Where to Go

5 Cool Places To Visit To Beat The Heat This Summer

Refreshing destinations for your summer bucket list

The Vacationeer
Rocky beach and forest in the Pacific Northwest

When you think of “summer vacation,” you may imagine warm weather and sunny skies in destinations like Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii. However, lower-temperature spots may be some of the coolest places to visit this summer.

Avoid unexpected heatwaves and switch up your summer vacation with a cooler destination. Thanks to Hilton Honors membership — one of the benefits of timeshare with Hilton Grand Vacations — you can access Hilton’s portfolio worldwide. Add these five places to your summer bucket list and jump-start your itinerary.

Scenic view of waterfalls near Reykjavik, Iceland in the summer 

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

What to expect: As the name implies, Iceland stays chilly throughout the year. In the southern part of the country, expect temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. Plus, Iceland experiences the midnight sun, so if you time your vacation right, you can enjoy 18 to 24 hours of daylight.

Where to stay: Enjoy contemporary Icelandic design inside an early-20th-century building at Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. After a long day of hiking and exploring the capital, unwind at the sauna or whirlpool.

Things to do: Take advantage of the long days and explore Iceland’s surreal landscape. Check out stunning waterfalls like Skogafoss, Reynisfjara Beach’s black sands and remote ice caves.

Can’t make it on an ice cave tour? Check out Perlan’s indoor ice cave and learn about the area’s unique flora and fauna. On a warmer day, head to Laugardalslaug for family-friendly waterslides and hot and cold soaking pools.

Seattle, Washington, skyline on a clear day 

2. Seattle, Washington

What to expect: Escape to Seattle, one of the United States’ coolest cities during the summer. Thanks to Lake Washington and Puget Sound, the Emerald City averages a high of 75 degrees and minimal humidity. Also, Seattle’s iconic clouds dissipate for the season, so you’ll have sunny skies.

Where to stay: Hilton Seattle is the perfect Pacific Northwest home base, just within walking distance of Pike Place Market and light rail links.

Things to do: Take advantage of the sunshine and visit Seattle icons like the Space Needle and Seattle Great Wheel. Rent a canoe at the Washington Park Arboretum to observe local birds and wildlife. Or head to the beach at Golden Gardens Park for a sandy stroll and a game of volleyball.

North Cascades National Park is about a two-hour drive from Seattle. Take a scenic drive of the American Alps via the North Cascades Highway, or hike to Blue Lake Trail to see stunning still water surrounded by majestic mountains.

Stockholm, Sweden, and one of its waterways in the summer 

3. Stockholm, Sweden

What to expect: Sweden’s capital emerges from its long winter nap into a sunny summer season — more than other European cities like London and Paris. Enjoy pleasant 70-degree weather and longer days, especially during midsummer.

Where to stay: Hilton Stockholm Slussen overlooks the Södermalm district, offering easy access to historic sites like Old Town and the Royal Palace.

Things to do: Stockholm, also known as “The Venice of the North,” sits on an archipelago offering plenty of waterways and islands to explore. Djurgården is one of these islands within walking distance of Stockholm’s city center. While you can stroll or bike around the island, the main attractions are the museums. Some of Stockholm’s most famous museums are at Djurgården, including the Vasa Museum, the Viking Museum, the world’s first open-air museum and ABBA The Museum.

Lake Malaren, just outside the city, is a must-visit for wild swimming — a European trend of swimming outdoors in rivers, lakes or the sea rather than pools. Or take a beachy day trip to Gotland, an island accessible by ferry, for powder-white beaches along idyllic pine forests.

A neon orange camping tent in the woods of the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado 

4. Denver, Colorado

What to expect: Higher altitudes usually mean lower temperatures, making Denver perfect for outdoor adventures. Enjoy 70- to 80-degree days in town, but anticipate cooler weather if you venture to nearby Rocky Mountain locations like Breckenridge.

Where to stay: Find The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton in the midst of museums like the Denver Art Museum, History Colorado Center and Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.

Things to do: Summer in Denver means more daylight to explore this mountainside city. Tour the Denver Beer Trail to experience a taste of the city’s breweries. For an easy urban escape, head to the Denver Botanic Gardens for lush landscapes in the middle of the city. Or take a shuttle to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, a huge sandstone rock formation turned venue. Check out the event calendar for upcoming concerts, movie nights and more.

Denver is also home to hundreds of miles of trails — and in proximity to thousands more. Whether you stick to the city’s urban hikes or one of the nearby national parks, you’ll understand why Denver is such a hub for outdoor adventurers. Try overnight camping at Chatfield State Park for campsites with water access and foothill views to elevate your water sport of choice.

View of bay in Sydney, Australia, with boats on a clear day 

5. Sydney, Australia

What to expect: July and August are winter months in the southern hemisphere, so while you may want to pack a jacket for the evenings, the weather will be mild. The air will also be drier than in Australia’s summer months.

Where to stay: Rest and reset from Sydney’s bustling downtown at Hilton Sydney before heading out to explore nearby attractions like the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney Tower and The Galeries.

Things to do: If you missed the iconic cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, Sydney’s Cherry Blossom Festival runs in late August — complete with Japanese traditions, tasty food and perfectly pink blossoms. Or stick to Sydney’s coasts and try whale watching from Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Another perk to visiting Sydney during winter is fewer crowds at popular spots like Bondi Beach.

If you have a long weekend, head to Canberra’s Corin Forest for a family-friendly ski getaway. For warmer excursions closer to Sydney, visit swimming holes and waterfalls for memorable photo opportunities.

Read “Hilton Grand Vacations Members Share Their Top Tips For A Stellar Summer Getaway” to maximize your travel this season.

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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