This Is the Only Place You Have to Go This Summer
With 100-degree heat waves rolling through the country, it's clear: summer's here. Why does this time of year excite people more than any other? For us, it's the inexplicable sense of happiness we feel when we cast off our winter layers and expose our skin to the vitamin D–enriched sunlight. This sensory explosion is highly addictive, and we soak it up. But, there's also the free-spirited feeling that comes with the season and the childhood anticipation of summer vacations spent sunbathing on the world's most beautiful beaches.
Since you clicked through to this story, we're pretty sure your soul is ready for time off too. Have you noticed your concentration waning at work? Are your eyes veering to the window instead of your computer screen? We feel you. With wanderlust in full swing, it's time to be free, hit the road, and make some memories. With that in mind, we tapped Pinterest for some vacation ideas and we think you'll approve. Ahead, discover the most popular summer destinations for 2016. It's time to book your tickets before it's too late.
We're major fans of Danish design and interiors for their eye for detail and originality that many have replicated around the world. So we're not surprised that Denmark is also a popular vacation destination. The Faroe Islands consist of 18 volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways, and bridges. The attraction? Its unspoiled natural environment. For this, the remote destination was the National Geographic Reader's Choice Winner in 2015.
While it's beautiful year-round, it's best between July and August, especially if you prefer comfortable temperatures around 55 degrees. They also have really long summer days (up to 19 hours). We can just imagine the exhilaration at inhaling all that fresh, unpolluted air while gazing across the green landscape, jutting cliffs, and lakes that run into the sea. Put this untouched beauty on your summer bucket list ASAP.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most awe-inspiring destinations in the world, but have you explored beyond the views from above? When you look down to the plummeting depths below, there's so much more to discover—if you're willing to trek the distance, that is. The hike to Havasu Falls isn't easy, but it's definitely a travel experience you need to have before you die. The name of this incredible waterfall derives from the Havasupai Indian Reservation it's located on. Havasupai translates to "people of the blue-green water," which makes so much sense when you see its turquoise color. According to This World Exists, the 12-mile hike is long and relatively flat, but the intense desert elements—including rocks, sky-high cliffs, and the hot sun—make it a challenging one, so do your research and be prepared.
If you're feeling the heat then seek out the cool waters of Jacob's Well near Austin, Texas. The locals have been seeking relief in this unique natural water hole for years, and it's easy to see why. Its striking beauty is a sight to behold, with a spectacular blue-black hole that leads into one of the largest underwater caves in the state of Texas. The whole thing extends approximately 4500 feet. Daredevils are notorious for jumping into it from a rocky outcrop above the well, but we'll stick to just swimming around it and enjoying the view.
While many travel to New Zealand for its outstanding ski slopes in the winter and breathtaking natural landscapes (there's a reason why Peter Jackson shot the Lord of the Rings series here), there's a hidden element of this untouched wonder that has you all pinning in droves: the Waitomo glowworm caves. This otherworldly destination looks like it came straight out of a bygone fairy tale with its magical brilliance deep beneath the surface. The glowworm responsible for this beauty is the Arachnocampa luminosa, unique to New Zealand, and there are literally thousands of them lining the caves with their sparkling light. It's a beautiful sight to behold.
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While we've never met a beach we didn't like, there's one in particular that takes our breath away, every time: Pink Sand Beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. So where does the pink hue come from, exactly? You can thank microscopic organisms called foraminifera for making this blush-hued beauty a reality. Their reddish-pink shell gives it this distinct color, along with a mix of coral, shells, and calcium carbonate. As if the culture and beauty of Bahamas aren't reason enough, this sand will definitely lure all the Instagram girls and boys.
If you're looking for paradise on Earth, book a ticket to Lago di Braies in Italy. This intoxicating blend of jaw-dropping mountains, idyllic lakes, and lush green forest as far as the eye can see is a delightful spectacle. So if you're seeking solitude and a spiritual experience among some of Mother Nature's finest, you'll find it here. Take pleasant strolls around the lake, enjoy fairy-tale scenery and a romantic boat trip across the glass-like surface of this unspoiled wonder. Breathe it in.
This extraordinary destination is for all those travelers who love to live on the edge—literally. Trolltunga in Norway is actually an incredible natural phenomenon, thanks to a flat piece of rock that juts out horizontally from the mountainside. For those brave enough to walk the plank for that iconic photograph, they're teetering at around 3600 feet above sea level. But that's not the only attraction. This renowned tourist hot spot boasts breathtaking views of the surrounding rocky cliffs and the glassy blue Ringedalsvatnet lake that runs through them. There are no words to describe the feeling; just go there and experience it for yourself.
If you love the unique coastal marvel of Portugal, then you'll fall in love with The Azores. This islet cluster is a popular destination for hiking, whale-watching (including the rare whale shark), blue marlin fishing, surfing, and diving. Not to mention the rich local culture which was the definitive reason for its high ranking in the National Geographic Traveller's Top Five Island Destinations list. It made Pinterest's most pinned summer destination list, thanks to a series of daredevil divers who took the leap from the steep and rocky Azores Cliffs into the ocean for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. We couldn't think of anything more terrifying, but the view is spectacular.
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As one of Croatia's most visited tourist attractions, the Plitvice Lakes are a travel bucket-list must. Why? The UNESCO World Heritage site is waterfall central, thanks to thousands of years that have created a series of natural dams, tranquil turquoise lakes, and natural caves. The surrounding forests are brimming with wildlife, from bears to wolves and many rare bird species, perfect for the snap-happy tourist. We recommend booking a trip soon before they start making tourist restrictions. With up to 15,000 visitors a day during peak season, The Telegraph reports extensive damage to the natural surroundings is being caused by "selfie-taking tourists" who stray from the designated path in search of the perfect photo.
We don't want to say we saved the best for last, but the enchanting Cascada Bigăr in Romania is definitely one of our personal favorites. This stunning waterfall is 26 feet high and is one of the most unique of its kind, thanks to the carpet of green moss that follows the water trail down like a veil before it hits the water. It looks like it was conjured up in a dream, but this marvelous creation is very real and totally worth the trip across the world to witness it.