Female teacher reading a book in a hammock while on summer vacation. North America
Female teacher reading a book in a hammock while on summer vacation. North America

10 Best Vacations For Teachers During The Summer

Teacher Summer Vacation Travel Ideas

By Cynthia J. Drake | Published on April 22, 2022

Summer break is forever around the corner, and after the past few years, no one deserves a vacation more than teachers. These ideal vacations for teachers are a mix of much-needed relaxation, affordability, and fun opportunities for education that may even inspire some ideas when you head back to the classroom this fall.

Teacher Travel Ideas For Summer Vacation

Many of these travel destination ideas for teachers on summer vacation can be reached via road trip, a short flight, or a cost-effective cruise, while still ensuring your travels are memorable and recharges you after the school year.

1. Sitka, Alaska

Alaska Summer Vacation That’s Lasting

If Alaska's been on your bucket list, there may be no better time to get to the 49th state than now. Cruise season in Alaska is picking back up, and locals are heartily welcoming tourists back with signature activities such as whale watching, salmon fishing, hiking through rainforests, and more. A cruise stop in Sitka is especially rewarding for educators, with its intriguing combination of Russian and indigenous Tlingit history to explore, plus the cultural and natural treasures in Sitka National Park where you'll find totem poles underneath a towering pine tree canopy and rivers teeming with salmon.

2. Yucatán, Mexico

 Mexico Summer Vacation Starts Below

If warm weather and margaritas are more your speed, head south to Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. It combines plenty of beach-side R&R with easy and enriching day trips to Mayan ruins, historic cities, and natural wonders such as cenotes. There are more than 200 Mayan ruins accessible to the public through independent tour operators in this region of Mexico, giving you great insights to share with Spanish language students or those studying Mesoamerican history. Bring back some chocolate with you (once considered a sacred food) and earn some brownie points with your students.

3. Washington, D.C.

Washington Dc Summer Vacation A Traveler’s Salvation

The nation's capital city is not only a goldmine for always-learning teachers, but it also offers some great options for checking out amazing restaurants and enjoying the great outdoors in between all the educational sightseeing. Plan to incorporate a few days at the always-free Smithsonian museums, where you can gather souvenirs and a photo album of primary source pics for your students to see after your summer vacation travels. Then, head to Virginia's Shenandoah National Park and immerse yourself in forest bathing in the stunning Shenandoah Valley.

4. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Summer Vacation Sensation

Puerto Rico is one of my favorites, great summer vacation for teachers, in that it promises rejuvenation with a wealth of cultural and historical sightseeing to keep island travelers deeply engaged and connected with the people as well as the places they're visiting. Spend some time at the San Juan National Historic Site followed by a historical walking or bus tour to learn the history of this U.S. territory. Be sure to sample local cuisine such as mofongo and the piña colada — according to rumor, this is where the cocktail originated.

5. Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee Summer Vacation: Guarantee The History As You Travel

From Beale Street to Graceland and Sun Studio, Memphis is one of the best summer vacation destinations for teachers who love music, history, and barbecue. This authentic southern city is also a richly rewarding experience for visitors with a keen interest in Civil Rights history. The National Civil Rights Museum is located here, at the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Head to Crosstown Concourse, a place where locals go for trendy new restaurants, cafés, and bars, including Global Café, where all the food is prepared by entrepreneurial immigrants and refugees. In the evening, take in Mighty Lights, a free synchronized light show that takes place over the Mississippi River.

6. Breckenridge, Colorado

Colorado Summer Vacation: Find Adventure In The Nature

Change your altitude a little with a trip to famed ski town Breckenridge, which maintains its quaint charm in the summer months bolstered by a sense of adventure in the nature. During the summer here in Colorado, you can go fly-fishing, hiking, exercise a team of local sled dogs, and enjoy warm-weather activities at Breckenridge Ski Resort, from chair lift rides and an alpine coaster to zip lines, rope courses and more. Go back in time with a visit to the local historic gold mine hearkening back to the days of the Gold Rush.

7. Santa Fe, New Mexico

New Mexico Summer Vacation Temptation

Summer is a great time to explore the Land of Enchantment and view some beautiful desert sunsets and rejuvenate your spirits after a whirlwind school year. In and around Santa Fe, you'll find a bounty of day spas and hot springs. Spend your day walking around the Santa Fe Plaza sightseeing and shopping for unique artisanal goods, and check out the growing development at the Railyard, where you can take a train trip via Sky Railway and solve an onboard murder mystery (author and local resident George R.R. Martin is one of the masterminds behind the venture). Schedule a sunset horseback ride at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, just a bit north of Santa Fe, and be sure to visit one of New Mexico's remarkable national parks and monuments. Bandelier National Monument or White Sands National Park are two great options.

8. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Michigan Summer Vacation: Take A Cruise Ship On Your Road Trip

The Great Lakes State is a gorgeous place to add to your summer vacation list, particularly for a road trip up one of the coasts overlooking Lake Michigan or Lake Huron, stopping along the way at the Michigan beachside towns fit for hikes along the dunes. It’s not uncommon to see everything from groups of motorcycle travels to adventurers enjoying a cruise on the Great Lakes. 

Extend your vacation with a trip to Mackinac Island. Travel ideas for teachers should ideally be low-stress, so maybe consider leave your car behind, as the Mackinac Island is only accessible by taking a local cruise ship or plane. Once on the island, be sure to bring your bike or rent one and challenge yourself to the 8.2-mile circuit around the island for your daily dose of P.E. The legendary Grand Hotel makes a worthy stop for an afternoon tea. The remote, disconnectedness lends this island a romantic, historic charm.

9. Portland, Oregon

Oregon Summer Vacation for Those Stunning Views

Teachers hoping to spend their break escaping the summer heat might want to head to the Pacific Northwest for some fresh mountain air, fantastic museums, and stunning views. Spend some time exploring Portland's many city parks, cafés, and restaurants before making your way to Mt. Hood for further exploration. History extra credit: You can still roam parts of the original Oregon Trail, such as the Barlow Road Trail, marveling at the rough terrain faced by pioneers during the Westward Expansion. Add historical insights with visits to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City or the Philip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek. For some fun, check out some of the ski resorts-turned adventure parks during the summer, such as Mt. Hood Adventure Park at SkiBowl, with an alpine coaster and thrilling zip lines.

10. Sarasota, Florida

Florida Summer Vacation Flows Right To Aha

Nothing says "vacation" like an aha moment on a white sand Florida beach — and Sarasota is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Spend your summer trip lapping up the ocean waves, devouring a good book on the beach, searching for seashells (and even prehistoric shark teeth) to share with students, and eating fresh-caught seafood. For a little extra enrichment to your summer vacation, hit up the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, a working laboratory where you can learn more and catch a glimpse of native fish, manatees, and sharks up close.


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