10 Personal Favorite Summer Travel Ideas
Written by Christi Given | July 8, 2018
Summer is here, and can you believe we are already in the month of July? Wow, so crazy how the time goes by so fast and we are in a new season.
I have 10 places I want to suggest to you for vacationing, for those of you who are looking for more affordable spots as well as fun-filled travel ideas. Some of you may desire to be on the beach during the heat, while others may want to explore the city or a museum. To each her own, and I hope this list of different places will help you to discover where you may want to venture to next.
Here are some travel ideas from my personal experiences as a teen and young adult, including family vacations. These are places that I personally enjoyed going to and think you will also!
Please comment below which place you hope to go to next or where you would want to go from this list. We love interaction with you on the site and love your feedback, PI Girls! Happy Summer!
1. New York City: NYC is a great place to go any time of the year, but during the summer season there is a LOT to do! The Big Apple is called “the city that never sleeps” for a reason. We know that many people may say it is too hot to explore the city streets during the heat of summer, which could be true, but you can do a lot inside with the AC as well. For example, you can shop, dine, go to Broadway shows, go to the Metropolitan Opera, go to the Met Museum and many other spots. There is always something fun happening in New York, and depending on your budget, there is the ritzy Fifth Avenue shopping or street vendor shopping, where you can save a lot!
2. Nashville: The city of country music, Nashville in Tennessee, is one of my favorite places to travel. I was honored to be able to record a song or two at Capitol Records CMG in Nashville a couple of years ago. While there, I had the privilege of going to RCA Records, where Elvis Presley stood and sang, as well as Dolly Parton and more. I was also able to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame, where many famous artists are honored from Johnny Cash to newer artists like Taylor Swift. There is the Grand Ole Opry (a famous place where many artists have taken the stage) and many other sites to see in the city of folk, country and gospel music. Just a few hours away, you can go to Memphis, Tennessee, and visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, where you can tour his home estate.
3. Hawaii: The islands of paradise are where everyone wants to lay out and sunbathe in the heat of summer. The crystal blue and turquoise waters are so magical, inviting and warm. I just want to hop on a plane and fly away to Maui or one of the big Hawaiian islands. I also love Hawaiian Airlines, which leads me to the next vacation spot, Australia—to which I also flew on Hawaiian Airlines, one of the best airlines I have flown for such a long flight. They really treat you well, and they are all very tropical, inviting and make you feel like you are already on vacation with their Hawaiian flowers in their hair. They are an excellent airliner for long distances like when I flew to Sydney, Australia.
4. Australia: The Land Down Under has a very special place in my heart, as I grew up listening to Hillsong Worship Music. I always wanted to go to Hillsong College, but I ended up planting two Australian churches in California and fulfilling the calling in my heart as a Hillsong Kids worship leader. Australia is a really cool place to visit in the summer, except…check this out…it is actually WINTER when you go. Yes, winter! It is so interesting because our winters are their summers, and our summers are opposite in their climate. I went to Sydney in 2012, and I really enjoyed the city, which reminded me a lot of NYC, but with Australian accents, and apparently it is much safer. There is Bondi Beach, by the water; the famous Sydney Opera House; and of course you can visit one of the many Hillsong churches while you’re there.
5. Catalina Islands: California, which is where I reside and was born and raised, has the BEST weather. I am really spoiled, or should I say blessed, to live here. Typically, the weather is in the 80s and 90s in the summer. The water is pretty warm (but cold compared to Hawaii), and our beaches are beautiful. There is a place called Catalina Island and you can go for the day or weekend and venture around doing kayaking, biking, boating, shopping and eating there. It is really fun and is a cute little place to go if you want to spend a nice mini vacation with friends and family, or even for the day. You can get a free cruise ride for your birthday (for any of you summer babies) from the dock in Long Beach, where they sail to the island.
6. Carnival Cruise: For families, it’s nice to go together on a cruise ship to either Mazatlán or Ensenada in Mexico. One summer, for my high school graduation, my family and I went on a cruise ship to Mexico. It was so much fun! We got to hang out at the pools, swim and shop (there are stores on the ship), and there are prepaid, all-you-can-eat meals and breakfast buffets, live shows and beautiful dinners. You can meet new people, bond with your friends and family, and explore. It’s wise to do this with a family, as traveling alone when you’re young is not safe or smart. If you set it up in advance, it can be cost effective as well.
7. Palm Springs: One of my favorite places to go locally in California is Palm Springs. Many people go to Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert and Palm Springs. There are many beautiful hotels and places to sunbathe, swim and go in the jacuzzis. I love the downtown Palm Springs area where you can shop, and you can drive to the outlet malls where you can get discounted designer items. You can go on the gondola up the mountain in Palm Springs, hike and do other fun things in the desert. Many old Hollywood movie stars had homes and properties out in Palm Springs, such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Loretta Young and Dean Martin. Palm Springs is not too expensive to go to and is reasonably close if you live in Southern California—it’s about a two-hour drive from LAX airport. PI Girls, have you been to Palm Desert?
8. Hearst Castle: The Central California coast is between Monterey and Santa Barbara County, and is a beautiful place with cliffs, the ocean and beautiful views. Hearst Castle is a historical landmark where the publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst lived. There were many movie stars and highly acclaimed people who would go there to visit Mr. Hearst. There are tours of the mansion and the other servants’ quarters and it is such a wonderful experience. I had the blessed opportunity to go there for my birthday two years ago, and I went with PI founder Nicole Weider. It was so much fun and was definitely a memorable trip of a lifetime! I highly recommend it and would suggest this as a family trip or a girls’ getaway.
9. Santa Monica and Malibu: If you are looking for some simple city-meets-beach tourism, Southern California is a great place to vacay. There are so many things to do in Santa Monica, from the Santa Monica Pier (where you can ride the Ferris wheel, go on other rides, do the arcade games and more!) to the beach to shopping on Third Street Promenade. You can also drive up to Malibu, where many Hollywood celebs love to reside. Surfers come from all over the world to catch a wave at Malibu Beach and there are many great restaurants you can try, such as Nobu, Moonshadows and Duke’s Malibu. You can check out some great churches as well, like Malibu Vineyard, Hillsong L.A., Zoe Church L.A., The Sanctuary L.A. and more. PI Girls, have you been to California before?
10. Big Sur: For those of you who enjoy camping and like to be in nature, Big Sur, California, is one of those places you will not want to miss. There are beautiful hills, mountains, cliffs and coasts as you drive up there. The environment is so gorgeous and is really peaceful. I stayed out there (not in a tent, but you can do that, too) in a hotel nearby and one of my dear friends got married in Big Sur at a private location near the ocean. It was the most stunning wedding and it was really magical. We had a bonfire and danced under the stars and I surely will never forget it. Again, if you go with friends, make sure it is a safe camping location, or get a nice hotel nearby and do some local hikes. There are plenty of jaw-dropping sites to see…definitely Instagram-photo worthy! Make sure to do your research driving-wise, as the cell phone reception can be poor, so make sure you are with your family or with a solid youth group if you plan on doing a summer trip like this one.
PI Girls, what is your favorite place to travel during summer? Comment below! Also, let us know which out of the 10 places you think you would want to go to, or tell us what is your #1 pick and why!