Spring break is barely behind us, but blink and summer will be here! Even though the clock is ticking, you can still book and pull off a fabulous family summer vacation. Have your heart set on going to Italy? Consider the lesser-known island of Elba, just off the Tuscan coast, with plenty of sun, charm and pasta yet lighter crowds. Our neighbor to the north — O Canada! — shines during the summer, and the exchange rate is stronger than ever. If you want to go somewhere farther-flung, head to Bali, where it’s dry and balmy with plenty of beaches for cooling off.
Accommodations availability starts to become slim at this point in the year, but our Family Vacation Advisor team maintains a list of vetted kid-friendly hotels and resorts and can help you book hidden gems (many with special Virtuoso perks). Here are 10 summer vacation spots that still have availability. Ready to plan? Give us a call!
Best Family Summer Vacation Spots for Last-Minute Booking
Many people tend to shy away from visiting Argentina in June, as winter slowly kicks in in the southern hemisphere. Use the off-season to your advantage and score great airfare and room rates. Combine culture-rich Buenos Aires with detours to Iguazu Falls, which still flows under blue skies through June, and the Mendoza wine region.
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Atacama Desert, Chile
Spanning some 600 miles west of the Andes mountains in northern Chile, the Atacama Desert is an otherworldly place. A high plateau of sand, stone, salt and hardened lava, this arid region is considered the driest corner of earth, and yet life has somehow thrived and survived here. Base yourself in the town of San Pedro de Atacama, from where you can pursue volcano treks, sand surfing, horseback riding, swimming in a spring-fed oasis and, of course, stargazing come nightfall.
Famous for harboring Napoleon during his 1814 exile, the island of Elba off Tuscany‘s coast remains relatively under the radar compared to the Italian mainland, which is overrun with summer crowds. The largest of eight islands in the Tuscan archipelago, Elba is home to Europe’s largest national marine park and a great site for snorkeling, sailing, diving and hiking.
Although it has much in common with its Caribbean cousins, this British territory actually sits in the Sargasso Sea, a bit north. That means geography is on your side for a summertime visit, as temps are balmy but not blazing. Pink sand beaches, water sports, hiking and golf await. Don’t miss Copper’s Island Nature Preserve for fantastic snorkeling.
With a cobblestoned Old Town, beautiful architecture, and ample churches, cafes and piano bars, Krakow offers plenty of European charm and history. The city’s proximity to Prague, Vienna and Budapest make it a natural addition to a diverse Eastern European itinerary.
While much of Australia is chilly in summer, the western part of the country has a reliably sunny and warm disposition year-round. Temperatures reach the 70s even in June (though the daylight hours are shorter due to the southern hemisphere’s winter). From culture and food in Perth and nearby Penguin Island to whale watching and Karijini National Park, there’s much to explore indoors and out!
From Vancouver to Montreal, Canada shines during the summer months. The strong exchange rate makes it an appealing time to visit right now. Consider Vancouver’s laid-back vibe and great food, combined with Tofino and other spots on Vancouver Island, or explore the Canadian Rockies in and around Banff and Lake Louise. Prefer to head to the east coast? Delight in the French flavor, historic architecture and lively summer festival scene of Quebec City and Montreal, or enjoy maritime pursuits in Nova Scotia.
With more than 600 castles, beautiful beaches, spectacular Snowdonia National Park in the north and a walkable coastal path that hugs the entire length of the country (!), Wales is a great destination to explore with kids, especially younger ones. It’s compact, so you can cover a lot of ground in just a week. There’s even a museum dedicated to Cardiff-born author Roald Dahl — a don’t-miss stop.
Bali’s position south of the equator means that the summer months of June through September are dry, unlike its monsoon-drenched Asian neighbors. Soak up the island’s culture, enjoy stunning beaches and water activities and pay homage at one of dozens of temple shrines. When hunger hits, try traditional dishes such as nasi goreng, a typical fried rice dish, and gado-gado, a vegetable salad doused with peanut sauce.
From horseback riding and swimming to tennis or fishing, dude ranches across the western United States have broad appeal across ages. They also make for an easy summer vacation without tremendous planning required. The key is choosing one that suits your kids’ ages, as not all offer riding programs for little ones. And don’t worry if you have a non-rider in the family; plenty of ranches offer ample entertainment that doesn’t involve getting on a horse.