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15 Summer Vacation Ideas

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Summer is just around the corner, and the promise of longer, warmer, sun-filled days, has the Indagare Community buzzing with anticipation for some much-needed getaways. Whether you’re looking to plan a long weekend close to home or a longer trip out west to a family-friendly dude ranch or epic national park—or you’re eager to venture further afield to top summer vacation locales in Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond—we’ve gathered the top options offering fantastic hotels, top cuisine, engaging experiences and much more, for a trip this year or next (it’s never too early to start planning!).

Contact your Indagare Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to discuss summer vacation ideas. Our team can match you with the destinations, accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide tips for planning a safe, seamless and rewarding experience.

Maldives

This nation of more than a thousand tiny islands contains a water world to satisfy the tropical fantasies of surfers, scuba divers, beach lovers and honeymooners. For an extended summer vacation that is truly far-flung—with five-star service and amenities—escape to one of the many luxurious overwater bungalows and beachfront villas available at properties like One&Only Reethi Rah. The biggest island resort in the Maldives and arguably its most indulgent, this One&Only property has been raising the bar for celebrities and loyal repeaters every year since it opened in 2005. A Rolls-Royce of a beach hotel, Reethi Rah offers 109 acres and has six kilometers of white-sand coastline and a lush, tropical interior. Guests are whisked through tunnels of tropical greenery on golf carts to their private villas, where butlers manage their stay. Amongst the 130 villas are 32 overwater villas and a variety of beach villas. Plus: The state-of-the-art Marine Center has a resident marine biologist as well as scuba instructors and cruises to see sharks, whales, dolphins and manta rays—and there are seven restaurants on the island.

Related: How to Build a Bucket List for Your Life

Coastal California

Last summer saw the resurgence of the Great American Road Trip—and if you’ve yet to experience it, plan to spend your summer vacation traveling along one of the most iconic routes in the U.S.: the Pacific Coast Highway. Here, you can soak in the sea air, spectacular sunsets and culinary delights of the Golden Coast, while staying at our favorite properties, like Carmel Valley Ranch (great for families), The Lodge at Pebble Beach (beloved by golfers) and Cal-a-Vie Health Spa (for rejuvenation).

Please note that a portion of the Pacific Coast Highway collapsed (due to rainfall and sea erosion) in January 2021, so you may encounter some reroutes and potential pockets of traffic.

Related: Summer Road Trip Ideas: The Best U.S. Hotels You Can Drive To

American Northwest

If you’re craving adventure without customs, consider booking a wild dude ranch escape. Our favorite properties—like the Ranch at Rock Creek, Amangani, the Resort at Paws Up, Taylor River Lodge and the Lodge at Blue Sky—offer standalone cabin accommodations ideal for privacy and distancing; exceptional outdoor activities (with top options including horseback riding, hiking, fly-fishing, clay shooting, archery, kayaking, ATV touring and biking); and access to some of our finest national parks for off-road exploration, including Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Park. Plus: For an out west escape that prioritizes contemporary design and cuisine, don’t miss the new Paws Up sister property The Green O, a sophisticated, adults-only retreat located in Montana’s remote Greenough township, on the southern edge of the 37,000-acre Paws Up Ranch. The property features 12 design-minded, freestanding “hauses,” a seasonal dining concept, a nature-focused spa and access to 100-plus miles of trails for hiking and riding, as well as 10 miles of the Blackfoot River.

Related: A Great American West Road Trip Through Idaho, Montana & Wyoming National Parks

American Northeast

There’s much to delight in and discover in our own backyard, and a long weekend escape or extended stay in one of our favorite summer vacation destinations in the Northeast is an ideal option for travelers who are looking to keep it simple. In the Hamptons, stylish open-air dining options abound, from the casual but über-popular Duryea’s Lobster Deck in Montauk (walk-in only) to the rosé-all-day haven at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack; plus, a fresh crop of new boutique hotels offer unique experiences, including Water Mill’s wellness- and spa-focused Shou Sugi Ban House and Montauk’s boho-chic Marram and artsy Hero Beach Club. Further north, family-friendly mainstays Nantucket, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard are always a good idea—where days are filled with boating, shopping and dining on fresh lobster and homemade ice cream (on our radar: a new boutique hotel in downtown Nantucket, Faraway). And for luxury with immersion in nature, look no further than Vermont and Maine (where top properties include Twin Farms, Cliff House and Hidden Pond).

Related: East Coast Vacations: Easy Summer Escapes from Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend

French Riviera

For a dose of sun, sea and glamour, few destinations deliver like the French Riviera. Here, most travelers will prefer to pick an over-the-top property and simply stay put—spending days sipping perfectly chilled rosé, dipping in the pool and boating along the coast. Two of our most popular properties in the area include Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel, and Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc. For something unexpected, the star brand behind Claridge’sThe Connaught and The Berkeley in London, as well as The Maybourne Beverly Hills, is expanding into the Mediterranean with the opening of Maybourne Riviera, in the picturesque town of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Perched on the cliffside overlooking the sea, with Italy to the East and Monte Carlo to the West, this striking Modernist resort will combine timeless glamour and laidback coastal living with high-design contemporary vibrance. The 79 rooms and suites and public spaces were created in collaboration with local artisans as well as such global talents as Andre Fu, Bryan O’Sullivan Studio, Marcelo Joulia, Pierre Yovanovitch, Pascal Goujon and Rigby & Rigby—and the dining program was conceived by Mauro Colagreco (of the three-Michelin-starred Mirazur), Jean-Georges Vongerichten and the Japanese chef Hiro Sato. And of course, the Riviera Playa beach club is not to be missed.

Related: 22 Best New Hotels of 2022: Our Top Picks from Around the World

Lake Como

As if you needed another reason to plan a summer escape to Italy, the iconic Lake Como property Grand Hotel Tremezzo will welcome a sister resort just in time for the season in June: Passalacqua. This 18th-century private villa, overlooking the village of Moltrasio, sits on land that was originally owned by Pope Innocent XI. The home has welcomed such visitors as Napoleon, Bellini (who composed two of his most famous operas, Norma and Sonnambula, here) and the seasoned luxury traveler Winston Churchill. Now, under the stewardship of Paolo, Antonella and Valentina De Santis, Passalacqua will continue to offer a refined yet warm experience of northern Italian charms, with all the expected trappings (a lakeside tennis court, swimming pool and private dock with vintage boats) and just 24 suites, which feature restored frescoes, Verona marble bathrooms and delightful views of citrus and rose gardens, olive groves and sparkling emerald shores. If you’re lucky, you’ll manage to secure the Bellini suite—the largest on the entire lake—where the master preferred to practice the piano. For a longer getaway, Lake Como combines wonderfully with Lake Garda (where the place to stay is the over-the-top Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli), Zurich, Milan or even Slovenia.

Greece

A summer vacation to Greece is nothing short of heaven. With over 2,000 islands to choose from, travelers can find their perfect match, whether they are seeking romance, seaside relaxation with family or authentic, incredible dining. For the ultimate resort experience—as if you’ve checked in to your own Mount Olympus—Amanzoe in the eastern Peloponnese commands a position atop a large hill, with an Ed Tuttle-designed complex so striking it would impress Alexander the Great. Thirty-eight palatial pavilions with private swimming pools are scattered throughout the property, offering views towards the sea or the valley, and a quick boat ride will bring you to nearby Hydra and Spetses for dining and exploring, should you tire of the on-property beach club, spa and fitness center. Plus: New hotels to know include Kalesma, an intimate, design-minded stunner from K-Studio with a local, hip vibe, just outside of Mykonos, overlooking Ornos Bay—as well as One&Only Aesthesis (opening in the fall), which will mark the first major development in the ancient capital since the pandemic, in a dramatic revival of a landmark resort on the Athenian Riviera that used to play host to the international jet set in the 1960s and ’70s. With a prime—and secluded—location on the Glyfada seafront, the One&Only will offer beach access, with a private club, as well as a small forest reserve, creating a beautiful escape from the bustle of the city center.

Related: Secret Greece: Our Favorite Under-the-Radar Greek Islands

Croatia

The jagged strip of land that stretches from the Gulf of Trieste down to Albania and Greece, Croatia boasts one of the finest coastlines in the world. Blessed with sun-drenched islands, ancient walled cities, hilltop villages and a rich history, the country is made up of a fascinating mix of cultural influences—from Slavic to Italian—which permeate daily life. While history buffs (and Game of Thrones fans) should not miss a stop in Dubrovnik, prime summer getaway destinations include the celebrated food-and-wine region of Istria (where top properties include the Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery) and Hvar, a postcard-perfect sea town with vibrant nightlife and a new wellness-focused resort, Maslina, for detoxing (and retoxing) by day. 

Related: Top 10 Trips to Take With Mom

Sweden & Finland

Havens for contemporary design, New Nordic cuisine and gallery hopping—as well as hiking, glamping, birding and boating through miles of untouched forests and coastline—Sweden and Finland are the ideal destinations for a sophisticated summer itinerary focused on culture and adventure, with beautiful, cooler weather. Combine several nights in stylish cities like Stockholm and Helsinki (while based at a fantastic hotel like Ett Hem, the Grand Hôtel Stockholm or Hotel St. George) with excursions off-the-beaten path. Top options include a short flight north to the Sápmi region for Arctic visions and immersion in nature; a private charter to explore Skåne and the Bjäre Peninsula in the south of Sweden (where visitors cannot miss the Wanas hotel, which brings together cutting-edge art, design and cuisine within an idyllic estate); and drives to charming towns like Gothenburg or Porvoo. Our Trip Designers can help you customize the ideal itinerary for your interests.

Iceland

With otherworldly landscapes, exhilarating outdoor adventures, fascinating Viking history and a host of luxury hotels and top-notch restaurants, Iceland has risen to the top of many savvy travelers’ wish lists in recent years for good reason—and summer is one of its most beautiful seasons. There’s nowhere more magical to experience these wild landscapes at their peak than Deplar Farm in the remote Troll Peninsula. One of the world’s most fabulous far-flung adventure hotels, this 13-room treasure by Eleven Experience is tucked into the Narnia-like wilderness where, year-round, some of the world’s best guides demonstrate the proper technique for skeet shooting, surfing or fat biking and illuminate hidden hot springs and exclusive Atlantic salmon and Arctic char runs—and entertain, in the evenings, with a heavy dose of wit and perhaps some music. Most evenings conclude with a dip in the pool to gaze at the Northern Lights or an Arctic night sky.

Related: 13 Ultimate Wilderness Vacations

Colombia

From the charming colonial streets of Cartagena to the creative spirit of Bogotá and Medellín, and the remote coffee region, Colombia promises dynamic cultural immersion at the northern tip of South America. Equally thrilling for history and politics buffs, foodies and art and design lovers, the perfect Colombia itinerary balances meaningful discussion of the country’s troubled past with an authentic look at the many colorful ways that it is moving into the future—and its many treasures await American travelers who can present their full vaccination or negative results from a PCR test (within 72 hours of departure for the country) or rapid test (within 48 hours).

Related: Private Charter Flights: What to Know Now

Peru

A must-visit for hikers as well as culture fiends and lovers of ancient history, Peru is once again open for travelers who have long had the country on their dream list—or who are looking for alternatives to rich, well-rounded summer destinations like Switzerland or Italy. The ideal itinerary should include time to explore in Cusco, Lima and, of course, the famous Sacred Valley—and travelers interested in wildlife and conservation should also consider adding on a cruise down the Amazon river aboard the intimate, luxurious Aqua Expeditions vessel Aria Amazon. (Peru is open to American travelers who present full vaccination or negative results from a PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure).

Related: The Most Exciting New Nonstop Flight Routes from the U.S.

Seychelles

This archipelago of white-sand islands, over 1,000 miles off the coast of east Africa, is a renowned tropical destination for good reason: it is remote, luxurious and gorgeous. Perfect for a post-safari beach escape—or a summer destination in its own right—the Seychelles offer a castaway place to process, reset and rediscover your sense of wonder (with over-the-top luxury accommodations at such resorts as Six Senses Zil Pasyon, North Island and Frégate Island Private).

Related: A Rhino Success Story: Singita Pamushana & the Malilangwe Trust

Rwanda

In 2020, Indagare Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley hosted two Insider Journeys trips to Rwanda—our first group trips since the outbreak of the pandemic—and several of our team members also visited. All returned in awe of the efficiency with which the country has responded to the pandemic—as well as the beauty of its landscapes, the majesty of its famous endangered mountain gorillas, and the resilience and magnetism of its people. For a first trip further afield since the pandemic, Rwanda is a wonderful place to start—and top lodges like Bisate, Magashi Camp, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest and Singita Kwitonda provide a pampering home base to return to at the end of a day trekking or on safari. 

“I felt an imperative to travel before I left, but I returned with a powerful new understanding of it. By supporting a destination in a time of real need, we not only felt the magnified impact we were having on the country (“Your visit made us believe that things will slowly get better as tourists come back into our country,” the designer Joselyne Umutoniwase told me). We also felt its lasting impact on us. Our encounters were global exchanges in which we learned from each other and they were also genuine exchanges of hope. When we travel now, we experience a true partnership of humanity and in order to emerge from this crisis, we must recognize the strength we have together.” — Melissa Biggs Bradley, upon return from Rwanda in November 2020

Related: The Positive Power of Travel in Rwanda

Namibia

Often described as Africa’s final frontier—and one of the least-populated places in the world—Namibia consists of desert, sand dunes, huge open spaces and great swaths of silence. Here, you can strike a balance between meditation and adventure, on nature walks through otherworldly landscapes, game drives to see incredible wildlife, excursions by air and by water, and tours for photography and cultural exchange—all while based at the region’s most beautiful luxury safari lodges, including Little Kulala and Hoanib Skeleton Camp

Related: Final Frontiers: Wild Namibia Indagare Departures Itinerary

Contact your Indagare Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to discuss summer vacation ideas. Our team can match you with the destinations, accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide tips for planning a safe, seamless and rewarding experience.

– Elizabeth Harvey on April 27, 2022

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