Summer is the best time to disconnect and unwind from our day-to-day lives, but where to escape to? With so many possibilities, it’s hard to home in on the best choice, much less start searching. We want to help you take the summer vacation of your dreams. That’s where expert travelers come in.
We’ve posed the question, “Where is your go-to summer destination, and what makes this location rise above the rest?” to our experienced travel experts. Be inspired by some of their must-visit summer travel spots and the can’t-miss attractions and activities these places have to offer!
Running Springs In San Bernardino, California
“Because I live in Los Angeles, it sizzles in the summer. The last place I want to go on a vacation is any place hot. For several years, my parents used to run a small hotel in Running Springs up in the mountains above San Bernardino. It was always a fabulous place to get away from the heat even for a short trip. Located between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear there are plenty of hiking trails, restaurants by the lake, and gorgeous surroundings,” according to Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski, a travel and lifestyle blogger at Baby Boomster.
Running Springs, located in San Bernardino, California is a breezy escape from the blazing summer heat, which makes it a great option for your summer getaway list. While you’re there, we suggest a trip to Snow Valley. Although there’s no snow for skiing the slopes around this time of year, you’ll still enjoy beautiful views and some fun outdoor activities! Another must-see while in town is Lake Arrowhead, where you can take a cruise on serenely calm waters.
Food is always a highlight of a vacation, so when you’re tired out from your outdoor excursions, enjoy some high-altitude dining at Skyline Taphouse in the Big Bear Mountain Resort on nearby Big Bear Lake.
Grand Marais, Minnesota
“We're Great Lakes people and we're excited to be back in the Midwest after an extended absence. For years, our go-to summer destination was Grand Marais on what is fondly called Minnesota's North Shore. We're looking forward to visiting old haunts on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan this summer,” travel blogger Betsy Wuebker of PassingThru told TravelAwaits.
Grand Marais, Minnesota, is perfect for some outdoor relaxation. There are eight state parks along the North Shore that make hiking, fishing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities easily accessible. Lake Superior is another must-see in the area. It is the biggest of all the Great Lakes and holds 10 percent of the world’s fresh water. While you’re in Grand Marais, you should also stop by the Voyageur Brewing Company, where you can sip on craft beer and eat while peering at the vast lake.
Gulf Coast, Mississippi
Charles McCool, the travel expert behind McCool Travel, reminisces on Gulf Coast, Mississippi, when relaying his can’t-miss summer destination: “I cannot decide if I most want to revisit the 10,000 glorious oak trees, stroll dozens of miles of luscious sugar sand -- which is NOT hot on your feet [even on the] hottest summer days -- sample more amazing fresh produce and seafood dishes -- heirloom tomatoes alone are worth the visit -- or bask in extraordinary sunsets. Phenomenal news: You can do them all, every day!”
Coastal Mississippi has a variety of things to do, and one of the top sellers is the ability for visitors to gaze at the beautiful coastal views every day. Whether you want to kick your feet up on Biloxi Beach, or maybe test your luck at the Hard Rock Casino, you’ll always have something to keep you entertained.
Also, if you’re in the mood for some mouth-watering seafood, this is the place to get it! Consider dining in one of the many restaurants along the Mississippi Seafood Trail where you can get genuine Gulf seafood. It’s also ranked the second-best food trail in the U.S.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area In Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Sue Davies, travel blogger of Travel For Life Now, recommends heading to Pennsylvania for some summer fun and relaxation. “In the summer, we like to spend our time in the Delaware Water Gap National Park Recreation Area on the Pennsylvania side. There is a great diversity of things to do -- outdoors, cultural, and historical. We hike to local waterfalls, kayak on lakes and the Delaware River, and visit the scenic town of Milford for concerts and other events. We also attend LGBTQ+ events in Milford and the Poconos.”
The great outdoors mixed with rich history are the main takeaways from a trip to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. You can hike 27 miles of the Appalachian Mountains, enjoy over 100 miles of scenic roads, and take in some cool air while boating through the wide waters. If you’re in love with the history behind stunning destinations, this place will satisfy that curiosity. There are tons of colonial buildings dating from the 1700s to the 1900s. If you take a stroll to Millbrook Village you can see how “most of the nation's people lived until the end of the 19th century.”
“As I am living by the sea and have several beaches at my doorstep, I want something different for part of my summer. One word: Tuscany!” Inka Piegsa Quischotte, the freelance travel writer behind GlamourGranny Travels, told TravelAwaits.
Her preferred places in the large region are Val d'Elsa, Volterra, and San Gimignano. What does she love about these communities? “Fresh air and no scorching heat, woods and lakes, historical villages ... and plenty of opportunity for walks and bike rides, all of which aren't too trying -- just right for exercise -- followed by a dish of local specialties.” They’re also not as crowded as Florence or Siena.
Of course, Tuscany is one of the greatest places to visit for those interested in architecture. Perhaps you’re in search of serene countryside to unwind and disconnect, or maybe you’re interested in viewing one of the many art galleries with pieces dating back to the 1500s. If so, the Accademia Gallery in Florence houses works from Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Ghirlandaio. For architecture buffs, taking a tour of the Siena Cathedral wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Of course, you can’t forget about wine and fine dining when in Tuscany. It is home to several vineyards that produce some of the best wine you’ll ever taste! Based on the Winerist’s list of best wineries to visit in Tuscany, Castello di Vicchiomaggio is a must-visit. Once you've worked up an appetite, don’t miss a few of these 15 delicious types of pasta to try in Italy.
“Toronto is my summer go-to destination. It's beautiful in the city spending time on the waterfront or heading over to the Toronto Islands. The city is quiet since many Torontonians are out of town. A day spent on the water on Lake Ontario gives you amazing views of the Toronto skyline and some of the most breathtaking sunsets,” Parm Parmar, freelance travel and food writer of Planet Blue Adventure told TravelAwaits.
Toronto, the capital of the province of Ontario, Canada, is a bustling, top tourist destination in Canada, and there is a ton of history that can be seen in one of its many museums. One worth noting is the Casa Loma, a castle that dates back to the 1900s. It is not only a historic house museum -- it also has a beautiful garden.
Toronto is also known for its towering skyscrapers. One you can’t leave off your must-see list is the Canadian National Tower, more commonly referred to as the CN Tower. It is the tallest tower in the western hemisphere and is classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. There is even a revolving restaurant in the tower -- 360 Restaurant -- where you can dine while getting an outstanding view of Toronto below.
South Tyrol, Italy
“As an outdoor enthusiast, I like to spend a lot of time outside. So while a beach destination can be very tempting, I think that there are many benefits to exploring the mountains in the summertime. In Italy, we have many unique places like the Dolomites, a UNESCO Heritage site, which offers a variety of things to do like no other. South Tyrol is my favorite region and one of the top destinations in the Italian Alps,” travel writer Michaela Fantinel of Rocky Travel told TravelAwaits.
South Tyrol is also known as Alto Adige. It’s full of hiking routes and biking is another popular pastime. While you’re there, venturing off to the enchanting Dolomite mountain range is a must. For a break from the mountains a visit to Bolzano, the provincial capital of South Tyrol, is a memorable cultural experience that boasts great shopping.
Like Tuscany, this must-see destination is also excellent for wine connoisseurs. Taking advantage of the Alto Adige Wine Road will give you access to many of the amazing wineries the region has to offer.
Bohol And Bantayan, Philippines
Bob Bales, travel writer of The Traveling Fool, loves the beaches of the Philippines. “For me, it has to be the beaches of the Philippines. There is a lot to choose from, but the islands of Bohol and Bantayan are the ones I enjoy the most. Bohol has a lot to see and do and great beaches, while Bantayan has very few people this time of year and you can pretty much have the beach to yourself. It is a great laid back atmosphere with friendly people, and there is no better place to just relax.”
The beaches are definitely the highlights of both of these locations. In Bantayan, however, another fun place you should visit is Omagieca Mangrove Garden, where you can enjoy good food and some boating activities. In Bohol, a visit to the beautiful Chocolate Hills or the Bilar man-made forest could be fun additions to your trips.
So, pack your bags and prepare for a memorable summer at one of these cant-miss summer destinations! Or, if a full-blown vacation isn’t in the cards for you this summer, check out the best weekend getaways for summer 2019 for some quick-getaway inspiration!