Since as far back as I can remember, this has been one of my favorite quotes… I even had it inscribed on my iPod.
One of the questions / comments I get most often as a travel blogger is, “isn’t your life always summer vacation?” Short answer is no. When I travel to a lot of these amazing locales, it’s often work and to me summer vacation is one of those times where I can let loose, put my phone away and get lost in how wondrous the world it. During summer, it seems like this whole hemisphere is teeming with life and “summer vacation” to me conjures up images of sunfish sailboats crisscrossing on a mirror-like New Hampshire lake, the sweet smells of cheeseburgers and “congo bars” *shoutout to Camp Waukeela… tipsy topdown convertible rides on Hamptons back roads *I wasn’t driving… flash fried fritti misti in a paper cone in Salentino beach towns and the ice-cream, memories of scoops all over the world. So, as I plan my holidays, I thought I’d share with you some top places on my bucket list and near to my heart. Maybe I’ll see you guys there?
Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Memories of New England buttery lobster rolls. Meandering bike rides to the local ice cream parlor, sunset walks along wooden beach walkways. Few locales conjure up Northeast Americana like that of Cape Cod. With a 40 mile stretch of uninterrupted beach, countless outdoor adventures await you in the Cape! Take out the sail boat for a day or bike admist the dunes. Whatever you choose Cape Cod is definitely the place to make lifelong summer memories.
Manchester, Vermont. Rolling meadows and farmhouses tucked in the beautiful Green Mountains, the town of Manchester, Vermont is quintessential American beauty. Before organic was cool, there was Vermont. Head to a cheese and wine tasting at a local dairy farm, take a picturesque hike and stumble upon a meadow of wildflowers, plunge into cool icy waters of a fresh water lake. Many people venture up to Manchester come winter ski season but Manchester truly has natural beauties to offer all year round. Oh and by the way, tons of luxury outlet shopping!
Hilton Head, South Carolina. It might be hot and swampy in Savannah during the summer but why not take a reprieve from soaking up all that history amidst the Spanish Moss and head 45 minutes outside the city to Hilton Head. There are 24 world-class golf resorts on this little enclave so you know it’s definitely a big destination for the who’s who of the East Coast. Golf not your thing? Take a horseback ride through a forest reserve or learn about the Gullah community.
Key West, Florida. Head down to our very own Caribbean paradise in the US, Key West, Florida in the Florida Keys. Known for it’s eclectic charm and rich literary history, it’s no wonder that Ernest Hemingway called this paradise home. Snorkel in that Caribbean emerald blue and experience all this island archipelago has to offer, but don’t tire yourself out with waterfront activities — mile long Duval street will have you eating, drinking and dancing throughout the night.
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Still craving that Caribbean Sun? Head to St. Thomas, or really any of the US Virgin Islands. The colorful capital city of Charlotte Amalie provides ample photo-opps with their pastel colored Danish Colonial era buildings. Spending your days snorkeling the pristine enclaves or sipping rum concoctions on the beach. Added perk? U.S. citizens can go to the U.S. Virgin Islands without passports.
Varadero Beach, Cuba. Sure, there are tons of islands to take in those Caribbean blue waves but this summer why not head to what was formerly a no-go for American travelers. Fly into Havana and soak up the history and culture and then spend a few days lolling around the beach resort area of Varadero, a short car ride away.
Santa Cruz, California. You saw the picturesque landscapes of Monterrey on HBO’s hit Big Little Lies so spend a weekend this summer in the beautiful, coastal city of Santa Cruz. This hippy surf city is teeming with culture from the waves to the redwoods.
Cannon Beach, Oregon. Fulfill that childhood fantasy and see that majestic seaside town that was featured on The Goonies. Marvel at Haystack Rock; National Geographic listed Cannon Beach as one of the most beautiful places in the world in 2013 and it’s easy to see why! Stay at the famed Stephanie Inn for sweeping views, pampering and the best that the Oregon coast has to offer.
Maui, Hawaii. Known as the Valley Isle, the Hawaiian island of Maui has been renowned as a celeb-favorite destination for decades. With over 30 miles of beach, you’re sure to find a spot to call your own. Or if you’re more of the adventure type go for a day trip through Haleakala National Park, home to Maui’s highest peak. Maui also boast a lush Upcountry replete with farms and golf courses. Yea, that’s a red sand beach; ask a local to find out how to get there.
Azores, Portugal. Forget the French Riviera or packed Italian beaches. Walk on the wild side and head to the Azores, otherwise known as heaven on Earth. A seemingly untouched biosphere 800 miles of the coast of Portugal, the nine islands of the Azores are teaming with flora and fauna that will make you catch your breath. Vineyards, historical old towns, volcanic land masses, waterfalls, there really is something for every traveler in this island chain.