We have a few ways to go in the middle of summer. Embrace the warm weather, seek the air-conditioned indoors, escape to the beach, or satisfy that seasonal urge to get away. Then the question is where to go. For family vacations, a pool is usually a requirement along with lots to keep everyone busy. Solo or friends trips have different prerequisites.
Music festivals can be a magnet to attract travelers to new destinations. For a relatively less traveled country with an established event, think about Slovakia and the annual Pohoda Festival that welcomes visitors from around the world. The Montreux Jazz Festival on Lake Geneva in Switzerland is set in one of the most beautiful locales in the world and features a range of musical genres and performers. Another kind of festival, also headlining popular artists, is the annual Frontier Days event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Rodeo competitions, country singers, and a carnival atmosphere make it another sought-after July destination.
Families and lovers of the outdoors will enjoy a visit to Lake Placid, New York, known for its winter sports but just as appealing in summer. Set in the Adirondacks, the lakeside location provides activities and events from July 4 celebrations to barbecue competitions and horse shows. There’s always something happening in San Diego, with the baseball park right in town, Sea World, the Zoo, Balboa Park, and of course, the ocean and bayfront beaches. Williamsburg, Virginia is the place for traditional Independence Day celebrations and history.
If your goal is to escape the hot weather or make the most of every summer day, consider getting to know Trondheim, Norway where the days are long and the weather is cool. This historic area among the fjords offers water sports, delicious food, and quaint neighborhoods to explore. To really get away from summer, head to the southern hemisphere and Victoria, Australia’s mountain ski resorts where you can get into winter sports or just enjoy the après-ski atmosphere and snowy scenery. Lion King fans awaiting the July release of the film’s remake might want to take advantage of east Africa’s dry season with a safari through the Serengeti. Land in one of the world’s newest airports while you combine a visit to historic Istanbul with a stay at a luxurious seaside resort in one trip to Turkey.
Wherever your July vacation takes you, this mid-summer month is time to break out of the routine, even for a long weekend or staycation. Perhaps these ideas will stir your imagination and inspire you to start making plans.
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Pleasant temperatures in the high 70s and mild evenings make July a lovely — and popular — time to visit “the Swiss Riviera” of Lake Geneva. This year, the Fete des Vignerons, the Winegrowers’ Festival, will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from July 18-Aug. 11. Held about once every 20 years, the festival celebrates Swiss wine and culture in the town of Vevey, in the heart of the Lavaux wine region where grapes have been planted since Roman times. A hike or stroll among the hilly, terraced vineyards of the region is a great pleasure in summer even if you’re not there for tasting. Lakeside Vevey was once home to Charlie Chaplin, and a museum there commemorates his family life and work. Along the lake, the next town of Montreux will feature its annual Jazz Festival from June 28-July 13 with music of every genre from jazz to rock and country to pop. Freddie Mercury of Queen composed and recorded his last album in Montreux, and a bronze statue stands at the lakeside promenade in his memory, perpetually decorated with flowers by his faithful fans. In Lausanne, the iconic Beau-Rivage Palace offers classic comfort, and their Montreux steamboat turns into a floating restaurant during summer. Not far away, where the Rhone meets Lake Geneva, is the Mandarin Oriental, Geneva with five-star luxury, mountain views, and peaceful river vistas.
If you enjoy finding under-the-radar destinations and attending outdoor music festivals, you’ll want to know about Trencin and the annual Pohoda Festival. In the western part of the country, about two hours by car or train from the capital city of Bratislava and about three hours from Vienna, Trencin is home to the magnificent 11th century Trencin Castle, one of hundreds of medieval castles and chateaux in the Slovak Republic. The Pohoda Festival, on July 11-13, is described as a “music and arts festival with an international acclaim, where alternative, indie, electronica, world music, and punk meet classical; alongside literature, dance, visual art, film, and theater.” Held near the ancient castle on a former military airfield surrounded by three of the Western Carpathian Mountains, the festival would be an ideal introduction to this central European country. The Slovak Republic has seen growth in its tourism industry over the last 25 years since it gained independence. Quaint villages, historic towns, mountain ski resorts, national parks, and welcoming citizens make Slovakia a destination worth visiting. The High Tatra Mountains feature streams, caves, hiking trails, and snowy winters. Slovakia also boasts hot springs, spa towns, wineries, breweries, rich food, and attractive prices.
Greater Williamsburg, Virginia
Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg form this historic area of Virginia, a perfect place to explore and celebrate Independence Day on July 4, 2019. In Yorktown, the American Revolution Museum tells the story of the nation’s beginnings through artifacts, interactive exhibits, films, and recreated settings. Jamestown Settlement commemorates the site of America’s first permanent English colony with re-creations of a ship that sailed from England in 1607, a life-sized colonists’ fort, Powhatan Indian village, and costumed historical interpreters who tell stories of daily life in 17th century Jamestown. For a full day of July 4 celebrations, visit Colonial Williamsburg, beginning with a public reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Capitol West Balcony and ending with evening fireworks. There’s lots to do all summer in Williamsburg even if you don’t make it there for the Fourth. Bike trails along the York River, guided horseback tours through the woods, and hiking trails are there for outdoor activities. Kayak, canoe, fish, or swim at local beaches. The Williamsburg Tasting Trail boasts wineries, breweries, distilleries, and breathtaking scenery. Busch Gardens, with rides, a water park, and shows, is perfect family entertainment.