For many of us, the almost primal urge to travel peaks when summer rolls around. Going back to our elementary school days, it is the season that has always been directly associated with freedom and vacation. Of course, the ideal trip depends on the type of traveler and the type of experience that you are seeking. Here, we've compiled a list of some of the best summer vacations out there, with a little something for everyone.
While everyone else flocks to the beach, head to Munich for a less cliche summer trip. Instead of fighting for sandy real estate, spend your time in the hub of Bavarian culture touring medieval palaces, wandering through art galleries, biking down historic streets, and lounging in beer gardens. If you find yourself growing restless, Munich is also a great jumping-off point for trips to Zurich, Prague and Vienna.
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If you thought the Caribbean was off-limits due to tropical storm threats, you'll be happy to hear that Aruba's location outside the hurricane belt makes this island a great summer spot. Home to stunning beaches, thriving cities, and rugged Arikok National Park, Aruba offers a variety of ways to fill your days. And don't forget about the nightlife: This island's buzzing bar and club scene rivals that of many a large city.
Seattle is one of America's most unique destinations, and summer is a prime time to go. The sun is out, the skies are clear, and the temperatures are comfortable. That said, hotel rates are above average, and tourists are prevalent. Still, the weather makes for a more than fair trade-off. Tip: Add a few extra days to your trip, and make a side trip to Portland or Vancouver.
9. Los Angeles
We can't advise you to visit Los Angeles just for the summer weather, as the climate is almost perfect year-round. However, in the summer months, there is a classic American feel to the city. Exploring Venice Beach on a bike, strolling around the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, or hiking through Griffith Park are fun activities that avoid L.A. traffic. Perhaps it's just the summer blockbusters streaming out of Hollywood, but the City of Angeles seems to be calling your name.
Now that the chilly winter breezes have passed, Montreal is a great choice for travelers looking for a taste of European culture without the trans-Atlantic flight. Fascinating historic sites, hundreds of shopping venues, world-class eateries, and a pulsating nightlife scene will keep you busy for at least a week. And if you find yourself growing weary of the city's fast-paced environment, seek refuge on Mont-Royal, a natural sanctuary in the heart of this urban jungle.
7. Martha's Vineyard
With average temperatures in the 70s and 80s, you'll find it hard to resist staying outside to admire the Vineyard's scenery. However, you'll be facing peak season prices and crowds during this time, so make sure to book your hotel or cottage rental as early as possible.
There really isn't a bad time to visit Fiji, but many consider the summertime to be the best season with its constant sunshine and 80-degree temps (aka perfect beach weather). July and August tend to draw huge crowds and higher prices; however, if you're able to getaway in early June, you might be lucky enough to score an over-water bungalow.
Visiting "The City of Love" in the summer certainly has its cons, primarily in the form of tourist hordes that descend on the city. But we feel that the excellent weather more than makes up for it. Additionally, Paris is a great base of operations for those doing an extended tour of Europe-particularly backpackers. Plus, beautiful beach destinations, like Cannes, are only a scenic train ride or a short flight away.
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4. San Francisco
While it has year-round appeal, San Francisco really shines in the summer, with comfortable temperatures and a fun atmosphere. Summertime crowds can make sightseeing a bit annoying, but most travelers remain satisfied by the glorious weather. Note: If you're looking for a California beach experience, you'll be better served by Southern California-Los Angeles and San Diego, in particular.
Maui has multi-colored beaches, jaw-dropping scenery, and five-star resorts. What's not to love? There are a million ways to relax here. Two favorites are being pampered at a tranquil spa or simply lying on the beach. But adventure seekers can can go whale-watching, hike through the lush Haleakala National Park, or drive the winding Road to Hana. No matter how you choose to pass the time, pause each evening to watch the Hawaiian sunset. There's nothing quite like it.
Summer turn this little Mediterranean island into Greece's party central. Drawing travelers from around the world, the bars, clubs, and beach parties here stay alive well into the wee hours of the morning. However, Mykonos also boasts a relaxing side with soft shores and ancient cultural sites that will keep you busy during the day.
When it comes to soaking up the sun in the lap of luxury, there's no better place than the French Riviera. Perched on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Nice makes for a great home base for a Riviera getaway. If you tire of Nice's museums, shops, sidewalk cafes, and pebbly beaches, Cannes, Antibes, and Monaco are just a short train ride away. Just make sure to bring your credit card; if you're going to roll with celebs in the French Riviera this summer, you're going to rack up quite a bill.
This Inca capital is worth visiting year-round, but summertime's pleasant 60-degree temperatures are ideal for adventurous excursions, such as hiking to Machu Picchu. In one afternoon, you can admire Cusco's ancient city walls, the Temple of the Sun, and the striking Catedral. With so much to do, you must remind yourself to stop and savor a cup of authentic mate de coca (the local tea). Just remember: You won't be the only one in Cusco. Plan your trip several months in advance.
Yes, Vegas is hot in the summer. Ok, it's really, really hot. But most of the appeal and action of Sin City resides indoors; casinos, clubs, and restaurants will have their AC blasting. Plus, Vegas resorts boasts an over-the-top collection of behemoth pools. And lastly, those that can handle the heat will be treated to some sweet deals on accomodations and airfare.
West Palm Beach
Neighbor to Palm Beach (the longtime harbor of American millionaires), West Palm Beach is now a premier Floridian destination in its own right. Peak season may be winter, but you can still enjoy attractions (like the Norton Museum of Art) and the sandy beaches. Partiers will be better served farther south (Miami Beach), but others will find the comfort, class, and charm of downtown West Palm sufficiently entertaining.
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