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Can't Avoid a Summer Trip...But Where?

I know this forum offers mostly European travel tips, but I'm at a loss and have always gotten such great advice here. Our family of 4 (including a high schooler and college student) want to take a trip next June. Unfortunately no time off during the school year except the week after Christmas align outside of June/July. We usually never travel overseas during this time to avoid crowds/expense/heat, and now all of that seems worse than ever!
So where should we go? I've thought about Alaska. But we're kinda nervous to do Mexico and poor Hawaii seems like they don't need more tourists! I like national parks but no one else in my family does. Maybe some kind of road trip on the NE coast? Costa Rica? We live in AZ and have spent a good bit of time in California and Florida.
Any help is appreciated!

Posted by
14150 posts

Actually Hawaii is emphasizing the fact that except for Maui, the other islands are open for business.

Everywhere is going to be busy. Go where you want to go.

Posted by
284 posts

Choose a different island in Hawaii, at least until we hear that other areas on Maui can accommodate tourism and help the economic/housing/living situation. I love Costa Rica--did several trips there with students. Alaska would also be good although the mosquitos are worse in June, depending on your location. There are many great places in Mexico (Oaxaca, Baja, Yucatan, Guadalajara, Mexico City). If you have already spent a lot of time in Florida--then maybe not the Keys or the Caribbean islands? Perhaps Canada? June would be good for Vancouver, and I suspect Montreal, Toronto.

Posted by
176 posts

The previous posts are great! another idea---Azores? With college age kids great hiking and more low keyed?

Posted by
3496 posts

Also if you go some places in Europe besides Italy and France (and maybe parts of England) crowds this year were not bad. Try Croatia (other than Dubrovnik), northern Greece, Montenegro, Austria away from Vienna, Scotland outside Edinburgh, Ireland in smaller towns, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary …. There will be tourists, but not the hordes. It’s possible.

Posted by
1171 posts

Alaska? Go see the bears at Katmai. You can see them live at Explore dot org right now catching fish at Brooks Falls.

Posted by
1507 posts

How adventurous are you and the family? I recently got back from 3.5 weeks in S America and had a blast. No crowds except at Iguazu falls and cheap - weather was mainly great - a few hot days in parts of Brazil but also lots of chilly mornings in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

There are lots of places to go and things to do and it is light on your wallet. Even airfare wasn't too bad. One caveat - it helps to know some Spanish except for Brazil where Google translate comes in handy.

Posted by
2037 posts

If you can handle heat and humidity, Costa Rica is awesome. We traveled with our two teens and stayed at Chachagua and Baldi resorts near the Arenal volcano. Chachagua is absolutely wonderful. Baldi is like a Disneyland of hot springs. We also stayed in Tamarindo. The people are amazing, food is delicious and reasonably priced, and the tourism industry is great. It’s way cheaper than Hawaii.

We went zip lining twice in two places (we loved it so much) and whitewater rafting.

Posted by
1653 posts

Iceland! You won't get hot temperatures there, and it is an amazing country! We just got back from our 5th trip and will return. There is just so much to see and do there. Do a ring road trip and there are activities for everyone.

Posted by
1587 posts

So what do your kids and significant other want? Are they wanting cities and museums? Beaches?

I am a Bostonian by birth. Boston and New England perhaps?

A few have suggested Canada. It is a big country with great cities and magnificent scenery. Churchill is known for its polar bears but I do not know when they are out and about.

I have been to Alaska twice and Hawaii, both fabulous.

Mexico can be safe if you are cautious and do your homework but I would not recommend driving in Mexico.

There is plenty of time since you are going to be vacationing next June.

What are the four of you looking for in a.vacation?

Posted by
2680 posts

I would advise against considering Mexico as a summer destination. Temperatures then can be extremely hot. Better to go during the winter months when it's usually delightful.
Hawaii is still open for business. Kauai and Oahu are excellent choices, and The Big Island is our particular favorite.

Posted by
502 posts

My travel companion was limited to summer this year. We spent 3 weeks in Denmark, Norway, Hamburg, and Schleswig Holstein (Germany). There was a notable difference between tourist numbers in the last week of June in Copenhagen versus mid-July when we returned for our homeward flight.

I'm currently looking at late June 2024 for another European trip with my companion next fall. I'm hoping that we can squeeze in our trip before the July hordes arrive. If a European destination is what you and your family really want, I would go ahead.

Posted by
531 posts

If anyone plans to go to Europe next summer, just be aware that the Olympics will be in Paris, July 26-Aug 11.

Posted by
166 posts

How about coming to Vancouver Island? You can be assured that there will be wildfires in British Columbia, but thanks to wind flow, we rarely get any smoke here. You’re never far from the ocean and the American dollar goes a long ways here. Victoria is very British and Tofino is a fabulous place for the high schooler and college student. Bet you can’t surf in Arizona!

Posted by
350 posts

Another option is Western Canada including Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and maybe Jasper. Great hiking and beautiful sites. Depending on the amount of time you have you could head west and end up in Vancouver or go south to Waterton National Park/ on the Canadian side/Glacier National Park on the American side.

Posted by
283 posts

WOW! What a ton of great suggestions! As much as I would love to go to Europe, I suspect plane ticket prices at that time would be cost prohibitive. We'll probably stay in this hemisphere for sure. I just ran into a friend who's a big advocate for Hawaii's Big Island, which several of you seem to like too.

Debbie-those bears are amazing! I'm going to keep that cam on my list of favorites!
Arnold-I'm nervous about some of South America, although my husband does speak Spanish so we may keep that on a back burner list.
Travel4fun-Costa Rica does sound pretty great. I do see cheap flights there sometimes so I'll look into that more.
bostonphil7-we tend to vacation in cities or at the beach...I think we could squeeze in some nature if it's close enough to the other two favorites. I def want to see Boston someday!
Susie and Wendy-We have visited Vancouver before but I'd love to see the sites nearby. I will look into a combo visit in western Canada.

Thanks everyone again!

Posted by
61 posts

How long? Input from kids for interests or even planning?
Boston/NE road trip or cruise ,
DC/Baltimore/Annapolis, Eastern shore,
Ocean City MD or NJ,
Norfolk/Virginia Beach,
NC Outer Banks,
Myrtle Beach, Charleston,
Savannah, Atlanta,

Galveston/cruise from,

Chicago/Great Lakes road trip,
Nashville/Memphis/New Orleans/Louisville?
Pittsburgh yes I said the Burgh!
Puerto Rico/US Virgin Islands,
Other mid Atlantic and mid west cities: they all have museums, gardens, historic sites and architecture, foodie scenes, sometimes amusement parks, etc!

Posted by
4374 posts

Western North Carolina. Perhaps base in Ashville and do day trips. No beaches, but the mountains are wonderful, and it's usually not too hot. Do a google search for the area and see if it holds any interest.

Posted by
531 posts

Here's an easy hack to find deals on flights to anywhere in the world if you're flexible:

  1. Go to Google Flights on your phone or desktop. Don't enter in any information except for your origination airport
  2. Click Explore, then select the options that work best for you
  3. You can then view deals to destinations all over the world in the next 6 months. You can obvs wait a few months if you don't want to do anything until next year.

Hope this helps you narrow down ideas!

Posted by
136 posts

Montreal and the Eastern Townships of Quebec would make a great trip. You could also fly into a Burlington, VT for this and spend some time there. Montreal has an incredible food scene and plenty to do. The Eastern Townships are about an hour and a half from Montreal.

I visited the Eastern Townships at the end of last summer, and the area is wonderful - plenty of outdoorsy activities, thermal spas, the largest organic lavender farm in Canada, good restaurants, etc. One of the highlights for me was Foresta Lumina, which is an easy hike/ multimedia show at nighttime that was simply fantastic. It’s hard to do it justice with that description, but I’m sure there are plenty of videos online that would. This area made the NY Times’ list of “52 Places to Visit in 2023”.

The exchange rate makes Canada especially affordable, and going north might alleviate your concerns about heat (but no guarantees, of course!). Good luck with your planning.

Posted by
11 posts

While your family may not be particularly interested in national parks, you can still plan a road trip that incorporates various attractions along the Northeast Coast. Consider visiting cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., where you can explore historical landmarks, museums, and cultural sites. You can also include a visit to Acadia National Park in Maine or Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to add some natural beauty to your trip.

Posted by
2993 posts

I would do the Upper Midwest (where I live). SD: Mt Rushmore, Black Hills, dinosaur museums. WY: Laramie, Devil's tower, Custer battlefield, dinosaur museums. Denver: all kinds of things, Rocky Mountain, dinosaur museums, Dinosaur National Monument. ND: TR National Park, but no dinosaur museums that I am aware of. Montana/Idaho/Wyoming: Yellowstone, probably dinosaurs.

Posted by
7207 posts

Alaska is fantastic and you must do it in the Summer.

Take a cruise that includes Glacier Bay and the Hubbard Glacier, a cruise from Vancouver to Seward.
Then do a land trip to Denali.

Posted by
1171 posts

@Jill M - thanks for that Google Flights tip. I was not aware of it!

Posted by
14 posts

I will second South Dakota. Lots in that area and we looped in an overnight trip to nearby Devil's Tower in Wyoming. My main regret is that we couldn't get in to see the Delta-09 Minuteman Missile Silo (operated by National Park Service) as reservation had to be made well ahead. Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, campgrounds (we rented an RV from local Cruise America) which was an adventure unto itself.

Posted by
15123 posts

June is our favorite time to visit Alaska. The mosquitoes can be annoying, but the near-constant daylight, wildflowers, and wildlife more than make up for that.

The Brooks Falls bear-viewing cam is fun to watch, but be advised that the lodge and backpackers camp their book up solid well in advance. People plan 2 years ahead for this. However, you can reach the bear-viewing site on a daytrip by float plane. Late June would be better than earlier,mas the sockeye salmon run does not usually start until mid-June ( though these days, who knows).

Other things to do in Alaska—-fishing, hiking, kayaking on the Kenai Peninsula, whale-watching and glacier cruises from Seward, Whittier, or Juneu, trekking on a glacier, wildlife spotting (mainly Denali NP), whitewater rafting, and more.

Many families enjoy seeing Alaska by cruise up the Inside Passage from Vancouver to Seward, followed by 5-7 days exploring the Kenai Peninsula and/or Denali NP. The latter may not PpeL to your family members who are not national park fans, as Denali is not an easy park to visit. But I think they could find plenty of exciting and interesting things to do on the Kenai Peninsula.

Here is a good brochure on summer activities available on the Kenai at or near Alyeska ski resort, 30 minutes south of Anchorage:

Posted by
2993 posts

As to the Minuteman site, I visited that some years ago, and it was a big YAAAAWWWWNNNN. Maybe it has improved. The Mammoth site in Hot Springs is better, along with the Black Hills Institute of Paleontology in Hill City.

I am sort of dino-centric.

Posted by
5591 posts

We usually never travel overseas during this time to avoid
crowds/expense/heat, and now all of that seems worse than ever!

There are many places in Europe you could consider. Scandinavia still has a low risk of heat and there are many places that are very uncrowded, even in the peak season.