It’s the age-old travel question: Is this a relaxation vacation or one filled with sightseeing and mind-expanding adventures? It makes it seem like you can only do one or the other on your time away from home, but never both. Well, it’s actually not true. So if you’ve done a lot of traveling and are a little tired of choosing between relaxation and education every time you plan a trip, worry no more. There are destinations that offer both breathtaking beauty and serenity as well as thought-provoking history all in one place.
Read on to get our run-down of the best of the lot.
This British Overseas Territory has it all. From snow-white-sand beaches and pristine ocean waters to world-class hiking and biking possibilities and historic landmarks, the Cayman Islands are a one-stop shop for tropical delights coupled with thought-provoking touring. In addition to underwater pleasures and diverse wildlife, the island chain boasts tremendous sightseeing destinations, from the Pedro St. James National Historic Site to Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park.
This island at the very tip of the Florida Keys is often overlooked when travelers are searching for a tropical getaway. However, this most exotic of all U.S. destinations in the Upper 48 can be a revelation. There is virtually every type of watersport at your disposal, all of which you can experience on calm, crystal-clear, always-warm waters. In addition, the island is full of history, including the story of its Bahamian and West Indies settlers, the Cuban cigar makers, author Ernest Hemingway’s home and its six-toed cats, and U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s Little White House.
St. Kitts and Nevis
This tiny little nation of two islands in the Caribbean is known as one of the most picturesque tropical destinations in the world, with pure, clear ocean waters and iconic soft-sand beaches. However, it is also home to extraordinary history, from the incredibly scenic working railway that has endured since the days the sugar industry thrived here to Wingfield Estate, created by English settlers in the 1630s. There’s also Brimstone Hill Fortress, a panoramic park, museum and World Class Heritage site started by British forces in 1690.
No matter which of these destinations you ultimately choose, and even if you search for your own Eden, the best of both worlds exists. All it takes from you is a bit of research, some planning, and a few clicks of the mouse.