The 5 Best (and Most Affordable) Places to Travel in July
So many places, so little time. Summer really hits its stride in July and although you might think that would mean hefty airfare prices, hotel minimum stays and rate hikes, it can be quite the contrary. Just follow our guide to the five locales that are some of the most popular (yet inexpensive) places to venture to right now.
Montauk, New York
If pool parties, rosé all day, clambakes and lobster rolls speak to your soul, then migrate toward the Hamptons to partake in all of these extracurricular activities this month. New York’s playground for the young, old and everyone in between is easy enough to get to by car, LIRR or jitney from Manhattan or by car from JFK, and once you’re there, you’ll be living your best out-of-office life.
Why you should go in July: The town comes alive at this time of year. Spend long summer days swimming, reading books in hammocks, devouring steamers and fried oysters at The Clam Bar, fishing (Montauk is one of the top fishing destinations in the Northeast), surfing and hiking before meeting friends for dinner at EMP Summer House, Eleven Madison Park’s pop-up restaurant with American Express that features seasonally fresh favorites in a backyard with picnic tables. Ending up at The Surf Lodge or The Stephen Talkhouse for live music later on is also mandatory.
Where to stay: “The East End” is known for its laidback attitude and surplus of kitschy cool hotels, motels and lodges, like Ruschmeyer’s or Gurney’s. Those looking for an adult summer camp tend to flock to Ruschmeyer’s. Not only are there life-size versions of chess and other games everywhere, but the contemporary take on cabin décor and Bites & Boozing chef dinner series will keep you armed with lots of content for your social media channels. If you’re interested in slightly fancier digs there are also two Gurney’s locations (Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa and Gurney’s Montauk Yacht Club & Resort), which are essentially posh pads perfectly suited for R&R in a well-dressed space.
The crystal blue water, friendly locals, cuisine (bring on the conch) and ideal weather would make anyone seriously consider moving to the picturesque island full-time. And although one could easily spend all day zen’ing out on the beach, there are tons of other experiences to take advantage of, like: every water sport you can imagine, testing your luck at the tables (Nassau is home to the largest casino in the Caribbean at the Baha Mar), shopping (tax-free!) in town, catching a fish fry on the beach and, of course, lots of nightlife.
Why you should go in July: Because July is *technically* hurricane season (don’t worry: the occasional rain shower doesn’t last long), flights are fairly inexpensive, and you can score cheap deals on packages and room rates.
Where to stay: A splurge-worthy hotel is The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Hotel, which boasts a Versailles-like garden on the premises. If you’re seeking a more lively retreat closer to downtown, however, head to the SLS Baha Mar. The beats never end, just like the abundance of roses and other exotic flowers draped around the common areas. Psst: Follow the signs through the casino to the Rosewood, which just opened last month and offers up some killer cocktails.
Watch Hill, Rhode Island
Easily accessible from most places in New England and a short drive from Boston’s Logan Airpport, Watch Hill has everything you would want in a nautical getaway: a relaxed mentality, some of the best beaches New England has to offer and fresh seafood fare (try Olympia Tea Room and Matunuck Oyster Bar for a casual brunch or lunch outdoors and COAST for a one-of-a-kind dinner and tasting menu centered around RI’s beloved shellfish).
Why you should go in July: July is one of the most popular times of the year for the area and although one might think that would mean annoying crowds, Watch Hill’s always on the DL. That means even more reason to enjoy the recently launched activations going on in the area, like Veuve Clicquot’s newest pop-up: The Secret Garden at Ocean House. This special spot opens its under-the-radar gates this July to allow guests to enjoy a fully stocked Champagne bar and newest cocktail, Veuve Clicquot’s Rich Rose Pom Pom. Plus there’s an adorable step and repeat that was obviously built for poppin’ bottles and ’Gramming at the same time.
Where to stay: The OHM Collection has a handle on the area with three charming properties with distinctly different personalities to choose from. There’s Ocean House, the grand dame of Watch Hill with its gorgeous grounds (be sure to wear your brightest whites for croquet on the lawn), impeccable rooms and suites and old-world attention to detail and service. Weekapuag Inn is the laidback little sister that feels more like your best friend’s summerhouse than a hotel and encourages barefoot afternoons by the pool or beach, and Watch Hill Inn is for a luxe-meets-shoreline stay. If you’re looking for a fashion fix (or are Lilly Pulitzer-obsessed), you’ll love this last one since you can sleep in the Lilly suite decked out in Ms. Pulitzer's whimsical designs. That's worth the trip to Watch Hill alone—well that and a chance to spot Taylor Swift and her squad out and about, since she lives up the street from the hotel.
British Virgin Islands
Get ready to live out an episode of House Hunters (islands edition) once you start hopping from one sandy white stretch to the next (with Guana Island, Virgin Gorda and the capital, Tortola, being some of the most popular to visit). Getting there isn’t as complicated as you would think, either. Just fly into the British Virgin Islands Beef Island Airport via San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten or Antigua, from where boats will then transport you to your destination and hotel on a short (scenic) cruise. As for what to do once there, hike to the Virgin Gorda’s high point, Gorda Peak, for a panoramic view of the surrounding islands and lush forests; charter a yacht and set sail, explore the never-ending list of luxury resorts and villas; and sip tropical cocktails at tiki bar haunts and dive faves like Soggy Dollar Bar, Deadman’s Beach Bar and Grill and Willy T’s.
Why you should go in July: For Christmas in July. Yes, you heard that right. On July 22, prepare to get festive. The celebration attracts hundreds of boats from Puerto Rico for a sun-and-rum-soaked week of music, dancing and great food on Pond Bay, Virgin Gorda. Also worth checking out: Summer Sizzle BVI (July 26 to 29). Celebrating its tenth year, Summer Sizzle BVI transforms the main island of Tortola into a Caribbean fashion mecca for runway shows, exhibitions, island tours and more.
Where to stay: Peter Island Resort and Spa, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection, Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Frenchmans and Oil Nut Bay are all solid picks. And last but not least, Cooper Island, BVI’s eco-friendly resort, which hosts its own microbrewery—always good to have at arm’s distance.
There’s no shortage of reasons to choose Denver as a summer destination. For starters, there’s Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre for outdoor concerts surrounded by terra-cotta-colored behemoths and the recreational (and legal) cannabis culture that attracts many, but there’s also a booming art scene (like the acclaimed Denver Art Museum), outdoor adventure galore (Denver is consistently voted the healthiest city in the U.S.), urban sophistication in the form of upscale shops and eateries (with Mercantile Dining & Provision and Tavernetta taking the lead) and plenty for out-of-town visitors to do and see, such as touring Titanic survivor Molly Brown’s legendary mansion.
Why you should go in July: For the cheap flights (according to Skyscanner), with most being under $200 from various airports across the states. Logistics aside, July is a big month for the Mile High City with newly opened hotel and restaurants finally making their much-anticipated debut.
Where to stay: Halcyon and The Source Hotel. The former is located in the trendy Cherry Creek district not far from downtown Denver, while the latter resides in the heart of Denver’s River North Art District. The Halcyon is musically inspired with record players, impressive collections and cool art in each of the rooms. It’s also home to rooftop pool and bar Departure, which keeps the party going from day to night. As for The Source Hotel, this boutique gem with only 100 design-focused rooms features another July baby: Alon Shaya’s first-ever Denver restaurant, Safta. The esteemed Israeli chef is known for his modern Middle Eastern eats (think artisanal pita, creamy hummus with spiced lamb or wild mushrooms and wood-fired skewers) and reservations are sure to fill up quickly, so the sooner you book yours the better.
With additional reporting by Kelli Acciardo