6 Places to Stay Cool on Your Summer Vacation

Why suffer through the sweltering dog days when you can escape them altogether?

Stephanie Granada
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Don’t Sweat It in Hawaii

Despite the tropical zip code, Maui’s upper elevations are blissfully crisp all year long. Catch a predawn ride to the chilly summit of Haleakala National Park with Skyline Eco-Adventures ($250). After seeing one of the world’s most coveted sun- rises—preferably in a warm jacket—you’ll hop on one of Skyline’s bicycles and coast down part of the 10,000-foot- plus volcano to a zipline course set amid fragrant eucalyptus trees. Before you leave Maui’s temperate Upcountry, take the time to avail yourself of the flavorful produce that grows in the rich hillside soils. Grab a smoothie made from local fruit at the light-filled Sip Me cafe in rustic Makawao, or browse exotic mango, banana, and papaya varieties at the Upcountry Farmers Market, held every Saturday morning in Pukalani, rain or shine.
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Find Your True North in Alaska

At the height of summer, the average high is around 65°in Anchorage. That’s likely where you’ll land no matter where your Alaska journey takes you, and while you’re there, it’s worth visiting the recently expanded Anchorage Museum. Works like John Grade’s Murmur: Arctic Realities sculpture will get you in a polar mood. If that’s not cool enough, consider the Sheldon Chalet (from $4,600/double occu­pancy), a stunning 5-bedroom cabin in Denali National Park and Preserve that opened in February. This is definitely the kind of place to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime milestone worthy of a budget blowout. Arrive by helicopter, then hike to the nearest glacier or relax on a hammock with chef-prepared halibut ceviche beneath Denali. And for backcountry fans, there’s REI Adventures’ 8-day trip ($5,199) in Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Few get to see this wild beauty, which is almost six times the size of Yellowstone. But because guides pick you up from Anchorage and supply the technical gear, all you have to do is show up.
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Go Viking in Washington

Fine art museums offer a respite from the heat, because the buildings are kept cold to protect prized works. But Seattle’s Nordic Museum, which reopened in a new location in Ballard this May, feels especially cool thanks to its focus on Europe’s northern edge and outlying territories like Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The main hall is designed to resemble a fjord, with bridges and passageways that connect exhibits— contemporary Nordic artists, Viking artifacts, Scandinavian design—speaking to the 800,000-plus Washingtonians who claim Nordic roots.
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Trace the Shoreline in Oregon

Start in Wheeler, 85 miles west of Portland, and head south for 100 miles along the Beaver State’s windswept coast. By the time you reach Newport, you’ll have had your fill of moody cliffs, fresh chowder, and the latest buzz sweeping seaside towns: fat biking the beaches on sand-friendly wheels.
  • DAY 1: Get your sea legs with lunch at Salmonberry Saloon, which opened earlier this year in Wheeler. Local fishing fleets and farmers dictate the menu. Ramble past spruce-covered head- lands and giant dunes as you make your way toward Pacific City along the 40-mile Three Capes Scenic Loop. Stop for the night at Hart’s Camp (from $249) near Cape Kiwanda. Outside your refurbished Airstream, you’ll find two Adirondack chairs, a firepit, and a bundle of firewood calling your name.
  • DAY 2: Mosey down to the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology near Otis. In the summer, guests can pop in for workshops like botanical drawing, or catch the free lecture series featuring writers, artists, and scientists. Idyllic seaside lunches with prime whale-spotting potential abound en route to Newport. In Depoe Bay, hit up The Horn Public House & Brewery for cod fish and chips and tasty house-brewed ales. Daniella Crowder of Bike Newport (541/265-­9917) is the queen of fat biking on the Central Oregon Coast. At her shop, borrow some wheels or join a guided tour for a jaunt to Yaquina Head Lighthouse, then take a breath of fresh, salty air before heading inland.
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Rise Above the Rocky Mountains

A more than $65 million renovation and a new name complete Vail's newest addition, Hotel Talisa (From $195) with hiking trails on one side and a pool area next to Gore Creek—a Gold Medal trout stream—on the other. Nearby, chill out at the newly redone Colorado Snowsports Museum— an extensive tribute to the state’s influence on skiing and snowboarding. Admission? Free.
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Retreat to a Tree House in Montana

Opened last year, these whimsical and group-friendly tree houses of Snow Bear Chalets (from $1,995 for three nights) sit right on Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Hope Slope at 3,033 feet elevation, with hot tubs on the decks and 3,000 acres to roam. Nearby, Glacier National Park’s western entrance is 50 minutes away; drive the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road and snap a photo at the Insta-famous Lake McDonald.