8 'Cool' Destinations To Visit During A Heat Wave

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With a fully palpable heat wave underway and August's triple digit-temperatures ahead, the thought of autumn breezes and (dare we say) winter chills seems like welcome relief.

With a fully palpable heat wave underway and August's triple digit-temperatures ahead, the thought of autumn breezes and (dare we say) winter chills seems like welcome relief. Don't get us wrong, our love for high temperatures goes back to a simpler time of sprinkler-running and ice cream-truck chasing, but planning that last summer escape usually conjures anxiety-inducing images of throngs of sweaty crowds in Rome and New York. Instead of just retreating into the air-conditioning until the sun goes down, jet to a cooler summer destination that's more balmy than blistering hot.

From short jaunts to longer-haul trips, these destinations have summer breezes aplenty, which means an ice cream cone in the middle of the day is a want, not a need. Plus, booking stays in these cooler locales in the summer off-season can mean big savings.

Instead of waiting for winter, take advantage of off-season discounts and plenty of summery, outdoor adventures in Breckenridge, Colo. For a taste of life down under, Auckland, New Zealand is a cool choice with wine tastings from abundant vineyards and fresh fish from generous harbors during their mild winter.

From street food festivals in temperate San Francisco to culinary boot camp on Canada's Prince Edward Island, these are eight destinations where sitting inside in the middle of an August day is unacceptable. So, if you can't stand the heat...

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8 'Cool' Destinations To Visit During A Heat Wave (PHOTOS)

Breckenridge boasts over 40 miles of biking and hiking trails fit for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors sans humidity.

Cooler temperatures at higher elevations means skipping the sticky summer feeling and enjoying mountain views over a dinner of pan-seared scallops at Relish. Go local at the Breckenridge Brewery with fine Colorado ales like Agave Wheat and Summerbright, their seasonal special.

Don’t miss Rocky Mountain Cupcakes, where flavors like chocolate marshmallow and banana cream pie are made fresh, daily.  

Only an hour and a half drive from Boston, the sleepy seaside villages of the Southern Main Coast — Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells — are a perfect alternative to vacationing in overcrowded Nantucket or Cape Cod.

Soak up the sun at the breezy Ogunquit Beach, sightsee along the New England coast, or book a boat cruise to learn what it takes to catch a delicious Maine lobster. Secure a reservation at the Clay Hill Farm Restaurant, where the fresh cuisine trumps the idyllic sprawling acres around you.   

Take solace in the summer breezes of Prince Edward Island, where the only thing you’ll be sweating is your forthcoming return to the heat.

Get whipped into shape at Culinary Boot Camp at The Culinary Institute of Canada, where you can learn how to cook like a PEI local. Attend the 47th annual Tyne Valley Oyster Festival, featuring the Canadian oyster-shucking championships, not to mention the famous fried oyster and scallop suppers.  

Contrary to what you might expect, Reykjavik stays a cool 60 degrees in the summer. 24-hour daylight promises a full day of adventures amidst volcanoes and glaciers and you can cool off at night with a swim in one of the city’s public geothermal heated spas.

For rest and relaxation, look no further than Blue Lagoon, where you can experience in-water treatments and sip signature cocktails poolside. For an eccentric dining experience, hit up Laundromat Café for their delicious Sunday brunch.

We may be feeling the heat in the Northern Hemisphere, but down under in Auckland, it’s a crisp 50 degrees. That’s because from June to August it’s winter in New Zealand, which makes it a perfect summer destination for us.

Auckland is home to some of the country’s oldest vineyards and we’d suggest getting a good taste at the Villa Maria Estate, home to New Zealand’s most lauded wines. Score the catch of the day at the Auckland Fish Market, where behind-the-scenes tours are offered every Tuesday, and gorge on impeccably prepared meat and seafood dishes at Clooney.  

Look no further that San Francisco for an indelible combination of culinary delights and crisp daytime temperatures.

Food and music lovers should hit the Outside Lands Festival as well as the 2011 Taste of the Bay and Wine Lands festivals. (They’re all in the same place!) Then, street food aficionados should flock to the 3rd Annual San Francisco Street Food Festival in the Mission district, where you can find local favorites Kung Fu Tacos, Wise Sons, and The Crème Brûlée.

Gstaad is perfect for visitors looking for cultural enticements, an unbeatable social scene, and cooler temperatures — all of which abound, even in the off-season.

Attend the Suufsunntiga, a drinking festival held on Sundays in July and August, or watch locals bid at cattle auctions, a traditional alpine festivity. For some cheesy goodness, head to Saagi Stübli for the best fondue this side of the mountain.  

The cool winter of Cape Town (during American summer) is akin to weather in the Mediterranean. It’s also a food-lover’s dream.

First stop? Breakfast at the Mount Nelson Hotel in time to take in the breathtaking views at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Book ahead for delicious dinner and drinks at 95 Keerom before spending the day wine tasting at vineyards in nearby Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. 


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