Summer has finally arrived, but don’t worry if you want to travel and are having a hard time deciding which destination is right for you.
Right on cue, U.S. News & World Report has released its annual Best Summer Vacation Spots for 2023 to help make your travel planning a little easier. Its rankings are based on a number of factors, including the number of activity and entertainment options, lodging and dining choices, and, of course, the weather.
Here are U.S. News & World Report’s top 10 picks for summer travel this year:
1. Paris, France
“Daytime temperatures in the 70s make summer the best time to wander around the City of Light,” U.S. News & World Report suggests. “Dine alfresco at a café along the Champs-Élysées, watch lively locals move through the popular Le Marais neighborhood, or have a picnic at the Luxembourg Gardens or on the lawns in front of the Eiffel Tower.”
The only downside to visiting Paris in the summer is that the busy tourist season means crowds will be larger and hotel room rates will be higher.
2. London, England
“Get down in London town for your next summer vacation. Spend your days picnicking in Hyde Park; touring the grounds of Buckingham Palace, which are open to the public for 10 weeks in the summer; and sipping cocktails on the city’s rooftop bars,” U.S. News & World Report advises. “You can even admire London’s green spaces from above with a ride on the London Eye, Europe’s tallest observation wheel.”
If you are planning to visit London, keep in mind that while the temperature generally is in the 70s during the summer months, a heat wave causing temperatures to soar into the 90s is always possible.
3. The Azores, Portugal
The nine islands that make up the Azores, a Portuguese island chain in the Atlantic Ocean, are “replete with natural splendors, ranging from lava caves to mountains to lush forests, which travelers can enjoy any time of year,” according to U.S. News & World Report.
The good news is that temperatures are mild year-round in the Azores. That said, temperatures in the 70s are common throughout the summer, which make it an ideal time to visit the islands’ beaches and dive sites. What’s more, there are numerous cultural events during the summer in the Azores, U.S. News & World Report continues.
4. Bali, Indonesia
Summer is an ideal time to visit Bali because it is Indonesia’s dry season. Another plus is that the daytime temperatures consistently stay below 90 degrees.
“This summertime climate is optimal for exploring the island’s beautiful attractions, including its beaches and outdoor temples, without running the risk of getting heatstroke,” U.S. News & World Report points out. “While here, don’t forget to visit picture-perfect sights such as Tegalalang Rice Terrace and Nusa Penida, an enchanting island off Bali’s southeast coast that boasts verdant hillsides and excellent scuba diving.”
5. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
This may be the winter season in Rio but it won’t feel that way to visitors. The seasonal low temperatures are historically in the 60s which means you’ll be comfortable while touring the city’s numerous outdoor attractions.
“Sink your toes into famous sands such as Ipanema and Copacabana beaches; explore Tijuca National Park, one of the largest urban rainforests on the planet; and visit the Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World,” U.S. News & World Report suggests.
6. Vancouver, Canada
“Summer transforms Vancouver into a mecca of festivals and outdoor activities,” U.S. News & World Report explains. “Vancouver’s International Jazz Festival takes place in June and typically runs through Canada Day, July 1, which is another day of festive celebration. Next, late July brings the Honda Celebration of Light, a dazzling fireworks competition over English Bay. Then, the Vancouver Pride Parade fills the city’s streets in early August.”
Then again, visitors also enjoy hiking at Stanley Park, sunbathing at Kitsilano Beach, and pursuing other outdoor activities all summer due to Vancouver’s daytime temperatures in the 70s.
7. Puerto Rico
“Looking to escape the mainland this summer? Puerto Rico offers an island getaway without the need for a U.S. passport,” U.S. News & World Report notes. “The island’s 300 miles of coastline means gorgeous beaches abound, and the season’s high temperatures in the 80s are perfect for lounging and swimming.”
Summer is Puerto Rico’s rainy season, but it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter all-day downpours, according to U.S. News & World Report. An added benefit to visiting Puerto Rico in the summer is that the crowds will be smaller and the prices will be lower.
8. Rome, Italy
“Since so many of the Eternal City’s iconic landmarks are outside, summer is a perfect time for a Roman holiday,” according to U.S. News & World Report. “Visitors can take in the history and scenery at the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain, or eat gelato in squares like Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna, all under sunny skies.”
If you are planning to visit Rome, keep in mind that summer is peak tourist season so hotel rates will be higher and there will be plenty of tourists at popular attractions.
9. San Diego, California
“San Diego offers enough outdoor attractions to satisfy all kinds of summer travelers, and once its cloudy ‘June gloom’ rolls away, you can expect sunny weather and mild temps,” U.S. News & World Report points out. “Families will enjoy exploring the famous San Diego Zoo, nature lovers can admire the impressive landscapes of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and history buffs should take a tour of the USS Midway Museum.”
Then again, all visitors should make time to take in the spectacular architecture and magnificent gardens at Balboa Park. And of course, San Diego is home to a variety of shorelines so there will be ample opportunities for visiting the beach and ocean.
10. Florence, Italy
“Although you’ll have to contend with other sightseers, you’ll find that traveling to Florence in the summer is when you can enjoy the city’s outdoor cafes, picturesque piazzas, and Renaissance architecture at their best,” U.S. News & World Report recommends. “Average temperatures range from the high 50s to mid-60s at night but reach well into the 80s during the day. Plus, Florence’s summer calendar is packed with festivals celebrating dance, poetry, and music.”
As is the case with other European destinations, summer is Florence’s peak travel season. That means you should make your hotel or vacation rental well in advance, U.S. News & World Report notes.
For more ideas about summer travel destinations, be sure to read our Travel News content, including: