The dog days of summer are upon us, which means now’s the time to make the most of the sunshine before labor day weekend brings the season to a close. Whether you’ve been thinking about taking a short beach break or waiting to make a longer overseas trip, there is still plenty of time to plot a summer adventure that you and your family won’t soon forget.
The Hamptons, New York
One of the most exclusive destinations in North America, there’s a reason why the Hamptons have earned their coveted reputation. There’s the wide, windswept East Coast beaches, clear, salty ocean for miles and quaint seaside towns with charming restaurants and bars, and there’s also the very chic side of the Hamptons, where the who’s who descend on this small area to indulge in its luxurious lifestyle (like taking the helicopter from Manhattan to beat the weekend traffic). From sunning and swimming at Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, to catching a hot new indie band play at The Surf Lodge in Montauk or beating the heat (or rain!) with a vintage flick at the retro Sag Harbour cinema, or surfing the beginner-friendly waves at Ditch Plains (don’t forget to grab a bite at Ditch Witch food truck) there’s no shortage of sand, entertainment and plenty of people watching to occupy your Hamptons down time.
Where to stay in the Hamptons
In between the Balkans and Central Europe, this Eastern European destination is sought after for its gorgeous Adriatic coastline, clear blue sparkling waters and thousands of islands dotted with medieval castles and towns perched on stunning cliffsides (did someone say Game of Thrones?). Croatia’s major coastal city, Dubrovnik, looms on the edge of the the Adriatic and is filled with art, architecture and cultural influences in many forms, from Napoleonic forts to Venetian Palazzos, buildings with Roman columns and Slavic churches. For a true city and seaside combo, make your way to the Split Riviera – the area with the most beaches along all Croatia’s coast – for plenty of seaside bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as the famous promenade overlooking the well-heeled marina. There’s no better place to relax, have a drink and watch the impressive yachts dock from all over Europe, as well as take in the free open-air concerts and events that take over the promenade in the summertime.
Where to stay in Croatia
August in Barbados is the ideal time to experience the island’s annual Carnival, or Crop Over Festival, one of Barbados’ most popular, celebratory and colorful events. Dating back to when Barbados was a world leader in sugar production, there was always a celebration at the end of the harvest – the crop was over. Today, this island-wide festival honors many aspects of Barbadian culture. The final Grand Kadooment parade takes place on the first Monday of August, and features the crowning of a king and queen, a typical Caribbean-style carnival with Kadooment bands, calypso contests, fireworks and plenty of food and drink. If there’s one thing for certain, Barbadians definitely know how to have a good time! If you miss Crop Over, there are other activities to enjoy this month, including their motor rally carnival on the Vaucluse Raceway, a natural amphitheatre with sprawling views of the countryside, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean (from the 18th to the 30th).
Where to stay in Barbados
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
If you’re bored of the beach and the idea of Europe is a snooze, why not do something completely different to cap off your summer and head to South Africa for an unforgettable safari adventure. The Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the largest in South Africa, with luxurious lodges for you to rest your head after a day’s exploring. About 50 miles north of the town of Zeerust and (around 3.5 hours’ drive from Johannesburg), the reserve borders Botswana, close to the Kalahari Desert. This park is home to 66 large mammals (think: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo), as well as 300 species of birds and plenty of breathtaking scenery made up of vast open plains of grasslands, woodlands, rocky outcrops and mountains. The best time to visit this reserve is during the drier, winter months in South Africa (from June to September) so start making those plans for the vacation of a lifetime!
Where to stay in Madikwe Game Reserve