Jen’s Top 10 Vacation Destinations

Summer is a great time to get away for a vacation. Whether you’re adventuring with your family, looking for a romantic paradise with your partner, hoping to lie around on a beach or explore spectacular sights, we hope some of these Top 10 Vacation Destinations will jumpstart the trip of your dreams!

1.  Dublin, Ireland: A stay in the famous Shelbourne Hotel is truly special and the afternoon Champagne Tea is worth the splurge. The Shelbourne Hotel is a great starting point to explore all Dublin has to offer. Wander through the local shops, take a tour of Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, go for drinks at the Guinness Storehouse (the home of Guinness), or just relax with a stroll through St. Stephens Green. Pack a picnic lunch and bring a book and you’ve got a wonderful afternoon ahead!

The Lord Mayor’s Lounge at The Shelbourne Hotel. Photo credit: Shelbourne Hotel

2.  Niagara Falls, Canada – This breathtaking spot is always worth a visit, even in the winter when everywhere is ice-covered and the crowds are nowhere to be found. Visit the historic falls in a variety of ways: take a self-guided White Water Walk, take the Hornblower Cruise right up to the falls, or if you’re feeling adventurous, take the Wildplay Mistrider Zipline. But there’s more than just the falls to see! Visit the Botanical Gardens or the Butterfly Conservatory. When you’re done explore Clifton Hill for restaurants and amusement, or take in a show and dinner at The Niagara Fallsview Casino. Don’t forget to stick around for the nighttime fireworks!

View of the Horseshoe Fall in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

3.  New York City, USA – Check out the Big Apple in the fall when crowds are thinning and the temperature is more comfortable. The list is endless of what to do: the Hop-on Hop-off double decker bus tour is the greatest way to see the city and learn about the history even if you’ve been to the city many times before. You can also visit the big attractions: Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the MoMA and the Met. Take in a show, eat in any one of the endless delightful restaurants, go shopping or just wander.

Photo Credit: Hop-on Hop-off Bus

4. Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA – Take the historic Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for an true adventure – it’s like stepping back in time. I never understood how magnificent the Grand Canyon was until I saw it in person. Photos do not do it justice! While at the South Rim you can even eat (or stay) at El Tovar Hotel where National Lampoon’s Vacation was filmed.

Photo credit: Grand Canyon Railway Train & Hotel

5.  Route 66 – “It winds from Chicago to LA….”  If you’re up for a road trip, travel sections of Historic Route 66. Add it to a trip to the Grand Canyon, and head down to Winslow, AZ to start traveling along the old Route 66. Before you leave Winslow be sure to visit the Corner. Then settle in for a fascinating drive with attractions that are interesting for all ages. Summer is the busiest and warmest season, but fall is the best time to visit!

6.  Stockholm, Sweden – Summer in Sweden is true happiness! From tiny wild strawberries to fresh potatoes and snaps (and the snaps songs), what’s not to love about the land of the midnight sun! Though Stockholm is spread across 14 islands, it’s easy to navigate with bridges, ferries and public transport. Signage is in both English and Swedish, making it easy for non-native speakers to enjoy the city. Go see the Vasa, the ancient Swedish warship that was raised from the depths of the ocean, or step into the present and visit Norrmalm, the modern heart of the city. And don’t forget the wild strawberries!

7.  Tokyo, Japan – Ancient traditions and culture are everywhere in this modern metropolis.  There is so much to take in and learn here. May is a great month where you can witness the amazing Sumo tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan and the not-to-be missed 1000 Samurai procession in Nikko – it’s truly incredible! And how could I forget to mention the cherry blossoms?

Photo credit: Go Tokyo

8. London, United Kingdom – Again, a massive city with so much to see and do that it can’t all be listed here! Plan ahead (if possible) to make sure you see what’s most important to you. Tea at Fortnum & Mason is tops on my list for my next trip!

Photo credit: Fortnum & Mason

9. Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada – Banff is a real beauty in the Canadian landscape and a sight to behold. Summer in Banff and Lake Louise is magical. Spend time hiking – short walks to mountaintop treks or whatever is most comfortable for you. Tour by bike, or paddle the lake. If relaxation is what you’re after, be sure to check out the hot springs.  And choose anything from luxurious accomodations to beautiful campgrounds. Banff is yours to explore!

Photo credit: BanffLakeLouise.com

10. Austin, Texas, USA – Austin has it all. Typically you might think of the music scene, great shopping and fantastic food, but if you’re not afraid of bats, the Congress Avenue Bridge is pretty amazing at dusk! Austin is surrounded by the breathtaking Hill Country which is worth a trip outside of the city to see. And don’t forget to try the Texas BBQ!

Photo credit: Merlintuttle.org

Now that you’ve got your destinations in mind check out some of our Best Travel Tips and How to Pack Light when Traveling with Kids.

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