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Planning a summer vacation is exciting, but the options are endless, so it is important to apply certain criteria to your search. Some summer holiday destinations are seasonal, and they will attract the most tourists in June, July, and August, but these are also when all the attractions are open in these destinations.
In places like Whistler, Canada, which has many mountains, or a destination like Iceland, which has a brutal winter season, summer is the perfect time to visit because roads and trails will be open for you to fully experience what these places have to offer. Our best summer destinations are based on a variety of factors, including the best weather and timing for attractions. Plan your next vacation with our list of the top 10 best places to visit in summer.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
A is one of the best times the to visit the Grand Canyon. While it’s the most crowded time at the Grand Canyon, there are so many ways to experience it during the high season. The casual tourist can ride tour shuttles around the park, take brief hikes on the rim trails, or just relax by the Grand Canyon Village.
Fit visitors can tackle a section of Bright Angel Trail to experience hiking into the canyon. Extreme outdoor adventurers can spend a summer trip to the Grand Canyon tackling the hike of a lifetime, going down into the canyon from the North Rim, spending the night at Phantom Ranch, then hiking up to the South Rim the next day.
You can also take the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon, which is a nice way to see the landscape. During the crowded summer season, you will want to book far in advance for lodging and transportation.
Since many of the best attractions in Rome are outdoors, a visit in the summer puts you in the city at a prime time. Tours to famous ancient sites like the Colosseum and the Pantheon are plentiful, but you will still want to book tickets ahead of time. Rome is an easy city to see on your own, so pleasant summer weather makes it a fun place to explore on foot to experience new food or toss a coin into Trevi Fountain.
Plan the outside attractions first and save the museum visits in case there is a day of inclement weather. The summer season in Rome is popular for tourists, so plan extra time in the itinerary to accommodate lines during sightseeing, and book hotels at least six to eight months in advance.
The mountains of Whistler, Canada are ideal for a winter ski vacation, but the summertime means more moderate temperatures and other types of outdoor experiences like hiking in the mountains and wildlife tours. Skiers can still hit Blackcomb Mountain even in the summer months, without the heavy winter gear.
During the summer, Whistler opens up water sports at Lost Lake Park. The 525-acre park has hiking trails, and kayaks or paddleboards available for rent.
Nature parks like Brandywine Falls Provincial Park or the Valley Trail that you can get to from Whistler Village are ideal for hiking during the warmer months.
For a taste of Winter Olympics, you can hit the bobsled tracks at the Whistler Sliding Centre, where you can sled down a 4,757-foot curvy track at 78 miles per hour for about half the cost of doing it during the winter months.
San Diego, California
San Diego is one of those blessed cities that has beautifully consistent weather all year long and is always bustling with activity, but the summer is an especially fun time to visit this California city. With 70 miles of coastline, a beach is never far away. Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and Coronado Beach are three of the top beaches to visit.
Summer in San Diego also means festivals and music in the city, so it is a vibrant time to visit, with something always happening in the local neighborhoods. There are also major attractions like Balboa Park, which has museums, gardens, bike trails, 1,200-acres of cultural experiences, restaurants, and the famous San Diego Zoo. Summer in the city is popular, so plan on higher rates at hotels.
Nova Scotia, Canada
Travel to Canada in the summer is always nice but it is an especially lovely time to travel to Nova Scotia. The peninsula is an outdoor lover’s haven, with water activities like kayaking, rafting, and whale watching. Summer hiking gives you full access to trails at Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail on the Bay of Fundy, and other trails with a seascape backdrop.
Flights to Nova Scotia pick up in June, so getting to the province is easier in the summertime. There are many festivals during June, July, and August, and these are ideal months to see the true culture of the region, with music and local events that celebrate Nova Scotia’s heritage.
The islands of the Maldives are best experienced in the summertime when they have dry weather. There are nearly 1,200 islands along the Maldives archipelago, so there are many options for a tropical summer vacation. The draw of the islands are the deep blue seas, water sports, beautiful coral reefs, and tropical beaches.
The summer weather, with warm and dry conditions, enables you to spend the most time out exploring the islands and the Indian Ocean waters. The islands are surrounded by reefs, so the pleasant weather days make it nice to spend time in the water to see some of the spectacular reefs and aquatic life.
Families looking for an ultimate summer getaway can find what they’re looking for at Kurumba, Maldives, an all-inclusive luxury family resort.
Summertime in Zermatt, Switzerland is flush with color. It is when the snowcapped mountains are accented with lush, green meadows and a mesmerizing blue color in the lakes. Zermatt sits at the base of the Matterhorn peak.
The summer temperatures and climate enable mountain adventures beyond just skiing. Visiting during June, July, and August allows for other outdoor recreation, from hiking and mountain biking to kayaking and swimming. There are many tour companies in Zermatt that focus on various adventures, so even beginners can feel comfortable hiking in the Swiss mountains.
Warmer temperatures and not having to worry about brutal winter weather are two of the biggest reasons to visit Iceland in the summer. The winter months are great for attempting to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis since there are long, dark, cold nights but many roads are closed because of inaccessibility, and many attractions close as well.
The summer months have drier conditions making it easy to access hiking trails throughout the island. There are small festivals in Iceland during summer, and it is the best time for whale watching. Since summer is also the season for the midnight sun, you will have many hours of daylight to experience the best that Iceland has to offer including the Blue Lagoon and Glacial Lagoon.
The city of Seattle is known for two things: great coffee and gloomy weather. The summer is high tourist season in this low-key city, so hotel rates are higher but it is a great time to visit. July and August are the months with the lowest amount of rainfall, so enjoying the outdoor festivals will be comfortable, although you will still want to take a light jacket for evenings.
Since summer is a busy time for tourists, you will want to plan extra time to see attractions like the Space Needle, but the upside is that skies should be clear during these months for a great view of the city. Clear skies also mean that walking around the city, versus hopping on local transportation, makes it easier to see the Pike Place Market and the Olympic Sculpture Park.
A summer visit to France in the port city of Marseille is one of the best places in the country to visit in the warmer months. The summer climate, especially in June and July, is spectacular, which is why these are popular tourist months. The comfortable days mean you can spend time outside kayaking around or exploring the Old Port area, which has been instrumental in trading for thousands of years.
There are so many ways to enjoy the culture and heritage of Marseille, from electric bikes and walking around the historical center to a boat cruise and seeing the top sights from a hop-on, hop-off bus. Since summer is an ideal time to visit Marseille, you will need to make hotel reservations far in advance.
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