Summer has officially been here for a couple of weeks now, and with it comes the summer heat waves.
The Northern Sierra saw a heat wave so strong it contributed 12 billion gallons of snowpack runoff to Lake Tahoe in just over a week.
If all that heat has you feeling like it’s time to get away to somewhere a tad cooler, we’ve assembled a list of four destinations you can head off to this summer to escape the heat and chill out.
Iceland has become one of the hottest destinations for international travelers in recent years — according to UPI, 2 million people visited the country in 2016, up from just 781,000 visitors in 2013 — for a multitude of reasons.
For one, the country’s landscape is nothing short of incredible, with glaciers, fjords and waterfalls galore throughout the Nordic nation. And beyond that, flights to the country can be had at very good prices.
And all that makes for great news if you’re looking to escape blistering summer temperatures. According to Weather Spark, the average daily high temperatures in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik never exceed 60 degrees Fahrenheit in July or August, meaning you don’t have to worry about overheating while hiking through its gorgeous terrain.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Among those welcoming cities is Queenstown, on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a gem of a city that supports outdoor and action sports enthusiasts to the fullest. The temperature in town hovers around 40 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August, and — in addition to the four nearby ski resorts — Queenstown supports a vibrant heli-skiing culture for those who want to go beyond resort boundaries.
And if skiing and snowboarding aren’t quite your cup of tea, you can always rent a car and drive a few hours up to the Franz Josef Glacier for ice hiking in the northern reaches of the South Island.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park in Washington is massive in its scope — the park is larger than Rhode Island — and contains coastal, alpine and temperate rainforest landscapes within its over 900,000 acres. And due to its positioning in the upper expanses of the Pacific Northwest, you’ll never have to worry about overheating while visiting it.
The average daily high in Olympic National Park never climbs above 69 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August, and with the fog that often cloaks its coastline, it can seem a bit cooler than that, making it a great escape from stifling summer temperatures.
Banff National Park, Canada
Canada’s oldest national park, located in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, is 2,564 square miles of pristine landscapes, and within Banff there’s no shortage of summer activities.
Hiking, climbing, fishing and whitewater rafting are plentiful for visitors who want to get their heart rate up, and for those looking for more unique experiences, Banff offers wildlife watching tours and sightseeing on the Columbia Icefield — one of the world’s largest non-polar ice fields. And with temperatures in the park averaging right around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, you’ll always be comfortable.
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