As the weather gets warmer and pandemic restrictions ease, it’s likely that you’ve been thinking about summer and where you’ll travel for vacation this year. With so many unique places to explore around the world and a thousand articles with different perspectives and opinions to share, it can be difficult to narrow down your options. While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we are happy to share some of the most popular summer vacation destinations worldwide to help you explore your options as you start to think about your next big adventure. Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a professional relaxer or a culture aficionado, you’re bound to discover something cool in one of these top vacation destinations.
For The Sightseer: London, England
There’s so much to see and do in London England that you’re bound to have a packed itinerary no matter what your interests are! Whether you’re looking to shop until you drop at beautiful boutiques, explore all the incredible museums and galleries, admire the architecture, taste your way through the city or entertain your kids, there are plenty of activities to add to your list.
June through August are the warmest months in London, and July is typically one of the driest months of the year. Visiting in the summer means warmer temperatures and humidity, so make sure to pack a light rain jacket and umbrella. There are plenty of summer festivals you can catch if you plan to travel between June and August, including London Pride, Kaleidoscope, Wimbledon Championships and the Notting Hill Carnival.
London was notoriously criticized for its lack of creative/inventive cuisine, but the culinary landscape has drastically changed, making it into a top foodie destination with its melting pot of cultures. Enjoy eating your way through the city, trying everything from British classics to contemporary Indian to Malaysian. It’s also a hot spot for celebrity chefs, so keep an eye out for a variety of Michelin-starred restaurants. Plus, you won’t want to skip grabbing a pint of beef in a British pub. Since all of the UK speaks English as their first language, you won’t have to worry about learning a new language for this trip. You will, however, need to exchange your Canadian dollars for British pounds. This can be pricey, so keep an eye out for fluctuating exchange rates and start purchasing currency in advance to ease the financial burden at the time of your trip.
For The Foodie & Art Lover: Rome, Italy
Many of Rome’s most incredible attractions are outdoors, so visiting during the summer months means you can take in every last inch of them in the hot Italian sunshine. Discover the mysteries of Vatican City, take in the atmosphere in Piazza Navona, explore ancient historical sites, soak up the incredible art, take a tour around the city to learn about its history and don’t forget to eat to your heart’s content!
Rome is a beautiful combination of ancient ruins and modern-day marvels, with new and exciting things to discover around every corner. Whether you’re travelling solo, exploring with a group of friends or packing up the kids, there are plenty of things to see and do for all ages and interests.
Italy is very friendly when it comes to English speaking tourists, but it can never hurt to learn some key Italian phrases before your trip. You’ll find a plethora of restaurants in all shapes and sizes all over Rome serving up Roman classics like cacio e pepe and Carbonara. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll definitely want to try a few glasses as you explore the city. Whether you’re more into contemporary high-end options or homestyle rustic dining, Rome has something for every preference and palate.
June through August are the hottest months of the year but also the driest. When it comes to currency, you can easily use any major credit cards, but you’ll also want to purchase some Euros in advance so you can step off the plane and enjoy a cold gelato as soon as you land in Roma!
For The Outdoor Enthusiast: Yellowstone National Park
With breathtaking scenery spread out across 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone National Park creeps from the northwest corner of Wyoming into the edges of Idaho and Montana, offering plenty of untouched territory to explore for any outdoor enthusiast. This isn’t your typical lush and green park. While you’ll indeed find beautiful forests, you’ll also come across hot springs, expansive meadows and volatile geysers launching streams of steaming water toward the sky. If you plan to explore this park as part of your summer vacation, you’ll want to prepare to meet more than other tourists on the trails. Permanent residents include buffalo, elk and sometimes even grizzlies, so being aware of your surroundings and knowing how to interact with wildlife is an important part of choosing this destination.
Since the park is so vast, it’s hard to plan out how you’ll see as much as you can, let alone all of it. Set aside a day or two to take in the view at Yellowstone Lake and Mammoth Hot Springs, but make sure to save some time for the trails through lesser-known regions, like the hot springs of the West Thumb Geyser Basin and the untamed wildlife dotting the Lewis River Channel and Dogshead Loop. While the sheer number of trails and wildlife-watching opportunities may seem daunting at first, remember that you can always come back again!
Surprisingly, the park has a lot of dining options. Inside the park itself, you’ll find general stores, canteens, snack shops and even bars. You can also find sit-down restaurants near the most popular attractions in the park like Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful. Not exactly known as a foodie destination, this trip is more for those who are looking to experience nature, not the culinary arts.
July and August are the most popular times to visit the park, as the weather is warm enough to sleep outside and all the park facilities are open. Do keep in mind that the temperatures have been known to drop into the 30s during the summer months, so check the forecast before you go and pack smart by including thermals and jackets so you can layer if necessary. The currency will be US dollars, which is easy to exchange from Canada, and you won’t have to worry about a language barrier.
For The Thrill Seeker: New Zealand
Known globally as the “adventure capitol” of the world, New Zealand is home to a plethora of exciting things to do for any thrill-seeking traveller, including kayaking, jet boating, hiking, windsurfing, mountain biking, white-water rafting, ziplining, surfing and so much more. With beautiful scenery at every turn, it’s no wonder it makes the list for a top summer vacation destination! Scenic landscapes appear otherworldly, with volcanos, vistas, forests, beaches and more. New Zealand is a great spot for photographers, birdwatchers, nature lovers, adrenaline junkies and everyone in between.
New Zealand’s seafood is world famous! You’ll want to try their crayfish, king salmon and green-lipped mussels. Kiwis also love lamb, pavlova, fresh fruits and traditional Māori foods found nestled in nature. You can also expect to find beautiful wineries and vineyards amongst the scenic vistas.
If you’re travelling for adventure, make sure to pack thermal layers for warmth. June through August is technically winter in New Zealand, so this time of the year brings snow in the mountains, and clear, crisp days for exploring. Temperatures typically range from 1.5 – 15.5 degrees Celsius (35 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit) at this time of the year. The further south you go, the colder you will get, with temperatures significantly lower in Queenstown than in Auckland. Locals speak English, so the lack of language barrier is a bonus, and their currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZD), so you’ll want to exchange your money in advance if possible.
For The National Traveler: Vancouver
If you want to stay within Canada this year, consider travelling to Vancouver during the summer months to enjoy big energy festivals like Jazz Fest, Vancouver Pride or the Honda Celebration of Light. Warmer temperatures mean more exploring in the beautiful parks surrounding the city and sunbathing along the 11 miles of beaches.
Explore beautiful and eclectic Granville Island, spend a day hiking, biking or white-water rafting in nature and enjoy excellent shopping districts, a great variety and quality of culinary experiences and a vibrant nightlife scene. Vancouver boasts a great seafood scene due to its proximity along the Pacific Coast, so keep an eye out for fish and chip stands, oyster bars and speciality seafood restaurants throughout the city. You’ll find a diverse mix of food here that matches the population of Vancouver. Their Chinatown is North America’s third largest by population after San Francisco and New York. Explore the Punjabi Market, an Indo-Canadian neighbourhood in South Vancouver serving up Indian fare, and don’t miss Richmond, an area just south of Vancouver that’s considered to have the best Asian food in North America!
June through August are the hottest months of the year in Vancouver but also the time when you can expect the least amount of rain, but you may still want to pack an umbrella or light rain jacket, especially if you plan to take any boat tours.
Vancouver is a diverse melting pot of cultures, and while English and French will be the official languages, as they are anywhere in Canada, you can expect to hear Chinese, Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish on your adventures as well.
No matter what type of trip you’re seeking, you’ll likely find it in one of these top summer vacation destinations. If you’re unsure how to choose the ideal spot, take some time to determine what dates you’d like to travel, what method of transportation you’ll use, what budget you have set aside and what you’d like to do while on vacation. Narrowing down these details in advance will help you set expectations and choose a summer vacation destination that’s perfect for YOU!