The Best Places to Travel in June
The month of June gracefully straddles spring and summer, in most places a month of transition with changing weather and the realization that summer vacation is almost here. Whether the coming season means time off from school or work, travel, or house guests, June could be good time to plan a getaway before summer arrives. With both domestic and international travel increasing each year according to data from the U.S. Travel Association, it might pay to get a head start on summer travel, both to avoid crowds and to take advantage of deals before the season kicks in full force.
Flowers and festivals announce the season in many places, like Mackinac Island’s annual Lilac Festival, Jazz Festivals in Saratoga Springs and Montreal, and Lexington, Kentucky’s Bluegrass Festival. Auto racing in LeMans, France and Montreal will attract devoted fans, and Santa Fe’s annual rodeo will bring in a crowd as well. Music is a draw for many travelers, and Santa Fe’s Opera Season and Bandstand concerts both begin in June. Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country is reawakening with the perfect combination of fresh produce, just-caught seafood, luscious wine, green landscapes, and lots to do outdoors.
Favorite destinations like the Loire Valley of France and Italy’s Amalfi Coast will get busier as the month goes on. Both offer historic hotels renovated to enhance visitors’ comfort while keeping the beauty and details of another era. The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs is another recently renovated vintage gem.
Travelers anxious for warm weather that’s still a month or so away might want to head south to Amelia Island in Florida where summer arrives early. Or they can travel around the world to Bali for its balmy climate and luxury resorts. Wherever your late spring/early summer travels may take you, it’s a time to enjoy and celebrate the changing season.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Arriving on Mackinac Island is like taking a step back in time — Victorian-era architecture, horse-drawn carriages, quaint cottages, and not a car in sight. The island has been preserved so well that if its early 19th-century summer vacationers returned today, they would feel right at home in this National Historic Landmark. June’s mild weather in the 60s to low 70s is comfortable, and the season opens with the annual Lilac Festival, celebrating the fragrant flowers with 10 days of events from June 7-16. Tours, a 5K run/walk, kite flying, lilac planting seminars, and a grand parade are on the 71st Annual Festival’s agenda. An 8-mile bike trail circles the island, and there are hiking trails as well as walking and carriage tours. Mackinac Island State Park covers about 80 percent of the island, and includes monuments, historic sites, and a Native American cultural history trail. Visitors arrive at the island via ferry on Shepler’s or Mackinac Island Ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace. Hotels, resorts, B&Bs, and cottages provide a range of lodging for the island’s visitors. The Mission Point Resort, set on 18 acres along Lake Huron’s waterfront, offers a spa, fitness center, pool, 18-hole putting course, bike rentals, and five dining options including a wine bar, a casual outdoor spot, and an Italian restaurant. Be sure to pronounce Mackinac correctly: It’s MACK-in-aw. Mackinaw City is spelled with the aw ending, but both the island and city are pronounced the same.
Saratoga Springs, New York
About 200 miles north of New York City, this historic town’s natural mineral springs and their reputed healing powers made it a popular tourist destination as far back as the early 1800s. Thoroughbred horse racing arrived shortly after, making Saratoga Race Course one of the oldest in the country. Today, visitors arrive for other reasons as well, including the arts, ambience, resorts, and small town charm. In June, temperatures are in the pleasant 70s, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center features opera and the annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival on June 29-30. The Saratoga Balloon & BBQ Festival will be held at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds from June 21-23. Visit Saratoga Spa State Park for its museums, picnic areas, pool, or golf. Or you may want to soak in a private mineral bath at Roosevelt Baths & Spa, “taking the waters” just as guests have done there for many years. Another popular spot is the Saratoga Winery serving wine, local beer, and food along with live music on weekends. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame houses artifacts, trophies, art, and exhibits on the history of horse racing. Thoroughbred racing fans might want to plan for the 2019 meet that begins on July 11 and ends in early September. A stay at the historic Adelphi Hotel reminds guests of Saratoga’s early days when wealthy vacationers arrived for the mineral springs, casinos, and horse races. The hotel recently re-opened after a major renovation, retaining its 19th-century style.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Set on an island in the St. Lawrence River, Montreal in June is mild and less humid than in peak summer, perfect to enjoy the European feel of its neighborhoods as you stroll along cobblestone streets. Other reasons to visit are June’s events, starting with the Montreal Grand Prix Formula One race happening June 8-10, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions every year. The annual feast of Saint Jean Baptist, a public holiday in Quebec, is celebrated on June 24 with parades, concerts, fireworks, picnics, and bonfires, a tradition dating back hundreds of years. From June 6-16, street art prevails with the Mural Festival of public art along Boulevard Saint-Laurent. The Montreal Jazz Festival from June 27 to July 6 actually features many musical genres in addition to jazz, a treat for music lovers of all tastes. Although originally built as an escape from cold winters, Montreal’s Underground City is fun year-round, with hotels, restaurants, boutiques, movie theaters, and nearly 20 miles of tunnels to explore. Museums to satisfy every interest from art to natural history, and the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal should be on every visitor’s itinerary. Foodies might be interested to hear that Montreal claims its bagels rival the very best of New York City's. Whether you choose to stay in the historic or modern section of Montreal, there are many hotels to choose from. The W Montreal is an attractive option bordering Old Montreal and downtown. The five-star Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been renovated, maintaining its historic, elegant style.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The oldest capital city in the United States, founded in 1608, Santa Fe is located at 7,000 feet above sea level bordered by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. June is a great time to visit, with daytime temperatures in the low- to mid-80s and cool nights, ideal for strolling through this walkable town. On Canyon Road, browse the many shops and galleries for pottery, jewelry, paintings, and sculptures or take a walking tour to learn more about Santa Fe. For two weekends in June, artists will open their studios so visitors can watch them at work, as part of the Santa Fe Studios Tour. June also sees the beginning of Bandstand concerts on June 18, a free outdoor musical festival at the downtown Plaza and other locations. The 2019 Opera Season opens on June 28 at the open air Santa Fe Opera with "La Boheme," a thrilling experience for opera lovers. But Santa Fe isn’t all art and music. The 70th annual Rodeo Santa Fe will be held from June 19-22 at the Santa Fe Rodeo Grounds. Hiking, jeep tours, horseback riding, biking, and rafting will make adventure seekers happy. The Saturday morning farmers market is the place for the freshest produce, gifts, crafts, music, and a relaxing start to the weekend. Visitors will want to explore the New Mexico History Museum and the Native American Pueblos to gain a more complete picture of the city’s history. Just 10 minutes from downtown on 57 acres in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantando provides a relaxing environment as well as opportunities for guided outdoor activities, day trips, and tours through their Adventure Center. The Spa at Rancho Encantado offers a variety of treatments for healing and relaxing mind, body, and spirit.
Called the “Gateway to the Amalfi Coast,” Sorrento faces the Bay of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula, surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea. A visit in June is ideal, with the busiest tourist season still a few weeks away. From Naples, visitors can arrive by bus, boat, or Circumvesuviana train, and Sorrento is a perfect home base for exploring the Amalfi Coast towns and the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. In Sorrento, visit the Museo Correale di Terranova for art, sculpture, and historic artifacts in an authentic setting. Browse the ancient streets or shop for leather goods and handcrafted intarsia, a specialty of Sorrento’s artisans who create intricate designs of inlaid wood. Taste the region’s famous limoncello, made from locally grown fruit, and be sure to take home a bottle of your favorite as a souvenir. The spectacular views along the Amalfi Coast are best enjoyed when someone else is doing the driving, so a car is not necessary or even advisable in the area. Boat trips to nearby Capri and Ischia are pleasant excursions, and there’s even a ferry to Positano, a great way to avoid traffic on the narrow road. The Circumvesuviana train is the most convenient way to visit the fascinating archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were buried in ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AC. A room in the historic Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, celebrating its 185th anniversary, would enhance your visit to Sorrento. Its views of Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, lush gardens, luxurious suites, and exceptional service have attracted artists, monarchs, and celebrities such as Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, and Luciano Pavarotti over the years. A sunset cocktail at the Bar Vittoria would be a perfect ending to a day in Sorrento.
Loire Valley, France
About 150 miles southwest of Paris and less than two hours by train, the Loire Valley is lovely in late spring, before summer’s heat and tourist season. Flowers are blooming in colorful lush gardens, and it’s easy to see why Renaissance-era royals and aristocrats chose this area to build their elegant castles and chateaux. More than 100 of these elaborate buildings are open for tours. The 12th-century Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral is a gorgeous example of French Gothic architecture and a World Heritage Center. Visiting medieval towns and villages and exploring their history are just some of the pleasures of the Loire Valley. The wines of the area are prized, from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume to Chenin Blanc, Cabernet franc, and more. Cheeses, especially Chevre, a goat cheese, are among the dining pleasures of the area. This June 15-16, the 87th running of “24 Hours of LeMans,” one of the oldest and most prestigious automobile races in the world, will take place near the town of that name. Auto racing fans who miss out on the race would enjoy a visit to the Museum in Le Mans for exhibits, simulator rides, and displays of the racing cars. For an exquisite experience in keeping with Loire Valley style, stay at the newly restored Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce, formerly the home of a baron who hosted such greats as Voltaire, Mozart, and Rousseau. Originally built in 1760, the Hotel Chateau features 17 rooms and suites in a stunning example of French Neoclassical architecture.
Lexington, known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” is home to more than 400 horse farms, a budding culinary scene, and an abundance of bourbon, as the city produces 95 percent of the world’s total supply. At Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm and one of the world’s best equine competition facilities, visitors can see diverse breeds of horses at the Parade of Breeds Show, meet thoroughbred legends at the Hall of Champions, go on a walking barn tour to see police horses, take a trail ride, and more. In addition, the park features museums, tours, and campgrounds. From June 6-9, the park will host the 45th annual Festival of the Bluegrass, a traditional, family-run Bluegrass festival where guests enjoy performances from top artists, food and craft vendors, and camping. Children interested in the music can attend a music camp for kids, offered for all levels of instruction. The Lexington Distillery District, home to the famous James E. Pepper Distillery and once abandoned for 50 years, is now the city’s hottest area for entertainment, craft beer, and delicious food. A popular spot along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Lexington boasts six historic distilleries open for tours. Vintage homes in Lexington include the Mary Todd Lincoln House built in 1803 with displays of personal possessions and period antiques of President Abraham Lincoln’s wife. In addition to traditional southern cuisine, visitors can find many international restaurants offering specialties from Asian-fusion, to Caribbean, and beyond. Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport, set among picturesque horse farms, is accessible with about 100 direct and nonstop flights.
Amelia Island, Florida
An island as pretty as its name with 13 miles of Atlantic coastline, Amelia Island is the southernmost in a chain of barrier islands along the east coast of the U.S. Its natural beauty and strategic location have attracted settlers beginning with Native Americans and continuing through Spanish, French, British, and American rule, over time under the domain of eight different nations. Today, the history of the island can be explored at the Amelia Island Museum of History and the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island. Visit Fort Clinch State Park for observing wildlife, walking nature trails, searching for seashells and sharks’ teeth, biking, fishing, and camping as well as learning about the island’s role in the Civil War. Biking on the island’s more than 40 miles of trails, horseback riding, fishing, golf, and water sports also keep visitors happily entertained. Boat tours of Amelia Island’s waterways often include sightings of dolphins, manatees, sea otters, and alligators. Historic downtown Fernandina Beach boasts well-preserved architecture, boutiques, restaurants, and galleries for an enjoyable afternoon of browsing. Amelia Island is just 30 minutes from Jacksonville International Airport; visitors take the Thomas J. Shave Bridge to cross the Intercoastal Waterway. The luxurious Ritz-Carlton-Amelia Island offers views of the Atlantic Ocean, a variety of dining options, golf, fitness center, and spa. Ritz-Kids activities combine education, fun, crafts, and a supervised “Kids Night Out,” for vacation entertainment for everyone in the family.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Memorial Day weekend festivities kick off the summer wine tasting season, so June is a great time for wine lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to visit the Willamette Valley. The weather is relatively dry, and temperatures are in the comfortable 70s. This agricultural area is conveniently located within an hour of Portland and about two hours from Oregon’s stunning Pacific Coast. If you have the time, there’s much to see in this part of the state. Once home to farms growing apples, berries, hazelnuts, and other crops, the Valley is now known for its wines, with more than 500 wineries producing Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Willamette Valley’s celebrated Pinot Noir. The climate and soil, in addition to the Valley’s location on a similar latitude to the Burgundy region of France, contribute to the success of growing this often challenging grape. The area is about more than wine, though, and anyone who enjoys being surrounded by gorgeous scenery will love seeing the Cascade Mountains, green rolling hills, and endless rows of grapevines. Hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and strolling through the small towns of the valley are popular activities. Silver Falls State Park, Oregon’s largest, is the place to find waterfalls and hiking trails of various levels of difficulty. Visitors seeking a luxurious place to relax after days of exploring and wine tasting will enjoy the Allison Inn & Spa and dinner at its Jory Restaurant serving fine Pacific Northwest cuisine and local wines along with views of the valley. Set on 35 lush hillside acres, the resort would make the perfect home base as you discover the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas.
Nusa Dua, Bali
Located along the southernmost coast of Bali, this beachfront resort area is home to a collection of upscale hotels, a shopping complex, an 18-hole golf course, gardens, and white sand beaches. About 27 miles south of Ubud, Bali’s cultural center and popular tourist area, Nusa Dua offers a variety of water sports including snorkeling, diving, jet-skiing, boating, parasailing, surfing, and of course, swimming in the clear, warm water of the Indian Ocean. June is one of the driest and coolest months in Bali, and temperatures are generally in the low- to mid-80s. This makes it a popular time for visitors, so finding bargains during June may be difficult, but you’ll be rewarded with lovely weather and elegant surroundings, somewhat removed from busier parts of Bali. Shopping is available in the Bali Collection complex, with boutiques, designer shops, jewelry stores, craft markets, restaurants, and day spas. The Museum Pasifika in Nusa Dua boasts Indonesian, Southeast Asian, Polynesian, and Tahitian art as well as works from throughout Asia. The museum also hosts children’s events and educational activities. Among the luxury resorts along the Nusa Dua coastline, The Mulia is unique in that it offers three options, including the central resort, an all-suite resort, and private villas with butler service. Nine restaurants and lounges, fitness center, spa, children’s activities, and lush landscaping make The Mulia a most attractive spot for a June vacation in Bali.