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Top 25 Summer Destinations

Suntans, barbecues, summer camp, ice cream cones, and swimming are just a few of the images that come to mind for most people when they think of summer vacation. We asked Gogobot users for their favorite summer destinations, and got everything from kayaking in Alaska to saunas in Helsinki, as well as more than a few beaches. Here are the top 25 summer destinations, each accompanied by our guide to enjoying the season.

Summer in Barcelona

Set on Spain's Mediterranean coast, cosmopolitan Barcelona offers trendy urban life and easy access to the beach in one place. Sunny weather, cultural delights and delectable tapas delight the summer ... read more
traveler. Individual neighborhoods host their festa mejor, a kind of block party replete with feasting and, possibly, fire-runs, in which giant (fake) dragons breathe fire over the crowd. The Sonar electronic music festival in June fills the city with beats, and you can take in some outdoor cinema at Sala Montjuic.

Summer in Chicago

The 'Windy City' is notoriously bitter in winter, so it's no surprise Gogobot users chose it as a favorite summer destination. Green parks to play in, the shining shores of Lake Michigan, and some ... read more
wonderful outdoor events, like the concerts at Ravinia Park, the JazzFest, or Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field, are just some of the ways to enjoy the season.

Summer in New Orleans

Summers here are hot. We're talking alligator sausage jambalaya doused in (NOLA specialty) Crystal Sauce kind of hot, so plan your days in the shade and save historic cemetery tours and strolls ... read more
through the burgeoning Marigny for evening. High tourist season is spring, so take advantage of summer's lower prices, and still experience festivals like the Cajun-Zydeco Festival at the Old U.S. Mint, and the Bastille Day celebrations in July. After all, the true art of the South was developed in the heat. Sip a mint julep, speak a little more slowly, and savor the smell of jasmine in the air - it's summer in NOLA.

Summer in Alaska

Leave behind the cruise ship buffet line and get a little closer to the massive, mythological landscape of Alaska. Unless you're a real ice and snow fanatic, or planning to race the Iditarod, Alaska ... read more
is much more accessible in the summer months, when days are extra-long, temperatures are comfortably mild, and nature really comes out to play. With a land mass three times the size of Texas, the state is best approached region by region. Here's our guide to flying and floating your way through summer in southwest Alaska.

Summer in Honolulu

Honolulu is like summer personified. Incredible beaches, outdoor bars, great hiking and the opportunity to explore traditional Polynesian culture make this a favorite summer destination. Various ... read more
Outdoor concert series, like the free Twilight Summer concerts at the Foster Botanical Garden, liven up the air, and it's a great time to explore lesser-known beaches.

Summer in Helsinki

Long cold winters mean that Helsinki, the capital of Finland, comes doubly alive in the summer. The snow melts away from the bike trails lining the city and outdoor cafes spring up everywhere. This is ... read more
the best time to visit Suomenlinna, a fascinating sea fortress dating to the mid-1700s and major attraction. Visit a traditional sauna for a cleansing sweat, perhaps necessary after partying on Helsinki’s islands and peninsulas during one of its summer festivals like Midsummer's Eve, where you will party the night away at the bonfires, or Taste of Helsinki, where you can gorge on some of the city's finest cuisine. To everything there is a season, and in Helsinki that's summer.

Summer in Seattle

There really is no better time to be in Seattle than the summer. This gorgeous city comes to life as the rain lifts, the sun comes out and the natural beauty of the Puget Sound and Mt. Ranier bloom in ... read more
the distance. The Seafair Festival runs the gamut from concerts to food, beaches are suddenly more attractive, and the nature on Seattle's neighboring islands is ripe for exploration on foot or, in kayak. Great food, super outdoor activities and loads of great places to stay make this the perfect summer destination.

Summer in Vancouver

Vancouver is beginning to come into its own as a cosmopolitan city with burgeoning world-class foodie and music scenes. Yet despite these leaps and bounds toward a more urbane lifestyle, Vancouver is ... read more
outdoorsy to its very core. Why go in summer? Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the world's only temperate rainforests, and soaring mountains, the city is bang in the middle of one of North America's most stunning habitats. The northern latitude means that summer is the time to take double advantage of the natural surroundings in summer by getting out and hiking, cycling, kayaking and swimming to your hearts' content.

Summer in Ibiza

Known for its all-night raves, Ibiza's gentler side also attracts city-dwellers who want to meditate at a mountainside retreat or laze around eating freshly grilled fish in a small seaside village. ... read more
Whether you're a twenty-something partier or forty-something looking for a chilled getaway, Ibiza delivers.

Summer in Bali

Whether you are a diver, hiker, yogi or partier, Bali's beautiful coastline and mountains are the perfect setting for an exotic summer vacation. Take in some kecak chant or a gamelan concert, get your ... read more
dive license, chill on the beach or stay out all night. Whatever your style, July and August are some of the best months to visit Bali; with monsoon season not until November, the summer is dry and delightful.

Summer in Nice

Ah, the Cote d'Azur, a breezily perfect summer destination. Nice's Promenade des Anglais is an iconic image of this storied bit of coast, while the blooming markets at the Cours de Saleya make for ... read more
some wonderful sun-drenched browsing. Gogobot users love the romantic restaurants and pebbly beaches, not to mention baguettes. Nice is not all French sophistication, however, with the July "Crazy Week" festival bringing some parties to town.

Summer in Miami

Miami Beach's high season is winter, which is exactly why we are recommending it this summer. A normally expensive destination, prices and crowds both abate during the hot summer months, leaving you ... read more
more space on the beach and an easier approach to the bar. You'll miss Art Basel Miami Beach, but you can pig out on sticky sweet mangos at the International Mango Festival or check out the Goombay Festival for some Bahamian grooves.

Summer in Playa del Carmen

What better place to spend your summer vacation than Playa del Carmen, a tropical paradise situated along the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula? Playa has been quietly growing into a vacation ... read more
powerhouse over the past decade. A small-town European vibe, access to Yucatan day-trips, and the ubiquitous fish tacos and coconut water are just some of the reasons Gogobot users love it.

Summer in Romania

One of the last places where you can get off the beaten track in Europe, Romania is a great destination year-round, but the hot summer is a great time to explore legendary sites like Bran's Castle as ... read more
well as lesser-known churches, monasteries and villages - not to mention the capital, Bucharest. Summer brings a succession of quirky local events like the matchmaking festival "Maidens' Fair" in July and the Dance at Prislop, a three culture celebration in the Carpathian Mountains in August.

Summer in Wellington

Temperate winters (that's summer to those from the Northern Hemisphere) make Wellington an excellent choice for travel between May and September, especially if a sweltering beach holiday isn't your ... read more
bag. An exciting mix of culture and outdoor adventure, with some world-class dining and wine options, it's a perfect summer destination.

Summer on Cape Cod

A smattering of villages dotted with quaint cottages and homey downtowns give Cape Cod a well-heeled yet unpretentious feel, so much so that 'the Cape' remains the epitome of the ideal New England ... read more
summer vacation. Families have been 'summering' on the Cape for generations, and the entire Cape can feel like a laid-back summer camp between June and August. Since folks often spend weeks or months here, there is no shortage of activities, events and attractions, from whale-watching to clam bakes to fishing to baseball. Falmouth is a great place to base yourself for day trips around the region.

Summer on Boracay Island

Summer on this white-sanded island rivals the best Pacific beaches. May and June bring hot sun and excellent weather, and prices drop a bit in July and August, great if you are traveling on a budget. ... read more
On the island, transport is restricted to shared pedicab, rented motorcycle or bike, or hotel shuttle, making for a relaxing, slowed-down atmosphere. With plenty of bakeries and international restaurants, Boracay deserves a more prominent place on the list of island paradises, although perhaps it's better kept as a bit of a secret.

Summer in Santa Barbara

Southern California summer is legendary, and Santa Barbara is one of the best places to experience the laid-back, progressive vibe, not to mention access the wonderful West Coast nature. Catch ... read more
festivals like the Summer Solstice parade or the Old Spanish Days Fiesta. Still haven't found something to turn your head? The California Wine Festival in July should do the trick.

Summer in Fira

Fira, on the volcanic island of Santorini, is a haven for beautiful architecture and stunning Mediterranean views. The whitewashed stucco buildings of the precariously perched town makes this one of ... read more
the most instantly recognizable locations in Europe. Make Fira your base for exploring the entire island, with its secluded swimming spots and colorful beaches. Perfect for soaking up some hot, Grecian rays over the summer months.

Summer in San Diego

San Diego is the epitome of summer: though it has mild weather all year long, it absolutely explodes with life between May and September. The sky is perpetually blue above sparkling Pacific waves, ... read more
sun-drenched promenades, and glistening bronze bodies on sandy beaches. The downtown area is laid-back and Bohemian, with latte-sipping locals strolling instead of hurrying, and more palm trees than high-rises. Take advantage of summer specials like the Coronado concert series at Spreckels Park, or street fairs like Ocean Beach's, which features a chili cook-off, to really get the most out of the season.

Summer in Salzburg

Proper summer in Salzburg begins in July, when both the weather and the activities really heat up. In town, the Salzburg Festival takes over with a mix of world-class opera and classical music, Mozart ... read more
afficionados mixing with Sound of Music day-trippers. Just outside the city limits, discover quirky performances like a miners' sword dance known as Schwerttanz in the town of Hallein, or a ceremonial pole- carrying event, Prangstangen. The mountains and lakes around Salzburg are a spectacular setting for summer swims, hikes and bikes. In fact, you may find many of the locals escaping the city as well.

Summer in Ko Phi Phi

The Phi Phi Islands are a day trip from Krabi or Phuket or make a secluded hideaway for a week or so. May to December is low season, which for the in-the-know traveler translates to thinner crowds ... read more
(the islands have become hugely popular as the site of the Leonardo di Caprio film "The Beach"), lower prices, and, yes, afternoon tropical showers. We think that's a fair trade. Ko Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island in the archipelago, while Ko Phi Phi Leh is a stunning nature reserve. Scuba dive the limestone cliffs at Bida Nai and other tiny outposts. Following the devastation of the 2004 tsunami, the Phi Phi archipelago has made a huge comeback. Limestone cliffs, clear waters and miles of postcard-perfect beaches are calling.

Summer in Key West

The brief showers during the wet season don't succeed in putting a "damper" on a summer trip to the Keys. Hot temperatures are a great excuse to spend time below the waves on the dive scene, and ... read more
prices drop to boot. Go in August in time for Lobsterfest and crack your way through the red crustaceans to your heart's content, or show your love at the Pride Parade in June. Key West, beloved by Ernest Hemingway who famously and furiously wrote and drank there, is the most famous destination in the archipelago, but traveling around the islands is recommended. If you love, or look like, Hemingway, however, plan your trip for July's Hemingway Days festival, which includes a look-alike contest celebrating the author.

Summer in Maui

A beautiful island in the Hawaiian archipelago and a favorite of paradise-seeking vacationers for years, Maui has it all, even a place on the best summer destinations list. Summer is peak season here ... read more
- when winter winds and big waves die down, making for great beach weather - so come prepared with sunblock and a full wallet. Climb a volcano or wend your way down the gorgeous (and curvy) Hana Highway, and marvel at one of the world's great destinations.

Summer in Vail

Pretend you're meandering through Swiss chalets in this most glamorous of American ski resorts. Wait, isn't this a summer list? Vail is, indeed, principally known for its chic ski scene, but summers ... read more
here are also magical, packed with outdoor sports events, art, and foodie festivals. The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival features national orchestras, while the free Jazz Festival puts on weekly concerts beginning June 24. Still thinking about skiing? Compete in one of seven mountain bike races or go trail running or hot air ballooning. Refuel at the Vail Farmers' Market or indulge your foodie side with Memorial Day's Feast! Vail. We bet you'll start planning your next trip before you leave -- for next summer, that is.