Some people wait all year for warm weather because it's their happy place. Hot heat, scorching sun, heavy humidity — it's an environment they thrive in. But, for others, those sweaty few months of summer are hellish and better spent inside, with the air conditioning and an ice pop and no sign of the sun. If your ideal summer vacation is to a place where it's not summer, you're going to want to check out these cool weather summer travel ideas, because for many, an arctic chill beats a tropical breeze. And let's be real, humidity is not everyone's best friend.
And even if you love the summer, we could all use a list of cool places to visit just in case the heat becomes too much for even the biggest fans to bear. If you need another reason to consider a cool vacation spot, know that many places that have a lower average temperature typically have a very special and unique "summer" that's an attraction all of its own. Whether the destination is thawing out for it's warmest season that's still way colder than our summer, or you're heading somewhere that's going through a opposite season, you'll want to know what to expect. Here I've put together a list of some epic summer vacation spots that won't remind you of summer at all:
Take an Alaskan tour (or cruise) this summer. This ecologically diverse wonderland is lush, green, flowery, and oh-so colorful in the summer, but it never gets too hot. What's more, you'll never be too far from a fjord if you need to cool off. Fly into Juneau and hop around to Anchorage, Skagway, Ketchikan and Fairbanks. Go hiking, whale watching, boating, fishing and enjoy sunny skies and a cool average high of 75 degrees F.
Head to the Banff National Park and be in awe of Lake Louise, because it's just as beautiful in person as it is in pictures. Kayak, canoe, hike, eat, and marvel at this mecca of natural wonders. Alberta, Canada doesn't get hotter than about 73 degrees F all summer, so you can enjoy the sun and stay cool at the same time.
Swim, shop, hike, boat, go sightseeing, go to a sporting event, go to music festivals, live your best life in Boulder, Colorado this summer. Whatever you do, don't forget to go tubing down Boulder Creek. Then, when you've had enough of moderate warm weather, head to Breckenridge, Colorado (just shy of two hours away) where you'll find temperatures in the mid to low 60s and mild, totally bearable sun.
This coastal city merges the best of two worlds: nautical natural heaven and foodie paradise. Portland, Maine was recently dubbed the foodie capital of the country, so you can easily plan a restaurant and shopping tour if you're not into outdoor adventures. If you do want to spend time outside, you're a few minutes away from a beach or a hiking trail at all times. The low humidity will win you over and you probably won't ever want to leave, TBH.
Sure the Northern Lights are cool, but have you ever experienced endless sunlight, sunsets that last for hours and hours and consistent average temperatures of a perfect 65 degrees F? Summer is easily the best time to tour Iceland, and the adventures available to you on account of the extra sunlight are plentiful.
Lake Tahoe, California
If you want to spend time outside in the water and in the sun, but not be melting or dealing with beach crowds while you're doing it, head to Lake Tahoe. This adventure wonderland is great for travelers who like to engage in outdoor sports and spend time in the sun, but aren't looking for a sweaty situation.
Just in time for your summer vacation, New Zealand is cooling down. If you're not about that beach life, head to New Zealand during their cold season and go hiking and boating without breaking a sweat — you can even go skiing in the northern regions! This is a quiet tourist season, which means that you might be able to get a great deal on tickets and accommodations, too.
Head to Melbourne to get in some shopping and sightseeing and then when you're ready for some action and a real break from the summer heat, head over to Falls Creek, the Australian Alps, AKA the most epic place to ski and snowboard. And by epic I might outrageously beautiful. Enjoy a full on winter break in the middle of your summer break.
Go off the grid this summer and visit Greenland, at its ~most green~. If you're looking for a low key, nature-forward summer vacation, check out some of the uber affordable Greenland rentals on Airbnb. Stay in a remote fishing village, stay in a friendly town, or travel around the country, hiking, boating and exploring its wild awesomeness.