Top 10 Summer Destinations
Winter is for working hard, summer is for playing hard. From America’s white-sand beaches to Europe’s sizzling cities, Hilton’s 12 brands will be there to help you play your summer away. We pulled the 10 most-searched summer vacation spots, and 1 thing is clear: Visions of palm trees are dancing in your head when you’re clicking on the search bar. From the Bahamas to Dubai, with just 1 European city in between, here are the top 10 destinations for summer, according to your searches.
10. The Bahamas
While there is a risk of getting rained on during hurricane season, June generally sees mild weather, fewer crowds and significantly lower prices. While some resorts in the Out Islands close through November, New Providence and Paradise Island remain open year-round.
Best for: Families looking for a taste of laid-back island living.
Also offseason in the summer, Miami continues to draw visitors, especially Europeans and South Americans escaping winter. To keep cool in the blazing heat, you need only take a dip in the Atlantic, Biscayne Bay … or an infinity pool. You’ll be able to spread out on South Beach, plus people-watching on Lincoln Road and Miami Beach’s epic nightlife will be as entertaining as ever.
Best for: A spontaneous getaway to blow off a little steam on a boat or in the club.
8. Catalina Island, CA
Angelenos looking for a respite from the smog and traffic are finding it on Catalina Island. Make the 22-mile trip by ferry or helicopter — the latter will set you back only about $110 — and you’ll find an island of paradoxes: campgrounds where wild buffalo roam (a herd was abandoned after a 1924 movie shoot) and the ritzy, Mediterranean-flavored city of Avalon.
Best for: A day at the beach spent snorkeling, swimming, hiking or biking.
7. Mackinac Island, MI
Mackinac Island, 20 minutes by boat from either the Upper or Lower Peninsula of Michigan, comes alive on summer weekends. Most of its roughly 4 square miles is designated parkland, ideal for hiking and cycling. Be sure to take in the beautiful architecture of its own painted ladies, Victorian cottages that date back to just after the Civil War.
Best for: A taste of times gone by; cars were banned more than a 100 years ago, and horse-drawn carriages are still used to get around today.
6. Ocean City, MD
This East Coast beach town is best known for its boardwalk, which boasts the requisite neon spray-painted T-shirts and old-school amusement rides. Grab your mallets and feast on hard-shelled crabs at Hooper’s crab house or drink in the sunset with a local craft brew in hand from Fager’s Island Restaurant & Bar’s large bayfront decks.
Best for: A classic, albeit kitschy, stroll along the boardwalk and the taste of Thrasher’s vinegar and Old Bay french fries.
At first, Amsterdam may seem out of place on this list, but summer is the ideal time to visit the city. The gray skies have lifted, festivals abound and events to enjoy include the Open Garden Days, when visitors can peek into the private gardens behind the beautiful houses that line the famous canals.
Best for: An urban adventure, traversing Amsterdam’s thousands of bridges and waterways by bike and by boat in search of the perfect brown café.
4. Virginia Beach, VA
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Virginia Beach is a prime summer destination beckoning tourists from up and down the mid-Atlantic with its 35 miles of sandy beaches. An extra-wide concrete boardwalk stretches 3 miles along the oceanfront and boasts benches for people- and sunset-watching, as well as a separate path for biking and blading.
Best for: Families who flock to the revitalized oceanfront resort area and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center (not only on rainy days).
3. Bora Bora
If you conjure up images of the perfect island paradise in your head, it probably looks like Bora Bora’s stilted bungalows jetting out into the turquoise lagoon. A volcanic atoll, Bora Bora is surrounded by a circular coral reef, which makes it ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Best for: Romance. It truly is a honeymooner’s dream or special-occasion getaway.
Don’t mind the triple-digit temps or humidity — you’re in Dubai, where you can ski (indoors) in the desert and shop at the world’s largest shopping mall. And if it’s shopping you want, don’t miss the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, where you can expect dramatic discounts, raffles and fireworks.
Best for: Indulging your fantasies, whether that’s being on top of the world at the Burj Khalifa or checking in to a 7-star hotel.
You won’t need your passport to visit the No. 1 destination on the list, but you may feel as though you’re in another world thanks to Hawaii’s red- and black-sand beaches, lush sea cliffs, volcanic landscapes, abundant sea life and rich Polynesian culture.
Best for: Everyone — seriously. Each of the 6 major islands offers unique experiences tailored for a luxury, romantic, adventurous, eco-friendly or beach vacation. Take our Hawaiian Island quiz to find out which one is right for you.