JS Editors Reveal Where to Travel in July 2018
School’s out and summer Fridays are in. July is a busy travel month of long-weekend beach jaunts and bucket-list European adventures. Read on for where to travel in July 2018 according to JS editors.
Nikki has been writing about travel for more than a decade, covering everywhere from England to Russia to tiny Pacific Ocean archipelagos. Now with a junior Jetsetter in tow, she's all about upstate New York escapes and Euro city breaks. Nikki is a former Jetsetter senior editor and writes for Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, the Sunday Times Travel Magazine and more.
St. Barth’s, Caribbean
A top pick for where to travel in July 2018? St. Barth's. As a commune of France, the island celebrates Bastille Day on July 14 with brilliant fireworks displays and parties in the street. This year, the island will also be toasting its impressive rebound from the damage sustained by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Downtown Gustavia is newly spruced up with fresh lawns and planters, while hotels including the Manapany, Pearl Beach Hotel, and Villa Marie, as well as hotspot waterfront restaurants including Bonito and Nikki Beach Saint Barth, are back in business. The island’s most famous hotels (Eden Rock, Le Sereno, Guanahani and Le Toiny among them) are slated to reopen in 2019. Bastille Day is a National Holiday, so expect crowds of both locals and tourists camping out for long boozy picnics on the famed stretches of white sand at Gouverneur and Saline beaches, or in the restaurant- and bar-lined capital, Gustavia. And while there are fireworks displays across the 13-square-mile isle, the best show is over Gustavia Harbor. For a front-and-center view, book a hilltop villa overlooking the bay, or, even better, snag an invite to one of the megayachts anchored in the harbor. July is the start of the region’s hurricane season, so use the usual travel smarts of buying good travel insurance in advance, but ditch the rain jacket or boots — the occasional afternoon storms just signal the start of cocktail hour.
St. Petersburg, Russia
All eyes are on Russia for the World Cup this summer, and St. Petersburg in July is its own spectacle of summer concerts, sunbathing beside the Neva River, and staying up with the midnight sun as it just barely sets below the horizon. For music lovers, it’s also a treat of music festivals: The Stars of the White Nights runs from July 1 - 23 with daily live opera and classical music concerts performed at the city’s famed Mariinsky Theater. Or there’s the Palaces of St. Petersburg Music Festival when some of the city’s most beautiful former royal homes open their doors for rare concerts. The city’s main drag, Nevsky Prospekt, stays thronging with crowds late into the night, and the atmosphere is almost carnival-esque as Piter locals make the most of the long warm days before another winter season. Know that you should book online in advance for tickets to the Mariinsky shows and that many of the city’s cultural institutions shut down after July 23 and reopen for the fall season in October.
Shelter Island, Long Island
There’s no way to avoid the bumper-to-bumper crawl from NYC to the Hamptons each summer but once you arrive, add an extra buffer between you and the crowds by hopping the ferry from Sag Harbor to the (relative) calm of Shelter Island. Both literally and figuratively between Long Island’s North and South Forks, it has the slow pace, laid-back atmosphere, and traffic-free streets of the bucolic North Fork, but with a twenty-year-strong party scene (at the Sunset Beach hotel) and top lodging options (the Chequit Inn) that makes it appealing to Hamptons devotees. The Chequit Inn’s new restaurant, Red Maple, is attracting daytrippers for its New American fare and raw bar menu, as well as fun brunch options including Eggs Benedict prepared two ways. If you can, ditch the car and rent a bike from island institution, Piccozzi’s Bike Shop, be sure to explore the island’s best beaches, from family-friendly Wades Beach (easy parking and calm waters) and romantic Hay Beach (gorgeous views of Gardiner’s Bay) to sunset-ready Crescent Beach. The latter also plays host to the island’s 61st annual July 4th fireworks display, an extravaganza scheduled this year for Saturday, July 7th.
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From the last firework on July 4th to the first day back at school in September, Washington D.C. is a city ready to play. The Mall becomes the capital’s backyard, with festivals like the free Smithsonian Folklife Festival from July 4 - 8 putting the spotlight on the cultural traditions of Catalonia and Armenia. The Truckeroo Food Truck Festival brings food fans to the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood each Friday night from April to October, while baseball fans will celebrate the return of the MLB All-Star Game to the capital for the first time since 1969 during a week of festivities from July 13 - 17. On sweltering summer days, head inside to the city’s best museums and cultural attractions. The National Museum of African American History & Culture continues to be one of the most visited institutions in town, with timed-entry tickets available online in advance and walk-up tickets held from 1 p.m. on weekdays only. This summer’s special exhibition explores the ascent of Oprah Winfrey’s and her place in contemporary American culture. Or, for an alternative way to beat the heat, head to the rooftop bar of the newly revamped Watergate Hotel for a close-up dose of history and cocktails with a Potomac River view.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Yes, July is high season in Santa Fe, but it's with good reason: temperatures peak in the mid-80s by day and cool off at night, and the city explodes with music and art festivals throughout the month. Hotels book up, and restaurants get busy, but the likeminded summer crowds do nothing to detract from the buzz of Santa Fe in July. From July 12 - 16, ART Santa Fe displays international contemporary art in galleries and events spaces across the city, while the always-popular Spanish Market Festival is a two-day showcase of traditional Spanish crafts (woodcraft, weaving, jewelry and more) from July 28 - 29. Music buffs have their pick of festivals, from the full-month of events at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival starting on July 15 with the Orion String Quartet, or the Santa Fe Opera Festival Season, this year showcasing five different operas, including Madame Butterfly, in 36 open-air performances.
Valle Nevado, Chile
Fly far enough south in July and your summer travels become a winter escape. Case in point: Valle Nevado, Chile. One of South America’s top ski resorts, it’s just 90 minutes from the international airport in Santiago, but at 10,000 feet high into the Andes, has almost guaranteed snowfall from June to September, with high season coinciding with the school’s winter break during the second and third weeks of July. Go a shade earlier or enjoy the buzz of a busy ski town, or find your own quiet runs among the 2,200 skiable acres that only grow when combined with neighboring ski resorts. Best of all, rates are far lower than at ski resorts in North America in Europe (from $150 per day for lodging, meals and lift passes), and the non-stop southbound flight from multiple US hubs means that jetlag isn’t an issue. Save at least three days to explore the Chilean capital, a city on the rise since its 2010 earthquake. In hip Lastarria, the gorgeous Singular Santiago has a rooftop pool with views over the city’s rooftops, while the more low-key Luciano K Hotel is a handsome boutique hotel opposite the Parque Forestal.
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