In the early 1900s, before Willis Carrier’s invention of the air-conditioning unit became commonplace, able families would escape city heat by vacationing to places with tolerable July and August temperatures. Over the years, this trend would catch on and become the $90 billion behemoth of an industry that experts calculate it to be today.
If we’re talking about this summer’s outlook, things still look clear and sunny — at least that’s the forecast according to high-end properties we found around the globe. Be it a jazz-filled weekend in New Orleans or a quiet escape to central Mexico, these are the 22 cool places you’ll want to visit once things really start heating up.
The Henderson, A Salamander Hotel and Resort
The November-opened property celebrates its first summer in Destin with a calendar filled with great packages (Sand & Sun Beach Set), outdoor events (Thursday night fireworks) and some of the Gulf Coast’s finest seafood (Primrose).
Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
The Orioles are playing some solid baseball right now, making a stay at this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star beauty — the hotel sits just a mile from Oriole Park at Camden Yards — a home run this summer.
The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
Though the season is filled with great music (June’s Essence Fest, August’s Satchmo Summerfest) around Crescent City, few things sounds sweeter than a quiet evening surrounded by this Four-Star charmer’s feather beds, custom art and European-style spa.
This Idaho beauty offers something for the kiddos (the action-packed Camp Sharlie) and adults (a Four-Star spa) to enjoy. We’re guessing both parties will be equally pleased with The Narrows’ delightful weekend brunch menu.
SLS South Beach
Miami is far from an original destination for a summer break, but an extended stay at the Philippe Starck-stamped SLS South Beach adds more than a few sprinkles of style and freshness to the itinerary.
Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino
With an event calendar stuffed with promotions (Soak Up the Sun package, which includes a cabana) and concerts (Boz Scaggs, August 19), a stay at this escape right outside of the Vegas Strip qualifies you as a winner — even if you lost at the blackjack table.
Grand Fiesta Americana Chapultepec
This time of year, Bosque de Chapultepec park comes alive with bountiful flowers and energetic crowds. See plenty of both from your well-appointed room in this 20-story Mexico City marvel.
Inn by the Sea
No New England summer would be complete without a rich, buttery crustacean. Inn by the Sea’s The Maine Lobster Package-The Lucky Catch gives the whole family the experience of lobster fishing on Casco Bay as you’ll catch your dinner and have it cooked at Portland Lobster Company.
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort
An aquatic adventure awaits this summer at Antigua’s Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort. Located just 15 minutes from the resort’s dock lies Stingray City, a clear, calm, swimmer-friendly bay that serves as the natural home to more than 30 southern stingrays.
Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Located in the “Live Music Capital of the World,” this Four-Star gem provides numerous ways to enjoy the warm weather with melodic accompaniment. The Lobby Lounge’s Gin & Jazz series and live tunes on the lawn (with craft beer and fresh smoked meats) make for great distractions this season.
This Cape Cod stunner makes for the perfect childfree summer base. Be sure to schedule your tee times at one of the multiple championship golf courses surrounding the inn before enjoying the onsite restaurant’s ever-popular wine bar and stunning views of the New England sunset.
Romance meets adventure at this secluded Saratoga, Wyoming, hideaway. Partake in a plethora of outdoor activities for two included in your summer stay, ranging from trail riding and archery to fly-fishing excursions, mountain biking and more across an idyllic 30,000 acres.
Bitter End Yacht Club
The British Virgin Islands’ Bitter End Yacht Club provides a host of watersports for the adrenaline-seeking traveler, but the specialty of this Caribbean resort is the accredited sailing school. Summer sessions with world-class instruction will help you learn the basics or hone your skills.
Discover the natural beauty and historic charm of this Nantucket Four-Star property with a Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge eco-tour. Explore the windswept coast while setting your sights on deer, shorebirds, sun-basking seals and the iconic Great Point Lighthouse.
Caneel Bay Resort
Caribbean nights are meant to be enjoyed with a mai tai in hand, and that might explain why this St. John resort’s sunset cocktail cruises are so popular. Lounge on a luxurious catamaran while hors d’oeuvres and beverages are served with breathtaking colors over the crystal-clear waters.
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club
As if this Five-Star favorite didn’t offer enough activities — sailing, boating, tennis, swimming — its new Cape Cod Curators program adds lobster etiquette classes (prep the crustaceans and then eat them at a lobster boil) and tours and tastings at local craft brewer Devil’s Purse.
Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa
Stay fit at this Hamptons hangout with its Summer of Wellth series, where NYC’s top trainers (like Holly Rilinger of Bravo’s Work Out New York) give oceanfront classes every weekend. Sweat it out to Y7 vinyasa or dance-based interval training.
Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa
Outdoorsy types should make a beeline for Jackson Hole. There, this rustic Forbes Travel Guide Recommended lodge will help plan paragliding, river rafting and hot-air ballooning adventures. It even can arrange for a Yellowstone wildlife safari.
Hotel Ivy, A Luxury Collection Hotel
Boasting 200 miles of bike trails, Minneapolis begs for summer exploring. Stay at this stylish Four-Star downtown hotel and you can pedal to nearby attractions like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Then rest your legs at the hotel’s Ivy Spa Club, the city’s largest destination spa.
Rhode Island offers a scenic coastal escape, and this Five-Star gem makes it more enticing with its new Secret Garden, an alfresco champagne bar serving bites like goat cheese popcorn. Plus, check into just-renovated rooms with natural and white woods, linen and chenille, along with new TVs and Bluetooth-enabled sound systems.
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
This Five-Star South Carolina playground helps remove you from the city bustle. In fact, the island’s inviting beach, excellent golf and Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary grounds will make you forget you’re only 20 miles from Charleston.
Your summer to-do list at this hip Seattle hotel: take in waterfront vistas and warm breezes from rooftop bar Nest, and feast at its twice-monthly Summer Courtyard Parties, which are essentially lowcountry boils with live music and tempting spreads of fresh lobster, shrimp, corn on the cob and more.
Live Aqua Urban Resort Monterrey
For an urban getaway, head to Mexico’s Monterrey. Sleek wood and leather lend a modern feel to this design-centric hotel, but you’ll be too busy admiring the mesmerizing view of the Sierra Madre Mountains from the floor-to-ceiling windows.