As early summer travel planning begins, so does the quest for the perfect vacation spot. While traditional beach getaways and city explorations are still the rage, a new travel trend is emerging—the Coolcation. This concept focuses on destinations that offer a refreshing respite from the summer heat, combining cool climates, experiences, and natural scenery. With careful planning, you, too, can have a Coolcation that could be the most memorable summer trip yet.

The Rise of Coolcation

There are several reasons why coolcations are becoming more popular. For starters, they provide welcome relief from the sweltering summer heat that hits many parts of the world. These places also differ from your run-of-the-mill summer vacation locales; they usually include outstanding natural beauty and exciting activities. 

Plus, adventures abound in coolcation sites, where visitors can do everything from treks on glaciers to caving tours. Because these greener, less touristic places tend to be less popular with visitors, the trend is also popular with ecotourists and other eco-conscious vacationers.

Top Coolcation Destinations

bright blue lake in Banff, Canada during sunset
Photo credit: James Wheeler

Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is the gateway to some of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders. Reykjavik is known for its cool climate, even during summer, making it an ideal coolcation spot. Here, travelers can relax in the geothermal spa of the Blue Lagoon and take in the beautiful surroundings of the Golden Circle.

In South America, Patagonia, a region in Chile and Argentina, is home to amazing sights like ice fields and turquoise lakes. Those searching for cold-weather adventure and seclusion will find Patagonia the ideal destination. The Perito Moreno Glacier and Torres del Paine National Park are only the beginning of the numerous exciting activities you can enjoy here. Staying at eco-friendly lodges or rustic cottages is another excellent way to embrace nature’s beauty.

There’s also Banff, Canada, which is another great coolcation option. Banff is a mountain town in Canada that provides a summer getaway with mild weather and picture-worthy scenery. Visitors can go ice skating, swimming in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, or hiking around Lake Louise.

Planning Your Cool Summer

Pre-planning is key to ensuring a seamless and enjoyable coolcation. Coolcation spots can get busy despite their appeal of being less crowded. Booking your stay in advance can secure you a place in these sought-after destinations. Look for accommodations that offer an experience in themselves, such as treehouses in forests or glass igloos under the Northern Lights. Strike a balance between activities while creating itineraries. Get the most out of your coolcation by combining adventure, leisure, and cultural exploration. 

Make sure to check the weather. The climate can be very erratic in chilly destinations. Layer up when you pack your basics. Coolcation spots can be cold even in the middle of summer, particularly at night, so warm clothing is essential. Be sure also to carry the appropriate gear. Depending on your activities, ensure you have the right equipment, be it hiking boots for the trails or a swimsuit for the thermal baths.