The Best Places to Travel in June
Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure.
June means summer, and summer means time at the beach for many of us. Looking forward to seasonal travel — at least to local destinations — we’re featuring a mix of domestic beach areas and cities to consider on our list of the best places to travel in June. Depending on your starting point, you might want to include a scenic road trip in your summer travel plans, ending at a new city or coastal town to explore. Be sure to check for local closures and travel restrictions before planning your trip as the situation is constantly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Philadelphia, history, museums, and plentiful parks offer a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. In Charlottesville, visitors can absorb American history through a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s home and then head for the local wineries or Shenandoah National Park. Nashville’s live music and outdoor activities ensure there’s lots to do both day and night.
Related: More summer vacation ideas
For beach fans, we offer several destinations on both coasts, covering New York’s Long Island, Southern California’s Los Angeles area, and North Carolina’s southern shores. Mackinac Island, set in Lake Huron, reminds us that lakes, rivers, and streams provide seaside pleasures as well. Ridgedale, Missouri is also home to an expansive lake, and with it all the water sports one could imagine along with activities for everyone in the family. Marquette, Michigan, set on the shores of Lake Superior, features waterfalls, lighthouses, and some of the midwest’s best mountain biking trails.
These are the nine best places to travel in June.
Rich in history and culture, Philadelphia is also notable for its food, entertainment, sports, and higher education institutions. Experience the Historic District, a contemporary neighborhood lined with updated 18th-century row houses, stylish bars, and restaurants. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, and an array of museums are among the city’s most popular attractions. Though there's no shortage of fine dining, the renowned Philly cheesesteak sandwich, composed of thinly sliced beef, crusty roll, and provolone, American, or cheez wiz (depending on the venue), is a must-have treat. Parks on Tap is a summer-long roving beer garden with food trucks, craft beer, and live music. For luxury accommodations with a view, check out the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, which recently opened in 2019.
From its lively downtown shopping and dining area, rich in historic buildings, to nearby Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is an ideal place for a summer visit. Spend the day enjoying the outdoors with a hike, kayak or canoe trip, or bike ride and then relax with an al fresco dinner downtown. A visit to Monticello, the mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson, is a must for its history, architecture, and tours of the house and grounds. With a flourishing agricultural community, Charlottesville residents and visitors buy seasonal products like strawberries, peaches, nectarines, cherries, apples, and pumpkins directly from farms. Grapes are grown on the rolling hills near Charlottesville, and more than 35 wineries present award-winning wines, making the Monticello Wine Trail a pleasant day trip. For beer lovers, the Brew Ridge Trail features small-batch breweries that use locally grown hops. The newly-opened boutique Quirk Hotel is set in Charlottesville’s historic downtown, offering 80 rooms, original artwork, a restaurant, and a rooftop bar.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Accessible only by private jet, ferry, or bicycle, Mackinac Island is rich in history and natural wonders. The island, once officially a national park and now a Michigan State Park, features glacial rock formations named Arch Rock, Devil’s Kitchen, and Skull Cave, among others. The island’s perimeter is approximately 8½ miles of spectacular shoreline. Just a short ferry ride from northern Michigan, this resort island on Lake Huron is reminiscent of a simpler time. Modes of transportation are limited to foot, bicycle, and horse-drawn carriage, and much of the architecture is from the late Victorian era. June weather is ideal for sailing, fishing, horseback riding, golf, and guided hikes. Not that fudge fans or “fudgies” need an excuse to indulge in this sweet confection, but June 16 is National Fudge Day, and what better place to celebrate than at one of the more than a dozen fudge shops on Mackinac Island. The island offers a range of delightful accommodations. One noteworthy property is Mission Point, set on 18 acres of pristine lakefront where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan.
Eastern Long Island, New York
About 100 miles from Manhattan, Long Island’s eastern end attracts visitors year round, especially between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Beaches, restaurants, antique shops, boutiques, farm stands, and wineries provide plenty to do, and visitors range from families and young groups of friends to celebrities and the ultra-rich. The eastern end of Long Island separates into the North and South Forks, with the South being home to the Hamptons, with Montauk at its easternmost point. The North Fork, once known for potato farming and now for vineyards, ends at Orient. Places to stay range from B & B’s and small motels to exclusive full-service resorts. The Roundtree in Amagansett, a 15-room boutique hotel near the ocean, is one of the newest properties in the area. Gurney’s Montauk, a Hamptons icon, offers an expansive, private sandy beach as well as guest rooms, suites, and ocean view cottages. Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina, set on Lake Montauk, offers 107 luxurious waterfront accommodations, family-friendly pool, lawn games, and ice cream shop. For a unique wellness experience, Shou Sugi Ban House is a destination spa and retreat set among deciduous and evergreen trees on three acres.
The “Music City,” like other popular tourist destinations, has been hit hard by closures and event cancellations, and March tornadoes caused significant damage in some sections. Still, Nashville’s spirit is strong, and its honky tonks and other music venues are ready to resume live music, whether you’re there for country, rock, pop, or hip hop. Hot chicken will be sizzling and aromas of barbecue will waft through the neighborhoods. Chef-driven restaurants and craft breweries like Tailgate Brewery add to the food scene. June visitors will enjoy temperatures in the mid to high 80s and outdoor fun like ziplining at Adventure Park, biking, and swimming. Composed of many diverse neighborhoods, Nashville includes historic Germantown, on the National Register of Historic Places, Opryland, home of the Gaylord Opryland Resort, Music Row, and the city’s walkable downtown with world class live music, historic buildings, art galleries, and restaurants. Places to stay are as varied as its music and dining choices. Choose historic Hermitage Hotel, Margaritaville Nashville, Westin Nashville, Thompson, or the eclectic and fun Bobby Hotel.
Los Angeles, California
Days are warming up, and thoughts are turning to the beach, whether for relaxing on the sand, surfing, splashing in the waves, or just strolling along the shore enjoying the ocean breeze. With L.A.’s 75 miles of shoreline, you have your choice of beaches from Malibu in the north to San Pedro in the south. Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu offers campsites, picnic areas, nature walks, and tide pools along with swimming and sunbathing. Venice Beach needs no introduction. Its street performers, skateboard park, vendors, Muscle Beach, and dining spots make it one of L.A.’s most popular attractions. Santa Monica’s two miles of shoreline and beachside city include the Santa Monica Pier, sophisticated restaurants, and stunning views. Manhattan Beach also offers a pier, and the Roundhouse Aquarium at its western end welcomes visitors to its displays. Hermosa Beach attracts surfers, families, and locals to Pier Plaza for a bite to eat or a stroll through town to look at the city’s murals. Heading south to San Pedro, visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, a boat ride, or tour of the Battleship USS Iowa. Stay near your chosen beach at one of many hotels including the Malibu Beach Inn, Hotel Erwin in Venice, or westdrift Manhattan Beach. In Santa Monica, the Hotel Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach are elegant options.
In southern Missouri near the Arkansas state line, Ridgedale is just ten miles from Branson. Daytime temperatures in the mid-80s with cooler nights make the area perfect for outdoor activities in June. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing are popular, and with the crystal clear lakes, visitors can enjoy fishing, waterskiing, boating, and swimming. For a variety of accommodations and activities, Big Cedar Lodge, spread over 4,600 acres overlooking Table Rock Lake, offers something for everyone, including five golf courses and marinas for boating, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, or renting a WaveRunner. Visit Top of the Rock at the county’s highest elevation to tour Lost Canyon Cave, visit the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, and enjoy spectacular views of the Ozarks and Table Rock Lake. Family entertainment for all ages includes a full arcade, bumper cars, laser tag, a climbing wall, and more. Other must-see attractions are the nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield. Accommodations range from lodge guest rooms to cottages, log cabins, and exclusive homes. At Camp Long Creek, luxury glamping tents with access to a pool, dining, and lake views make pet-friendly camping a plush experience. If that’s not pampering enough, guests can schedule a visit to the Cedar Creek Spa for a variety of treatments.
Wilmington, North Carolina
The North Carolina coast boasts 300 miles of beaches, coastal towns, and popular vacation spots. Wilmington is in the southern part of the state, with three beaches, waterfront attractions, gardens, museums, and lodging from cottages to resorts. Strolling along Wilmington’s Riverwalk on the Cape Fear River, visitors pass markets, boutiques, galleries, cafes, and an outdoor concert venue. The WWII Battleship North Carolina, the Bellamy Mansion Museum, Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens, and Latimer House are examples of the area’s historic roots which gained the city recognition as a National Register Historic District. The hip South Front District is home to breweries, restaurants, bars, and casual cafes set in former warehouses. Airlie Gardens, an area with 67 acres of lakes and gardens, includes a nearly 500-year-old oak tree, the Airlie Oak. Beaches include Wrightsville Beach, popular for boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing, fresh seafood, and cruises along the Intracoastal Waterway. Carolina Beach boasts a seaside boardwalk, a state park, and a tiki bar on its pier. Kure Beach offers unspoiled beauty and protected shoreline at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area as well as the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
On the shores of Lake Superior, Marquette spans 1,872 square miles, including 83 miles of shoreline. With abundant natural space, its assets are on display through scenic vistas, rugged trails, and rushing waterfalls. Marquette County is home to some of the best mountain biking terrain in the Midwest, and with 12,000 feet of elevation and more than 150 miles of singletrack, it’s a biker’s favorite. If mountain biking isn’t your scene, choose one of the many excellent paved paths for cycling. Marquette’s historic downtown pays homage to the rich mineral deposits, dense forests, and maritime markers that have helped to shape its story. Explore lighthouses, waterfalls, and museums and galleries, or fish in the lake, rivers, or streams. With unique dining experiences, award-winning craft breweries, casual and fine dining restaurants, and a thriving art scene, Marquette embraces a culture anchored in artisanship and hospitality.