Where to Travel in June
Looking for where to travel in June 2018? This month is a magical time to hit the road, when you can beat the school crowds to coastal hotspots and skip the sweltering summer city temps, all while celebrating outdoor festivals and scoring low-season deals. We've rounded up six of our favorite destinations to explore in June, from NYC and midcoast Maine to Telluride and London.
New York City, NY
NYC in June means parks turn into outdoor living spaces and restaurant dining rooms spill onto the sidewalk. The Hamptons exodus kicks off just before the European school holidays kick in, so there’s a noticeably slower pace in Manhattan at weekends. Add to this 15 hours of sunshine a day before the solstice and temps in the balmy high-70s, and you can understand why New Yorkers take to the streets. Join them for brunch, lunch, and dinner in sidewalk cafes, on back patios, or rooftops. We love the splurge-worthy feasts at Narcissa in the East Village, Italian fare with a view at Cecconi’s in Dumbo, the best people watching at Seamore’s in Nolita, and streetside dining at the modern Italian of-the-moment joint, Lilia in Williamsburg. By dusk, make it cocktails and bites at the new Broken Shaker on top of Gramercy’s Freehand Hotel or at Met Museum’s Cantor Roof Garden Bar, this year with an installation by Huma Bhabha. If possible, ditch the subway and walk or take the year-old New York NYC Ferry; the East River route takes you from Midtown East to Brooklyn’s DUMBO in under 40 minutes and on weekends includes a first or final stop at Governors Island. This former naval base is like downtown’s Central Park, with 170 acres of gardens, bike paths, and historic buildings, plus seasonal events like the prohibition-era style Jazz Age Lawn Party on June 16 and 17.
While Portland, Maine is a year-round urban favorite and inland Maine attracts leaf peepers each fall, midcoast Maine — between Portland and Acadia National Park — is a true summer destination. Peak season begins after July 4th, when restaurants book up, and summer rentals require two-week minimums, but June skirts the worst of the crowds and treats visitors to quieter hiking trails and easy island hopping. Start in the historic town of Camden overlooking Penobscot Bay, with its movie-set quaint Main Street and two top hotels, the Camden Harbour Inn and Lark Hotel’s Whitehall Inn. Foodies should book in advance for a seat at 30-seat Thai eatery, Long Grain, or head farther north while appealing to the restaurant gods for a cancellation at The Lost Kitchen. Here, in a converted water mill around 40 minutes north of Camden in rural Freedom, self-taught chef, and Freedom local, Erin French dishes up regionally-inspired New American fare to diners who applied by snail mail in their tens of thousands during the 10-day application process in early April. They’re not adding to the waitlist for 2018, so stay tuned for the 2019 reservations rules and have your stamps at the ready. Back on the coast, save time for a trip to beautiful Deer Isle off the Blue Hill Peninsula. You can drive directly onto the island via a 1,000-foot suspension bridge and explore the small village and famed Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, an artist’s retreat since 1961 and playground for architects. For an easy hike, drive an hour north to Bald Mountain, for a two-mile trek up to spectacular views of Rangeley Lake and Mount Washington.
San Juan Islands, Washington
Washington state’s San Juan Islands are best known for their 85 resident Orca whales, which can be seen year-round, but June marks peak whale watching season for spotting migrating species like Humpbacks, Minkes and Grey whales on bucket-list-worthy sea safaris. San Juan Excursions offers whale watching tours on a 65-foot motor yacht, while All Aboard Sailing organizes sailing excursions on a 42-foot sloop. Both depart from Friday Harbor on the main island of San Juan, but there are also whale watching outfitters on Orcas Island and Lopez Island. For overnight stays on San Juan, Lakedale Resort is a modern-rustic hideaway with a summer camp vibe and three lakes to explore, or Friday Harbor House has a more contemporary look, plus knockout views across the harbor and a favorite seafood-focused restaurant. All 172 of the San Juan Islands benefit from the so-called “rain shadow” provided by the nearby Olympic Mountains, meaning blue skies, sunshine and June highs in the low-70s, while the neighboring hub cities of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver are all blanketed in clouds. This sunny microclimate and the diverse terrain make the islands a playground for cyclists, with a relatively flat loop through the villages on Lopez Island, a more challenging 43-mile leg to circumnavigate San Juan Island or pro-level climbs on Orcas Island. Beyond the main islands, artsy Lummi Island offers a quieter side of the San Juans, home to more than 30 artists, the hiking-trail-laced Baker Preserve, and famous Willows Inn and Restaurant. Don’t miss the prix-fixe feast, with dishes like smoked fish filled donuts and elk tartare.
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Telluride may be best known as a winter destination, but the city puts on a spectacular display throughout the summer months. Think wildflowers that blanket portions of the San Juan Mountains, miles of hiking trails finally clear of snow (favorites include the loop to Bridal Veil Falls and the Blue Lakes trail near Ridgway), and a full roster of reopened restaurants. Plus, daily direct flights from Houston, Chicago, and Phoenix into Montrose Regional Airport (65 miles from Telluride) resume service from the first week of June, so getting to Telluride town or Mountain Village (connected by an always-free gondola) is hassle-free. But Telluride’s real June highlight is the annual Bluegrass Festival, now in its 45th year. From the solstice on June 21, the three-night fest is a celebration of all things alt-country and bluegrass, with headliners including Emmylou Harris, Sturgill Simpson and “Live From Here” with Chris Thile taking to the stage at Telluride Town Park, Elk Park and in smaller jam sessions across the box-canyon town. Attendees mostly camp, but there are plenty of hotel options in town, with favorites like the New Sheridan Inn and the Auberge Residences at Element 52.
Royal wedding fever may be over, but London still has plenty to attract visitors in June. Time your visit with a warm spell and you’ll see Londoners giddy with sun worship (and a very relaxed approach to working hours) outside Soho boozers like the Sun & 13 Cantons and the French House, or at one of the city’s ever-expanding list of rooftop bars. This summer season, Selfridge’s new alfresco bar is an all-Italian spot named alto by San Carlo; out east, Boundary Bar & Grill is still the sunny seat to snag in Shoreditch, while party-ready Pergola on the Roof in Paddington welcomes the post-work crowds with two bars and five restaurants. For music buffs, June is music festival month, with the Sounds Like London festival celebrating local musicians at events across the city, plus weekend festivals like Field Day, All Points East, and Meltdown attracting indie and EDM lovers from across Europe. For more grown-up excursions, there’s the Trooping the Colour parade for the Queen’s official birthday on June 9; access to 200 of the city’s normally locked gardens during Open Garden Squares Weekend from June 9 - 10; and Taste of London foodie festival in Regent’s Park from June 13 - 17.
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Finding a tropical escape in June means navigating the sweltering heat and monsoon season in South Asia, and the sky-high rates and start of hurricane season in Florida and the Caribbean. But Mauritius, a 720-square-mile isle in the Indian Ocean, is entering its dry winter season, so days are cooler (highs in the mid-70s) and clear. Hotel rates are also considerably lower than from October to March since Mauritius is considered a winter sun destination for European travelers. All flights from the US currently require a layover in a European or African hub, with Kenya Airways adding a direct flight from New York to Nairobi in October, as well as connections to Mauritius four times a week June to support the island’s growing popularity with US visitors. The island’s east coast is home to the most prized white-sand beaches and hotels, but winds can be fierce from June to August, so head to the calm waters on the west coast in June. Here, Sofitel Mauritius L’Imperial Resort & Spa is a favorite for its nine-acre, ocean-facing grounds. On the little-developed south coast, Shanti Maurice offers a luxurious enclave to never leave, with an Ayurvedic spa, 61 suites and villas, and a kids’ club. Most resorts provide non-motorized watersports, but nature lovers can get a fix in the highlands at Chamarel, famous for its seven shades of earth that swirl together like a watercolor painting, or at the 300-year-old Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, the oldest in the southern hemisphere.
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