The Best Trips to Take During the Dog Days of Summer

Iceland Northern Lights
Iceland Northern Lights Arctic-Images / Getty Images

This summer, scores of Americans will head south, flocking to California’s beaches, Florida’s theme parks, and South Carolina’s golf courses.

All great places.

But when the temperature spikes, you need to do the exact opposite—go north.

For one, there’s the crowd-avoidance factor. Book a trip to Iceland in late August and you’ll find the island’s swimmable hot springs nearly deserted—and mercifully free of selfie-obsessed Instagrammers.

Likewise, while the Great Smoky Mountains clog with traffic in July and August, solitude abounds in Canada’s Grands-Jardins National Park.

Plus, few, if any, of your friends will be able to claim that they caught waves in, say, Tofino, British Columbia, one of the world’s least-expected surf spots, where wolves are known to roam the beach. What’s more, the farther north you travel, the longer the days become.

You can wander the boreal forests or paddle the cool rivers without feeling rushed by dwindling daylight and soak in the hours of evening.

But the chief reason to head north in the summer is the palpable sense that every day matters. In cities like Minneapolis or Vancouver, you’ll find the bikeways, pubs, and waterfronts populated with smiling folks who all know how good they have it.

After all, summer doesn’t last forever. Especially up here.

This article is part of our Summer School series, a comprehensive guide to acing the year’s best season.