If you’re not a fan of hot weather, you’re probably dreading the summer season, but there’s a way to turn that dread into excited anticipation. There are multiple fantastic destinations where you can escape the heat and enjoy an incredible travel experience. From the cool Midnight sun in Iceland to Newfoundland’s legendary glaciers and destinations in the Southern Hemisphere where you can enjoy winter in the summer, these are some of the top places to beat the heat this summer.
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Iceland (Hotel Prices & Photos)
While warm summer days can reach the mid-70s, you certainly won’t have to suffer through the heat in Iceland. Enjoy the practically endless highlights in pleasant temps, including marveling at Strokkur Geyser, being mesmerized by breathtaking waterfalls and their often rainbow-filled mists, strolling jet black sand beaches and cruising among a maze of floating icebergs. As it won’t be too hot, soaking in the warm healing waters of the Blue Lagoon is an amazing experience too. Whale watching, riding an Icelandic horse, and walking across a glacier are just a few of the other incredible delights this country has to offer.
Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, is one of the best places in the world for iceberg viewing, typically in May and June, though the season often stretches through August. Plan to dress in layers for the weather that can range from downright chilly temps and rain to sunshine and pleasant 60-degree temperatures. You’ll find plenty of other things to do too, including some of the world’s best whale watching, with humpbacks arriving around mid-June to feast on capelin fish, hiking, kayaking, dining on fresh seafood and enjoying live traditional tunes in the pubs.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Vancouver Island, B.C. is part of one of just seven temperate rainforest ecosystems on Earth, with summer temperatures typically ranging in the high 60s to low 70s. Perfect for outdoor adventures, the island is not only home to some of the most scenic landscapes in the world, from the open sea and calm inland waters to soaring mountains and rain forest, you’ll also have the chance to take part in everything from hiking, biking and wildlife watching to sailing, surfing and kayaking. If you want to see orcas in the wild, this is one of the best places for close encounters with the majestic animals, with some 250 inhabiting the area, particularly up north near Telegraph Cove.
Isle of Skye, Scotland (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Isle of Skye is an absolutely mesmerizing destination that stays cool all summer long. A fantasy-like landscape, it features towering, emerald mountains with unique rock formations, dramatic sea cliffs that touch down to seashell-strewn stretches of sand, and countless waterfalls, some of which plummet into the turquoise waters of the Atlantic. Hike the Quaraing, a surreal area of pinnacles, crags and bluffs to get up close to the star attraction, “Storr,” a jagged ridge with a labyrinth of craggy pinnacles and spires, the largest of which is called the “Old Man.” The “Fairy Pools,” a series of clear, azure-hued pools and waterfalls located at the foot of the Black Cuillins, are a must-visit, ideal for a picnic along the banks, or even a quick refreshing dip.
Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Kenai Fjords National Park is a magnificent parkland near the town of Seaward that hosts the Harding Icefield, a 714-square-mile stretch of ice that’s up to a mile thick in some places and feeds nearly three dozen glaciers flowing out of the surrounding mountains. It presents a rare opportunity for an up-close view of the blue tidewater glaciers along with a wealth of marine life. Take the stunningly scenic but challenging trail from Exit Glacier to Harding Icefield which runs along the glacier and provides dramatic vistas that include the vast seracs and deep glacier crevasses.
Svalbard Islands, Norway (Hotel Prices & Photos)
One of the last great untouched wilderness areas in all Europe, this fantastic archipelago that lies between the Norwegian Sea, the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea and Greenland Sea is home to more polar bears than people. An extreme, magical place with craggy mountains and pristine glaciers, it’s one of the northernmost permanently inhabited places on the planet, though less than 3,000 people call it home. You’ll not only have the chance to spot polar bears, but walrus, reindeer and polar foxes. In the capital of Longyearbyen, restaurants and cafes often feature dishes based on local ingredients like arctic char, grouse, reindeer and seal.
New Zealand (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Summer in the U.S. is, of course, winter in New Zealand, offering an ideal way to cool off while enjoying snow-covered scenery and legendary slopes. While the South Island boasts the most ski resorts, the North Island is home to the country’s only skiable volcano, Mt Ruapehu. Look forward to soaking in natural hot springs that can be found throughout New Zealand, like Tekapo Springs that provides incredible views of Lake Tekapo and the snowy Southern Alps. June and July is also the best time to go whale watching, with the opportunity to spot a humpback, blue or southern right whale at Kaikoura. In fact, they’re often seen closer to shore in winter than at any other time.
Denmark (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Even in the peak of summer, temperatures average just 63 degrees in Copenhagen. Tivoli Gardens offers a lovely summer refuge, frequently hosting concerts on its open-air stage that’s adjacent to a rose-filled garden. Explore the Danish Riviera, just north of the city and discover unspoiled beaches along with a fun holiday atmosphere, museums and castles. The island of Funen near Copenhagen, was the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and boasts colorful public gardens, castles and manor houses, while Aarhus, situated along the coast next to fjords, forests and Viking rune stones, features an Old Town that displays traditional Danish architecture from the 16th to 19th century.
Acadia National Park (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Acadia National Park in Maine offers comfortable summers, with highs in the upper 70s, deal for enjoying the great outdoors. Hike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain for awe-inspiring views of this stunning national treasure that’s an impressive meeting of mountains and sea. You can see all of the state’s quintessential features right here, from serene ponds and dense forests to dramatic mountains and a rocky coastline. Wildlife is abundant too, with moose, fox, peregrine falcon, herons, seals and whales all inhabiting the area.