Hot Summer Destinations
Croatia \nCroatia's idyllic location on the Adriatic Coast makes this small country a perfect summer getaway. The country's landscape features rocky coastlines, beaches, highlands, mountains and lakes, offering an abundance of tourist attractions. Visitors can enjoy any of Croatia's 1,185 islands (except for those privately owned by movie stars), spend time inland at one of the bustling cities or explore one of the country's many natural parks. Key attractions include: the breathtaking islands of the Dalmatian Coast; the cafes, shops and monuments in Dubrovnik; the galleries, museums and nightlife in Zagreb; the thermal spas in Istria; the baroque architecture of Varaždin; and the lakes and waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park. If you're visiting during the summer months, pack for warm Mediterranean weather. Plan for tourist traffic from Italy and Germany during July and August. There are no direct flights from the United States to Croatia, so if you are traveling by plane you must transfer to a European airline.
Belize \nVisitors who travel to this Central American oasis can relax on sandy white beaches, snorkel along coastal reefs, explore the jungle or examine ancient Mayan ruins. Key attractions include relaxing on the laid-back island of Caye Caulker - which has banned cars - snorkeling at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, visiting the ancient Mayan sites at Altun Ha or Lamanai and seeing the exotic wildlife at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. Weather in Belize is normally hot and humid, so plan on packing light summer clothing. The country's rainy season runs from June until November, so although you will have to bring an umbrella, the tourist traffic will be lighter and the prices will be slightly cheaper than during the dry season (February to April). Belize's official language is English, but you may still hear locals speaking Mayan dialects.
Austin, Texas \nTravel down south to enjoy the live music, exciting nightlife and natural beauty of the Lone Star State. Tourists can spend the day enjoying the many available outdoor activities, including tubing on the Guadalupe River, splashing around at Barton Springs, exploring the Zilker Botanical Gardens and climbing to the top of Mount Bonnell. Other must-see spots include the Austin Museum of Arts, the Mexic-Arte Museum and the Austin Zoo. At night, be sure to make some time to two-step at The Broken Spoke dancehall, dine at The Alamo Drafthouse while watching a movie or enjoy live music at one of the city's 200 music venues. Summer in Austin is normally hot and humid, so pack accordingly.
Ocracoke Island, N.C. \nLooking to escape the crowded beaches of Florida, Virginia or South Carolina? Seeking a road trip? Located six and a half hours from Charlottesville, Ocracoke Island is an often overlooked treasure. It is the most isolated Outer Banks village, so transportation to and from the island can be difficult: It is accessible only by ferry or private plane. But once you're on the island you'll find it is more peaceful and relaxing than your normal beach. Ocracoke is known for its sandy beaches and small-town feel. Visitors can spend their day lounging on the beach, exploring the local shops and boutiques, fishing in the harbor or parasailing off the coast. The Ocracoke Lighthouse, which was built in 1823 and is one of the oldest active lighthouses in the country, is also among the island's well-loved tourist spots. Summer temperatures are high, but the evenings can be cooler, so dress in layers.