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 best places to visit in summer.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
summer is one of the best times to visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona. it’s also 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 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 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 transportati
2. Rome, Italy
Since many of the nice attraction sites in Rome are 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 plantheum are plentiful, but you will still want to book tickets ahead of time. Rome is an easy city to see on your own, a very pleasant summer weather makes it a fun place to explore on foot to experience new food or toss a coin.
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
3. Whistler, Canada
The mountains of Whistler, Canada are ideal places for vacation, but the summertime means more moderate temperatures and other types of outdoor experiences 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
4. 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 like the top beaches to visit.
Summer in San Diego also means festivals and music in the city, so it is a good time to visit, with something always happening in the local neighborhoods. There are also good sites 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.
5. Nova Scotia, Canada
A 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.
7. Zermatt, Switzerland
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 best 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 to experience the best Iceland has to offer including the Blue Lagoon and Glacial Lagoon
9. Seattle, Washington
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 good 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 site 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 .
10. Marseille, France
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 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.
11. Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska is one of the best places to visit in the summer, when the weather is ideal, and since the days are longer, you can pack more into the daily itinerary. During the summer solstice in June, daylight lasts close to 22 hours, so you have more time to hike, canoe, golf, or do a whale watching tour.
There are also many heritage centers like the Anchorage Museum to visit, so you can plan a mix of outdoor and indoor activities. The temperatures in the summer are comfortable (averaging in the 60s Fahrenheit), so it is a great time to try river rafting, take a wildlife viewing tour, and see the landscape by railroad.
12. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The summer sun and vacation vibe is terrific on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, which already has an exotic flare. The natural beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is even more picturesque during summer, when the forests are vibrant and coast and cliffs are at your beck and call.
The Amalfi Coast beaches are where you will likely spend much of your time, but carve out some of the itinerary for visiting the beautiful Villa Cimbrone Gardens and walking the narrow streets of Centro Storico.
Since the Amalfi Coast is a treasure of Italy, it is also where many Italians go for vacation, so the summer season is busy, but it is also the best time to see the coastal region at its best.
13. Edinburgh, Scotland
While the summer months in Scotland are the peak of tourist season, they are the best times to experience cities like the capital of Edinburgh. June, July, and August have comfortable temperatures in the mid-60s (Fahrenheit), which are ideal for walking around the city or taking a sightseeing tour on a double-decker bus.
Summertime also means longer days in the city, so you can take your time strolling down the Royal Mile in the Old Town area and . With the clear summer days, you can get a great photo from above the city at Calton Hill, one of the most popular vantage points.
Summer is festival time in Edinburgh and the height of tourist season, so book travel and hotels far in advance.
14. Chicago, Illinois
The city of Chicago comes alive in the summer with outdoor festivals, boats on the water, the Navy Pier in full swing, and perfect outdoor weather. Summer is the busiest time in Chicago because it is an interesting time to visit, when the fierce winter cold is gone and before it returns again in the late fall.
Summer means walking the Magnificent Mile and spending time in Grant Park. With the sun at its full potential in June, July, and August, you can get a great reflective selfie in “The Bean” sculpture in Millennium Park.
Hotel availability can be scarce in the summer months and expensive for the lodging that is available, so plan on booking hotels several months in advance.
15. Louisville, Kentucky
Your cowboy boots were made for walking the streets of Louisville. Nicknamed “The Bourbon City,” an official gateway to Kentucky’s bourbon trail, the city is expanding its bourbon footprint in 2022. In October, the urban Bourbon trail welcomed the first and only African American–owned distillery in the state, Brough Brothers. Meanwhile, its trailmate, Angels Envy, will wrap its $8.2-million expansion project complete with a new event space and five tasting rooms in the spring. The city is most well known for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby every spring at the historic Churchill Downs racetrack, and the Downs will open the first installment of its multi-year expansion plan, the Home stretch club, just in time for the 2022 Derby. There, attendees will be able to enjoy the race with an all-new trackside lounge experience. — Hannah Streck
Malaysia is home to a beautiful medley of cultures (Chinese, Indian, and Malay) and a diverse smattering of terrain: bustling cities with towering buildings, verdant rain forests with incredible wildlife, and idyllic islands with dreamy beaches. But all of this and more has been closed to the world for much of the pandemic. Now that the island of Langkawi is open via a travel bubble, with the rest of the country expected to follow suit in 2022, travelers can once again experience Malaysia’s many gifts. Langkawi, a beach lover’s paradise, blends unspoiled nature, while cosmopolitan capital Kuala Lumpur draws visitors with its gleaming Petronas Towers, delicious hawker food stalls, and shopping. Then there’s Borneo, complete with wildlife-packed jungles and a rich Indigenous culture, as well as Desaru Coast, a 3,900-acre area that’s home to coveted resorts like the one and only Desaru coast, a tropical oasis that opened in early September 2020 (the brand’s first in Asia). — Alisha Prakash
The Maldives’ 1,000+ islands sit in the Indian Ocean like a string of turquoise pearls. The tropical nirvana has 166 accommodation options, including the new Joali being nature retreat, which leads guests on a transformative wellness journey. Alila Kothaifaru Maldives debuts in February with 80 beach and overwater villas on the Raa Atoll. Coming to the same atoll in May, also with 80 luxury villas, is Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa on a massive lagoon primed for snorkeling. The ever-innovative Soneva Fushi has a new experience that includes zip-lining to a six-course meal 30 feet about the sand. Along with Soneva Jani, they’ve debuted Soneva Soul, a new spa complex melding ancient and modern techniques. Other vacation favorites are unveiling new digs like the sleek, contemporary renovation of Naladhu Private Island and the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, debuting in February. — Katie Lockhart
18. Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is considered one of the sailing capitals of the world. It is home to the largest fleet of America’s Cup 12 Meter yachts, most of which are available for charter. In May, the coastal town is welcoming a Sailing Museum that is sure to solidify that title. Over the past few years, a slew of hotel openings have closed a much-needed gap for luxury accommodations, including Hammett’s Hotel, Brenton Hotel, and The Wayfinder Hotel. The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection is debuting the property’s highly anticipated transformation conceived by Dallas-based design collective Swoon — the lobby, dining room, and shared areas are now complete with guest rooms finishing early next year. Renowned beverage executive Maxwell Britten has joined the team as chief cocktail curator alongside an amazing chef who cooks up a selection of elevated pub-inspired dishes. And don’t miss Giusto, at Hammett’s Hotel, which serves up excellent Italian with a Rhode Island twist. — Scott Bay
19. Nile Cruise, Egypt
There is no trip that will convert you to a life of river cruising quite like a sail down (well, technically, up) the Nile. In fact, the world’s first river cruises sailed in Egypt, a country designed around the central waterway, where it makes sense that the Nile would act as your home base. A typical Egyptian river cruise sets sail from Cairo to Luxor and then Aswan, with the occasional stop to visit an island temple along the way — complete with sights like the Pyramids, Valley of Kings and Queens, Nefertari’s tomb, and the Temple of Kom Ombo. In 2022, there’s more than one new river cruise to choose from, between Uniworld’s newly launched S.S. Sphinx and AmaWaterways’ Amadahlia, both of which sailed their inaugural voyages in fall 2021. — Maya Kachroo-Levine
In late 2021, Panama launched a tourism platform along with the coolest tagline in travel: “Live for More.” With a booming coffee scene and a renewed focus on its culture, history, and biodiversity, the Central American nation is ready for its moment in the spotlight. It’s an attractive place for those looking to get out of resort mode and into a world open for exploration and adventure. Immersive environmental experiences abound here, including trekking through the rainforest on its suspended hanging bridges and walking to the top of the Volcán Barú, an active volcano with both Pacific and Atlantic Ocean views from the top. There is also abundant opportunity to learn from Panama’s seven Indigenous communities, each of whom offer their own personalized experiences and are happy to share their craftsmanship and traditions. Panama offers plenty of luxury, too. In its capital city, check into the American Trade Hotel, centrally located in Panama’s Casco Viejo district, a historic neighborhood which happens to also be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. — Stacey Leasca
21. Phuket, Thailand
Before the pandemic, Phuket was beautiful but crowded, full of beach bars and tourists chasing all-nighters. It’s still full of energy and surrounded by the same pristine sea glass–colored water, but its luxurious side is finally getting the attention it deserves, from its high-end coffee shops to its cocktail bars. Hide from the world in paradise with a stay in one of the private pool residences at Trisara, featuring kitchens, a private chef, butler service, and breathtaking views over the sea, as well as access to the resort’s PRU restaurant, which has earned both a Michelin star and a Michelin green star. Or book a stay at the brand-new V Villas Phuket, which offers a curated selection of 19 private-pool, 1-, 3-, and 4-bedroom villas. Later, party the night away in Phuket Old Town with inventive cocktails at Club No. 43 (think: rum with grilled pineapple juice and espuma), or settle in for a great dinner and a night of daring performances at the Junkyard Theatre, which just launched a weekly Saturday night show. — Alison Fox
22. Pico, Portugal
The islands of the Azores — a Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean some 900 miles west of Lisbon — are more popular than ever, and for 2022, travelers will want to fix their eyes firmly on the second-largest isle: Pico, an alluring, otherworldly locale covered with black, volcanic rocks. Conquering Portugal’s highest peak, the cloud-shrouded, 7,713-foot-high Mount Pico, used to be the island’s main draw, but a recent uptick in hospitality infrastructure has allowed for more opportunity to partake of Pico’s most important agricultural output: wine. Renowned Portuguese winemaker Antonio Maçanita just opened a new winery that comes with bookable design-forward apartments adjacent to the island’s unique vineyards. On Pico, grapes are planted on volcanic terroir that are then protected from Atlantic winds with rock walls. Maçanita’s Azores Wine Company’s mineral, sometimes slightly salty wines could be the perfect celebratory drink after a grueling hike.The crashing waves around Pico are beginning to seduce surfers, too. And there are also ample opportunities to watch for marine life thanks to 20 species of dolphins and whales (including humpbacks and orcas) that can be spotted in these waters. But if you’d rather eat what’s in the water: Try lapas, a local shellfish delicacy best served grilled with butter and garlic and finished with a squeeze of lemon. Thankfully, getting to experience all of this has never been easier: Starting July 1, United Airlines will for the first time connect Newark to the island of São Miguel (the Azores’ largest island), and from there, it’s a quick hop over to Pico. Or you could always get there via direct flights from Lisbon or Porto with Tap Air Portugal’s stopover program. — Chadner Navarro