12 Summer Vacation Ideas

12 Summer Vacation Ideas

Summer is finally here! It's time to pack up those flip flops and sunscreen and head out for a much needed summer vacation. If you're ready to hit the road but still having some trouble deciding where to go, check out these 12 summer vacation ideas to help you plan your holiday adventures! Bon Voyage!


1. Chicago, USA

There is NO better place to be in the summer than Chicago. THERE. I SAID IT. Chicago has the best summer of any city in the world! It's probably because we've all been cooped up all year and are ready to bust out when "Summer Time Chi" rolls around. You've got unbeatable city vibes, the lake, the beach, festivals on festivals, beautiful weather, world class cuisine, music, rooftops, culture... Ahhh! Seriously just about anything you want out of a summer city is here in Chicago! If you don't believe me, come and see it for yourself! *Check out my Chicago City Guide here!

Best for: Family travel, solo travel, couples travel, group travel, urban travel, and anyone else who is genuinely looking to have an amazing time in the city during the summer. 


2. Montreal, Canada

The city of Montreal seems to come alive after those chilly winters have passed. Montreal is a fabulous summer destination for people who want a taste of Europe without the transatlantic price. You'll find incredible architecture and historic sites, delicious food, great shopping, and let's not forget about that unbelievable view on the top of Parc du Mont-Royal. My expert travel tip: wake up early and hike to the top. You'll get the killer view sans any other tourists; plus it'll count as your workout for the day! 

Best for: Family travel, solo travel, couples travel, group travel, and anyone who wants a European feel without paying the big $$.


3. Portland, USA (x2)

You're getting a bonus one here, everyone! 2 Portlands for the price of 1: Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon. 

Is there anything better than a juicy lobster roll and an ice-cold glass of beer in the middle of summer? This delicious combo is plentiful in the New England area, and Portland, Maine is one of the best cities to stop by and get it during the summer. Wander the old cobblestone streets of Old Port, or have a little kayak adventure in the water. Portland, ME is a great mellow city for families to visit in the summer.

Best for: Family travel, couples looking to relax in a quiet town, or anyone who wants a taste of New England charm.

I'm not sure if there is anything that Portland, Oregon doesn't offer in the summer. They have world-renowned farmers markets, unbeatable microbrews, outdoor activities like hiking and biking, beautiful waterfalls and landscapes, and a bustling foodie scene. It's a must-see for any summer traveler!

Best for: Family travel, solo travel, couples travel, group travel, nature lovers, and young people who love to check out new, bustling cities.


4. Munich, Germany

People typically associate Munich with the celebrations of Oktoberfest, but this city has so much to offer visitors in the summer too. You can bike around the old historic streets of the city, attend numerous outdoor festivals in the month of August, tour medieval palaces during the day, and lounge in the biergartens by night. It's also a great destination to visit for those of you who love cities that have a little bit of old combined with the new.

Best for: Family travel, solo travel, couples travel, group travel, and anyone who is looking to explore a unique European city that has lots of culture and history to offer.


5. Nice, France

Who wouldn't want to spend their summer in the French Riviera? With fabulous cities like Cannes and Monaco being just a short train ride away, Nice is a wonderful place for luxury travelers to visit and kick back on the beach--or on a 30 ft yacht (if that's your thing). Nice is known for it's old world charm mixed with the modern world energy. The streets are always full of vibrant markets and buildings, artists looking for seasonal inspiration, and even the occasional celebrity or two. 

Best for: Luxury travel, couples travel, or anyone wanting to spend their time along the gorgeous French Riviera.


6. Maui, USA

Despite Maui typically being a winter getaway for vacationers, the summer time actually offers calmer waters and less rain. This is perfect for travelers who love to surf or bum on the beach all day. Maui boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and plenty of other ecotourism activities for outdoor adventurers. You might even get some better deals in the summer time too...

Best for: Family travel, luxury travel, couples travel, eco-friendly travel, adventure travel, or anyone else who enjoys island life and all it has to offer. 


7. Amsterdam, Netherlands

The city that is typically grey and gloomy most of the year instantly lights up during the summer months. Amsterdam is a great city to visit in the summer when the skies are clear and you're greeted with 60-70 degree weather almost every single day. You can bike around the cobblestone streets, visit the famous canals and all the gorgeous architecture that surrounds them, or attend outdoor summer festivals. There is even an event called Open Garden Days where visitors can get an exclusive look at the stunning, private gardens behind the houses along the canal.

Best for: Urban travel, couples travel, solo travel, group travel, or anyone who wants to explore another European city that is filled with history and culture.


8. San Francisco, USA

San Francisco is really a year-round city, but it's absolutely worth mentioning on here for a specific reason. The months of June-July actually bring cooler and foggy weather to the city of San Francisco, which is great if you want to beat the summer heat; BUT...the months of August-October often bring around a beautiful Indian summer. So for those of you who are looking to prolong that summer vibe, book a trip for San Francisco at the end of summer and beginning of fall. You'll get gorgeous weather, loads of festivals, and you'll probably beat out the hoards of tourists who mistakenly went in the colder months. *Check out my San Francisco City Guide here!

Best for: Urban travel, solo travel, family travel, couples travel, group travel, or anyone who wants to prolong their summer vacation and visit a great city at the end of summer/beginning of fall.


9. Santorini, Greece


Although Santorini has become a bit of a tourist destination in recent years, it is a popular destination for a reason. The perfect, blue waters of the Aegean Sea are at prime time for swimming in the summer months, making this a great destination for beach and ocean lovers. Stroll through the quaint towns of Fira and Oia and marvel at the whitewashed buildings with blue roofs that sit along the cliffs. By night, grab some incredible seafood for dinner and cozy up with a glass of wine to watch the sunset. 

Best for: Couples travel, luxury travel, family travel, or anyone who is looking to island hop through the Mediterranean.


10. Yellowstone, USA

Summer is definitely a prime time to get to Yellowstone. It's an affordable vacation spot, and visitors won't be faced with the struggles of park closures that you often see in the winter months. It's a perfect destination for people who want to explore the great outdoors, go hiking through lush forests, see the wildlife that roams the park, and even get a close up of the famous geyser, Old Faithful.

Best for: Family travel, couples travel, group travel, adventure travel, eco-friendly travel, or anyone who wants to explore the great outdoors.


11. Salzburg, Austria

I can't think of many destinations that are as naturally beautiful as the city of Salzburg. This city, which is known for the lush, rolling hills seen on "The Sound of Music," is nothing short of spectacular--especially in the summer. With views of the Alps through the city, medieval and baroque architecture, unique and colorful buildings along the water, and impeccable landscape, it's a fabulous international destination for people who want to visit Europe without paying crazy prices like you would in Paris or London.

Best for: Family travel, couples travel, group travel, solo travel, cultural travel, or anyone who wants to visit Europe without paying astronomical prices.


12. Alaska, USA

Ok, so I'm doing something a little different here. I'm suggesting an entire state instead of just 1 city. The state of Alaska is a must-see in summer months. Why? You have endless outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, whale watching, etc.), comfortable weather ranging between 60-80 degrees, glacier trekking, and incredible natural landscapes. If you haven't been to Alaska in the summer months (which most people claim is just about the only reasonable time of year to come), you are seriously missing out. My preferred method of travel here is by cruise so you're able to see as much of Alaska as possible in a shorter amount of time. Opt for early summer or end of summer to get the best deals. *Plus, you'll probably have to stop over in Vancouver on your way, which is also an amazing summer destination!

Best for: Family travel, couples travel, group travel, eco-friendly travel, adventure travel, solo travel, and anyone who is looking for a unique experience in the states.


Where are your summer adventures taking you? Are you heading to any of these places? Comment below with other great summer destinations or vacation ideas!

PS--Don't leave for the summer without picking up some new travel gear! Check out my favorite travel things here!

*All photos in this post are public domain from Pixabay or Creative Commons.

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