Fodor’s editors are always traveling, and we love to share our favorite places and top finds. From kid-friendly restaurants in Paris to hike-in lodges in the Great Smoky Mountains, we’ve got plenty of recommendations. We also share insider tips for finding the Yucatan’s best food, exploring Salzburg’s innovative art scene, and the best place to spot whales from your bed. Read on to join the adventure!
Amanda, Vice President and Publisher
I’ve loved Paris as a student, a young adult and on business but I had no idea what to expect when traveling to Paris with my children (Maria 19 months and Vincent 8 years). I’m delighted to see the warmth the French have for children.
This understanding of children became apparent the moment we arrived at CDG and were sent to the front of a long line at passport check in because we had a baby. This behavior was repeated over and over through taxi lines and hotel check in.
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Our concierge suggested several "child-friendly" restaurants for dinner. As we approached the first, Brasserie Castiglioni, I was surprised at how warmly the hostess greeted us and took care to give my daughter quick service. She even taught my son to make steak tartare! Another restaurant, Gambinos, pictured here, ordered pizza for my son before he even requested it. They also had him help greet patrons at the front door.
Parisian playgrounds are something of a wonder. We’re staying near the Tuileries and the playgrounds here—especially the trampolines—are a welcome place for parents to rest and children to go wild. The Tuileries are host to a carnival this month and we’ve enjoyed carnival rides late into the summer evenings. You’ll see Vincent in this photo moving in a bubble on water.
The Louvre and Musee D’Orsay remain as impressive as ever but it is our climb to the 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower and time spent on the playgrounds that I’ll remember most from this trip That and the incredible warmth the Parisians have for young travelers.
Arabella, Executive Editorial Director
I’m looking forward to an all-American summer. I kicked it off with a classic July 4th week on Martha’s Vineyard, where I bunked down in a rented house in Aquinnah and foraged for fresh lobster and clams from Larsen’s. My tip? Order them steamed, cracked, and shucked for the perfect brown-bag dinner with sunset views on nearby Menemsha beach. I’ll continue the East Coast summer vibe in Newport, Rhode Island, where the annual Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is played on grass courts à la Wimbledon (yes, I will be wearing a hat). As August sets in, I’ll head west to California and road trip into modern Palm Springs, sample fantastic wines in Santa Barbara, and end up in Los Angeles, where I’m especially excited to see Matthew Marks’ recently opened West Hollywood art gallery and try Animal‘s seafood-focused sister restaurant, Son of a Gun.
Linda, Editorial Director
My travel plans include Spain later this year, so for summer I’m staying East Coast local! We’re heading to a rental house in Eastham on Cape Cod for a week. I can’t wait to smell the pine woods and salty air, dive into that brisk water at Cape Cod National Seashore beaches (Coast Guard is a fave), and eat alfresco at Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar. On our to-do list: biking the Cape Cod Rail Trail, exploring Provincetown‘s art galleries, and cheering at college games of the Cape Cod Baseball League. I’m also scheduling some city weekend escapes: Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., so far, then Boston and Miami. In late summer, my sisters and I will meet at a B&B in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to catch up and tour the battlefield and museum at Gettysburg National Military Park, a timely visit during the ongoing 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Caroline, Senior Editor
“There is a town in North Ontario, with dream comfort memory to spare…” Whenever I hear the lyrics to Neil Young’s song "Helpless," I get a little bit homesick. I grew up in Canada and, when I was little, my family would rent a cottage on a lake in North Ontario and my cousins and I would swim all summer, no matter how cold the water was. This year I’m heading up to Lake Huron for some lake time with my family. I’m looking forward to some serious relaxing: hanging out with my niece and nephew, reading some good books, and doing some baking. I’m thinking we’ll go blueberry picking and I’ll make a fresh blueberry pie.
Erica, Deputy Editor
I’m headed up to Lake Champlain for the Fourth of July for a week of hiking and beach time with my extended family. I can’t wait for backyard barbecues, and s-mores around the fire while watching the stars. Later in July, I’ll be trekking down to Texas for the first time to explore San Antonio and Texas Hill Country. I am so looking forward to trying out the region’s peaches (a renowned local specialty – who knew?!) because I am obsessed with orchards and stone fruit. I’ll also be visiting family in Seattle and the San Juan islands around Labor Day, so that means Dungeness crab until I’m cross-eyed. Paired with local wines, of course!
Some of the biggest highlights of my trip to Mexico were lounging on Tulum’s powdery-white beaches, snorkeling with the turtles and the reef squid in Akumal, and swimming in the area’s cavernous cenotes. It was all truly spectacular.
I also loved discovering the milder cuisine of the Yucatan Peninsula and then, a month later, comparing it with light, Baja-style Mexican food of Southern California. The Yucatan’s cochinita pibil (seasoned pork, colored with annatto seeds, and wrapped in banana leaves) was outstanding, as were the ubiquitous fish tacos in L.A. The margaritas in both locals were excellent as usual.
With luck I’ll find time to go on one more vacation this year—fingers crossed that it will be Brazil!
This summer I’ll be road tripping down to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and checking another must-do off my bucket list by spending a night at the hike-in only LeConte Lodge. There’s no electricity and no running water at the lodge, but a hot meal and views for miles will, I’m sure, make it worth the hike up the mountain. In August I’m headed to Edinburgh, Scotland for the Fringe Festival, which is sure to be a riot. I’ll be swapping my NYC apartment for one in Edinburgh (just like in The Holiday). It’s my first time trying a home exchange and I’m really excited to live like a local in a new place. I’ll be sure to try haggis, sample malt whiskey, and take in a few castles while I’m there, too.
In July, I’m going from the urban extreme of NYC to off-the-grid Alaska. My plane flies into Juneau and from there I’ll be taking a seaplane into the little town of Tenakee Springs, a dot on the inside passage. I’ve always been a "city mouse," but the beauty of Alaska is undeniable. From my cabin, I’ll be able to see whales swim by—it’s like a nature documentary right outside the window. I’ll gorge myself on fresh salmon and huckleberries that grow wild all over the trails. And at night, when it gets pitch dark, the stars are so visible in the sky, I feel like I’m inside a planetarium. Maybe this time when I visit I’ll finally see a brown bear, so long as it’s from a distance!
Raindrops on roses. And whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles, and…need we say more? Yes, lots more: glittering Baroque churches, breathtaking Alpine mountains, sugar-coma desserts in Vienna coffeehouses, and Mozart, Mozart, Mozart! Little wonder I am heading to Austria to spend a summer week in Vienna and Salzburg. The "hills are alive" not just with the Sound of Music sites but the sounds of hip-hop—Salzburg may be very Old World but now has a hilltop Museum der Moderner, just one of Austria’s new contemporary art museums. But if the country is hopping to a hip new beat, the white-gloved, champagne gemütlichkeit of once-imperial Vienna is still there to enjoy, and I plan to see the Imperial Palace (Hofburg), the Imperial Apartments, the jewel-laden Treasury, and even attend a white-tie gala ball at the Spanish Riding School. (Reminder: get a new pair of shoes!)
Bahh, buhbah, bah. Bah, bah, buhbah-buhbabah! Have you guessed where I’m excited to go this summer? I know, too easy. Obviously that’s the riff from Van Halen’s "Panama!" This is my first trip to Central America, and I’m delighted that I’m going to see the "Gateway to the World," as Panama is known. Just seeing the canal, I think, is going to be fascinating. But I’m also going to stroll the historic Casco Viejo, a city filled with 16th and 17th century Spanish Colonial architecture, and take a boat trip around Gatun Lake where apparently I’ll be able to view monkeys, crocodiles, and native birds. All less than a half hour away from my home-base at the brand-new Westin Playa Bonita on a beach just outside Panama City. Engineering marvel, historic city, beach, and rainforest in one four-day trip? Yes, please!
Cate, Online Editor
I’m turning a Seattle get-together and a San Francisco wedding into an excuse for a road trip. I’ll have a week to make my way between the two, and I plan to spend much of it off the highway and along picturesque Route 101. In Seattle, I’m staying at the hip Ace Hotel for some downtown fun with friends but I haven’t yet decided between all the great day trip options nearby—right now it’s a tie between the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands. Then we’re headed to Mount Rainier for peak wildflower season and further south along the coast to enjoy some "glamping" with overnight yurt stays in Oregon State Parks. After all that outdoor adventure, I’ll upgrade for the end of my trip with a family wedding weekend (congrats to Christine & Bob!) at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto before heading back home from SFO.
Nicole, Blog Editor
I’ve already started! First, a group of friends went out to a lake house on Long Island’s North Fork where we ate delicious snow crab legs, found the most life-alteringly delicious pies at an unassuming farm stand, and hung by the beach. Then, I hopped over to LA to see family, friends, and the Santa Monica sunshine. Every time I go home, I have breakfast at Urth Caffe and try some newly opened eatery. This time around was The Eveleigh in West Hollywood. Next on my list this summer is Greece (don’t worry, I’ll bring extra cash)—we’ll spend a day in Athens seeing the Acropolis and the new museum, five days in Mykonos lounging in the sun and eating grilled octopus, and one night in Santorini, where I imagine we’ll lose sleep from wanting to take tons of pictures of all the bright white and blue hues. After that, I’ll spend most of my summer weekends in Brooklyn roaming the food stalls at Smorgasburg.
Amanda, Editorial Assistant
I’m planning a big trip for the fall, so this year my summer vacation is taking place entirely here in New York City. Yes, the heat waves are going to be killer and yes, the subway gets just as hot as everyone says, but there are few places I’d rather spend my free time. From the beaches of Far Rockaway and Brighton Beach to the newly open McCarren Pool in Brooklyn, there are plenty of ways to cool off. Plus, nothing beats spending the day sunbathing in Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park or having a refreshing drink at a rooftop bar like Eataly’s Bitteria. For the days that are just too hot to be inside, I’m going to be exploring the Museum of Natural History for the thousandth time or checking out the summer exhibits at the MoMa.
Stephanie, Digital Editorial Intern
I’m taking a romantic weekend getaway to the Catskills in hopes of seeing some beautiful scenic views. We plan on venturing into antique shops to find some hidden treasures and to explore the precious nature of Catskill State Park. Farmers Markets and white water tubing is on our agenda too; to buy freshly grown foods and adventure down the refreshing waters of the Catskill Mountains. A city girl at heart, I am looking forward to seeing some of the most breath taking views so close yet so far from the chaos of New York City.
Photo Credits: Paris courtesy Amanda D’Acierno; Eastham, Cape Cod (c) Dav820 | Dreamstime.com; Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada (c) Elenathewise | Dreamstime.com; Seattle Pike Place Market; Tulum, Mexico Tulum via Shutterstock.com; Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh via Shutterstock.com; Tenakee Springs, Alaska (c) Cindah | Dreamstime.com; Austria Bocas del Toro, Panama via Shutterstock.com; Mount Rainier Mt. Rainier via Shutterstock.com; Mykonos, Greece Mykonos via Shutterstock.com; New York New York Sunset – HDR by Jerry Ferguson Attribution-NonCommercial License; Catskills Colin Young/iStockphoto/Thinkstock; Aquinnah via Shutterstock