Summer is just around the corner, so if you haven’t started planning your summer travels yet, it’s time to get going! With vaccinations in the US rising, destinations around the world reopening and Covid cases on the decline, it’s time to pack your suitcases and get ready for a summer adventure. If you need a dose of inspiration, here’s 12 of the best summer destinations you can visit in 2021.

1. Italy 

when is italy reopening

If you’ve been waiting and dreaming about the next time you can visit Italy, the answer is: you can visit again as soon as this summer! From the canal-lined streets of Venice to historic monuments in Rome, there’s plenty to explore. Head to Naples for some incredible pizza, or take a train ride along Italy’s stunning coastline through Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast. Need some inspiration on where to go first? Check out our top 8 destinations in Italy and get busy finding some cheap flights to Italy

Covid-19 guidelines: American travelers are welcome to visit Italy regardless of vaccination status. However, you must fly on one of the Covid-19 testing approved flights (currently offered from JFK and ATL to Rome or Milan on Delta Airlines), which require a negative Covid-19 PCR test within 48 hours prior to departure. You’ll also have a rapid test upon arrival at the airport in Italy. If you test negative both times, you’ll be free to explore, quarantine-free. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go.

2. Turks and Caicos 

best island getaways

Turks & Caicos—a chain of 40 islands in the Caribbean—are known for being some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, with white-sand beaches, incredible scuba diving and snorkeling, and of course, delicious seafood. Visit the Island Fish Fry for a true local experience, or try something fancier at one of the many restaurants. Whether you want a low-key getaway on some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean or are looking to pamper yourself for a weekend, Turks and Caicos has something to offer you.

Covid-19 guidelines: Turks and Caicos is pretty easy to travel to—just provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within five days prior to departure. Then fill out your health form online and purchase an approved travel insurance plan. With that, you’ll be on your way to paradise. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go.

3. Croatia

croatia

Croatia is the one of our favorite summer destinations in Europe. With Mediterranean beaches, historic cities, national parks and tons of opportunities for swimming and enjoying the coastal Mediterranean weather, there’s really no better time to visit Croatia. Plus, its easy entry requirements make it a great European destination to visit in 2021. Dubrovnik, with the imposing and scenic city walls, is Croatia’s most famous city. However, the nearby Split and the quieter, inland capital of Zagreb are definitely worth visiting as well. 

Covid-19 guidelines: Fully vaccinated travelers can travel to Croatia without testing or quarantine. Otherwise, travelers need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. Everyone needs to have accommodations that are paid in full prior to arrival. Check the full details of Covid-19 travel requirements before you go. 

4. San Diego 

best summer destinations in the us

Looking to stay stateside? San Diego is one of the best summer destinations in the US. With famously sunny weather (the temperature stays between 65-78°F year-round), San Diego is a great place for a mix of beach days and exploring sights in the city. La Jolla Cove and South Mission Beach are two of the best beaches in San Diego. Whether you want to swim, surf, scuba dive or just catch some rays, there’s lots of great beaches. When you’re ready to explore the city, head to the sprawling Balboa Park. It’s home to theaters, museums, botanical gardens, the San Diego Zoo and more. The South Park and historic Gaslamp Quarter neighborhoods offer some of San Diego’s best dining, shopping, nightlife and more. 

Covid-19 requirements: The CDC recommends testing prior to and after travel if you’re not vaccinated, but there aren’t any official requirements for San Diego. Vaccinated travels can travel without testing or quarantine in the US. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go.

5. Iceland 

best summer destinations

Looking to beat the heat this summer? Iceland is one of the best summer destinations for anyone looking for something a bit more off the beaten path. Between the mild (but not cold) weather, incredible outdoor adventures, and nearly 24-hour daylight, Iceland offers unlimited summer adventure! Between late-May and early August, the sun hardly sets (ever) in Iceland, offering near 24-hour daylight. You can adventure as late (or early) as you want!

Visit the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing day and make sure to head to the famous Gullfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls (or check out some lesser-known ones). There’s tons of hiking in Iceland’s numerous national parks, plus geysers, volcanoes, glaciers, black sand beaches, hot springs and more. Take advantage of the midnight sun with a midnight kayaking, hiking or helicopter tour too for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Covid-19 guidelines: If you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, you can travel to Iceland from the US with no testing or quarantine required. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go.

6. Puerto Rico 

puerto rico

Puerto Rico is often an underrated destination, but it’s gaining in popularity. And, as part of the US, it’s pretty easy to travel to right now—no passport required. Visit the colorful hotel strip along the coast, bustling beaches, historical downtown architecture and El Yunque National Forest, a tropical rainforest with waterfalls and hiking. Whatever kind of traveler you are, Puerto Rico has something to offer. 

Covid-19 guidelines: Travelers to Puerto Rico need to complete a health form and provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to arrival. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go.

7. Tanzania 

safaris in tanzania

Summers (particularly in July-September) are one of the best times to visit Tanzania, especially if you’re looking to experience a safari or see wildlife during your trip. On safaris, late summer is the best time to see herds of wildebeest and zebra during migration season. Although, there’s plenty of other wildlife to see throughout the summer season, too. You’ll also be able to spot leopards, giraffes, rhinos, elephants and more. Besides safaris, you can also explore numerous national forests, waterfalls, rainforests, go snorkeling at offshore islands, see (or hike!) Mt. Kilimanjaro, and more!

Covid-19 guidelines: Travelers to Tanzania need to complete a health form and provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to arrival. Travelers who are in transit for more than 72 hours will be required to be re-tested with a rapid test ($25) upon arrival. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go.

8. Mexico 

tulum mexico

As our nearby neighbor, Mexico makes for one of the best summer destinations (or destinations for anytime, really). Want to have an instagrammable summer weekend in Tulum? Or maybe you’re dreaming of a relaxing week in Cancun or Cabo San Lucas? If you’re more into history and city life than sunbathing on the beach, head to Mexico City. It’s home to plenty of museums, ancient Aztec and Mayan ruins, castles and palaces and more. Whether you’re headed to the coast or enjoying life in the city, Mexico has plenty of adventure, scenic views and delicious food to choose from. 

Covid-19 guidelines: There are no testing or quarantine requirements for air travel to Mexico from the US. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go. 

9. Greece

best summer destinations 2021

We’re sure we’re not the only ones dreaming of Santorini sunsets and rooftop dining in Mykonos. If you’re ready to make your Greek island dreams come true this summer, Greece is ready for you. Naturally, with super-blue waters perfect for swimming, sailing and sunbathing surrounding the islands, summer is the best time to visit these sunny islands. Need some inspiration? Check out our guide to island hopping in Greece

Covid-19 guidelines: Fully vaccinated travelers can travel to Greece without testing or quarantine. Otherwise, travelers need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Check the full details of Covid-19 travel requirements before you go. 

10. Las Vegas 

las vegas

If you need a weekend away that’s nearby, won’t require a passport and will help you totally escape from your normal life, why not a quick trip to Vegas? Las Vegas is one of the most popular weekend destinations in the US, and it’s easy to see why. Whether you want to pamper yourself, enjoy some world-class entertainment, or go rock climbing (what? No joke, Las Vegas has some of the best rock climbing in the US!), Las Vegas has a lot to offer. Plus, finding cheap flights to Las Vegas is super easy, so planning your summer trip is even easier. 

Covid-19 requirements: The CDC recommends testing prior to and after travel if you’re not vaccinated, but there aren’t any official requirements for Las Vegas. Vaccinated travelers can travel without testing or quarantine in the US. 

11. U.S. Virgin Islands 

best summer destinations

The U.S. Virgin Islands are a great Caribbean getaway. As their name suggests, they’re technically part of the US, so you don’t even need a passport! Late summer (August-September) can be a bit rainier, but the earlier summer months (June-July) are a great time to visit. It’s one of the best summer destinations for a beach getaway, with cheap flights from the US. Also, since summer is off-peak season for the USVI, you’ll find better prices on flights and accommodations and have quieter beaches to explore. If you love to snorkel, stay on St. John. Trunk Bay is some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean, complete with a self-guided underwater snorkel trail! 

Covid-19 requirements: A negative Covid-19 test is required for visiting the US Virgin Islands, as well as an online health form. No testing is required to return to the US. Check the full details of the Covid-19 travel requirements before you go.

12. Hawaii 

hawaii

If endless sunshine, miles of beaches and incredible surfing, giant sea turtles, mountains and volcanoes and incredible sunsets are calling your name this summer, where better to go than Hawaii? We’ve seen so many cheap flights to Hawaii, especially from the West Coast, making it a very doable summer getaway. If you want to stay in the US this summer but still need a change of scenery, Hawaii is the one of the best summer destinations. Visit Honolulu for incredible beaches, restaurants and nightlife. Head to Hilo to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or hike (or sail) along the Nepali coast in Kauai. The options are endless! 

Covid-19 requirements: All travelers need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test (from a certified testing partner) before traveling to Hawaii. Check the full details of Covid-19 travel requirements before you go. 

What’s on your bucket list for this summer? Find cheap flight deals for wherever you want to go with StudentUniverse and make planning your next trip even easier.