If you need an escape from the daily grind, but can’t take a week off, plan a long-weekend island getaway where you and your loved one can spoil yourselves silly.
For nature lovers: Samaná, Dominican Republic
Samaná is a quiet, less-developed province of the Dominican Republic that features green mountains, lush mangroves and charming fishing villages. Surf or hang out on peaceful Cosón Beach, hike or take a horseback ride through fruit trees to the El Salto del Limón waterfall, explore Los Haitises National Park with its profusion of wildlife and, in the winter months, go whale-watching on Samaná Bay. Learn more about the area’s marine life at the Whale Museum of Samaná, where the centrepiece is a huge humpback whale skeleton.
For foodies: Manhattan
As New York City’s most densely populous borough, Manhattan’s variety of dining options, ranging from delectable street food to five-star meals, make it a natural weekend food odyssey destination. Its Lower East Side features contemporary cuisine and classic diner fare. For the latter, visit Katz’s Delicatessen. The stylish neighbourhoods of NoHo and SoHo are home to several worth-the-splurge spots, including Italian-and-Spanish-focused il Buco and Le Coucou, a French fine-dining venture by chef Daniel Rose.
For relaxation seekers: Santa Catalina, Calif.
Just an hour-long ferry ride from Los Angeles, Santa Catalina Island offers urban-adjacent solace. One of the Channel Islands, Catalina (as locals call it) is quiet and feels remarkably secluded for being just 35 kilometres off the coast of mainland Southern California. The tiny village of Avalon features laid-back Descanso Beach Club, with numerous palm trees and cabanas, as well as an art deco-styled downtown. The island’s roads are easily explored on foot or bike, and you won’t find a single traffic light.
For urbanites: Montreal
With its abundance of cultural attractions and chic vibe, Montreal (yes, it’s on an island flanked by the St. Lawrence River and Rivière des Prairies) also offers inspiring cuisine, remarkable museums and legendary shopping. Dine by candlelight in one of the cozy restaurants in historic Vieux-Montréal, indulge in some shopping among rue Sainte-Catherine’s boutiques and department stores or go club-hopping along boulevard Saint-Laurent until the wee hours. Cultural attractions include the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Pointe-à-Callière museum and Place des Arts.