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One of the greatest parts of summertime is that sunny, vibrating anything-is-possible feeling that swells at the end of May and thrums along through Labor Day. It's the same feeling that inspires lists of all the places we'll eat when, someday, we go to Oakland or Ann Arbor or Knoxville; and Bruce Springsteen-fueled daydreams about jumping into watering holes. Adventure! Hello, open road!
Packing your bags? Here are our guides to the places we've been so far.
Is your Instagram feed full of so-beautiful-you-can't-believe-it's-real photos of waterfalls, fuzzy-looking ponies, the Northern Lights, long and winding roads, electric-blue hot springs? Ours are—and the photos convinced Leslie Stephens to drive around Iceland (which she called "painfully magical"). And she convinced us to add the country to our must-visit lists.
How to pack, where to stay, and what to eat now that travel to Cuba has become more accessible. (Hint: Museums. Beaches. Lots of cocktails. Old cars. Good walks. Go, go, go.)
Don't just go for the crab cakes—there are Baltimore snowballs, Baltimore pizzas, and Baltimore farmers markets to enjoy, too. (Though the crab cakes alone are worth a trip.) And be sure to make time to check out the local history.
Milwaukee gave us the American beer industry, and that's reason enough to visit. But there's also lots of beautiful historic neighborhoods to stroll through—not to mention Fonzie (yes, from Happy Days), cast in bronze.
Scramble up Sleeping Bear Dunes, gorge yourself on cherries and fudge, and throw yourself into Lake Michigan. There's lot of local beer and wine to be had, too.
Wherever you go, ask the locals for their recommendations! Here's what doing just that yielded for our editor Samanatha Weiss-Hills when she visited Japan in January. Sweet design shops, whiskey bars, temples, and galleries abound.
Whether you're a free spirit, an architecture nerd, or a San Francisco tourist who took a wrong turn, there's lots to see and eat in Berkeley, including the UC Berkeley campus, bakery collectives, and botanic gardens.
Sometimes you have a week (or two weeks, or more) to really learn a city. Sometimes you've only got a day. You could happily go either route in Philly, but if you go the latter, you'll need lots of sustenance. Think the world's best hummus, bagels galore, and a killer burger. (And stop at printshops, museums, and beer halls along the way.)
Take in sandy stretches and tiny beach towns between picturesque rental cottages, paddle boarding, open-air markets, and seafood so fresh your meal was swimming when you sat down at the restaurant. You may even forget it's all in the same state as Miami.
There's so much more to Ann Arbor than the University of Michigan. Whether you visit for the small-town vibe, the independent bookstores and eateries, the great outdoors (trails! cascades! an arboretum!), Zingerman's Deli, or to catch up with your favorite UMich attendee, visit. And say hi to our editor Lindsay-Jean for us while you're there!
Charlottesville is a cozy college town and then some: Music. Pizza. Tapas. History. Country roads. What are you waiting for?
One of the best ways to really see and learn about a place is to eat there. And how better to get started than at a farmers market? From San Francisco to Saint Paul, are 10 markets we think are pretty special.
Just outside of San Francisco, Oakland holds its own: Prioritize some of the local haunts and make sure you grab an It's-It and head to Mountain View Cemetery to take in the best view of the bay there is.
Getting married? Congratulations! We've got some ideas for the places to honeymoon when the ceremony is over. Take your beloved for Balaedas in Honduras or mussels in Nova Scotia.
It's called Vacationland for a reason. Drive up the coast, drive back down again, and eat as many lobster rolls (and ice cream, and doughnuts, and beer) as you can along the way.
Do you like fried chicken? And country music? And small-scale coffee roasters? And craft beer? Nashville is the place to be for all of the above. Local whiskey makes for an excellent souvenir.
Yale might be the first thing you think of when you think of New Haven—and you should be sure to tour its campus and admire its architecture when you're there. But the pizza, the food trucks, and the coffee cake are not to be missed.
That Santa Monica Farmers Market is pretty amazing—but there's also incredible Korean food, ice cream, and more vegetable-and-grain bowls than you could count, not to mention beautiful hiking trails and generous vineyards.
Knoxville is home to our Design & Home editor Amanda, but it's also home to some great regional beers, an old-fashioned candy store, cozy coffee shops, and lots of local music.
Prefer to armchair-travel in the comfort of your air conditioning? We've got some tips for that, too:
Lakeside or beachside, all it takes to make your local water feature as nice as Nice are a few elegant upgrades to your beach bag and a thoughtful menu.
Get the to the island of Ponza for its colorful homes, incredible views, friendly locals, local wine, and markets—and explore on foot and scooter and by boat.
If you're a beer lover, put Eastern Europe on your must-visit list: There are superb suds to be had in Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and beyond. Here are tips for how to order beer like an Eastern European until you get there.
This travel dream-list was originally published in July 2015. We've updated it with more of the places we've been since. The list gets ever longer.
Have you been to any of the places above? Do you have any recommendations? Share them (and your own travel plans) in the comments below.