Shady Lady: Summer Spots With Sun Protection


My Hawaii honeymoon was telling in terms of my husband’s shunning of the sun. Fair skinned and sensitized by a father who had been treated several times for melanoma, my better half sought out the biggest umbrellas and thatched huts available for taking shelter on the beach. I would have preferred he sported tropical jams instead of those baggy Brooks Brothers khaki pants and huaraches, rather than sensible saddle shoes, but he’s eccentric and not one to cave to convention.

Even so, 16 years later, I follow his lead in guarding my skin on our travels. Repenting for my baby oil-swathed summer tanning marathons in Malibu, and wary of sun cancer and wrinkling too fast, I can appreciate a resort environment without sacrificing my health and beauty. Here are some cool summer spots for a sun-screened getaway.

Indian Springs

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This historic and ultra hip spa resort in Calistoga is a favorite weekend getaway among many of my friends in San Francisco. That’s because the lushly planted 16-acre property is both scenically soothing in a vintage Hollywood fashion and its famous Olympic-sized mineral pool is hugely restorative.

We were there on a rainy Easter weekend. It was sunny and clear when we arrived on Friday, and pouring like nobody’s business on Sunday. Either way, the setting offers diverse respite opps out of the sun, from the covered poolside veranda to a romantic indoor poolside lounge with a stone fireplace. There’s also shaded herb gardens for repose and an understated spa for receiving a mudbath with pure volcanish ash – a long practiced ritual to complement the mineral plunge. The Wapoo Indians settled in the site 8,000 years ago, followed by the Spanish who named the treasured plot Agua Caliente. Sure, the water is hot, but you can still keep your cool in the heat of the summer here. Just substitute the tan for a fan (which you will need in your room).  Soak up the mineral water with proper protection, then hide in the shade with a good read. You’ll  feel more relaxed than you have in months.

Four Seasons Punte Mita, Mexico

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This stunning resort with a coral lined beach and extraordinary guacamole is just 25 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta International Airport and offers breaks on rooms during the heat of the summer (August is best) when being in the direct sun can fry your bass. But why not take advantage of the rates and simply enjoy the spectacular setting, spa treatments, covered patio areas, excellent snorkeling and scuba, gym workouts and amazingly healthy cuisine for a steal. The summer promotion includes a resort credit of $400-$1200 daily towards room rate or other activities. This can get you a usually high priced Four Seasons room for two for $250-$350. There are also third and fourth night free offers, which many resorts are doing during the summer.

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One of my favorite water activities here where I won’t feel the burn: floating down the well-shaded Lazy River – a narrow pool with a current which encircles the Oasis complex. Kids ride it with an inner tube, but I like wading through it for the resistance exercise. And better yet, there is well stocked bar nearby. Cowabunga!

This is the second installment in a travel series by EcoSalon’s Senior Editor, Luanne Bradley.

Images: downing.amanda, Four seasons, Popofaddicus

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.