With baseball games, big-budget movies and barbecues in full swing, you don’t need us to tell you that summer is here. But there comes a time when the local cineplex and backyard parties just aren’t cutting it — and that’s where this lineup of extreme excitement comes in. From luxurious lounge sessions in Lake Tahoe to critter cuddling in Chengdu, there are just so many reasons to break from the norm this season. Here are the 50 that will keep you busy.
Try Tropical Adventures
A boutique Mexican beach resort with a glamorous twist, Hotel Esencia hits all the adventurous high notes. Whether you want to snorkel with sea turtles, horseback ride along the Caribbean Sea or try your hand at kiteboarding, this Riviera Maya retreat delivers.
Dance the Night Away
If you think September’s KAABOO Festival (Kings of Leon, comedy shows and craft cocktail displays) is packed, wait until you see the goodie-stuffed (VIP tickets, $200 resort credit and more) overnight offer that Five-Star (and host hotel) Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in San Diego has for revelers.
Have a Private Bonfire
Santa Rosa Beach is absolutely stunning during the day. Though Four-Star WaterColor Inn’s sunset and after-sunset bonfires show the sands and shoreline in a different light, the scene is no less attractive.
Visit London to Sample the Amalfi Coast
Thanks to Four-Star The Berkeley transforming its gorgeous rooftop garden to La Dolce Vita, a beautifully lush area filled with yellow-and-white-striped sunbeds, lemon trees and ever-flowing Bellinis, London’s gotten a lot closer to coastal Italy.
Experience Philly’s Finer Side
Whether you’re in the City of Brotherly Love for a classic stay (Four-Star The Rittenhouse celebrates its 30th year) or all-new experience (the August-opening Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia), you’ll find it here this summer.
Feast in Singapore
As if there weren’t enough to taste in this culinary destination, the Singapore Food Festival arrives July 12 to 28. The fest cooks up a plethora of events, from a vegan street food crawl to demonstrations showing how to make kueh, traditional bite-sized sweets. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore hosts its own classes to teach you how to prepare authentic food (popiah, laksa, Hainanese chicken rice) and craft cocktails.
Utah’s new The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection will send you on a 10-minute helicopter ride over the Uintas or Wasatch mountains. You’ll land on a peak 10,000 feet above sea level for a yoga (or meditation) session with phenomenal scenery.
Stroll a Sky Park
Avoid Seoul’s sweltering summer days and visit Seoullo 7017 at night. The former highway was converted to a network of 17 pedestrian pathways with spots to eat, gardens and city vistas, including a lit-up Sungnyemun Gate. Rest your weary feet at Millennium Seoul Hilton or Four Seasons Hotel Seoul.
Take Your Appetite to Montana
Though it’s best know for horseback riding, hot-air ballooning and nature hiking, Four-Star The Resort at Paws Up shows off its culinary side with barbecuing classes (July 12-14), celebrity chef-driven meals (Brooke Williamson, Aug. 24) and fly-fishing feasts (Aug. 30-Sept. 1).
Lounge in Lakefront Luxury
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s Summer Luxury Package comes with a $45,000 price tag, but promises a memorable summer with a private plane ride, a personal house car, an in-suite mixology class, a chef’s table dinner for six and more.
Party in the Mountains
To commemorate Sundance Mountain Resort’s 50th anniversary, the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended escape is having an all-day party on August 22 that’ll be filled with giveaways, games, live music, food trucks and half-off scenic lift rides.
Look to the Sky in Vancouver
We don’t know if we’re more excited about Vancouver’s Honda Celebration of Light (July 27 and 31, Aug. 3), the longest-running off-shore fireworks festival in the world, or the fact that the wondrous displays are just a 14-minute ride from our Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver room.
Day-trip to Italian Wine Country
If you think the regal Villa Spalletti Trivelli is breathtaking (and it is), just wait until you take the two-hour day trip from Rome to Umbria this summer to the family’s winery. Beyond touring the 7.4-acre vineyard, you’ll also taste the organic wines and have a four-course meal.
Live the Hamptons High Life
Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina, the recently opened sister property to Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, will dazzle vacationers this summer with a Montauk property loaded with 107 maritime-inspired guest rooms, the Pool Club, Waterfront Ballroom and a buzzy restaurant, Showfish.
Find the Fairway
Conveniently in the heart of Naples, Florida, Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites allows its golfing guests to go in any direction for gorgeous greens. One course in particular, TPC Treviso Bay, is a private, 7,367-yard beauty just seven miles from the hotel that everyone can play this season.
Gamble in Manila
If you want a change from Vegas, gamble on Manila. Nüwa Manila at City of Dreams, Sky Tower at Solaire Resort & Casino and Okada Manila all provide luxurious accommodations and impressive casinos to match. Like their U.S. counterparts, the integrated resorts also have pampering spas (Nüwa Spa Manila, The Retreat Spa), exclusive bars (Sky Tower’s Macallan Whisky Bar), top restaurants (Sky Tower’s Finestra Italian Steakhouse, City of Dreams’ Nobu) and splashy shows (Okada’s “World of Wonders”).
Get Artsy in Santa Fe
After you’ve taken in the first Santa Fe Art Week (July 12-21), continue the gawking at The Inn of the Five Graces, a Four-Star gem that features exquisite Persian rugs, carved wooden doors and mosaic-filled bathrooms worthy of a gallery.
Follow in Hitchcock’s Footsteps
Film fans can’t miss Badrutt’s Palace Hotel’s celebration marking 100 years since Alfred Hitchcock’s movie industry debut. The St. Moritz hotel was a special place for the British director, who stayed there 34 times. The Holiday like Hitchcock package puts you up in the Hitchcock Suite (where he wrote The Birds), treats you to the auteur’s go-to dishes and a cocktail class to learn to make his favorite martini.
Cruise in Oahu
Zip through Kaena Point, Pokai Bay and Makua Valley aboard Four-Star Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina’s new high-speed Sea Ray SLX 400. It’s one of the world’s only boats with a folding side; it converts into a swim terrace that allows for easy water access. Embark on a snorkeling or fishing (we caught some needlefish) excursion. Or simply take The Entertainer to see the leeward coast’s remarkable beauty — you might spot spinner dolphins and humpback whales while listening to music on the excellent Rockford Fosgate sound system.
Feel the Need for Speed
The hydroplanes racing during The Spirit of Detroit HydroFest (Aug. 23-25) can clock in at more than 200 mph. After engines stop purring, make the 30-minute drive to The Townsend Hotel, a Four-Star treasure in the Motown ‘burbs that slows things down with sumptuous suites and wine treats (Criston Vineyards dinner on Aug. 22).
Enjoy the Adirondacks’ Awesome Weather
When we last checked the forecast, meteorologists were calling for 80-degree highs for the rest of July and August in the Adirondacks. Guests at the postcard-perfect Lake Placid Lodge know what that means — figuring out how to boat, hike, fish and whitewater raft all in the same vacation will be challenging.
Celebrate in the Caribbean
While St. Lucia is honoring the 40th anniversary of its independence with carnival (through July 16), beach parties (Mercury Fest, July 19-20), a food and rum festival (Sept. 19-22) and more, we’d rather celebrate from our own infinity pool in Jade Mountain Resort’s jaw-dropping, three-walled room overlooking the Pitons.
Hunt for Fireflies
Sparkling waters and pristine beaches would be enough to lure us to Okinawa. But the July 26 opening of the second Halekulani hotel (the first is in Oahu) has us packing our bags. The Japanese property will curate “Escapes” like the Firefly Nature Discovery, a sunset kayak tour through Yambaru National Park, where thousands of twinkling insects produce a magical scene.
Get a Chocolate and Caffeine Fix
Taste Seattle’s most addictive treats (like Fran’s decadent salted caramels) on a new chef-led coffee and chocolate tour with Eat Seattle. Afterward, settle in at Pan Pacific Seattle, which affords delicious views of the Space Needle from its South Lake Union location, or Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, whose newly renovated rooms come with Seattle Art Museum-curated art.
Seek Out a Spa and Sundae Day
Wisconsin’s Five-Star Kohler Waters Spa will open its first Chicago outpost in August. The Lincoln Park spa will have 21 treatment rooms, a terrace and a one-of-a-kind hydromassage pool. Indulge further at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago’s Allium, with housemade ice cream flights in unique flavors like miso butterscotch with sesame seed brittle, or order the ice cream cart to make a sundae in your room.
Jet to Jamaica
Half Moon Jamaica was already atop our list for summer getaways, but with the recent news of the 400-acre paradise now falling under Salamander Hotels & Resorts’ esteemed management, we’re packing our bags even more emphatically.
See More of South Africa
After you’ve done your four-day safari at legendary Kruger National Park, make the three-hour drive to Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Johannesburg to continue your trip among animal-print fabrics, baobab-packed spa treatments and five wildly delicious dining options.
Savor Japanese Brews and Views
The classic beer garden gets a gourmet twist in Osaka this summer at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel Agora Regency Sakai, where brews are paired with a buffet of flame-grilled fare and fresh fruit. Savor a similar concept (elevated with skyline views) on the 58th floor of Japan’s tallest skyscraper.
Indulge in a Thai Shopping Spree
Shop till you drop in Thailand’s vibrant capital with Five-Star The St. Regis Bangkokas your trendy home base. Explore the new 8-million-square-foot Iconsiam megamall or peruse Chang Chui night market (housed inside a decommissioned plane), before landing on your room’s heavenly Sealy Posturepedic bed.
Get a Bird’s-Eye View
Celebrate a decade of luxury this summer with Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona’s Barcelona from the Sky Experience. The highlight of the promotion is an exclusive five-hour city tour, complete with a guided walk through the iconic Sagrada Familia cathedral and a helicopter flight over the Catalan capital.
Cool Off in Bermuda
Waterborne adventures abound in Bermuda, from cliff jumping to hydrobiking and flyboarding. Take a break from the action at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Elbow Beach Bermuda and lounge on a private pink sand beach or dive into the island’s largest freeform pool.
Cast a wider net this summer by enrolling in Cape Cod’s Four-Star Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa’s new Orvis Saltwater Fly-Fishing School. Learn to read currents, choose your gear and cast your line before digging into the day’s fresh catch (no special skills required) at one of Beach House Grill’s clambakes.
Become a Ninja
Unleash your inner warrior at Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto with an expert-led Ninja Experience, where you’ll learn everything from meditation and breathing techniques to handling your weapon of choice.
Taste Fresh Maine Seafood
In the summer, Acadia’s Ryan McCaskey decamps to Deer Isle. The Chicago chef enjoys the destination so much that he made a second restaurant in nearby Stonington. The more casual Acadia House Provisions opened on the docks serving fare like smoked cobia with chorizo aioli, jalapeño, apple and squid ink vinaigrette as well as grilled cheese with fresh lobster plucked from the water outside.
Ride a Submarine
Explore the Maldives’ turquoise waters like never before from Velaa Private Island’s semi-submarine. The three-person vessel (pilot included) allows you to descend to 82 feet below the surface to scope out the marine life and coral — no scuba gear required.
Be a Beach Bum
Retreat to Rhode Island for summer staples like lobster boils, beach barbecues and movies under the stars with elegant Ocean House, rustic-chic Weekapaug Inn or boutique Watch Hill Inn as your home base.
Off to the Races
Head upstate for high-stakes horse racing when Saratoga Race Course opens for the season on July 11. Rest in comfort at storied Saratoga Springs stay The Adelphi Hotel, which sits just one mile from the stables.
Explore Ancient China
The Forbidden City is a must-visit. Not only is the UNESCO World Heritage Site is China’s best-preserved imperial palace, it’s the world’s largest ancient palatial structure. Wander the grounds and then retire to Four-Star China World Summit Wing, Beijing, which sits on the 64th to 80th floors in the China World Trade Center and overlooks the Forbidden City.
See Hot-Air Balloons
Your eyes will be transfixed at the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival (through Aug. 12). Gaze at larger-than-life inflatables ranging from Woody Woodpecker to SpongeBob. Add a day to explore the capital city: Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei offers tours that bring you to hawker stands to sample local cuisine or to the flower market and then a floral-arranging class.
Experience New England by Land and Sea
Road-trip through New England with a special package. First check into Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Boston for two days and receive breakfast at Bar Boulud, the New England Retreat spa service and a $250 gift card to Lilly Pulitzer. Then drive over to Nantucket’s White Elephant for a three-night stay in waterfront accommodations, a sunset sail, an island tour, tickets to the fascinating Whaling Museum and a three-course dinner at Brant Point Grill.
Take a Peruvian Art Tour
Go to a Five-Star Camp
With 2,000 acres of outdoor adventures and luxe lodgings like Five-Star Falling Rock and elegant Chateau Lafayette at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort are already family favorites. New additions like Barattolo Italian restaurant, Polaris driving experiences and a three-day camp for the whole crew make summer in the Pennsylvania countryside even sweeter.
Hit the Red Carpet
See the stars shine at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival September 5 through 15. Make Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Toronto your home base to enjoy a special rate and chic Yorkville digs fit for Hollywood’s elite.
Experience Chinese Culture
Head to Hong Kong for the 10th annual Chinese Opera Festival and savor performances, lectures and film screenings around town through Aug. 18. Between shows, dive into Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Royal Garden’s rooftop pool or sip sundowners at The Murray, Hong Kong’s Popinjays terrace bar.
Sunbathe in the City
Savor summer in the French capital when the riverfront transforms into a makeshift beach during Paris Plages through September 2. Soak up more sun from revamped terrace bars at Four-Star Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s Paris and Forbes Travel Guide Recommended L’Hotel du Collectionneur.
Pose with Pandas
Spice up summer in Chengdu with plates of fiery Sichuan cuisine and a stay at one of the city’s hottest hotels, Four-Star The Temple House. Don’t miss a visit to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to cool down with a cuddly bear.
Find Fashion Inspiration
Fashionistas should flock to Texas for the Dallas Museum of Art’s latest exhibit, “Dior: From Paris to the World.” Peruse 70 years of haute couture before retreating to elegant Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas (which is only an eight-minute walk from the DMA) or stylishly revamped The Adolphus, Autograph Collection.
Gaze at Island Art
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum moved in March and doubled its exhibition space. Catch “Benton’s Martha’s Vineyard,” which examines how the island shaped regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. For more art, stay at The Charlotte Inn, a Four-Star charmer teeming with museum-quality antiques.
Discover Art Amid Nature
Art is abundant in the Berkshires. The Boston Symphony Orchestra takes up residence in Tanglewood (with Joshua Bell, Aug. 2; Yo-Yo Ma, Aug. 18). Dance festival Jacob’s Pillow comes to town (Martha Graham Dance Company, Aug. 14-17). Chesterwood (home/studio of Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French) marks its 50th year as a National Trust for Historic Preservation site, and the Norman Rockwell Museum ushers in its golden anniversary. In between all of the happenings, rest up at Five-Star Blantyre, a romantic, Gilded Age estate.
See Brazil’s majestic Iguassu Falls sans crowds by staying at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas. Nestled inside the national park, the Five-Star hotel offers First Light Walks, where you can set off at dawn with a guide and photographer along with a pair of Leica Trinovid HD binoculars to see the sun’s rays illuminate the rainforest.