A Little Summer Fun For Everyone

Summer can't be all work and no play, so here are our Top 5 favorite vacation destinations to give you inspiration when you’re planning your next trip. 

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Tofino, BC

Canada, eh? Yes, head to our northern neighbor for fresh summer air and pleasant summer temps that are usually a high of 73 degrees. 

Tofino offers hiking, biking, paddle boarding and surfing. Paddleboard at Mackenzie Beach or try the surf at Chesterman or Cox beaches. Rent a bike and enjoy the 6 km multi-use path that runs along the wildflower covered Pacific Rim Highway.  At Tonquin Park, you can hike through old growth trails over looking the Clayoquot Sound that go to Tonquin Beach, Third Beach and Middle Beach. And stop by Tofino’s quirky and refreshing botanical garden.

For a somewhat remote area, there are loads of great restaurants - 1909 Kitchen, Wolf in the Fog, The Pointe restaurant has a 240 degree view of the Pacific Ocean, Tacofino, Sobo, Wildside Grill, The Hatch, The Great Room at Long Beach Lodge and of course visit Chocolate Tofino. 

And while you’re in the area, might as well leave time to check out Victoria and Vancouver, too. 

 

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Reykjavik, Iceland

Hard to believe that a country with the word ‘ice’ in it’s name has some of the world’s warmest and friendliest people and summer temperatures that can reach into the 70’s.

Iceland’s entire population is 334,000, but 216,000 live in the Greater Reykjavik area that is rich with both cultural and outdoor activities. 

Take a day trip to go glacier hiking and ice climbing. Or discover filming locations for Game of Thrones. Be a trailblazer and hop on the back of Icelandic horses. And definitely check out Thingvellir National Park. But an absolute must is Blue Lagoon. In 2012, National Geographic named the Blue Lagoon one of the 25 wonders of the world. It is a UNESCO Geopark with geothermal seawater located in a sprawling, 800­ year ­old lava field in the heart of the Reykjanes Peninsula, between Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík.

For good eats, drop by Jamie’s Italian for Italian comfort food. Or stop by the eclectic Laundromat Cafe where you can grab brunch while your laundry spins downstairs. Eat up some Icleandic history at Kaffivagninn that features traditional Icelandic food such as fish stew and panfried plaice. And you can have a whale of a time at Fiskmarkaðurinn, or the Fish Market which offers a variety of things from grilled whale to organic lamb. 

And when you are exhausted after action-packed day and a full belly, you’ll be tempted to sleep, but don’t go to bed before trying to spot the elusive but beautiful northern lights. 

 

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30A Florida

If you don’t want to escape the heat, but rather run head first into it, you can enjoy Southern hospitality and blue Caribbean waters along a magical stretch of scenic highway called 30A. The coastal highway is only 24 miles long and runs from Panama City to Destin, Florida. It is peppered with idyllic beach communities such as Blue Mountain Beach, Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Freeport, Dune Allen, Grayton Beach and more. 

Maybe stop at George’s for lunch or watch the ocean from Bud and Alley’s in Seaside. Shop in the Seaside open air market or get frozen key lime pie from Dawson’s yogurt. Rent a bike and enjoy the miles of greenway trails connect preserves, state parks and residential communities. Then cool off by jumping in the clear ocean water or walk along the white sand beaches. 

And if you want a little more touristy action in your vacation, you can head to Destin for race tracks, mini golf, shopping, outlet mall shopping, or go to Panama City for Pirate themed cruises, swimming with dolphins or a sunset catamaran sail. 

 

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New York, NY

Free concerts in the park with SummerStage, outdoor movies, Shakespear in the park, meandering down the west side highway, PinkBerry, L’Arte de Gelato on the Highline, the wind in your hair on the Staten Island ferry, need we say more? 

Sure, standing on the subway platform in August is like standing on the rack of an oven, but all the more reason to walk the streets of Manhattan and get fresh air. Or rent a bike to peruse the urban landscape. Embrace your inner tourist and hop on the top of a double decker bus or set sail on a Circle Line Cruise. 

Enjoy some of the activities that are only available in the summertime like the Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanical Garden and kayaking the Hudson River. Walk the Highline, which is an elevated railroad track that was converted into a 1.5 mile park in 2009. 

 

Food on Highline:

https://www.timeout.com/newyork/blog/a-food-walking-tour-of-the-high-line-072616

 

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Mackinac Island, Michigan

If the cars and noise of Manhattan makes your stomach churn, then head to Mackinac Island on Lake Michigan where cars are banned and transportation consists of bicycles, horse and buggies and your own two feet.

There is a lot going on in the summer on this 3.8 square mile island. The annual sailboat race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island draws over 2,000 sailors and almost 200 boats. Although the official population is 492, there are thousands of seasonal workers and tourists during the summer. 

Mackinac Island has historic parks like Fort Mackinac and Mackinac Island State Park where you can see Arch Rock. Walking and carriage tours as well as traditional resort life pastimes like golfing and spa-ing. 

Mackinac Arts Council offers Music in the Park every Thursday at 7:00 pm. And every Friday night is the Market Street Art Walk. And every day you can go by and see Old Mackinac point lighthouse. 

 

Caleb Lummer