Many European cities claim to be the “Venice of the North,” but Amsterdam has the most impressive resume. Ringed by canals and teeming with charming old-fashioned bicycles, it has a restrained beauty all its own. Indoors, the city houses some of the world’s greatest art at the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.
DON’T MISS: Vondelpark. Much of Amsterdam’s beauty is on or inside buildings, but members should take some time to stroll through this 120-acre oasis and take in the ornamental lakes, rose garden, and a teahouse that’s also a national monument.
Cancun is more commonly associated with spring break, but the fun doesn’t stop in summer. Miles of white sand and beach resorts stretch out into the sea atop a reef, hosting visitors eager to catch some rays or dive into the warm waters.
DON’T MISS: The Museo Maya de Cancun. Take a break from relaxing on the beach to learn about the Maya, the native inhabitants of the Yucatan Peninsula, and explore hundreds of ancient Mayan artifacts.
READY TO EXPLORE CANCUN?
AAA members can book the Treasures of the Yucatan tour with exclusive AAA benefits, such as VIP entry at many of the sites and hand-picked insider experiences.
While it’s a bustling metropolis today, Calgary is a town that revels in its Albertan prairie roots. Much has changed since the city was founded by the forerunners of the famous Mounties, but it hasn’t lost its nickname: Cowtown. Visitors can plan their own perfect mix of time in the city and in the surrounding environs.
DON’T MISS: The Calgary Stampede. The 10-day event, which takes place July 6-15 in 2018, is a defining part of Alberta. It features chuck wagon races, bull riding, fireworks, parades, and a huge music festival celebrating all things Western.
READY TO EXPLORE CALGARY?
AAA members can book Canadian tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the 10-day Wonders of the Canadian Rockies trip, which begins in Calgary.
This beach region is home to dozens of high-end resorts that draw millions of tourists each year, all looking to get their share of sun, surf, fishing, high-speed boating, and many other ocean-themed activities. For landlubbers, there is also an array of golf courses and sightseeing tours.
DON’T MISS: Isla Saona. Boats bring visitors to this idyllic island off the coast to marvel at its pristine shores and abundant wildlife. Covered in palm trees, the island epitomizes the “desert island” motif so common in film and television.
READY TO EXPLORE PUNTA CANA?
AAA members can book their own custom Dominican tour package, including Punta Cana, with AAA Vacations® amenities such as 24/7 Member Care2 and our Best Price Guarantee.3
This former Spanish colony has become Jamaica’s go-to destination for cruise travelers, and it has all the amenities members would expect from a premier Caribbean vacation spot, including sunny skies, great beaches, fine dining, snorkeling, and golf courses.
DON’T MISS: Montego Bay Marine Park. Members can journey beneath the waves for a look at Jamaica’s indigenous coral reefs and colorful fish, as well as its ecologically crucial, but threatened, saltwater mangrove forests.
READY TO EXPLORE MONTEGO BAY?
AAA members can book their own custom Jamaican tour package, including Montego Bay, with AAA Vacations® amenities such as 24/7 Member Care2 and our Best Price Guarantee.3
Perhaps no city stands taller in the travel landscape than the City of Light, home of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame. Many dream of traveling to this nexus of culture, and millions do every year, strolling down the Champs-Élysées, taking in galleries at dozens of museums, and cruising along the Seine.
DON’T MISS: The Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie. The biggest science museum in all of Europe, it features exhibitions for all ages. That includes the Argonaute, a retired French attack submarine whose interior guests can explore.
The home of Big Ben and iconic red double-decker buses, London is currently AAA’s third most popular European destination, down a bit from first in 2015 and runner-up in 2016. But between the convenience of English, the ease of movement on the city’s famous Tube, and a wealth of things to do, there may be no easier destination to visit in Europe.
DON’T MISS: Shakespeare’s Globe. At this reproduction of the original Globe Theatre, which burned down in 1613, members can experience how Shakespeare’s plays originally used only natural acoustics and sunlight to captivate an audience.
READY TO EXPLORE LONDON?
AAA members can book U.K. tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the six-day Spotlight on London trip, which includes visits to Westminster Abbey and the University of Oxford.
The Emerald Isle’s largest city is no slouch in the sightseeing department. Members can tour Dublin Castle, whose history stretches back to the Celts, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland. The birthplace of writers Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, it’s the center of Irish culture past and present.
DON’T MISS: The Book of Kells. Take a trip to beautiful Trinity College Dublin (the campus is worth a visit in itself) to learn about this lavishly decorated Gospel manuscript. The exhibit features enlargements of the vivid illustrations in the book, which is believed to be around 1,200 years old.
One of Canada’s most diverse cities, this metropolis by the sea is unique for its urban core surrounded by pristine mountains and forests. Visitors come for the many parks and gardens, as well as to experience the cultures of Canada’s indigenous First Nations peoples and the city’s many generations of immigrants.
DON’T MISS: Stanley Park. This 1,000-acre public space features dense forest surrounded by a walkable and bikeable seawall. Popular with tourists and locals alike, it includes an aquarium, a lighthouse, and a miniature railroad.
READY TO EXPLORE VANCOUVER?
AAA members can book Canadian tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the 12-day Panoramic Canadian Rockies trip, which concludes with a visit to Vancouver.
Visions of the Colosseum rightly accompany any mention of this year’s top international summer destination, but there’s plenty else to do there, from visiting massive St. Peter’s Square and its Basilica in Vatican City, to marveling at Michelangelo’s Renaissance masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
DON’T MISS: The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola. There are many beautiful fountains celebrating the aqueducts that made ancient Rome possible, but this one’s location on the Janiculum Hill provides sweeping views of the city.
Founded by Mormons in 1847, Salt Lake City—today the cultural, ecclesiastical, and political capital of Utah—lies in a spectacular setting at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, with the Great Salt Lake visible to the northwest and the Great Salt Lake Desert to the west. The city is a launching pad to recreation and sightseeing around the state, but it also has plenty of its own attractions.
DON’T MISS: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The world-renowned choir offers free weekly performances at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, where the group has performed for more than a century.
READY TO EXPLORE SALT LAKE CITY?
AAA members can book tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the 10-day Western Frontiers trip, which includes visits to Salt Lake City's famed Temple Square and premier dining at Roof Restaurant.
The walkable heart of New England has something for everyone. For American history buffs, there's the Freedom Trail, which passes by more than a dozen important revolution-era landmarks, including Faneuil Hall and Paul Revere's house. For the academically inclined, campus tours of Harvard, MIT, and many more beckon. For nature lovers, there's the Emerald Necklace, Boston's system of urban green space that leads to the Public Garden.
DON’T MISS: The Old State House. This stop on the Freedom Trail retraces the path to independence, including the Boston Massacre, which took place right outside.
READY TO EXPLORE BOSTON?
AAA members can book tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the eight-day Colors of New England trip, which includes a two-night stay in Boston and visits famed locations like Beacon Hill and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
This oasis in the desert doesn’t shy away from its identity as a gaudy shrine to all things escapist, which explains why it welcomes so many visitors from around the world. Gambling is still one of the main draws, but fine dining and stage shows have stolen some of the spotlight in recent years.
DON’T MISS: The Pinball Hall of Fame. Unlike the slots, members can know exactly what they’re getting when they put their quarters in the machines at this museum just off the Strip. Dozens of tables are available to play, from simple vintage models to more elaborate modern marvels.
Alaska's second-biggest city is just a day's drive from the Arctic Circle, but what it lacks in heat, Fairbanks makes up by taking "fun in the sun" to the extreme. For 70 days from mid-May to late July, the sun never sets. Day or "night," it's always a good time to hike one of the many nearby parks, canoe on the Chena River, play a round of golf, or explore downtown.
DON’T MISS: The Aurora Ice Museum. Located at Chena Hot Springs Resort, the museum's interior is almost entirely made of ice. Visitors can see impressive ice sculptures, relax with a drink in an ice-carved glass at an ice-carved bar, and try their hand at a two-hour ice carving class.
READY TO EXPLORE FAIRBANKS?
AAA members can book tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the eight-day Trailblazer trip, which begins with two nights in Fairbanks and a visit to Denali National Park.
Hawai‘i sets the American standard for island getaways, and Maui has a little of everything. Ready to hit the beach? Ka‘anapali is one of the best. Looking for rainforest and waterfalls? Drive the scenic Hana Highway. Or maybe a volcano’s more your style? Watch the sun rise from the summit of Haleakala.
DON’T MISS: Maui Pineapple Tours in Hali‘imaile. Members can take a break from hiking and driving to tour a pineapple plantation. See how the fruit is planted, harvested, and processed, and then taste different varieties right from the field.
READY TO EXPLORE MAUI?
AAA members can book tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the nine-day Luxurious Hawaiian Escape trip, which includes three days on Maui.
An entertainment hub synonymous with palm trees and blue skies, this city has earned a reputation for persistently perfect weather. That makes it an ideal getaway for visitors hoping to see Hollywood, miles of beaches, museums, the nearby mountains, Beverly Hills, and the rest of the City of Angels. (Not to mention Disneyland in nearby Anaheim.)
DON’T MISS: The Griffith Observatory. Renovated in 2006, this L.A. landmark is home to extensive astronomy exhibits and stunning views of the city, especially at sunset. Best of all, admission is free.
READY TO EXPLORE LOS ANGELES?
AAA members can book tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the nine-day Best of California trip, which concludes with two days in Los Angeles and visits the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Santa Monica Pier.
Seattle sheds its rainy reputation for most days during the summer, instead featuring clear skies, lots of sun, and low humidity. Visitors can take in the city’s beautiful urban green spaces, enjoy the salmon-flinging antics of Pike Place Market, or sip a latte in the hometown of Starbucks.
DON’T MISS: The Ballard Locks. This century-old landmark separates saltwater Puget Sound from freshwater Lake Washington. Visitors can watch migrating salmon ascend the fish ladder in the summer, and see boats coming and going year-round.
READY TO EXPLORE SEATTLE?
AAA members can book tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the nine-day Pacific Northwest & the San Juan Islands trip, which begins and ends in Seattle and includes visits to Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square.
Anchorage isn’t a household name for summer vacations, but thanks to the nearby mountains and ocean, Alaska’s biggest city is balmy enough in summer for a pleasant stay. Visitors can drive the scenic Seward and Glenn highways, hike Denali National Park and Preserve, or kayak on the Matanuska River.
DON’T MISS: Earthquake Park. In 1964, the strongest quake ever recorded in North America destroyed a 134-acre section of the city. The land was turned into a park, where today members can learn about the disaster, take in great views of the mountains, and maybe even see a moose.
READY TO EXPLORE ANCHORAGE?
AAA members can book tour packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the 13-day Alaska and the Yukon trip, which begins and ends in Anchorage and includes a cruise of Prince William Sound.
Honolulu, on the island of O‘ahu, is the gateway to the magic of Hawai‘i. Whether it’s learning to surf off Waikiki Beach, digging into kalua pork at an authentic luau, or seeing history firsthand at Pearl Harbor, this city is always worth the trip.
DON’T MISS: Diamond Head State Monument. Hikers can climb this volcanic formation for a splendid view of Waikiki and the ocean. Members planning to walk the brief but moderately tough trail should bring water and expect to get sweaty.
The home of Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld Orlando, and a slew of other attractions tops our list. Anything members can imagine doing is here somewhere, from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, to Cirque du Soleil, to a dizzying array of shopping and dining options.
DON’T MISS: Lake Eola Park. Take a breather from the theme parks and other attractions with a stroll around this downtown oasis. Visit at night to see the lake’s fountain lit up in dazzling colors.
READY TO EXPLORE ORLANDO?
AAA members can book Universal Orlando Resort vacation packages with exclusive AAA benefits, such as the AAA Splash Stay and Play Vacation Package, which includes admission to all three parks at Universal Orlando.
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1"Summer Travelers Seek Fun in the Sun,” May 1, 2018. Top destinations based on AAA bookings for travel June 1 through August 15, 2018.
224/7 Member Care is provided by Allianz Global Assistance, AAA’s preferred travel insurance provider. 24/7 Member Care is not travel insurance.
3If you make a booking with us for a qualifying cruise or tour vacation designated as a AAA Vacations® (a “Qualifying AAA Vacations”), and you find a Valid Better Rate for the exact same itinerary within 24 hours of your booking, AAA Vacations will match the lower rate and send you a $50 AAA Vacations Future Travel Credit Certificate (limit one certificate per booking). For complete terms and conditions for the AAA Vacations Best Price Guarantee, contact your local AAA branch or visit AAA.com/Bestprice. A Valid Better Rate is a lower rate offered by a North American IATA/ARC registered business that satisfies the requirements of the Terms and Conditions as determined by AAA Vacations in its sole discretion.
Information provided by 2016 Hawai‘i AAA TourBook guide; 2016 Nevada AAA TourBook guide; 2016 Southern California AAA TourBook guide; 2016 Washington AAA TourBook guide; 2016 Western Canada & Alaska TourBook guide; Fairbanks, Alaska AAA Travel Guide; Boston, Massachusetts AAA Travel Guide; and Salt Lake City, Utah AAA Travel Guide.
Family vacations are a priority for millions of Americans. Discover additional travel trends for this year.
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