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11 Summer Vacation Ideas

Summer is just around the corner, and the promise of longer, warmer, sun-filled days has the Indagare Community buzzing with anticipation for some much-needed getaways. Whether you’re looking to plan a long weekend close to home or a longer trip out west to a family-friendly dude ranch or epic national park—or you're eager to venture further afield to top summer vacation locales in Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond—we’ve gathered the top options offering fantastic hotels, top cuisine, engaging experiences and much more, for a trip this year or next (it's never too early to start planning!).Contact your Indagare Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to discuss summer vacation ideas. Our team can match you with the destinations, accommodations and activities that are right for you.

Maine, U.S.

A long weekend escape or extended stay in one of our favorite summer vacation destinations in the Northeast is an ideal option for families and couples who are looking to keep it simple. In Maine, days are filled with boating, hiking in Acadia National Park and along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, strolling lanes of cafés and cute boutiques and dining on fresh lobster and homemade ice cream. In the words of lifelong Maine visitor and Indagare Senior Director of Content & Brand Strategy Jen Barr: "The small town I return to is quirky and out of the way, down a long peninsula, a one-of-a-kind place, with fully drawn characters out of a book I seem unable to put down. Now, returning with my husband and my kids, even without my Mom there to greet us after the epic drive from New York, there will always be rituals. Now my family shares a love of this place and of morning muffins at MarKel’s and a walk on the beach in search of sea urchins or sand dollars for the collection on the window sill. Lobster rolls at the Salty Breeze by the town dock, black raspberry ice cream at the Variety Store, a visit to the bookstore." Read Jen's full article here.

Wondering where to stay? Some of our favorite properties include Cliff House, Hidden Pond, Migis Lodge and White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection. We're also looking forward to the opening of the Longfellow Hotel in Portland (expected later this summer) from family-owned Uncommon Hospitality, in collaboration with the design firm behind stylish upstate New York arrivals the Lake House on Canandaigua and Inness. The property promises a focus on wellness (with a Nordic-style spa) and "simple pleasures"—namely, Maine's rugged natural beauty and seasonal produce.

Related: East Coast Vacations: Easy Summer Escapes from Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend

American Northwest, U.S.

If you’re craving adventure without crossing borders, consider booking a wild dude ranch escape in Montana, Wyoming, Utah or Colorado. Our favorite properties—like the Ranch at Rock Creek, Amangani, the Resort at Paws Up, Taylor River Lodge and the Lodge at Blue Sky—offer standalone cabin accommodations ideal for privacy; exceptional outdoor activities (with top options including horseback riding, hiking, fly-fishing, clay shooting, archery, kayaking, ATV touring and biking); and access to some of our finest national parks for off-road exploration, including Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Teton National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. For an out west escape that prioritizes contemporary design and cuisine, don't miss the Paws Up sister property The Green O, a sophisticated, adults-only retreat located in Montana’s remote Greenough township, on the southern edge of the 37,000-acre Paws Up Ranch. The property features 12 design-minded, freestanding “hauses,” a seasonal dining concept, a nature-focused spa and access to 100-plus miles of trails for hiking and riding, as well as 10 miles of the Blackfoot River. Read more about Indagare Branded Content Manager Elizabeth Harvey's spring trip to The Green O here.Related: Summer Road Trip Ideas: The Best U.S. Hotels You Can Drive To

Colombia

From the charming colonial streets of Cartagena to the creative spirit of Bogotá and Medellín, and the verdant coffee region, Colombia promises dynamic cultural immersion at the northern tip of South America—and generally beautiful year-round weather (so if you missed a Caribbean escape this winter, Colombia offers a comparable clime). Equally thrilling for history and politics buffs, foodies and art and design lovers, the perfect Colombia itinerary balances meaningful discussion of the country’s complex past with an authentic look at the many colorful ways that it is moving into the future. In the words of one of our travelers who joined us for a recent Insider Journey to Colombia: "We all thought really highly of the trip—It was beautifully planned and executed. I would recommend it to anybody (and have been surprised at how many of my friends still don’t regard Columbia as "safe." I think the Millennials figured that out before we did!)." We're offering this trip again later this year, with itinerary highlights including street art and architecture exploration in historic neighborhoods, a “Handcrafted in Colombia” survey of Bogotá’s top ateliers and artisan studios, a trip to Comuna 13 to explore the beating heart of contemporary political hip-hop and urban art movements, salsa dancing on a private rooftop at sunset, tasting meals at innovative modern restaurants and private homes, the chance to learn how to make the perfect ceviche with a local chef and a visit to a family-run hacienda in the Andean countryside. Email insiderjourneys@indagare.com to learn more.Related: Discover Colombia with Indagare Journeys

Sweden, Denmark & Finland

Havens for contemporary design, New Nordic cuisine and gallery hopping—as well as hiking, glamping, birding and boating through miles of untouched forests and coastline—Sweden, Denmark and Finland are the ideal destinations for a sophisticated summer itinerary focused on culture, beauty and adventure, with endless sun and cooler temperatures. Combine several nights in stylish cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki (while based at a fantastic hotel like the newly-expanded Ett Hem, Hotel D’Angleterre, Hotel Sanders, the Grand Hôtel Stockholm, Hotel St. George or Hotel Lilla Roberts) with excursions off the beaten path. Top options include a short flight north to the Sápmi region for Arctic visions and immersion in nature; a private charter to explore Skåne and the Bjäre Peninsula in the south of Sweden (where visitors cannot miss the Wanas hotel, which brings together cutting-edge art, design and cuisine within an idyllic estate); a laidback coastal escape in one of Denmark's many hidden-gem beach towns (did you know that Denmark is home to 240 Blue Flag beaches—meaning some of the cleanest and most environmentally-protected waters in Europe?); and drives to charming towns like Gothenburg or Porvoo and Turku. Choose one country to focus on or craft an adventurous multi-stop itinerary crossing borders by train or private yacht charter. Our Trip Designers can help you customize the ideal itinerary for your interests.Related: 7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions to Know Now

Southern Spain & Portugal

The artsy, surfer towns of the southern Iberian Peninsula and the Balearics are having a moment this summer thanks to some seriously stylish hotel openings. One of the most buzz-worthy is Vermelho in Melides, Portugal—the first hotel from fashion designer Christian Louboutin (designer Philippe Starck also owns a home nearby). The boutique, 13-room property is said to have been inspired by the signature red of Louboutin heels—but the aesthetic seems more oriented towards whimsy and warmth than high drama (expect frescoes, antique furniture, painted murals, traditional azulejo tiles and carved wood accents). The Xtian restaurant, focused on Portuguese cuisine, and gilded Vermelho Bar promise to be influential additions to the region's growing food scene.

In the Mallorcan village of Puigpunyent (a 15-minute drive from Palma), at the foot of UNESCO World Heritage Site Sierra de Tramuntana, the sister property to Andalucía resort Finca Cortesin—the Grand Hotel Son Net—is expected to open next month within a restored 17th-century manor house, redesigned by Lorenzo Castillo (and preserving atmospheric details like an inner courtyard, a spring-fed well, a chapel and antique fireplaces). Guests can enjoy 31 suites and sprawling grounds—including flower, vegetable and herb gardens, organic orchards and a Malvasia vineyard, as well as a small farm. Other amenities include a wellness center with an indoor saltwater pool and thermal circuit, as well as an outdoor pool, and two restaurants and a cocktail bar. And just a forty-minute drive away, a new hotel from Sir Richard Branson—Sun Bunyola—is expected to open in June, within a restored 15th-century estate. Of particular interest here are the three private villas (in addition to the 28-room manor house), for the ultimate private hideaway. Plus: Discover Indagare Index Adored property La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel.

Related: Best New Hotels of 2023: Our Top Picks from Around the World

Ischia, Italy

In a country that is becoming increasingly overrun, it is hard for travelers to find a corner of Italy that still feels like a secret—but the southern island of Ischia, which sits just an hour’s ferry ride west of Naples, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, has retained a sense of untouched magic. This small volcanic island offers the same delicious food and wine, romantic vistas and cerulean blue waters that can be found on the Amalfi Coast, without the crowds of tourists (though Ischia has long been a summer destination of choice both for stylish Italians and international figures of interest, from Truman Capote and Elizabeth Taylor to Angela Merkel—as well as readers of Elena Ferrante). This more relaxed vibe is also drawing wellness-seekers (as it did in ancient times), who come to soak in the island’s natural thermal hot springs. To enjoy Ischia's earthen glories—and a splash of dolce vita glam—an Indagare favorite is the historic Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa, which reopened just before the pandemic after an extensive renovation spearheaded by Il Pellicano’s hospitality and design darling Marie-Louise Sciò. Prior to Sciò's stewardship, the property played home to poet Luigi Patalano (in the '30s) and director Luchino Visconti (in the '50s), and its alluring visual drama continues to intoxicate—but now with the gentle blush of Sciò's peachy beach umbrellas, printed china plates and linen textiles.

Related: Indagare Matchmaker: Italian Beach Destinations

Zurich, Switzerland

Polished and buzzing with that uniquely Swiss sense of controlled style and energy, Zurich is an unexpectedly charming European city for a summer getaway. The city is spread out and bright with greenery and aqua water sources, keeping temperatures bearable and the air, fresh. Like its residents, Zurich's hotels are perky and boutique-chic, with top choices including The Widder (whose street-facing restaurant in a must for people-watching over lunch or an aperitif) and La Réserve Eden au Lac, which was reconstructed by Philippe Starck and reopened in 2020 (for those who prefer more of a grande-dame vibe, The Dolder Grand and Baur au Lac are the top choices). While there is something to be said for simply soaking in the scenery, any itinerary for a summer vacation to Zurich should feature time exploring the city's vibrant art and design scenes. From June 9 - 11, the Zurich Art Weekend festival features public contemporary art exhibitions and events at over 62 venues—while a new extension to the Kunsthaus Museum by David Chipperfield warrants a first or return visit to what is now the largest art museum in Switzerland.

Plus: As a major hub for international flights and railways, Zurich is a fabulous urban destination to combine with a more remote countryside escape (like the northern Italian lakes Como and Garda or the Bavarian or Austrian Alps) for a well-rounded summer vacation. A few Indagare Index properties we recommend pairing with Zurich: Schloss Elmau, Villa Feltrinelli and Villa d'Este—as well as the new stunner Passalacqua.

Related: Travel Outlook 2023: 1,500+ Travelers Respond to Indagare’s Survey

Bodrum, Turkey

For a riviera getaway with the glamour quotient of a Capri, St. Tropez or Mykonos, but a bit more intrigue (and fewer crowds), Bodrum is a favorite Aegean escape for the Mediterranean and European set (with a lovely shoulder season stretching into early fall). There's no shortage of glitzy beach clubs and nightlife for those seeking them—along with luxury hotels from such brands as Aman, Six Senses, Mandarin Oriental and EDITION—but there's also soul and deeply historical sites (the city of Ephesus, whose Temple of Artemis was one of the ancient world’s seven wonders, is just a few hours' drive away—while the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, also a wonder of the ancient world, is right in Bodrum proper). And in this place where the contemporary meets the epic, travelers can enjoy Turkey's many cultural enchantments at a more leisurely pace: freshly blended hummus drizzled in pressed olive oil, and the stickiness of a plate of figs and honey; the wafting scent of eucalyptus carried on the steam of the hammam; the thick, velvety fibers of kilim rugs and glossy tiles in the souks; the eternally yearning call to prayer—and the electrifying realization, every now and then, that you're walking in the footsteps of legend and myth.

Related: Istanbul Inspired with Serena Crawford — Join the Insider Journey

Botswana, Tanzania & Kenya

The ultimate destination for a picture-perfect safari, Botswana is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife-viewing in Africa—and according to Indagare's Senior Director of African Safari Travel, Rose Allen, "the winter months—which take place during our summer in the States—are the best for the most prolific wildlife-viewing." Adventurous travelers opting for bush over beach can spend their days with expert local guides in 4x4s and mokoro canoes searching for lions, elephants, hippos, leopards, wild dogs and hundreds of species of birds—all while enjoying awe-inspiring scenery, communion with Mother Earth and plenty of pampering at new, design-forward lodges like Xigera and Duke's Camp, and freshly renovated favorites like DumaTau and Jack's Camp—or Indagare Index classics like Mombo, Selinda and Zarafa.

Plus: Those hoping to witness the incredible movement of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, impala—and their predators, on their heels—across the Serengeti-Mara, known as the Great Migration, have wonderful chances to experience it in Tanzania in June and July—and then in Kenya in August. For a particularly memorable Kenya summer vacation, we are eagerly awaiting the opening of the new luxury lodge Angama Amboseli (expected to open November 2023—in time for summer 2024 reservations), which sits on a centuries-old migratory path between Amboseli National Park and the Chyulu Hills and provides one-of-a-kind opportunities to see the endangered Super Tusker elephants (fewer than 20 of these elephants are believed to be left in the world—and their tusks weigh more than 100 pounds, each!). The ten-suite camp's communal pool is outfitted with a drinking trough to attract encounters up-close—with views of Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance.

Related: Join Conservation Legend Colin Bell for an Elephant Safari in Botswana

Mongolia

Mongolia is the world’s least-densely populated country, wedged between Siberia and northern China. It is one of the last remaining places on earth where the silence and emptiness of the landscapes around you truly fill your soul. Still, Mongolia’s 3.2 million people proudly keep their ancient history and rich cultural traditions alive—and protect its unique natural charms, from the oldest national park on the planet to the extremely rare Bactrian camel. This East Asian nation is best enjoyed during the summer, when the weather is quite similar to that of the American West (including snowfall in the mountain regions). Indagare's Vice President of Business Development Diana Li led a group of Indagare travelers on an Insider Journey to Mongolia last August, and said of the experience: "We hiked the Flaming Cliffs, where the 80-million-year-old Protoceratops dinosaur eggs were first found 100 years ago. As we enjoyed our Mongolian vodka sundowners, we observed nature’s entertainment at its best: herds of sheep and goat grazing across the grasslands beneath the cliffs just as dark storm clouds rolled in, contrasting with the glowing red cliffs. From here we moved to the Altai Mountains. Over the next three days, we not only bonded with each other, but we spent time with two Kazakh families, who welcomed us warmly. In fact, when many nomadic families tend to livestock faraway, they’ll leave their yurts unlocked and tables filled with a spread of curds for wanderers in need." Read more about the trip here.

Related: Discover Mongolia this August with Indagare Journeys

Maldives

This nation of more than a thousand tiny islands contains a water world to satisfy the tropical fantasies of surfers, scuba divers, beach lovers and honeymooners. For an extended summer vacation that is truly far-flung—with five-star service and amenities—escape to one of the many luxurious overwater bungalows and beachfront villas available at properties like One&Only Reethi Rah

. The biggest island resort in the Maldives and arguably its most indulgent, this One&Only property has been raising the bar for celebrities and loyal repeaters every year since it opened in 2005. A Rolls-Royce of a beach hotel, Reethi Rah offers 109 acres and has six kilometers of white-sand coastline and a lush, tropical interior. Guests are whisked through tunnels of tropical greenery on golf carts to their private villas, where butlers manage their stay. Amongst the 130 villas are 32 overwater villas and a variety of beach villas. Plus: The state-of-the-art Marine Center has a resident marine biologist as well as scuba instructors and cruises to see sharks, whales, dolphins and manta rays—and there are seven restaurants on the island.

Related: How to Build a Bucket List for Your Life

Contact your Indagare Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to discuss summer vacation ideas. Our team can match you with the destinations, accommodations and activities that are right for you.

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