At least for us at Oyster.com, summer is the season of travel. To be fair, we consider all four seasons primed for getting away, but the warmer months -- with schools on break and summer Fridays in the office -- often allow for easier escapes. Each new season in every new year brings us a fresh crop of destinations that are hot, hot, hot -- whether it's because prices are low, the food scene is bustling, or the locale is just on the cusp of becoming huge (but isn't quite yet). Below, explore the seven destinations you should definitely visit this summer we have a great hotel pick in each locale, too!
1. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park may not be a newbie to our list; this tried-and-true destination is a great bet every summer, though, and it's certainly the season we'd recommend a trip in. By early June, all roads should be open (they often close in colder months due to snow) and June is also the month of peak runoff -- making for beautiful waterfall scenes -- and peak blooming. Visitors can spot redbud, Sierra onion, lupine, Mariposa lily, and pentstemon, to name a few.
Where to Stay: Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
About one mile from Yosemite National Park’s western border, Evergreen Lodgeis a 22-acre resort surrounded by Stanislaus National Forest. The 90 cabins come in different sizes -- some perfect for newlyweds, others great for a large family -- and are rustic, cozy, and comfortable with large private decks.
There's no way you haven't dreamed about a visit to this exotic locale. And while "exotic" often translates to "expensive," that's not the case in Bali this summer: Hotel Price Index reports that hotel rates here are down 12 percent. Known as the Island of the Gods, Bali is defined by a beautiful landscape that includes rice paddies, beaches, and mountains. It's a popular spot for both diving and surfing.
Where to Stay: Padma Resort Bali at Legian
This 409-room, luxury hotel is nestled near the beach on 16 acres of landscaped tropical gardens. In addition to the three outdoor pools, there are six restaurants, a full-service spa (with sauna and steam room), a fitness center, and tennis courts.
Sure, New Orleans and Charleston will always be hot (literally and figuratively) Southern cities -- thanks to thriving foodie and music scenes -- but Nashville is on the verge of eclipsing them both. Over the past four years, it has grown from a relatively quiet, country-music-lovin' metropolis to a lively, metropolitan town that can boast some of the best restaurants, bars, shows, and cultural events south of the Mason-Dixon line. Summer is Music City's prime season, thanks to a scheduled packed with festivals.
Where to Stay: Hotel Indigo Nashville
The upper-middle-range Hotel Indigo is an eclectic mix of historical influences and contemporary style. Conveniently located off the historic Printer’s Alley, the hotel is in the heart of downtown Nashville, convenient to the sights, shops, and nightlife.
Lisbon is one of Europe's most affordable destinations this summer; in fact, a recent Kayak study found that Lisbon is one of the five cheapest European cities for staying in a five-star property, and during warmer months, visitors to Portugal often skip the capital city over in favor of quaint, beach towns. But Lisbon is a beautiful, colorful city overlooking the Atlantic. Though many buildings were destroyed in the Great Earthquake of 1755, Lisbon still has a rich history, and its historic buildings and cobblestone streets are juxtaposed against the newer buildings of modern Lisbon.
Where to Stay: As Janelas Verdes Inn
The Verdes Inn is a charming boutique overlooking the Tagus and situated next to the Museum of Ancient Art. Guests come for the cozy (if simple) rooms and gorgeous common areas. Decor wouldn't look out of place in an upscale beach cottage; the antique-filled, wood-paneled library has an attached terrace overlooking the water that lets in a lot of natural light.
5. Key West
Summertime is shoulder season in Key West, but the rain showers that keep visitors at bay rarely last long, and are more than worth it for the drop in hotel rates. We're particularly amped about a visit to this Florida island this summer since Cuba, which is now accessible to U.S. citizens, is just 90 miles away. Other perks of Key West include amazing seafood, great snorkeling, and a relaxing, welcoming vibe.
Where to Stay: Southernmost on the Beach
This beloved hotel has pretty architectural details such as arched doorways, crown molding, bay window seats, and porthole windows. Many rooms have balconies, and some have corner, wrap-around balconies with ocean views that are truly spectacular. Highlights here include the beach, long pool, private sunbathing pier, and sunny fitness center.
A multi-week Asian escape is all the rage for this summer, and if you're one of the many making the trip, Cambodia should definitely be on your list. This exotic destination has just about everything you could want -- amazing history, lively nightlife, tranquil spas, delicious, authentic cuisine, sandy beaches, and more. Home to the stunning Angkor Wat temple, Siem Reap is an important stop, and Hotel Price Index reports that rates here are currently down about 10 percent.
Where to Stay: Pavillon d'Orient Boutique-Hotel
The Pavillon d'Orient is a small boutique hotel with 35 rooms, located on one of the access roads into Angkor Wat, slightly outside the town center of Siem Reap. It has has a charming colonial style, with rooms featuring hardwood floors, rattan furnishings, and modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, minibars, and safes, as well as pleasant terraces with comfortable chairs.
If Nashville is the new Charleston, Denver is the new Portland. The scene here is exploding with delicious fine dining (that's catching the eyes of even NYC-based critics) and cool microbreweries. Plus, summer is an amazing time to visit; you can hike (while legally high), attend outdoor concerts (while legally high), and explore various street markets (while legally high).
Where to Stay: The Oxford Hotel
The Oxford is one of Denver's most notable historic hotels, ideally located in the lively LoDo neighborhood and in close proximity to area hot spots. Many of the 80 individually decorated rooms include luxe touches like claw-foot bathtubs, pillow-top mattresses, or bath butler service.