Best Places To Travel During The Summer

These places are summer vacation worthy!
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Travel is a passion. Whether you love road trips, vacations, weekend getaways with friends, a long day's hike, or sporadic adventures, there is nothing like a summer trip or vacation. Seeing new places and faces with the sun shining and the flowers blooming is traveling gold. There's nothing like it. Warm sun and good food are all you need for a good summer trip anyway, right?

There are benefits to traveling to certain places during different times of the year such as eating seasonal foods that might not be available otherwise, visiting places that might not be accessible during the winter months, and avoiding harsh temperatures depending on the country or location.

Here are some of the best places to travel to in the summer, why to travel in the summer, and what to do while you're there!

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Seattle, Washington
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If you are a coffee fanatic like me, then you know why Seattle is on this list. Just kidding! Seattle is definitely known for its coffee and coffee culture, but it's also known for the Space Needle, Pike Place (Starbuck's first location was at Pike Place Market), and beautiful landscape. Over 38 million (yup, million) tourists and visitors flock to Seattle every year to hike, explore, kayak, cliff jump, visit various gorgeous waterfalls, and do business.

After all, Seattle is also known for Amazon and Microsoft, since both headquarters are located there. With 38 million visitors each year, I would imagine there isn't really a bad time to visit Seattle, and that might be true. However, there is definitely a "best time" to visit Seattle, and that is summer, of course!

Why summer?

Seattle, Washington
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There are several reasons visiting Seattle in the summer is ideal, but the biggest one is less rain. While I love the rain, I also need a few rain-free days after days and days of rain. Since Seattle is also known for rainy days, specifically about 152 rainy days each year, those who wish to avoid the rain should travel in the summer. Days are also longer, so you can squeeze in all the activities you want to do before leaving! Of course, there are some activities just meant for summertime.

Here are some activities that make summer in Seattle the best:

  • Whale watching
  • Hiking
  • Boating on Lake Washington
  • Take a Ferry
  • Visit Pike Place Market
  • Fishing
  • Visit Alki Beach
Stockholm, Sweden
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Sweden is often known for its iconic Swedish businesses like Ikea and Spotify. In fact, Swedish and Scandinavian design has been trending for years due to its simplicity, use of natural materials, and clean design. It's also known for the many famous Swedish actors and actresses such as Alicia Vikander, the Skarsgård family (what a talented bunch), Joel Kinnaman, and even Ingrid Bergman, many of whom got their start in Stockholm.

Stockholm is a beautiful city with a contrast of the old world and the new, amazing regional foods like kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns), and varied and exciting architecture. Stockholm also has a rich culture and lifestyle that encourages focusing on what matters (Fika) and respecting others (Jantelagen). So, you're sure to feel welcome and enjoy your time there.

Fika is a coffee break with pastries and your closest friends that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. It's so much more than just a standard coffee break and is meant to be a leisurely way to enjoy the company of others. Fika is not something you standardly do alone. Jantelagen (Law of Jante) is a standard to live by in Sweden meaning, "you are not better than anyone else." What a lovely saying!

Why summer?

Stockholm, Sweden
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With rich culture, egalitarian ideals, and delicious food and coffee, there's no doubt that traveling to Stockholm any time of the year would be lovely. However, summertime comes in Stockholm with its own benefits. Midsummer. Swedish Midsummer is one of the most celebrated and exciting holidays in Sweden. Every June, Swedes drop what they are doing to celebrate the summer solstice and have some fun. There is a maypole like pictures, festivals, various treats and drinks, music, dancing, and a sense of community and culture. Plus, I've always wanted to wear one of those flower crowns. If you aren't from Sweden and want to visit, June might be a good time to have some fun and experience a unique celebration.

Juneau, Alaska
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Alaska is a huge destination spot, even if some prefer warm weather over cold. With the beautiful landscape, wildlife, cruises, wild-caught salmon, whale watching, and various outdoor activities, there's no wonder almost three million people visit Alaska each year. It's a unique, special place, where visitors can see the colorful northern lights, go for the hike of a lifetime, and reset in a place where they can get more in touch with nature and their surroundings.

While Alaska's landscape is typically the first thing one might think of when thinking about Juneau, glaciers and snowy mountains aren't all it has to offer. In the summertime, Alaska transforms into a lush, wildflower-covered, place akin to one's wildest dreams.

Why summer?

Juneau, Alaska
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I think this one is obvious. Alaska is a cold place. Usually, people like to visit places that are warm and sunny, but let's not underestimate a trip to Alaska. There is so much to do in Alaska, and if you are leery of the cold, summertime is the perfect time to take the leap and see what Alaska has to offer. Temperatures range between 60°F and 80°F during the day in Alaska, dropping to 40°F and 50°F most nights. So, it's really not all that cold in the grand scheme of things. There are also some activities that are ideal to do in the summertime in Alaska.

Here are some activities that make summer in Juneau the best:

  • Bear watching
  • Visit Glacier Bay National Park
  • Go rafting or kayaking
  • Go for a garden walk at Glacier Gardens
  • Hiking
  • Bird watching
  • Go for a cruise
Yellowstone National Park- Wyoming
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When most people think of Yellowstone National Park, they think of Wyoming, but Yellowstone is so much bigger than that. In fact, parts of Yellowstone are also in Montana and Idaho, covering roughly 3,500 square miles of land. Yellowstone is most well-known for its geysers, canyons, diverse wildlife, and location (being on top of a dormant volcano).

There is so much exploring to do in this nature-packed oasis and a variety of different landscapes throughout the entirety of the park. Exploring forests, geysers, hot springs, rivers, and canyons all in one park and one trip is what makes Yellowstone National Park the natural wonder that it is considered. However, there are some activities and locations within the park that are best visited in the summertime.

Why summer?

Yellowstone National Park
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Yellowstone's services and access to certain locations are limited in the winter, and some of their features are extremely seasonal. For example, if you are going for bird watching, June is primetime for songbirds. It's also the best time to see chorus frogs. Who doesn't want to see and hear the chorus frogs? Nature is constantly changing, and each season has new features to offer. So, consider summertime in Yellowstone.

Here are some activities that make summer in Yellowstone the best:

  • Ziplining
  • Wildlife watching
  • Bird watching
  • Boating
  • Fishing (lakes, rivers, and streams)
  • Horse riding
  • Ranger-led programs
  • Waterfall
Big Bear Lake, California
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You had to know California would make this list at least once since it has so much to offer in terms of traveling. Big Bear Lake is most commonly known for Big Bear Ski Resort. The resort is a huge tourist attraction, local travelers and otherwise, because of the skiing and snowboarding offered (both for experienced skiers, snowboarders, and beginners) and the wonderful landscape. The city itself is also well-known for having delicious restaurants and plenty of small, cute shops to explore.

Because it's close enough to Las Vegas, Pheonix, and many major cities in California, Big Bear Lake is an ideal spot for a weekend vacation, short road trip, or a staycation if you are local. There's a good juxtaposition between the city of Big Bear Lake and the outdoorsy activities at the resort. So, go fishing and wilderness watching by day, have an amazing dinner at a restaurant by night.

Why summer?

Big Bear Lake, California
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Seeing all the San Bernardino National Forest has to offer is definitely ideal in the summertime. While skiing and snowboarding tend to be the go-to at Big Bear Ski Resort, there is so much to be seen and done in the summer. The wildlife is plentiful, the foliage is lush, and the water is flowing.

Here are some activities that make summer in Big Bear the best:

  • Fishing
  • Wildlife watching
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Bird watching
  • Take a segway tour
  • Go boating
Prince Edward Island, Canada
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Prince Edward Island is a place close to my heart. It's known for being the beloved setting in Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, one of my favorite childhood books. It's also known for its incredible, fresh-caught fish and seafood, beaches out of a storybook (literally), architecture (mainly victorian), and picturesque lighthouses.

The entire little island is picturesque at 139 miles long and 40 miles wide, a lot of beauty packed into a tiny package. In the winter, the temps range from 26 to 11 °F, which is pretty harsh, so summertime is an ideal time to visit Prince Edward Island and see all it has to offer.

Why summer?

Prince Edward Island, Canada
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Almost two million people visit Prince Edward Island each year, but most of them are visiting in the summertime to stroll through the sandy beaches and eat all the seafood they can get. Who can blame them? For travelers looking for a mellow vacation to unwind and experience beautiful cuisine, and scenery, summertime in PEI is the way to go.

Here are some activities that make summer in Prince Edward Island the best:

  • Experience the local charm
  • Lounge at the beach
  • Go fishing
  • Eat fresh-caught fish
  • Go for a carriage ride and to the Anne of Green Gables Museum
  • Go to Prince Edward Island National Park
  • Go geocaching on the Confederation Trail
Grand Canyon National Park- Arizona
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Arizona is known for its desert landscape, extremely hot temperatures, and The Grand Canyon, of course. The Grand Canyon is known for being... well, grand! With layer upon layer of red rock, a max depth of 6,000 feet, astounding viewpoints, and unbelievable hiking, it's a must-see tourist attraction. In fact, it attracts roughly six million eager visitors each year, all of whom leave feeling much smaller than they did before visiting, or so I would imagine.

Why summer?

Grand Canyon National Park- Northwestern Arizona
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Arizona may be hot in the summer (I recently watched a video of someone cooking a steak in their driveway in a cast iron pan), but there is nothing like a hike on the Rim Trail, cooling off in the pool under the Havasu Falls, camping on the Rims, or taking a guided tour in the summertime. The days are longer, the sun is brighter for taking all those priceless photos, and the weather is often unpredictable, making for interesting effects in the canyon and photos to capture it all.

The West Fjords- Iceland
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Iceland is known for its freezing temperatures, waterfalls, cliffs, and, of course, the Northern Lights. “The Land of Fire and Ice," as it's commonly called, is an interesting place with rich culture, big glaciers (really big glaciers), mountains, and active volcanoes (yes, active)! The landscape is varied and unique from any other place on earth. That explains why over two million travelers visit Iceland every year.

The West Fjords in Northwestern Iceland are known for their stunning beauty, vast wilderness, and breathtaking wildlife and views. The West Fjords are a great example of remote wilderness, with fjords, mountains, and coastlines all in one place. The only problem, It's very cold in Iceland. This is why most visitors go to Iceland in the summertime, to avoid extremely cold, hard temperatures, and to be able to explore the fjords safely.

Why summer?

The West Fjords- Northwestern Iceland
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Summertime in Iceland is the best time to see wildlife and explore Icelandic waterfalls. It's also the best time to avoid freezing since extremely cold temperatures are not for everyone and take some getting used to. For travelers that dream of going to Iceland and exploring The West Fjords, try it out in summer so you can make the most of the following activities.

Here are some activities that make summer in The West Fjords the best:

  • Wildlife watching
  • Go sailing
  • Bird watching (Puffin watching)
  • Explore the Dynjandi waterfalls
  • Hike in Hornstrandir
  • Go fishing
Crater Lake National Park- Southern Oregon
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Southern Oregon, being so close to California and vineyard plentiful, is often known for its wine. Oregon is also known for its amazing breweries, hiking, landscape, foliage, climbing, and waterfalls. 29 million people visited Oregon in 2018 alone, given the recent pandemic tourism has dropped, but as hope rises and the pandemic begins to recede into the background, tourists will no doubt be visiting Oregon.

Crater Lake is known for being the deepest lake in the United States. Yes, the deepest of all states in the country. It's also on top of a dormant volcano, has incredibly blue water, and gorgeous views. Of course, to be unburdened by snow and cold or extreme temperatures, summertime is the best time to visit this unique lake, in southern Oregon.

Why summer?

Crater Lake National Park- Southern Oregon
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You may miss out on skiing, snowboarding, and sledding if you go to Crater Lake National Park in the summertime, but there are some activities that a bit of sunshine and a summer breeze takes to a whole new level. Check out these seasonal activities in Crater Lake National Park!

Here are some activities that make summer in Crater Lake National Park the best:

  • Sockeye salmon fishing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Boating
  • Bird watching
  • Driving down Rim Drive
Banff National Park- Alberta, Canada
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Alberta, Canada is known for its cattle-farming and picturesque views. It's also Canada's largest deposit for natural gas and oil. So, it doesn't sound glamourous in terms of tourism or traveling, but, on average, over 34 million people visit Alberta each year. So, let's not underestimate this humble province, because the views, friendly locals, and family-friendly vacationing are beyond worth the trip.

The first time I saw a picture of the lakes in Banff National Park, I thought it was a painting. The sky blue color of the lakes is like a dream, but it's totally real. It's also a big part of the draw to visiting Banff National Park and Alberta in general, along with the endless amount of outdoor activities to do in the park and the snowy, Canadian mountains. Because of Canada's cold temperatures, summer is absolutely the time to go enjoy all Alberta has to offer.

Why summer?

Banff National Park- Alberta, Canada
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June and August are often known as the best months to visit Banff National Park, though a fall trip to Alberta is lovely too. Visiting in June or August is ideal because of the temperatures, wildlife, water sports, hiking, and camping. It's the best time of year to enjoy kayaking, canoeing, boating, swimming, hiking, or taking a gondola down the very blue Lake Louise. It's also the ideal time to go golfing because golfing with views like these is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Rome, Italy
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Rome is most known for its architecture, both historical and otherwise, delicious Italian food, vibrant culture, and interesting history. Roman history is a big pull for tourists each year, who flock to see the Pantheon, the Arch of Constantine, the Colosseum, the Temple of Bacchus, and so much more. The amount of gorgeous and historical architecture brings approximately nine million tourists each year (internationally).

Rome is also the place to go for travelers who love food, specifically Italian food. Tasting all those local, seasonal, Italian dishes and drinks like espresso, are often high on many tourist's bucket lists. However, there is nothing like gelato in Rome in the summertime, or so I could imagine.

Why summer?

Rome, Italy
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Summertime in Rome is warm, very warm, but it's a great time to visit museums, enjoy seasonal, Italian foods, and spend time on the beach. Of course, avoiding the hottest part of the summer is probably the best bet, because temperatures can reach all-time highs in the summer.

Here are some activities that make summer in Rome the best:

  • Visit the Basilica di Santa Maria
  • Visit the Colosseum
  • Try grattachecca
  • Visit the Piazza Navona
  • Go biking
  • Eat seasonal, Italian foods
  • Eat gelato
  • Visit Santa Marinella beach
Chicago, Illinois
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Chicago is known for being the windy city, with its Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hotdogs, beautiful skyline, baseball, and the Navy Pier. There are many museums to explore, paintings and architecture to see, and world-class restaurants with unforgettable cuisine. In 2016, Chicago counted a whopping 54.1 million visitors.

Chicago is also known for being a huge city with hundreds of unique areas to live and shop and explore. Visiting Chicago is different each time. There is so much to explore, see, try, and taste, that there is always something new to do at any given time. The only downside to Chicago is the wind in the colder months, it can be a shock to visitors who aren't used to it. That's why visiting in the summertime is key.

Why summer?

Chicago, Illinois
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Chicago in the winter is tough. It really is the windy city, and the cool winds that come off of Lake Michigan are anything but tame. Summertime in Chicago is the best, I would know, I've lived in Illinois for years, and explored Chicago in the summer several times. Trust me.

Here are some activities that make summer in Chicago the best:

  • Spend a day on Navy Pier
  • Go to events at Millennium Park
  • Take the Chicago Water Taxi
  • Try the Chicago Riverwalk
  • Have dinner or drinks on a rooftop restaurant or bar
  • Bike on the 606
  • Go Shopping on the Magnificent Mile
  • Go to the Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Eat Chicago-style pizza
Napa Valley- Napa County, California
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Napa Valley is known for being one of the biggest and best wine-producing regions, not just in the United States, but in the world. In fact, it's often referred to as Wine Country, has over 45 thousand acres of vineyards, and is specifically renowned for Cabernet Sauvignon. Typically, travelers tour the beautiful vineyards, do wine tastings, and experience wine country first-hand.

However, there is so much more to do in Nappa Valley. Napa Valley is also known for its more luxurious offerings like spas, resorts, romantic restaurants, retreats, and amazing places to stay. The hotels, bed and breakfasts, and Airbnbs offered in Napa are like no other. While you can go to Nappa Valley for a trip any time of the year, I recommend summertime in Nappa.

Why summer?

Napa Valley- Napa County, California
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Nappa Valley in the summertime is a given in terms of an idyllic weekend trip or vacation. The days are longer, so you can fit in all the daytime activities in Nappa that you've been dreaming about. The vineyards are in their prime, as beautiful and bountiful as ever. Plus, the seasonal foods in summer are enough to take a weekend trip for.

  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Go wine tasting
  • Go to a festival (often in summer)
  • Have a spa day
  • Go to a farmer's market
  • Go to a Nappa restaurant
  • Tour vineyards
  • Go biking
Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine
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When travelers think of Maine, they often think of lobster, fishing, coastal towns, blueberries, and lighthouses. These are just a few of the many wonderful things Maine is known for. With plentiful seafood for eating, an enjoyable New England atmosphere, and gorgeous views. Maine is beloved by its visitors, attracting more than 37 million on average each year and offering every type of traveler something to enjoy.

Main is also known for Acadia National Park on Maine's Mount Desert Island, which is actually one of the most frequented national parks in the United States. Being in Bar Harbor, there is shopping and good food, within driving distance of the park. So, tourists get the best of both worlds. While visiting any time of year is no doubt a joy, summertime is particularly pleasant due to enjoyable weather, fun outdoor activities, and accessible trails.

Why summer?

Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine
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Summertime in Main has some major perks, and while all other seasons in Bar Harbor are undoubtedly beautiful, it doesn't get much better than exploring Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park with the warm sun shining down, having full access to all the trails, and having some fresh lobster mid-summer.

Here are some activities that make summer in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor the best:

  • Hike the Beehive Trail
  • Go camping
  • Hike Cadillac Mountain
  • Visit Sand Beach
  • Eat fresh seafood in Bar Harbor
  • Visit a lighthouse
  • Drive on the park loop road
  • Go shopping in Bar Harbor
Dubrovnik, Croatia
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Croatia has long been considered one of the most beautiful places in the world with amazing Croatian cuisine based on local and seasonally available foods. Over 19 million people visit Croatia each year, to see the crystal clear water, try authentic Croatian food, swim, and relax. Dubrovnik, Croatia is specifically known for its location, which is pretty unbeatable, as can be seen from the pictures.

This seafront location provides wondrous views, is associated with a rich culture and cultural background, and is associated with creativity and artistic expression with several amazing galleries and an active art scene. Visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia has always been considered a summertime must, because this is the best season to take advantage of the water and water-based activities.

Why summer?

Dubrovnik, Croatia
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Visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia in the summer means boating, swimming, and hot sunshine. It also means incredible fish dishes, lively festivals, and making the most of what Croatia has to offer at the most optimal time possible.

Here are some activities that make summer in Dubrovnik the best:

  • Take a cable car
  • Try black risotto
  • Explore Placa
  • Visit Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls
  • Go snorkeling
  • Go kayaking
  • Take a tour
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