Gstaad, Switzerland.
View from hikes around Gstaad, Switzerland.

9 Terrific Summer Getaways

Escape the heat at these singular locales.

1. Slieve Bloom Mountains, Ireland. It took 10 years to restore this former private estate in the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Live like the lord of the manor in your opulent suite, wander walled gardens and explore ancient woods, follies and grottos.

2. Galápagos, Ecuador. Visit the islands upon which Charles Darwin based his theory of evolution. See blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and iguanas. Kayak and snorkel alongside sea lions on a private land-based tour; or choose a private boat charter.

3. Banff, Canada. The iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel sits in the heart of Banff National Park in Alberta's Rocky Mountains. Summer is a paradise for hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing and rafting.

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Summer here means the Indian Market, Santa Fe Opera, hiking in Santa Fe National Forest, biking, whitewater rafting and dining in this food-lover's hotspot. Best place to stay: the posh Four Seasons Rancho Encantado.

5. Toronto. This city has terrific food, great culture, high-end shopping and friendly people. It also has a sleek flagship Four Seasons hotel, just steps away from the Yorkville galleries, Royal Ontario Museum and excellent eateries (but don't miss the hotel's own Café Boulud for French fare).

6. Barnard, Vermont. Stroll across covered bridges and beneath shady sugar maples near this quaint village, where you can browse antiques, watch glass blowing or visit a farm. Stay at the all-inclusive, 300-acre Twin Farms, where you can fly fish, canoe, hike or do nothing at all.

7. Camden, Maine. Think sunshine, blue skies and endless ocean plus great shops, museums, sailing and relaxing on the porch of the opulent Camden Harbour Inn. Grab a lobster on a tour, bring it back and the chef will cook it to perfection.

8. Gstaad, Switzerland. Nestled in a magnificent Alpine landscape, chill-spot Gstaad has as many cows as human residents. The attitude is "come up, slow down," and the place to do that is the new Alpina Gstaad, a five-star property perched above the village.

9. Gateway Canyons Resort, Colorado. Drive the winding, 133-mile Unaweep/Tabeguache Colorado Scenic Byway in a supercar, part of a new driving experience program here. Kayak, hike, canoe, horseback ride, fish, take a scenic flying tour, visit the resort's auto museum and then relax in an exclusive casita.