Visit these nine locations cool off this summer!  Whether you want to enjoy unique desserts or embark on wonder-filled hikes, these locations around the world are definitely to be explored! 

#1 Wadi Mujib – Jordan

Cool off in the lowest place on earth! The Wadi Mujib is a canyon located in Jordan above the Mujib River that flows into the Dead Sea. Hike one of the multiple trails in the canyon to the river, and take a break from the heat by trekking through the waters while following the trail to the Dead Sea.

#2 Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau, Alaska

Within the Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska, visitors can explore two ice caves’ stunning colors and exquisite views. Located on the underside of the Mendenhall Glacier, which is 12 miles long, hiking into the caves is a great adventure if you can find them!

Fascinatingly, the caves are difficult to access because they are known to melt and reform, changing the entrances and form of the caves, so a guided tour is recommended. The caves, formed from water flowing into the glacier and making passageways, have created beautiful shapes and colors from the ice to take in and enjoy winter-like weather in the summer.

Gillfoto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Gillfoto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#3 ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL – Jukkasjarvi and Stokholm, Sweden

The Icehotel and Icebar in Sweden are definitely destinations to visit and escape the heat of summer. Located in Jukkasjarvi, the hotel includes 20 cool rooms, which stay cool all year long; and it also includes rooms that are reconstructed every winter, along with a handful of warm rooms.

Also, the Icebar connected to the hotel has another location in Stockholm, and both are open all year round, unlike most Icebars. Everything, including the furniture, interior, and even the glasses, is made from ice collected from the Torne River.

Inside, the temperature stays from -5℃ to -8℃, and solar panels are used to cool the structures during the warmer months. The designs of the Icebar and Icehotel are created by a wide range of artists from all over the world that change from year to year. They create a winter wonderland for visitors to enjoy any time during the year! 

http://www.cgpgrey.com, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
http://www.cgpgrey.com, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Laplandish, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Laplandish, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#4 Slide Rock State Park (Natural waterpark/slide) -Sedona,  Arizona

This State Park located right outside of Sedona, Arizona is a great place to explore nature and cool off in the water. Remarkably, it was named one of the top swimming holes in the U.S. by the Travel Channel and USA Today.

Located in Oak Creek Canyon, it is part of a historic 43-acre apple orchard and features a unique natural waterslide. In this case, this slide was formed from water running through the sandstone and is 80 feet long with a width ranging from 2.5 to 4 feet. In addition, the algae covering the sandstone makes for a slippery ride, and a great way to escape the Arizona heat.

Natural Waterslide, photo from Arizona State Parks and Trails
Natural Waterslide, photo from Arizona State Parks and Trails

#5 Cafe Bora – Seoul, South Korea

Take a break from Seoul’s summer heat and enjoy some bingsu at one of Cafe Bora’s locations. Bingsu is a popular shaved ice dessert in Korea, and it is enjoyed with many different toppings.

In particular, Cafe Bora offers unique variations of the desert, including an option made from purple sweet potatoes. This gives the dessert a fascinating purple color, which is fitting since the Korean word for purple is bora. As a result, this bingsu is definitely a unique and picture-worthy way to cool off from the heat of summer.

Chloeqpan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Chloeqpan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#6 Johnson’s shut-ins state park – Missouri

Explore this unexpected natural waterpark in Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park located in Missouri. This area offers 180 acres for people to swim, slide, explore, and cool off in a natural playground. As a result of the Black River getting shut-in, it carved potholes and slides into the Rhyolite Rock. Leading to an area that provides ample space for visitors to explore and enjoy.

Natural Waterpark, photo from Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Natural Waterpark, photo from Missouri Department of Natural Resources

#7 Kuang Si Falls – Luang Prabang, Laos

A 15 to 20-minute hike right outside of Luang Prabang, Laos brings you to Kuang Si Falls. These stunning milky turquoise waters fall 50 meters from the jungle into tiered limestone pools, offering amazing views and a dreamy place to swim. Here, most of the pools are open to the public to swim in.

However, there are a few pools that you cannot swim in as they are sacred to the local people. Notably, there are even changing rooms, rope swings, and a picnic area located at the falls. Also, visitors can explore pools located at the bottom, all the way up to the top of the falls, which require another 15-minute hike but provides spectacular views.

Visions of Domino, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Visions of Domino, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

#8 Thrihnukagigur Cave – Iceland

Visiting the Thrihnukagigur Cave in Iceland is truly a unique experience. It is a dormant volcano that last erupted 4,000 years ago. It has a large magma chamber, and is the only one in the world that people can enter! This is because after a magma chamber empties and does not refill with magma, it usually collapses in on itself. However, this one did not and created a cave formation.

It is 213 meters deep,  about the height of a 40 story building, and the temperature inside stays around 4℃. Visitors can enter the cave by being lowered down into it by a lift. While inside, cool off in the nice chilly temperature and take in the wonderful reds, yellows, greens, and blues from mineral deposits that color the walls. Don’t worry if you get too cold, there is hot local Icelandic soup being served at the top.

Adventures inside the cave, photo from Inside the Volcano (© Hans Strand)
Adventures inside the cave, photo from Inside the Volcano (© Hans Strand)
Entering the cave, photo from Inside the Volcano
Entering the cave, photo from Inside the Volcano

#9 Ice Museum part of Hongdae’s Trick Eye Museum – Seoul, South Korea

This chilly experience located in Seoul, South Korea is part of Hongdae’s Trick Eye Museum. It is an exciting place to play and explore different ice sculptures. Such as, an igloo, a hotel, a toilet, and even a 10-meter slide guests can actually slide down! Stop by during the summer to cool down from the heat outside, and discover this unique museum in Seoul.


About the Author:  

Kaitlyn Ackerley is a graduating student at the University of South Alabama with a Hospitality and Tourism Management degree. She aspires to continue her education in the field and have a career in travel and tourism.