Summer means sunshine, sand, sweat — and see you laters as you jet set off to vacation. With your out-of-office fired up and ready to go, you may be looking for the best places to experience food, culture, and adventure. From European cities that come alive during the season to hidden gems that are stateside, here’s our pick for the best summer travel destinations of 2019.
There’s nothing that tastes better come summer than fresh-caught seafood. Though many people are iffy about oysters, pretty much anyone can get behind lobster slathered with butter or on a roll. Seriously, if you’ve never had lobster in iconic Maine, make this the year you do. Book a room at Cliff House hotel, and you’ll enjoy views of Bald Head Cliff and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as nightly clam and lobster bakes. Did we mention fireworks will go off above your sunburned noses, too?
If you haven’t spent much time in western Europe, here’s a fun fact: Pours of wine aren’t measured. In fact, Spanish and Portuguese culture practically requires copious amounts of vino are consumed. While you’ll definitely learn all about the infamous Art Nouveau architect, Antoni Gaudí, you’ll also have your fair share of amazing bottles. For a gorgeous view — and wide menu — stay at Hotel Arts in Barcelona.
You want to be on the shore, but not part of the party of South Beach. You want a charming hotel, but still reliable amenities. You want to lounge by the pool and soak up vitamin D, but also go on a jet ski cruise and explore Wynwood Walls. There’s no better spot than The Confidante, which offers all of this — and more. The central location makes everything a short Uber ride away. And when you want to stay put, amazing poolside popsicles will cool you down from the heat. Make sure to order the fried chicken at their restaurant, Bird & Bone, since it truly can’t be beat.
On the road to Machu Picchu, most travelers stop in Cusco to adjust to the altitude and prepare for the journey ahead — either by foot, train or car. However, once you explore the winding, narrow roads of Cusco, get lost in their city square and climb the hill for a view, you will find it tough to leave this fascinating town. Filled with culture, incredible Peruvian food, and captivating history, Cusco is a special part of South America. You can actually be part of the past (and the future) when you stay at this hotel, since it was built on the site of the 16th-century San Agustin convent. Don’t forget to order one (or four) pisco sours!
Sure, you know about skiing in Vail, but the adventures don’t stop when the sun shining bright in the sky. In fact, it become even more diverse, with endless outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and swimming. There are plenty of resorts to stay at, but consider this luxury boutique find. Not only does it welcome pups, but even has a special ‘Yappy Apres’ for them, featuring dog-friendly nibbles. Cocktails are for humans only though, since we already know Fido doesn’t need anything else to hype him up.
You can’t beat the long, scenic views through Ireland. Summer is the best time to visit this area of the world since, hey, it’s basically freezing every other season. As you drive from Dublin, you’ll come across this castle (yes, a castle!) that offers royal rooms, and plenty of sunshine-friendly activities, like biking, hiking, falconing, archery, and more. It’s offers plenty of romance for you and your SO, but it’s also a great getaway for you and the girls (hello, Irish accents!).
Fair warning: New York City can be steamy in the summer. If you can brave the humidity, you’ll experience a budget-friendly experience, since many hotels lower their rates as the temperature skyrockets. Also nice? The streets will be less crowded than they are during the holiday season. Still, the city that never sleeps will engage all of your senses as you eat your way through Chinatown and Little Italy, have a rooftop drink in the Meatpacking District, explore the art scene in the East Village and Soho, and see Central Park via bike. The city is also home to two Moxy Hotel locations, which offer a modern approach to lodging. Their pint-sized, yet efficient rooms, offer affordable rates in the best part of town. We suggest their new Chelsea location that features glass airplane hanger-style doors at their sidewalk cafe, Feroce.
It’s one of those places that everyone says they’ll get to one of these days. But why not today? It’s a long flight but well-worth the jet lag, since the country of South Africa bubbles over with diversity. From the bush of Kruger National Park to the beaches of Durban, every area will challenge your comfort zone and expand your worldview. For a starting or ending point, make sure to stay in downtown Cape Town. The Silo offers an unmatched view of Table Mountain and a mouth-watering brekkie for hungry travelers. Plus, it’s within walking distance are shops, cafes, and tours.
Sure, it may seem cliche, but if we’re being honest, there is no bad time to visit the City of Lights. There is, however, something special about the summer — especially if you happen to set your travel dates to July, when the country celebrates Bastille at the start, and ends the month with the finish line of Tour de France. To stay in the heart of Paris, dotted with cafes and gardens, book your stay at this hotel in the Golden Triangle. With many walkable sights and others accessible via metro, you can get lost in the incomparable glamour France’s capital.