No traffic on the way to the airport, parking in front of the terminal, quick and easy bag drop and a quiet security process that includes TSA Pre-Check: These are some of the reasons to love Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. And now that Frontier has joined Southwest and American at the airport, a wider selection of nonstop destinations makes it an attractive choice for weekend getaway travel. Take advantage of this Long Island resource and enjoy a weekend in one of the following spots:
Check into the ritzy Le Meridien (lemeridientampa.com), pictured, a former federal courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places. Amenities include an outdoor pool, a lobby that doubles as a craft cocktail bar and shuttle service to nearby destinations. The downtown location is perfect for weekend exploration. Le Meridien has partnered with the nearby Tampa Museum of Art (tampamuseum.org) so that guests receive free passes. Past exhibitions have included solo shows with work by James Rosenquis, Alex Katz, Andy Warhol and Norman Rockwell. Take in a live performance or an art film at the Tampa Theatre (tampatheatre.org), a fully restored 1926 movie palace, and then enjoy dinner and drinks at the retro CW’s Gin Joint (cwginjoint.com), where the dining room is lit by dozens of crystal chandeliers. The Ybor City neighborhood, developed by Cuban cigar factory workers, is the reputed birthplace of the Cuban sandwich. Try one at the Columbia (columbiarestaurant.com), the iconic Ybor City restaurant that also mixes tableside mojitos and serves a mean flan. Frontier has nonstop 3-hour flights to Tampa starting at $39 one way. Southwest’s prices are a bit higher (starting at $109 one way) but there are more flights weekly and bags are included.
Palm Beach, Florida
If 1920s glamour is your thing, book a room at The Brazilian Court (braziliancourt.com). With its mahogany furniture, potted palms and courtyard fountains, it has a Hollywood-tropical feel. An outdoor pool and spa are open year-round. A Cadillac Escalade is available to shuttle you to the beach (where hotel lounges and umbrellas are set up in the morning). On-site there is a Daniel Boulud restaurant and a Frederic Fekkai Salon. Luxury isn’t limited to the hotel property. Just a few blocks south is world-famous Worth Avenue, pictured, one of the world’s most exclusive shopping destinations with outposts of Gucci, Cartier, Hermès and Armani. A few blocks north and you are at the Flagler Museum (flaglermuseum.us), one of the great Gilded Age mansions. Exhibits here focus on the period: Tiffany glass, yachting trophies, the origins of sport fishing on Florida’s southeast coast. Buccan (buccanpalmbeach.com) is the quintessential Palm Beach restaurant, serving an eclectic and colorful selection of raw fish (hamachi tiradito with Peruvian chilies and lotus root), salads (beets with arugula, walnuts and blue cheese) and pastas (spaghetti “crab-onara” with king crab, asparagus, ham and poached egg). Southwest has 3-hour flights to West Palm Beach airport starting at $109 one way.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
While this Carolina vacation destination has all of the expected beach attractions — boardwalk, jet skiing, dolphin tours, ice cream — its distinguishing feature is the sheer number of top-100 public access golf courses, according to Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. For Long Island golfers, the combination of low airfares (Frontier begins making the 1-hour-and-40-minute flight from Islip to Myrtle Beach at the end of May for as low as $69 one way), attractive room rates and proximity to the links may be too tempting to resist. The Marina Inn at Grande Dunes (marinainnatgrandedunes.com), a luxury hotel within a larger Myrtle beach resort, offers guests several golf-intensive packages. The Honors golf package gets you four nights at the Marina Inn, seven rounds at a selection of top Myrtle Beach golf courses, breakfast every morning, lunch on the course each day and two dinners at the Inn’s fine dining restaurant, WaterScapes. The Legends package gives you three nights at the Marina Inn and four rounds for the price of three at the nearby Legends courses Moorland, Parkland, pictured, Heathland, Oyster Bay and Heritage Club. The Bucket List package is priced per person per night and includes one night and one round at your choice of three exclusive courses including the Pine Lakes Country Club, the Grande Dunes Resort course and the Dunes Club at Myrtle Beach. Call 866-437-4113 for package prices.
The Windy City is a surprisingly affordable weekend break when you take the 2-hour-and-40-minute Frontier flight from Islip, starting at $29 one way. Stay at the lavishly restored Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (chicagoathletichotel.com), pictured, a former private men’s club in a Venetian Gothic building. The developers left many of the club’s sporty touches intact, including wood trim carved to look like lacrosse sticks and a tiled ballroom floor that was formerly the club pool. Rooms feature pommel horse benches and boxer’s robes. Exercise in Millennium Park (millenniumparkfoundation.org) just across the way, stopping to take a selfie in front of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, a highly polished bean-shaped public sculpture that reflects the city’s skyline. Equally convenient to the hotel is the Art Institute of Chicago (artic.edu), where you can view iconic American paintings such as Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.” Whether or not you take in a baseball game at Wrigley Field (mlb.com/cubs), be sure to enjoy a Chicago red hot (that’s a hot dog with mustard, onion, relish, pickle, tomato, celery salt and sport peppers). Portillo’s (portillos.com), an Illinois chain with an outpost in the River North neighborhood, serves an exemplary dog on a poppy seed bun. An elevated version (with house-made relish and pickles) is available at Allium Restaurant + Bar (alliumchicago.com) at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.