The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

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 notcash in some of those vacation days and take off to your ideal destination? After weighing factors such as weather, activities, affordability, accessibilityand lodging options, plus reader votes and industry advice, U.S. News createda comprehensiveranking of theBest Summer Vacations of 2016.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

5. Nice, FranceKnown 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 forplenty of crowds and high hotel rates.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

4. BarcelonaFor 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.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

3. FijiAre you in search of aquamarine waters, white sands and tropical weather without highhumidity? Look no further than Fiji. This warm-weather locale is a popular - and pricey - spot for a summer vacation, butyou can save some money byvisitingin June, before the summer crowdsarrive and pricesstart 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.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

2. SantoriniNew 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 sunworshippers 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.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

1. Maui, HawaiiWith 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. Thereare 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.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

13. MunichHome 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.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

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



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

11. MontrealWith mild, sunny 60- and 70-degree Fahrenheit temperatures,Montrealin the summer is a breath of fresh air. Here, you'll find more than 26,000 flowers in bloomat the Montreal Botanical Garden. Plus, there are numerous festivals, includingtheFormula 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.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

10. San FranciscoThe 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 hotspot 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 AlcatrazIsland. No matter how you want to spend your vacation, make sure to bookyour trip several months in advanceas hotels and flights canfill up quickly in the summertime.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

9. AmsterdamAmsterdam's quaint streets and canals are ideal for leisurely strolling during the summer when daytime temperatures stay between anidyllic 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. After sundown, these same streets buzz with energy from the livelybars, 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 ifyou're craving a beach, Zandvoort is locatedabout17 miles west of the city and is accessible by car or by taking the train from Centraal station.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

8. Yellowstone National ParkWith 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 gettingan early start on the hiking trails and reserving your lodgingas far inadvance as possible. Keep in mind, it's not unusual for hotels to book up months ahead of time for the summer season.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

7. Mykonos, GreeceLively festivals, a hot nightlife scene, warm 70- and 80-degree Fahrenheittemperatures, 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 andPsarou Beach's relaxing atmospheredraws sunworshippers, whileLittle Venice's picturesque views, restaurants and shopsattract 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.



The Best Summer Vacations of 2016

6. ParisPleasant temperatures and longer days mean you can spend more timeon your Parisian vacationsitting 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.
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