First Day of Summer Check List: 20 Best Things to Do This Summer


Summer means sunset at 8 p.m. and bonfires on the beach. How can you make this summer the best one ever? Check out these 20 tips.


Greece. Greece’s economy is in deep trouble, but this makes travel much cheaper. Hotel prices have fallen while the capital city has invested in a huge subway project that makes transportation easier. Japan. With the devastating earthquake and nuclear meltdown in 2011, Japan saw little tourism that drove rates down. Go while it’s cheap for the food and mostly free attractions. Tunisia. Post-Arab Spring, this country seems to have settled down and is begging for tourists. Belize. Less crowded than its neighbors Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, this English-speaking nation is so underrated. Mayan ruins and the world's second-largest barrier reef are only two attractions. It’s also affordable -- in 2011, the dollar appreciated 1.3% against Belize’s currency. Snag the deal before December 2012, when the Mayan Calendar 2012 apocalypse will probably lead to a spike in festivals and sporting events that will increase hotel prices and crowds. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Van Gogh Museum just made its newest addition in five years. It is also the last chance for foreigners to visit the famous Dutch “coffeehouses” that openly sell cannabis, as the Dutch government recently banned visitors without special passes from these marijuana attractions. They’ve only just begun enforcing the law, which won’t be fully enforced until 2013 -- so those interested may still be able to squeeze in. Warsaw and other cities in Poland. With a growing GDP, tourist economy, and post-Euro Cup drop in premiums, Poland is the place to be this summer. It’s full of history and culture often unexplored by Westerners.  Taipei, Taiwan. Last summer, Taiwan allowed the first mainland Chinese tourists into the country, relaxing tension between the two countries and opening up Taiwanese tourism. Even though it’s humid and wet during the summer, you can still enjoy the beaches, hot springs, and mountain island attractions as well as the capital’s cosmopolitan scene.

9) Watch TV. Vampire show True Blood’s (HBO) fifth and final season began on June 10. Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing) dramatizes the media world in his new show, The Newsroom (June 24, HBO), about a cable producer and his new executive producer who navigate through the corporate, commercial, and interpersonal challenges of the newsroom. To whet your appetite for the London Olympics 2012, look out for Twenty Twelve (BBC America) - a mockumentary about the London Olympics organizing team. Breaking Bad’s final season begins on AMC on July 15.