10 Cool Destinations for When You Just Can't Take the Summer Heat
The season can mean laying in the sand, soaking up rays, swimming in the surf, and lots of ice cream on the boardwalk for some people. For others, summer means sweat, sunburn, and fighting to find the nearest fan for just a moment of relief.
Hey, not everyone was built to withstand the sweltering heat. And luckily, we don’t all have to.
Related: How to Stay Cool in the Hottest Places on Earth
Earth is a big, diverse planet, so if you need a break from the higher temperatures at home, it might be time to get away. There are tons of fun and refreshing destinations for people who would rather play in the snow or feel a cool breeze than bake in the sun.
And you don’t even have to travel too far to cool off. Even parts of the U.S. and Canada have options for people who want to breathe in some mountain air, spot snow-capped peaks, or explore wildlife that thrives in the frozen tundra.
Of course, if you're looking to go somewhere more exotic, ski bums the world over can head down to the Southern Hemisphere, where our summer is their winter. In New Zealand, Australia, and parts of South America, you will find some thrilling slopes.
You’ll be reaching for your suitcase when you see these incredibly cool (sometimes literally) places to visit... as long as you can part with your precious air conditioner.
As you’re packing your bags, skip the bathing suits and the tanning lotions, because these places do not require a “summer glow.”
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
If you’re looking for a coastal getaway without the sunburn, consider Nova Scotia. Though it's not the coldest spot on the list, average temperatures from mid-June to mid-September range from a cool and breezy 70 degrees to a warm but not too hot 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, you can enjoy watching whales, dolphins, puffins, eagles, and seals while you’re there.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Alaska is the perfect place for people who are fans of mild summers. Instead of sweating it out on the beach, venture north to this stunning national park where the temperatures only peak in the 60s in the summer. Campers can explore the park’s 6 million acres and spot wildlife like moose, gray wolves, Dall’s sheep, and even reindeer.
Don’t let the long days of summer in Norway fool you: While you’re exploring bucket list scenery like the blue fjords, you might notice that the average summer temperatures hover around the mid-60s. You can also get a more metropolitan experience in Oslo, where you can enjoy Norwegian food, shopping, and nightlife.
Iceland maintains a pretty nice chill throughout the year, with average July temperatures in the southern part of the country around 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Even in summer, you can take a dip in a geothermal spring and take a glacier hike.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
If you’re truly an adventurer, set out to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, located between South America and Antarctica, where you’re sure to beat the summer heat. This isn’t a place for any traveler: It’s only accessible by sea as there is nowhere for planes to land. But the trip is well worth it for animal lovers: you'll see lots of seals and penguins.
Down below the equator, Earth’s seasons are flipped. So in New Zealand, you can enjoy winter weather in June, July, and August. It’s a skier’s paradise and a great time to spot humpback whales.
Falls Creek, Australia
Australian Alps ski resort Falls Creek in Victoria is most active during Australia’s winter (our summer) months. Nearby in Melbourne, you can ditch action sports for nightlife, food, and amazing shopping.
Not everyone wants to go south of the equator to ski. Luckily, there are lots of other things to do in the Southern Hemisphere that don’t involve snow. In Uruguay, you can visit fantastic wineries in the middle of their winter season and go on hot air balloon rides to get a bird’s eye view of their one-of-a-kind landscape. You'll likely find weather in the brisk but pleasant high 50s.
Patagonia is a popular hiking destination for most of the year, but the summertime (or rather, wintertime for Argentinians), is the perfect time to ski in the mountains. The average temperature is a chilly 35 degrees in July, so you can book a wintery vacation when the weather becomes sweltering for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere.
Easter Island, Chile
High temperatures average in the mid-60s during the months of June, July, and August on Easter Island, a territory of Chile. While you’re there, you can learn about the island’s fascinating history, including the nearly 900 long-faced statues, called moais, which represented the ancestors of Polynesians who came to the island thousands of years ago.