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For many people around the world, summer is synonymous with travel and vacation; however, some destinations are better suited for summertime travel than others. Many popular destinations are overrun by crowds, unbearable in the heat, and cost considerably over budget during the summer months. Fortunately, there are still lots of amazing summer getaways to choose from when you have a little extra time off work or school. Whether you’re looking for the perfect family vacation spot, a destination without the crowds, or an authentic place to experience local festivals, now is the time to start planning for summer. In no particular order, these are some of the best summer vacation destinations.
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The Northeastern U.S. is well known for its fall foliage, so many travelers put off their journeys to coastal Maine until the autumn season. However, summer is also an amazing time to visit this beautiful area. Did you know that Maine has more coastline than California (3,478 miles)? Visit in June to beat the largest summer tourist rush and enjoy temperatures that are generally in the low-70s. The flowers are in bloom, the days are long, and the prices are still pretty reasonable. The best way to experience coastal Maine is by driving along Route 1 and stopping to see lighthouses and sample fresh lobster along the way. Don’t miss Acadia National Park, Portland, Ogunquit, and Kennebunk.
While you’re in this region of the United States, why not travel a little further north to explore Canada’s easternmost province, Newfoundland and Labrador? Summer is a great time to visit Newfoundland because the temperatures are pleasant and whale sightings are most common between mid-June and late-August. This is also a great place for birdwatching and attending music and cultural festivals throughout the summer. If you plan your visit early enough in the season, you may get to see 10,000-year-old icebergs on a boat or kayak trip!
Prague is seen as a popular and affordable destination in Western Bohemia. However, Pilsen is another great Czech Republic to visit as well. Pilsen is a little more off-the-beaten track than Prague, and it’s well known for its beer production. Summer is a great time to visit the Czech Republic because winters are bitterly cold. Some sites to see in Pilsen include the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, the Brewery Museum, and one of the city’s theater, music or art festivals taking place in the summer months.
Tokyo and Osaka are the obvious choices when traveling to Japan, but another area worth visiting in the summer is Koyasan. Koyasan about two hours south of Osaka by train and is a great place to learn about Buddhist beliefs, traditions, and culture, and find a sense of enlightenment to call your own. The Aoba Festival is scheduled for mid-June with drums and float processions, and the candle festival, Mandokuyo-e, is set for mid-August. For an authentic Japanese experience, stay at one of Koyasan’s temples that offer accommodations to guests.
When the summer temperatures heat up in the Caribbean, flight and hotel prices begin to drop. One particular Caribbean destination that becomes more budget-friendly in the summer is St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While it may be the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, its unspoiled beauty is among the best you’ll find in the Caribbean. This is a great place for nature enthusiasts, since 60 percent of the island’s land is part of a national park. Barbados is another great Caribbean destination to consider for lower summer rates.
Another great island region to visit in the summer is the Maldives, a collection of islands located off the coast of India in the Indian Ocean. A trip to the Maldives is usually a bit pricey, but airfare and resort prices drop during the rainy summer season. If you can put up with a little precipitation, you can dive and snorkel with whale sharks, sea turtles, and tropical fish at discount rates. Some recommended places to stay include the Coco Bodu Hithi and Arena Lodge. Just keep in mind that you should cover up and avoid alcohol on public beaches in this Muslim country, but the rules are often more relaxed inside guesthouses and resorts. This is a great place to find luxury, paradise, and seclusion.
Keep in mind that summers in Istanbul are hot and humid, but it’s also when a lot of the festivals take place. Unless you have a particular festival in mind, plan to visit in early summer or late summer for the most comfortable weather. Sights to not be missed include Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hagia Sophia, and fresh seafood restaurants scattered around the city.
A trip to Paris is on many travelers’ bucket lists and summer is a great time to plan a trip to France. The best times to visit Paris are during June and September, rather than July and August. In June, the days are long and sunny, and in September, there are lots of arts and cultural events planned. There are lots of new things to see and do in Paris even if you’ve visited in the past. There are beautiful buildings to check out if you love architecture, the Picasso Museum, and hot hotels.
Colombia is one of the most talked-about places to visit because security has improved in recent years, hotel prices are reasonable, and the country is eager to show visitors the best it has to offer. Summer is a great time to visit Medellin because the flowers are in bloom and the festivals are in full swing. The Feria de las Flores is a 10-day flower festival that takes place in early August and celebrates local culture too. Make sure to visit the Museo de Antioquia, the Plaza de los Pies Descalzos, and the Parque Explora during your stay. Other top things to do in Colombia include the Gold Museum in Bogota, Pablo Escobar tours, and Colombia’s Coffee Triangle in rural Paisa.