July is one of the most popular months to travel.
Families can take advantage of a full school-free month. The days surrounding the Fourth of July are the most popular for travel. But many people take time off during other times of the month.
Many destinations have a variety of festivals during the month. And there are plenty of cities that have beautiful parks for outdoor activity.
Here are a few destinations that are good deals for fun and value:
Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, suggests Alaska’s largest city because of its comfortable weather. Anchorage is located in the south-central part of the state on the Cook Inlet, which stretches 180 miles.
“Temperatures get up to the 60s and even 70s in July, far more comfortable than the rest of the year and a welcome escape from the blazing heat in parts of the lower 48,” Keyes says.
It’s typically quite expensive to fly to Alaska—generally over $500 round-trip—but according to Keyes, there have been cheap flights lately, with fares as low as $182 round-trip from the west coast and mid-$300s round-trip from the rest of the country, including peak summer dates.
“Known more for rain than sunshine, the truth is that summers in the Pacific Northwest are warm, bright and idyllic,” Keyes says.
The International Rose Test Garden in Portland is blooming this time of year. There are also numerous summer festivals in town, including the Oregon Brewers Festival. The Waterfront Blues Festival–the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi River — draws crowds on the riverbank in Waterfront Park.
Flicks on the Bricks takes place over four consecutive nights from July through August at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Free movies and popcorn are available on Portland’s “largest outdoor screen.”
On the last Thursday of each month, Alberta Street shuts down for cars and turns into a pedestrian art walk.
The iconic Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls, which had closed after a fire, has just re-opened.
Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are battling one to dominate the market at Portland International Airport, slashing fares in an attempt to woo travelers, Keyes says.
July is one of the best months to visit Denver.
“The altitude cuts down on the heat, there’s extra daylight to enjoy the national parks, and there’s enough snowmelt to go tubing or rafting,” Keyes says.
The nation’s best rodeo, Frontier Days, takes place 90 minutes north of Denver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, from July 20 to 29. Festival-goers can enjoy bull-riding, concerts, art, food, and a carnival. Keyes points out that flights to Denver–a hub for United, Southwest, and Frontier Airlines–have been exceptionally cheap from all over the USA lately.
But Colorado has other popular destinations outside Denver.
Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range, Breckenridge holds its Summer Beer Festival with more than 40 breweries, live music and local vendors on July 7, says Sandra Johnson, a travel adviser at Exemplary Travel.
The Colorado Brewers Rendezvous takes place in Riverside Park in the town of Salida on July 14. It’s the 22nd annual beer festival held on the banks of the Arkansas River with more than 75 brewers offering more than 200 beers and live music, Johnson says.
Meanwhile, wine lovers can head to River Run Village in Keystone for the Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival from July 14 to 15. Tastings will be available of more than 300 international wines. There will also be wine seminars and jazz concerts.
The Deep South may be hot in July, but it is still a great time to visit New Orleans for its festivals. The city has been particularly festive this year as it celebrates its tricentennial.
Lauren Cardinale, luxury travel adviser at Travel Design Co., recommends Essence Fest from July 5 to 8, which celebrates African American music and culture. This year’s festival will feature Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and Mary J Blige. An assortment of workshops and seminars will also take place.
San Fermin en Nueva Orleans is a celebration of the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, with Big Easy Rollergirls chasing participants with wiffle ball bats instead of real bulls. The run happens on July 14. The event begins July 13 with a cocktail party and auction and ends on the 14th with a recovery brunch, burlesque show, and an Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest.
On July 14, the New Orleans Museum of Art hosts a Bastille Day Fete featuring francophone musicians, guided gallery tours, pop-up shops, children’s activities, and food and wine.
“With its history firmly rooted in French culture, it would be hard to find another city in the US who celebrate Bastille Day like New Orleans’ locals do,” Cardinale says.
From July 17 to 22, bartenders and cocktail connoisseurs from around the world will descend on New Orleans to take part in the annual Tales of the Cocktail, a week of events that includes friendly competitions for the best bartenders and concoctions around, Cardinale says.