Escapes of a Lifetime - Slideshow

U.S. News & World Report

Escapes of a Lifetime - Slideshow

#1 Overall: Sydney, Australia

#1 Overall: Sydney, Australia

Sydney is known for its beautiful opera house, but you don't need a performance ticket to appreciate it. Instead, consider taking a three-hour tour and climb of the nearby Sydney Harbour Bridge, and prepare yourself for the magnificent view you'll get from the top.
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Escapes of a Lifetime
Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Travelers may want to use some of their Sydney time to visit eastern beaches around Sydney, such as Manly, Bronte, Coogee, or this beach: Bondi.
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Escapes of a Lifetime
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#1 Overall: Sydney, Australia

Sydney is known for its beautiful opera house, but you don't need a performance ticket to appreciate it. Instead, consider taking a three-hour tour and climb of the nearby Sydney Harbour Bridge, and prepare yourself for the magnificent view you'll get from the top.
Read More:
Escapes of a Lifetime

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Travelers may want to use some of their Sydney time to visit eastern beaches around Sydney, such as Manly, Bronte, Coogee, or this beach: Bondi.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

#1 Culture & Sightseeing: Washington, D.C.

Some of the country's most recognizable landmarks are clustered around the National Mall and offer free admission. When you visit the Mall, consider enjoying the view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at dawn. "You're facing east, with the sun rising, with the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol dome, the Washington Monument [and] the World War II Memorial. It can simply be breathtaking," says Julia Taylor, a longtime resident of the District.
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Washington, D.C. Hotels
Washington, D.C. Attractions
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Escapes of a Lifetime

Evening Time Cherry Blossoms, Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. hotel rates are generally at their lowest in the winter, but the weather can be an issue. Your best bet is to visit the city in late fall, for the changing leaves, or in the spring, when you can catch the famous cherry blossoms, shown here around the Tidal Basin.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

#1 Food & Wine: Florence, Italy

"The great thing about dining in Florence is you can have a great piece of pizza or a great gelato, and you don't have to spend a fortune," says Laura Powell, veteran travel pundit. You can plan your meals around visits to some of the city's best-loved attractions, like the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo, shown here.
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Florence Hotels
Florence Attractions
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Escapes of a Lifetime

A Tuscany Vineyard near Florence

Visit the southern Chianti hills not far from Florence for some of the region's best wine. "You can arrange to tour the 11th-century cellars once used by monks at Badia di Passignano, says Robert Reid, a frequent visitor and U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

#1 Emerging Destination: Reggio di Calabria, Italy

Reggio di Calabria's lungomare, a seaside promenade, offers a delightful stroll. "In the nighttime there are bars and restaurants, and you can go for a long walk. It's beautiful," says Maria Tuttocuore, an analyst for the travel market research company PhoCusWright and a native of Sicily's Messina province.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

#1 Outdoor & Adventure: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The game reserve's dry season, from December to March, tends to attract the most tourists and is the most expensive time to visit. The best rates are available in late March to May and in October to November, when the weather is rainy and visibility can be limited.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

Wildebeest Migration, Masai Mara

Many people like to visit the reserve between July and August. That's usually when wildebeests migrate through the Mara.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

A Lion Cub, Masai Mara

Consider hiring a guide to show you the premier spots for wildlife. "If you want to see lions you have to get up early in the morning," says Sam Kigongo, a former East Africa tour guide, "because when the sun comes out, they hide in the bushes."
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Escapes of a Lifetime

#1 Beach & Sun: Wailea, HI

This coastal town in southern Maui has a reputation for luxury. The shores of Ulua and Mokapu are especially fantastic. The peak travel season coincides with the rainy season of mid-December to mid-April. To save money, tough out the winter at home, so you can head to paradise in late spring or early fall.
Find out more about:
Maui Hotels
Maui Attractions
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Escapes of a Lifetime

Sunrise on Haleakala, Maui

Adventurous vacationers should ditch the beach for a few adrenalin-racing options, like taking a bike ride down the dormant volcano Haleakala to view the sunrise. "You have to get up in the middle of the night," says Barrie Seidenberg, CEO and president of the tour booking company Viator.com, because most tours leave the hotels around 3 a.m. The downhill bike isn't strenuous, plus the view is "unbelievable," she says.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

#1 Relaxation & Spa: Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora offers luxurious accommodations ranging from floating, thatch-roofed bungalows to dedicated spa suites. Activities here range from snorkeling tours, hikes up the 2,400-foot Mount Otemanu or 4x4 safari tours of the island's interior roads. For a more relaxing experience, consider a sunset catamaran cruise.
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Escapes of a Lifetime

#1 Romance: Poipu, HI

This resort area on the southern side of Kauai has long been popular with newlyweds, as it tends not to attract noisy young families or Spring Breakers. Plus leisure activities are endless. For the best discounts, fall may be the season to take your romantic getaway here.
Find out more about:
Kauai Hotels
Kauai Attractions
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Escapes of a Lifetime

Na Pali Coast, Kauai

On Kauai, "the helicopter tours are always spectacular," notes Viator.com's Seidenberg, because "you can see the coastline and volcanoes, and the weather and water are so beautiful." Most of the excursions will take you around the stunningly rugged and virtually inaccessible Na Pali Coast on Kauai's northwest side.
Also check out:
Top 10 Overall Great Escapes
Top 10 Emerging Destinations
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Escapes of a Lifetime
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