Even in the peak summer travel month of July, there are still plenty of places in the world where you can escape the heat, crowds, and beach-bound traffic jams. Here are ideas for you, gathered from our Insider’s Guides to destinations worldwide.
Newfoundland and the Maritimes, Atlantic Canada
Ever since Wendy visited one summer several years ago, she’s been urging other East Coasters to flee to Newfoundland in summer, as an antidote to the crowds, heat, and beach traffic that choke the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. You get a foreign island with dramatic sweeping landscapes, lighthouses and fishing villages galore, roads to yourself (well, you plus a few moose), a distinct local culture, and incredibly friendly people, all without having to schlep too far from home. (You can fly there via Toronto or Halifax from many U.S. hubs.) A must on any Newfoundland itinerary is the Fogo Island Inn, a fascinating five-star philanthropic experiment that Wendy says has the most soul of any hotel she’s ever seen. Read why Wendy loved it there.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Newfoundland. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
British Columbia, Western Canada
The days are usually clear and sunny (ideal for seaplane and helicopter flights) and the seasonal wilderness lodges, which typically open in mid-May, have been operating long enough to work out any kinks. The summer months are also prime time for kayaking, hiking, fishing, and river rafting, not to mention bear- and whale-watching.
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July brings Norway’s best weather. The days are endless, with almost no night, the nature is at its peak, the waterfalls are still large, and you still have some snowcapped mountains in the fjord area.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Norway. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Bora Bora, Tahiti, and French Polynesia
The “Heiva” festival falls during July, with local contests on outer islands early in the month and a culmination of ceremonies in Papeete, Tahiti around the 20th. July also falls during the “Trade Wind” season, when the breezes keep temperatures in the low 80s and the humidity is down as well. It still rains, but in 30- to 40-minute bursts, and then the sun comes out again (a cycle that can repeat a few times through each afternoon and evening). The lagoons can be a bit choppy, but are still great for kite surfing, catamarans, or outrigger canoes with a sail and, of course, sailing.
Read reviews of WOW trips to French Polynesia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
In July Iceland sees about 20 hours of daylight, so you can pack your trip full of the outdoor pursuits that the country is famous for. It’s also when the weather is mildest—which here means average temperatures in the mid-50s—and the roads, hiking trails, and lava caves aren’t blocked by snow.
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While July technically falls during the country’s rainy season, the showers are sporadic and typically not a daily occurrence. Hotel rates are lower at this time of year, and it’s also the beginning of lobster season—so you can fish by day and enjoy the freshest possible crustaceans for dinner that very evening. Wendy and her family have enjoyed two idyllic trips to Belize in July/early August, including one when her son got SCUBA-certified right on the dock of their boutique resort.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Belize. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
July is technically the rainy season in the Riviera Maya—but it often brings a pause from the spikes in precipitation that come in June and from August through November. Between the sporadic showers, you can enjoy fewer crowds at the archaeological sites, lush tropical foliage that has been revived by the summer rains, and lower rates at the region’s hotels. Plus, July presents the opportunity to swim with the whale sharks that congregate off the cost of Cancun at this time of year.
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Great Barrier Reef, Australia
July is the perfect time for whale-watching on the Great Barrier Reef: You can go swimming or snorkeling with dwarf minke whales, and cruise alongside humpbacks on their annual migration. This being the southern-hemisphere winter, both the air and water temperatures are in the 70s, with plenty of sun and almost no rain.
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If you are after a taste of the international party scene that put Trancoso on the map, you need to go from January through March. But if you are after peace and quiet, July is pure bliss: Temperatures are still in the high 70s to 80s, and you will often have mile upon mile of palm-tree-backed beaches all to yourself.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Brazil. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
July brings the best conditions for hiking in the Alps. In the Appenzell, you can chat with farmers in their fields; near Interlaken, ride the gondola to the summit of the Jungfrau. After a few days on the trails, rest your legs and soak up the Italian-influenced culture on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Switzerland. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Until mid-July the mountains are still covered in snow, the flowers are emerging, and the animals have just given birth, so you might see moose out with their calves, as well as just-born fur-seal pups. Plus, the locals are happy that winter is over and that visitors have returned. Temperatures are typically in the mid-60s during the days (which are the longest days of the year) and you’re likely to see active, calving glaciers. All in all, it’s a great time to see the 49th state via a land-based stay, a cruise ship, or a smaller expedition-style vessel.
Read reviews of WOW land trips to Alaska here, and WOW cruises of Alaska here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, Wyoming
You’ll find warm days and cool nights, wildflowers in bloom, and hiking trails mostly free of snow. In the Tetons, rivers should be clear of spring runoff, making for perfect fly-fishing conditions. And it’s prime time for a huge variety of activities—biking, rock climbing, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding. Summer can be busy, but there are creative ways to beat the crowds in national parks.
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Glacier National Park, Montana
High up on the Canadian border, Glacier has a very short season: The entire Going-to-the-Sun Road (the park’s star attraction, cut into an immense, craggy cliff with amazing vistas) is only open for a few months, typically from late June to October. In July, there will still be snow, but the weather is pleasant. These days, sadly, you’ll find only a few dozen glaciers left from the 150 that were here back in 1850. There are more than 700 miles of hiking trails to choose from, some of which skirt waterfalls and glacial lakes.
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Kenya and Tanzania Safaris
The best time to see the Great Migration—one of the grandest wildlife spectacles on Earth, with more than two million wildebeest and zebra on the move and predators lurking nearby—is the dry season, since the animals come out looking for water sources. The best place to be is in the Masai Mara National Reserve: There are more than 15 different river crossings—bottlenecks along the migration route where the animals must avoid hungry crocodiles and lions.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Kenya and Tanzania here, here, and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Queenstown, New Zealand
In the southern-hemisphere winter, Queenstown is a snow-capped beauty, and there are not many people around; it is cold but heavenly, and a great time for snowshoeing and touring Fiordland by helicopter.
Read reviews of WOW trips to New Zealand. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
The early summer months not only bring reasonably warm weather but also have the advantage of the midnight sun, when the near 24-hour daylight conditions make for superb photo opportunities.
Read reviews of WOW trips to the Arctic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Other Smart Options This Month
Click on any of the destinations below to find out why July is a good time to go.
North America and Caribbean
Central and South America
Costa Rica: green-season deals
Asia and Pacific
China: Yunnan Province
South Africa: Cape Town
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