There are few things in life that we look forward to more than a summer vacation, as it’s finally a chance to unwind and forget all the stresses that usually accompany day-to-day life. Additionally, there is a benefit to choosing an interesting and exotic location: bragging to friends and family. The following places are not only great locations to visit in the summer months, but they offer both cultural and visual flavors that will provide stories and memories to last a lifetime.

Paris, France

paris overview

It is not a secret that Paris is a great place to visit in the summer, and this common knowledge is reflected in the crowds and prices. It’s best to plan this trip way in advance, then just enjoy the amazing weather and historical landmarks that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Don’t miss going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, visiting Notre Dame Cathedral, or seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Though it can be a nice trip for families, the high price tag makes a Paris more of a romantic getaway for couples—one that’s sure to keep the fire going, or ignite a new spark.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco overview 2

Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” While the cold breeze from the San Francisco Bay can get a bit chilly, the sun will be shining and the mid-60’s temperatures will be much appreciated while you’re doing all the walking that’s necessary to fully take in this historic city. Some of the main attractions include: Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Alcatraz Prison, and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal overview

Looking for European culture without taking a trans-Atlantic flight? Then welcome to Montreal. World-class restaraunts, historic sites, a vibrant music scene, and pulsating night life make Montreal an ideal destination for a trip with friends or for couples.

San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands

Summer in the San Juan Islands off the Olympic Peninsula is the prime time for hiking and whale watching. The islands can be accessed by either flying in from Seattle or by taking a drive-on ferry and using a car to navigate from island to island. Hike in Lime Kiln Point State Park and watch the orcas that also like to visit the area in the summer. There are also boat tours that take you up close and personal with the gentle giants. With bike trails, cozy inns, and fantastic weather, this is a summer vacation spot for the whole family.

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park

Sticking with the whale-watching theme, the next summer spot on the list is Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. The best way to visit this amazing location is by taking a cruise ship. This park is home to humpback whales, harbor porpoises, moose, black and brown bears, mountain goats, and mountain peaks that top 15,000 feet. The cruise ships will pass by deep fjords, coastal forests, and seven active tidewater glaciers calving glaciers into the bay. Yes, you can watch gigantic chunks of ice breaking off glaciers and crashing into the ocean!

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

While the preceding locations on the list are not usually the first places that would come to mind when thinking of a relaxing summer vacation, they definitely offer something potentially new and exciting. Sometimes, taking the road less traveled can be stressful and not everyone’s cup of tea. Maui, however, checks every box on the ideal summer vacation list. Beautiful beaches? Check. Warm oceans filled with exotic sea life? Check. Golf, hiking, volcanoes? Check. Maui offers fun in the sun for the whole family. Tons of shopping, snorkeling, surf lessons, waterfalls, helicopter tours of volcanoes, sacred hot springs, deep sea fishing, the list goes on and on. The hardest thing you will have to do on a trip to Maui is start packing to go back home.

You need and want a vacation, but you don’t have an unlimited budget. Here's an article for you: 10 Cheap Vacation Ideas that Won’t Cost You a Fortune

Featured photo credit: Silhouettes of young group of people jumping in ocean at sunset via Shutterstock

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