It may still be cold and wintery outside, but summer is coming up in a few months. The season is peak vacation time and it’s never too early to start planning for the trip of your dreams. Even though living in Stepping Stone is like living in a travel destination itself, it helps to get out of your bubble and see what the rest of the world is doing.
We searched around the web for ideas of where to travel this summer (and possibly fall) that aren’t the usual vacation go-tos. Enjoy this list and promise to send us photos of your unique vacation spots this year!
Escape the summer heat and head for the Land of Ice! Iceland is a Nordic island nation defined by dramatic landscapes with volcanoes, geysers, ice caves, hot springs, and lava fields. It’s also one of the hottest travel destinations around. Many people travel to Iceland in winter to see the Aurora Borealis, but high tourism season is summertime, where tourists can enjoy moderate temperatures and 21 hours of daylight. One of the big destinations is the Blue Lagoon – a crystal blue geothermal pool with spectacular views in every direction. The sulfur- and silica-rich water is known for its natural, age-defying healing powers.
Why visit Motor City? Well, for starters, Lonely Planet has named it the second-best city in the world to visit in 2018 (Seville, Spain came in first). But mainly, Detroit has been one of America’s biggest comeback stories. After filing for bankruptcy four years ago, this city has been gaining momentum over the last few years. Detroit will be ready for its close-up in 2018, thanks to improved infrastructure and several chic new hotels, as well as stadiums, parks, and a burgeoning creative class. In addition, the QLine streetcar launched this year, making it easier to get around.
Are you as fascinated with food as you are adventure? This incredibly diverse South American country has so much to offer you. From the highly-rated restaurant scene in Lima (three of the world’s top restaurants can be found here) to the adventures along the Amazon to the historical trek to Machu Picchu, you will find yourself challenged in new and exciting ways. Peru even makes for a lively family vacation — you’ll find that many Peruvians speak English and are very welcoming to tourists.
Are you looking for a little diversion off the beaten path? Portugal is a hot travel destination these days, but while everyone is headed to Lisbon, you should head to the Azores Islands instead. These nine pristine islands boast stunning natural beauty, charming fishing villages, turquoise water beaches, and excellent cuisine. These islands are considered some of the best-kept secrets in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, so hit this unspoiled paradise before they become overrun.
What about a vacation that gives back to an American community? Last September, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, knocking out power, damaging infrastructure, and leaving thousands of residents without a home. Since then, hotels and communities have been hard at work restoring tourist areas to continue their main source of income for the island. Today, many of the hotels are open and the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is fully operational. In addition, most parts of the island have made tremendous progress with clean-up and many beaches and tourist areas are open. By traveling to the island during this restorative time, you’ll help thousands of Puerto Ricans keep their jobs and support their families.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Looking for a good road trip? Pack up the car and head south to Albuquerque to check out their new entertainment hub, the $40 million One Central complex, featuring a sleek bowling lounge and upscale stores and restaurants. Down in historic Old Town, the Sawmill District is a recently revived creative center, inspired by the state’s indigenous culture. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll have access to all kinds of hiking trails and mesa vistas. You’ll also get to experience the striking Sandia Mountains from inside an alpine sled-style ride that plunges riders down the mountainside in a vertical drop of 380 feet. This mountain coaster doesn’t open until fall, so make this an end-of-summer destination.