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5 hottest trips: Summer 2018

The Adirondacks

Why now: A hot spot for New Yorkers on winter weekend jaunts, the Adirondacks in upstate New York thrives every day of the week over the summer when the lakes are swimmable and boat season begins. And two towns (Lake Placid and Ticonderoga) were voted among America’s 50 most beautiful small towns this year.

Where to stay: There are several five-star resorts like Lake Placid Lodge and the iconic Hotel Saranac, which recently reopened after a $35-million restoration project with modern upgrades to guestrooms. The Point, a private, 11-room property and the former Great Camp of William Avery Rockefeller also reopened this past May after a multi-million-dollar renovation.

What to do: Covering six million acres, the Adirondacks is larger than the state of Vermont, and it’s known for bucolic landscapes including majestic mountains and 10,000 lakes. Here, you can bike, whitewater raft down the Hudson River, hike miles of trails and peaks up to 4,000 feet, and stargaze at night.

Where to eat: The outdoor deck at Lisa G's is busy at sunset, and it's a magnet to locals and visitors alike thanks its healthy American comfort food (such as quinoa and black bean burgers) and laid-back vibes. Or check out The View Restaurant at Mirror Lake Inn, which serves a seasonal menu with ingredients from local farms and its own vegetable and herb garden. Order the Alaskan halibut and wheat and greens salad.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Why now: Luang Prabang, Laos, is one of the hottest cities in Asia right now. A string of new luxury resorts recently opened and those seeking more cultural and immersive experiences love that it’s off the grid and still relatively undiscovered.

Where to stay: There are several award-winning, five-star resorts, like The Luang Say Residence and Belmond La Residence.

What to do: Travelers can experience unique activities, like feeding wild bears that have been rescued from poachers in a natural sanctuary. From here, you can hike through the forest to hidden waterfalls and swim in natural swimming holes while young monks in orange robes meditate under trees. For a more vigorous workout, climb to the top of many temples along the Mekong River for breathtaking views, like the famous Phu Si Hill, set atop 200 steep steps. All resorts also offer bicycles to ride through the night markets in town and can set you up with activities such as rafting and kayaking or rock climbing.

Where to eat: It's all about street food here, though the most contemporary restaurant popular with ex-pats is Tamarind. Expect dishes like lemongrass-stuffed chicken and fish steamed in banana leaf. They also offer cooking classes. Another favorite is Riverside Restaurant, which has fantastic sunset views and offers various fresh fish steamed in coconut milk.

London

Why now: Summer is the best time to go, when the famous London fog lifts. There are also lots of stylish new hotels, restaurants, and bars to check out.

Where to stayThe Curtain recently opened in the hip Shoreditch neighborhood. It has a rooftop pool and chef Marcus Samuelsson’s UK outpost for his acclaimed Red Rooster, featuring live jazz. Or book a room at The Ned, a boutique hotel that features a spa with a hammam, seven restaurants, and 1920s-inspired rooms.

What to do: Buckingham Palace is open for tours only in the summer, and it’s a good time to have St. George’s Chapel in Windsor (an hour away by car) on your itinerary. Moreover, some of the best events happen this time of year, like Wimbledon Tennis Championship and almost a dozen music festivals, including Field Day with performing artists such as Erykah Badu and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Or take a trip to Bristol, a hip beach town. Newly designed trains will take you there four times a day. In the evening, head to Skylight to enjoy a sunset cocktail on the popular rooftop pop-up bar.

Where to eat: Make a reservation at chef Isaac McHale's Clove Club, which earned a Michelin star and took over the Shoreditch Town Hall. McHale serves up elevated, modern British fare with produce sourced from the British Isles. Inside a former banking hall at The Ned, there are seven restaurants; opt for superfood salads and cured fish and meat at Malibu Kitchen.

Philadelphia

Why now: More than 100 million people watched the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl this year, drawing lots of attention to the city. In addition to its historic sites, outdoor activities thrive over summer, especially around the Schuylkill River. The Circuit Trails, a network of paths sprawling 2.5-million acres, just completed an additional 300-mile route ideal for cyclists and runners and plans to increase it to 750 miles by 2040. 

Where to stay: Book a room at Wm Mulherin’s Son hotel, a contemporary boutique located in Fishtown, a trendy neighborhood making national headlines. A tribute to a local whiskey baron who immigrated from Ireland in 1848, the space is modern, yet timeless, with only four rooms above the signature restaurant.

What to do: Take out a kayak on the Schuylkill River, play tennis, or rent rowboats at Core Creek Park, and fly fish in Ridley State Park. Then make your way to Philly’s Rail Park, which opened this month. The three-mile, elevated green space on the former Reading Viaduct was modeled after New York City’s High Line.

Where to eat: One of the city's most famous chefs, Stephen Starr, opened The Love in Rittenhouse Square, where you can find nutritious, American comfort foods like salmon grain bowls. It's also worth dining at Harper's Garden, which debuted this month. The indoor-outdoor restaurant from the owners of Morgan's Pier features a summer menu with dishes like tuna crudo and a strawberry salad.

Disko Bay, Greenland

Why now: The world’s largest island is a haven for athletes in warmer months, when the ice has melted. Under the radar, Greenland has become easier to get to with more direct flights. Plus, the country gets about 14 hours of sunlight during the summer.

Where to stay: The new Ilimanaq Hotel (about 200 miles from the Arctic Circle) is a luxurious destination offering 15 Nordic-designed, seafront lodges perched on a cliff. The sunset views are stunning through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Remote, unique glamping is a reality at Camp Kiattua, which you can only reach by boat or helicopter from Nuuk, the capital. Here, you can see Viking ruins, every tent has fireplaces and fur, and staff serves locally-sourced cuisine.

What to do: While winters are for skiing, glacier hunting and snowmobiling, summers are great for hikes to waterfalls, sailing deep into sea for up-close humpback whale sightings, and long treks through the mountains. You can also cruise the fjords for breathtaking views of unspoiled landscape or mountain bike along the Arctic Circle Trail in the backcountry between two small towns, Sisimiut and Kangerlussuaq. Take a day trip to the uninhabited island Uunartoq, home to natural hot springs, where you're surrounded by the backdrop of mountains and blue skies.

Where to eat: For beautiful views of the of the Ilulissat harbor, have a meal at Restaurant Ulo. In addition to fresh fish and vegetables, adventurous eaters can try exotic, local cuisine like muskox, whale meat, and eider duck. Or dine al fresco at Marmut, which offers dishes made with produce from their on-site greenhouse.