Temperatures are increasing, and the abundance of families in typical vacation spots seems to be, too. Those are telltale signs that summer vacation is officially in full swing. From relaxing to reggae music on a Caribbean island to sinking into the hot sands of a seemingly endless beach, these are some of the best places to travel in July for a mid-summer getaway.
On the island where reggae was invented, it only makes sense that there would be an annual festival to celebrate the genre. Every July in Montego Bay, the Reggae Sumfest honors the homegrown music style with a weeklong festival. Headliners have included Jamaican artists like Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Stephen Marley, Toots and the Maytals and the Mighty Diamonds.
International artists Sean Paul, Rihanna, Usher and 50 Cent have also visited Jamaica for this festival. Interested but can’t make the trip? Reggae Sumfest is live-streamed, too, so you can have your own irie dance party at home.
This year’s Sumfest will go from July 14 to July 20, featuring artists like Buju Banton, Chronixx and Dexta Daps.
It’s windy season in Bali, and the Balinese take advantage of the annual surplus of its natural resource. More specifically, the local kite-flyers fill the skies with hundreds of elaborately designed kites at the annual Bali Kite Festival held on Padang Galak Beach.
These aren’t your average kites from Mary Poppins: Teams of 70 to 80 people create one of three types of traditional kites that are approximately 13 feet wide and a little over 30 feet long, pitting them in best-launch and longest-flight competitions. Teams also compete for the best new creations, as some models include three-dimensional designs of cars, dragons and Hindu gods, among other creations. The event initially began as an agrarian festival and a way to thank the gods for bountiful harvests.
If you’re someone who likes to plan ahead, the Bali Kite Festival may be difficult to attend. Because the wind conditions vary so much, the festival can be scheduled any time from July to October.
Hosted by the Dominica Watersports Association, Dive Fest is one of the longest-running scuba-diving festivals in the Caribbean. Discounts are offered for reef diving and free in-pool training sessions, so any diver of any experience can participate. The event is family-oriented and includes children-friendly activities, like whale-watching and a snorkel treasure hunt at Champagne Reef. One of the festival’s most famous events is the Kubuli Canoe Race, wherein teams of four compete in traditional fishing boats.
This year’s Dive Fest takes place from July 5 to July 14.
Anyone who’s been to Fiji has probably heard a heartfelt “Bula!” greeting from a local. Like the Hawaiian “aloha,” “bula” can mean “hello,” “goodbye,” “welcome” and “love.” It also means “life,” which is at the essence of the annual Bula Festival celebrating Fijian culture.
The weeklong event is held in both Koroivolu Park and Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Indulge in traditional Fijian food and enjoy parades, live music, a Pacific dance contest and a Bollywood-themed night commemorating the island’s Indo-Fijian population and the crowning of Miss Bula.
The 2019 Bula Festival takes place July 22 to July 29.
Thanks to the island’s ever-present trade winds, Aruba has become the unofficial mecca of windsurfing sports. At the Aruba Hi-Winds tournament, amateur windsurfers and kite-boarders from around the world get the chance to show off their top tricks. Competitors also face off in slalom races, freestyle competitions and long-distance events. Catch all the action from Hadicurari Beach.
The 33rd-annual Hi-Winds tournament will be held from July 4 to July 8.
Ernest Hemingway left his mark on the Florida Keys, and, in his memory, their inhabitants throw him a birthday party every year. Hemingway Days is a weeklong festival to honor the author with readings, book signings and a short-story competition directed by Hemingway’s granddaughter and author, Lorian Hemingway.
One of the main events is a Hemingway lookalike contest. Some of these white-bearded “Papa” doppelgängers also take part in a mock running of the bulls, a reference to Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises. The Key West Marlin Tournament also happens during Hemmingway Days, honoring the expatriate’s love for the sport.
Hemmingway Days begin July 18 and conclude on July 21, and the marlin tournament goes from the July 17 to July 20, making the Florida Keys one of the best places to travel in July.
What does the movie Footloose have in common with Tahiti? In the early 1800s, dancing was forbidden in the country. Christian missionaries viewed Tahitians’ cultural dancing as vulgar. In the late 1800s, the locals gained back their right to dance when France incorporated the territory as one of its own. This history and the love for dancing are celebrated at Heiva I Tahiti, an annual festival held in Papeete.
During the event, traditional Tahitian culture takes center stage with dance performances, sports competitions (e.g., canoe races, javelin-throwing competitions) and an a capella singing competition. Heiva I Tahiti begins July 4 and ends July 20.
Celebrating Bastille Day in the U.S. Virgin Islands may not be as strange as it sounds. The island of St. Thomas is home to a large community of French descendants who emigrated from the French island of St. Barts. The island celebrates the French Revolution-derived holiday with a number of events, including the popular Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament.
Between 50 and 100 boats travel to compete in an approximately seven-hour-long event and for a chance to win over $10,000 in prizes. Teams and spectators alike rendezvous at Hull Bay Hideaway afterward for a beachside party with live performances from local bands and the awards ceremony.
Bastille Day is every year on July 14, and this year’s 31st-annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament is also on the 14.
Each year, the mountain town of Aibonito hosts the largest plant show in Puerto Rico. After about an hour-and-a-half drive from San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, you’ll be engulfed in all things flora. Known locally as the “Festival de las Flores” (“Festival of Flowers”), this event lives up to its name, as the streets are packed with parades with flower-decorated displays and vendors selling plants and flowers.
Anthophiles can browse orchids, heliconias, hibiscus, fruit trees and vegetable plants, among others, while eating local cuisine from food stalls and listening to local, live music. This year’s festival takes place from June 28 to July 7.
The Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island is one of the most musically diverse festivals you’ll see today. It started in 1959 and, over the years, has seen its fair share of stars: In 1963, Joan Baez invited Bob Dylan on stage for his national debut; six years later, Johnny Cash brought on Kris Kristofferson. Now celebrating its 60th anniversary this July, the constantly evolving lineup includes artists from genres like indie folk, country, blues and folk punk.
This year’s rolling lineup includes Hozier, the Highwomen, Yola, E.B. the Younger, Rayland Baxter and I’m With Her. The Newport Folk Festival is also known for having some musicians show up unannounced.
The festival takes place in Fort Adams State Park, which is about a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Boston and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City. Tickets are sold out, but the organizers have implemented an official fan-to-fan ticket exchange on their website. The Newport Folk Festival takes place from July 26 to July 28.