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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, culled from our Insider’s Guides to destinations worldwide.
(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “Where to Book Now” series.)
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.
You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Alaska, our Insider’s Guide to small-ship Alaska expedition cruises, and our Insider’s Guide to Alaska Cruises on larger, more affordable ships.
Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons
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.
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 rigged and, of course, sailing.
You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Bora Bora, Tahiti, and French Polynesia.
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.
Ever since Wendy went there 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.
Sure, it’s crowded in July, but the days are long and the weather is great, and there are music festivals—especially opera—all over Austria. And you can usually find good hotel deals, except in Salzburg from mid-July on, when the city hosts its six-week classical music festival (one of the biggest in Europe).
Glacier National Park
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.
You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.
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.
July has the 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.
Kenya and Tanzania
The best time to see the Great Migration—one of the grandest wildlife spectacles on Earth, with more than 2 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.
You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Safari Guide: The Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania.
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.
Yunnan Province, China
If you’re traveling in China in July, this is the best place for escaping the heat. There can be rain, but there’s a silver lining: The rain brings wild mushrooms of every variety, but most notably the prized matsutake. Served stir-fried, deep-fried, or au naturel, they’re delicious!
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.
Other Good Options This Month
Click on any of the destinations below to find out why July is a good time to go.
Australia: Great Barrier Reef
Costa Rica: green-season deals
South Africa: Cape Town
Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.