TRAVEL BLOGGERS REVEAL FAVORITE SUMMER DESTINATIONS

Thinking about where to go this summer? Here is a list of great summer destinations recommended by travel bloggers. From historic islands in the Adriatic to the wild Canadian national parks to the streets of New York City. Here is something for everyone to make the most of the summer.

GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK

If you are looking for epic natural beauty and amazing outdoor adventures Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland Canada is where you need to be this summer. These are my top hikes & experiences in the park.

Hikes

The tablelands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is made up of a 1000 foot high rock formation of the Earth’s mantle that was thrust to the surface millions of years ago during a tectonic plate collision. It is like hiking on Mars. A truly once in a lifetime experience and one of the great summer destinations.

Gros Morne Mountain is an 8 hour return hike that is not for the faint of heart. Pack a picnic to have at the top and take in the beauty of the fjord below.  Big Look Out is one of the most untouched trails that brings you to where the Gulf of St. Lawrence meets Bonne Bay. You’ll feel like you are on top of the world with a 360 degree view of the entire park.

View from Top of Gros Morne Mountain

Experiences

  • The boat at Western Brook Pond is a MUST. As you sail through the land locked fjords you begin to feel like you are in Jurassic Park.
  • Anchors Aweigh is a musical performance that is unlike any other you will experience.  It was rated one of the top things to do in Newfoundland.
  • Trout River is a tiny fishing village that time forgot. The beautiful beach boardwalk is where you learn about culture and fishing traditions.
  • Evening Cruises leave the dock in Norris Point and guide you through the breathtaking Bonne Bay as the sun sets. Local musicians play traditional Newfoundland music as you drink, dance and enjoy your night.
  • Taste of Gros Morne food tour is the best way to taste all the awesome restaurants in Norris Point. The company picks you up and takes you to four different restaurants with a different course and wine pairing at each stop.

Tara Kroes’s blog is Love, Wine, And Sunshine.

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IOS, GREECE

Ios, pronounced “eeos” is one of the Cyclades located close to Santorini and Paros. Once a popular hippie destination, it has morphed into one of the most well-known fun islands in Europe. Whether you are looking for summer water activities, learning about the island’s history or just exploring the interesting landscape, Ios has a lot to offer.

Let’s start with its history. The bronze-age settlement of Skarkos can be reached on foot from Chora or by car. The archeological site is interesting and can easily be explored a short time. Nearby are the ruins of Paliokastro, a former Venetian fortress. Perched on top of a hill, the fortress offers amazing views of Antiparos, Paros, Naxos, Amorgos, and other smaller islands.

Should you want to try watersports, head to Mylopotas beach to try stand-up-paddling. In nearby beaches you can snorkel, dive, or kitesurf.

Looking to just relax? Walk all the way up to the Amphitheatre for an amazing sunset.

Finish the day with a meal at Lord Byron’s (in Chora) and then dance the night away in one of the many clubs; the best of summer destinations.

Cristina Puscas’ blog is Greecelogue

NEW YORK CITY

New York City is as inviting and exciting in the summer as it is in the fall, winter and spring. But summer is great for lots of reasons.

Many New Yorkers take off for vacation during the summer months. At this time the city is less crowded, it’s easier to park and businesses of all types offer major deals to lure customers in.

“The Lady”

Some unbeatable attractions in the capital of summer destinations:

• Summer dance parties in MoMA PS1 and Lincoln Center.
Summer stage shows in the city’s parks including Central Park
• Multiple street fairs all over the city.
• A multitude of activities including Jazz Age Dance Party in Governors Island.
• Rooftop bars bloom with spectacular views.
• Watch the 4th of July fireworks on a barge on the Hudson River in view of the Statue of Liberty.
• Go kayaking for free in NYC’s many waterways
• Sample the city’s culinary delights with two for one 3-course meals at world-class restaurants during Restaurant Week
• Shorter lines and less competition for Broadway show tickets at TKTS on 42nd Street.

New York City taxis

These are just a few ideas.  The list is endless.

Talek Nantes’ blog is Travels With Talek

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CANADA

This year Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday. Canada Day (July 1) fast approaching and Canadians are ramping up their national pride with celebrations across the country! Stretching millions of  kilometers from the Pacific to the Atlantic and north to the Arctic Ocean, there’s no shortage of memorable activities to enjoy this summer. Plus, with the free 2017 Discovery Pass, all national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites are free to explore – all year long! With the lush coastal forests of Haida Gwaii, stunning turquoise glacial lakes of the Rocky Mountains, and the barren beauty of the Canadian Shield, the Canadian wilderness is a largely unexplored area and is a true gem for outdoor enthusiasts… or even the weekend visitor!

The Okanagan, located in the Interior of BC and mere hours from Vancouver, is a hot destination for tourists, both figuratively and literally. Temperatures often rise above 40°C, some of the hottest in the country. The area offers spectacular hiking, water activity, and wine tasting. The Okanagan is BC’s premier vineyard region and consistently produces wines that rank among the world’s best. If wine isn’t your thing, you can head into nature to completely escape the crowds. Go paragliding on Okanagan Lake or jet set to Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

Kelowna, Okanagan; endless hiking and some of the world’s best wine

While Canadians are celebrating Canada 150 across the country, Ottawa is THE place to visit this year. Canada 150 celebrations and events are planned year-round with extra special festivities planned for the entire Canada Day long weekend. Don’t miss out on the largest Canada Day firework show ever! Can’t beat that for one of the great summer destinations. Canadian artists will be performing, including Cirque du Soleil, Serena Ryder and Gordon Lightfoot. And the best part? It’s all free! Many sites around the city are also offering free admission and special programming.

With so much happening as Canadians proudly celebrate Canada 150, we invite you to join us in experiencing our amazing country this summer!

Sam Cullen’s blog is Explore the Map

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MICHIGAN: GEM OF THE MIDWEST

As a lifelong Michigander I may be a little bias but summers in my state are unlike anywhere else in the world. Michigan, however, doesn’t usually top most people’s summer vacation list. Many associate Michigan with Detroit and as a destination that is less than desirable. So let’s set the record straight.

Michigan is the gem of the Midwest; boasting the nickname “The Great Lakes State” for very good reason. Hosting 4 of 5 Great Lakes, the waters surrounding Michigan are pristinely clear, with soft sands, 150 lighthouses, and the longest freshwater coastline in the United States.

The charming towns that dot the coastline are perfect for a leisurely day of relaxing with a stop off at one of the beaches for a swim. Located in the Northwest quadrant of the Lower Peninsula, this region is home to Sleepy Bear Dunes National Lakeshore named the “Most Beautiful Place in America” on Good Morning America. The park covers a 35-mile-long stretch of Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline and includes forests, beaches, and massive dune formations. Its beauty is unforgettable and is worth the trip alone. In addition, stop by one of the 40+ wineries in the area to sample award-winning wine, check out the area’s burgeoning food scene (it’s not uncommon to see chef Mario Batali strolling around town when he’s there for the summer), or stop for a sweet snack at of the roadside cherry stands.

As you head north and cross into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it feels as if you’ve entered into another land. The peaceful wilderness gives its visitors a true escape from everyday life. Sandy shores give way to the dramatic multicolored cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior. The rocks are best seen from the water either by cruise boat or if you’re feeling adventurous, rent a kayak and explore the many caves accessible only by water. This area is also known for its numerous waterfalls, hiking trails, and rustic camping. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise.

If nature isn’t your thing, head to Grand Rapids, located in West Michigan. Dubbed one of The New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2016,” Lonely Planet’s #1 U.S. travel destination in 2014, and “Beer City USA,” Grand Rapids, oozes with Midwest hospitality and packs all the punch of a big city with a small town feel— all without breaking the bank. It’s one of the only places where you can grab a pint paired with delicious farm to table eats at of the 30+ breweries, then head over to Lake Michigan for a sunset, only 30 minutes from the city.

Michigan will surprise and delight you with authentic and unforgettable experiences around every corner. It is worthwhile to take some time to explore all it has to offer. This is the best of summer destinations.

For more information on where to go and what to do in Michigan, visit www.puremichigan.org

What is your favorite summer destination?

Jessica Albert-Huynh’s blog is Sweet + Savor.

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