The Perfect Vacation for Every Week of Summer
The best season of the year is as short as it is sun-filled, so you want to fit the maximum amount of fun into each and every week of summer. Here’s the plan to squeeze in every last drop of sunshine and excitement from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
May 25 to June 1: Napa Valley
Start the season off with a bang at the BottleRock Napa Valley with music, food, wine, and beer all served up under the sunny California skies. The festival, which calls itself “The First Taste of Summer” is headlined by Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, and Mumford and Sons, and the culinary stage pairs musicians with star chefs. Extra bonus: Memorial Day weekend in northern California offers perfect temps in the high 70s temperature. Take a break from the festival at Timber Cove Resort, a gorgeous resort set on a dramatic bluff high above the Pacific Ocean across 25 acres of beautiful Sonoma coastline with two miles of private oceanfront hiking trails on the property. Looking for a shorter trip? Start with these best weekend getaways in every state.
June 2 to 8: Nashville
The music continues in Nashville where the CMA Fest fills lower Broadway with live country music across multiple stages from June 3 to 9. Early June is also the perfect time to explore Nashville’s expansive and scenic green areas, like Centennial Park’s rolling lawns and glistening lake (not to mention the full-size replica of the Parthenon) or the colorful blooms at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. To avoid the music-loving crowds on Broadway, stay in the quieter midtown neighborhood where you’ll find hip eateries and the art-filled Kimpton Aertson Hotel, which boasts a luxurious rooftop pool for private views of the city (Taylor Swift lives nearby, giving you even more country music cache).
June 9 to 15: Kennebunk, Maine
Stretching along a prime stretch of Maine coast, the Kennebunks are a quintessential summer destination, with lobster rolls served at scenic waterside stops, sunny beaches (although the frigid Atlantic takes some getting used to), and a good dose of Americana (this was the former summer residence of George and Barbara Bush). Kennebunkport launches its summer season with Launch – A Maritime Festival Event that highlights local seafaring traditions like the “Captain’s Cook-Off” lobster bake, a River Lights Boat Parade, and a Blessing of the Fleet at Cape Porpoise on Sunday morning. Overlooking the Kennebunk River and a quick stroll to downtown Kennebunkport, the new The Yachtsman Hotel & Marina offers not only a waterfront location but also a pool IN a boat barge that floats right on the Kennebunk River.
June 16 to 22: Fairbanks, Alaska
The longest days of summer call for celebration, and in Alaska, where summer offers up just a few hours of darkness, the summer solstice is truly a call for a party. In Fairbanks, the Midnight Sun Festival offers up entertainment, music, and local food for Alaska’s largest single-day event. And Fairbanks is a summer paradise, with rafting and hiking and access to the Arctic and several national parks, including Denali, not to mention six breweries and distilleries, as well as dozens of restaurants. Find out 31 things you never knew about the summer solstice.
June 23 to 29: Portugal
Looking for a summer destination that offers fabulous beaches as well as great summer entertainment? Portugal has it all, including the best beach in all of Europe. According to Best of Europe magazine, it’s Carvoeiro Beach in Portugal’s enchanting Algarve region, which boasts scenic fishing villages, charming seaside restaurants, hidden grottoes, and turquoise waters. And for entertainment, it’s hard to beat the Feast of Saint John the Baptist (Festa de São João) in nearby Porto, held June 23 and 24, a celebration with fireworks, concerts, lots of food, oh, and the interesting tradition of hitting each other with garlic or plastic hammers (evidently a nod to pagan courtship rituals). Stay at the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort on the clifftop of Vale de Covo, with an incredible pool with views over the sea and easy access to the beach. For more beach fun, check out these great beaches for every month of the year.
June 30 to July 6: Washington, D.C.
The best time to travel to the nation’s capital is for the country’s birthday when you can attend the free “A Capitol Fourth” concert, line up along Constitution Avenue for the National Independence Day Parade, and at night take in the spectacular fireworks that light up the sky over the national museums and monuments. This patriotic week is also a good opportunity to explore the Smithsonian museums and zoo, pay your respects at Arlington National Cemetery, stroll along the Georgetown waterfront, or root for the home team at Nationals Park. The Washington Marriott Georgetown, is the perfect home base to explore D.C., away from the hustle and bustle of the city center it’s still in a prime location to explore the quaint shops and restaurants of the Georgetown area and close to attractions such as the Lincoln Memorial and Dupont Circle.
July 7 to 13: Montreal
Head north of the border to the French-influenced city of Montreal where the stars, and festivals, align to create a cornucopia of amazing entertainment this week. Start on Sunday, July 7, with the last day of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. On Monday, watch the high-flying feats that are part of the Montreal Circus Festival, which goes through July 14. On Wednesday, catch the fireworks display that lights up the night sky as part of the month-long L’International des Feux Loto-Québec fireworks competition (you’ll get a second chance Saturday night if you’re still here). Thursday starts the world’s largest comedy event, the Just for Laughs Festival.
July 14 to 20: Yellowstone National Park
Adventures by Disney (AbD) offers trips to the most popular national parks across the United States and Canada, including Yellowstone National Park, which was its very first “Adventure” trip a decade ago and is still one of its most popular. There’s availability this week to take the whole family on a summer adventure to Montana and Wyoming. You’ll explore Yellowstone’s amazing natural attractions, including the soaring waters of Old Faithful, the rainbow-hued Grand Prismatic Springs, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and then get to try out the “adventures” with horseback riding at a real dude ranch, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting in the Gallatin River, and zip lining in Big Sky. These are some more VIP Disney vacations you should try at least once.
July 21 to 27: Mackinac Island, Michigan
Named the number one summer destination in America by Tripadvisor, Mackinac Island is often referred to as being suspended in a more innocent time. “The Jewel of the Great Lakes,” Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron and has a ban on motor vehicles, limiting transportation to horse-and-buggy, walking, and biking on its traffic-free roads—making it the perfect place to unplug and unwind. And this week offers up plenty of amazing lake views as the Bayview Mackinac Race featuring an array of boats sailing between islands. Take in the boats and enjoy the beautiful lake beach setting at Mission Point; the seasonal resort set on 18 acres of lakefront property where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan, offers bike rentals; kite flying workshops; horseback riding lessons, and guided sunrise hikes. The resort is also home to Lakeside Spa and Salon, the island’s only full-service health and wellness retreat. Find out nine more of the most enchanting islands in the United States.
July 28 to August 3: Vail, Colorado
This cosmopolitan Colorado ski town is possibly even more fabulous in the warmer months, with nearly constant sunshine and no humidity. There are more than 340 miles of mountain bike and hiking trails to explore that traverse verdant mountain terrain, wildflowers, and towering pines, and Epic Discovery, Vail’s summer on-mountain experience, lets you try out everything from ziplining to mountain coasters. There’s also festivals aplenty all summer, including the internationally known Vail Dance Festival held this week with performances that feature the stars of dance so you can catch Misty Copeland pirouetting in person. Stay right in the heart of Vail Village at The Lodge at Vail which has a pool with mountain views and lovely outdoor patio dining with firepits where you can make s’mores and watch the stars.
August 4 to 10: St. Lucia
Spend August satisfying your sweet tooth during St. Lucia’s Chocolate Heritage Month. The Caribbean island produces some of the world’s most sought-after chocolate (a third of which is used in treats made by Hershey’s). Base your chocolate-drenched beach stay at The Landings Resort and Spa where the 70 privately owned airy and luxurious one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites are elegantly appointed and have plenty of room for families. St. Lucia is also one of our favorite warm-weather destinations to beat the cold.
August 11 to 17: Great Smoky Mountains
Head to the untouched beauty and great outdoors of the Great Smoky Mountains for the “Celebrating Our Appalachian Musical Roots” festival in downtown Gatlinburg, which features hit songwriters and live music. The event/entertainment is free and aspiring songwriters can partake in song competitions, workshops, mentoring sessions, and stage spots. Stay among the pines, fall asleep under the stars and wake up in one of America’s most iconic national parks to the sounds of nature, and then spend the day on the Appalachian Trail, fly fishing or white water rafting. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the crisp mountain air at the ultimate glamping vacation, Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains. The campsite comprises safari-inspired canvas lodging tents, which can hold up to seven people and are furnished with Casper mattresses, luxe linens, West Elm furniture, woodburning stoves, and full bathrooms.
August 18 to 24: Minnesota State Fair
Princesses carved in butter, deep-fried food on sticks, and more than 320 acres of adorable farm animals, adrenaline-pumping rides, entertainment, shopping and fun are all on tap at the fun and friendly Minnesota Get-Together (also known as the Minnesota State Fair), which opens August 22 with a concert by Hootie and the Blowfish. When you’re done filling up on favorite fair food like Sweet Martha’s famous cookies, cheese curds, and foot-long hot dogs (not to mention beer in flavors like Caramel Corn Cream Ale), head to nearby Minneapolis for a luxe stay at Hotel Ivy, which in addition to offering plush rooms, has a yacht or luxury sailboat for use only by Hotel Ivy guests, to experience the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” in style. Check out these food festivals worth a pit stop.
August 25 to September 2: New York City
Yes, we know, this week span has nine days, but we’re ending summer in style in the Big Apple with a Labor Day weekend watching the tennis stars shine bright under the lights at the U.S. Open. The tournament starts August 26, and the first three rounds offer all-day play happening simultaneously on dozens of courts, not to mention you can sample delicious fare from some of NYC’s top chefs while you watch your favorite player.s. In your free time, explore the city—there’s always something new to experience in the city that never sleeps. Make the most of your experience by staying at The Bowery Hotel, a quintessential Manhattan property that put the East Village on the map. Don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity or two (or a tennis star) while enjoying a cocktail in the elegant Lobby Bar or indulging in a bowl of decadent pasta at Gemma Restaurant. Next, read on for the 15 top vacation spots in the United States.
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