10 Best Places to Travel in June

From shoulder season bargains to celebrations in the sun, kick off June with these destinations.

June means it’s officially summer somewhere—the Northern Hemisphere, to be exact. But vacation planning follows the Happy Hour rule (if it’s 5 p.m. somewhere, sneak in a snifter), so use it as an excuse to take the year’s headline trip this month.

For travelers who fancy celebrating Pride in a new country, eking out a few extra weeks of blossom-watching in the Midwest or indulging their inner MAMIL in a road race like no other in the mountainous heart of Europe, here are 10 appealing places around the world to travel to this June.

1. Mackinac Island, Michigan

June is great for: blossom-viewing beyond cherry season.

Lilacs have been planted on this island in Lake Huron for more than 200 years, although no one is sure how they ended up a staple of the forests. One theory is that a New Hampshire farmer brought them with him to remind him of home. Whatever first brought them here, thanks to the high pH level conferred on local soil by the underlying limestone, they’ve thrived and often reach heights of 40 feet. Today, there are more than 250 varieties on the almost four-square-mile island, all of them celebrated in a fiesta dating back to just after World War II; in 2023, it runs from June 9 to 18.

The 10-day event is Mackinac’s biggest bash; it crowns a Lilac Queen to preside over events while offering walking tours with lilac expert Jeff Young, live music, and a 10k run. The event peaks with the Lilac Festival Grand Parade on the afternoon of June 18, with horse-drawn wagons: This island remains proudly car free.

Where to stay

Arriving at the Grand Hotel is more like stepping into the cover of a classic romance novel than checking in at a hotel. The 388-room grande dame of the island kicked off its 136th season early last month.

How to get to Mackinac Island

Getting to Mackinac is half of the fun: There are no bridges, so every journey involves a boat unless one charters a puddle jumper from the local airstrip, but where’s the fun in that? Book a flight to either PLN (Pellston Regional Airport) or CIU (Chippewa County International), and take one of the regular shuttles to the ferry docks from either.

Palacio De Bellas Artes in Mexico City

Mexico City’s Zona Rosa is a neighborhood known for its gay community.

Photo by Ramiro Reyna Jr./Shutterstock

2. Mexico City, Mexico

June is great for: an alternative option for Pride month.

It’s Pride month in June, and one of the largest LGBTQ+ fests in Latin America takes place in Mexico’s capital; more than 1 million people are expected to attend—bested only by São Paulo in Brazil. The celebrations here have distinctly political roots and date back to the late 1970s, when radical queer groups began organizing for the first time; no wonder, then, that Mexico City was the first federal district in the country to legalize equal marriage 14 years ago.

The focus of the celebrations: Zona Rosa, or the Pink Zone, the subset of the Colonia Juarez district packed with bars and restaurants that’s considered the city’s most all-inclusive enclave year-round. Come for the long weekend, from June 23–25, to join the carousing—expect clubs like Kinky or Nicho Bears and Bar to be rowdy and fun for the entire span. On June 24, the Pride Parade starts in the morning at El Ángel de la Independencia, or the Angel of Independence victory column, snaking through the capital to climax at Zocalo, the main square where partying continues throughout the afternoon and evening.

Where to stay

Imagine a personal townhouse in the heart of the city—that’s La Valise, the three-suite boutique hotel that’s adding another eight rooms that open this month. Book the Terraza to roll the bed out onto the terrace to sleep under the stars.

How to get to Mexico City

Mexico City is Aeromexico’s hub, which means that the national airline—and its U.S. partner, Delta—offer frequent, nonstop routes stateside. Check Volaris, too, the Mexican low-cost carrier, which flies to and from Chicago and Los Angeles.

Sun shining over the horizon in Gstaad, Switzerland

Come June, Gstaad’s winter wonderland turns into a landscape of green hiking trails.

Photo by oetiker/Unsplash

3. Gstaad, Switzerland

June is great for: hiking among the hills that Heidi called home.

Sure, this tiny town in the Swiss Alps is packed with celebrities when the slopes are snowy: Everyone from Madonna to Princess Diana has been spotted there over the years. But it’s worth considering a visit out of season—and not just because climate change meant that last winter’s snow cover was spotty at best until mid-January.

Come here when it’s warm, and those slopes transform into green hiking trails. Try the easy, two-hour ridge trails, Rinderberg Panorama, or a stroll around the Lauenensee Lake. Come earlier to avoid the crowds, and don’t forget to pack a bathing suit for a chance to swim in the astonishingly clear waters. Glacier 3000, the high-speed cable car, is operating too, and whisks travelers to the peak of the namesake glacier (which should still be snow-capped in June). Just pack some cashmere for this wintry interlude.

Where to stay

The family-owned hotel helped establish this town as a jet-set getaway when it opened more than 100 years ago; it remains ground zero for glamour in 2023. Save some energy to party in the throwbackish 1970s-style GreenGo nightclub here.

How to get there

The best international hub for Gstaad is Zurich, served by Swiss from MIA, ORD, LAX, and JFK nonstop. From there, it’s a picturesque three-hour train ride on one of Switzerland’s famously slick trains.

Boat and rainbow over Niagara Falls, New York, USA

Every second, more than 3,000 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls.

Photo by rodtcs/Unsplash

4. Niagara Falls, New York

June is great for: exploring America’s all-natural wonder of the world with fresh eyes.

The jaw-dropping magnificence of this natural wonder straddling the border of the United States and Canada is unarguable, and the power of the water thundering down the cliffs is an unforgettable experience. Standing in front of the misty spray amid the noise, it’s easy to understand why this is the oldest state park in the USA, dating back to the 1880s.

This month introduces a new, $46 million, 28,000 square-foot Welcome Center, which will offer an immersive, cutting-edge introduction to many aspects surrounding the falls. It will explore everything from the geology of these cataracts to the industrial heritage of the region as well as the Indigenous peoples who lived here long before Europeans; indeed, the name Niagara is likely a corruption of the Iroquoian word, onguiaahra, or “thundering noise.” Even better, note its future-minded architecture, fitting for a natural park and hopefully a template for future construction elsewhere: cisterns will capture rainwater to irrigate plantings, and there are photovoltaic panels on the roof to allow it to be an all-electric development.

Where to stay

The pleasingly affordable boutique hotel was gut-renovated two years ago to create spacious, clean-lined rooms right in the center of downtown.

How to get there

Buffalo-Niagara airport (BUF) has service on the three major carriers to various cities, including PHL, DFW, and MSP.

Le Mans / France - June 15-16 2019: 24 hours of Le Mans, Start of race Road to Le Mans Race opening of the 24 hours of Le Mans - France

The race in Le Mans, France is the world’s oldest active endurance racing event.

Photo by Frolphy/Shutterstock

5. Le Mans, France

June is great for: speed demons and the travelers who love them.

Is anywhere more synonymous with speed than Le Mans? This city in northwestern France will hold its renowned endurance race this month, June 10–11. It’s the oldest active sports car race in its niche, operating continually since 1923 (making this its centenary). It’s strange to remember, then, that this race was initially staged as a PR stunt, intending to bolster the profile of the auto industry when in its infancy. Still, the whiff of glamour it evoked quickly turned it from a one-off to an enduring staple of racing to petrolheads anywhere.

The gist of Le Mans is simple: Think of it as the rally world’s answer to an ultra-marathon. Drivers are tasked with covering as much terrain as they can in 24 hours, with cars hitting speeds of more than 220 mph to rack up the maximum distance. It’s encouraged manufacturers to trial new technologies, whether aimed at minimizing drag or turbocharging horsepower; hydrogen-powered prototypes will soon be allowed to compete. For those who come to watch, the racetrack here is well equipped with diversions when the hours of driving grow wearisome, including a free museum and a Ferris wheel that offers impressive views over the complex.

Where to stay

A grand neoclassical mansion, built in 1760 for a French nobleman, opened as this hotel three years ago, with just 17 rooms ranged through its 45,000 square feet—go on, we won’t judge travelers for indulging their inner Marie Antoinette.

How to get to Le Mans

Sneak in a cheaper, comfier ride on La Compagnie, which offers all-biz flights for barely more than premium economy on most rivals—it connects EWR with ORY daily. From Paris, it’s a 2.5-hour train ride southwest to Le Mans.

The sanctuary of truth on the seashore in Pattaya, Thailand.

Shoulder season is the ideal time to experience Pattaya, Thailand without the crowds.

Photo by chuyuss/Shutterstock

6. Pattaya, Thailand

June is great for: a shoulder season bargain for southeast Asia.

It’s the green season here in Thailand, when rains thunder down in bursts until the end of October. It isn’t wet 24/7, though—usually, rains last for a couple of hours daily, max. It makes it a smart time to affordably explore this Southeast Asian nation.

Come to Chiang Mai, for example: The landscape here will burst into life, green and lush, and the rice paddies will be packed with farmers readying their sprouts for the season. The beach communities south of Bangkok are appealing, too: There’s a jazz festival this month on the waters in Hua Hin—the late King was a passionate sax player who ginned up his own jazz compositions in his spare time. Nearby Pattaya, usually overrun with visitors in peak season, is more soothing now, its rhythms gentler and its restaurants and bars less jam packed.

Where to stay

The year-old property from Hyatt-owned boutique hotelier Andaz has 206 rooms on its own jungle-like grounds adjoining Tawanron Beach, a quieter hideaway from many of the more raucous resort spots nearby.

How to get to Pattaya

Thai Airways isn’t licensed to land in the United States currently, which makes getting there more inconvenient than it should be. Try one of the Middle Eastern carriers, like Qatar or Emirates, which fly to Thailand from countless gateways stateside, handily breaking the journey en route.

Grassy mountainside in Telluride, Colorado

June brings the 50th Annual Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, Colorado.

Photo by kylecesmat/Unsplash

7. Telluride, Colorado

June is great for: blues amid the greens of Colorado’s rockiest ranges.

Much like Gstaad, it’s easy to assume that there’s no reason to hit this Colorado Gold Rush–era mountain town out of season, but that’s a rookie mistake. Come summer, it’s just as worth visiting, if not more so, thanks to its slow-paced, countrified vibe. Nothing embodies that better than this month’s 50th Annual Bluegrass Festival, a four-day event running June 15–18.

One-day tickets start at $120, to see a lineup that this year includes Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Robert Plant, and Mary Chapin Carpenter among others—a sign that organizers are open-minded enough to allow performers from other genres stage-space alongside classic bluegrass names. There are free workshops, too, in Elks Park, where emerging musicians take the stage, while NightGrass offers after-hours programming.

Where to stay

This ultra-luxe, 83-room hotel, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, is located in the dramatic heart of the San Juan Mountains in the state’s southwest—ideal for ski-in/ski-out in winter, of course, but offering superb views of the 14,000-foot peaks year round.

How to get to Telluride

United operates nonstops from New York, Houston, and Chicago; there’s a direct flight on American from Dallas, too.

Elephant coming out of a pool of water in Botswana.

Catch safari favorites like elephants this summer on a visit to Botswana.

Photo by michaelbennett/Unsplash

8. Botswana

June is great for: dry season safari in a pioneering low-impact destination.

It’s dry season in sub-Saharan Africa, with temperatures comfily hovering between mid-70s and mid-90s in Botswana. When conditions are arid like this, animals are drawn to whatever water remains, making Big Five–spotting easier than in the green season, which coincides with the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.

Botswana was a pioneer of high-end, low-density tourism, combining this sustainable approach with a stringent anti-poaching program. As a result, a rich assortment of wildlife fills its parks today. Even though this is dry season, the water level in the Okavango Delta is at its highest—that’s because it takes several months for the rains that drench Angola’s highlands in the wet season to trickle down and pool here on the plains. This means travelers can experience both water and land safaris at their best in a single destination.

One prime tip: Avoid motor boating on the waterways and instead opt for a mokoro or traditional canoe, a punt-like vessel that allows passengers to drift in near silence through the reeds, spotting jewel-colored insects, easily startled birds, and beautiful plants up close.

Where to stay

This Wilderness-operated camp in the Delta sits right on a huge floodplain, making sorties easy; sit for sundowners on the wooden jetty that juts out into the waters.

How to get there

Johannesburg in South Africa has long acted as the de facto hub for the region; United flies there nonstop from EWR, as does Delta from ATL. Connect from there on intra-African flights, including to Maun, Botswana’s capital. Most safari camps will then require a puddle jumper journey from there.

People on a beach in Roatan, Honduras

Celebrate your way through Roatan, Honduras this June.

Photo by ellyfilho/Unsplash

9. Roatan, Honduras

June is great for: an unexpected adventure on one of the Caribbean’s overlooked islands.

The 48-mile-long Honduran island, where English is widely spoken, has a roster of festivals lined up all month. Try the Choro festival, which celebrates a popular mushroom, and is centered in the city of La Esperanza, home to one of the largest Indigenous groups in the country, the Lencas. Expect local handicrafts and food stalls (don’t miss a quick trip to the hilltop grotto here for spectacular views across the landscape). The Tela festival is centered on the beachfront town that’s the heart of the island’s Afro-Caribbean Garifuna community, but the standout and most surreal is the Rain of Fish Festival in Yoro.

At least once a year, an intense storm leaves the region covered with tiny silver colored fish; villagers will then gather them in buckets to eat as part of the festivities. The phenomenon remains wholly unexplained: Believers treat it as a gift from God, inspired by a missionary’s pleas in the 1800s, while others posit the fish live in underground streams that overflow then strand them on the surface. Whether you’re a believer or a cynic, the torrent of fish is a reminder that it can be wet this month; pack a raincoat.

Where to stay

U.S. boutique operator Kimpton will debut its reimagining of one of the island’s toniest spots this month, bolstering the room count to 126 and featuring amenities like a glass-fronted pool by its rooftop bar.

How to get there

Roatan’s island airport, RTB, has direct international flights from ATL, HOU, and MIA on several carriers, including Delta and American.

Tourist cycling in Cortina d'Ampezzo, rocky mountains on the background. Woman riding MTB enduro flow trail. South Tyrol province of Italy, Dolomites.

South Tyrol is a haven for cyclists—both professional and amateur—in June.

Photo by gorillaimages/Shutterstock

10. South Tyrol, Italy

June is great for: Lycra, linguine, and lots of hilltop selfies.

The middle-aged man in Lycra (MAMIL) has taken over the country’s quieter roads, ready to race in his carbon-fiber bike whatever the weather. For those who do—or just keen cyclists with a sense of history—head to South Tyrol (also known as Bolzano in Italian).

On June 24, the roads where the Giro d’Italia and Maratona dles Dolomites take place (respectively, throughout May and in the first week of July) are open to amateur cyclists of any skillset to take a spin round the route. The noncompetitive event sees the roads between Alta Badia and the Veneto fenced off from traffic to allow safe cycling for everyone. Tackle this 32-mile, circular route today and pass sights like the mountain village of San Cassiano and the church of Santa Caterina, as well as travel through three Dolomite mountain passes: the Campolongo, Falzarego and Valparola—views from the Falzarego are particularly noteworthy, and the gentle incline makes cycling easy for most riders. Even better, joining the convoy is free and there’s no need to register.

Where to stay

The chic modernist chalet-style hotel in Alta Badia has a bike store and rental operation right there and a secret weapon in its on-site cycling guru Klaus Irsara.

How to get there

This corner of Italy isn’t readily accessed from a single international hub—consider either the Delta flight from New York to Venice, before renting a car, or head to Munich in Germany on Lufthansa from Newark.

British-born, New York–based Mark Ellwood has lived out of a suitcase for most of his life. He is editor-at-large for luxury bible Robb Report and columnist for Bloomberg Luxury. Recent stories have led him to hang out with China’s trendsetters in Chengdu and learn fireside raps from cowboy poets in Wyoming.
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