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Where to Go in June: The Best Places to Travel

by Brook Wilkinson | May 30, 2019

In much of the northern hemisphere, June is an excellent time weather-wise to squeeze in a trip before most school vacations start, the summer crowds surge, and the heat descends. In some places, it’s also a great month for hiking and spotting elusive beasts of the wild. Here are our Trusted Travel Experts’ recommendations for the best places to travel in June.

(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.)

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon Kolb studio.

Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon. Photo: Mike Buchheit

The peak of summer sees crowds almost as huge as the Grand Canyon itself, which is up to a mile deep and 18 miles wide; go in June and you’ll have much more breathing room, as well as access to the far less visited North Rim (which is open only from mid-May to mid-October). Ask Wendy about who can arrange helicopter flights over the canyon, mule rides down to where the rocks are 1.8 billion years old, float trips along the Colorado River, and behind-the-scenes tours of sites not accessible to ordinary travelers.

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Italy’s Dolomites Region

green meadow with mountains in bakcground and people hiking Alta Badia in Italy's Dolomites

Alta Badia in Italy’s Dolomites. Photo: Visual Working

The craggy peaks and verdant valleys of the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy, provide some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. In June you are guaranteed sunny days and warm evenings, with not too much humidity. Enjoy hiking and biking into the UNESCO-designated landscape, and afterward sample the local culinary delicacies over lunch at a mountain rifugio or from a picnic basket.

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Alaska Cruises

The first two weeks of June in Southeast Alaska—the region also known as the Inside Passage—typically offer drier days and better wildlife spotting on the beaches at low tide. This is also a prime time to spot transient orcas, migrating humpback whales, and hauled-out harbor seals. Winds coming off the snow-covered mountain peaks make the air crisp, and the forests showcase an abundance of colorful and diverse wildflowers.

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Newfoundland, Canada

The coastline of Twillingate, New World Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The coastline of Twillingate, New World Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Photo credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

June is typically an optimal month for iceberg watching—a popular pastime here. On a warm day, you can watch these majestic mountains of ice flow along the province’s northern and eastern coasts.

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Paris

Ile Saint-Louis in the river seine paris

In Paris, locals take advantage of the warm weather to stroll and picnic on the waterfront of Ile Saint-Louis. Photo: Andreas Eberhart, Queen of Clubs

In June, the days are longest, the temperature is most pleasant, and the cherry blossoms are in bloom. And it’s when Parisians spend many an evening on the docks of the Ile Saint Louis with a musical instrument, a bottle of wine, and some playing cards. Plus, there are events galore, from the French Open to wonderful art exhibits and several music and film festivals.

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Provence, France

Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France

Mas Fleuri, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France. Photo courtesy Just France.

June is sublime: Spring is in full bloom, the produce is at its peak, and the warm, sunny days (save for the occasional rain and mistral wind) and extra-long evenings mean you can usually enjoy all three meals outdoors. Many villages hold festivals, with costumed parades and traditional food and activities, at the end of the month. June is also when Provence’s world-famous lavender blooms and the fields turn purple.

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San Sebastián, Spain

Beach and colorful houses of San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain, is ideal in June. Photo: Shutterstock

June is a great time in San Sebastián: The weather has cleared but it’s not yet warm enough for beach-goers, so the crowds are manageable. Enjoy the top pintxo bars while they are still filled with locals—most of whom will be replaced by tourists come July and August. And a lot of produce comes into season now, making the many Michelin-starred menus even more delectable than usual.

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The Algarve, Portugal

Beautiful sandy beach near Lagos in Ponta da Piedade, Algarve region, Portugal

Beach near Lagos in Ponta da Piedade, Algarve region, Portugal. Photo: Shutterstock

The weather is beautiful in June, when mild temperatures make it ideal for hiking and biking along the coast, and the Atlantic is just warm enough to take a dip. The European crowds will not arrive for another month, so you can still find a great spot on the beach (without staking it out early in the morning) and nab reservations at the top restaurants.

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London

Queen Elizabeth II at the Garter Ceremony

Queen Elizabeth II at the Garter Ceremony with Lord Chamberlain in 1976, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, UK. Photo: Visit Britain

Spring and autumn may be the loveliest times of year in London, but the busiest month in the British royal calendar is June. The season actually starts in late May with the Chelsea Flower Show. Then, in mid-June, there’s the Trooping of the Colour, a big parade on horseback held in honor of the queen’s birthday. After that, the ceremony at Windsor Castle for the Order of the Garter, which is the biggest spectacle of all, with the knights in blue velvet cloaks and hats decorated with heron and ostrich feathers. The whole royal family turns out, and everyone is in their morning coats, medals, and top hats. It’s really a sight! The following day: the Royal Ascot races. All of these events are open to the public, but they tend to be mobbed. Our Trusted Travel Expert can arrange special entry to all four (and other royal meetings), including an after-hours visit to the Chelsea Flower Show and access to the castle grounds for the Order of the Garter ceremony.

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Cyclades Islands, Greece

Oia town on Santorini island, Greece. Traditional and famous houses and churches with blue domes over the Caldera, Aegean sea

Oia town, on Santorini, is famous for its blue-domed churches and white houses overlooking the caldera. Photo: Shutterstock

In the second half of June (and into the first half of July), you get the best of both shoulder and peak seasons: It’s lively but not crowded, warm but not scorching, and hotel rates aren’t sky-high. You’ll also elude the worst of the meltemi—the daytime wind that can sandblast you off the beach from mid-July until late August—but be aware that the Cyclades are often a little breezy; bring a few long-sleeved tops for evenings, just in case.

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Koh Phangan, Thailand

small boat on beach of Koh Phangan island Thailand

Koh Phangan, Thailand. Photo: Journeys Within

While the rest of Thailand is entering the rainy season in June, the island of Koh Phangan is still sunny and dry, making it ideal for snorkeling, diving, and lounging on the beach. As it’s high season on Koh Phangan, you won’t see deep discounts for your stay there, but if you’re pairing the beach time with a larger journey around Thailand you can take advantage of the “green season” specials in the rest of the country.

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European Canal Barge Cruises

The eight-passenger barge Hirondelle cruising in Champagne, France

The eight-passenger barge Hirondelle cruising in Champagne, France. Photo: Barge Lady Cruises

In June, the weather is best (not too hot, not too cool), and the crowds haven’t yet arrived, making this a perfect month to get to know a small slice of the Continent intimately and thoroughly. The Champagne region is especially glorious for June cruises: Sip and savor the best bubbly both onboard and ashore, feast on seasonal gourmet cuisine paired with locally-sourced spirits, and stroll or cycle the miles of manicured towpath, all under the first blushes of France’s sweet summer sun.

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India’s Himalaya Mountains: Trekking and Tigers

royal bengal tiger in the ranthambore tiger reserve in rajasthan india

A royal Bengal tiger stretches in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India. Photo: Sanjay Saxena

June is an excellent time for hikers, as many Himalayan trekking routes are open, and the mountains (up to about 14,000 feet, at least) are covered with rhododendron blooms and other wildflowers. And while it’s very hot in the central plains, it’s also the best time for visiting that region’s wildlife parks—especially the tiger reserves.

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Rwanda and Uganda: Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla in Rwanda

The best time for gorilla tracking in Rwanda is June through September. Photo by James Friedman.

Gorilla sightings are equally good all year long (though never guaranteed). However, the best time for gorilla tracking is June, when it’s cool and there is less precipitation (but remember, this is still the rain forest, and storms can hit any day).

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Yakushima, Japan

forest river in Yakushima Japan

Japan’s sub-tropical island of Yakushima is ideal for intrepid travelers. Photo: Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima

This sub-tropical island, located in the waters just south of Kyushu, is ideal for intrepid travelers: Its mountains and vast forest of ancient cedar trees are crisscrossed by a network of hiking trails, from easy walks to challenging ascents. June signals the end of the rainy season, so you’ll find stunning waterfalls along the trails; it’s also when endangered loggerhead sea turtles return to Yakushima’s beaches to nest.

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Malta

fireworks and a procession for St Josephs Feast in Malta

St Josephs Feast 2014, Malta. Photo: Exclusively Malta

Village feasts happen around the country just about every weekend from May through October, with parades, concerts, and fireworks. By mid-June, the ocean is warm enough for swimming, but the island isn’t as busy—and the weather not as hot—as later on in the summer.

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Cappadocia, Turkey

Balloons over Cappadocia. Photograph courtesy of Earl Starkey

Balloons over Cappadocia. Photograph courtesy of Earl Starkey

In June the wildflowers are in bloom and everything is still green. The light is ideal for photography, the days are long, and the nights are lovely. It is also a perfect time for balloon flights, and there is a mountain biking festival too.

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Bali

Uma by Como, Ubud, Bali

Uma by Como, Ubud, Bali. Photo Courtesy Como Resorts

June is the calm before—and after—the tourist storms that hit this island during the Christmas/New Year period and in July, August, and early September. It also has the most reliably pleasant weather (daytime temps in the 80s and gentle breezes to keep the sun from feeling too hot) and decent prices (high-season hotel rates don’t kick in until July).

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Borneo

Borneo. Photo: Wild Frontiers

Borneo. Photo: Wild Frontiers

Borneo’s dry season (if you can have one in the rainforest) runs from May through September, and by June the fruiting season is in full swing; this is the ideal time to see orangutans and other animals swinging through the trees.

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Bhutan

The Tiger's Nest monastery in bloom, Bhutan

The Tiger’s Nest monastery in bloom, Bhutan. Photo: Myths and Mountains

In June the higher mountainsides are dressed in the pinks, whites, reds, purples, and oranges of Himalayan rhododendron flowers. Iris, orchids, primula, and other flowers are blooming, spring plantings are poking their leaves up out of fields, and migratory birds are heading north across the mountains. Many travelers have gone home, so roads are not teeming with buses and other tourist vehicles (which is very important in a country with only one east-west road). Moreover, with fewer visitors, Bhutanese locals have time to sit and chat or cook special meals instead of the typical tourist buffets. Yes, you may have some clouds or perhaps a shower, but the more peaceful countryside makes the trade-off well worthwhile.

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Baltic Cruises

Saint Isaac Cathedral across Moyka river, St Petersburg, Russia

Saint Isaac Cathedral across Moyka river, St Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Shutterstock

The Baltic is ideal during St. Petersburg’s “White Nights,” when dusk meets dawn and the sun does not dip deep enough below the horizon to bring on full darkness (a phenomenon lasting from late May through July, and peaking in mid-June). During this period, there is a playful feeling in the city as inhabitants and visitors enjoy being outside late into the night, and numerous ballet, opera, and music events take place.

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Other Good Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why June is a good time to go.

American West: river rafting

Australia: Great Barrier Reef

Bolivia

Botwsana

Brazil: Pantanal wetlands

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro

Brazil: southern Amazon

Brazil: Trancoso’s off season

Cambodia: green season

Canada: British Colombia

Caribbean: off-season rates

China: Yunnan Province

Colombia: Bogota

Costa Rica: green season

Cuba: beaches

Ecuador: family trips to the Galapagos

Egypt: value trips

Fiji

French Polynesia

Germany: Bavaria

Italy: Florence’s Festa di San Giovanni

Italy: Sicily

Italy: Umbria’s festival season

Laos

Madagascar

Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Mongolia

Montana and Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

Namibia

Nicaragua: rainy-season deals

Nepal

New Zealand: winter activities in Queenstown

Norway

Papua New Guinea

Peru

Portugal

Romania

Scotland

Seychelles

Switzerland

South Africa: whale watching and shark-cage diving

St. Barts: annual sales

Turkey: Aegean Coast

Turkey: Cappadocia

Turkey: Istanbul

Utah’s National Parks

Uzbekistan

Washington: whale watching in the San Juan Islands

Zambia

Zimbabwe

Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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