Can’t Take the Summer Heat? Escape to These 9 Cool and Delicious Destinations

These far-flung places are sunny, but they're refreshingly far from sweltering
Escape the Summer Heat
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Escape the Summer Heat

Can’t Take the Summer Heat? Escape to These 9 Cool and Delicious Destinations

Can’t Take the Summer Heat? Escape to These 9 Cool and Delicious Destinations
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While summer is an amazing time, filled with cookouts and barbecues, sometimes it’s nice to escape the sweltering heat that makes you laconic all season long. You don’t necessarily have to go to the Tropic of Capricorn to do so, though that part of the world does provide a good number of tempting vacation options. Say goodbye to your handheld fan for a few days (or weeks) and head to these nine cool-weather destinations, where the sun is more pleasant than overwhelming.

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska
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You don’t have to travel all the way to Russia for white nights. At this time of the year, not only are the average highs in Anchorage in the mid-60s, but days include 18 hours of sunlight. Get some cupcakes at Midnight Sun Cakery, which we voted as a place to find the best cupcakes in America, and enjoy them outdoors. Try one of seven different kinds of eggs Benedicts at Snow City Café, eat pizza at Moose’s Tooth Pub (one of our best pizzas in America), get your coffee fix at SteamDot, and you should probably go salmon fishing, as this is the season for it.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh
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The festivals alone, including the world-famous Fringe festival, is enough reason to go to the Scottish city at this time of the year. While summer is the most popular season for tourists, the inexpensiveness of food, drink, and other activities in Edinburgh make up for it. Get a taste of the local food movement at the Edinburgh Larder, feast on Scottish hog roast at Oink, and drink one of 200 whiskies at The Devil’s Advocate

Helsinki

Helsinki
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When you think of beaches, Finland probably doesn’t spring to mind, but there are many ferries that can pick you up in Helsinki and take you to a beach on one of the neighboring islands. The weather won’t be too hot, and you can witness the midnight sun, when the sun can be seen at midnight in areas near the Arctic or Antarctic Circle. Better yet, indulge in muikku, pan-fried Finnish vendace (a freshwater whitefish) that you eat whole; they are sold all over Market Square at Helsinki’s South Harbor. Enjoy classic Finnish cuisine at Konstan Möljä, a nautical-themed restaurant, and cardamom-laced blueberry pie at Vanha Kauppahalli, the old market hall. Feeling fancy? Eat at Grotesk, which we voted one of the best restaurants in Europe.

Lima

Lima
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Not only is Peru’s dry season the best, less mosquito-filled time to trek the Inca Trail to see Machu Picchu, the cool-feeling 70 degree weather is perfect for eating your way through the country’s capital. Central Restaurant was named one of the best restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean, and delicious snacks like cancha (salty corn kernels) and doña pepa (sprinkle-covered chocolate cookies) can be found pretty much anywhere. If you decide to see the country and find yourself in Cusco, eat ceviche and alpaca skewers and drink some pisco at Limo.

Mexico City

Mexico City
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The high altitude of Mexico City, which is about 7,000 feet above sea level, results in mild temperatures year-round. Need we even talk about the amazing street food in Mexico City? If you have the opportunity to cook in a kitchen, check out our guide for shopping like a local in the Mexican capital. Eat at Mexico’s best restaurant, Pujol. MeroToro is a must-visit, as is Biko; all these restaurants made  our list of the best restaurants in Mexico. Gluten-free travelers can rejoice, as Mexico City is one of the best cities in the world for gluten-free travelers

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia
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Summer temperatures in Nova Scotia range from the mid-50s to low 70s, and there is plenty of sunlight throughout the region. You could choose one city, like Halifax, but we recommend taking a road trip along the Atlantic coast of Canada. You can taste regional specialties like rappie pie, mashed potatoes with meat or seafood broth, at Évelina's in Little Brook, and you’ll want to try Nova Scotian sea urchins, which won't taste the same in a few years.

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
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Winter in Rio means 75 degree weather at the most, and though it is not peak season, fewer rain showers and less fog mean this is still a popular time to visit. You can eat much of the city’s best street food outdoors, or enjoy fulfilling meals at Esplanada Grill and Bar do Mineiro, which made our list of the 101 Best Restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean. Botequins are casual restaurants that originated in Brazil in the late nineteenth century as a place where Portuguese immigrants could unwind, meet, and share petiscos (tapas-style plates). Make sure to eat at one of the 10 Best Botequins in Rio. You also want to see this magical city before Olympics madness hits it in 2016.

San Francisco

San Francisco
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Sunny California? Not so much in temperate San Francisco. While there is definitely sun, the summer is characterized by fog, which some call the city’s “natural air conditioner.” But that shouldn’t stop you from sampling all the amazing food available in one of America’s best culinary destinations. Get something to-go at one of San Francisco’s 12 Best Food Trucks and take it to Mission Dolores Park, which happens to be one of the best parks in the world for picnicking.  

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Tanzania
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The Tanzanian winter, or dry season, is not only the best time to go on safaris in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater — when you can follow the wildebeest migration — but also one of the best times to visit the beaches in Zanzibar. Expect clear skies and sun, but don’t worry about sunburns, as the weather is mild, with highs of 75 degrees. Eat in the middle of a pristine sea at the Rock Restaurant, which has exceptional architecture, and make sure to try a few of Zanzibar’s beloved coconut dishes. While no major attack has taken place in Tanzania since 1998, please exercise caution and obey safety procedures as suggested by the U.S. government.