The most popular travel season of the year just got a little bit busier. In the United States alone, there is an expected 3.4% increase in summer airline travel this year, according to ABC News. With so many eager tourists flocking to some of the world’s most famous beaches this summer, you might want to think outside the box while planning your perfect getaway. Whether you’re looking for a lush rainforest retreat or your own slice of paradise on a secluded beach, we have some epic travel recommendations to help inspire you this summer.
Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii, U.S.A.
On the north side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai is the small community of Princeville. Located just next door to the picturesque Hanalei Bay, you’ll be awestruck while watching the sunset where the mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. Hike or paddleboard through the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge to see natural Hawaii at its finest. Venture to the beach to see Queens Bath, an oceanside tide pool perfect for taking a dip on a hot summer day. Be ready to share the tide pools with sea life — you never know what you’ll see on the shores of Kauai.
Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
It’s true that not everyone wants the heat during their summer vacation, especially those who already live in warm climates. If you’re looking to cool down this summer, head to Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, where temperatures average between the upper 50s and low 60s during the summertime — perfect for hiking, kayaking and camping without getting overheated. With a variety of accommodations in the area, you can make your getaway a luxurious spa retreat at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, or a cozy cabin adventure at the Alpine Village. Your time with nature in the Canadian Rockies will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.
Ayia Napa, Cyprus
The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is split into two parts — a Turkish Cypriot government in the northeast and a Greek Cypriot government in the southwest. The heavy influence of both allows visitors to experience a variety of cultures during their trip. From the Larnaca International Airport, drive along the southern coast of the island to the resort town of Ayia Napa to begin your beach vacation.
You might feel like you’ve landed on a Greek island while walking the narrow stone streets. With bright blue shutters and cascading greenery, the Greek influence is heavy on this side of the island. Explore ancient caves on the shoreline, join in on the nightlife, discover the rich history of Cyprus on tours of ancient ruins or spend the day snorkeling and sunbathing in the sea. From action-packed to laid-back and relaxing, your Ayia Napa getaway can be whatever you want it to be.
Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy
Summer beach vacations are hard to beat, but tucked away in the Dolomites, the town of Cortina D’Ampezzo proves that mountain getaways aren’t just for the wintertime. The Dolomites in Northeastern Italy are part of the Southern Limestone Alps — one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world. These jagged peaks provide a dramatic contrast to the green valley below.
Summertime in the Dolomites is perfect for hiking, sightseeing, trying local Italian cuisine or treating yourself to a luxurious spa day. Lago di Sorapiss is a must-see, crystal blue lake just east of the village. While access to the lake is limited in the winter due to snow, the summertime is the perfect opportunity to visit this serene area.
Mauritius is a small, secluded island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. If you’re in need of some peace and quiet this summer, look no further. While the island is small, it boasts a surprisingly large variety of 5-star, boutique and casual hotels. There are endless natural wonders to see on the island, but Black River Gorges National Park should be at the top of your list. Located on the southern tip of the island, this national park offers rainforest hikes to cascading waterfalls, picnic areas and encounters withy macaques.
Keep in mind that summertime in Mauritius is technically from November to April, but temperatures during May through September are comfortable in the low 70s.
The Swiss Alps have much more to offer than skiing. During the summertime, guests can enjoy hiking in 60-degree weather while being treated to panoramic views of the countryside. The town of Lauterbrunnen in central Switzerland is a storybook village come to life. Traditional Swiss chalet style buildings are set to a backdrop of mountains and the famed Staubbach Falls. After you’ve explored this charming town, try paragliding over the valley, visit the Sphinx Observatory or take a cable car to the Schilthorn summit.