Summer is in full swing, which means there's no better time to plan a trip. Whether it's your first time to an exotic location or you're returning to a favorite destination, take advantage of the warm weather and go on a new adventure — we've got 10 epic destinations to add to your bucket list this summer.
Tropical getaways are a year-round thing for many people, but winter is the best time to visit tropical tourist spots. The climate is more temperate and it's easier to travel to far-flung places when you don't have to contend with snow and ice.
Tropical temperatures and sunshine aren't just limited to the summer months; you can always find sunny beaches at any time of year. But for some destinations, like Mexico and Costa Rica, the best times of year are during winter. You'll find that some tropical beaches are open all year round; others close during winter because of the seabed being too cold for swimming.
The beauty of Italy is legendary, and its cuisine is some of the most creative and delicious in the world. It's also a relatively affordable destination, with prices comparable to those in other European countries. You'll find plenty of inexpensive hotels and charming, family-run bed and breakfasts along with the more luxurious resorts, so there's something for everyone.
You can spend your days exploring old ruins, going on a scenic cruise on the Amalfi Coast or marveling at Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica, Milan Cathedral or Florence's Duomo . If you visit during the summer, you may even be able to take advantage of one of Italy's many festivals .
Greece is a mecca for travelers, who flock here from across Europe to sample its famed food and wine and see the ancient ruins that dot this country's landscape. The Greek islands are especially popular for their breathtaking views and sandy beaches, which are perfect for relaxing after spending a day exploring the country's many sights. You'll likely want to spend your time in Greece exploring Athens.
- The City of New Orleans, Louisiana
It's been referred to as the “Big Easy” for years now. With French Quarter festivals, music and Mardi Gras celebrations all year round, New Orleans is an awesome option for travelers looking for something a little different this summer.
- The Kennedy Space Centre (KSC), Florida
The KSC gives visitors a chance to experience firsthand what it's like to be launched into space when they experience the world-famous rocket launches from the Cape Canaveral launch pad 39-A/B area.
- Bonneville Salt Flats – Utah
The Bonneville Salt Flats are located just outside Salt Lake City and cover 30,000 acres of salt crust. This area is known for its exceptionally flat surface, which makes it a favorite spot for racing. In fact, the land speed record was set at this location in 1935 by Sir Malcom Campbell who reached an average speed of 301 mph in his Bluebird vehicle. Today, the Bonneville Speedway is used by both amateur and professional race teams as they try to break land speed records every year.
- The Maldives
The Maldives is one of the most beautiful tropical places in the world. It's a collection of islands in the Indian Ocean with crystal clear water and unbelievably fine white sand beaches. This is a great place to relax and unwind or explore the local sea life by snorkeling or scuba diving.
To most people, Croatia is that country from Game of Thrones. But to me it's the perfect place to spend a summer holiday.
The sunny Adriatic Coast has something for everyone: beautiful beaches and coves for those who want to relax on the sand, sailing for water sport enthusiasts and culture in the cities of Split and Dubrovnik.
It's easy to get around via ferries, buses and trains and accommodation usually ranges from hostels to hotels (although most places take cash only). Make sure you sample some of the local food too!
- Newport, RI
Summer is a great time to visit Newport, Rhode Island. The weather is warm and breezy, and the pace of life moves at a slower speed than during the hectic fall and winter seasons. There are many historic mansions to explore on Bellevue Avenue, including The Breakers (pictured above) and Marble House (pictured below).
Newport also offers a wide variety of water-related activities, from whale watching (like the one pictured below) to fishing trips to lobster catches with the kids.
One of the best things about Newport is its proximity to Boston, which means you can fly into Logan Airport cheaply from all over the country. You can either rent a car or take a train from Boston to Newport and spend anywhere from four days to over a week exploring this charming seaside community.
- The Azores
The Azores are a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with some of the most exhilarating scenery that you'll never see on a postcard. That's because this island paradise is still relatively unknown to tourists, but travelers who have been there say you'll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place in the world.
- Sequoia National Park
When it comes to seeing redwood trees, California's Sequoia National Park is where it's at. The towering giants can reach up to a whopping 275 feet high and live more than 2,000 years! And if you're wondering where to find the oldest one? Head to the General Sherman Tree at Giant Forest — it's believed to be between 2,300 and 2,700 years old!
- See the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are one of the most incredible natural phenomena in existence. They can be seen from any point within the Arctic Circle and are truly a sight to behold.
- Visit Niagara Falls
A trip to Niagara Falls is certainly not complete without actually getting wet! Get up close and personal with this iconic landmark by taking part in the famous Niagara Jet Boat Ride or embark on an adventurous journey into the mist of the Horseshoe Falls on The Journey Behind The Falls.
- Squamish, British Columbia
This small town near Vancouver offers some big natural attractions: waterfalls, lakes and mountains to hike, bike or climb. This is an ideal location for both beginners looking to learn how to rock climb and experts looking to put their skills to the test.
I hope this has put some great travel destinations onto your radar! Did I miss anything? Are you particularly fond of a particular destination on the list? Leave a comment and let me know!