The 5 Best (and Most Affordable) Places to Travel in June
While it can be overwhelming to decide where to spend your hard-earned cash in the late spring or early summer (There. Are. Just. So. Many. Options), it’s important to take advantage of the western hemisphere’s prime weather while you’ve got it. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit this month, many of which you can get to on the cheap this June.
BANFF NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA, CANADA
Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, about two hours north of Calgary, the small town of Banff and the national park that surrounds it is one of Canada’s finest destinations, especially in glorious June. At this time of the year, the nearby turquoise blue and surrounded-completely-by-mountains Lake Louise, which you’ve probably been peeping on Instagram for years, becomes totally unfrozen and its splendor can only be described as unreal. Hiking, horseback riding, biking, whitewater rafting and ATV tours are just some of the ways to enjoy the ideal, high 60s and low-to-mid 70s temps outdoors, but the town itself is also filled to the brim with cute shops and a variety of dining options. (Check out Block Kitchen + Bar, The Bison and Park Distillery for awesome grub and libations.) At its outskirts is one of the region’s most spectacular experiences: Banff Gondola. With panoramic views, a deck path to a historic site and a restaurant and bar atop the 2,200-plus-foot summit of Sulphur Mountain, it’s one of the closet things to heaven you’ll ever lay your eyes on.
Where to stay: Steps from everything the town of Banff has to offer, The Mount Royal Hotel is historic (it even has a museum in its lobby) and recently went through a massive renovation just for you. It now boasts guestrooms with contemporary, mountain chic decor, and many rooms have picture-perfect mountain views. But no matter which suite you get, you can take in those views as you sit in not one but two large hot tubs that flank the rooftop lounge.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
New York is never a bad idea…even in February when the weather is freezing. Still, to see New York in the summer, when the streets are overflowing with alfresco diners, rooftop pool parties and denizens trying to catch a tan in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, is to experience it at its finest. Regardless of your interests, you won’t run out of things to do in the Big Apple, so we’ll just tell you what’s new: The swanky, brand new Times Square EDITION hotel with four distinct food and cocktail programs—one of which is the Paradise Club, a sexy new cabaret where the show is brought to you by the people behind House of Yes; the recently revamped Social Drink & Food rooftop, where the menu includes cocktails served in pineapples, a feast of modern Mediterranean and a pretty sick burger that's grilled up right on the massive wraparound rooftop terrace; the mint outdoor garden at PUBLIC Kitchen, a contemporary interpretation of the Tuileries Gardens in Paris where Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s grub is obviously solid; and a romantic revamp for a local West Village favorite, The Leroy House, where you don’t have to break the bank to munch on shishito peppers, crispy calamari, deviled eggs, house-made pastas—all with a charming Hudson Street townhouse backyard in view. After you've spent a day walking around NYC's bustling streets, check in to Haven Spa for some R&R and enjoy the 30-minute “quickie” services, which include everything from facials and massages to body scrubs and scalp treatments.
One more thing: While Gotham ain’t cheap, flights there are this month, according to Skyscanner. Whether you’re LGBTQ or just an ally, if you visit toward the end of June, you’ll also be able to partake in World Pride, the largest pride celebration in the world (New York was specially selected as this year’s World Pride city, so it’s a once-in-a-long-while opportunity to see it all go down, and it’s going to be epic, with tons of events and specials all month long to celebrate your most authentic self.)
Where to stay: Hotel rooms in Manhattan are known for being either insanely small or outrageously overpriced. With spaces that sometimes resemble a walk-in closet in Texas, if your room is on the smaller side, it’s important that it’s comfortable. Rooms at the AC Hotel New York Downtown are just that—generally the expected size for a big city but expertly designed to maximize every inch of the space, giving you maximum breathing room and space to spread out. Wood panels, neutral tones, excellent views, ample space to work and store your belongings, too. Opt for a corner suite to really maximize your views of the Financial District.
Rolling countryside full of cypress and olive trees, rows and rows of planted Montepulciano grapes, tiny towns perched at the top of hills, Tuscany will not disappoint—especially in the warm summer months when the sun is shining almost every day and all the nature surrounding it is alive and in full bloom. Whether you’re planning a romantic trip with bae or looking to spend an entire weekend sipping wine, eating pasta and tasting plenty of delicious cheeses and olive oils with your closest crew, the best and easiest way to see the region is to rent a car from Hertz. (Pro tip: Make sure you opt for the GPS, because cell phone data and therefore Google Maps can be challenging in these parts, and don’t forget a D.D. either.) And though flights to Europe can be notoriously high, this June, there are plenty of fares $800 and below (as of press time), which means you can save and then splurge on your all your wildest Tuscan dreams.
Where to stay: If you close your eyes and dream up the perfect Tuscan digs, it still would not compare to what you’ll find at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, an 800-year-old village-turned-resort just 40 minutes from Pisa, where you’ll also find a golf course, a nature reserve and on-site wine production from the almost 60 acres of vineyards. And you don’t need too much Italian to figure out that there’s also a former castle on the property, now used to house a cooking school.
LA ROMANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The Dominican Republic might be known for its major metropolis, Santo Domingo, and its splashy stretch of all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, but La Romana still stands as one of the Caribbean's most prized (and unspoiled) jewels. Offering everything from designer golf courses, horseback riding and skeet shooting to some of the best scuba diving in the world on Catalina Island (where pirate William Kidd's capsized ship rests at the bottom of the sea), this is the type of place to come when you want to do it all—or do absolutely nothing besides post up on Minitas Beach sipping rum cocktails. Another reason to visit is for Altos de Chavón, a replica 16th-century Mediterranean hillside village that includes a Grecian-style amphitheater where everyone from Luis Fonsi and Marc Anthony to J.Lo has performed. The summer is the ideal time to visit La Romana because the sun never stops shining, meaning there’s no chance of the rainy days—or worse, week—you might get in the off-season. It's also a time to score travel deals in the form of packages galore including 50 percent off the insane villas for rent here.
Where to stay: Casa de Campo Resort & Villas. Celebs, athletes and presidents alike love this luxurious property that sprawls across 7,000 acres of tropical paradise—and it's easy to see why. The ambiance, attentive service and stunning rooms and villas (that have starred in countless movies and music videos) are top notch, and the Marina & Yacht Club, Shooting Club, Polo & Equestrian Club, La Terraza Tennis Center and Pete Dye golf courses make it an adult playground that you'll have a hard time leaving. And if you're a foodie, you're in luck since the property just kicked off the fourth year of its Flavors of the World series, which brings different chefs from the top 50 restaurants in Latin America into the kitchens of Casa de Campo for an unparalleled dining experience.
Thousands of country music fans descend on Nashville each June (this year between June 6 and 9) for the annual CMA Music Festival, which turns lower Broadway into a live concert of the top acts across multiple stages. The best part: A lot of the festival activities are open to the public, which means you don’t even need to have tickets to enjoy. If you’re opting to take advantage of the rest of Music City’s Southern spirit, where flights are a steal this June according to Skyscanner, it’s best to do it before it gets too humid anyway. Some of the most significant civil and women’s rights history took place in Nashville, so you’ll relish the warm, summer-like weather to be on your feet to enjoy its many historic sights and buildings, museums, and a collection of eclectic art, style and design. Some of our favorite spots include the Frist Art Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Grand Ole Opry (Whether you’re a music fan or not, just trust us and book a show wellll in advance).
There’s the Nashvegas side of town, too: Debauchery can be had at the honky tonks, of course, but also at the many new cocktail bars, restaurants and boutique hotels opening in SoBro, Weho and The Gulch—some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. And if you love to score a good deal, do *not* leave town without checking out FLIP, an incredible vintage/consignment store filled to the brim with luxurious treasures.
Where to stay: The Dream Nashville is the new kid in town, located on an old alleyway that’s long been the center of the city’s nightclub and entertainment district. Contained within two landmarked buildings, the Dream has sexy, sophisticated and playful Art Deco-inspired guest rooms and common spaces, and a restaurant and cocktail scene on property that will impress the most discerning of taste buds. For an unparalleled Music City experience, look into Union Station Hotel Nashville, which was built in 1900 and served as the main train station until the late ’70s. The hotel is dedicated to celebrating local art and live music in its lobby, and during CMA Music Festival, it even hosts local talent in its lobby for free performances.