Four Unique Summer Travel Destinations You Should Consider for 2017

Kakadu National ParkAustralia, summer travel destinations

It’s officially summer here in the U.S., and the weather’s finally warming up. But if you’re still dreaming of some place nicer, more tropical, or more exciting, now’s the time to cement your travel plans. Here are four unique summer travel destinations you’ve (probably) never thought to explore.

Witness the Northern Lights in Edmonton, Canada

The further north you venture, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be able to spot the Northern Lights. So, it’s no surprise that Canada in general — and Edmonton in particular — is an ideal place for travelers seeking their first aurora borealis. June brings a merciful break in the city’s seeming 10-month-long winter making the weather perfect for a visit. Just outside the city, Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve is the go-to spot with pitch-black night skies perfect for stargazing and aurora-watching. That the city has undergone a serious renaissance in recent years — complete with craft brewpubs and legit gastropubs — makes it an even more worthy destination.

Take an Aussie Safari in Australia’s Northwest Territory

Uluru Ayers rock australia

The dry season is in full swing in the Northwest Territory of Australia, and the flood plains are rich with endemic wildlife, including crocodiles, gators, wallabies, and rare birds. All of which also means the weather and timing are perfect for anyone looking to embark on an Australian-style safari in the Bamurru Plains. It’s also prime season for hiking the area around iconic Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) which is rich with natural pools, beautiful rock formations, and ancient paintings.

Experience a Concert at One of Europe’s Greatest Unknown Music Halls

Elbphilharmonie concert hall hamburg

In the shadow of Munich and Berlin, Hamburg gets little love among glossy tourist brochures. Historically, the city’s sole claim to fame has long been its trading port. But, thanks to a series of creative development projects, it’s fast becoming Europe’s next go-to destination for lovers of culture and the arts. Nowhere is this more evident than the Elbphilharmonie (known locally as “Elphi”). Located in Hamburg’s HafenCity quarter on the banks of the Elbe River, the one-of-a-kind glass concert hall features a striking, wave-inspired design and is one of the most acoustically advanced music venues in the world. In addition to three concert halls, the mixed-use building boasts a luxury hotel, 45 apartments, and a 360-degree viewing deck with panoramic city views.

Sample the Next Big Wine Country in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Mexico is trying its damnedest — especially among Americans — to escape its limited culinary image of “tequila and street tacos.” Thanks to the Valle de Guadalupe region, it may finally be able to shed that stereotype. Located a short drive south of San Diego, the rugged area of Baja California has been a hotspot of Mexican wine production, drawing some of the industry’s biggest names since the 1980s. Only now has their northern neighbor begun to catch on. For oenophiles seeking “the next big thing” in wine, your summer destination is right here.