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Top Summer Destinations

20. Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs, California, got its resort town reputation from Hollywood stars like Elvis and Frank Sinatra and even the U.S. Vice President at the time, Charles Fairbanks. Over the years, however, that retro feel has kept some of the more trendy visitors away. What makes Palm Springs hot for 2018, though, is that the city has transformed from "old fashioned" to "vintage-chic." Enjoy the sun, take in a good spa session, and do it all in a place that looks like the set of Mad Men.

19. Barbados

Barbados has a split personality. This is the Caribbean after all, where everything runs at a laid-back pace and schedules fade into the background. But this island nation also maintains its love of stuffy British customs. Cricket is the sport of choice, and tea time is observed even after years of independence. That's what makes Barbados such an interesting place to visit. The Western side of the island is more crowded, with large resorts and famous guests, than the local feel of the Eastern coast. But, in 2018, more and more people are discovering the two sides of the island. Check out the Crop Over festival in August, Barbados' version of Carnival.

18. Asheville, NC

Artsy Asheville has the hippest scene south of the Mason-Dixon line. This North Carolina city is one of the breakout travel destinations of 2018, as visitors are discovering how the community has openly embraces the locally-sourced food and microbrewery movements. If you're looking to skip the major business chains and unleash your quirky side, head on over to the Blue Rige Mountains of Appalachia.

17. Jackson Hole, WY

This valley in the Tetons near the boarder of Wyoming and Idaho is an outdoorsman's paradise. Jackson, Wyoming, and the greater Jackson Hole are quickly becoming one of 2018's most popular vacation sites year-round: skiing in the winter; hiking in the summer. Jackson, Wyoming, is only a stone's throw from the Tetons, which itself is just south of Yellowstone National Park.

16. Memphis

You can't visit Memphis without a stroll down Beale Street. While some have complained that commercialization has moved the area away from the blues' true roots, there's no denying that Beale Street's success has sparked a redevelopment boom in downtown. Memphis in May is the biggest event, or you can catch a Redbird's game throughout the summer. don't forget about the amazing barbecue. It's the best in the country (but don't tell Kansas City we said that). 

15. The Florida Panhandle

Many tourists know of the Panhandle as a spring break destination, but the area's renewed interest on beefing up its hospitality economy. As such, more and more families are finding it to be the perfect spot for a family vacation: beautiful beaches without the huge crowds. Destin and Panama City are the big draws here, but look into Perdido Key, Navarre, or Seaside for more intimate getaways.

14. Cleveland

"Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!" Drew Carey told us this in the early 2000s, but people seemed to have forgotten along the way. Now, however, it seems that everyone is rediscovering Cleveland. From the impending Republican National Convention to Lebron's return, the city is back on the map. You might not realize it, but Cleveland is a cultural powerhouse with the second largest performing arts district in the nation (Playhouse Square), world class museums (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), as well as NBA, NFL, and MLB teams.

13. Okahoma City

This capital city is a new regional favorite and is sure to bring national tourists in the coming years. ou don't have to be a mason to enjoy the  Bricktown area. Downtown's former warehouse district has been converted into an entertainment hub of restaurants, bars, clubs, and sports venues. There is one ticket in town that is consistently difficult to get, however: the city's NBA team Oklahoma City Thunder.

12. Guadalupe Valley, Mexico

We're not saying it's possible to tire of Napa Valley, but if you want a change of scenery, try heading south of the border. Only a two-hour drive from San Diego, the Guadalupe Valley is poised to become Mexico's winemaking center. Rustic style is the name of the game here. Turning off the main thoroughfare (Route 3) can be a rocky journey, but with welcoming locals wishing to spread the word about the best-kept secret in the region, you're in for a one-of-a-kind experience.

(image via Tomascastelazo, CC)

11. Nashville

Nashville is at the confluence of two cultures, often seen as the Northernmost Southern city and the Southernmost Northern city simultaneously. Confused? Picture this. Nashville is a place where cowboys and hipsters comingle in harmony. Sound too goo to be true? Take a trip to find out for yourself. Whatever this recipe is, it's a combination that sure does seem to be working well.

10. Canada

America's northern neighbor is hosting the world's second biggest summer party. This year, Canada s hosting the Women's World Cup, and it's the perfect opportunity to discover some lesser-known Canadian gems. The eastern city of Moncton plays host to a few World Cup games. Check out the city's Magnetic Hill, an optical illusion where you can place your car in neutral and watch as it begins to roll "uphill." Let's just hope the Canadians don't get their feelings hurt after we lift the championship trophy. USA! USA! USA!

(image via Krazytea, CC)

9. Washington, D.C.

D.C. is the new "it" place to move and has seen a dramatic influx of twentysomethings, bringing with them new, hip hangouts. But Washington is still very much about the past and hasn't lost its sense of history. Visitors could spend hours and hours getting lost indoors inside museums, but one of the greatest aspects of the city is when you step outside to see the cherry blossoms in spring.

8. The Hudson Valley and the Catskills

Whether you're a true outdoorsman or just a city-dweller looking to recharge, the Catskills remain one of America's preeminent untouched wildernesses. Despite the influx of small boutiques and fine-dining spots, the Hudson Valley still allows visitors plenty of chances to unplug from the stresses of city life with its world-class trout fishing, 200 miles of hiking trails, and numerous hunting opportunities.

7. Port Antonio, Jamaica

The Caribbean is well-known for its laid-back attitude, but for visitors seeking under-the-radar destinations, quite Port Antonio is the perfect place. Much of Jamaica's tourism is concentrated on the western coast, but the fast-moving crowds disappear when visitors head east. There are definitely no chain restaurants here, and the friendly locals are overflowing with a willingness to share their culture. Try out some of the best deep-sea fishing around at this Jamaican port city.

6. Bourbon Country

 We're in an "Age of Whiskey," and what better way to celebrate than by visiting the home of the most American whiskey of all: bourbon? Similar to how the term "Champagne" can only be used for sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France, the term "bourbon" can only be used for American-produced whiskeys of at least 51% corn in new charred oak barrels. While you can debate whether or not there actually is a bourbon shortage, why not head to Kentucky and experience bourbon-making firsthand?

5. Denver

Denver's "mile-high" location puts the Rockies in the city's backyard. All of that mountain air must be good for the residents as Denver is consistently ranked as one of the fittest cities in the nation. If travelers don't wish to journey the few minutes outside of town for ample hiking opportunities, there are plenty of public parks and bike trails of which to take advantage. That's to say nothing of the new green tourism that has recently been added to the local economy.

4. Yosemite

Yosemite isn't necessarily "under-the-radar," seeing as how it's one of the most-visited national parks in the country, but with 1,200 square miles of land, there's plenty of activities in which to get lost. Your trip will need some careful planning, however. The summer months are extremely popular so don't be surprised if there are lines to get into the park on weekends. Skip the crowds by visiting during the week. Yosemite Falls, one of the park's geologic crown jewels, is usually bone-dry by August. Sorry late-summer travelers!

3. The Sea Islands of South Carolina

Savannah or Charleston are the traditional gateways to the Sea Islands. While interesting cities in their own right, they are also popular destination points. Heading outside of these popular cities, travelers can experience just how stuck-in-time the region really is. Beaufort, South Carolina, lies directly between Savannah and Charleston, and it has preserved a majority of the city's Antebellum architecture. It's not just Southern American culture that has been maintained, but also that of the Gullah people (descendants of formerly enslaved Africans brought to South Carolina and Georgia). Immerse yourself in their artwork, food, and creole-style language while taking in beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Europe

"Europe?" you say. How cliché, right? Wrong! In case you don't follow foreign exchange rates, the dollar and the euro are almost at parity. Currently, €1 is now around $1.09, compared to around $1.40 a year ago. That might not seem like much, but it sure adds up over the hundreds of dollars a plane ticket costs. Paris flights are a steal now, as is central European destinations. Check out Prague in the Czech Republic, often said to be the most beautiful city on the continent yet less visited than its Western neighbors. Norway is also another safe bet for those wanting to cash in on a Frozen-themed vacation.

1. The Presidio, San Francisco

At the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge lies the Presidio, a former military post that is now a designated historic landmark and part of the larger Golden Gate National Recreation Area. With wood trails, camping areas, and quaint inns, as well as the historic military buildings, The Presidio gives visitors the chance to experience the beauty of nature while simultaneously viewing the engineering marvels of man. Who knew the tech-savvy hub of San Francisco had so much variety to offer?

(image via ian_e_abbott, CC)