Places to visit for summer holidays, from the beach to the mountains
Over 126 million Americans and the count have been fully vaccinated, and the CDC fully says vaccinated people can travel to the United States at low risk. So, with summer approaching, many Americans are exercising their pent-up vacation requests.
AAA predicts that travel during Memorial Day weekend – the official start of the summer season – will increase by 60% in 2020. And according to Tripit, 97% of their users plan to take a vacation in 2021, and more than half plan to fly indoors by June.
So where should you go this summer? CNBC Make It analyzed the destination surveys of a number of travel agencies to see which places are trending.
To stay safe, if you are not fully vaccinated, check destination travel restrictions and Covid numbers, heed warnings from the CDC, and take recommended precautions such as social distancing and wearing a mask.
From the beach to the mountains, here are five summer vacation ideas.
St. Pete / Clearwater, Florida
This West Coast Florida destination not only tops Trending Travel Lists of Hopper and Priceline, it is also home to St. Pete Beach, which Tripadvisor named the best beach in the United States in 2021.
“St. Pete / Clearwater has more than 35 miles of coastline and offers a range of outdoor activities, making it one of Florida’s most popular destinations, ”said Ben Harrell, Marketing Director at Priceline.
One of the perks of coming here in the summer is that it attracts fewer people than the peak spring season. And there’s so much to do: kayaking with mangrove manatees, kitesurfing, strolling the 100-year-old sunken gardens, exploring the newly expanded Clearwater Marine Aquarium or spending time on the new St. Pete.
The area has no shortage of dining options, including a standout, Crabby is on the pass, with the longest waterfront bar in the world. Accommodation options include Holiday rents and affordable hotels like Avalon in downtown St. Pete and the Inn Postcard, a motel-style property on St. Pete Beach.
Another thing for St. Pete / Clearwater: low flight prices. According to Hopper, the price of the plane ticket here currently averages $ 229 round trip.
Hawaii has been recognized for its strict pandemic measures and mindful approach to travel, which has helped propel Maui onto the summer travel lists of Allianz Partners United States and the house rental company Vacasa.
“If you want to spend time in a tropical paradise, Maui ticks this box and then others,” says Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Partners USA.
Expect diverse and rich terrain with rainforests, waterfalls, and volcanoes. Maui is also a great place to learn to surf and hang out with exotic fish and sea turtles on a snuba adventure. (Snuba is a hybrid of snorkeling and scuba diving.)
One of the best places to settle down is the town of Lahaina, which Vacasa called the “best bet” for summer 2021. “Lahaina is Hawaii’s premier destination – it’s a truly magical place with a rich history, ”says Natalia Sutin, Vice President of Revenue Management at Vacasa.
A historic whaling village, Lahaina is home to a number of cultural initiatives, which can bear fruit. If you are involved in volunteer work with a group like the Lāhainā Restoration Foundation (a practical project to document the history of the island), you can get a free night at many participating hotels. Or immerse yourself in the local culture while glamping by the ocean Camp Olowalu and volunteer with Kipuka Olowalu, which includes a day of exploring one of Maui’s greatest cultural sites.
“Throughout the summer, we see strong demand for American destinations that serve as a gateway to the great outdoors, like the much sought after Moab, bordered by stunning red rock formations,” says Christie Hudson, Senior Manager public relations at Expedia.
This area is a playground for adventure seekers, with hiking, biking, and rock climbing, not to mention paddleboarding, rafting, and swimming on the Colorado River. A one-stop-shop for booking activities is the Moab Adventure Center, which has also seen a sharp increase in demand. To help accommodate its most popular activity – rafting trips – the company will be offering additional launches this summer with fewer guests per boat to promote social distancing.
Campspot, which placed this area at the top of its recent list of trending trips, recommends staying at Archview RV Resort & Campground, which has tent sites, RV sites, and casitas (and a swimming pool) right in the heart of Red Rock Country.
With easy access to nature in and around the city, Denver is a given, according to reports from Travelocity and Outside, known as the Airbnb of RV rental. “Denver is one of our most popular destinations for RV travel this summer, and that’s not surprising given its fun atmosphere, fantastic food, and proximity to several national parks,” says Jen Young, co-founder and Marketing Director of Outdoorsy.
In the Mile High City itself, you’ll find one of the largest urban park systems in the country, from biking and kayaking to paddleboarding. The town also has a thriving brewery scene, which you can experience along the Denver Beer Trail. If art is more your thing, the new Wall path will take you to see remarkable pieces around the city.
Denver is one of the top summer destinations to boost your dollar when it comes to hotels, according to Priceline. Discover the new Life House Lower Highlands, which is designed to resemble a Western pioneer’s Victorian farmhouse, orThe Curtis, where each floor is themed with pop culture, from superheroes to horror movies.
You can also use the city as a base camp to explore the surrounding national parks or go on a Colorado road trip. The legendary Pikes Peak Cog Railway reopens just in time for the summer after a three-year, multi-million rebuild. Just hours from Denver, the 130-year-old train takes travelers to the 14,115-foot peak where “America the Beautiful” was written.
North Conway, New Hampshire
In a recent travel survey, Trivago found that about one in 10 Americans (12%) said they would seek mountain and lake destinations in 2021.
One of those places is North Conway, New Hampshire, which has overtaken Trivago List of the most popular vacation spots in 2021 due to the fact that it “offers endless activities and adventures for every season”. Located in the Mount Washington Valley, adventurers can go rock climbing, ziplining, mountain biking, and more.
The region is home to Attitash and Wild cat mountain resorts, renowned for their excellent skiing in winter, but turn into hubs of adventure in summer, with downhill slides and gondola rides. Want to stay directly on the mountain? the Grand Summit Hotel in Attitash has great views and already low rates, plus a surcharge 20% reduction if you book before May 31.
The town of North Conway itself is a charmer, with colorful vintage homes lining Main Street (plus excellent duty-free outlet stores). An attractive place to stay is the newly renovated Starlight Lodge, a motel style hotel on the outskirts of town. Farm-to-table meals are an important part of the culture here: Discover Thompson House Restaurant near Jackson, who has his own farm directly on the property.
Don’t miss: Look inside Disney’s new Marvel Avengers campus which opens this summer