This wet, dreary day has me daydreaming of summer travel. Lazy days spent splashing in swimming pools, sipping margaritas on ocean-side decks and taking sandal-clad steps across cobblestone streets in new towns sounds pretty great right about now.

This week, I sat down to make my summer travel wishlist, places I either plan to go or wish I could visit this summer. Some are far-flung and aspirational; others are just a few quick hours down the highway. All are places that I think offer a rich, entertaining and educational experience, especially during the summer months.

Here’s my list. Got somewhere you want to go? I’d love to hear about it.


Two cyclists drive through an alley of small trees in Frankfurt, Germany on May 11. credit: AP Photo/Michael Probst

Condor Airlines will start offering nonstop twice-weekly service between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Frankfurt International Airport starting June 27. The flights will give Austinites easy access to Frankfurt, an international financial center with a central location that makes it an excellent home base for other European travel.


The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Nantahala Gorge Excursion takes you over Fontana Lake via the historic Trellis Bridge. credit: GSMR

The National Park Services turns 100 in August, and what better way to celebrate than by visiting a national park. First on my list? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee and is home to mist-covered mountains, a half-dozen waterfalls and wildlife including American Black Bears, chipmunks and  lungless salamanders. While in the area, don’t miss a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which offers 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 25 bridges in the corner of North Carolina.



Santa Monica is an excellent stop during a tour of California. credit: Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post

I just returned from a trip to California in March, but I’m already dreaming of returning to the West Coast for its cool breezes, endless sunshine and countless ways to pass the time. Whether you’re enjoying a drink on the sprawling patio at Nelson’s at Terranea Resort or spending the afternoon meeting Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland, there’s plenty of fun for everyone.


The Houston skyline is one of the prettiest in Texas. credit: Greater Houston CVB

If you’re looking for a vacation that’s a little closer to home, don’t miss Houston. Always an excellent place to go for arts, culture and food, several newly opened attractions only help increase the draw. Adventure-seekers will want to stop by Wet’n’Wild SplashTown, which recently reopened following a massive reconstruction. Also just opened is the Cistern, a stunning see-it-to-believe-it underground space now available for tours. And don’t miss the chance to snap a photo in front of the Biscuit Paint Wall, where vibrant colors forever drip in mural form.




This Icelandic farm is in South Iceland near the Ring Road. credit: Adrienne Butcher

Earlier this year I wrote about my desperate need to go to Iceland. I still haven’t booked a ticket, but thanks to continued low airfares into Reykjavik, I’m thinking this summer could be the time. The more I hear about it, from its incredible Blue Lagoon to its spirited horses, the more I want to go.

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