A few people have been reaching out to me, asking for advice on where they should plan their next summer getaway. I mean, summer is the best time to vacation, right? Warm weather, school aged kids are out on break and it seems to be the time when work is the least hectic.
Though, for myself, I prefer to do my travel during off-peak season, less crowds and cheaper fares, I understand the desire and the necessity to travel in the summer. Like, being a teacher or professor with summers off, being a parent to school aged children, being in a line of work that restricts or limits other vacation time or other reasons, so, I wanted to compile a list of the best locations to visit this summer.
For those who want to stay “local” and find the best locations in the US, this list is for you:
From locations ranging from Boston, Ma; Newport, Rhode Island; Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, you’ll have your pick of sandy beaches, delectable seafood and cutesy, picturesque, old-timey towns. You could either make a road trip out of the occasion and drive up through the various cities listed above or choose one and explore the area for a few days. If I had to pick just one, I’d choose Rhode Island, in my opinion the best beaches and plenty of beach houses and/or Airbnb’s to pick from. If you opt for Boston, check out my post on how to make the most out of a quick visit up north in Beantown, HERE.
In any of the locations you’ll have your pick of activities, from sports games, beaches, museums, food tours, beer tasting, hiking and just taking in the hustle and bustle of the U.S.’s first cities.
Lake Tahoe, Utah
I’m told, to truly experience the beauty of Lake Tahoe, one must see Emerald Bay State Park. For anyone looking for a beach, which in the summer, I think we all are, there’s Kings Beach State Recreation area, one of the largest in the area. Room for swimming, boating or even having a picnic, if that’s your thing. There are also tons of sightseeing tours, from the Lake Tahoe Cruises, Lake Tahoe Balloon tours or a ride on the Wild West Train tour. Similar to New England, you’ll have beautiful views as you trek along any of the scenic hikes throughout the area.
Bonus for my wine lovers, Napa isn’t the only place to head to for wine tasting, head to El Dorado Wine Country for a tour of their vineyard and taste of their grapes.
This one is for my nature loving travelers. The largest city in the state of Oregon, there is so much to choose from, voted as the 8th most popular city in America. You could first explore any of the 410 acres of land that is Washington Park, from the zoo, children’s museum, Japanese Gardens and the arboretum, or simply have a picnic or explore the forest. Plan a visit to the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China, the Lan Su Garden. Visit Portland’s Living Room, formally known as Pioneer Courthouse Square. And lastly, challenge yourself to any of Portland’s 7 most iconic hikes: Tyson Creek State Park, Powell Butte, Council Crest, Forest Park, Washington Park, Mount Tabor or, Pittock Mansion Hike.
High on my must-visit places, I definitely want to check out Seattle. A city nestled in the Pacific Northwest, you’re surrounded by water, mountains, evergreen forests and thousands of acres of parkland. The largest city in the state of Washington, there will be plenty to do to occupy your time. From the infamous Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden to the SAM, Seattle Art Museum. When planning your visit, you’ll want to be sure to make a stop at the historical Pike Place Market, filled with specialty crafts, fresh produce and, fish markets. If you’re into planes, you’ll have to check out the largest independent air and space museum in the world, located right here in Seattle, Museum of Flight.
For the best food in Seattle, check out Bacco Café, The Pink Door, Chan or Pizzeria Credo.
I left off some of the more popular US destinations such as D.C., NYC, Miami/Orlando, Florida, LA, Houston/Dallas, Texas and New Orleans. I love all of these locations and any of them would make a great location, but they will either be crawling with tourists or almost too hot/humid to enjoy this time of year. Besides, don’t you want to take the path less traveled? * However, if you have not had the chance to explore any of the cities listed out above, I would definitely suggest a visit as all are wonderful cities with lots of history and even more good things to eat.*
For those wanting to “take a dip across the pound” and voyage outside of the US, there are several International destinations that would serve as perfect summer getaways.
South America- Peru, Brazil, Colombia
South America seems to host some of the new “it” destinations outside of Nairobi, Kenya. From places like Cartagena, Colombia, Lima, Peru or Rio de Janerio, Brazil, more and more travelers are starting to head down south.
Each country in South America has it’s own culture and personality, filled with history, good eats, specialty drinks and resilient people.
Not a part of the Caribbean, this island tends to be less visited by US travelers. Maybe the rumors of the Bermuda triangle have people scared? Fret not, though this island is more expensive than some others you may be used to, it is beautiful and totally worth it. From the historic city of St. Georges, the most photographed beach in Bermuda, Horseshoe Bay or the Crystal & Fantasy Caves, the Bermudians will show you why they hold their precious island in higher regards than their not-so-close neighbors.
Africa (Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Morocco and Cabo Verde)
Yes, I listed the whole continent because there are so many countries to choose from. From the pyramids in Egypt, the safaris in South Africa, the history in Ghana or the jollof in Nigeria. You simply can not go wrong. It is expensive to get to Africa, any of the countries, but well worth it and very affordable once at your destination country.
Only having been to Egypt, South Africa and Swaziland so far, I plan to make visits to Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Morocco and Cabo Verde very soon. As these are the countries that are high on my list, these will be my top suggestions. I suggest the whole continent of Africa as there is so much rich history and culture and Western media tends to ignore this and vilify this beautiful land, there is literally any activity, almost any climate and various cultures to choose from. Quite literary, I could take up this whole post listing out all of my suggestions for all of the countries and all of their to-do’s.
Whether you want to hit Tulum, turn-up in Cancun, relax in Cabo San Lucas or catch city-vibes in Mexico City, Mexico is the place to be. From authentic Mexican food to the best tequila, it’s a foodie’s dream. And as a bonus, explore one of the New Seven World Wonders, pyramid and Mayan Ruin, Chichén Itzá, in Yucatan, Mexico.
Notice, I haven’t listed many European destinations as it is more expensive to get to Europe in the summer compared to off-peak season, the spring/fall. The weather tends to be cooler in certain European countries in the fall as their seasons pretty much align with that of the US. If you are itching to get to Europe and enjoy the warm weather, definitely do so, but if you can wait, take advantage of US Holidays and extended breaks of September and later to get over there. I also did not list Caribbean destinations, but there are great islands to visit there that I would encourage you to check out: Grenada, St. Lucia, Guadalupe, St. Kitts, Antigua, Grand Cayman, St. Croix,
Happy planning! And my tip for finding the best deals? Plug your dates, destinations and departure city into apps like Hopper or sites like Momondo.com to snag the best deals, lastly be flexible!