1. Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman temperatures soar in July. Fortunately, you’re never far from the sea. Dotted with luxury resorts, Seven Mile Beach—with its legendary talcum white sand—is a prime spot to dive into the ocean. Seek shade under the tropical forest at Crystal Caves, with a guided tour through this former pirate hideout to explore three hidden caverns. Dazzling limestone gardens contain crystallized stalactite and stalagmite formations that reflect off a subterranean lake. You can also escape the heat in the air-conditioned shops at Camana Bay, a retail and entertainment district. Indulge in some retail therapy before heading to West Indies Wine Company, where you’ll discover 80 self-serve, by-the-glass pouring stations.
In the summer, some resorts slash 30 per cent off their regular room rates, while Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort also provides complimentary Linus bikes and a dizzying array of kid’s club activities on certain days.
Cayman Islands is also touted as the culinary capital of the Caribbean and Grand Cayman alone has more than 200 restaurants serving a local population of 53,000. Enhancing the island’s exploding foodie scene are bottomless brunches held every Sunday at dozens of hotels and restaurants. For the quintessential beach bar experience, head to The Wreck Bar & Grill at Rum Point, where the mudslide cocktail—a chilled blend of vodka, Kahlúa, and Irish cream—was invented. Kids in tow? The Kids Culinary Capital of the Caribbean offers kitchen tours and cooking classes.
2. Saint Martin
This island is one half French, the other half Dutch. Thankfully both have almost fully recovered from last year’s devastating hurricanes. The island slows down in June, and discounted hotels rates abound.
July boasts perfect beach weather, though it’s technically considered the island’s rainy season, which amounts to a brief evening shower to cool you off. Don’t miss celebrations across the country during National Rebellion Day on July 26.
4. Paris, France
The City of Light tempts tourists all year round, but come August, locals flee to the coast, leaving Paris somewhat quieter and easier to explore. Escape the humidity with a dip in La Baignade, outdoor pools in the Bassin de la Villette lake.
[This story appears in the October 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine.]