20 tropical destinations to fantasize about in the summer
Sergi Reboredo/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

20 tropical destinations to fantasize about in the summer

As we very slowly (and hopefully safely!) ease out of quarantine, the itch to travel is strong, and while restrictions are definitely moving in the right direction from last summer, this summer still figures to be a bit of a tease—especially for those of us who miss the thrill of travel.

International travel is touch-and-go, with most countries remaining a no-go, but nothing can stop you from fantasizing about tropical destinations on your wish list as soon as you're allowed to explore freely again. Below are 20 particularly beautiful tropical vacation spots to vicariously enjoy.

 
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Antigua

Antigua
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The Caribbean Sea is the gift that keeps on giving, with islands galore that each offers a tropical refuge. Antigua is Antigua and Barbuda's southernmost island. "Antigua’s coastline is intricate, with bays and headlands fringed with reefs and shoals; several inlets, including Parham and English Harbour, afford anchorage for shipping, and St. John’s has a deepwater harbor," writes Britannica

 
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Bahamas

Bahamas
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The Bahamas has plenty of physical beauty to offer, but there is one unique selling point worth highlighting: Pig Beach! Where else can you swim peacefully with cute little piggies? Nowhere, apparently. This experience is located on Big Major Cay, an otherwise uninhabited island in Bahamas' Exuma. 

 
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Bali

Bali
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Bali is a magical Indonesian island—its own little world away from the mainland with gorgeous rice terrains, monkey forests, and beaches for days. Pictured here is a neighboring island called Nusa Penida with an unrivaled landscape and view absolutely worth the bumpy boat ride.

 
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Barbados

Barbados
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First and foremost: we are all indebted to Barbados for Rihanna. The Caribbean island's capital and largest city is Bridgetown (no relation to Netflix's Bridgerton), but there are several other breathtaking beaches worth your time. 

 
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Bora Bora

Bora Bora
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Bora Bora sits in the South Pacific Ocean and to the northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Pictured here is Mount Otemanu—"made of the jagged remnants of an extinct volcano" and "the island’s crowning landform," per Expedia.com

 
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Australia

Australia
Tanya Puntti/Shutterstock

Australia is abundant in landmarks. You've got the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and Bondi Beach, also in Sydney. You've got Brisbane. You've got the outrageous and unrivaled wildlife. Pictured here is the Heart Reef within the Whitsundays' Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system.

 
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Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands
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Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman make up the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory situated in the Caribbean Sea between Central America and Cuba. There are at least 15 beaches worth visiting and even more culturally to immerse yourself in. Pictured here is one of the most popular: Stingray City.

 
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Cook Islands

Cook Islands
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The Cook Islands, loosely associated with New Zealand but self-governed, occupy the South Pacific. Rarotonga, pictured here, is the largest of the 15 islands and considered to be the hub. Other highlighted islands are Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, and Mitiaro.

 
9 of 20

Dalmatian Islands

Dalmatian Islands
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The Dalmatian Islands, cleverly named as a nod to the dog breed because of the way the 79 islands dot the coast of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea. Vis, pictured here, is one of the predominant Dalmatian islands.

 
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Dominica

Dominica
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Dominica is just one island away—Martinique—from St. Lucia in the Caribbean Sea. The gorgeous beaches are a given, but the nation's lone UNESCO World Heritage site is Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a tropical forest with volcanic elements. Dominica also sports several natural geysers and hot springs for your visiting pleasure.

 
11 of 20

Fiji

Fiji
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Fiji is located in the South Pacific—relatively not too far from the Cook Islands—and consists of 300 islands, though only 100 are inhabited. Pictured here is Wainibau Waterfall on Fiji's Taveuni island. Click here for a thorough list of picturesque beaches, too.

 
12 of 20

Hawaii

Hawaii
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Yes, we know Hawaii consists of seven inhabited individual islands. Yes, any and all of them fulfill the requirements of this list. So, generalized Hawaii it is. Pictured here is the Na Pali Coast on Kauai.

 
13 of 20

Italy's Amalfi Coast

Italy's Amalfi Coast
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There could be a list (and probably already are plenty of lists) just about all of the different ways Italy satisfies any traveler's itch. From Rome to Venice to Lake Como, the possibilities are endless. For our purposes, though, we'll focus on the Amalfi Coast. Pictured here is Positano, a renowned cliffside village overlooking the Amalfi Coast.

 
14 of 20

Maldives

Maldives
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You've surely seen Instagram photos of pristine bungalows bobbing atop absurdly blue waters, and chances are, you were looking at the Maldives. The island is located off the coast of South Asia, specifically India and Sri Lanka, in the Indian Ocean.

 
15 of 20

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines
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Palawan, a Philippine archipelagic province between the Philippines and Indonesia. National Geographic puts it best: "Named after the largest of its 1,780 islands, biodiversity hotspot Palawan is the 'last ecological frontier' of the Philippines. The emerald archipelago is strung across turquoise waters, making island-hopping the best way to experience signature Palawan experiences like floating through an underground river, swimming in hidden lagoons, and diving among World War II shipwrecks."

 
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St. Barts

St. Barts
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Saint Barthélemy, most commonly known simply as St. Barts, is a predominantly French-speaking island further boosting the Caribbean's status as vacation royalty. The good news is that, per Travel and Leisure, St. Barts's peak season is December, and maybe—just maybe—traveling will be allowed by then. Maybe?

 
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St. Lucia

St. Lucia
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Count St. Lucia is yet another breathtaking Caribbean island. St. Lucia is between Martinique and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Pictured here is the view from the majestic Jade Mountain Resort, with the Pitons (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in the distance. Your unique opportunity to explore this volcanic island is waiting for you here.

 
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Thailand

Thailand
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Thailand offers equal parts stunning beaches and bustling city life in capital Bangkok. Away from mainland Thailand are the coveted Phi Phi Islands. Pictured here is the Pileh Lagoon.


 
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Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands
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Turks and Caicos Islands, often referred to as Turks & Caicos, is a British overseas territory located to the southeast of the Bahamas and to the north of the Dominican Republic. Pictured here is Sapodilla Bay. To learn more about the various cays (keys) and islands, visit here.

 
20 of 20

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico
DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

Tulum has a beautiful vantage point of the Caribbean Sea, but what truly sets this destination apart are the Mayan ruins sprinkled around the Mexican city. While in Tulum, you could venture about two hours south to the Bacalar Lagoon near the Mexico-Belize border. Even nearer, Riviera Maya lays about 45 minutes north up the coastline.

Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She's most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.

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