Top Ten Best Luxury Summer Vacation Ideas and Romantic Getaways

It’s finally spring, y’all! We made it! And you know what that means? It’s vacation time! Now is the best time to start planning your summer vacation and romantic summer getaways! I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite places ranging from very extravagant to more budget-friendly options that will get you the most luxe for your bucks! Do you have any summer vacation ideas not listed here? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for a great romantic getaway!

1. Italy

There are so many fabulous places to visit in Italy that would make a perfect summer getaway. If you’re looking for history and to explore the cities and culture you can of course visit Venice, Florence or Rome but if you’re more interested in hanging by the beach Italy has plenty! If you’re up North, visit Cinque Terre or Portofino or head down south to the Amalfi Coast.

If you’re planning a luxurious summer vacation to Italy be sure to check out our top ten travel tips for Venice and the best things to do and see in Florence! I know it may sound a bit over-the-top, but Venice is mesmerizing and definitely on my list of favorite cities in the world. The canals, the gondolas, it’s just so romantic.

2. Charleston

If you’re looking to stay close to home and save a few on airfare this summer for my American followers, Charleston is one of my favorite cities in the United States–and really in the world.

It’s got Southern hospitality to boot, a fabulous, trendy food scene that is so much more than fried chicken and pecan pie, and tons of history and culture. It also has gorgeous beaches (though good luck fitting into your swimsuit after all the amazing food!). Here is my list of best things to do for a summer vacation in Charleston. Come hungry and taste your way through the city. I loved the food so much I wrote an entire post about everything I managed to eat. Here are my top picks for best food experiences you have to try in Charleston. I still dream about it.

If you’re looking for the best luxury hotels in Charleston be sure to check out Charleston Place (for high end luxury) or John Rutledge House (for boutique luxury).

And Kiawah Island is only about an hour away. It’s home to the uber high-end hotel, The Sanctuary, which is another one of my favorite hotels! I wrote all about it here.

The Sanctuary Best Luxury Hotel

3. Cape Breton

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is an amazing northeastern summer getaway. Think of it as a less commercialized version of Cape Cod  but for half the price and double the charm!

How this place has managed to fly under the radar for as long as it has is beyond me–but get there before the rest of the world discovers it. Cape Breton has beaches, gorgeous national parks overflowing with greenery, killer views and wholesome charm that you won’t believe still exists. Oh and the seafood is ridiculously good–lobsters better than Maine’s for half the price!

I wrote up quite a comprehensive guide to taking a summer getaway to Cape Breton. Here are my tips for the perfect luxury getaway to Cape Breton. And here’s a longer review on one of my favorite hotels–the Keltic LodgeOne of my favorite nights of our trip was having cocktails in here and listening to some live music.

4. Philadelphia

Philadelphia is somewhere I had only recently spent any time in and I absolutely fell in love! And that was in the dead of winter with record-breaking lows, so I can’t even tell you how fabulous this place will be in the summer. The art museums, the restaurants, and of course the history! The city often referred to as the city of brotherly love will make a fabulous summer getaway!

Here is my compilation of the best things to see and do in Philadelphia. The Barnes Foundation remains still my favorite art museum in the world. It’s worth the trip alone.  

And don’t even get me started on the food! And it’s so much more than cheesesteaks, people. The foodie scene here is as sophisticated as NYC but with lots more BYO places. Oh and my favorite dessert in the world–the donuts at Bieler’s. Here are my top ten food experiences in Philly.

And two of my fave hotels in Philly are the Hotel Palomar and the Hotel Monaco–I absolutely loved it here. Check out my comprehensive of Hotel Monaco.

5. The North Fork, Long Island

If you’re not from New York, you probably hear nonstop about the fabulous Hamptons. Well, all I have to say is Mehh. Unless you’re looking for a scene or have a cool $5 million to drop on your own pad, you’re going to overpay for a mediocre experience, lots of traffic and pretentious people. Instead, I always recommend heading out to the North Fork of Long Island and visiting its wine country. Sure, the wine is no Sonoma but the ambiance is just as quaint and gorgeous.

The restaurants are adorable, affordable and the people are down to earth. Plus you can visit vineyards or even head out to the beaches. It’s absolutely gorgeous out here–one of my favorite places to go–winter or summer! And the seafood is fabulous too.

Here are a couple posts I wrote all about what to do in the North Fork and where to stay and play!

Couldn’t believe this was just a couple hours from the city!

6. Amsterdam

While Amsterdam may be every college male’s fantasy getaway with its loose marijuana laws and a booming Red Light District, the city has so much more to offer. You can cruise the canals, take a meandering bike tour through the city streets, learn about the Holocaust at the Anne Frank museum, explore Expressionism at the Van Gogh museum or just laze in the lovely Vondelpark. Amsterdam makes for a fabulous romantic getaway or even family vacation. For more ideas to fuel your summer vacation in Amsterdam check out my post about the best things to do for the perfect weekend in Amsterdam.

My top picks for where to stay if you’re looking for luxury goes in Amsterdam goes to The Toren (for boutique luxury) or The Intercontinental Amstel (for grand luxury). I loved both of these gems. Click either of the links above to see my comprehensive reviews.

7. Cleveland

Cleveland Rocks! And I don’t say that just because it’s where I grew up. Cleveland has turned into quite a fun town to visit. We of course have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but there are so many great places to visit. And as Iron Chef, Michael Simon’s home town, there is a quite a culinary revolution in motion too!

Here are my top ten things to do in Cleveland and the best food experiences to try in Cleveland.

8. London

The fab town of London doesn’t stay sunny too long so your best bet is to take a trip over the Pond to London in the summer if you hope to catch this jewel on one of its rarer sunshiney days. There is so much history in London, amazing shopping and an endless number of museums to visit. My favorite historical landmark is actually underground at the Churchill War Rooms. It’s so cool, definitely worth a visit for any history buff. Here are my top ten things tourists must do in London.

Or if you’re hoping not to take yourself too seriously, check out my guide to James Bond’s London–a collection of famous spots that you’ve always wanted to visit from some of your favorite films from here. Shaken, not stirred.

And if you’re looking for somewhere fabulous to stay, check out my review of the St. Pancras in London (it’s incredible).

9. South of France

The South of France is at its peak season during the summer. While there will inevitably be crowds, they’re all flocking there for a reason.

There are tons of cities to visit of course but some of my favorites are Aix-en-Provence, Cassis and Corsica–though of course this is really an island. You can’t go wrong though in any of these hot spots. It’s worth dealing with the occasional French snobbery.


10. Barcelona

Barcelona was one of those places I had been dying to get to for years and last summer I finally made it. I must say, it was everything I hoped it would be. Though I wish I had more time there–I could easily have stayed for another week–it gives me a reason to return. I don’t even know where to begin–the architecture, the food, the museums (Picasso’s museum was amazing), the Sagrada Familia? How can one go wrong? I wrote up a very complete guide for a quick trip to Barcelona–and you best believe I did my research. I spoke to numerous friends and bloggers about their recommendations and I compiled what I am convinced is the perfect weekend itinerary.

Where are your favorite summer vacation destinations? I’d love to hear! Leave me a comment! Merci and Bon Voyage wherever your summer travels may take you!

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