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4 Island Getaways for Long Weekends Abroad

If a summer vacation isn't in the cards for you this year, how about a long weekend getaway? We've collected four summer weekend destinations that are bound to relax and rejuvenate you, no matter what your style. Spend a romantic weekend immersed in nature and the Celtic traditions of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Laze away the days on the white sand beaches of an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Get your adventure on swimming with the whale sharks or snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world off Isla Mujeres, or make magic on a three-night cruise to the Bahamas.

The Romance of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Lighthouse at Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada I have travelled the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps, and the highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all. Don't just take Alexander Graham Bell's word for it though; experience this island's allure for yourself, where the rough seas meet the rugged landscape to create the ultimate weekend escape for nature lovers, and well, lovers of all kinds. This off-the-beaten-path island getaway is the perfect summer destination for those yearning for an intimate connection with nature and with each other. Start your romantic weekend in the quaint seaside village of Baddeck. The 11-acre Inverary Resort on Baddeck Bay provides ideal accommodations with either a luxurious suite in their 1850 main lodge, or a cozy waterfront cottage suite nestled among the trees. The single must-do experience of the weekend is driving the Cabot Trail. National Geographic calls it one of the best road trips in the world; driving it counter-clockwise offers the most spectacular views. Pleasant Bay, along the northwestern edge of the Cabot Trail, is the whale watching capital of Cape Breton, and has some of the island's best hiking trails. At the southwestern end of the Cabot Trail is Glenora Distillery in Glenville. Stop in to experience a traditional Cape Breton Ceilidh, tour the whisky distillery, or try one of their unique whisky spiked desserts. Back at the Inverary, book a trip to the French 18th century Fortress Louisbourg, or a tour of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Ride bikes, take hikes, or arrange for a beachside lobster boil. Relax, unwind, and breathe.

Adventure Awaits on Isla Mujeres

Beautiful Isla Mujeres There is no better time to cash in on great deals south of the border than summertime, and no better place than colorful Isla Mujeres. This little island, a thirty minute ferry ride from Cancun, Mexico, features the beautiful white sands of Playa Norte, one of Mexico's best beaches. On Isla, your must-do under the sea adventure is swimming with the 40-foot whale sharks, the island's gentle giants. In fact, it's such a popular eco tourist attraction that it's celebrated with an annual Whale Shark Festival. You, one other person, and an expert guide swim alongside these huge plankton-eating creatures. Learn more about the 8-hour whale shark tour. On another day, dive the eerie depths of the Blue Hole and explore the giant stalactites while reef sharks circle overhead. Don't leave without snorkeling the world's second largest barrier reef and experience colorful underwater sea life like never before. Spend a day fighting to hang onto a thrashing marlin on a deep-sea sport fishing tour. Isla Mujeres offers just the right amount of thrills for your long weekend getaway. Retreat to the casual luxury of Ixchel Beach Hotel on North Beach. Indulge in a beachside massage at the end of your adventurous days, or experience the island through their many affiliated venues. Get a discount at Olivia, a Mediterranean fusion restaurant that is an island favorite, or try a taste of Isla nightlife at Zama and charge it to your room. Check out the shops and eateries on vibrant Hidalgo Street, or eat at Mango, a favorite for vegetarian fare. Spend your downtime in a hammock reading J.J. Henderson's mystery novel, Mexican Booty, set on Isla Mujeres. It's your weekend; do it all.

Lazy Days in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Hotel in Puerto Plata With the hectic lives many people lead these days, a long weekend of doing nothing sounds like paradise. Why not spend that lazy weekend in a Caribbean paradise, while you're at it? The Sunscape Puerto Plata all-inclusive resort (formerly Barcelos) in Puerto Plata sits along the popular north coast beach of Playa Dorada; it offers a tropical environment where your every need is catered to and your toughest decision is beach or pool. Besides the international cuisine of La Giralda, the main buffet-style restaurant, there are five specialty restaurants on the property: Mexico Lindo, Kyoto, Marenostrum, La Dolce Vita, and Rodizio, so you won't run out of delectable choices. Casual cafes and pool and beach bars mean you never have to leave your beach chair. If you get your fill of doing nothing, take in a round of golf on the resort's 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, or go into Puerto Plata and wander through the shops for unique island gifts. Be sure to check out the exquisite larimar jewelry in many shops as well as the Amber Museum; both stones are native to the island. Visit Fort San Felipe, but read the Julia Alvarez novel, In the Time of the Butterflies first for a deeper appreciation of its prison history. If you can only do one thing beyond relaxing at the resort, make it a cable car trip up Isabel de Torres Mountain to enjoy the serenity of the lush native gardens along with dazzling views of Puerto Plata and the Atlantic Ocean. Exchange busy for Zen on this long island weekend.

Cruise to Castaway Cay, Bahamas

Cruise ship docked at port in Castaway Cay, Bahamas Taking a cruise is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing weekend where you can zone out and leave your everyday worries in your wake. Disney Cruise Line's 3-night Bahamian cruise aboard the Disney Dream sails to ports in Nassau and Castaway Cay, Bahamas. Heading out from Port Canaveral, Florida, it won't be long before the sun is kissing your skin while you enjoy all the amazing activities the ship has to offer. The Disney Dream ship features several dining options, pools, nightclubs, lounges, and much more. Live entertainment, 3D movies, and themed parties are among the on board entertainment. Taking a cruise allows you to meet new people, visit exotic locations, and create once in a lifetime memories. While in Nassau, take a walking tour of the famed Old Town area where you can see the pink Parliament House with a statue of Queen Victoria out front. Rent a scooter and explore the island on your own; finish your day on Paradise Island at the famous Atlantis Resort Hotel. At Castaway Cay, head out on a glass-bottom boat from Marge's Barges, taking in the clear sparkling water teaming with exotic sea life. Move over to adults-only Serenity Bay and swing in a hammock on the beach, soaking up the sun and sipping a Deep Blue Sea at the Castaway Air Bar. Get an open air massage with a gorgeous ocean view, take a rejuvenating yoga class, or indulge in a Caribbean outdoor barbecue before heading back to the ship. You can make your own magic on this Bahamian Disney cruise. These are our favorite picks of island getaways for spending a long weekend abroad. Which one is right for you?

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