What are the top travel destinations that Americans have in mind for this summer? Travelers plan to stick fairly close to home turf rather than venturing too far afield, according to a survey of Americans’ summer travel plans by Allianz Global Assistance.
Allianz reviewed nearly 3 million trips of five to eight days in length planned by its customers from now through Labor Day, and they found a mix of domestic favorites as well as lots of escapes to Mexico and the Caribbean. Except for landlocked Las Vegas, all of the top summer destinations are perfectly suited to a cruise and land getaway. One good approach is to arrive early, or stick around after the cruise, to explore the area.
Here are 12 top travel destinations for summer 2017.
As one of the most popular beach destinations in North America, Cancún, on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, is famous for its 14 miles of white-sand shores, luxury hotels and endless nightlife. Downtown Cancún offers a mix of tradition and modernity, and it's home to many restaurants, shopping centers and outdoor markets where locals spend their time. Day-trippers will have to watch the clock if they want to visit the famous Maya ruins of Tulúm, Chichen Itzá or Cobá, each of which is up to two hours away. Most visitors, though, will stick around for the sun, surf and first-rate people watching. Cancun topped Allianz's list with nearly 17 percent of travelers saying they planned to take a summer vacation there.
As one of the most popular and family-friendly vacation destinations in the world, Orlando is a one-stop shop for family fun In addition to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld, Orlando offers something for everyone from little kids to corporate-minded adults looking to indulge the child within. The area not only offers fishing excursions, beautiful beaches and wildlife preserves but also the Kennedy Space Center, which serves as the embodiment of the promise that President John F. Kennedy made to the nation in the early 1960s to explore space.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Sitting on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a sun-soaked coastal town consisting almost solely of beaches, resorts and tourist amenities. A trip to these silky-white beaches practically comes with a no-rain guarantee, as it’s tropical heaven for sun worshippers. In Punta Cana you can snorkel, have fun with other water sports, ride horses down the beach at sunset or head to one of its world-class golf courses. If adventure is more your thing, all-terrain vehicles are available to rent and trek through the hidden caves, mangroves and hidden-away beaches that are scattered throughout the area.
Honolulu, capital of Hawaii, is a montage of white-sand beaches, high-rise hotels and condominiums, with a dizzying choice of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Waikiki is Honolulu’s tourism central. Once a playground for Hawaiian royalty, it's the city's main hotel and resort area, with dozens of properties located on the beach or within a short walking distance. World-class shopping and dining can be found along Kalakaua and Kuhio avenues. And, of course, the venerable and moving USS Arizona memorial resides above the wreckage of the sunken WWII battleship.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Once a rough and rustic outpost, Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, has morphed into one of Mexico’s most elite resort destinations and a thriving port of call on Pacific Coast cruise itineraries. With its large marina and gleaming bay, Cabo combines spectacular scenery with great weather, top-rate beaches, lots of adventure-oriented activities and a pulsing nightlife. The town has long been known for big-game fishing, including marlin, sailfish, swordfish, dorado, tuna and wahoo. But it's the natural surroundings that continue to be Cabo's biggest draw.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
The second largest city in Jamaica, Montego Bay (or MoBay, as the locals call it) is known for its many resorts and famed beaches. Today's visitors will find Montego Bay to be fully developed, catering to international tourists. Remnants of old sugar-cane plantations and mill-works are still standing, and while most visitors tend to flock to the idyllic beaches with their palm-framed turquoise waters, many also enjoy the city's rich cultural history. As the tourism capital of Jamaica, this city is a pleasant balance of laid-back, breezy island atmosphere and a pumped-up nightlife and reggae music scene.
San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital, offers plenty of insight into the island's rich history. Old San Juan, with its blue cobalt brick streets and centuries-old buildings that date to the early Spanish explorers, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There's something for everyone here: enormous resorts and casinos, several famed beaches along its 300 miles of coastline (our favorites are Ocean Park and Park Barbosa) and even a 25-mile jaunt to El Yunque rainforest. San Juan's trio of historic forts, including 400-year-old El Morro, make up the oldest and best-preserved Spanish fortifications in the Western Hemisphere.
A tropical oasis 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba welcomes 1.5 million visitors a year. Cruisers visit as part of a Southern Caribbean itinerary, usually coupled with Bonaire or Curacao. It's hard to think of a place with more idyllic weather than Aruba, which enjoys nearly perpetual sunshine, balmy trade winds and average daily temps of 82 degrees. Wide, white swaths of sand and warm, clear, turquoise waters along its western and southern coasts make Aruba a to-die-for beach destination. There are some great land excursions, too, including Arikok National Park, which covers nearly 20 percent of the island.
Hawaii's butterfly-shaped island of Maui has something for everyone, from the high-rise resort hotels of Ka’anapali to the rugged hiking trails on 10,023-foot Mount Haleakala to lush, green, waterfall-washed Hana and the south coast. It’s all here, from a flower-kissed climate to perfect waves, perfect beaches and scenery so lush there's nothing like it on the U.S. mainland. The surprises lie in what most photographs don’t show: steep mountain roads, otherworldly volcanic landscapes, waving fields of sugar cane, the sweet scent of plumeria and an atmosphere that washes the island in a mellow glow.
10Just two European destinations made Americans' summer wish list for this year: London and Paris, two of the most internationally diverse and cosmopolitan destinations in the world. London entertains more than 27 million visitors a year. With a rich heritage and history that greets you everywhere you go, present-day London still possesses an air of the medieval, with a backdrop of St. Paul's Cathedral, which has stood since the 1600s, to the iconic Big Ben. Yet this thriving metropolis is one of the centers of art, fashion and culture in Europe. So grab a pint of beer at a local pub and relax as you enjoy everything this city has to offer.
11Be prepared for some hustle-bustle when you visit St. Thomas, busiest of the U.S. Virgin Islands (it's the largest by population, second largest by area). More cruise ships call at the pretty Charlotte Amalie than at any other Caribbean port. Downtown’s colorful, 18th-century buildings are poised to welcome passengers with jewelry stores, boutiques, restaurants and bars, while merchants at outdoor bazaars offer handmade crafts, island art work and an endless selection of duty-free products. The views from on high are stunning, the local culture is engrossing and beaches such as Magen’s Bay are beauty spots that rival any in the world. As they say on the island, “ev’ry-ting good!”
12Paris, the City of Light, is a pleasure to behold, whether it’s from the graceful bridges spanning the Seine, atop the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, or among the backstreets and hidden courtyards of the Left Bank. It’s simply the ultimate destination for anyone who loves art, superb food, café life, history, shopping and iconic architecture. Paris brims with a vibrance and charm that continues to intoxicate visitors, with locals and visitors alike defying those who would like to see an end to all that Western culture has to offer. And while you may not associate Paris with cruising, the city is magical when seen from a river cruise ship.
Honorable mentions for summer 2017
Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle also made the list of travelers' top travel destinations for summer 2017, but it's generally easier to fly than to cruise to these ports. Las Vegas, Boston, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale and Nassau in the Bahamas round out the top 20 list.
If you're planning to go to any of these travel hotspots, make sure to bring along Cruiseable's travel guide for that destination. And if you'd like to arrange a cruise to any of these places, please contact a Cruiseable travel advocate for rates, dates and more information; call 1-877-322-3773.
How about you? What are your travel getaway plans for summer 2017?