl. While the couple visited plenty of historical sites like Fort Jefferson and the Audubon House, one of their favorite surprises on their trip was how many people from all walks of life have visited their chosen accommodations of Little Palm Island Resort.

“From former presidents to famous actors to just the average person, they all visit. It’s a place you just go to get away.” However, the thing the pair gushed about most of all was the incredible food. “We had dinner at Latitudes, which is located on Sunset Key,” says Melvin. “It’s an island by itself. A private boat that brings you out there for lunch or dinner.”

Dominican Republic

In 2016, three generations of the Moore family—Beth and Bob Courtney, Julia and Tommy Moore, and Andrew and Virginia Moore—took a family vacation to the Dominican Republic. ‘The Dominican Republic could very well be described as ‘The Land of 1,000 All-Inclusive Resorts,'” the Moores agreed.

One of the family’s favorite experiences was chartering a catamaran, which allowed them to dolphin watch, snorkel and more. “It was just the six of us onboard, plus a captain and friendly crew,” says Julia. “In four hours, we sailed by dolphins, snorkeled on a reef, anchored off the beach of a national park where we took a nature hike, saw local art, and met the Coco Man, who macheted freshly-picked coconuts for us to enjoy.”

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