Healthy Travel Tips »

Healthy Travel Tips » Stay safe on vacation

The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

With the help of reader votes and editor analysis, we rounded up this summer's top getaways.

U.S. News & World Report

The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

A smiling man carries his girlfriend on his back at a beach.
Credit

(Getty Images)

These spots offer something for every type of traveler.

Summer's longer days and warmer weather encourages us to get up from our desks and out into the sunshine. But instead of just taking a longer lunch break, why not cash in some of those vacation days and take off to your ideal destination? After weighing factors such as weather, activities, affordability, accessibility and lodging options, plus reader votes and industry advice, U.S. News created a comprehensive ranking of the Best Summer Vacations of 2016.
Cityscape of Munich with Alps in the background.
Credit

(Getty Images)

13. Munich

Home to popular biergartens, hearty cuisine and baroque architecture, Munich welcomes summertime visitors with warm weather and numerous festivals, including the Munich Film Festival and Christopher Street Day (a popular LGBT festival). Plus, the city offers an excellent public transportation system, making it easy to get around when you tire from walking. Keep in mind, summer is a popular time to visit, so book your hotel a few weeks in advance.
Next:

These spots offer something for every type of traveler.

Summer's longer days and warmer weather encourages us to get up from our desks and out into the sunshine. But instead of just taking a longer lunch break, why not cash in some of those vacation days and take off to your ideal destination? After weighing factors such as weather, activities, affordability, accessibility and lodging options, plus reader votes and industry advice, U.S. News created a comprehensive ranking of the Best Summer Vacations of 2016.

13. Munich

Home to popular biergartens, hearty cuisine and baroque architecture, Munich welcomes summertime visitors with warm weather and numerous festivals, including the Munich Film Festival and Christopher Street Day (a popular LGBT festival). Plus, the city offers an excellent public transportation system, making it easy to get around when you tire from walking. Keep in mind, summer is a popular time to visit, so book your hotel a few weeks in advance.

12. Chicago

June through August is a great time to catch a ballgame at Wrigley Field, walk through Millennium Park and get your photo taken with Cloud Gate, or "The Bean" to locals. To cool off (average temperatures hover between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit), hop on a Chicago architecture river cruise and make your way through the city by boat. Plus, summer in the Windy City offers the chance to sprawl out along 26 miles of public beaches, check out numerous festivals and witness memorable fireworks displays at Navy Pier.

11. Montreal

With mild, sunny 60- and 70-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, Montreal in the summer is a breath of fresh air. Here, you'll find more than 26,000 flowers in bloom at the Montreal Botanical Garden. Plus, there are numerous festivals, including the Formula One Grand Prix and the Montreal International Jazz Festival, open-air markets, the massive La Ronde amusement park and Parc du Mont-Royal, a favorite dog-friendly spot to linger with a picnic, swim in Beaver Lake, hike, bike or stroll with your pet.

10. San Francisco

The vibrant streets of San Francisco come to life in the summer, as the warmer weather brings numerous street festivals, including San Francisco Pride and North Beach Festival, and the trails and lakes of Golden Gate Park become a hot spot for picnickers and athletes alike. Ride the cable cars to feel the wind in your hair, stroll through the famous Castro district, take a daytrip to see the towering redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument or take a ferry ride out to Alcatraz Island. No matter how you want to spend your vacation, make sure to book your trip several months in advance as hotels and flights can fill up quickly in the summertime. 

9. Amsterdam

Amsterdam's quaint streets and canals are ideal for leisurely strolling during the summer when daytime temperatures stay between an idyllic 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. After sundown, these same streets buzz with energy from the lively bars, especially in Leidseplein, the center of the city’s entertainment and nightlife scene. For a break from the crowds, head to Vondelpark for a picnic, to swim, hike or rent rollerblades. And if you're craving a beach, Zandvoort is located about 17 miles west of the city and is accessible by car or by taking the train from Centraal station.

8. Yellowstone National Park

With picturesque scenery, ample hiking trails and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, summertime is an ideal season to visit Yellowstone, the world's first national park. Home to some of Mother Nature's most impressive features, including the famous Old Faithful geyser, Hayden Valley's fascinating wildlife and the travertine formations of Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone is a popular destination, especially in the summer. Avoid crowds by getting an early start on the hiking trails and reserving your lodging as far in advance as possible. Keep in mind, it's not unusual for hotels to book up months ahead of time for the summer season.  

7. Mykonos, Greece

Lively festivals, a hot nightlife scene, warm 70- and 80-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, open-air concerts, theater productions and scenic beaches are all factors that contribute to Mykonos being an ideal summer destination. Paradise Beach's soft sands and Psarou Beach's relaxing atmosphere draws sun worshippers, while Little Venice's picturesque views, restaurants and shops attract culture hounds. But remember: You won't be the only one planning a vacation to this Greek paradise. To avoid high prices, make sure to book your hotel and flights by early spring.

6. Paris

Pleasant temperatures and longer days mean you can spend more time on your Parisian vacation sitting at outdoor cafes, strolling along the Seine, shopping on the Champs-Élysées and visiting the Eiffel Tower and the Luxembourg Gardens. You won't be alone, though, as the City of Light draws crowds year-round. Plan ahead by booking your hotel as early as possible.

5. Nice, France

Known for its pebbly beaches, delicious cuisine, summertime festivals, including the Nice Jazz Festival, and its vibrant fruit and flower market, Nice is a supreme destination for those looking to splurge on a memorable vacation.  As the largest city on the French Riviera, Nice is also one of the most popular locales, so brace yourself for plenty of crowds and high hotel rates.

4. Barcelona

For the traveler that wants a mix of adventure and relaxation, Barcelona is the ideal summer destination. This cosmopolitan city along the Mediterranean Sea boasts steep mountains, verdant parks, world-renowned architecture, a popular fútbol (soccer) team and, of course, refreshing sangria. However, Barcelona in the summertime also ushers in high temperatures coupled with high humidity, plus staggering hotel and flight costs, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. To cut travel costs, consider cashing in some of your travel rewards points for flights and hotel stays.

3. Fiji

Are you in search of aquamarine waters, white sands and tropical weather without high humidity? Look no further than Fiji. This warm-weather locale is a popular – and pricey – spot for a summer vacation, but you can save some money by visiting in June, before the summer crowds arrive and prices start to climb. Once you're here, spend your days lounging at the Coral Coast's scenic beaches, snorkeling and scuba diving around the coral reefs of Mamanucas or smelling the orchids at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. 

2. Santorini

New to our ranking list this year, Santorini earned high marks across the board to nab the No. 2 spot. Adored for its colorful beaches, preserved archaeological sites and fresh seafood delicacies, this coastal destination is ideal for foodies and sun worshippers alike. If you're planning to visit between June and August, make sure to book your stay at least two months in advance. And to save some money, leave the beach and visit the authentic (and less expensive) tavernas in town, or book your accommodations in southeastern villages like Kamari and Perissa. 

1. Maui, Hawaii

With its pristine shorelines, warm weather, turquoise waters and numerous golf courses, it's no surprise that Maui is the No. 1 summer destination for the second year in a row. Spend your day lounging on Wailea Beach or Kaanapali Beach, driving along the Road to Hana or exploring the former tribal battlegrounds in Iao Valley State Park. If you're traveling with kids, summer is the ideal time to visit Maui, when the waters are at their calmest. There are also plenty of festivals, like Kapalua Wine & Food Festival. And the Old Lahaina Luau is a must for first-time visitors who want to learn more about Hawaiian culture.
1 of 14

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.