The top 10 destinations for a perfect summer getaway, according to meteorologists
Knowing when to visit a destination can make all the difference, both for having a comfortable vacation (read: not during rainy season) and for making sure you don’t miss out on the prime activities and events. To highlight the destinations that really shine in summer, we spoke to meteorologists and hurricane and storm specialists from The Weather Channel.
From magnificent meteorological phenomena to ideal summertime temperatures, here are the spots weather experts love heading to in the summer, and why.
1. Mont Tremblant, Quebec
“Summers are perfectly mild and dry, with afternoon highs often near 80 degrees Fahrenheit,” storm specialist Dr. Greg Postel’s said of the “stunning” village of Mont Tremblant. Enjoy a ride in the panoramic gondola, spend some time on the beach, and take a nighttime walk through an illuminated forest.
“Pretty much any outdoor activity you can think of is readily available,” Postel said.
2. La Jolla, San Diego
“La Jolla is especially beautiful in the summer,” meteorologist Liana Brackett told Travel + Leisure. “Nothing beats the Mediterranean climate along the West Coast, defined by warm and sunny weather almost year round…My favorite thing to do is enjoy the La Jolla Cove and watch the sea lions, lay out on the beach, then head downtown where in the summer months the city is alive.”
Summer in La Jolla is also when you can take leopard shark tours, go hiking or kayaking, and enjoy a high-tide dinner at The Marine Room as waves crash against the restaurant’s giant glass windows. Make sure to head to Scripps Pier, which opens to the public in the summer.
“If I’m going to feel the heat, I need to be lying on the beach, and Anguilla is the ultimate spot for rest and relaxation,” meteorologist Alex Wilson told T+L. Temperatures here don’t vary too greatly in the summer and generally stay in the low to mid 80s.
Wilson recommends heading to Rendezvous Bay for clear and tranquil waters, and Shoal Bay for snorkeling. And make sure to have at least one meal that includes a Dark ‘n’ Stormy paired with the local grilled crayfish.
4. Amelia Island, Florida
Postel recommends Amelia Island because of the combination of an historic and quaint town center of Fernandina Beach, the great bed and breakfasts, and the beaches.
Wake up early and you can even catch cumulous clouds, large fluffy-appearing clouds that “paint spectacular dawn skyscapes over the oceanic horizon” in the skies, while kayak tours offer a chance to get up close to dolphins.
5. Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is where hurricane and Postel’s love of weather blossomed. The college town has ideal warm summer days with temps the 80s, and offers free entertainment like theater shows to circus performances at Palmer Square in the summer. The local waterways are great for canoeing and kayaking, and there are also orchards for berry picking.
Occasional heatwaves can occur in central New Jersey, according to Postel, which makes the perfect time for visiting the Jersey Shore to escape the heat.
6. Cape Town, South Africa
“I’m a big fan of cool mornings followed by mild afternoons, so Cape Town is essentially my ideal climate,” Wilson said of the coastal city.
Head to the South African city in August (winter in the southern hemisphere) when days start in the 50s, rising to around 70 in the afternoon, according to Wilson. It’s perfect weather for visiting the local wineries, going on a safari, and partaking in the food scene.
7. Austin, Texas
“Austin is seriously one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited,” Wilson said. Though hot in the summer, it’s an ideal time to visit the city’s many natural springs, lakes, and rivers, and to experience a natural phenomenon: Every March through November, Mexico free-tailed bats emerge and fly over the city’s skies from South Congress Bridge. You’ll also find an array of free live music events and food trucks.
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale gets hot in the summer, but it’s still one of the best times to visit.
“The desert landscape really starts to flourish in monsoons, when they get massive waves of super soaking storms in the summer,” said Brackett. “All that rain really makes the desert pop, and can lead to some gorgeous sunsets once the storms pass through.”
Camelback Mountain is one of the best places to catch sunset views, according to Brackett, since you can climb the mountain in the afternoon as the weather cools down and the sun gets less intense. Visiting Scottsdale in the summer also means you can often score lower hotel rates and enjoy the city’s swimming holes, lakes, and rivers.
9. Greenville, South Carolina
There are plenty of ways to cool off when temperatures do get high in the summer, including strolling through Falls Park and trying gelato at one of Wilson’s favorite locations, Luna Rosa, while the many restaurants that line Main Street offer seasonal cocktails.
10. Lisbon, Portugal
“The views of the ocean mixed with castles and romantic cobblestone streets and a warm, sunny subtropical climate makes it one of my favorite European destinations,” Brackett said.
Summer is when you’ll find musical festivals, and beaches bustling with action. Although the city can get hot in the summer, “when the sea breeze kicks in, it’s sublime,” Brackett said.
This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.