July is like the Cheesecake Factory menu of travel months. Everything just looks big and bright and delicious, and you’ll make the poor waiter come back four times because the options are just so overwhelming. While we can’t help you decide between the Factory Burrito and Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta, we can offer you up our picks for the best places to travel in July.
Whether you’re looking enjoy July 4th fireworks somewhere beautiful, catch a baseball game, or finally spot that solar eclipse, we’ve got your July travel plans covered. So sit back, get a refill on your Diet Coke, and check out the best places to travel this July.
If you believe in huge government hoaxes, Houston is THE place to be in July as the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of the quote-unquote “moon landing.” The entire month will be one big celebration of Neil Armstrong’s famous walk, kicking off with the July 4th Freedom Over Texas festival, featuring Jake Owen and Kellie Pickler.
July 16-24, Space Center Houston will have special pop-up Apollo science labs, mission briefings, and NASA tram tours of Mission Control. You’ll also have opportunities to lunch with mission controllers and flight directory from the Apollo era, plus an all-day festival on July 20 to commemorate the anniversary with real Apollo astronauts.
July weather in Cleveland is as good as it gets, when you can take a boat out on Lake Erie, shoot off on a day trip to Cedar Point, or lazily enjoy dinner in one of America’s best food streets on E 4th Street. This year, The Land will be especially exciting as its hosts the Major League Baseball All-Star game on July 9.
In addition to the usual festivities, like the Home Run Derby and Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, Cleveland will host the first-ever Play Ball Park. MLB is calling it the world’s largest baseball festival, where fans can peruse artifacts from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, meet former players, try their hand at VR Home Run Derby and preview the new Jackie Robinson Museum. It’ll also have live music and dozens of local food trucks, so you can taste the city without leaving downtown.
The Galapagos Islands
Not huge into tortoises? We get it. But the Galapagos has a lot more than just looking at turtles. Diving is a huge attraction here, and July brings some of the best dives of the year with the arrival of the Humboldt Current. No, this is not a magic water flow that brings the “good stuff” from NorCal. It’s a current that runs from the Antarctic along the west coast of South America, with all kinds of cold-water marine life the islands don’t see the rest of the year.
Original Diving offers custom-built dive itineraries that’ll have you swimming with everything from whale sharks to hammerheads at the islands’ most famous sites like Gordon Rocks and Darwin’s Arch.
Mt. Fuji, Japan
Haven’t jumped on the Japan bandwagon yet? Maybe you’re just saving the best for last, since when you climb Mt. Fuji in July you’ll have waaaay better pictures than your friend who spend six hours in the Cat Café. The peak climbing season for Japan’s tallest mountain falls this month, offering the friendliest weather and the best sunrises if you’re bold enough to trek overnight.
Since you’re already crossing the Pacific, you may as well spend some time seeing the rest of the country. And Inside Japan Tours runs a Tokaido Trail trip that’ll have you summiting Mt. Fuji, as well as exploring Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kamakura’s serene temple complexes.
If you’re looking to spend July in the fabulous Mid-Atlantic outdoors, look no further than Baltimore for your mid-summer getaway. Not only will you have a chance to stroll the Inner Harbor and catch an Orioles game at Camden Yards, but you’ll also be able to attend the largest free outdoor festival in America. Artscape runs from July 19 to 21, where tents, exhibition spaces, and performing arts venues all over the city host events from dance to opera.
On Thursday nights, you can also catch outdoor movies at the American Visionary Art Museum during its summer Flicks from the Hill series. Or take in the smells and flavors from one of America’s best Little Italys near Fells Point. If you’re hellbent on seeing fireworks over the Potomac on July 4, Washington, DC, is only a short drive away.
Upstate New York
Just because the triple crown is over, that’s no reason to ignore horse racing until next year’s Kentucky Derby. Brush up on your betting and head to Saratoga Race Course, one of the most beautiful tracks in the country, where the summer meet draws huge parties every weekend. For a more-upscale equine adventure, head to Saratoga Polo. Or go more downscale and watch live harness racing at the Saratoga Casino Hotel.
Over in Lake Placid, July 4 brings the annual Lake Placid Regatta, complete with fireworks over Mirror Lake. In Niagara Falls, they’ll be honoring the 50th anniversary of Stonewall at Pride at the Falls on July 5, including a free concert Buffalo Philharmonic, fireworks, and the falls lit up like rainbows.
Summer Euro trips are nothing new, but how many people you know have been to Slovakia? Be a trailblazer and hit the little-known Pohoda Festival, about two hours from Bratislava. The festival runs from July 11 to 13, held in the shadow of Trencin Castle, an 11th-century landmark that’s one of the nation’s most enduring images.
And don’t worry, you won’t be listening to obscure Slovak bands you’ll have to pretend to like either. Headliners include Liam Gallagher, The Roots, The 1975, and Lykke Li. Once the festival is over, take some time to explore the small villages and High Tatra Mountains nearby. Or take a side trip into Vienna, which is only a couple of hours’ drive away.
Most of the year, Cheyenne isn’t exactly what you’d call a sexy destination. But for a couple of weeks in July, it’s the capital of the Western world. Frontier Days take over Cheyenne July 18-28, bringing the world’s largest rodeo and western celebration to Wyoming.
In addition to the daily entertainment of bull riding, steer wrestling, and calf roping, Frontier Days boasts art shows, carnivals, and nightly concerts by acts like Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts. Afterwards, the parties spill into the bars and saloons of the city, where cowboys and the women who love them make every night feel like the Wild West.
You know what’s cooler than being the first one of your friends to see the new, computer-generated Lion King movie? Going to actual Tanzania and seeing all the spectacular scenery and wild animals without the aid of CGI. The dry season in Tanzania makes July the ideal time to take a safari vacation through Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Center.
Then take a little snorkeling excursion in the warm waters off Zanzibar, where the colorful fish add a little Finding Nemo to your real-life Disney trip. If you’d rather spend your whole time in the bush, Intrepid Travel offers an eight-day trip through the Serengeti Trial, where you’ll visit Tanzania and Kenya, game spotting and making stops at Lake Victoria along the way.
Santa Rosa, California
Perhaps the second most anticipated movie coming this summer is Wine Country, the new Amy Poehler vehicle about a girls’ weekend in California. No? Well even if female ensemble straight-to-Netflix movies aren’t your thing, you should be inspired to head to wine country this summer. Santa Rosa is the largest city in Sonoma County, the perfect place to base yourself on a tour through Northern California’s affordable alternative to Napa.
After last year’s devastating wildfires, the region is getting back on its feet opening its first new hotel since the fire at the Hotel E on July 1. From there you can spend your days imbibing in the sunshine, hitting noted wineries like Harvest Moon and Paradise Ridge. Or going straight to the source of Pliny the Elder at Russian River Brewing.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Still got FOMO from the big solar eclipse that ran through America a couple years ago? Well one-up all your friends who flocked to the middle of Nebraska to see full totality and get yourself down to South America for this year’s eclipse on July 2. Though most of the path of totality runs through relatively remote parts of the Andes, it also passes just south of Buenos Aires.
Spend a few days in the city, enjoying cheap steak dinners, tango lessons, and what many call the most European city outside the continent. Then drive about an hour and a half to Laguna del Monte, a serene country lake where you can catch the full eclipse right before sunset — while literally every animal around you completely loses their mind.
July is, literally, one nonstop festival in Montreal, where some of Canada’s best summer festivals fill the streets with acrobats, jazz musicians, comedians, and fireworks. The month begins with the vaunted Montreal Jazz Fest from June 26 to July 7, the largest jazz festival in the world. It continues July 4-14 with the Montreal Cirque Festival, during which the city turns into one giant grand chapiteau as acrobats stage performances in venues and on streets nearly all day.
Just For Laughs runs July 10-28, this year bringing with it Adam Sandler, Trevor Noah, and Aziz Ansari. Montreal also hosts a month-long fireworks festival called L’International des Feux Loto-Québec from June 29 to July 27. And the Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 11 to August 1. Throw in a ComicCon, and you literally cannot find something in July you wouldn’t travel to Montreal for.