For many teaching professionals who love to travel, having the summer off is one of your favorite perks of the job. Not only do you get to spend your time how you want—whether that’s relaxing, completing training, or making extra cash—you can also indulge your wanderlust. In fact, the simple act of traveling might help instructors by broadening horizons and allowing them to experience different cultures, languages, and people in ways they can bring back to the classroom.
Of course, you need money to travel, but the good news is that some companies offer special deals and discounts for teachers. Sites such as Teacher Travel Discounts and We Are Teachers are resources for uncovering these teacher-specific travel hacks. Teachers in Colorado are also in a great position—geographically, that is—to travel. The Centennial State is practically smack-dab in the middle of the country, and about 1,500 flights depart from Denver International Airport each day. With all of that in mind, here are a handful of perfect-for-summer destinations that every teacher should have on their radar, depending on their specific interests.
If you like history and quirky Americana: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Immerse yourself in the easy, old-fashioned charm of South Carolina’s coast with a nonstop flight (new as of last year!) from DIA to Myrtle Beach. Once you’re there, stay at one of the area’s myriad affordable options, from bed-and-breakfast joints to beachfront homes on Airbnb and VRBO (seriously, you can get seaside for less than $150 a night).
In addition to taking as many strolls on the beach as possible—mind the occasional swimming advisories—visitors to Myrtle Beach should enjoy its subtropical outdoor excursions and cultural offerings. The area is home to a unique and robust theatre scene: The Carolina Opry, the area’s oldest live theater, hosts a collection of raucous shows, while the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, Pirates Voyage, and Polynesian Fire Luau all have distinct takes on dinner theater. Just a half-hour drive away, the Brookgreen Gardens—which encompass a botanic gardens, zoo, and “the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the country”—are an exceptional (and family-friendly) way to stay cool in the shade while still taking in the area’s ecology and culture.
If you’re an art lover and would rather do a car trip: Sante Fe, New Mexico
The desert is too hot for a summer vacation, you say? Not so in the 7,199-foot elevation of Sante Fe, a six-hour drive from Denver, where temps dip below the Mile High City’s averages in the thick of summer. Situated in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, Santa Fe is famous for its arts and Puebloan architecture. While in the capital of the Land of Enchantment, don't miss Meow Wolf, a permanent immersive arts exhibit that warrants a few hours of your time, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, or Canyon Road, a walkable stretch that houses more than 80 art galleries. (It should go without saying that you should leave room in your budget for a piece of turquoise jewelry and a chile verde breakfast burrito.)
To wander even farther off the beaten path, check out the nearby town of Los Alamos, famous for its connection to the Manhattan Project and home to three national park sites.
If you’re into camping and outdoor adventures: Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
Everyone should visit Yellowstone, which is America’s oldest and, perhaps, most famous national park. You can fly to the 3,471-square-mile reserve in northwestern Wyoming by way of Yellowstone Airport for as little as $100 from Denver, or make a road trip out of it. (The park is about an 8.5-hour drive from Denver). While lodging in and near the park is pricey, there are many places to camp, including Bridge Bay, Lewis Lake, and Madison campgrounds (but book soon because spots fill up fast).
You can also stay in the nearby Jackson Hole, a favorite of outdoor enthusiasts for its access to world-class whitewater rafting and fishing, or trek the extra three hours to Bozeman, Montana, where you can enjoy all the under-the-radar (read: less crowded) summer destinations this charming college town has to offer. The city of Bozeman has an active event calendar, including rodeo roller derbies, dances, art walks, and more.
If you just want to hit the beach: The Caribbean
Trying to make up for spending the other nine months of the year landlocked? Head to the Caribbean by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Havana, Cuba; or Montego Bay, Jamaica. It’s common to find roundtrip flights to any of the aforementioned destinations for less than $500, particularly in the off-season summer months. Once you’re there, you can go the route of an all-inclusive, or have a more authentic (and less expensive) experience by way of short-term rentals (check Airbnb, VRBO, or Expedia for the most up-to-date deals). Just be sure to check weather forecasts ahead of time and just like you would here at home, bring plenty of sunscreen.