With summer just weeks away, you’re probably already thinking about where to spend your precious free time. Not sure which corner of the globe you want to visit for your summer vacation? Regardless, you’ll want to get the most out of every hard-earned dollar. Thankfully, we’ve done the work for you of selecting a few unique destinations. Enjoy a wide variety of activities, seasonal fun and great eats, all without weighing too heavily on your wallet.
Mount Desert Island, Maine
Want to stay a little closer to home and avoid the hassle of overseas travel? At just a few hours’ drive from the Canada-US border, Mount Desert Island might be just the place for you. This is especially true if you’re looking for a kid-friendly summer vacation. Appreciate the lobster fishery’s importance to this region by exploring the Mount Desert Oceanarium. Here, you can take an hour-long tour to learn about lobster biology. Discover the many obstacles facing these crustaceans on their journey from hatchlings to adulthood. If you’re looking for a lunchtime lobster fix, be sure to check out the Travelin Lobster. Open from late May to October, you can pick out your own lobster. Tuck in to their popular lobster dinner or hearty lobster roll. Hike along the shore through Acadia National Park – take a dip in the cold Atlantic Ocean if you’re brave enough!
Lisbon may not be the first European destination that comes to mind for your summer vacation. However, this city has just as much to offer at a considerably lower price than popular places like Paris or Vienna. Whether you visit for the wine, the cuisine or the beaches, you’re in for a great deal. For 20€ (about $30), you can buy a Lisbon Card. This 24-hour city pass gets you admission to museums, major attractions and public transportation. Benefit from free train travel for day trips to the resort towns of Sintra and Cascais. You’ll also be able to enjoy Lisbon’s picturesque tram cars. A three-course meal for two in Lisbon, along with a bottle of house wine, averages less than $100. To keep the kids entertained, check out the science museum and aquarium near the waterfront.
Enjoy the reggae-infused vibes of Kingston, the capital city. Here, you’ll get a much more authentic Jamaican vacation than anything you would experience within the confines of a resort. Enthusiasts of reggae and Rastafarian culture will relish the Bob Marley Museum, the Jamaica Museum and the Peter Tosh Museum. You’ll quickly realize how the heart of Jamaica beats to the rhythm of reggae. If you’re looking for a worthwhile day trip, head to Blue Hole near Ocho Rios. The road to the crystal-blue pool will not make for the easiest trip. However, you’ll find it worth the effort once you arrive at your destination. Considered a hidden gem even by locals, take in the stunning waterfalls and discover the Jamaican jungle. If you can brave the brisk temperature, jump into the refreshing waters to cool off!
Barga is considered a relatively undiscovered gem in the popular region of Tuscany. This tranquil medieval town in the picturesque Serchio Valley offers everything Italy is known for, from food and wine to cultural heritage. Once you visit, you’ll surely understand why it has made it onto the official list of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Tour the Casa Pascoli museum in nearby Castelvecchio, the former home of one of Italy’s most famous poets, Giovanni Pascoli. Wine connoisseurs will delight in a tour of the local biodynamic winery Podere Concori.