Editor’s Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
Summer officially arrives in June, and we’re more than ready for the vacation season. If a road trip to explore a new — or favorite — locale sounds appealing, California’s Highway 1 and New York’s Finger Lakes both have much to offer. The scenery in Maine’s Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park also beckon road trippers to the northeast.
If swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico sounds good, consider a trip to the beaches of Naples, Florida or Galveston, Texas. A bit further away in the Atlantic, Bermuda offers pink sand beaches and coral reefs. Lush Savannah and lively Greenville are great southern destinations. Feast on barbecue, baseball, and jazz in Kansas City, or head to Denver for the city’s restaurants, museums, and outdoor activities.
While we’re still traveling cautiously this year, road trips, mountain air, and ocean breezes can be healthful ways to enjoy the season. Just imagining a trip to one of these destinations might be enough to lift spirits as you anticipate summer. Here are 10 of the best places to travel in June.
Related: More trip ideas
It’s summer in Savannah, and temperatures are well into the 80s, often hitting 90 later in the month. It’s a good time for strolling among the landscaped squares in the Historic District or relaxing in the shade of a giant oak. Beaches are nearby, and Hilton Head Island is less than an hour away. Or head to nearby Tybee Island for swimming, boating, and outdoor dining. Get to know Savannah during this quieter month with a riverboat or trolley tour. Stay in the Historic District at the Hyatt Regency Savannah or on Ellis Square at the Andaz Savannah. The Perry Lane is another great option, with its rooftop bar, Peregrin. You could be one of the first to stay at the new Thompson Savannah or at The Alida, named for Alida Harper Fowlkes, a local entrepreneur who was dedicated to preserving the city’s heritage.
It’s time to relax on a pink sand beach or poolside with a Rum Swizzle or a Dark ‘n Stormy, two favorite cocktails based on Gosling’s Rum, a family business on the island since 1806. The small, 21 square mile island is located about 650 miles east of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. From diving among coral reefs, to exploring in a tiny electric Twizy, biking on the Railway Trail, or shopping on Front Street, there’s always something to do in Bermuda. Stay at the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club, the “Pink Palace,” with renovated rooms, contemporary art collection, and a variety of dining spots. Their recently completed Princess Marina offers boat charters, deep sea fishing, jetski tours, and more. The Rosewood Bermuda features accommodations that include guest rooms, suites, and residences.
Kansas City, Missouri
This vibrant city is known for its jazz heritage, barbecue, steaks, fountains, and professional sports teams. With average temperatures in the mid 80s, June is a great time to visit Kansas City. Baseball season is underway, and the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium, named for the team’s founder. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum tells its stories in photographs, artifacts, and interactive visits. Music fans will enjoy a visit to the American Jazz Museum and live performances at the city’s many venues. Swope Park, the city’s largest, includes the zoo, soccer facilities, bike trails, and more. Kansas City barbecue should be on every visitor’s menu, as well as a tour and tasting at J. Rieger & Co., a distillery founded in 1887. Stay at the Hotel Kansas City, housed in a historic building dating to 1882.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Set on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is the gateway to Acadia National Park as well as a destination in itself. The Bar Harbor Music Festival begins its 55th season on June 27, and the 22nd annual Acadia Birding Festival will be held June 3-6. Walk along Shore Path for views of lobster boats and the historic Bar Harbor Inn, built in 1887. Acadia National Park offers magnificent views, hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, birdwatching, tide pool exploring, swimming, boating, and a variety of ranger programs. For a luxe camping experience near Acadia National Park, Under Canvas boasts comfy tents, private bathrooms, elevated decks, onsite dining, fire pits, and complimentary camp activities. Reopening in May after extensive renovations, The Claremont, a historic hotel set on six shorefront acres, will offer 51 accommodations, including 12 cottages, four suites, and the three-bedroom waterfront Ocean House.
June is warm in southeastern Texas, so it’s the perfect time to head to the shores of Galveston Island. Thirty-two miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico include Stewart Beach with restrooms, showers, snack bar, volleyball courts, and rentable chairs and umbrellas. East Beach features the same amenities along with live concerts, an annual sandcastle competition, and room for fishing. Galveston was incorporated in 1839, and its rich history is shown in sites like Bishop’s Palace, Moody Mansion, and the East End Historic District, a 50-block area featuring examples of vintage architecture. Galveston Island is the birthplace of Juneteenth, commemorating June 19, 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston with news that slavery was abolished, freeing more than 250,000 enslaved people. On June 19, 2021, a 5,000 square foot permanent art installation, “Absolute Equality,” will be dedicated in Galveston on Juneteenth’s 156th anniversary.
Central Coast, California
Road trips are continuing their popularity this year, and California’s Highway 1 is a perfect journey. A drive through central California’s San Luis Obispo County takes vacationers past lighthouses, historic piers, state parks, forests, vineyards, and miles of beaches. More than 200 wineries in four wine regions provide tours, tastings, and stunning views of grapevines lining the hills. The Paso Robles AVA is the largest, with eleven sub-districts producing more than 40 varietals. Along the ocean, Avila Beach offers fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, and the historic Point San Luis Lighthouse as well as the Central Coast Aquarium. Another beach town for your itinerary is Cambria, where visitors can take a self-guided history tour, hunt for sea glass on Moonstone Beach, or see the Clydesdale horses at Covell Ranch. June is the perfect time for a stop at one of the many farmers’ markets for produce, meats, cheeses, and prepared foods.
Finger Lakes Region, New York
A short drive from major east coast cities and an easy flight into Rochester and Syracuse, the Finger Lakes region of central New York is an ideal destination in June with a wide range of socially-distant outdoor experiences. After taking a refreshing dip in one of the 11 crystal blue lakes, visitors can sample their way through the region’s cideries and distilleries, breweries, or the 130 wineries (following America’s First Wine Trail, the Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail or Seneca Lake Wine Trail) while tasting local cheeses and homemade ice cream. Summer travelers can explore the new National Women’s Hall of Fame Museum in the birthplace of Women’s Rights, and end the day by renting a houseboat along the Erie Canal for a one-of-a-kind stay. With a variety of hiking trails leading to stunning waterfalls and family-friendly attractions, the Finger Lakes is the place to be this summer.
Summer temperatures in the high 80s provide perfect beach weather, even if an afternoon shower comes along on some days. Then end the day with a sunset stroll along the historic Naples Pier and watch for wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. Boat trips depart from nearby Marco Island taking visitors to the Ten Thousand Islands for boating, fishing, and spotting manatees, turtles, dolphins, and a variety of wildlife. Families will want to visit the Naples Zoo to see alligators, reptiles, and the tropical gardens. Learn about the history of the area with a glimpse into the railroading boom times of the roaring 20s at the Naples Depot Museum or a visit to the 1895 Palm Cottage, the oldest house in Naples. Stay at The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples and choose the Beach Resort or the nearby Golf Resort with two 18-hole courses.
The “Mile High City” is gorgeous in June, with comfortable weather and lots going on. Getting there is easy, and flights arrive at Denver International Airport from most major cities. Take the convenient airport train to downtown’s Union Station, which should be on every visitor’s itinerary, making it a good place to start. The 1914 Beaux-Arts train station features bars, restaurants, shops, and a boutique hotel. Visit The Infinite Monkey Theorem, an urban winery, for a tour and taste. PrideFest will be held June 26-27 at Civic Center Park with a parade, 5K race, food, and entertainment, and organizers are working closely with Juneteenth Music Festival organizers to coordinate this year’s events. Just 15 miles from downtown, Red Rocks Amphitheater concerts are in full swing, with its iconic stage and stunning surroundings. Stay at Halcyon, and don’t miss their Elevated rooftop bar. The ART Hotel Denver is steps from the Denver Art Museum.
Greenville, South Carolina
Summer in Greenville means the return of Saturday markets for fresh produce, baked goods, crafts, cheese, honey, and more. The friendly city’s walkable downtown features more than a hundred locally-owned restaurants, art and history museums, Greenville Zoo, and a children’s museum. Ride the free downtown open-air trolleys for vintage-style transportation. Another favorite Greenville destination is Falls Park on the Reedy, with walking paths, a waterfall, and Liberty Bridge, the perfect place for a view of the park. Wings of the City, an outdoor art installation, will be on display in Falls Park and the Peace Center campus from April through October, making Greenville the first East Coast city to host world-renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marin’s art. Enjoy the outdoors on nearby hiking trails or the 20-mile Swamp Rabbit walking and biking trail.