10 Can't-Miss Events This Summer
Stay everywhere but still this summer. From music festivals in the mountains to family getaways at the beach, Hilton’s 12 brands will be there to help you play as hard as you work this summer. Here are the 10 can’t-miss events of the summer.
Jazz Age Lawn Party (Governors Island, NY)
Live out your Gatsby fantasies — and dress the part in your finest flapper attire — at this Prohibition-style gathering. Where else could you do the Charleston to a live band with a cocktail in hand just 10 minutes (by ferry) from Manhattan?
Mark your calendar: June 13-14 and Aug. 15-16, 2015960 1280
Disneyland's 60th Anniversary (Anaheim, CA)
There’s never been a better time to say, “I’m going to Disneyland!” In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Disney has upped the ante with an all-new fireworks show featuring pyrotechnics you have to see to believe, an innovative glow-in-the-dark parade and more.
Mark your calendar: Starting May 22, 2015960 1280
Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland, ME)
It wouldn’t be summer in New England without a lot of lobster, and Rockland’s annual festival brings 20,000 pounds of it! Besides stuffing your face for 5 days, you can take in a parade, the “sea goddess” coronation and the annual crate race (where participants run across lobster crates floating in the water).
Mark your calendar: July 29-Aug. 2, 2015960 1280
Opera House Cup/Nantucket Race Week (Nantucket Island, MA)
Sailing enthusiasts will recognize the annual Opera House Cup as the first all-wooden, single-hulled classic boat regatta — and what made Nantucket a sailing hub on the East Coast — but it’s the awards party that’s considered the “event of the season.” Guests toss back a few oysters and Dark ’n’ Stormy cocktails before dancing to live music on the beach.
Mark your calendar: Aug. 13-16, 2015960 1280
US Open (University Place, WA)
All eyes will be on 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who is fresh off his Masters victory, at this year’s US Open at Chambers Bay golf course. They’ll also be on the unpredictable coastal winds as the championship heads to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in its 120-year history.
Mark your calendar: June 18-21, 2015960 1280
Bonnaroo (Manchester, TN)
Of all the summer music festivals, why pick this one? Simply put, we don’t think Bonnaroo can be beat. The annual 4-day festival — whose eclectic lineup of headliners this year includes Billy Joel, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & Sons, and Florence and the Machine — always draws the best fans, who camp out in “tent city” or pimped-out RVs on a 700-acre farm in Tennessee.
Mark your calendar: June 11-14, 2015960 1280
Spoleto Festival (Charleston, SC)
For 17 glorious days and nights, music reverberates from the city of Charleston’s theaters, churches and green spaces, making this one of the largest performing-arts festivals in the US. Modeled after an event in Spoleto, Italy, that was founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, the festivities will include a brand-new production of Romeo and Juliet and close with a beer garden, a fireworks display and a performance by the 7-piece soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones.
Mark your calendar: May 22-June 7, 2015960 1280
Wanderlust in Squaw Valley (North Lake Tahoe, CA)
If a music festival with a side of “mindful living” is more your speed than constant partying, Wanderlust brings a wonderful combination of daily yoga practice, hiking, stand-up paddleboarding and farm-to-table eats. If you’re unable to make it to Squaw Valley, there are also festivals this summer in, among other places, Snowshoe, WV, and Whistler, British Columbia, each tailored to its unique host location.
Mark your calendar: July 16-19, 2015960 1280
Cheyenne Frontier Days (Cheyenne, WY)
If you’re looking for a family affair, look no further than the slice of Americana known as Cheyenne Frontier Days. The world’s largest outdoor rodeo also plays host to musical acts such as country superstars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, parades, the US Air Force Thunderbirds, a carnival and more.
Mark your calendar: July 17-26, 2015960 1280
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend (Sonoma, CA)
Cap off your summer with a Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, a Labor Day tradition. Kick things off Friday night poolside at the iconic Francis Ford Coppola Winery, dining and dancing under the stars. Then get a Taste of Sonoma thanks to 60 local chefs and over 200 wineries at the historic MacMurray Estate Vineyards where wine tours, expert pairings and a blind tasting are on offer.
Mark your calendar: Sept. 4-6, 2015960 1280
Magic KingdomThe purported happiest place on Earth, Disney's Magic Kingdom is sure to entertain the kids - whether with one of their parades or classic rides like Space Mountain. 960 1280
EPCOTTravel around the world without leaving Orlando in EPCOT Center's World Showcase. You can also take a ride through the future as imagined decades ago in the famous golf-ball shaped dome, Spaceship Earth. 960 1280
Universal Studios OrlandoUniversal Studios Orlando, next door to its roller-coaster-laden cousin, Islands of Adventure, is a must for movie fans. Where else can you experience an attack from Jaws, save New York from aliens along with the Men in Black, or hang out with Beetlejuice? 960 1280
Islands of AdventureUniversal's Islands of Adventure is the go-to place for those with a need for speed. Thrill seekers will especially enjoy Dr. Doom's Fearfall and the Incredible Hulk Coaster. 960 1280
Animal KingdomDisney's Animal Kingdom features more than 500 acres of grounds where animals can roam freely. Guests can roam in open safari vehicles, watching out for giraffes, hippos, lions, and more. 960 1280
The Wizarding World of Harry PotterOf course, the most popular attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fans will be treated to plenty of performances, a dragon-themed roller coaster, and even (non-alcoholic) butterbeer. 960 1280
Silver Springs State ParkThe glass bottom boats at Silver Springs allow you to get up close and personal with local wildlife, like alligators, turtles, and if you're lucky, a manatee or two. 960 1280
SeaWorld OrlandoSee all your favorite aquatic animals in one place -- SeaWorld Orlando. Learn more about killer whales and experience thrilling roller coasters and water rides. 960 1280
Discovery CoveLocated in Orlando and partnered with SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive getaway where visitors get up-close and personal with the park's animals. Take a day or 2 to swim with dolphins, experience an underwater tropical reef and visit Explorer's Aviary to see and hear tropical birds from all over the world. 960 1280
Busch GardensAbout a 2-hour drive from downtown Orlando, Tampa Bay is home to Busch Gardens. The main feature is SheiKra, a roller coaster with "floorless" cars giving the riders a unique view at 70 mph. 960 1280
Everglades National ParkFlorida's Everglades National Park is known by many as the place to see alligators and ride airboats. This National Park is home to thousands of species of birds, reptiles, mammals and, best of all, beautiful Florida sunsets. 960 1280
John F. Kennedy Space CenterIf you're a fan of space travel, the Rocket Garden at the John F. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex just outside of Cape Canaveral, FL, is a must. Visitors can stand under the massive rockets that first put NASA astronauts into space and much more. If you spend an entire day at the Kennedy Space Center and there happens to be a night launch, stick around -- it's a must-see. 960 1280
Florida KeysThe southern-most tip of the US main land, the Florida Keys are known for beautiful beaches, boating, fishing, Key Lime Pie and Margaritaville. The Keys were also the onetime home to Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemmingway. Pictured here is Mallory Square, the center of Key West's historic waterfront. 960 1280
Holy Land ExperienceOrlando's Holy Land Experience is surely a unique Florida attraction: visitors can have the Last Supper with Jesus and disciples (actors, of course). 960 1280
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
The legendary underwater world bearing the same name has nothing on this Bahamian resort that beckons children and their parents with luxurious resort surroundings and outrageous kids' activities. Kids can choose their own adventures at the stellar AKA (Atlantis Kids Adventure) program. Aspiring chefs can twist pretzels or make pizza in culinary classes and budding architects can don their hard hats and get building in the Lego Construction room. Wizards? Check. There's a cozy tree with perfect nooks for reading the latest magical tale. Extravagant tea party? Atlantis has this one covered, too, in the life-sized Victorian dollhouse equipped with the highest quality in pretend kitchens. There's gaming systems galore, a performance gallery complete with costumes and equipment to make movies, and arts and crafts to rival the best art institute. If the kids ever choose to leave the club, parents might squeeze in a fast family meal before the wee ones are off to the water slides, river rides, rock climbing or marine habitat.960 1280
Smuggler’s Notch Resort
Sure, school is out, but the kids won't mind being students enrolled in the ski programs at Smugglers Notch. Aspiring snowboarders can learn the ropes on Burton snowboards equipped with a softer flex and beveled bottom that help with the learning curve. Cross-country skiers can hone their skills on the bumps and play area at the mini terrain park. The staff is so confident in their students at Snow Sport University that there's a refund if participants don't learn or improve. When class is out, kids can tackle a new hill -- the 22-foot giant double lane slide and the rest of the inflatable fun at FunZone. Indoor pools, dog-sledding, ice-skating and art classes are available to keep the entire family busy.960 1280
Rancho de los Caballeros
Saddle up for a unique spring break at an old-school dude ranch in Arizona. It's like sleep-away camp for the entire family, but with better food and cozier accommodations. Rancho de los Caballeros has been giving families an insider's look at cowboy life since 1947, so it's no surprise they've mastered the art of the family vacation. The children's club starts at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast before a ride on the trails or around the corral for the mini cowboys and girls. The kids are busy with swimming, crafts, hiking, sports and scavenger hunts while parents can spend some time relaxing or playing golf. After lunch, the family is reunited for some together time and more horseback riding or just horsing around in the pool. Then come dinner time, the kids are back to the club and a campfire while mom and dad enjoy dinner in the dining room. It's the best of both worlds and, best of all, most activities in the children's program are free of charge.960 1280
Sandy LaneSandy Lane Resort is a spring break destination to aspire toward with chauffeured luxury cars, palatial suites and chilled, scented towels on arrival. This exclusive resort is pricy, but a worthy investment if you're looking for a refined resort atmosphere with plenty of engaging activities to keep the little ones happy. Parents can enjoy a few rounds of golf on impeccably manicured fairways or slip into the spa for a massage or the moisturizing Rose Hydrating Cocoon. Kids will dig the Treehouse Club with themed events and activities like nature walks, sports, crafts and carnival days, complete with stilt-walking. Teens chill in the Den with pool, air hockey, video games and organized pool parties and water sports. The whole family will love swimming with the rare Hawksbill turtles in the reefs located just off the shore. 960 1280
Steamboat SpringsSteamboat Springs is a dreamboat for families with great children's ski instructions and a bundle of après-ski activities. The Kid's Vacation Center is the starting point for families with a streamlined check-in process and a spacious facility to prepare your young ones for the cold. Lessons are available for kids starting at 2.5-years-old, and there are 5 kids-only slopes where little ones can master the art of the wedge before moving on to the kiddies terrain park. The Rough Rider Basin is a nod to the Old West with teepees, a log-cabin playhouse and snack areas. The whole family will enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the Great Rockies followed with a soak in the area's natural hot springs. Kids Fly Free domestic packages coupled with Kids Rent Free and Kids Ski Free all reduce the price of one cool family vacation. 960 1280
Loews Coronado BaySan Diego is an ideal pick for families looking for spring break fun with loads of diversity. There's the beach, of course, but there are also great parks, cool museums and 2 fantastic zoos. The San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park is a sprawling and hilly enclave made up of 9 unique zones spread out over 100 acres. Plan on spending a few hours checking out the polar bears, elephants and gorillas, and hop on the guided bus to learn about the animals and give your legs a rest. The Wild Animal Park, 35 miles outside of the city, provides a safari experience as you traverse the 1,800-acre park in an open bus perfect for viewing the herds of wild animals like rhinos and giraffes in a more natural setting. The Loews Coronado Bay resort makes kids and teens feel right at home with club activities, water sports, surfing classes and gondola rides through the Coronado Cays canals. 960 1280
Kauai Surf School
If you can swim, then you can surf. At least that's what the folks at Kauai Surf School believe. Families can arrange for group sessions so the whole crew can wipe out and encourage each other to hop back up again. Group lessons maintain a ratio of 4 students for every instructor, ensuring that everyone has ample time to catch some waves. Parents must accompany children under 12 in group lessons. The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort is a family-favorite with an outrageous pool complex including saltwater lagoons and freshwater pools with waterfalls, grottos and a 150-foot slide. Parents don't need to feel guilty about dropping off the keiki, or kids, at Camp Hyatt where kids ages 3-12 can learn the hula, meet the resident parrots or make cool cultural crafts.960 1280
Kalahari Resort Wisconsin DellsWisconsin is king of water parks, and these monstrous slides aren't limited to the great outdoors. Families can save on the sunscreen and splurge on the fun at this indoor water wonderland made up of 125,000 square feet of slides, lazy rivers, wave pools and whirlpools. The Master Blaster uphill water rollercoaster and family raft river rapids are not to be missed. If you can get the kids out of the pool, there's an indoor theme park with a Ferris wheel, indoor go-carts, bowling and arcade games. Admission to the water park is included in the price for on-site accommodations, which include standard hotel rooms and roomier family suites. 960 1280
South Seas Island Resort
In the midst of hectic resorts and crowded beaches, Captiva Island feels like a secret spot where families can turn it down and enjoy a retreat from the everyday. Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, the area has unspoiled beaches and unique wildlife that can be encountered while kayaking through the quiet estuaries or touring the freshwater ponds. It's also a great spot for collecting seashells, so bring along a bucket. But don't confuse a bit of peace and quiet with boring -- there's plenty to do at South Seas Island Resort from sailing in the harbor to playing in the lagoon pool complex or sliding down the waterslides at H2Whoa!960 1280