The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

27 Best Places To Visit In Summer In The USA (2024 Vacation Ideas For Everyone)

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

United States

Updated On: April 5, 2024

The US is a great place to be when summer hits. You’ve got the hiking trails in national parks like Acadia National Park and Rocky Mountains National Park. There are the west coast beaches and major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. And that’s all without considering the delicious cuisine of New Orleans and the historic East Coast, with New York and Washington DC. Wherever you go in the US this summer, you will find a slightly different personality in each region.

Table of Contents

Best Summer Vacations in the USA

Best Summer Vacations in the USA

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best summer vacations in the USA. A summer vacation is often a highlight of your year. It’s the chance to explore a new national park, city, or road trip. Summer is about building memories and making new connections, enjoying the sunshine that has spread across most of the USA. Sure, these places might be busier in summer, but seeing them in their full glory makes the extra crowds worth dealing with.

There’s so much to do in the USA in summer; these top 27 places will help you create memories of a lifetime. With any of these amazing spots, you’ll have the ‘best summer ever.’

1. New York City

Places to visit in Summer in The USA New York city

People rave about visiting New York in the fall and winter when the city comes to life with Christmas markets and festivity. But when it comes to the ‘city that never sleeps’, you best believe it makes full use of all those extra daylight hours. New York is one of the most fun, activity-stuffed summer vacations. As a summer getaway, New York City has so much to offer. It has pop-up events like movie screenings in Bryant Park, and even things like visiting rooftop bars become more pleasant, with longer evenings and later sunsets.

Places to visit in Summer  NYC

New York is one of our favorite cities. We have endless resources you can scroll through, including a guide on the ultimate one-day itinerary and a guide on our all-time-favorite things to do. In summer, you should especially check out the city’s green spaces (Central Park becomes even more sought-after) as well as day-tripping to some of its nearby beaches.

New York is fantastic to visit in the summer months because of its late-night events, proximity to beaches, and spacious green spaces.

Insider Tip: Check out beaches like Coney Island and Brighton Beach.

Where to Stay: Here’s our thorough guide on where to stay in New York City , plus our favorite hotel, Park Hyatt New York.

2. Napa Valley

Places to visit in the Summer Napa Valley

Napa Valley is California’s wine country. And while this beautiful area of more than 475 vineyards and countryside towns is gorgeous all year round, summer is special. The Napa harvest season runs from August to October, meaning if you visit in August to early September you’ll visit at the height of the action. With warmer weather, you’ll have long, hot afternoons to look forward to. It’s a heavenly time to visit and indulge in wine tasting with cheese and olives.

Many vineyards are within walking distance of Napa Valley’s main towns, including Rutherford, Napa, Yountville, and Oakville. You can also enjoy activities like hot air ballooning , more reliable flights in better weather, and romantic excursions like horseback riding.

Insider Tip: If you want to dodge the main crowds, visit at the back end of summer in September or October.

Where to Stay: The Estate Yountville.

3. Las Vegas

Places for summer vacation in the USA Las Vegas

Bizarrely enough, summer is a quiet time for Las Vegas, which contradicts many of the other destinations we have highlighted. Most of the tourism is concentrated on the spring and fall seasons, with tourists avoiding the summer heat. As temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in summer months, you can see why it can put some people off.

However, if you’re selective in your sightseeing , there’s no reason you can’t enjoy Las Vegas as one of the best summer vacations in the USA. The lack of crowds is already a great start. Since much of Vegas is seen at night when temperatures are cooler, the city is actually well-suited to a summer vacation. You can enjoy attractions like the Neon Museum and the Mob Museum. And you can still take day trips to Death Valley National Park or Emerald Cave – just do so as early as possible in the morning to beat those crazy midday temperatures.

Places to visit in Summer Death Valley National Park

Las Vegas doesn’t follow a rule book, so why should you? Just shake up the norms around sightseeing times and book accommodation with aircon and a pool; you’ll love Vegas in summer, especially if you are a sun lover. And, if you feel like you can skip flying to Europe, seeing the Eiffel Tower in Vegas is a fabulous compromise.

Insider Tip: Keep outdoor sightseeing to the earliest hours you can manage.

Where to Stay: Here’s our thorough guide on Where to Stay in Las Vegas: Best Places and Areas and our favorite hotel is The Bellagio .

4. Bryce Canyon National Park

Places to visit in the Summer USA Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is gorgeous in summer. We actually listed the national park as one of the best places to visit in spring with a small caveat: you are an experienced hiker and driver in icy conditions. Bryce Canyon National Park is slow to warm up, so if you’d prefer easy access, waiting until summer is ideal. It has plenty of shaded trails that experience long, crisp mornings even in the height of summer. And there’s even a free shuttle service in the summer season.

If you are looking for somewhere where you can enjoy hiking trails and dramatic Utah rock formations, Bryce Canyon National Park is our top recommendation. You can breeze through the easy Sunset Point Trail or tackle the classic, and more difficult, Navajo Loop.

Best Places for Summer Vacation. in the USA Bryce Canyon

Yes, Bryce Canyon is at its busiest in June, July, and August, but this is for good reason. You won’t be contending with ice and difficult accessibility. And if you are a solo hiker, these crowds can be preferable for safety in numbers. For the inexperienced and freshly solo, this national park wiggled its way onto our list as one of the best summer vacations. If you are in the area make sure to check out our guide to Utah National Parks: How to visit The Mighty 5 .

Insider Tip: Visit in September to October if you’d prefer fewer crowds.

Where to Stay: Brian Head Lodge .

5. Outer Banks

Places to visit in the Summer USA Outer Banks North Carolina

North Carolina’s Outer Banks are a timeless place to spend a summer vacation. The Outer Banks are a collection of barrier islands that start by the North Carolina-Virginia border and stretch all the way down to Ocracoke Island. They extend over 175 miles and are full of gorgeous beaches with deep blue waters.

In summer, you’ll see Cape Hatteras National Seashore at its absolute best, and you can enjoy leisurely strolls to both Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses. The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is also a haven for migratory and endangered birds. Keep your eyes peeled for warblers, sparrows, and waxwings if you’re lucky.

The Outer Banks are perfect for anyone who wants to experience beach-style summer vacations. It is also ideal for the more adventurous, especially those passionate about water-related activities and wildlife conservation. The Outer Banks are quiet and not overly developed, with just a few small towns along its length.

Insider Tip: Make sure to see the wild horses on the Outer Banks. You can take a guided tour or go it alone.

Where to Stay: Check out Island Motel OBX .

6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains NAtional Park Summer Vacation Destinations in the USA

The Great Smoky Mountains stretch between Tennessee and North Carolina and are a region of legendary wilderness. The mountains clocked their name for their trademark low-lying mist, which typically cloaks the forested ridges in the early morning. The national park is home to over 1,500 black bears and more than 200 varieties of birds. And that’s before you even begin to think about the over 4,000 different types of plant varieties. Regarding conservation and natural beauty, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in a league of its own.

You can tackle sections of the Appalachian Trail and enjoy warmer temperatures by cooling off in swimming holes like the Wye and Sinks. Summer brings many water-related activities, from white water rafting through dense forests and shaded trails to hidden waterfalls like Laurel Falls. While if wildlife sightseeing is your main draw, driving Cades Cove Loop Road is a great bet, and bears and deer are most active in summer.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best summer vacations for nature lovers. The whole 500,000-plus acres spring into life in the summer, with wildlife more active and water activities more enjoyable.

Insider Tip: Drive Cades Cove Loop Road to spot black bears.

Where to Stay: Best Western Plus Apple Valley Lodge Pigeon Force.

Places to visit in Summer in The USA Chicago

Thanks to its scenic location along Lake Michigan, Chicago is a beautiful place to visit for a summer vacation. It has miles of sandy beaches along the lakefront and plentiful green spaces in the city, like Millenium Park. In warm weather, it’s one of the best summer vacation spots.

The city is rammed with things to do and tasty dishes to eat ; it’s famous for its Italian-influenced cuisine and killer pizzas, which you can enjoy al fresco in the sunshine. There’s also no better time to stroll the Chicago Riverwalk or take a boat tour. Chicago has a fast-paced personality, and if you don’t believe us, just check out the festivals coming up this summer.

Chicago Illinois Places to visit in Summer in The USA

Given its location on Lake Michigan, it would be a crime not to day trip to nearby towns and cities when staying in Chicago. Remember that Milwaukee has Summerfest , too. We love summers in Chicago because of its lakeside location and endless festivities.

Insider Tip: Make sure to snag tickets for Milwaukee’s Summerfest.

Where to Stay: Here’s our guide on where to stay . We’d particularly recommend Pendry Hotel.

8. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Best Places to visit in Summer Colonial Williamsburg Virginia USA

History buffs, this is your time to shine. Colonial Williamsburg is the USA’s largest-ever outdoor living museum and whisks visitors back to the 18th century. The museum spans 301 acres, with two separate art museums, historic taverns, and exhibits. It’s set in a historic district within Williamsburg, and you can walk around for free. Williamsburg was one of America’s first-ever ‘planned cities’ by British colonialists, so it’s a momentous place to visit and comprehend this part of the USA’s history.

In summer, the action at Colonial Williamsburg is in full flow. You’ll see all the actors out engaging with visitors, and you’ll enjoy warmer weather to walk the streets. We’d advise against walking around in the midday heat. Still, you can plan the walking aspects for the early morning and then spend midday to early afternoon in indoor attractions, like the art museums. You can also tour Colonial Williamsburg after dark too, with haunted tours.

Colonial Williamsburg has a unique history to embrace this summer. You’ll love the experience; an outdoor museum is the perfect way to enjoy the sunshine.

Insider Tip: Plan your timings and itinerary around the hottest parts of the day, especially when visiting with children.

Where to Stay: Club Wyndham Kingsgate.

Best Summer Vacation Ideas Boston Mass

Boston is another option for history-loving summer vacation seekers. It is full of beautiful Victorian-style buildings and is brimming with Revolution history. Boston also sits on the East Coast, and it’s another place that gets off to a slow start when it comes to warming up in spring. The Atlantic breeze keeps temperatures reasonably low, meaning waiting until summer to catch Boston in warmer temperatures is best.

Boston is massively walkable if you stay downtown, so much so that it’s been nicknamed ‘America’s Walking City’. Chinatown, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay are all within easy walking distance of the city’s downtown region. And in summer, the warm weather makes Boston’s walkability even more appealing, so grab your comfiest walking shoes.

Best Places to visit in the Summer USA Boston

You can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities in summer , like kayaking the Charles River or strolling James P. Kelleher Rose Garden. There are also scenic trails around the waterfront and history-themed attractions like the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.

For us, Boston’s walkability is partly what makes it such an entertaining city. And there’s no doubt that summer is the best time to go strolling and experience Boston’s history.

Insider Tip: Don’t forget to walk the Harvard campus.

Where to Stay: The Newbury Boston .

10. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Best Places to Visit in Summer Uinta Wasatch-Cache National Forest

If you want the best summer in the great outdoors, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is a beautiful choice for a summer vacation. The national forest is just outside of Salt Lake City in Utah and is an accessible choice for a summer trip combined with a city break. While previously the forest was a relatively unsung tourist destination, more and more people have clocked onto its beauty. It is a bit Banff-esque, with jutting peaks that keep their snow caps way into late spring and alpine lakes. And by summer, the wildlife is in full swing.

Little Deer Creek Falls is magnificent, as is the gorgeous Amethyst Lake. You can go horseback riding, cycling, or hiking. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest has dozens of hidden waterfalls and alpine lakes, with more challenging mountain peaks for the more experienced hikers and climbers. Mount Timpanogos via Timpooneke Trail is particularly stunning in summer.

We’d suggest fully embracing the wilderness with a camping vacation in the forest. It’s a brilliant time to safely access an area of extreme natural beauty.

Insider Tip: Late summer is typically best for dodging inevitable mosquitos.

Where to Stay: The Lodge at Snowbird.

11. Galveston

Best Places to Visit in the Summer USA Galveston Texas

Galveston is beautifully situated on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and if you aren’t sold on Texas as a summer destination, prepare for that to change. Galveston is an island city on a barrier island blessed with miles of beaches and the gorgeous Galveston Island State Park with bird watching and boardwalks. Galveston is where to go for bird watching, fresh seafood, and pristine beaches.

In summer, you can experience Galveston’s beaches at their best. You could even enter the AIA Sandcastle Competition, which has been running for over 35 years. Regarding bird watching, it’s also an excellent time for frigatebirds, scissor-tailed flycatchers, and painted buntings. Head out with some binoculars to Galveston Island State Park and work on your tan while spotting some of the USA’s prettiest summer birds.

Galveston is, without a doubt, a brilliant beach destination for summer vacations, and it has the added bonus of fantastic bird watching. It’s a popular Texas getaway for anyone in the know.

Insider Tip: Bring binoculars and long-lens cameras so you don’t miss out on smaller or distant birds.

Where to Stay: Virginia Point INN.

Best Places to Visit in Summer USa Miami Beach

We cannot have a list of summer vacation spots and not feature Miami. Miami is a little bit ‘love it or hate it,’ but that’s all part of its spunky aesthetic. There’s nothing more classic than Miami’s South Beach, with its art deco beach infrastructure. And in summer, Miami is in full flow . You can enjoy all of its beach culture, surfing, and sunbathing. The weather is perfect for day-tripping to enjoy the nearby Key Biscayne and Biscayne National Park.

cities to visit this summer

Now, it is a well-known fact that summer spells hurricane season. However, July is the odd one out here, as the driest month of the year. With heat and record dry days, it’s a popular time to visit Miami, and one we’d also recommend if you want to experience the city in its summertime glory.

Insider Tip: Sign up for hurricane and weather alerts.

Where to Stay: Here’s our guide on where to stay in Miami , plus our favorite Bentley Beach Club .

13. Atlantic City

Best Places to Visit in Summertime Atlantic City

Atlantic City is a fun resort city on the New Jersey shore. It initially sprang up in the 19th century as a health resort – somewhere to head to the coast in summer for fresh air and sea. Now, Atlantic City has hit its rebellious years and instead offers a hotbed of nightclubs and casinos. It’s where to book a summer vacation if you want party culture in a less-trodden spot. Think of a quieter, coastal Vegas.

In summer, you get the most out of Atlantic City’s location, with the gorgeous boardwalk and beach access . And when it gets to midday heat, you can dash into the cooling shade of the Central Pier Arcade or cool off at Island Waterpark.

Atlantic City got our vote for its fun, party atmosphere. Plus, it is less than 2.5 hours away from New York City by car and is pretty accessible.

Insider Tip: Visit the bizarre building, Lucy the Elephant.

Where to Stay: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

14. Lewes, Delaware

Fun Places to Visit in Summer Lewes Delaware

Lewes is tiny, a coastal blip on Delaware’s Atlantic coastline. It has a pretty big story behind it, though, as the site of the first European settlement in Delaware and a once-thriving Dutch trading post. The arrival of colonists was short-lived, though, when all settlers were killed in 1632. Despite its complex early days, the town offers far more than just colonial tales and maritime history. The town is surrounded by nature, including Cape Henlopen State Park and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

The history of Lewes is best appreciated by walking the area and its surrounding nature, which is what scored it our vote as one of the best summer vacations. The warm weather helps you to spend more time outdoors and understand Lewes better. There are some cracking beaches nearby, too, like Savannah and Johnnie Walker Beach.

Insider Tip: Check out Lewes’ breweries.

Where to Stay: Home2Suites by Hilton Lewes Rehoboth Beach.

15. Olympic National Park

Best Places for a summer vacation Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is stunning. Situated right by the Canada border, separated from Vancouver Island only by the Salish Sea, Olympic National Park is famed for its old-growth rainforests. You can walk through the magic Hall of Mosses , which only stretches less than a mile but has drooping ferns and dramatically hanging green moss from gnarled trees. It’s like something out of a fairy tale.

In summer, you can enjoy camping and hiking in Olympic National Park with warmer temperatures and lesser rainfall on your side. And if you still want some element of summer beach vacation, it also has the nearby La Push beaches with the famous Hole-In-The-Wall.

Best summer vacation ideas USA Olympic NP

Summer is the best time to experience Olympic National Park and embrace even more of its usual magic, with leaping salmon if you visit in September and more active wildlife across the season. It’s also warm enough to enjoy its beaches better.

Insider Tip: Take the ferry to Victoria from Port Angeles to sneak in a visit to Canada as well.

Where to Stay: Pacific Inn Motel.

16. Grand Teton National Park

Fun Places to Visit in Summer Grand Teton

Now, we will mention Yellowstone, but it would be totally amiss of us not to mention Grand Teton National Park as well. These two national parks are only a couple of hours apart. Yet, they both offer an entirely different experience and outdoor activities. Grand Teton National Park is glaciated rather than volcanic like Yellowstone.

Grand Teton is a fertile region of glaciated mountains with dramatic crags and sharp ridges from centuries-old ice shaping. Its pastures now feed thousands of moose, elk, and bison. In summer, tourists can drive the park’s scenic 42-mile loop and spot wildlife out their window. You can also easily enjoy water activities like kayaking on Jenny Lake and warm weather hikes.

Much of the park closes between late fall and spring, so summer is the best time to thoroughly access Grand Teton National Park. If you want ‘full access,’ we’d suggest visiting between June and early September.

Insider Tip: Extend your stay to combine both national parks in one visit.

Where to Stay: The Virginian Lodge.

17. Orlando

Best Family Places To visit in summer USA Orlando Florida

Orlando isn’t known for its breathtaking scenery in a natural sense. Instead, the Florida mega city is famous for its theme parks, including Magic Kingdom and its colossal Disney castle. You could easily spend a week exploring the different theme parks and rollercoasters , making it one of the best summer vacation spots for anyone wanting to let their hair down. It’s an ideal city choice if you love theme parks and the thrill of rollercoasters.

Undoubtedly, summers are a busy time for Orlando, especially given the school holidays and kids’ appeal. We’d suggest visiting in June if you want a quieter experience or in early September when most schools have returned.

You can also take some great day trips from Orlando, like to the Kennedy Space Center or Blue Springs State Park, to snorkel with a manatee. It’s an ideal summer vacation for anyone wanting to balance theme park fun with a few cool Florida experiences.

Insider Tip: Research passes and theme park discounts.

Where to Stay: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort.

18. San Francisco

Places to visit in Summer San Francisco

San Francisco is a golden child of the West Coast. It is mainly known for its foggy conditions, with plenty of – slightly eerie – photos of the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in mist. It has a bit of a microclimate, with different neighborhoods experiencing different weather simultaneously because of wind patterns from its Pacific Coast location. However, the summer weather transforms the city into one of the US’ best summer vacation spots.

Places to visit in summer USA San Fran

Fisherman’s Wharf becomes even more pleasant to walk around, as does Golden Gate Park. And there are festivals galore, from the Union Street Festival to the 4th of July celebrations. The outdoor Sundown Cinema also pops up in Dolores Park. At the same time, beach lovers can enjoy spectacular beaches like Baker Beach and Mile Rock Beach.

Like New York City, San Fran is a city that shakes itself into action over the summer, utilizing its precious green spaces and beaches. These are all the great things to do in San Francisco .

Insider Tip: Allow a few days in case of the ‘return of the fog’.

Where to Stay: Here’s where to stay in San Fran , plus its best hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco.

19. Glacier National Park

Best Places to visit in the summer USa Glacier NAtional Park

Glacier National Park is gorgeous, with sloping mountain spikes cloaked in ice and acres of alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers. If outdoor adventures are your thing, Glacier National Park really comes into its own for summer vacations. There are over 700 miles of trails to hike . With the summer temperatures underway, these are all now accessible without ice and snow underfoot.

You can hike to Grinnell Glacier, complete the Trail of the Cedars, admire multi-colored rocks in Lake McDonald, and see 35-foot Saint Mary Falls.

Glacier National Park is a real gateway into Montana, with mountain goats, grizzlies, and moose. Summer is when all these residents are most active too, so you’ll have a whale of a time choosing this park as your summer vacation.

Insider Tip: Bring bear spray – enough said.

Where to Stay: Moss Mountain Inn.

20. Zion National Park

Best Places to take a summer vacation in the USa Zion Canyon

Zion National Park , we’ll admit that we are obsessed. Like many of the beautiful national parks in southern Utah, Zion National Park is a slow starter for thawing out after winter. Spring is a tricky time as there is still ice on trails (which is a pain for sketchier routes like Angels Landing). You get all the snow melt, which makes trails like the Narrows inadvisable full of all but the most experienced hikers.

All of these factors combine to make Zion perfect for your summer vacation. Summer travelers get an easier version of the park, and if you visit in early summer, like June, you’ll still dodge the worst of the crowds. It’s incredible what waiting those extra couple of months can do regarding trail accessibility in Zion. And that’s what makes it one of the best summer vacation spots.

You can hike Angels Landing with safer footing, wade happily through the now-lower Narrows, and make your way to the Emerald Pools. Zion is all about outdoor adventure, so you want to be able to enjoy it.

Insider Tip: If you want to hike the major trails like Angels Landing, research the lottery permits beforehand.

Where to Stay: Here’s where to stay in Zion National Park . Our top choice is Zion Villa .

21. The CA-1 Section of the Pacific Coast Highway

Best Places to visit in the summer PCH

Road trip, anyone? Some of the best summer vacations are road trips. While Route 66 is officially in its ‘too hot’ territory, the breezy CA-1 section of the Pacific Coast Highway is perfect. The highway stretches from just north of San Francisco to Capistrano Beach, covering roughly three-quarters of the Californian coastline. You pass Santa Cruz, with its die-hard surfer culture, and Monterey , with its sea lion kayaking experiences. There’s also McWay Falls – an 80-foot mammoth of a sight – and gorgeous beaches along Santa Barbara. And that’s all without mentioning the Pacific Coast Highway’s famed bridges.

Places for a summer vacation in the USA Pacific Coast Highway

If you tackle the entire stretch , we would allow around a week. It covers a whopping 600 miles. You want to be able to take your time driving and stop as much as you’d like without rushing to clock up your miles for the day, so lean towards more days.

Insider Tip: Definitely carve out time to go kayaking with sea lions in Monterey.

Where to Stay: Alila Ventana Big Sur.

22. San Diego

Top places to visit in summer San Diego

San Diego is beautiful in summer, with easy access to a long chain of beaches like Silver Strand and Imperial Beach. The city is fast rising in popularity because of its year-round good weather, and summer is no exception. It’s as close to Mexico as you can possibly get in terms of climate and summer sunbathing, located right near the border in Southern California.

You can make the most of the sunshine with beach days , relax shopping around Seaport Village in the San Diego harbor, and go sightseeing around Balboa Park. We love the amount of outdoor space, which makes San Diego one of the best summer vacations.

To seriously dodge the crowds, we suggest visiting San Diego in September, which is quieter. Otherwise, as a second city compared to glitzy LA, San Diego is always pleasant to visit in terms of fewer crowds.

Insider Tip: Make sure you day trip to a few different beaches.

Where to Stay: Here’s where to stay in San Diego and our top recommendation, Pantai Inn.

23. Grand Canyon National Park

Places to visit in Summer Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is easily one of the most popular summer vacations in the USA and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The warmer weather means easier driving conditions – wave goodbye to gritted teeth and icy roads – and in May, the North Rim reopens to tourists after its seasonal closure. The incredible weather is perfect for hiking stunning trails like South Kaibab and South Rim Trail. You should still dodge most crowds if you get there early, in June rather than July or August.

Family Summer Vacation Ideas Grand Canyon

We’d also recommend summer hiking in Grand Canyon National Park because of the extended daylight hours. You have sunsets later, meaning more time to polish off your activities for the day and then head to a scenic lookout.

You’ll be able to enjoy the gorgeous North Rim, more daylight hours, and easier access. If you visit in June, you won’t have to compromise with crowd density and trail traffic.

Insider Tip: Be mindful of exposed trails in the midday heat and always abide by safety advice.

Where to Stay: Here’s where to stay near the Grand Canyon . We’d particularly recommend El Tovar Hotel .

24. Rocky Mountain National Park

Best Places to visit in Summer Rocky Mountains

Who doesn’t love the Rockies? Rocky Mountain National Park is famous for its protected mountain terrain and hiking trails like Bear Lake Trailhead . It is full of glassy lakes that reflect surrounding snow-capped mountains well into late spring, and the Rockies have some fabulous natural attractions like Lake Haiyaha. There’s no denying that it’s one of the best summer vacation spots, either; all of these attractions become suddenly more accessible in the summer season.

Everyone knows that the alpine tundra clings to its snow a little longer, and while experienced hikers and drivers may wish to skip the crowds and visit in early spring, waiting can be better. If you aren’t as confident or don’t have the right vehicle and equipment, Rocky Mountain National Park is easier to visit in summer. Be mindful of timings when embarking on trails – you can dodge most summer crowds just by being time-savvy.

Insider Tip: Pick early start times for hikes, especially on popular routes like Bear Lake.

Where to Stay: Blue Door Inn.

25. Yosemite National Park

Best Places to visit in the Summer USA Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of our top recommendations for the best summer vacation spots. As a national park famed for waterfalls, nothing quite suits a summer vacation better than a shaded hike through undergrowth to some of Yosemite’s best falls. While crowds and temperatures rise, you can always find a peaceful spot amongst the park’s dense redwoods.

Carbon Falls is a great place to visit in Yosemite in summer, as it’s swimmer-friendly. Mirror Lake is a pretty trail that is minimal effort in summer at just over 2 miles in length, while Four Mile Trail is a little more challenging with sweeping valley views. And, of course, you have to see the classic Yosemite Falls.

Visiting Yosemite in the Summer

Early summer (think June) is best for waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, as it is when the snowmelt runs off and creates more dramatic falls. You don’t want to wait until the back end of summer, like August and September, as even Yosemite Falls can look slightly pathetic in its fall power by this time of year. Some waterfalls dry completely in mid to late summer, so the early birds get the worm here.

Insider Tip: Visit on a weekday for fewer crowds.

Where to Stay: Here’s where to stay in Yosemite . Our favorite spot is Yosemite Valley Lodge.

26. Yellowstone National Park

Best Places to visit in the USa in Summer Yellowstone National Park a unesco world heritage site

Yellowstone National Park is famously sat on top of a dormant volcano, making it a hive of volcanic activity with exciting attractions like geysers and hot springs. It also has America’s largest herd of buffalo, grizzly bears, and wolves – which are more active in summer months. With the most daylight hours and accessible trails and roads, the summer season is the ideal time to experience all the intensity that Yellowstone National Park has to offer.

Places to visit in the Summer USa Lamar Valley Yellowstone

You can take a summer bus tour, get a permit to go fishing and experience the thrill of white water rafting. One of the best summer activities is horseback riding, heading through remote areas of natural beauty that a car just couldn’t get you to. And, of course, there are classic attractions like Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring , and the Morning Glory Pool.

Yellowstone National Park does get busy in summer, but the increase in activity feels electric. You’ll see more wildlife and just generally enjoy easier road conditions and being outdoors more in warm weather.

Insider Tip: Get organized with trip planning as things sell out quickly.

Where to Stay: Check out our full comprehensive guide on Where to Stay in Yellowstone National Park – Guide to the Best Hotels. Canyon Lodge Yellowstone is one of our favorites.

27. Acadia National Park

Cool places to visit in summer Acadia National Park

We won’t lie; Acadia National Park gets busy from June until early September, so if you are visiting on summer vacation, forget having trails to yourselves. However, despite this, Acadia National Park is still one of the best summer vacation spots in the USA. The mild weather makes hiking the plethora of trails heavenly, and you can enjoy things like kayaking, rock climbing, or mountain biking without the slippery, wet rocks and mud.

You can hike the short but tough Precipice Trail, which involves narrow ledges and metal ladder rungs nailed into rock faces. There’s also Ocean Path for views of the sea and the dramatic sight of Thunder Hole, where waves spray as high as 40 feet in the air.

Acadia National Park has some of the best trails to tackle, and it’s much more fun when they aren’t covered in a layer of slippery mud. We recommend wangling your summer trip for mid to late September, just after the summer rush but before the October fall foliage flurry of tourists.

Insider Tip: Plan ahead with parking reservations to overcome the summer crowds.

Where to Stay: Bar Harbor Manor.

Best Places to Visit in Summer: FAQs

Best Places to visit in the summer FAQ

When you are planning a summer getaway, the USA has tons to offer. In particular, you should make the most of outdoor activities and nature through water sports and hiking trails. Many national parks are inaccessible over winter and early spring if you don’t have expert equipment and 4WD vehicles. So summer is the perfect time to see many national parks in the USA.

Similarly, city breaks are also a great idea in summer, as cities are starting to embrace their outdoor spaces more, like movie nights in New York’s Bryant Park .

Before you go ahead and book your best summer yet, take heed of these quick FAQs. They may sway you if you are currently in between choices.

Which place is best to visit in summer?

The Utah National Parks are much easier to enjoy in June when the trails are more accessible. But if you’d prefer a beach-style vacation, we’d recommend the Outer Banks

Where is the best place for summer vacation?

The best places for a summer vacation in the USA are New York City, Chicago, San Diego, or San Francisco for a city break. Then, for a beach holiday, we’d recommend the Outer Banks.

What is the best country to visit in summer?

The USA is beautiful to visit in summer. The country has impressive nature, and summer is the best time to experience that, be it in the city center’s green spaces or remote national parks.

Where is the cheapest place to go in the summer?

Some of the cheapest states in the USA are West Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina. This means the Great Smoky Mountains and Galveston are some of the cheapest summer vacations on our list.

Why You Should Visit The USA in Summer

Why You should visit USa in Summer

As you can see, the USA is never short of summer vacation ideas. These 27 best summer vacation spots are guaranteed to keep you on your toes this July and August, yet they are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll find hundreds more amazing destinations across the USA in summer; we just couldn’t quite fit them on the list. The country really comes into its own with the arrival of summer. It’s one of the best lights you can possibly see it in.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our guides on the best road trips to take around the USA in 2024 and the best national parks. We’ve even got a guide on the best beaches in the USA. These 27 destinations are just the beginning; make sure to continue researching, as the USA is overflowing with amazing summer vacation ideas.

Plan Your Next Summer Vacation With These Resources

  • 27 Best Places to Visit in March USA
  • 28 Best Romantic Getaways in the USA
  • 50 Best Places to Visit in the USA
  • 27 Best National Parks in the USA To Visit
  • 28 Best Beaches in the USA
  • 21 Best All-inclusive Resorts in the USA

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

You May Also Like

Where to Stay In And Around Zion National Park: Our Favourite Places

Where to Stay In And Around Zion National Park: Our Favourite Places

Where to Stay in Los Angeles: A First Timers Guide to The Best Places

Where to Stay in Los Angeles: A First Timers Guide to The Best Places

25 Best Things To Do in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Recommendations

25 Best Things To Do in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Recommendations

About ThePlanetD Team

Guest writers for The Planet D offer insider tips and information on destinations that they are experts in. We can't be everywhere at once, and it is important to have the highest level of travel information from local writers and experienced travelers.

Join thousands of others who get our monthly updates!

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

view of diablo lake in north cascades national park, one of the best places to visit in summer usa

33 Stunning Places to Visit in Summer in the USA (Vacation Spots Not to Miss!)

When it comes to exploring our backyard, there’s no kind of trip that Americans hold nearer and dearer to our hearts than the delights of summer vacations in the USA.

There’s an exhilarating freedom that comes with hitting the open road in the US in June, July, and August, no matter how many years it has been since you were in school and actually had an assigned summer break.

And, if you’re like a lot of us, summer vacation in the US often means heading to your family’s classic spot at least once (for us, that’s Atlantic Beach, NC and the surrounding area).

The call of new destinations, though, can be just as strong–no surprise, considering how many fantastic places there are to go in the United States over the summer!

If you’re hoping to mix it up this summer, whether it’s with a long weekend in a new-to-you city or a road trip to one of America’s best national parks , we have some ideas here for you!

We teamed up with several other travel bloggers to round up some of the best places to visit in summer in the USA.

Here are some unforgettable travel destinations to add to your 2023 summer wish list!

Table of Contents

Cool Cities to Visit During Summer in the USA

Beaches + islands for classic summer vacations in the us, national parks to visit for usa summer vacations, epic usa summer road trip routes, more of the best places to visit in summer in the usa.

kate storm in elfreths alley philadelphia

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

As the largest city in New England and the birthplace of the American Revolution, Boston is undoubtedly one of the absolute best places to visit over the summer in the USA.

With its coastal location, gorgeous architecture, a dizzying array of distinct neighborhoods, and world-class museums (not to mention universities), you’ll never run out of incredible  things to do in Boston .

That being said, thanks to the city’s dense historic center and easy-to-access attractions along the Freedom Trail, spending even one day in Boston can be incredibly rewarding.

We’ve been obsessed with Boston since we spent a summer living there, and will forever count it among our favorite cities.

During your trip, be sure to walk the Freedom Trail, relax at the Boston Public Garden and the Common, and enjoy the views from the water on  a whale-watching cruise .

2 Days in Boston Itinerary: Beacon Hill

When it comes to neighborhoods, make sure to visit the picturesque North End, fashionable Back Bay, and grand Beacon Hill–three Boston neighborhoods you absolutely can’t miss.

Summer is also the perfect time of year to enjoy a Red Sox game at historic Fenway Park, one of the best baseball stadiums in America.

And, thanks to Boston’s many connections to the American Revolution, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city that celebrates the 4th of July with more flair!

If you’re planning an early July vacation in the USA, be sure not to miss the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House or the phenomenal fireworks display when visiting Boston.

Where to Stay in Boston

  • Found Hotel Boston Common: This boutique hotel in the Theatre District is perfect for exploring Boston. Rooms are bright and comfortable, and there is access to public transport a short walk from the hotel.
  • Revere Hotel Boston Common: Also in the Theatre District and close to Boston Common is this stylish hotel with a stunning rooftop terrace and bar, perfect for afternoon drinks. Rooms are spacious and have a coffee machine for those of you who need coffee the moment you wake up.

Things to Do in Boston: Boston 4th of July Fireworks

Chicago, Illinois

From Alyssa of An Apple a Plane

From an infamous skyline to countless outdoor activities, Chicago, Illinois, is without a doubt an incredible summer vacation.

Visitors love traveling to Chicago over the summer for its many festivals, from the Chicago Blues Festival in June to Windy City Smokeout in August and beyond.

No trip to Chicago is complete without exploring iconic architecture like “The Bean” at Millenium Park and walking along Lake Michigan at Navy Pier.

Consider riding the famous Ferris wheel, or dining at a rooftop restaurant or viewpoint of your choice to catch Chicago’s city views from up above.

Chicago Skyline with river filled with sailboats in the center, an excellent view to seek out during 3 days in Chicago

Be sure to also stroll along Michigan Avenue for world-famous shopping, and snap a photo at the iconic Chicago Theater sign.

Escape the heat in the evening by enjoying a famous show like Blue Man Group or a musical.

After a few days in Chicago , summer travelers can escape the bustle by chasing waterfalls at Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park located 2 hours by car in Oglesby, Illinois.

Travelers looking to cross a national park off their list can get their outdoor escape in just over an hour by car at Indiana Dunes National Park.

Where to Stay in Chicago

  • Warwick Allerton: Situated on the Magnificent Mile in Downtown Chicago, the hotel is perfect for shopping and discovering iconic architecture.
  • Staypineapple: This oddly named hotel was designed by a world renowned architect and features stylish details such as mosaic floors and marble ceilings. No detail is spared and rooms are a testament to the thought that has gone into each part of the hotel.

Photo of Chicago train traveling on a bridge over car traffic--using Chicago's public transportation is the best way to get around on a Chicago weekend getaway!

Portland, Maine

From Brittany of Travel By Brit

Portland, Maine, is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in the United States in the summer.

If you love rocky coastlines, fresh seafood, gorgeous lighthouses, and craft beer, you’ll be especially drawn to this gem in New England!

June, July, and August are ideals time to visit — the balmy temperatures that hover around 75°F and cool breezes are perfect for enjoying all the best things to do in Portland, Maine .

While you’re in Portland, you can’t miss the chance to see the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the United States, and go on a whale-watching cruise or sunset cruise in Casco Bay.

Portland Head Light on a sunny summer day with flowers in the foreground

Portland is home to a slew of craft breweries, so visiting local favorites like Allagash Brewing Company, Foundation Brewing Company, and Oxbow Blending & Bottling is a must.

The Holy Donut, Duckfat, and Eventide Oyster Co. are some of the best places to eat in Portland, offering inventive donuts, gourmet dipping sauces, fries, and delicious lobster rolls, respectively.

Portland is a walkable city, so if you want to stay close to the restaurants, shops, and attractions in Old Port, book a room at the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa .

Where to Stay in Portland

  • Portland Regency Hotel & Spa : This historic hotel offers a hot tub, steam room, full-service spa, and other luxurious amenities that will truly make your summer vacation to Portland one to remember!
  • Portland Harbor Hotel: Located on Portland Waterfront is this luxury and stylish hotel. With beautifully designed rooms and a great restaurant, you are also well located to explore more of Portland.

Portland Bug Light as seen from the side with a sailboat passing by behind it

San Diego, California

From Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

Arguably one of the best places to visit during the summer for a classic American beach vacation is sunny San Diego.

With its gorgeous beaches and plenty of outdoor activities available, San Diego has everything you need to have a great getaway.

San Diego is most known for its many picturesque and inviting beaches.

From Del Mar to Mission Beach, there are plenty of options for those looking to sunbathe, swim in the ocean, or surf along some clean waves .

But for those looking to do something outside of the beaches, consider hitting one of San Diego’s many hiking trails.

San Diego CA harbor with rows of sailboats in the foreground and the skyline in the back right of the photo

For instance, Torrey Pines State Park offers lots of easy-moderate trails for hikers who prefer to appreciate the beaches from above.

Alternatively, those interested in doing longer trails can hike to the famous “Potato Chip Rock”!

And if you just want to relax and take in the sights, there’s no better spot than downtown San Diego.

There, you’ll find the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Seaport Village, and several other fun neighborhoods!

So if you’re looking for a travel destination with endless activities, great weather, and stunning views, then San Diego is the ideal place for your US summer vacation.

Where to Stay in San Diego

  • Handlery Hotel: This stunning resort style hotel in Downtown San Diego is a perfect summer escape spot. Rooms are spacious and bright and there is a huge pool with a beautiful terrace, perfect for snoozing in the sun.
  • Porto Vista Hotel : In the heart of Little Italy you will find this stylish hotel with views of the harbor and a short walk from the cruise terminal. The rooftop bar also has a pool to cool off over after a busy day exploring.

cityscape of san diego california on a sunny day

New York City

From Sam of Find Love and Travel

One of the best places to enjoy a summer trip in the USA over the summer is easily New York City.

In fact, summer is the city’s most popular time to visit due to the warm weather since it is a great walking destination.

June, July, and August provide the perfect opportunity to really browse the busy streets and embody that city lifestyle.

With a week in New York, you have a plethora of options for things to do beyond the usual first-timer sights, including enjoying a beach day in Coney Island or hanging out in Williamsburg.

If it is your first time in New York, you can’t pass up strolling around Times Square and being engulfed by the chaos of giant billboards and classic yellow cabs on your way to a Broadway show.

kate storm spinning in front of manhattan bridge in brooklyn, a must see duing 4 days in nyc

Additionally, don’t forget to enjoy the summer days walking around the famous Central Park, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and experiencing Soho’s cobblestone streets and art murals.

Summer nights in NYC are just as amazing. From attending a show to drinking at rooftop bars, or hitting up the club scene, there will be something for everyone! 

An NYC travel tip to keep in mind is to wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot!

Where to Stay in New York

  • The Plaza Hotel : For a memorable place to stay, this is one of the most classic and luxurious hotels in New York. It is located right by Central Park, the Rockefeller Center, and some of NYC’s most popular museums.
  • The Renwick: Offering stylish residential style accommodation, this beautiful hotel is equipped with plenty of amenities and high class comfort. It is also a short walk to the Empire State Building and Bryant Park for exploring.

4 Days in New York Itinerary: Rowboat on Central Park Lake

Los Angeles, California

From Catrina of 24 Hours Layover

Los Angeles is a brilliant place to spend a summer vacation in the United States.

It is an incredible city full of varied things to do and there are so many  Instagrammable places in LA !

You can spend a week exploring as it is a huge metropolis with many attractions spread out across the city.

Summer is the best time to visit Los Angeles as it is warm and dry.

The mornings and evenings feel very comfortable, but the afternoons are warm, which is the perfect time to head to one of the many beaches and cool down in the water!

Skyline of Los Angeles CA with palm trees in the forground, one of the best places to visit in the US

Whether it’s Malibu Beach, Laguna Beach, or Huntington Beach – there’s a beach to suit every taste in Los Angeles.

Make sure to visit the Venice Beach boardwalk and the ‘Venice’ sign, as well as the ‘End of the Route 66’ sign and the amusement park at Santa Monica Beach.

And when you’re feeling cultural, head to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the impressive Urban Lights installation!

Don’t miss heading up to the Griffith Observatory and hiking to the ‘Hollywood’ sign where you’ll get a fabulous panoramic view of the LA skyline.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

  • Hotel Erwin: With views over the Pacific Ocean and Venice Beach Boardwalk, you will be hard pushed to find a hotel with more iconic views. Rooms are stylish and comfortable and most have balconies to take in the views. You can also lounge in the rooftop bar for a dreamy LA afternoon.
  • Palihotel Melrose: For something a little more city based this beautiful hotel in Hollywood spares no expense in charming details, homey comforts and stunning decor. The location is also excellent in the heart of the Melrose Shopping District.

aerial view of santa monica beach near los angeles, one of the best places to vacation in the united states

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

From Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones

For an exciting Midwestern getaway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a terrific choice for summer break in the United States.

There are many  amazing things to do in Milwaukee , whether you like museums, sporting events, or live music!

Summer is the best time to visit Milwaukee, as you can pack a lot of activities into the long summer days.

Take the family out to enjoy America’s favorite pastime and watch the Milwaukee Brewers play baseball at the American Family Field.

If you love live music, you’ll definitely want to attend Summerfest !

Summerfest is the largest music festival in the world, featuring hundreds of bands performing across eleven stages. Summerfest is held in Milwaukee over three weekends in June and July.

milwaukee wisconsin skyline at night

Don’t forget about all of the great museums in Milwaukee, either!

Admire the unique architecture of the Milwaukee Art Museum as well as its massive collection of over 30,000 works of art.

For a one-of-a-kind experience, visit the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum or the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame.

Where to Stay in Milwaukee

  • The Plaza Hotel : If you’re looking for a memorable place to stay, this is a great choice for your stay in Milwaukee. The Plaza is conveniently located midway between Lake Michigan and the Downtown Riverwalk, so it’s within walking distance of many of Milwaukee’s top attractions. The rooms also have full-sized kitchens to give you more dining options during your vacation.
  • The Pfister Hotel: For stunning old world charm and a Victorian art collection on site this is the hotel to book. The entrance way is spectacular and the charming martini bar on the 23rd floor is historic. Many rooms also have views of Lake Michigan.

riverwalk in downtown milwaukee wisconsin, a fun city to visit in the usa june july and august

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

From Samantha of New England Wanderlust

One of the best summer beach vacation destinations on the East Coast is Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Not only does it have some of the most beautiful coastline in the United States, but it’s also home to 15 unique and charming  towns   to explore, incredible seafood, and stunning scenery.

The best thing to do in this area in the summer is to explore the Cape Cod National Seashore, which is made up of 40 miles of the most scenic beaches, lots of nature trails, and dramatic sand dunes.

One beach you won’t want to skip at this park is Coast Guard Beach, which is regarded as one of the top beaches in the entire country.

You can often spot seals swimming along the coastline here, too!

Spending a day in Chatham should be on everyone’s itinerary, which is the most charming and picturesque town on Cape Cod.

hydrangeas blooming on cape cod with the ocean visible in the distance

A few things you can’t miss here are the iconic Main Street for shopping, Chatham Lighthouse, and the beautiful hydrangea displays in July. 

For a completely unique experience, you’ll want to head to Provincetown, which is located at the very tip of Cape Cod.

Provincetown is like no other place in the world because it not only has a relaxed, beach town vibe, but also a very lively nightclub and cabaret scene.

It’s something you truly have to experience for yourself!

While strolling through Provincetown, you’ll want to visit the shops along Commercial Street, pop into the art galleries, and grab lunch or dinner at the iconic Lobster Pot restaurant.

Provincetown Massachusetts on Cape Cod as seen from the water

Monterey, California

From Dhara of Roadtripping California

Monterey , on the Central California coast, is an excellent beach town to visit during summer break in the USA, especially in conjunction with nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea and the spectacularly beautiful Big Sur coast.

Monterey Bay is known for its temperate weather.

Expect daytime highs in the high 60s and low 70s, perfect for enjoying outdoor activities, and no rain.

You may run into a little fog in the mornings, but that’s part of the charm of the laid back coast, and it usually burns off by noon.

The long daylight hours and plethora of outdoor adventures in the region make for a great summer break.

path leading to the pacific ocean in monterey california

Go whale watching, or enjoy paddling the calm Monterey Bay.

Stroll the charming village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its boutiques and art galleries, and go wine tasting and enjoy dining at the many fine restaurants in the region.

Do the popular 17-Mile drive, with its ocean views and the chance to soak in the sun at beautiful Spanish Bay Beach.

Explore Big Sur, where you will find no less than six state parks with beautiful hiking trails.

The drive itself, with the many scenic overlooks, is worthy of a full day or more. The trails at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve are particularly scenic.

Where to Stay in Monterey

  • Intercontinental the Clement Monterey : Located on historic Cannery Row and perfectly placed to enjoy the best of what Monterey has to offer.
  • Hotel Abrego: On the Monterey Peninsula this hotel provides access to the beaches and aquarium, just a short distance away.

road along the pacific ocean in monterey, one of the best places  to go during usa summer break

From Marcie of Hawaii Travel Spot

One of the best summer vacation destinations in America is the beautiful island of Oahu.

This is the most popular Hawaiian island and where you’ll find Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach.

One of my biggest  Oahu travel tips  is to plan to visit for at least 7 days.

There are so many amazing things to do on Oahu for all interests that you’ll need at least a week to do a few activities, explore Oahu, and have time to relax.

People who love adventure will definitely want to schedule an ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch.

waikiki beach as seen from above, one of the best attractions oahu hawaii

Joining a Hawaii Bucket List Tour is also a great option for Oahu first-timers as a local will take you to any place on your personal bucket list.

Foodies will definitely want to stop by Kahuku Farms in North Shore Oahu for the freshest farm-to-table dining.

Summer is a great time to visit Oahu because the weather is typically perfect.

That means there’s a low chance your scheduled activities will be canceled or postponed due to weather, which happens frequently in winter months.

Where to Stay in Oahu

  • A few top places to stay on Oahu include Disney Aulani Resort (especially for families), Turtle Bay Resort in North Shore Oahu, and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki.

woman in a green tank top standing in front of waimea falls, one of the best places to visit oahu hawaii

Naples and Marco Island, Florida

From Lori of Travlinmad

If you’re looking for a perfect beach destination in the USA for a summer getaway, the Paradise Coast in southwest Florida boasts two great locations just minutes apart: beautiful Naples and Marco Island.

A vacation here is great to just kick back and enjoy the sun and sand as both places have some of the best beaches in Florida.

You can enjoy the warm waters of the Gulf by renting a stand-up paddleboard or kayak, and there are plenty of boat tours for watching a fiery sunset, dolphin or manatee watching, or a day of saltwater fishing on the water.

For nature and outdoor lovers, Naples and Marco Island are the gateways to the   Ten Thousand Islands  and Florida Everglades for abundant hiking, birding, and taking an exciting airboat ride through the Glades.

person in the distance walking down a beach in naples florida, one of the best places to visit in summer in america

For shoppers, high-end boutiques, art galleries, and souvenir shops can be found throughout both cities.

And when it comes to dining, both Naples and Marco are renowned for great restaurant choices.

From pizza shops and food truck parks to specialty fine dining, there’s something for every appetite.

Summer in southwest Florida is sunny and hot, and the Gulf of Mexico is warm and calm. Crowds are also at their lowest so dinner and tour reservations are easy to score.

Where to Stay in Naples and Marco Island

  • The Bellasera Resort : For a charming place to stay in the heart of downtown Naples, this is the perfect choice for couples or families.
  • Marco Island Lakeside Inn: For pretty self contained suites this resort is perfect if you are looking for something you can self cater yourself.

harbor and buildings at sunset in naples florida, one of the best summer vacation destinations in usa

Mackinac Island, Michigan

From Linda of Midwest Explored

If you’re looking for great summer vacation ideas in the USA, then consider beautiful Mackinac Island.

This picturesque island in Lake Huron sits right in between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan and is a Midwestern favorite for summer getaways.

It’s an ideal vacation spot for anyone who enjoys a bit of old-world charm since the island is totally car-free and filled with historic Victorian houses that overlook the lake.

Horse-drawn carriages also fill the streets since people use them to enjoy all of the best things to do on Mackinac Island .

Take time to explore Fort Mackinac, visit two different butterfly conservatories, and experience a bit of culture at the Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum.

small road on mackinac island with lake huron visible in the distance, one of the best places to visit in usa summer vacation

However, no trip to this amazing island would be complete without a stop at Arch Rock.

Located in Mackinac Island State Park, this incredible natural rock formation is amazing to behold since it sits 146 feet above the lake.

Feel free to use either Arch Rock Bicycle Trail or Arch Rock Road to access this amazing landmark.

Both options are fairly easy to navigate and are only about one mile long each way.

Then, make the most of the idyllic summer weather and book a kayak tour around the island to enjoy views of Mackinac Island from a completely different perspective.

Where to Stay in Mackinac Island

  • Pine Cottage Bed and Breakfast: This charming old world style accommodation has a homey feel and feels like a family home. Enjoy breakfast on the terrace and take in the surroundings.
  • Island House Hotel: A little more modern than many properties on the island this property has a pool and a garden overlooking the streets and passing horse and carriages.

arch rock formation on mackinac island michigan

Outer Banks, North Carolina

From Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler

There really is something for everyone in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, making it one of the best summer vacation ideas in the USA.

From stunning white sand beaches to historic towns, from family-friendly activities to nightlife, there is so much to see and experience.

The Outer Banks region is located along the northern part of North Carolina’s coast.

During the summer, the water offers plenty of activities!

Kayaking, sailing, fishing, swimming and surfing, are among the activities enjoyed by visitors.

Horseback riding, paragliding, hiking, biking, and golfing are also popular.

Beach of Duck North Carolina at sunset with one set of footprints in the sand. The Outer Banks of NC are some of the most beautiful beaches in the US

Visitors can choose between quiet seclusion or bustling activity.

If you’re looking for history, the Outer Banks has plenty of compelling sights, including the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hill where the first flight was taken, and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

Toward the southern part of the islands is the beautiful Cape Hatteras Lighthouse!

If you’re traveling with a group or family, head up north on the coast for some fun activities.

There are so many  things to do in Corolla, Outer Banks , where you’ll find wildlife refuges, the famous OBX wild horses, the historic Whalehead Club, and lighthouses to explore.

Pick up some souvenirs at Timbuk II shops while you’re in town!

Whatever you choose to do on your trip to the Outer Banks will be a memorable experience.

Where to Stay in Outer Banks

  • Outer Banks Beach Club: Better book fast because this hotel in Kill Devil Hills sells out fast! The resort is set up as residence style apartments for a homey summer vacation with access to indoor and outdoor pools and views of the ocean.
  • Wild Horse Inn: Situated in Corolla this pretty Inn provides comfortable accommodation with a garden and private parking. It is also walking distance to beaches.

view of black and white cape hatteras lighthouse north carolina

30A, Florida

From Roshni of The Wanderlust Within

Situated on the Panhandle, just off the Gulf of Mexico, the hidden gem of 30A in Florida is one of the best places for a classic US summer beach vacation.

There are 26 miles of pristine beaches lined with white sand derived from quartz crystal, and emerald green waters, that are especially warm in summer! 

30A is split up into 16 neighborhoods, all with their own individual charms.

Watercolor Beach is a favorite amongst families, whereas couples enjoy the serenity of Rosemary Beach, especially if they stay at The Pearl Hotel (voted the most romantic hotel in Florida).

aerial view of beach at 30a florida, one of the best beach vacations in usa summer trip

If diving is more your thing then Santa Rosa Beach is perfect, you can visit the free underwater sculpture park located a mile off the coast.

However, if you prefer kayaking or paddle boarding, then explore the unique coastal dune lakes at Grayton Beach and spot the wildlife. 

30A also has plenty of art galleries, boutique shopping, cycling trails, and distillery tours making it easy to spend a week at this coastal destination, especially as the temperatures in summer are usually in the high 80s!

One of the best places to stay no matter who you are traveling with is Sandestin Golf and Beach resort, it has luxury condos, hotel rooms, and villas so everyone is catered for.

2 white adriondack chairs overlooking the beach at 30a florida summer vacation usa

Glacier National Park, Montana

From Nina of Where in the World is Nina?

For an absolutely epic USA summer vacation, it doesn’t get much better than Glacier National Park!

Unsurprisingly, hiking here is the thing to do if you want the best views and animal sightings. The most recommended hikes in the park include Iceberg Lake, Redrock Falls, and Hidden Lake Trail.

Iceberg Lake, a 9-mile trail, is popular for a reason!

Not only will you be rewarded with the gorgeous azure Iceberg Lake at the end, but your chances of seeing bears along the trail are also pretty high (which is both terrifying and exciting).

glacier national park in the summer, one of the best national parks in america. there are wildflowers in the foreground, a turquoise lake in the center, and mountains in the background

Redrock Falls Trail is a nice easy stroll to some small falls you can dip your feet in, and if you want to extend it, continue along the Swiftcurrent Pass trail for more gorgeous vistas.

Hidden Lake Trail is a popular trail just behind the visitor center, offering beautiful views as well.

There are tons of waterfall stops, a stunning drive along Going-to-The-Sun Road, and more to enjoy during your time in Glacier.

The park is spread across nearly a million acres, and considering hiking is the best thing to do and where some of the most worth-it places to visit are, you’re going to need to spend your 5-7 days here to make your summer trip here worth it. 

One of the best tips is to make sure you’re choosing   where to stay in Glacier National Park   in advance, as places fill up quickly in summer.

If you happen to be visiting later in the year, do keep in mind some campsites, accommodations, and even Going-to-the-Sun Road close up for the season.

Where to Stay in Glacier National Park

  • The Islander Inn: Offering island style bungalows and suites on the edge of Flathead Lake in Bigfork, this is a great option for exploring the park.
  • Grouse Mountain Lodge: For pet friendly accommodation this is a great option in Whitefish. Rooms are spacious and family friendly and the hotel is a short distance from the amenities in Whitefish.

going to the sun road in glacier national park, one of the best places to visit in summer in usa

Yellowstone + Grand Teton National Parks, Wyoming

From Stef of Open Road Odysseys

If you’re looking for an American summer vacation that includes breathtaking scenery, geothermal wonders, lots of wildlife, and remarkable attractions, look no further than a visit to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

These two national parks are located only a short distance apart and are a classic USA summer vacation.

With warm, sunny weather most of the season, as well as lots of hiking trails and outdoor activities, summer is a fantastic time to visit.

In Yellowstone, you can’t miss Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful Geyser, Upper and Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River, and Mammoth Hot Springs.

View of Grand Prism in Yellowstone National Park, one of the best places to visit in USA

There are several geyser basins that are worth walking around and seeing if you can catch an eruption.

You’ll also see lots of wildlife, including bison, antelope, and elk. You may also be lucky enough to see a moose or a bear (from a safe distance, of course–hiking with bear spray is strongly recommended).

When you head to  Grand Teton National Park , make sure you drive around and stop at the dozens of lookouts, including Mormon Row, Schwabacher Landing, and Oxbow Bend.

If you like to hike, a great choice is Jenny Lake Trail to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

And don’t forget to spend a bit of time in the town of Jackson, where you’ll find lots of choices for food and shopping!

Where to Stay in Yellowstone + Grand Teton National Parks

  • Elk Country Inn: Located in Jackson this is a great spot to base yourself for exploring the parks while having access to a great town.
  • Explorer Cabins: Less than a kilometer away from the entrance at West Yellowstone these cabins are perfect for easy access and comfort.

wooden barn along mormon row in grand teton np wyoming

Acadia National Park, Maine

From James of Parks Collecting

Acadia National Park is the perfect place to visit for a summer vacation in the US.

The park is spread over parts of Mount Desert Island (reached by a short bridge from the mainland), the tiny Isle au Haut, and the nearby Schoodic Peninsula, and as a result, it’s surrounded by water.

The park itself is covered in wooded hills, which are perfect for hiking.

The trails are their best in summer, when temperatures are ideal.

There are several iconic ‘iron rung’ hikes in Acadia – for part of the trails, you need to climb up iron rings embedded into the cliffs for part of them, as well as clamber along narrow ledges.

It can be a little scary, but the reward – spectacular views over the hills and surrounding islands – is well worth it. The most famous of these hikes is The Beehive, which is not to be missed.

Summer is also a great time for swimming in Acadia NP.

kate storm overlooking the view from cadillac mountain during sunset, one of the best things to do in acadia national park maine

The only ocean beach, appropriately named Sand Beach, is chilly even in summer, but nearby Echo Lake has perfect temperatures for swimming.

There are also plenty of water sports, including kayaking and sailing, to enjoy.  Plus, summer is when puffins come to nearby islands to nest, and whales are often seen swimming in the surrounding seas.

June, July, and August are also perfect times for outdoor dining.

Don’t miss having popovers at Jordan Pond House! Tables are set up on the lawn, overlooking the beautiful Jordan Pond, and it’s a perfect way to while away a summer afternoon.

The national park is also laced with miles of historic carriage roads. Take a horse drawn carriage ride (only available in the warmer months) or rent a bike in nearby Bar Harbor and spend several hours cycling through the woods, cooling off in tiny streams along the way.

There is  so much to do in Acadia  that it makes the perfect summer vacation destination.

Where to Stay in Acadia National Park

  • Acadia Inn: Located less than 2km from the park, the grounds have a trail that connects to the park for easy access from your doorstep. Rooms are clean and bright and comfortable after a long hike.
  • Bar Harbor Grand Hotel: In the heart of Bar Harbor is, as the name suggests, a grand hotel! With swimming pool and sweeping views this is the perfect luxury spot to base your park explorations.

aerial view of cars driving through acadia national park in maine

Yosemite National Park, California

From Nina and Garrett of California is for Adventure

Spending 5-7 days checking out all the  things to do in Yosemite National Park  is a dream trip for many, and for very good reason!

Yosemite National Park is deserving of at least a few days, but a week is ideal and will offer you a great overview of one of the country’s most popular destinations.

While visiting Yosemite in summer will certainly bring the crowds, this is still a great USA summer vacation spot!

If you come outside of summer, you risk some of the roads being closed and some of the best areas to visit totally inaccessible—most notably, Glacier Point Road.

Glacier Point Road is a highlight of Yosemite National Park and deserving of a day or two during your summer visit.

Yosemite national park as seen from above, one of the top national parks in america. yosemite falls is visible in the background

The road is typically open for the summer season starting in late May, though it can vary based on conditions.

Hike up Sentinel Dome and Taft Point for a great leg stretcher and epic views of Half Dome.

Glacier Point at the end of the road is a stunning area to wander with some of the park’s best views.

In Yosemite Valley, hiking up Vernal Falls is a must, and if you can, continue on to Nevada Falls for a more challenging hike (and thinner crowds).

Wandering The Valley and stopping at the viewpoints and roadside waterfalls are also some nice leisurely activities during your visit.

Other days can be spent expanding into the giant sequoia forests at Merced Grove or taking a relaxing dip in Tenaya Lake!

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

  • Tenaya Lodge: Nestled in the mountains of Fish Camp, this beautiful lodge is perfect for a summer base in Yosemite. There is also an on site spa to relax any sore hiking muscles.
  • Alpenhof Lodge: Located at the pretty Mammoth Lakes, this hotel is close to Yosemite as well as the attractions in Mammoth Lakes including the Mammoth Mountain Gondola.

tenaya lake in yosemite national park as seen from above, one of the best national parks for summer vacation in america

Summer Road Trip Through Vermont

From Emily of Emily Embarks

To enjoy one of the best places to visit over summer break in the USA, take to the trails in Vermont!

Known for its picturesque landscapes and rustic charm, Vermont is undoubtedly one of the best USA summer vacation destinations.

Preferably explored over the course of 5-7 days (though you won’t be sorry if you have some more time to spare), you can start your journey in the Green Mountain State with a full day at the Killington Ski Resort.

No, there’s no snow come July and August, but that’s what makes it perfect for day hiking and epic views across the Appalachian Mountains.

Be sure to get a celebratory drink at the mountaintop bar and reward yourself with a stunning gondola ride back down to the valley below!

From Killington, head an hour north to the beautiful capital of Montpelier.

aerial view of curving road in vermont during a summer trip in america

Here, you’ll find an impressive collection of local independent stores and plenty of delicious restaurants and breweries.

If you’re looking for an activity, take a kayaking or canoeing tour down the Winooski River and enjoy being surrounded by untamed nature.

Or, if you prefer to go for a leisurely stroll, don’t miss the city’s vibrant farmers market that takes place on State Street every Saturday in the summer months.

After spending a night or two in Vermont’s iconic capital, head 30 minutes north to Stowe where you’ll find a small town overflowing with antique shops, art galleries, decadent chocolate stores (be sure to check out Laughing Moon Chocolates), and amazing breweries (Von Trapp Brewery & Bierhall is a personal favorite).

From Stowe, you can finish off your itinerary with a drive south towards Woodstock if you’ll be leaving the state, or you can continue your journey north to the beautiful city of Burlington which overlooks Lake Champlain.

To combine your classic American summer trip with an international one, you can also hop across the border to Montreal or Quebec City–just be sure to pick up some currency and  brush up on your French   prior to heading into Canada!

Where to Stay in Vermont

  • Montpelier – The Inn at Montpelier: This cute Vermont inn has cosy rooms and a great on site restaurant. It is in a great location and free parking for your car to rest on your road trip!
  • Burlington: Green Mountain Suites Hotel : This stunning mountain style lodge is packed with amenities as well as luxurious bedrooms. Breakfast is also included in the restaurant overlooking the gardens.

Historic Henry Covered bridge in Bennington Vermont painted with aging red paint

National Parks of Washington State Road Trip

From Kassidy of The Hiking Helper

If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful road trips in the country to take this summer, then look no further than a Washington National Park road trip.

You’ll hit three of the country’s national parks plus the state’s largest city, Seattle .

Summer is the perfect time to pay a visit to these parks because there will be little to no snow on the trails, which doesn’t happen often when you’re tucked away in the mountains.

Starting with Mount Rainier National Park , embark on popular trails such as the Skyline Trail or Naches Peak Loop, search for mountain goats, and see Myrtle Falls.

hiker in a field of wildflowers in mount rainier np with mount rainier visible in the background

Next will be Olympic National Park, on the Pacific coastline.

When planning your Olympic National Park itinerary , make sure to leave room for some time exploring the Hoh Rainforest, one of the country’s few rainforests, time to search for tide pools at Rialto Beach, and time to enjoy the views from Hurricane Hill.

Before heading off to the final national park, make a stop in Seattle for some seafood and explore Pike Place Market and highlights like the Space Needle.

Lastly, North Cascades National Park offers remoteness, jagged mountain peaks, and beautiful hikes such as Maple Pass and Blue Lake.

Combined, these beautiful national parks easily rank among the best places to visit in the USA on a summer vacation.

Where to Stay in Washington State

  • Mount Rainier National Park – Mountain Meadows Inn: Stay in Ashford just 10km away from the park in this quaint inn. Enjoy morning coffee on the sundeck overlooking the expansive gardens.
  • Olympic National Park – Olympic Railway Inn: Turn your road trip into a themed stay and book this unique accommodation. Each ‘room’ is in a renovated train carriage, each with a different theme. No detail has been spared, some rooms even have a roll top bath.
  • North Cascades National Park – Mt Baker Hotel: The rural landscape of North Cascades means there is little to choose from in accommodation, but this hotel in Concrete is a solid option for close proximity to the park.

Rocky Beach in Olympic National Park washington at sunset, a fantastic view along a west coast usa road trip destination

Classic Route 66 Road Trip

From Kylie of Between England & Everywhere

A fantastic USA summer vacation idea is taking a road trip along Historic Route 66.

Route 66 is officially 2448 miles long, stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California.

Popular side trips from the route include Grand Canyon National Park and Las Vegas .

A solid 2-3 weeks is a reasonable amount of time to spend traveling Route 66 but it could be made a little shorter or longer depending on flexibility!

Route 66 in California with Joshua trees on either side. Route 66 is one of the absolute best road trips in USA

When traveling through the 8 states included on Route 66 (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California), there are hundreds of things to do and attractions to see, ranging from interesting parks to quirky roadside attractions.

Highlights include the Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX , staying in a wigwam in Holbrook, AZ, and seeing the wild Burros along the Oatman Highway, AZ.

Those traveling with kids (or adults that are big kids at heart!), may enjoy Route 66’s connection to the Disney Pixar Cars movie.

Radiator Springs   doesn’t actually exist as an individual town, however, real-life people and places along the whole of Route 66 inspired many of the characters and businesses in the fictional town.

Where to Stay on Route 66

  • Catoosa – La Quinta: With plenty of amenities such as an on site swimming pool, hot tub and fitness centre this is a great stop off along Route 66.
  • Amarillo – The Big Texan Motel: When passing through Texas you should get as involved in the Texan style as you can, this hotel is a perfect example of that!
  • Holbrook – Starlight Wigwam: A highlight of the trip is staying in a wigwam in Holbrook. These are equipped with comfortable beds and seating to stargaze in the clear skies of Arizona

jeremy storm sitting on top of a car at cadillac ranch in amarillo

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

From Victoria of Southern Trippers

One of the best summer vacation ideas in the USA is to enjoy an amazing road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway . 

This incredible 469-mile drive will take you through the Blue Ridge Mountains and past amazing mountain landscapes as you make your way from Charlottesville, Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina .

And while there are many places to stop along the way, major attractions include Humpback Gap, Natural Bridge State Park, the Blueridge Music Center, and more. 

Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time since the speed limit on this road is often just 45 mph.

view of sunset along the blue ridge parkway with pink flowers in the foreground, one of the best summer vacations in usa

With enough sightseeing along the way, this short road trip could easily take you upwards of a week to complete. 

You also cannot do this trip without making a well-deserved pit stop at Rough Ridge Overlook. Not only are the views incredible but you can enjoy a fun hike to Linville Falls too.

And then when you finally make it to Asheville, don’t forget to visit the Asheville Art Museum and the idyllic Biltmore Estate . 

Then, grab a pint of amazing craft beer at Wicked Weed Brewing Pub before checking out some stellar panoramas of the mountains at the historic Omni Grove Park Inn !

Where to Stay on Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Charlottesville – 200 South Street Inn : For some old world charm stay at this charming inn with a pretty sundeck, cosy rooms and an incredible breakfast served every morning.
  • Asheville – Cedar Crest Inn: This pink 1891 mansion house is a perfect place to base yourself in Asheville. Packed with historical details and stunning architecture you can imagine it as a mini Biltmore.

kate storm jeremy storm and ranger storm at craggy pinnacle on blue ridge parkway during 3 days in asheville nc

Oregon Coast Road Trip

From Jac of Weekend Path

Road-tripping the Oregon Coast is a quintessential summer vacation in the United States.

With wild beaches, forest-filled hikes, and delicious food and craft beer to sample, you certainly won’t get bored on the Oregon Coast!

Summer is the best time to visit the Oregon Coast if you want to experience good weather; during other seasons, it can be pretty rainy and cold.

There are lots of different routes you can take, but if you have 5-7 days for your trip, one of the best driving loops starts in Portland .

From Portland, you can drive to Astoria, Cannon Beach, Newport, and Florence before looping back to Portland via the inland I-5 freeway.

Cannon Beach Oregon as seen from above, one of the best stops on a west coast usa road trip itinerary

Highlights along an Oregon Coast road trip include Ecola State Park, Short Sand Beach, and Cape Perpetua.

For food stops along your trip, don’t miss Pelican Brewing in Cannon Beach and the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook.

You’ll find plenty of hotel options in the major towns along the Oregon Coast, but an even better option is to go camping!

In addition to regular campsites, most of the Oregon Coast State Parks have yurts you can rent.

Make sure to book ahead, though, as campsites and yurts are both popular in the summertime.

Where to Stay on Oregon Coast

  • Portland – Hotel Lucia: This luxury hotel is a perfect choice to stay in Portland, rooms are spacious and stylish and the bar area is also well stocked with craft beers. Parking is also available.
  • Cannon Beach – Ecola Creek Lodge: A great mix of motel and self catering, this lodge is close to Ecola State Park and offers free parking. There is a pretty deck to enjoy the summer sun.
  • Tillamook – Tillamook Bay City: This is a great place to book into a yurt and enjoy the outdoors life for your stay. The yurts are cosy and surprisingly spacious, definitely worth trying for something different.

One car driving along the oregon coast as shot from above

South Dakota Road Trip

From Kristin of World on Wheels

South Dakota is one of the best USA summer vacation destinations because it has so much to offer.

You can explore  Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park, and enjoy the amazing scenery that South Dakota has to offer.  

Custer State Park is a large and incredible area not to be missed during your trip.

It has mountains, lake views, plenty of hiking opportunities as well as tons of wildlife.

Make sure to look for Bison, Pronghorn, Big Horned Sheep, wild donkeys, and more during your time in the park.

In fact, many people choose to stay in one of the campgrounds or lodges located within the park for convenient access to all the area has to offer.

You can also add Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial to your summer vacation itinerary.

If you are visiting these locations from Custer State Park, make sure to take the scenic tunnel drive to get there.

3 praire dogs in badlands national park, a great stop on a south dakota midwest road trip

This drive will take you through rocky tunnels which perfectly frame Mount Rushmore as you drive through them.

Kids will love visiting Bear USA, and the Mammoth Site, an active archeological site where you can see actual Mammoth bones.

You can also tour an old gold mine and learn more about the Gold Rush era.  

The best part of visiting South Dakota is that all the activities listed above are in the same area and can make for a fabulous weeklong vacation in the USA.

Visiting in the summer will also give you incredible weather for exploring.

Choose to visit in the early or late summer (May-June or late August-early September) for fewer crowds and to avoid the hottest weather.

Where to Stay in South Dakota

  • Badlands National Park – Badlands Frontier Cabins: Staying in a cabin is always a great option on a road trip and these cozy cabins are a great choice. They are the perfect balance of rustic and are located in Wall, right next to the park.
  • Custer State Park – Little Joy Bungalows: Another great cabin option is this bungalow on a cute site in Custer. There is a pretty deck to sit on with a stunning mountain view.

landscape of badlands national park in south dakota, one of the best things to do usa

Florida Springs Road Trip

From Victoria of Florida Trippers

A Florida Springs road trip is an incredible trip for anyone looking for some great USA summer vacation ideas. 

After all, this great state is home to more freshwater springs than any other spot in the country!

So, make the most of this and cool off from the intense summer heat with a fantastic road trip to some of the best natural springs in Florida . 

To start, head north of Tampa and check out the Weeki Wachee Springs.

And while the spring itself is stunning, there’s a cool mermaid show in an underwater theater that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. 

Next, ditch the hordes of tourists and experience Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River Natural Wildlife Refuge before renting a kayak and seeing what Manatee Springs has to offer.

clear waters of three sisters springs in florida with sup board, one of the best places to visit in summer in the united states

Just know that while this is a great place to see manatees, there are typically only seen in the waters here during the winter months. 

However, if you love the great outdoors then be sure to add Ginnie Springs to your itinerary. It features amazing camping spots and is a great place to go tubing on the river.

But, for a truly unique experience head to Devil’s Den in central Florida. This spring is incredibly memorable since it is completely subterranean. 

You’ll have to walk down a long wooden staircase beneath a cavern if you want to access the cool waters here!

Where to Stay in Florida Springs

  • Weeki Wachee Springs – Vintage Waterfront Home: This cozy villa is just 5km from the springs and comes equipped with kayaks to use on the river directly outside the villa. There is also a fabulous fireplace perfect for any chilly evenings or warming up after a day on the water!
  • Ginnie Springs – Santa Fe River Landing: If you prefer not to camp then this is a marvellous alternative. Set as a private holiday home but with shared facilities similar to a hotel, such as a fitness center. Free bikes are also on offer to explore the area and get to the springs just 16km away.

devils den in florida as seen from above with staircase prominent

Grand Circle Road Trip, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona

From Jennifer of Glasses and Boarding Passes

If you’re looking for the best USA summer vacation ideas, nothing is more classic than a road trip around the Grand Circle , which includes Utah’s five national parks and Arizona’s Grand Canyon!

From sprawling canyons to otherworldly red rocks, the landscapes of the southwest can’t be beaten.

Start your trip in Las Vegas and drive the Grand Circle clockwise to Zion National Park, where you can pick from two of the most famous hikes in the world: Angel’s Landing or the Narrows.

Head to Bryce Canyon for an epic sunrise over the hoodoo-filled valley.

Next, stop at Capitol Reef National Park for an off-road adventure to visit the white rocky monoliths of the Temple of the Sun and Moon.

rock formations in capitol reef national park, one of the best places to visit in the us summer break

In Arches National Park, don’t miss a visit to the aptly-named Delicate Arch .

At neighboring Canyonlands, enjoy the sunrise at Mesa Arch and grab that famous sunburst photo.

Finally, round out your trip with a hike around the rim of the Grand Canyon for some truly breathtaking views.

While the long, sunny summer days make it a great time to see these parks, don’t underestimate the heat in the desert.

Always pack plenty of water , wear sunscreen , and hike in the morning where possible!

Where to Stay on a Grand Circle Road Trip

  • Zion National Park – Zion View Camping: This site is a perfect way to experience camping with a touch of luxury. Book into one of the covered wagons with private deck and take in the epic views of Zion.
  • Arches National Park – Big Horn Lodge: For a refreshingly iconic lodge style accommodation this motel is a great option. With delicious on site restaurant as well as a heated outdoor swimming pool, this is perfect for resting after exploring the nearby parks.
  • Grand Canyon – Cabins at Grand Canyon West: It is hard to find somewhere closer to the canyon than these cabins. They are less than 3km from the Skywalk with amazing views from every cabin.

man in a red jacket as seen on one of the best day hikes in the grand canyon, with a tree in the left foreground and the canyon consuming most of the image

Northern California Road Trip

From Anu of Destination Checkoff

Northern California is a treasure trove of incredible places to visit in the USA, and summer is a great time to embark on a Northern California road trip.

The weather is excellent during the late summer (June can be rainy in the Bay Area), and the daylight hours are longer giving you more time to explore.

San Francisco is a great base to start and end your road trip as you can fly from pretty much anywhere to San Francisco. 

Spend a few days in San Francisco and check out the popular San Francisco neighborhoods like Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park,  Haight-Ashbury , Sausalito, Ferry Building, and Embarcadero.

Be sure to also see the famous Golden Gate Bridge, and consider a day trip to Muir Woods to be amazed by the redwood trees.

woman in a yellow jacket hiking amongst the redwoods when visiting california usa

Mendocino and Fort Bragg are great coastal cities on the Northern California Pacific Coast.

From there you can drive to Mount Shasta and enjoy some great hiking.

Lassen National Park is a great volcanic park with geothermal activity, and nearby Burney Falls is also worth a visit.

From Lassen make your way to Lake Tahoe, a picturesque lake with lots of recreational activities like hiking, parasailing, canoeing, and swimming at the many beaches. Spend at least a couple of nights in Lake Tahoe.

Finally, drive back to San Francisco from Tahoe to conclude your USA summer vacation.

Plan for at least 10 days for this road trip so that you can spend a couple of days or more at each of these incredible places on the way.

Where to Stay in Northern California

  • San Francisco – Petit Auberge: For an iconic start to your trip this adorable hotel in Nob Hill is the perfect place to begin. Styled like a French Auberge with cozy furnishings and fireplaces in the rooms, opening onto pretty terraces, the hotel also has private parking. Essential in the city.
  • Mendocino – Headlands Inn Bed & Breakfast: Keeping with the cute theme, this Victorian B&B is 5 minutes walk away from the beach and perfectly maintained. Rooms have fabulous feather beds and fluffy duvets, and many of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and ocean views. Breakfasts are also stunning.
  • Lake Tahoe – Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge: Located right on the edge of Lake Tahoe this is the perfect summer resort. There are also private beach concerts in the summer. The lodge also has an on site spa and lake views from the rooms.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco CA shot from above on a clear day

Colorado Rockies Summer Road Trip

From Sierra of Island + Alpine

The stunning Colorado Rocky Mountains are easily one of the best places to to visit in the USA over summer!

Summer is the perfect time to visit as the weather is warm but mild, the roads are clear of the winter snow, and the land is alive with the colors of wildflowers and opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Denver is the gateway to the Rockies in Colorado and its airport makes for a great place to start a trip through the mountains.

The mile high step on the Capitol building, the street art in the RiNo district, a Rockies baseball game, and numerous breweries are all great activities to enjoy before heading out of the city.

Rocky Mountain National Park is located right by Estes Park , just north of Denver, neither should be missed!

The historic downtown is charming, and it is just minutes to the gate into the park.

view of dream lake in rocky mountain national park from above, one of the best places to visit during summer usa june july august

The park offers incredible scenery when driving Trail Ridge Road and picking up a souvenir in the Alpine Visitor’s Center, a beautiful hike to Emerald Lake and Alberta Falls, the easy walk around Bear Lake, as well as the chance to see wildlife at dusk each evening.

Located within a couple hours of Estes Park, several other incredible mountain towns can be enjoyed as day trips or home bases for other legs of the trip.

In Breckenridge, summer provides the opportunity to take the free BreckConnect gondola up to Peak 8, ride the alpine slide down the mountain, mine for gems, hike the many trails from town, discover the Breckenridge Troll, and  many other adventurous activities .

Check out Steamboat Springs for white water rafting, hot springs, and hiking to Fish Creek Falls.

Georgetown is also a great stop with its Georgetown Loop Railroad complete with outlaws, stunning views, and a silver mine tour.

No matter which mountain towns you choose to explore, the options are endless for a summer vacation in the Colorado Rockies!

Where to Stay in Colorado Rockies

  • Denver – The Slate: Located in Denver center this stunning hotel is a great start to your road trip. Rooms are spacious and stylish and you are well situated to explore the city from here.
  • Estes Park – Mountain Shadows Resort: Get into the rustic feel with these incredible cottages in Estes Park. Cottages have private terraces, hot tubs and wooden 4-poster beds.
  • Breckenridge – Longbranch: Accommodation in Breckenridge can get booked quickly and is often wildly expensive, but this apartment is a great option without breaking the bank.

chipmunk in front of bear lake in rocky mountain national park colorado

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

From Meg of Fox in the Forest

Easily one of the best USA summer vacation ideas, Lake Tahoe is a stunning alpine lake that straddles the border between Nevada and California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

As a result, there are a ton of incredible things to do in this oasis of natural beauty all summer long.

Highlights include hopping aboard a catamaran and cruising through the lake with Action Water Sports before taking a ride on the Heavenly Mountain Gondola so that you can admire sweeping panoramic views of the area all around you.

Next, make the most of the beautiful weather and enjoy one of the  best Lake Tahoe hikes   since many of these trails become totally impassable in the winter.

Clear water of Lake Tahoe California in summer with snowcapped mountains in the background--one of the best places to visit in the USA bucket list

Amazing hikes in the area include Cave Rock, the Eagle Falls hike, Marlette Lake, Mt. Rose, and the Emerald Bay hike.

For the latter, be sure to bring a bathing suit since there are plenty of places to swim along the way.

And if you still want to do a bit more swimming, then you can always visit amazing local beaches like Sand Harbor, Emerald Bay, and Zephyr Cove.

Whatever you do though, don’t leave without visiting Bonsai Rock, a cool natural rock formation in the lake that is well worth a stop for a photo.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

  • Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge: Located right on the edge of Lake Tahoe this is the perfect summer resort. There are also private beach concerts in the summer. The lodge also has an on site spa and lake views from the rooms.
  • Lodge at Kingsbury Crossing: Close to Zephyr Cove this resort features individual suites with private terraces and fireplaces in each room.

Lake Tahoe from above during the summer, one of the best USA travel destinations

Door County, Wisconsin

From Theresa of The Local Tourist

There are a lot of reasons Door County, Wisconsin, has long been a summer getaway destination for Chicagoans and other Midwesterners.

One of the biggest is its outstanding natural beauty. The peninsula is home to five state parks and nearly thirty county parks.

With three-hundred miles of coastline, it’s a popular spot for boating and fishing.

One of the coolest things to do in Door County is kayak to Cave Point and float into the caves.

It’s also fun to take a guided boat tour and learn the history of the area, and why there were so many shipwrecks. (But don’t worry; it’s safe now.)

If you want a relaxing vacation, there are sandy beaches.

red barn in door county wisconsin, a fun place to visit in july usa

There are no chain stores or restaurants in the quaint harbor towns that line the shores, so you’re sure to find unique shopping and dining.

One of the most well-known restaurants is Al Johnson’s. While the Swedish cuisine is good, the goats on the roof are what really draw attention.

A Door County dining experience you’ll definitely want to experience is an authentic fish boil. It’s dinner and a show rolled into one.

Don’t forget to finish it off with a giant ice cream sundae at Wilson’s.

A unique place to stay on the peninsula is Schoolhouse Inn. It’s an intimate hotel in the former Baileys Harbor Schoolhouse.

Where to Stay in Door County

  • Sister Bay – Country House Resort: Located in one of the pretty towns in Door County this resort has lots of facilities and spacious rooms with balconies and views of the coast.
  • Ephraim – The Lodgings at Pioneer Lane: This pretty Inn is a typical Door County property with cozy rooms, beautiful views and warm hospitality. Free bikes are also on offer, perfect for cycling to the nearby Cana Island Lighthouse.

Lakeshore at golden hour in Door County Wisconsin with evergreen trees on the right side of the photo

Southwest Colorado

From Caitlin of Twin Family Travels

If you’re looking for an unforgettable summer road trip, then southwest Colorado is the perfect destination.

With its dramatic mountain scenery and abundance of outdoor activities, you’ll be able to enjoy a wealth of amazing experiences.

Whether you’re hiking, biking, or simply taking in incredible views, you’re sure to have a memorable time.

Taking a classic USA summer vacation is a great way to explore southwest Colorado.

The weather is warm and the days are long, providing plenty of time to enjoy all that the area has to offer.

Another advantage of summer is that you will not need to worry about poor road conditions caused by the weather.

black canyon of the gunnison, one of the national parks in colorado, as seen from viewpoint

There are plenty of scenic drives to take including the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway.

Take a train ride in Durango, a mine tour in Silverton, soak in hot springs and hike to waterfalls in Ouray, ride the free gondola and do some shopping in Telluride.

Don’t miss the hiking and biking trails at the amazing national parks! Sled and summit a dune at Great Sand Dunes.

Be sure to tour the ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde . Drive the mesa top loop and stay at the lodge to get sunset views.

Enjoy the sights along the South Rim Scenic Drive and hike the rim of the canyon at the epic Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

If you’re looking for an adventure this summer, be sure to add southwest Colorado to your list!

Where to Stay in Southwest Colorado

  • Durango – General Palmer Hotel : For some old-fashioned elegance this is a great hotel for your trip, there is even a library! The Durango and Silverton Railway is just 130m away.
  • Great Sand Dunes – Sandhill Inn & Suites: With bright and fresh rooms this is the perfect place to rest. There is also a hot tub!
  • South Rim Scenic Drive – Teller House: Another old-timer charming hotel, this is the perfect place for exploring the scenic drive and sights around Silverton. Rooms also have beautiful mountain views to wake up to.

pueblo of mesa verde national park as seen from afar

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota

From Stephanie of The Unknown Enthusiast

If you’re looking for an offbeat getaway this summer, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota is a fantastic summer destination in the USA.

This wilderness area is wild and pristine and is perfect for anyone who loves an outdoor adventure and spending quality time in nature.

The Boundary Waters area is absolutely chock full of lakes, so visiting the Boundary Waters is a multi-day canoe trip filled with exploring forests, waterfalls, and, of course, beautiful lakes.

Most people spend several hours each day paddling across the lakes to reach their next campsite and portaging to cross between lakes.

person in red sweatshirt at the front of a canoe on minnesota boundary waters

Once you’re done canoeing, go swimming or cliff jumping, go fishing, explore the area (there are hikes and waterfalls you can climb), watch birds and wild animals, or just relax at your campsite.

Permits are required and limited in number, and campsites are very spread out, so you will hardly see another person while in the Boundary Waters.

The water is crystal clear and the views are incredible!

Thanks to its far north location, this trip can really only be done in summer, so put it on your calendar now!

Where to Stay in Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

  • South Pier Inn: Settled right on the edge of Lake Superior this is a great waterfront base. Book a suite for lake views from your balcony.
  • Sheraton Duluth Hotel: For a classic modern hotel with all the amenities this is a great option in the area. Every room has either city views or lake views, there is also an on-site fitness centre with a hot tub.

canoe pulled up to the shore in minnesota boundary waters, one of the most underrated vacations in usa

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

From Jenn of Those Johnson Boys

If you love the outdoors, Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio should definitely be on your radar this summer!

Located about an hour southeast of Columbus, Ohio, you’ll be able to unplug, immerse yourself in nature, and enjoy the warm, Midwest summer weather.

When visiting, you won’t want to miss the  hiking trails . Each trail is unique, with varying length and difficulty.

Some are even handicap accessible and pet friendly, so everyone can enjoy this beautiful area.

When you head out on your hike, you’ll soon feel like you were transported to a different world, as you’ll be surrounded by huge rock formations, towering trees, and lush greenery.

waterfall in hocking hills ohio, a fun usa summer break travel destination

While Hocking Hills is known for the hiking trails, there are plenty of other fun things to do in the area to keep you busy.

You can visit the college campus of Ohio University, do a wine tasting at Hocking Hills Winery, check out a couple of the breweries nearby, enjoy some time at the spa, attend a blown glass workshop, or stargaze at the John Glenn Astronomy Park.

When choosing accommodation, aim to stay in the heart of Hocking Hills to really get the full experience.

Where to Stay in Hocking Hills State Park

  • The Inn at Cedar Falls: This idyllic cottage-style accommodation is hidden in the forest and the perfect location. Set up as individual cottages with spa bathtubs and onsite spa facilities as well as dining facilities, it feels like private accommodation with your own catering and spa!
  • Acorn Cottage: Another cute cottage option is this self-contained cottage with a sweet deck and cozy interior. Easy access to nearby Logan and your own private hot tub!

sun filtering through the forest with a stone bridge of hocking hills ohio

Lake Placid, New York

From Samantha of PA on Pause

Sometimes forgotten about, tucked away in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, Lake Placid is a great destination for a USA summer vacation.

There are nearly endless outdoor activities and things to do in Lake Placid in summer , best experienced when the snow has finally melted from the high peaks.

You can climb to the top of Mount Marcy, the tallest point in the state of New York, or the 45 other 4,000+ footers in the Adirondack Mountains.

If this sounds too adventurous, you can still experience the views from a high peak by driving to the top of Whiteface Mountain.

hiker at the top of whiteface mountain in new york, one of the fun places to go in usa summer trip ideas

Views from the access road are stunning, and there are plenty of pull-offs to stop and enjoy.

Once you reach the end of the road, you can enjoy the views from there or continue on a few hundred yards over uneven, rocky stairs to reach the actual summit.

Spend your days out chasing waterfalls, and evenings enjoying a delicious dinner by the lake on one of the outdoor restaurant patios. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and float the day away on the lake. 

Don’t forget to explore some of the historic Olympic sites from the 1980 games. Travel to the top of the ski jump ramp and see the views that jumpers have just before flying downhill, or try out the bobsled track experience. 

You won’t be bored on your summer vacation in Lake Placid!

Where to Stay in Lake Placid

  • Town House Lodge: Set on acres of private gardens with an outdoor swimming pool, this lodge is a fantastic option for Lake Placid. Rooms are comfortable and have kitchenettes if you like to keep your own snacks on hand!
  • Mirror Lake Inn & Spa: For a luxury stay this is the perfect place to book during your Lake Placid trip. Situated on the banks of Mirror Lake with views of the Adirondack Mountains, this spa resort has plush rooms, incredible beds and views from every room. The onsite restaurant is also first-class if you don’t feel like venturing out to eat at the end of the day.

two adriondack chairs set up on the shore of lake placid, a cool usa summer vacation

Bayfield, Wisconsin

From Jenny of Traveling in Focus

Summertime in Bayfield, Wisconsin, is truly special.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Superior, Bayfield offers a variety of activities to enjoy and makes for a memorable summer vacation in America.

One popular activity is taking an apostle boat tour, which takes you around the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to see its spectacular sea caves, lighthouses, and cliff formations.

Keep a lookout for bald eagles and snow that still clings to the cliffs even in summer.

Drive the “fruit loop” and visit all the fruit farms in the area.

Whether your preference is cherries, strawberries, or some other berry, you are sure to find it here.

sea caves as seen from the water at apostle islands, one of the best places to visit in the us

One of the best things to do is hop on the ferry to Madeleine Island for the day.

Rent a bike or moped to get around the island and visit Big Bay State Park, the stunning beaches, and wander through the shops in town.

And there is nothing better than grabbing an ice cream cone and sitting along the waterfront.

June is incredibly picturesque when the city celebrates “Bayfield In Bloom.” This annual event sees thousands of vibrant daffodils on display all over town.

Take a self-guided tour through the blooms that add a splash of color and beauty to the streets.

With so much to do in summer, don’t miss your opportunity to visit one of the best small coastal towns in the US.

Where to Stay in Bayfield

  • Woodland Lodging: Set up as private suites this cabin-style accommodation is a lovely place. to stay in Bayfield. With private terraces and well-equipped kitchenettes, you have everything you need to get cozy. Sit on the terrace and enjoy the sounds of the forest in summer.
  • Old Rittenhouse Inn: Perfect for old-world charm and traditional hospitality, this Inn is a step back in time and wonderfully comfortable. Rooms have huge bathtubs and overlook the pretty gardens. Breakfast is served in the charming dining room every morning.

4 photos of places to visit in usa in summer including pacific coast highway, outer banks, cape cod. black and red text reads "33 incredible usa summer vacations"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

14 of the best places to go in the USA for a summer vacation

May 3, 2024 • 12 min read

cities to visit this summer

From the beaches of San Diego to the cobbled streets of Boston, here are the best places to visit in the US in summer © Sebastien Burel / Shutterstock

With summer just around the corner in the USA , you’re likely already dreaming of where to spend your vacation. 

And you won’t be alone. The months of June to August form the US’s busiest travel season. The warm days mean events such as music and food festivals are in full swing,  national parks  are fully open for the season, and there are more opportunities for outdoor activities. Kids are out of school, and you could face big crowds and higher prices wherever you go.

Whether you want to see some of the most incredible and well-known places or you're aiming to get a bit off the beaten path, here is our guide to where to go for a summer vacation in the United States.

Group of hikers walking on cooled lava flow of black rock

1. The Big Island, Hawaii

The island of Hawai’i (most often referred to as “the Big Island”) is the largest of the state ’s chain of islands, and it’s full of scenic beauty, miles of volcanic rock formations, breathtaking peaks and valleys, waterfalls, trails and rugged beaches (including the Papakōlea green-sand beach ). With eight of the world’s 13 climate zones, the island of Hawai’i is ecologically diverse to an astounding degree, with thousands of unique species of plants and animals.

A car is a must with so much to see, but the roads are rarely crowded (save for rush-hour traffic around Kona and Hilo ). Dive with manta rays in Captain Cook, ride horses in Waimea , stargaze near the summit of Mauna Kea , swim at Mahaiʻula Beach and most definitely take a hike in stunning  Volcanoes National Park . Better yet, plan to shack up at the historic Volcano House inside the park, where Mark Twain once stayed. Start the day by sipping a hot cup of Kona coffee at 4000ft and wrap it up with a sunset mai tai aboard a catamaran, followed by a delicious dinner at Moon and Turtle in Hilo.

Want to see more of Hawaii? Here are the top places to go

Visitors walk and ride bicycles on a street

2. Mackinac Island, Michigan

From either Mackinaw City or St Ignace, you can catch a ferry to Mackinac Island, Michigan . The island’s location in the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron made it a prized port in the North American fur trade, and a site the British and Americans battled over many times. The most important date on this 3.8-sq-mile island was 1898 – the year cars were banned in order to encourage tourism. Today, all travel is by horse or bicycle; even the police use bikes to patrol the town. Eighty percent of Mackinac Island is state parkland.

The crowds of tourists – called Fudgies by the islanders – can be crushing at times, particularly during summer weekends. But when the last ferry leaves in the evening and clears out the day-trippers, Mackinac’s real charm emerges as you drift back into another, slower era.

Explore more of Michigan in these top places to visit

Two hikers follow a path through thick undergrowth downhill towards a lake

3. Glacier National Park, Montana

Few places on earth are as magnificent and pristine as Glacier National Park . Protected in 1910 during the first flowering of the American conservationist movement, Glacier ranks with Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon among the United States’ most astounding natural wonders. The glacially carved remnants of an ancient thrust fault left a brilliant landscape of towering snowcapped pinnacles laced with plunging waterfalls and glassy turquoise lakes. The mountains are surrounded by dense forests, which host a virtually intact pre-Columbian ecosystem. Grizzly bears still roam in abundance, and smart park management has kept the place accessible and authentically wild.

Planning tips:  Although the park remains open year-round, most services are closed between October and mid-May, making a summer visit the best, if not only, time to get the park’s full offering. Going-to-the-Sun Rd , which crosses Glacier National Park, opens when crews finish plowing the snow, which could be as late as July.

Keep exploring Montana with these top experiences throughout the state

A boat sits at a small dock

4. Lewes, Delaware 

This tiny, darling dot on the coast is known as the “First Town in the First State ” and is a must-visit come summer. The main attraction in Lewes is its gorgeous, wheelchair-accessible beach, part of the 5000-acre Cape Henlopen State Park  – which also contains a nature reserve with excellent programming (bird walk, anyone?). But the entire town will draw you with its historic Victorian homes, some dating from the 1700s, treasure-filled antique shops and beachy boutiques, multiple restaurants and the not-to-be-missed King’s Homemade Ice Cream .

View remnants of the War of 1812 and other relics at Cannonball House, part of the 90-minute Lewes Legends Walking Tour , which brings local history to life every Wednesday evening. Explore the Saturday morning Historic Lewes farmers market, then make your way to Eggcelent for a divine breakfast spread. Take a seat at an outdoor table at The Station on Kings , a knock-out cafe, restaurant and home and garden store that begs to be photographed, as does the adjacent Marigold Creamery ice cream truck. Reserve at table at Heirloom or pop into Striper Bites for a scrumptious dinner and drinks. Be sure to get out on the water, too: we love Cape Water Tours “Dolphin Watch” cruise.

People follow a boardwalk near a bright turquoise lake

5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is the wild, free-flowing, beating heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Its real showstoppers are the geysers and hot springs – nature’s crowd-pleasers – yet at every turn, this land of fire and brimstone breathes, belches and bubbles like a giant kettle on the boil. The park’s highways traverse these geysers, through meadows and forests, past roadside herds of bison and campsites aromatic with pine needles and family campfires. In between lies the country’s largest collection of elk, the continent’s oldest and largest wild bison herds, and a pristine wilderness roamed by wolves, grizzlies, moose and antelope.

Planning tips:  June to August is the busiest time to visit Yellowstone (when more than half of the park's visitors arrive), perhaps because it’s the time of year when the full range of visitor services, accommodations and entrances to the park is open. Hotel rates peak at gateway towns, park campgrounds fill by lunchtime – and reservations are essential.

Want more great adventures? Here are our top picks in Yelloswtone National Park

Beach front houses on the sandy coast of North Carolina.

6. Outer Banks, North Carolina

North Carolina ’s Outer Banks are fragile ribbons of sand tracing the Atlantic coastline for more than 100 miles, separated from the mainland by sounds and waterways. Broken up by villages, the ribbon of Cape Hatteras National Seashore  is home to several noteworthy lighthouses. A meandering drive down Hwy 12, which connects much of the Outer Banks and makes up part of the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway (and its 21 coastal villages), is one of the truly great American road trips.

The quaint waterfront area of Manteo is a pleasant base from which to explore the Outer Banks. Near the harbor is the Roanoke Island Festival Park , where visitors can learn about the first English colonies on North American soil. In summer, be sure to catch an atmospheric amphitheater performance by Lost Colony Outdoor Drama , which portrays the story of the colonists who arrived in Manteo in the 1580s (before the European settlers arrived at Plymouth Rock) – and then disappeared.

Looking for more road trip inspiration? Here's our guide to the best driving routes in the US

Tourists wandering along a hilly cobbled street on a sunny day.

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston ’s history recalls revolution and transformation, and today, the city is still among the country’s most forward-thinking and barrier-breaking cities. For all intents and purposes, Boston is the oldest city in the US, and you can hardly walk a step over its cobblestone streets without running into some historic site. Yet Boston has not been relegated to the past. A history of cultural patronage means that the city’s art and music scenes continue to charm and challenge contemporary audiences. Cutting-edge urban-planning projects are reshaping the city even now, as neighborhoods are revived and reinvigorated. Historic universities and colleges still attract scientists, philosophers and writers, who shape the city’s evolving culture.

Planning tips:  Although summers in Boston are hot and humid, the city is noticeably quieter when students have vacated and Bostonians head to their summer homes. When you need to beat the heat, join them at the irresistible North Shore beaches nearby.

Plan ahead with our guide to  Boston's top experiences

People sit on the grass near a waterfront as the sun is setting

8. San Diego, California

San Diego calls itself “America’s Finest City” – which embodies the breezy confidence and sunny cheer that filters down here even to folks you encounter every day on the street. The city may feel like a collection of villages, each with its own personality, yet San Diego is the nation’s eighth-largest city. And even with its huge size, there’s probably nowhere more laid-back on earth.

What’s not to love? San Diego bursts with world-famous attractions for the entire family, including the zoo and the museums of Balboa Park. And that’s not to mention the excellent seafood, a buzzing downtown and beautiful hikes for all, plus more than 60 beaches and perhaps the USA’s most perfect weather.

Traveling to the USA with kids? Here's our guide to visiting as a family

A young moose, with only one antler, walking and feeding in a lake in a mountainous area

9. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is one of the world’s most famous mountain destinations, but that doesn’t mean it’s just for winter skiing. Aspen takes on new shades and personalities with the seasons . In fall, the hills are set afire with the quaking of a million golden aspen leaves. In winter, the slopes come to life, and the party hits maximum velocity. Come springtime, the flowers start to bud near the mirrored alpine lakes. And finally, in summer – ah, summer in Aspen! – everything comes together, with music festivals, arts, miles upon miles of trails to explore and perfect days under the bluebird-hued Colorado sky.

There are excellent restaurants at nearly every corner of the historic downtown area. Top it off with an understated chic that permeates nearly everything you do, eat, see and experience here, and you have the makings of maybe the best mountain vacation ever.

Love a scenic hike?   These are Colorado's best

Young couple walk down a street towards a city with skyscrapers

10. Chicago, Illinois

Steely skyscrapers, top chefs, rocking festivals: the Windy City will blow you away with its low-key, cultured awesomeness. It’s hard to know what to gawk at first in Chicago . High-flying architecture is everywhere, from the stratospheric, glass-floored Willis Tower to Frank Gehry’s swooping silver Pritzker Pavilion to Frank Lloyd Wright’s stained-glass-filled  Robie House . Whimsical public art studs the streets; you might be walking along and...wham, there’s an abstract Picasso statue that’s not only cool to look at, but climbable, too. For art museums, take your pick: Impressionist masterpieces at the massive Art Institute of Chicago , psychedelic paintings at the midsize  National Museum of Mexican Art or outsider drawings at the small Intuit gallery .

Planning tips:  Chicago’s peak visitor season is June through August. Summertime festivals rock Chicago’s neighborhoods almost every weekend, and  Millennium Park plays hosts to many concerts downtown. Fireflies glow everywhere. It can be hot and humid, but who cares?

Whatever your vacation vibe, here's what you should do on a trip to Chicago

Visitors wander among rose bushes in a garden

11. Portland, Oregon

Best-in-class coffee. The most food carts. Top craft breweries. The world-famous quirkiness. Portland is a city of indie-spirited superlatives and humble, offbeat charms. Portland has an almost unfair abundance of natural beauty: perfect parks, leafy trees, vibrantly flowering shrubs lining pretty residential streets, the Willamette River meandering through town and Mt Hood on the horizon. Summer in Portland sees festivals galore, including the Portland Rose Festival . Long-awaited wildflowers reach their peak bloom in early summer.

Venture beyond Portland with the top places to visit in Oregon

A solo figure stands on a rock looking out across a vast canyon as the sun shines down

12. Grand Canyon, Arizona

No matter how much you read about the Grand Canyon or how many photographs you’ve seen, nothing really prepares you for the sight of it: it’s so startlingly familiar and iconic and simply awe-inspiring, you can’t take your eyes off it. The canyon’s immensity, the sheer intensity of light and shadow at sunrise or sunset, even its very age, scream for superlatives. The Grand Canyon embodies the scale and splendor of the American West , through its dramatic vistas, dusty trails and stories of exploration, preservation and exploitation.

Planning tips:  Most visitors head to canyon’s South Rim  – yet the summer months are the best time to visit the North Rim , which is open only from mid-May to mid-October. The North Rim is Grand Canyon plus. Here, the elevation is a little higher, the temperatures are a little cooler, the trails are a little steeper, and the views… yeah, they’re a little bigger. Since this side gets more rain and snow, erosion has chewed deeper into the North Rim, creating mazes of side canyons while leaving sky islands and temples towering above the Colorado River.

Discover the most beautiful parts of Grand Canyon National Park on these scenic hikes

People walk through a a quaint seaside shopping mall

13. South Walton, Florida

Sandwiched between Destin and Panama City along Scenic Highway 30A in the Florida Panhandle are 16 unincorporated communities collectively known as South Walton. Each town has its own identity, most master-planned resort towns with architecture following set themes. If you only make two stops, we recommend delightful Grayton Beach , which feels as though it was settled by old-school hippies who came into money (stay a night here if you can) and the meticulously manicured village of Seaside, which is so well-planned they filmed The Truman Show here. Other points of interest include the whimsically named community of WaterColor, Moroccan-themed Alys Beach and the Dutch-inspired hamlet of Rosemary Beach.

Explore more of Highway 30A in our first-timer's guide

A river runs through a densely wooded area

14. The Ozarks, Missouri

Even though flashy Branson receives the lion’s share of tourists (nowhere in the USA will you find more family-friendly entertainment, with huge hokey musicals in abundance), hiking and river floating are the two best reasons to visit the Ozarks . Indeed, beyond Branson, nature rules in this mountain range, which straddles Missouri , Arkansas and Oklahoma . 

The Ozarks’ true charms can be found in its rolling hills and deep clefts, where wild spring-fed rivers carry legions of happy people floating downstream. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways – the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers – boast 134 miles of splendid canoeing and inner-tubing. Back on land, you never know when you’ll stumble onto another tiny village seemingly conjured up on a Hollywood back lot.

Make the most of your trip to the Ozarks with  the top things to do

This article was first published Apr 20, 2018 and updated May 3, 2024.

Explore related stories

cities to visit this summer

Sustainable Travel

May 16, 2024 • 12 min read

Get inspired to travel off the beaten path at these eight top destinations in North America.

A woman standing on the rocky edge near Sunwapta Falls, Alberta, Canada

May 13, 2024 • 14 min read

cities to visit this summer

May 6, 2024 • 12 min read

Camping next to Lake Wenatchee in the North Cascade Mountains, Washington State

May 6, 2024 • 7 min read

cities to visit this summer

Apr 26, 2024 • 7 min read

cities to visit this summer

Apr 23, 2024 • 5 min read

cities to visit this summer

Apr 20, 2024 • 4 min read


Apr 19, 2024 • 6 min read

Banff National Park: Bow Valley Parkway Johnston Canyon

Apr 19, 2024 • 10 min read

cities to visit this summer

Apr 18, 2024 • 11 min read

AFAR Logo - Main

7 U.S. Cities to Visit This Summer

America’s cities were hit hard by the pandemic, but they’ve roared back to life with new attractions, a renewed focus on outdoor spaces, and plenty of dining and hotel options. here are seven particularly exciting places for the coming months..

  • Copy Link copied


Courtesy of Lotte Hotel

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Why You Should Visit Philadelphia This Summer

Just north of City Hall, South Restaurant and Jazz Club dishes up Lowcountry fare (think chicken-fried oysters, shrimp and grits, hush puppies).

Photo by A. Ricketts/Visit Philadelphia

Philly shakes off the pandemic blues this summer with a lively mix of American history, music, art, and new flavors. In May, the encyclopedic Philadelphia Museum of Art unveiled its Frank Gehry redesign, showcasing lighter, airier interior spaces, new galleries, and gift shops featuring local crafts. The Early American Galleries embrace Latin American art and the contributions of enslaved Africans. New Grit: Art and Philly Now , through August 22, exhibits artists with strong links to the city, such as Judith Schaechter and Alex Da Corte.

The 59 ½ annual Philadelphia Folk Festival goes pocket-sized and hybrid August 21–22, with live events at the Spring Mountain Ski Area outside Philadelphia. Take a break at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum , on the city’s southwestern edge, which preserves freshwater marshlands and offers prime bird watching. — Julia Klein

Thinking about planning a trip? Read more in Why You Should Visit Philadelphia This Summer .

Washington, D.C.

Why You Should Visit Washington, D.C. This Summer

A pair of José Andrés restaurants are just two of the reasons to visit.

Courtesy of Jaleo DC

After a year of lockdown and political turmoil, the nation’s capital is officially back in business. Across the region, which includes Maryland to the north and Virginia to the south, residents have achieved 70 percent COVID vaccination rates , and Mayor Bowser is “pushing hard” to reach the remaining 30 percent. Visitors are asked to follow local protocols, including masking on public transit and in federal buildings, but there’s currently no citywide mask mandate in place.

And people are out and about : enjoying the city’s glorious rooftop bars , like Hedy’s Rooftop and the Thompson’s Anchovy Social at the Yards ; vibrant waterfront neighborhoods like the Wharf and Buzzard Point ; and best of all, the 500-plus “streateries,” or street dining destinations akin to those that have popped up in NYC, creating a café culture that previously didn’t exist—and keeping businesses alive through the pandemic. The mayor has proposed a bill to allow outdoor dining for the rest of the year and for six-month stretches in 2022 and 2023. — Laura Dannen Redman

Thinking about planning a trip? Read more in Why You Should Visit Washington, D.C. This Summer .

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Why You Should Visit Tulsa This Summer

At Greenwood Rising, visitors can make a personal commitment toward racial reconciliation.

Photo by Mel Willis/Local Projects

In May, all eyes were on Tulsa as the city marked the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The attack—in which mobs of white residents attacked Black residents and businesses in the city’s 35-block Greenwood District—is believed to be the single deadliest and most destructive act of racial violence in U.S. history , and its scars are still evident in Oklahoma’s second-largest city, which sits on the Arkansas River. But for travelers looking to understand what it means to see “America,” perhaps there is no better city than one like Tulsa, which is looking forward while reckoning with the legacy of its past.

On May 28, Tulsa debuted its new Pathway to Hope walking path—which connects core sites in the district; in early July, the much-awaited Greenwood Rising —a history center that will commemorate the legacy of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street—will open its doors. Elsewhere in the city, Dylan fans will want to head straight to the new-as-of-2021 Bob Dylan Archive at the University of Tulsa, which comprises 6,000 items, including writings, memorabilia, and recordings. (Though famous folk singer Woody Guthrie was born one hour south of Tulsa, in Okemah, his archives are also in Tulsa, housed in the Woody Guthrie Center, which bills itself as a “repository for Woody’s writings, art, and songs.”) — Katherine LaGrave

Thinking about planning a trip? Read more in Why You Should Visit Tulsa This Summer .

Denver, Colorado

Why You Should Visit Denver This Summer

Grab an alfresco drink at Dairy Block Alley.

Photo Jeff Fierberg

Three hundred days of sunshine, low humidity, and no bugs—just some of the reasons that metro Denver lives outdoors. Other reasons: more than 150 craft breweries with beer gardens (check out the Denver Beer Trail map to get your bearings), outdoor film venues (try a dive-in movie at the Elitch Gardens water park ), and 850 miles of paved bike trails, including the new outdoor art–focused 5280 Trail connecting Denver’s inner-city neighborhoods.

During the day, Red Rocks (a Denver Mountain Park), bordered by sandstone formations, is popular for hiking trails. At night, it’s all about the music. Everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Wiz Khalifa has performed in this acoustically perfect natural amphitheater . Early risers can join 2,500 fitness-focused down-doggers for Yoga on the Rocks (weekend mornings at 7 a.m.). — Irene Rawlings

Thinking about planning a trip? Read more in Why You Should Visit Denver This Summer .

San Diego, California

Why You Should Visit San Diego This Summer

Barrio Logan is home to the world’s largest collection of Chicano murals.

Photo by Stacy Keck

San Diego’s flip-flop friendly climate makes it inviting in any season of any year, but summer 2021 is an especially good time to head to this stretch of Pacific coast. New happenings abound: The world-famous zoo is opening the Kenneth C. Griffin Komodo Kingdom and a new hummingbird habitat and has extended its hours until September 6 (9 a.m.–8 p.m.); the Candlelight Concert Series lands in SD, with works from Vivaldi and Mozart et al. performed at various locations; and San Diego Pride runs from July 10 to 18 across the city.

Horse racing fans can get back to the Del Mar Racetrack from July 16 to September 6, and art lovers can choose between a new Wild and Beautiful sculpture exhibition at the San Diego Botanic Garden in nearby Encinitas or photorealistic drawings by Ana de Alvear and Cranach to Canaletto: Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation at the San Diego Museum of Art. In Balboa Park, an evergreen destination in both senses of the word, the Mingei International Museum will reopen , newly expanded after a three-year closure, displaying folk art and design. — Tim Chester

Thinking about planning a trip? Read more in Why You Should Visit San Diego This Summer .

San Francisco, California

Why You Should Visit San Francisco This Summer

Pull up a stool at the Palihotel—they’ve been waiting for you.

Courtesy of Palisociety

The first city in the United States to issue a shelter-in-place order last year in response to the coronavirus could also be the first U.S. city to reach herd immunity, with more than 70 percent of residents vaccinated as of mid-June. The Bay Area officially reopened in full on June 15 (in line with the state of California’s reopening ), and locals and travelers are emerging to a city transformed by parklets fanning out on sidewalks in front of restaurants, a host of new exhibits and indoor and outdoor experiences, and a downtown area still largely void of office workers.

Summers in San Francisco are notoriously cold and foggy (yes, yes, the Twain quote is true), but for travelers who may have left their heart in this cool, gray city , now’s the time to explore largely free of the hordes of tourists who descend during more typical years. Here are a few of the best things to do in San Francisco this summer, from locals who are so happy to be out and about. — Julia Cosgrove

Thinking about planning a trip? Read more in Why You Should Visit San Francisco This Summer .

Seattle, Washington

Why You Should Visit Seattle This Summer

The Kimpton Palladian Hotel has a room waiting for you.

Courtesy of Kimpton Palladian Hotel

Seattle may have a rainy reputation, but each summer the Emerald City’s gray skies give way to several months of the most perfect, mild, sunny days—and locals know not to waste a minute of it. Join in with an outdoorsy adventure like kayaking on Puget Sound, biking the Burke-Gilman Trail to Gas Works Park, picnicking while admiring a view of the Space Needle in Volunteer Park (also home to the Asian Art Museum ), or hiking in the expansive, 534-acre Discovery Park.

For a more urban, outdoor adventure, go art-spotting at Olympic Sculpture Park , walk the new Market to MOHAI pedestrian corridor, completed in 2020 , while learning about Seattle history, or catch a Shakespeare in the Park performance by GreenStage (July 9 to August 14).

Thinking about planning a trip? Read more in Why You Should Visit Seattle This Summer .

Riverdale Park East

Wandering Wheatleys - Logo

The 15 Best Places to Visit in the Summer in the USA

  • Facebook 29

Traveling during the summer in the US has its benefits and drawbacks. For one thing, with many children off for summer vacation, a great deal of the country is taking advantage of the time off for some family vacations, which means higher crowd levels in many of the US’s top vacation spots.

But the weather is a big reason why traveling during the summer can still be ideal. Many vacation spots in the US are experiencing their best weather of the year. If you’re looking for a quintessential beach day, in particular, you can’t get better than a summer getaway!

Looking for where to go for your own summer vacation in the US? I’ve compiled a list of the best places to visit in the summer in the US, from oceanfront getaways to historic cities. Pick your favorite vacation from this list, and you’re bound to have an amazing summer escape.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

1. Step Back in Time in Boston

Best Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Boston

While many of the major cities in the US will be experiencing their peak season in the summer, that’s not the case for Boston , which is what makes it one of the best places to visit in the summer in the US. Boston is a big college town, and many of the students go home in the summer, which can actually make the city a lot less crowded. 

Plus, Boston will be experiencing some of its best weather of the year in summer, allowing the city to be fully awake after its winter slumber. Even in spring, Boston can sometimes experience a resurgence of winter weather, but by summer, things are warm enough for you to enjoy sunny summer fun, like by walking the Freedom Trail or riding the Swan Boats in the Public Garden.

2. See the Wildlife at Katmai National Park

What Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Katmai National Park

Have you ever heard of Fat Bear Week? It’s become a national phenomenon in which people vote on the bear that’s best prepared for the winter. 

Those brown bears can be found in Katmai National Park & Preserve , and summer is one of the best times of year to see them, making this national park one of the best summer vacation spots for wildlife lovers. With salmon in abundance, the bears will be plenty active, giving you many opportunities to see these majestic creatures. 

3. Enjoy a Sunny Summer Day at Spring Lake

Where to Vacation in the US in Summer: Spring Lake

As a New Jersey native, it was hard to resist making this list just a list of the best places to visit on the Jersey Shore because summer is always the best time to visit the Shore. It’s when the water is warm and the days are sunny. 

But Spring Lake deserves a special shoutout as one of the best summer vacations in the US because it’s a bit off the beaten path of what you’d expect of a Jersey Shore experience. Rather than busy boardwalks, Spring Lake offers a quaint downtown with local boutiques and restaurants, as well as expansive beaches with soft sand that you’ll just want to spend the whole day on.

4. Take a Carriage Ride Around Acadia National Park

Best Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Acadia National Park

While summer is the busy season for Acadia National Park , it’s busy for a good reason. While Acadia is open year-round, the facilities and roads aren’t always open due to the snowy weather in the winter. In the summer, the park is typically fully open and ready for you to explore.

Enjoy carriage rides on the historic carriage roads, bike riding, hanging out on the beaches, tide pooling, and much more that this beautiful park offers you.

5. Explore Portland, Maine

What Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Portland, Maine

Both Portlands land on our list of the best summer vacations in the US. In the case of Portland , Maine, it’s a perfect summer spot if you’re looking for plenty of things to do. 

With mild temperatures and mostly sunny days, it’s no wonder why Portland comes alive with events in summer. From Portland Wine Week to the Maine Outdoor Film Festival , there’s always something to do in Portland in the summer.

6. See the Flowers Bloom in Portland, Oregon

Where to Vacation in the US in Summer: Portland, Oregon

Over in Oregon is another Portland that’s one of the best summer vacation spots in the US. Portland is known as the City of Roses, and summer is the perfect time to see them in bloom. 

While you can see these beautiful blooms throughout the summer, one of the biggest highlights of the season is the Portland Rose Festival , which typically runs from Memorial Day to mid-June, during which you can attend a massive fair, watch illuminated parades, celebrate all things roses, and much more.

7. Experience All There is to Do in New York City

Best Places to Visit in the US in Summer: New York City

NYC may be crowded in the summer, but it’s one of the best summer vacations in the US if you’re looking for a trip that’s jam-packed with things to do. Throughout the summer, there’s always something happening in and around the city. 

From night markets to rooftop parties to free performances in Central Park , Bryant Park , and many more places around the city, you’ll never be at a loss for what to do during your NYC trip.

8. Take a Cruise Around Kenai Fjords National Park

What Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Kenai Fjords National Park

In Alaska, you’ll find another national park that’s one of the coolest summer vacations in the US – literally. It never gets too hot at Kenai Fjords National Park , but the summer season is warm enough for guests to enjoy being out on the water, taking in the incredible sight of the glaciers. 

There are boat tours for those looking to relax on their trip, but adventurous visitors are bound to love kayaking the fjords.

9. Lay Out on the Beaches of Gloucester, MA

Where to Vacation in the US in Summer: Gloucester, MA

Gloucester , a charming town on Massachusetts’ northern cape, Cape Ann, is a perfect summer vacation spot in the US for those looking to relax on the beach and have a quintessential seaside summer. Spend your days in the water, get out on the water on the beloved Schooner Lannon , go whale watching, and enjoy that incredible New England seafood.

10. Play Around the Outer Banks in North Carolina

What Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Outer Banks in North Carolina

While you can go to the Outer Banks for a lazy beach day, what makes the Outer Banks one of the best places to visit in the US in summer is the access to so many outdoor adventures. From hang-gliding over Jockey’s Ridge State Park to going on a tour to see Corolla’s famous wild horses, there’s always something to keep you busy all summer long.

11. Take in the Beauty of Burlington, Vermont

Where to Vacation in the US in Summer: Burlington, Vermont

Located on the lovely shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington offers one of the best summer vacations in the US for those looking for a walkable getaway. With a charming downtown, outdoor drinking and dining options, and incredible waterfront views, you’re sure to get your steps in here, both in the pedestrian-friendly downtown and on the nearby hiking trails.

12. Enjoy the Lovely Weather in Seattle

Best Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Seattle

Seattle may be known for its rain , but summer is a prime time to get a break from the wet weather. Seattle is one of the best US summer vacation spots because those clear, sunny days are the best time of year to check out some of the city’s most picturesque attractions, like the Space Needle and the Chihuly Garden and Glass . 

13. Get Away to Martha’s Vineyard

What Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard is a scenic getaway that’s perfect for a summer trip. Hop on a bike and see all there is to offer at this stunning vacation spot, from the gingerbread cottages of Oaks Bluff to the Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook. And with so many beaches with their own personality, you may just end up spending every day of your trip taking in the view from the sand.

14. Relax at Cannon Beach, Oregon

Where to Vacation in the US in Summer: Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is so much more than a beach, although you can spend the entirety of your summer vacation on the Oregon Coast’s beaches, and we wouldn’t blame you at all. 

But Cannon Beach is also home to scenic hiking trails, tidepools, numerous breweries, and so much more. If you’re visiting early in the summer, be sure to head to Haystack Rock to see the tufted puffins!

15. Get Outside at Isle Royale National Park

Best Places to Visit in the US in Summer: Isle Royale National Park

On a cluster of islands in Lake Superior is Isle Royale National Park , another one of the best places to visit in the US in summer. This national park is a perfect choice for those who want a summer vacation that lets them spend their days outside and active. 

Isle Royale, with all its rugged wilderness, makes for a playground for paddlers, divers, hikers, and anyone else who loves the Great Outdoors.

There you have it! The 15 best US summer vacation spots. Where’s your favorite place to go for summer vacations in the USA? Let us know in the comments!

Jacqueline Gualtieri

Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California. When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes. Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

Related Posts

The Best Places to Visit for the 4th of July

The 15 Best Places to Visit for the 4th of July

The Best Luxury Hotels in Atlantic City

The 12 Best Luxury Hotels in Atlantic City

The Best Boutique Hotels in Tucson, Arizona

The 12 Best Boutique Hotels In Tucson, Arizona

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 of the best places you should travel to this summer in the US and abroad

  • Amid pent-up demand and savings surplus, summer 2022 travel is poised to be hotter than ever.
  • With eased border restrictions, international destinations are back on the table for many travelers.
  • I'm a travel writer, and these are the best places to go this summer based on the latest trends.

I'm a travel writer and have been covering the industry for years. I'm convinced this summer will be huge for travel.

cities to visit this summer

As we barrel towards Memorial Day, I'm giddily blocking out dates on my calendar for summer travel. At last, so many options seem more feasible than they did at any time over the last two long years of heavy travel restrictions.

And I'm far from alone. According to recent Google Search and Flights data for 2022 so far, travelers across the US are feeling the same pent-up demand and are ready to hit the road — and the skies — this summer. 

Searches made between January and mid-April 2022 showed that travelers are ready to make up for lost time and go all out on travel. Search interest in " luxury hotels " elevated above 2019 levels, and searches for " luxury hotels near me " was more than double what Google data showed in early 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Still, travelers continue to embrace nature and wide-open spaces, with Yellowstone National Park ranking high in interest, as well as Disney World, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Similarly, for summer travel dates between June and August 2022, Orlando was the top-searched destination. Other cities like Las Vegas, my perennial favorite, and New York also cracked the top five. 

But unlike last summer, when many border restrictions created barriers, this year, international travel is now very much an option. The same Google data also showed that two international locations made the list of top-searched travel destinations this summer, with Cancun at No. 2 and London at No. 4. Correspondingly, search interest in "passport appointments" increased 300 percent over the first four months of 2022, according to the data .

Inspired by these trends, as well as upcoming anticipated events this summer, I compiled a list of the best domestic and international destinations to consider for summer 2022 travel. 

The Queen of England will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this summer, with many events scheduled in London to mark the occasion.

cities to visit this summer

This year, the Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee — that's 70 years on the throne. Devoted royal watchers (and "Bridgerton" fans) will want to celebrate the occasion this summer with a jaunt across the pond. Four days of events and initiatives are slated for the extended holiday weekend between June 2 and 5, including public events and community activities across the UK Stay near Buckingham Palace to check out the troops parading between the palace and the parade ground as part of Trooping the Colour. 

If you need a place to stay, my family and I once stayed at the Taj 51 Buckingham Gate , and while strolling around the hotel, we managed to catch a glimpse of the Queen leaving the palace in her famous burgundy Rolls Royce! While I can't guarantee you'll see her, visiting during this time will be witnessing history in the making.

Take advantage of summer-long activities and new hotels in my hometown of Los Angeles.

cities to visit this summer

As an LA local, I know that West Hollywood brings the party, pretty much any time of year. But this summer, the famously LGBTQIA+-friendly city is taking it a step further, welcoming travelers an electric calendar of activities and events, all amid new and wow-worthy lodgings and hospitality venues.

A slew of summer-long events run from June through Labor Day, including the annual Pride parade , a roller skating rink with guest DJs, family nights, and more. Pair any with a stay at recently-opened hotels, including the new Hotel Ziggy on the Sunset Strip, a boutique hotel with a rock-n-roll edge, or the posh new Pendry West Hollywood with a rooftop pool, multiple chef-driven restaurants, a live-entertainment venue, a screening room, bowling alley, spa, and more. I got to visit the Pendry for an Oscar weekend brunch and now know I need to come back for an overnight staycation as soon as possible.

Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, and reportedly Adele, will have Las Vegas residencies alongside new attractions and hotel renovations.

cities to visit this summer

Las Vegas is as exciting as ever, as the city continually rolls out a steady stream of new hotels, world-class culinary concepts, and entertainment options.

The Las Vegas Strip recently opened its first new ground-up resort in more than a decade with Resorts World Las Vegas . And one of my favorite properties in town, the opulent Wynn Las Vegas, spent $200 million to revamp its rooms, a project that should be completed in June, alongside new restaurants like the celeb hotspot, Delilah , where I recently had an over-the-top dining (and people-watching) experience. 

And while I can gladly entertain myself for hours at Vegas' craps tables alone, there's so much happening around town right now worth pulling myself away from the casino floor. Book tickets to any of the new shows in town, such as Cirque du Soleil's Mad Apple , which launches in May at New York-New York, or new artist residencies from  Katy Perry , Carrie Underwood , plus Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak) And after the much-publicized drama surrounding Adele's postponed residency , the artist appears close to a deal to move the show to Planet Hollywood, so fans will be wise to follow the news and get ready to book.

Get outdoors in Greenough, Montana, to hike, fish, and ride horses, and then retreat to luxury lodging.

cities to visit this summer

While skiers will want to save this trip for winter (or even spring, when snow still falls), outdoor lovers of all stripes should embrace the summertime in Montana, particularly in Greenough near the Canadian border.

Here, sunset times hover near 10 p.m. and days are spent horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and rafting on the Blackfoot River. Bring the whole family for a stay at Paws Up Resort , where 37,000 acres create a national park-like vibe on private land. On a recent visit, my kids tried horseback riding for the first time, and got behind the wheel of go-karts on the spectacular wilderness track, and still can't stop talking about it. 

Or, come for a sophisticated adults-only experience at the brand new Green O resort, a secluded woodland retreat with remote treehouse-like accommodations done up in the sleekest design. 

Visit New York City in summer for all-American fun, watching a game at Citi Field or riding the roller coaster and eating hot dogs on Coney Island.

cities to visit this summer

As a thin-skinned native Californian, I could never get warm enough during my four winters living in New York City. But the summers are a different story. I think summer in New York is like magic, and there's no better time to visit the city.

While some New Yorkers might say the city empties out in the summer as many residents head to the beach, I find it comes alive under the sun. Plus, fewer people means it's easier to snag reservations, and crowds are more manageable. In summer, diners embrace sidewalk seating, aperol-fueled laughter wafts from rooftop bars, Citi Field becomes the go-to spot for all-American fun, and Coney Island's Cyclone roller coaster (and its hot dogs) are a rite of passage.

Plan a well-located stay at the brand new Hotel Indigo NYC Downtown Wall Street in the Financial District. Just opened this spring, the tower features rooms and spaces with gold accents, rich leathers, and slick details for an Instagram-friendly backdrop to your urban adventure. Some rooms even have perfect-for-summer balconies.

Hit the beach, explore ancient ruins, and swim in cenotes in Cancun, Mexico.

cities to visit this summer

Cancun is one of Google's top-searched destinations, and it's easy to see why. The bustling city features stunning resorts fronting some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and for those looking to dip their toes back into international travel, it's a quick trip from most US cities. 

Whether you're coming to savor the nightlife, explore ancient history, or do absolutely nothing at all at an all-inclusive hotel on the beach, Cancun has it all. I've also used it as a jumping-off point to explore Mexico's Yucatan peninsula with its many distinctive destinations, such as Mayan ruins alongside gorgeous cenotes, which are natural sinkholes you can swim in. Once-sleepy Tulum is now a well-known hotspot just a few hours away, and the lesser-visited Mayakoba is a complex of upscale hotels built around natural canals for a twist on a beachfront vacation. 

But if you'd like to stay in the thick of it, Insider recently rounded up t he best hotels in Cancun for every type of traveler, from friends on a budget, to all-inclusive resorts families will love, and luxury seekers who want to be pampered.

Istanbul, Turkey, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of a long-running music festival. Over 18 days, musicians from around the world will perform classical, jazz, ballet, and opera music.

cities to visit this summer

Since I can't wait until next Coachella to get my music festival fix, I'm considering booking a flight to Istanbul. Not only is it one of my favorite cities in the world, but it also has plans to host the Istanbul Music Festival  from June 6 to 24.

This year, the event celebrates its 50th anniversary with 18 days of music across a huge range of genres: classical, jazz, ballet, and opera, with participating musicians from around the world.

The festival kicks off with a performance by the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, and families can check out a performance of  "The Nutcracker and I" by Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu. German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott will also make an appearance to perform her 2021 album "Echoes of Life," playing works from icons like Chopin as well as contemporaries.

And since the fascinating and ancient city on the Bosphorus River is the only one in the world to span two continents, there's so much to explore. Vacation shopaholics like me should bring a spare bag to haul home souvenirs snagged in the dazzling Grand Bazaar. 

The World Games, an international sports event held every four years, will take place in Birmingham, Alabama, this summer — the first time in the US in over 30 years.

cities to visit this summer

The World Games is an international sports event held every four years, in the year following each Summer Olympic Games. The 11-day event represents the pinnacle of competition for 3,600 of the world's best athletes in 34 sports.

And for the first time since 1981, the games are set to be held in the US, in Birmingham, Alabama. Some of the nation's top athletes in sports like lacrosse, kickboxing, billiards, water sports, and more will gather in Birmingham from July 7 through 17 for the event. For lodging, The Valley Hotel (part of the Curio Collection by Hilton) offers an upscale boutique experience steeped in small-town charm just minutes away from the action.

The CMA Music Festival returns to Nashville in June after a two-year hiatus.

cities to visit this summer

Country music fans can breathe a sigh of relief as CMA Fest is finally coming back to Nashville in June after a two-year hiatus. The festival will take place June 9 through 12, welcoming some of country music's biggest names to the downtown area.

Located one block from the action, Nashville's Holston House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers luxury amenities, including a rooftop infinity saltwater pool.

For luxury seekers,  Conrad Nashville is slated to open this summer as the city's first ultra-luxe property and will offer a restaurant and terrace lounge from Elizabeth Blau. Steeplechase horse racing, Fourth of July fireworks, boating on the lakes, and big-name concerts across genres round out what's sure to be an exciting summer.

Orlando is celebrating Walt Disney World Resort's 50th anniversary.

cities to visit this summer

The most-searched-for city is highly sought after this summer for good reason.

For Disney fans, there's never a bad time to visit the parks, but this year marks a particularly good time to book a trip as the Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating 50 years. As part of the anniversary celebrations , expect special decorations, entertainment, and more.

If you want to rest your head wrapped in luxury rather than Mickey logos galore, book the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort , the only Five Diamond-rated property in Central Florida. The Orlando International Airport is also nearing the completion of a multimillion-dollar renovation , which includes the introduction of Brightline, Florida's high-speed passenger rail service.

Take a ride on the Buffalo National River in Arkansas and journey from rapids to serene pools while surrounded by massive bluffs.

cities to visit this summer

The first national river to be designated in the United States — the Buffalo National River — turns 50 this year. Located in Northern Arkansas and established in 1972, the river flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states.

Last year's record of nearly 2 million tourism visitors nods at travelers' renewed interest in nature. Come for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, paddling, and more, and journey from rapids to serene pools while surrounded by massive bluffs as you cruise through the Ozark Mountains down to the White River. It's also designated an International Dark Sky Park. Stay in cabins or camp in one of the developed campsites. Bed and breakfast lodgings and motels are available in nearby towns.

Richmond, Virginia, will host a slew of events and festivals all summer celebrating Pride, a Grand Carnivale, and a month of craft beer.

cities to visit this summer

Historic Richmond is alive with summer events this year, starting with the Endless Summer of Pride kicking off the celebrations throughout the month of June.

Then, from June 25 through July 10, check out Kings Dominion's Grand Carnivale festival, with a larger-than-life parade, a block party filled with dancing, and food from around the world.

Finally, August in Virginia is known as Craft Beer Month, and the Craft Beer Festival . Stroll along the Richmond Beer Trail , which takes beer enthusiasts on a journey through over 32 craft breweries, guided by a Richmond Beer Trail Map.

Cross off a bucket list golf event in St. Andrews, Scotland.

cities to visit this summer

This July, the 150th Open will bow at the Old Course, St. Andrews, and being there could check a bucket-list box for a serious golf fan. This historic anniversary event is preparing to host record crowds as the world's greatest players descend on the region.

Stay at Rusacks St Andrews , the notable property from the recently launched Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts . Occupying an 1800s building, the hotel is steeped in golfing history and overlooks the picturesque town of St Andrews, just a stone's throw from the famous links.

Yellowstone National Park is 150 years old this year, and reservations to enter the park aren't required.

cities to visit this summer

Yellowstone National Park, lauded as America's first national park , is welcoming guests for the 150th year this season. So if you've always wanted to visit, now's the time, amid a swirl of commemorative activities .

While reservations are not needed to enter the park, they are for lodges. Or make it a glamping trip with a stay at Under Canvas Yellowstone — tricked out with West Elm furnishings and upscale, organic bath products. 

See the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence in Florida.

cities to visit this summer

According to Next Vacay , the bioluminescence travel trend is picking up with searches for "how to see bioluminescence" recently soaring by 400 percent. And you don't even need a passport to see the dazzling natural phenomenon.

Instead, come to Florida's Space Coast, located on the East Coast of the state just south of Daytona Beach, for activities like bioluminescent tours and glass-bottomed kayaking over bioluminescent lagoons . The natural phenomenon most commonly occurs during the summer months; July is the peak season.

Go to the Galapagos in style on a luxury yacht.

cities to visit this summer

This year, a presidential decree expands the Galapagos — already the biggest marine biosphere reserve in the world — by more than 20,000 square miles as a conservation measure.

Visit in serious style aboard the seven-suite  Aqua Mare . Having just launched its inaugural expedition on May 6, the yacht offers a choice of two highly personalized seven-night itineraries exploring the Archipelago's eastern and western regions, as well as two 14-night voyages for the Galapagos Islands' ultimate bucket-list adventure. Even if you're searching for luxury and feel prepared to splash out big bucks, be warned this trip isn't for the average holidaymaker: Rates for the Aqua Mare begin at $9,450 and range to $25,500.

cities to visit this summer

  • Main content

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

cityscape of mykonos, greece

The 26 Best Places to Travel This Summer

Adventures in Banff? Serenity in Ojai? Châteaux of the Loire? We've got you covered.

So what will it be this year? Will you be spending three months flitting between seaside hotspots along the Mediterranean? Or will it be a European cultural grand tour? Maybe you'll revisit classic American destinations for old time's sake, or journey to the farthest reaches of Earth? From adventures in Jackson Hole and Banff, to wellness in Ojai and on Ischia, to the ultimate geo-tag brags of Fiji and the Galapagos, a T&C -curated guide, below, to 25 of the best destinations to consider for summer 2023.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

mountain, mountainous landforms, natural landscape, nature, sky, mountain range, wilderness, cloud, morning, highland,

Jackson Hole is a year-round playground for the rich and adventurous, but come summer, the list of things to do expands exponentially. Proximity to two national parks—Grand Teton and Yellowstone—means plenty of warm weather activities like hiking, paddle-boarding, kayaking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, wildlife tours, biking, fishing, camping, you get the idea. Plus, the spectacular mountain scenery and perfect summer temperatures really can't be beat. Stay at the Amangani , whose in-house naturalists will lead private tours through the national parks.

Athens & Mykonos, Greece

view on mykonos island, cyclades, greece

Summer in Greece really needs no further explanation. There are so many places to visit, from the ancient wonders of Athens to the islands dotting the Aegean and Ionian Seas. For plush digs in the country's capital, book a room at the year-old xenodocheio Milos , the city's first-ever luxury boutique hotel, located near upscale Kolonaki. As for seaside havens, the Kalesma Mykonos is a paragon of serenity and zen on an island famous for its thumping party scene. A sleek design aesthetic also differentiates this 27-key hotel (12 suites, 13 villas, two grand villas) from its peers. Think Rick Owens furniture in the lobby, custom artwork in each room, and horsehair sconces in a nod to the Greek god Apollo, who was said to have kept his horses in the area. Oh, and best of all, 360-degree views.

Read Reviews Kalesma Mykonos

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

san miguel de allende mexico

With pleasant spring-like temperatures pretty much all year long, there really is no bad time to visit this charming, historic town. While summer is technically its rainy season, here's the silver lining: arid hills bloom into a rainbow panoply of wildflowers. Make the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende home base from which to explore the colorful UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel's 67 rooms and suites are a study in hacienda chic, with wood-beam ceilings, hand-carved artisan furniture, spacious terraces, and a palette of warm tones. With six restaurants, clay tennis courts, a spa, and activities from movie nights to lavender workshops, you'll find plenty to do.

Read Reviews Rosewood San Miguel de Allende

Mallorca, Spain

port de soller mallorca at sunset

Ancient honey-hued stone cottages, fragrant olive trees, the cobalt blue of the Mediterranean. The charms of Mallorca, crown jewel of Spain's Balearic Islands, are innumerable. So are the picturesque villages to discover, from Valldemossa, where composer Frédéric Chopin famously found refuge, to artsy Deià, which helped British author Robert Graves escape the psychological ravages of World War I, to polished Palma, where the Spanish royal family has their summer residence. For your very own Mallorcan idyll, head to La Residencia , a Belmond Hotel snugly nestled between mountain and sea in Deià. In keeping with the town's creative spirit, the property features eccentric design touches throughout, plus more than 800 works by local artists. The activities list is equally inspired: art and sculpture classes are on offer, including the option to paint by the sea under morning's dreamy light.

More: T&C Travel Guide: Mallorca

Read Reviews La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel

Banff National Park, Canada

scenic view of lake and snowcapped mountains against blue sky

Stunning turquoise lakes fed by glaciers. Grand, snow-capped Rocky Mountains. Blankets of emerald-hued pine forests. Canada's oldest national park certain doesn't disappoint—it's a constant feast for the eyes (not to mention for mind, body, and soul). As far as lodging goes, the Fairmont Banff Springs , a 757-room Châteauesque grande dame that dates back to 1888, is in the center of all the action (and in the charming town of Banff) and near the main attractions, like Lake Moraine and Lake Louise, and the Upper Hot Springs. As for activity and sport, the list is endless: think horseback riding, tons of hiking, canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, a Via Ferrata, ATV tours, and visiting the Columbia Icefield. For those who want to hit the links, the Fairmont has an 18-hole championship golf course—just imagine the views.

Read Reviews Fairmont Banff Springs

Montecito, California

best summer vacations 2021

Maybe leave the kids at home for this one. Arguably the most romantic hotel on the west coast, the 130-year-old San Ysidro Ranch has quite a storied history—Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were married here, while Jackie and John F. Kennedy honeymooned at the resort. Just 38 standalone cottages—decorated with antiques and appointed with stone fireplaces, outdoor rain showers, deep soaking tubs, and private decks—are sprawled out over 500 acres of lush gardens and hiking trails lined with lavender, jasmine, orange blossoms, and eucalyptus. Need we say more?

Read Reviews San Ysidro Ranch

Watch Hill, Rhode Island

where to travel this summer 2021

It's not hard to see why A-listers from Clark Gable to Taylor Swift have found refuge in Watch Hill. And for a classic New England vacation, the answer is always Ocean House . The grand hotel, constructed after the Civil War, epitomizes a bygone era when "summer" was popularized as a verb by members of the one percent. But that's not to say that this hotel is dated. The 154-year-old Ocean House masterfully toggles the line between respecting history and embracing modern comforts—all the windows are in their original position, for example, but the rooms have been whittled down from 159 to a much more spacious 67. Then add in 13 acres of prime oceanfront landscape, plus a private beach, tennis courts, a croquet lawn, and a shuffleboard court.

Read Reviews Ocean House

Zurich, Switzerland

zurich old town by the limmat river on a sunny summer day in switzerland largest city

Basel may be considered the art mecca of Switzerland but don't sleep on Zurich. After all, this is where the Dada movement was born. The city is brimming with more than 50 museums, more than 1,300 public installations by the likes of Augusto Giacometti and Niki de Saint Phalle, and hundreds of galleries, which annually host tours, events, lectures, and studio visits during the 3-day festival known as Zurich Art Weekend in June. What's more, British architect David Chipperfield recently completed an extension of the Kunsthaus, making it the largest art museum in Switzerland. The city is also the home of Pavillon Le Corbusier, the iconic architect's last finished work and now a museum dedicated to him. Even the hotels have architectural bragging rights: not too long ago La Réserve Eden au Lac underwent a restoration by Philippe Starck.

Read Reviews La Réserve Eden au Lac

Ojai, California

summer vacation ideas ojai valley inn

Ojai is famous for its New Age, woo woo vibes—and what's wrong with a heaping dose of positive energy (delivered via its seven spiritual vortexes)? A few years ago the Ojai Valley Inn completed a renovation of its renowned, award-winning Spa Ojai, upgrading all treatment rooms, public spaces, and even the two 1,500-square-foot penthouse suites. There are ample opportunities to continue the wellness journey elsewhere on the hotel's 200-acre property. The vast activities and classes list includes aromatherapy oil blending, beekeeping, spiritual counseling, crystal healing, and floral design. Or you could just laze about in one of the hotel's four pools all afternoon, then enjoy an alfresco dinner while admiring Ojai's iconic pink sunsets.

Read Reviews Ojai Valley Inn

Ischia, Italy

italy, campania, naples, gulf of naples, ischia island, aragonese castle on rock island

Skip uber-touristy Amalfi Coast for dreamy Ischia, an island that has long attracted a certain set of in-the-know jetsetters in search of peace, healing, and true barefoot luxury—Truman Capote chose the town of Forio for his self-imposed exile in the '50s, while Ischia provided the backdrop for scenes of la dolce vita in The Talented Mr. Ripley . Thanks to an abundance of natural thermal springs, a holiday here can be that perfect blend of wellness and Italian indulgence. Stay at the Mezzatore , a 16th-century terra-cotta jewel perched on the edge of the Gulf of Naples. The historic property began its life as a watchtower before seducing the Italian elite, including the legendary director Luchino Visconti, who owned a villa, La Colombaia, on the grounds. Along with sea views in most of its 56 rooms and restaurants that emphasize the freshest daily catch, its spa pools are fed by its own springs. Be sure to double up your daily soak with a treatment—the spa uses products by Santa Maria Novella and Biologique Recherche.

Read Reviews Mezzatore Hotel & Thermal Spa

Montego Bay, Jamaica

summer vacation ideas 2021

Sure, the Caribbean might be really hot this time of year, but does that really matter when you've got pools, beaches, bottomless rum cocktails, a languorous island pace, and fewer crowds? With 27 villas plus 36 rooms designed by Ralph Lauren, Round Hill makes for a chic and blissfully relaxing getaway. Spend your days swimming in the sea, bobbing in the infinity pool, sipping cocktails on the beach, luxuriating in a spa treatment or two, and indulging in delicious Jamaican cuisine. Want to incorporate a little activity? You can take a kayak out on the water, play tennis, or even partake in pickleball —in keeping with the trends of the one percent, the hotel created two new courts for the sport.

Read Reviews Round Hill Hotel & Villas

Mount Desert Island, Maine

acadia national park iii

Since the Gilded Age, this beautiful coastal region has provided refuge and respite for generations of American gentry. It's not hard to see the appeal: a slow and laidback pace of life, nature all around, heaps of fresh lobster to be enjoyed ad infinitum, and, of course, Acadia National Park, established in 1916 thanks in part to land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (who also financed the construction of an extensive network of carriage roads throughout). For the intrepid, a hike up Cadillac Mountain just before dawn is bucket list-worthy—it's the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise. And for a taste of how the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Astors used to holiday, book a room at the Claremont in Southwest Harbor. The property dates back to 1884 but worry not: a 2021 gut renovation gave it a modern refresh, complete with Very T&C design touches like Sister Parish wallpaper, Pierre Frey furnishings, and Frette linens.

Read Reviews The Claremont Hotel

Paris, France

buildings at waterfront against sky

Paris is always a good idea, especially in the summer when daylight seems to stretch on forever and temperatures are generally delightful. Plus, this is a city made for alfresco revelry: think picnicking along the Seine, brushing up on your French lit in one of its many pristine parks, people watching from sidewalk cafes, treasure hunting at the Marché aux Puces fleas. As for where to stay, you'll be spoiled for choice with all the magnificent grande dames in town. One of the latest to join the club: Cheval Blanc Paris , which opened last year in a historic Art Deco palace right on the river. Its location and views are phenomenal, but the biggest draw of the place might be that its parent company LVMH also revived OG department store La Samaritaine, on whose hallowed ground the hotel is located—because shopping in Paris, as everyone knows, is an obligatory sport, no matter the season.

More: The New Cheval Blanc Paris Finally Opens

Read Reviews Cheval Blanc Paris

Loire Valley, France

chateau de chenonceau is a french castle spanning the river cher near chenonceaux village, loire valley, france

France's most popular summertime playground is obviously the Côte d'Azur, but the countryside is just as—if not more—alluring. Take the Loire Valley: under 3 hours from Paris yet seemingly worlds away, sprinkled with more than 300 historic châteaux built as far back as the 9th century and through the Renaissance, when artists, including Da Vinci, were commissioned to design these splendid residences for the French monarchy. Castles can certainly fill up an itinerary—don't miss Chambord, the largest, and Chenonceau (pictured), which was once owned by Catherine de' Medici–but that's not all this UNESCO-listed region has to offer. The valley is also the home of Sancerre, which is as indispensable to a French summer as rosé is to an American one. And where will you stay? In a place with royal roots, naturally. The 55-key Fleur de Loire , which opened last summer, is in a property that was once owned by King Louis XIII's brother. Expect several princely amenities, like a restaurant helmed by 2-Michelin-starred chef Christophe Hay, a Sisley spa, and wonderful gardens.

Read Reviews Fleur de Loire

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

ecuador, galapagos islands, santa cruz, marine iguana, amblyrhynchus cristatus, and red rock crabs, grapsus grapsus

Galapagos enthusiasts are generally split into two camps when it comes to how best to experience the area's wildlife-strewn marvels—by sea or by land? For those in the former group, there is good news. Last May marked the inaugural expedition of the Aqua Mare , Aqua Expeditions' sleek teak- and mahogany-lined superyacht built specifically for the archipelago. There are just seven spacious suites on board, including an 861-square-foot Owner's Suite, plus a jacuzzi, movie room, library, BBQ area, and two naturalist guides. This may be about as close as you can get to cruising around the Galapagos like Logan Roy.

Hudson Valley, New York

wildflower farms

For New Yorkers who prefer the bucolic charms of country life over the sandy scene of the Hamptons, the Hudson Valley is the perfect destination. Its quaint little towns, antique shops, and farm stands are an easy—and best of all, sans traffic—drive away. The region is upping its luxury game, too, thanks to the new Wildflower Farms , an Auberge Resort. Sixty-five cozy cabins dot the 140-acre property, which, true to its name, brim with orchards, gardens, and wildflower-strewn meadows. And as is an Auberge signature, there is plenty to do, from miles of hiking trails to explore to a cooking school where you can learn the art of pickling, preserving, and even making your own floral focaccia.

Read Reviews Wildflower Farms, an Auberge Resort

Hvar, Croatia

hvar croatia

It’s time to upgrade your thinking about an island vacation. This summer, the Croatian isle of Hvar is poised to be a destination for travelers looking for a bit of culture (the Hvar Summer Festival has been a landmark for art and music for more than 60 years), some gorgeous scenery (the Lavender Festival, based around the 14th-century town of Velo Grablje, takes place in mid-July), or some serious wine (harvest season kicks off in August, and the Viticultural Museum, which charts wine culture on Hvar back to the 4th Century B.C., has been recently renovated). And, of course, there’s also the chance to just unwind. World-class hotels like the Palace Elisabeth —named for everyone’s favorite Austrian Empress —offer spa treatments and seaside dining, and the nearby Pakleni Islands, a destination for sunbathers and history buffs alike, are a short boat ride away.

Read Reviews Palace Elisabeth, Hvar Heritage Hotel

Vancouver Island, Canada

humpback whale tail on the british columbia coastline, canada vancouver island

For glamping with a side of Canadian hospitality, head over to the 25-tent Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on the edge of Clayoquot Sound, a pristine UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve nestled in the wilds of Vancouver Island. The Canadian Pacific Coast's "Big 5"—whales, bears, bald eagles, sea lions, and sea otters—are the star sightings here, with summer being especially promising for witnessing orcas, gray whales, and humpbacks. But even if you miss these colossal mammals, there are plenty nature pursuits to keep you entertained: hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, swimming in hidden glacier-fed watering holes, fly fishing in remote spots accessed only by helicopter, the list goes on.

Read Reviews Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge

Sicily, Italy

the greek theatre and mount etna, taormina, sicily

According to Greek mythology, the deadly serpentine giant Typhon is said to be buried under Mount Etna, banished there after losing an epic battle with Zeus. Perhaps this is why Etna is one of the world's most active volcanos. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is also a nourishing presence, its fertile soils making Sicily a verdant oasis for lemons and oranges, olives and honey, grapes and wine. Plus, it sets the tone for an Italian holiday that has it all: amazing food, ancient history, plenty of mountain-to-sea nature. As for where to stay, the Four Seasons's San Domenico Palace is an excellent Hollywood-worthy choice—surely you've seen The White Lotus ? — though the Mediterranean's largest island has many options. Villa Sant’Andrea , a Belmond Hotel set in a secluded bay in Taormina is a good base for activities like catching a show at the ancient Greek theater, or sailing to Aci Trezza to meet members of the Rodolico family, who have been building handcrafted boats since 1908.

More: The White Lotus -Inspired Travel Guide to Sicily

Read Reviews San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel

Read Reviews Villa Sant'Andrea, a Belmond Hotel

pristine beach of anguilla

With its silky soft beaches and crystal clear waters, Anguilla, a perennial T&C favorite, is the utmost in barefoot luxury. All this and more can be found at the Belmond Cap Juluca , well-situated in a secluded spot in Maundays Bay with 66 spacious, terrace-equipped rooms, 42 suites, an infinity pool, and much to do, from snorkeling, sailing, scuba diving, and exploring uninhabited islands, to croquet, volleyball, tennis, and golf. And it's all easier to get to: American Airlines now has direct routes to the island from Miami.

Read Reviews Belmond Cap Juluca

Headshot of Leena Kim

Leena Kim is an editor at Town & Country , where she covers travel, jewelry, education, weddings, and culture.

preview for Leisure Section Curated

@media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-1jdielu:before{margin:0.625rem 0.625rem 0;width:3.5rem;-webkit-filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);height:1.5rem;content:'';display:inline-block;-webkit-transform:scale(-1, 1);-moz-transform:scale(-1, 1);-ms-transform:scale(-1, 1);transform:scale(-1, 1);background-repeat:no-repeat;}.loaded .css-1jdielu:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/townandcountrymag/static/images/diamond-header-design-element.80fb60e.svg);}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-1jdielu:before{margin:0 0.625rem 0.25rem;}} Summer Ideas for Your Next Vacation, Outfit Essentials & More! @media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-128xfoy:before{margin:0.625rem 0.625rem 0;width:3.5rem;-webkit-filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);height:1.5rem;content:'';display:inline-block;background-repeat:no-repeat;}.loaded .css-128xfoy:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/townandcountrymag/static/images/diamond-header-design-element.80fb60e.svg);}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-128xfoy:before{margin:0 0.625rem 0.25rem;}}

linen skirts

The Best Linen Pants for Men

men's summer shoes

The Best Men's Summer Shoes for Every Occasion

drink, alcoholic beverage, classic cocktail, cocktail, wine cocktail, distilled beverage, champagne cocktail, non alcoholic beverage, cocktail garnish, glass,

The Best Mocktail Recipes

best rose wine

26 Bottles of Rosé to Try This Summer

denim jackets

Stylish Denim Jackets for the Transitional Season

a collage of different outfits

Lightweight Pants to Wear This Summer

thong sandals

'90s-Era Thong Sandals Are Back & Chicer Than Ever

pretty floral dresses

20 Pretty Floral Dresses to Usher in Spring

a collage of women in formal dresses

Dresses to Wear to a Summer Wedding

best espadrille flats

Stylish Espadrille Flats for Spring and Summer

designer straw bags

The Best Designer Straw Bags to Carry This Summer

15 Underrated Places to Travel This Summer, From Kosovo to Quebec

By Jamie Spain

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Sea Water Boat Transportation Vehicle Shoreline and Coast

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Planning the perfect summer trip can take weeks of research, preparation, and organization to ensure it goes off without a hitch. But before you get to the planning and booking phase, you'll need to decide where to go. There's a seemingly endless amount of great options out there, and while there's nothing wrong with heading to the same familiar spot over and over again, sometimes you want to get a little off the beaten path and go somewhere you haven't been before. Whether you're in the mood for a nature escape with jaw-dropping vistas, hiking paths, and secluded lodges, or are looking for a big city excursion surrounded by trendy restaurants, unique neighborhoods, and great shopping, we've got ideas for you.

From islands to national parks , here are 15 underrated summer travel ideas, perfect for avoiding the crowds while you explore someplace new.

Domestic destinations:

Finger Lakes, New York | Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota | Isle Royale National Park, Michigan | Catalina Island, California | San Juan Islands, Washington | Crystal River, Florida

International destinations:

Kosovo | Budapest, Hungary | Copenhagen, Denmark | Buenos Aires, Argentina | Sardinia, Italy | Mauritius | Kyoto, Japan | Bora Bora | Quebec, Canada

Domestic destinations

Image may contain Furniture Lamp Bed Bedroom Indoors Room Chair Home Decor Rug Art Painting and Computer Hardware

Finger Lakes, New York

A fan-favorite of New York City residents, the New York Finger Lakes are unquestionably idyllic. The perfect destination for a summer weekend , or a weeklong trip with the family, this region is home to some of the most beautiful waterfronts. Dotted with adorable small towns , the 11 long, slender lakes that make up this area are exactly what East Coast summer dreams are made of. Spend your trip navigating nearby state parks; hiking, biking, and exploring; and enjoying everything that lake life has to offer, from jet-skiing to swimming.

Where to stay: Check out the Gould Hotel , a modern boutique property in Seneca Falls; book a night at The Lake House on Canandaigua for an airy, design-forward stay; or head east to the Inns of Aurora .

Image may contain Land Nature Outdoors Night Scenery Sea Water Sky Starry Sky Landscape Shoreline Lake and Coast

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Completely immerse yourself in nature at Minnesota's Voyageurs National Park. This gorgeous destination is ideal for getting in some of the best stargazing you could ever imagine. Just like dozens of other national parks , this one has an International Dark Sky Park certificate, designating it as a location that is particularly good for viewing the night sky and stars. Unlike the others, however, Voyageurs is one of the least-visited national parks in the country, meaning you'll be able to truly connect with nature and enjoy seclusion. It's ideal for boat rides and swimming, as it's primarily made up of waterfronts and islands—almost 40 percent of the park is water.

Where to stay: Nearby Cantilever Hotel is great for those interested in exploring the park, but not wanting to stay too far away from civilization. Those who are a little more daring will enjoy the Kettle Falls Hotel , a property that is only accessible by boat or seaplane. If you're really looking to be one with nature, you can rent a canoe and camp at a tent site.

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Sea Water Lake Shoreline Coast Land Scenery Plant and Tree

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

If you're looking for a summer vacation where you can explore an area relatively untouched by civilization, look no further than Isle Royale National Park . A favorite of my family, this park is uniquely difficult to get to (the main island is best reached by ferry), so the only other travelers you'll find here are extreme adventurers and in-the-know locals. It's best to visit during the summer months since Lake Superior is quite cold and foggy throughout the rest of the year. My family heads to this park in the summer months in hopes of spending a few days backpacking , canoeing, and hiking through the near-untouched environment—admiring the nature and wildlife along the way.

When Is the Best Time to Visit London?

Sarah James

What Our Editors Are Doing for Memorial Day Weekend

CNT Editors

The Best Beaches in Italy

Matt Ortile

26 Best Bars in New York City

Emily Saladino

Where to stay: While the actual park is best experienced through camping, those who aren't interested in totally roughing it can stay at the Rock Harbor Lodge , centrally located on the main island. Or, book this nearby rustic Airbnb cabin with panoramic views of Lake Superior for the days leading up to your national park visit.

15 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas for 2024

Catalina Island, California

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Los Angeles , Santa Catalina Island is quite literally heaven on Earth. Hopeful travelers can either take the one-hour Catalina Express ferry over to the island (it departs daily from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point) or charter a private yacht to get them there in style. Whether you're looking to hike the Trans Catalina Trail or simply indulge in some tasty seafood while wandering through the quaint town of Avalon, Catalina Island is a great break from the hustle and bustle of LA. Head a bit farther inland to explore El Rancho Escondido , the acclaimed Arabian horse ranch that's also home to Rusack Vineyards.

Where to stay: For day-trippers or those who plan to extend their vacation to include a stay in Los Angeles, there are a variety of hotels and Airbnbs to choose from, including The Beverly Hills Hotel, Dorchester Collection , The Malibu Beach Inn , and the luxe Chateau Marmont Estate on Airbnb. If you're hoping to stay on-island, the plush Bellanca Hotel is the way to go.

15 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas for 2024

San Juan Islands, Washington

A 2019 Readers' Choice Award winner, named one of the best islands for beautiful scenery, this collection of more than 400 islands off the coast of Washington is ideal for a Pacific Northwest weekend getaway. The three most popular (and largest) islands to explore are Orcas , San Juan, and Lopez—all easily accessible by ferry. Travelers can enjoy a laidback vacation with comfortable temperatures and a relaxed atmosphere: hop on a bike and explore the area; spend time sailing, hiking, and fishing; or take a walk to admire all of the islands' natural beauty, from the mountains to the lakes.

Where to stay: Glampers, campers, and regular hotel-goers will all adore the Lakedale which has accommodations for every type of traveler.

Image may contain Animal Fish Sea Life Plant Vegetation Mammal Manatee Outdoors and Nature

Crystal River, Florida

Home to one of the best beaches in Florida , Crystal River is unlike most other cities you'll find in the Sunshine State for one major reason: It's one of the only places in the world where people can swim alongside manatees . If you've ever wanted to truly get up close to these gentle giants, this is the city to visit. Head to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge to see your fill of the endangered animal, and spend some time taking in the natural beauty of the nearby springs and parks.

Where to stay: The Plantation Resort on Crystal River is home to a variety of different activities including a 27-hole championship golf course and a family-friendly resort with 196 accommodations.

International destinations

Image may contain Architecture Building Cityscape Urban City Neighborhood Nature Outdoors and Sky

There's a reason Kosovo is on our list of the Best Places to Go in 2024, and it has everything to do with the jaw-dropping scenery that can be found in every corner of this country. Outdoorsy folks who want to spend their time hiking and biking through untainted valleys, mountains, and countryside will appreciate the chance to explore the newest European country. Travelers who who are looking for a taste of the young nation's history can head to the national museum; afterward, explore the streets of Prizren taking in the architecture as well as the historic mosques and churches.

Where to stay: Book a night at the Hotel Gracanica in the quiet suburb of Prishtina, or pamper yourself at the luxe Ujevara e Drinit Resort near Peja. For something a little more traditional, enjoy tasty Kosovo dishes as well as classic comforts at the rural Ariu Guesthouse . (Check out our guide on where to eat, play, and stay in Kosovo for even more recommendations.)

Image may contain City Arch Architecture Urban Gothic Arch Car Transportation Vehicle Person Building and Housing

Budapest, Hungary

Skip Western Europe and instead head to the beautiful capital of Hungary . Luxuriate in the mineral-rich thermal baths you'll find around the city , or spend your days exploring the historic Castle District, walking along the Danube, and meandering through the city streets. You can even take a faux hot air balloon trip to enjoy the best view in the city. If you plan your trip for August, it may coincide with the Sziget Festival , one of the largest music and cultural festivals in all of Europe.

Where to stay: Book a night at 2024 Gold List winner, The Four Seasons Gresham Palace Budapest , or spend a few nights at the adults-only Hotel Clark Budapest . (Check out our guide on where to eat, play, and stay in Budapest for more recommendations.)

Image may contain Water Waterfront Architecture Building Cityscape Urban Neighborhood Harbor Pier City and Nature

Copenhagen, Denmark

There's no better time to visit Copenhagen than during the summer months when the weather is warm, the days are exceptionally long, and the waterfront views are breathtaking. Aside from being ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world , sustainably-minded travelers will appreciate how eco-focused the place is, and enjoy a trip to CopenHill, the multi-use waste-to-energy plant with a ski slope, climbing wall, and cafe. It's also worth checking out the Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle, and the picturesque Nyhavn harbor .

Where to stay: Check out our favorite hotels in Copenhagen , including the grand and historic Hotel d'Angleterre , the Nimb Hotel which was originally built as a castle in 1909, and the modern Villa Copenhagen .

Image may contain Flooring Floor Lamp Chandelier Interior Design Indoors Room and Lobby

Buenos Aires, Argentina

From awe-inspiring museums to culture-packed tours to dance halls perfect for learning to tango , there's no shortage of amazing things to do and see in Buenos Aires . Whether you're spending the day simply walking the streets and taking in the sights; exploring the colorful La Boca; watching a soccer match; learning to tango; or going to the Colón Theatre to see the opera, this will be a trip to remember.

Where to stay: Some of our favorite hotels in Buenos Aires include the luxe Palacio Duhau ; the Jardín Escondido , once home to Francis Ford Coppola; and the Faena Hotel Buenos Aires located right by the water in Puerto Madero.

Image may contain Landmark and Cinque Terre

Sardinia, Italy

There's so much more to Sardinia than just a beautiful coastline and wonderful beaches. While the long, warm days are perfect to spend by the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, travelers who want a little more substance to their vacation can head inland to experience the island's charming towns, rustic cuisine, and ancient ruins.

Where to stay: Rest your head at the Cascioni Eco Retreat , set on a 90-acre nature reserve with gorgeous views of the surrounding land. The colorful Su Gologone Experience Hotel is another great option, as is the luxurious, high-end Hotel Cali de Volpe .

OneOnly Le Saint Gran

Another location on our list of the Best Places to Go in 2024, Mauritius is about 1,200 miles east of Madagascar . From its gorgeous coastlines with pristine beaches to the luxury accommodations and unparalleled nature, this island destination is nothing short of paradise. Head here during the Northern Hemisphere's summer months to avoid wet season. Your main activities on Mauritius will be water-based, from diving and snorkeling to sitting on the beach and admiring the coastline. If you need a break from relaxing, take a trip to the Bel Ombre Nature Reserve, the Botanic Gardens, or the capital city of Port Louis.

Where to stay: Check out our favorite hotels in Mauritius , including the four-time Readers' Choice Award winner and two-time Gold List winner, One&Only Le Saint Géran . You can also book a stay at the legendary resort, Lux Belle Mare , or the kite-surfers' paradise of Riu Palace Mauritius .

Ace Hotel Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan

Instead of heading to the mega-popular Tokyo or the bright and lively Osaka, consider touching down in Kyoto , one of the best cities to experience traditional Japanese culture. Spend the day exploring the temples and shrines that are dotted throughout the city; take a walk through Gion, the “Geisha District;” or while away a few hours in the Kyoto National Museum. The best times to visit Japan are at the very end or beginning of summer when the season overlaps with spring and fall, and while it'll certainly be a bit warmer during the peaks of summer, it's no less beautiful.

Where to stay: From the Ace Hotel to the Shinmonzen , there is no shortage of great hotels in Central Kyoto. If you're interested in something a little different, tour guide Sara Aiko from Traveler 's Ask a Local series recommends taking a trip to Moksa , a gorgeous property in the north of Kyoto surrounded by temples and nature.

Conrad Bora Bora Nui French Polynesia

Nothing says romance like staying in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. The winter in French Polynesia corresponds with the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning June, July, and August experience less humid and more comfortable temperatures. This time period also falls during Tahiti 's dry season, so you don't have to worry about being rained out. You could easily spend your days simply lounging in your bungalow and slipping into the crystal waters whenever you feel, but Bora Bora is also ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and taking a boat or a 4x4 island tour.

Where to stay: Bora Bora is particularly known for its luxury overwater bungalows. Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a more private option with exceptional snorkeling and coral, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is perfect for honeymooners and families alike, and the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is home to over 100 bungalows, fine dining, and an exceptional spa.

Image may contain Indoors Furniture Room Bedroom Housing Building Chair Flooring and Interior Design

Quebec, Canada

When you think of summer travel, your first thought is probably an island getaway or a far-flung destination that you've only read about in books. But, don't overlook all of the beauty that our northern neighbor has to offer. Quebec City is home to all the same type of charm you'll find in Europe but without the exceptionally long flight to get there. Spend some time in Old Quebec City —home to some of the oldest streets in North America—taking in the history and culture that make this city worthy of its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Or, head to Montreal , where you can enjoy a variety of museums, the open-air market, and great culinary options. Don't forget to explore the nature and French architecture found in the greater province.

Where to stay: For a wonderful stay in Quebec City, Hotel 71 is a six-time Readers' Choice Award winner while Auberge Saint Antoine Quebec City and Le Germain Hotel Quebec are both five-time winners. For a wellness-focused retreat , head to Monastère des Augustines . In Montreal , check out the Auberge du Vieux-Port on the St. Lawrence River, or Hotel William Gray in Old Montreal.

Firework content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

19 Best Places to Visit in Summer

Written by Anietra Hamper Updated May 4, 2023

Planning a summer vacation is exciting, but the options are endless, so it is important to apply certain criteria to your search. Some summer holiday destinations are seasonal, and they will attract the most tourists in June, July, and August, but these are also when all the attractions are open in these destinations.

Summer in Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

In places like Whistler, Canada, which has many mountains, or a destination like Iceland, which has a brutal winter season, summer is the perfect time to visit because roads and trails will be open for you to fully experience what these places have to offer. Our best summer destinations are based on a variety of factors, including the best weather and timing for attractions.

Plan your next vacation with our list of the best places to visit in summer.

1. Grand Canyon, Arizona

2. rome, italy, 3. whistler, canada, 4. san diego, california, 5. nova scotia, canada, 6. maldives, 7. zermatt, switzerland, 9. seattle, washington, 10. marseille, france, 11. anchorage, alaska, 12. amalfi coast, italy, 13. edinburgh, scotland, 14. chicago, illinois, 15. machu picchu, peru, 16. aspen, colorado, 17. sardinia, italy, 18. budapest, hungary, 19. london, england, map of places to visit in summer.

South rim of the Grand Canyon

Highlight: Incredibly views over one of the top attractions in America

August is one of the best times to visit the Grand Canyon. While it's the most crowded time at the Grand Canyon, there are so many ways to experience it during the high season. The casual tourist can ride tour shuttles around the park, take brief hikes on the rim trails , or just relax by the Grand Canyon Village.

Fit visitors can tackle a section of Bright Angel Trail to experience hiking into the canyon. Extreme outdoor adventurers can spend a summer trip to the Grand Canyon tackling the hike of a lifetime, going down into the canyon from the North Rim, spending the night at Phantom Ranch, then hiking up to the South Rim the next day. This is one of the best and most intense ways to experience one of the greatest natural wonders of the world .

You can also take the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon, which is a nice way to see the landscape. During the crowded summer season, you will want to book far in advance for lodging and transportation.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions at the Grand Canyon

The Colosseum in summer

Highlight: Many types of tours to accommodate your top places to visit, but book early

Since many of the best attractions in Rome are outdoors, a visit in the summer puts you in the city at a prime time. Tours to famous ancient sites like the Colosseum and the Pantheon are plentiful, but you will still want to book tickets ahead of time. Rome is an easy city to see on your own, with many museums and palaces in close proximity. Pleasant summer weather makes it a fun place to explore on foot to experience new food or toss a coin into Trevi Fountain.

Plan the outside attractions first and save the museum visits in case there is a day of inclement weather. The summer season in Rome is popular for tourists, so plan extra time in the itinerary to accommodate lines during sightseeing, and book hotels at least six to eight months in advance.

Alpine wildflowers in Whistler

Highlight: Summer bobsleigh experiences at the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics venue

The mountains of Whistler, Canada are ideal for a winter ski vacation , but the summertime means more moderate temperatures and other types of outdoor experiences like hiking in the mountains and wildlife tours. Skiers can still hit Blackcomb Mountain even in the summer months, without the heavy winter gear.

During the summer, Whistler opens up water sports at Lost Lake Park . The 525-acre park has hiking trails, and kayaks or paddleboards available for rent.

Nature parks like Brandywine Falls Provincial Park or the Valley Trail that you can get to from Whistler Village are ideal for hiking during the warmer months.

For a taste of the Winter Olympics, you can hit the bobsled tracks at the Whistler Sliding Centre, where you can sled down a 4,757-foot curvy track at 78 miles per hour for about half the cost of doing it during the winter months.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Whistler

Aerial view of San Diego

Highlights: Beaches, gardens, festivals, Balboa Park, cultural experiences, outdoor recreation

San Diego is one of those blessed cities that has beautifully consistent weather all year long and is always bustling with activity, but the summer is an especially fun time to visit this California city. With 70 miles of coastline, a beach is never far away. Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and Coronado Beach are three of the top beaches to visit .

Summer in San Diego also means festivals and music in the city, so it is a vibrant time to visit, with something always happening in the local neighborhoods. There are also major attractions like Balboa Park, which has museums, gardens, bike trails, 1,200 acres of cultural experiences, restaurants, and the famous San Diego Zoo . Summer in the city is popular, so plan on higher rates at hotels and resorts in the area.

  • Top-Rated Outdoor Adventures in San Diego
  • San Diego with Kids: Top Things to Do

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

Highlights: Outdoor activities on the peninsula including kayaking and hiking, scenic views, and festivals

Travel to Canada in the summer is always nice but it is an especially lovely time to travel to Nova Scotia. The peninsula is an outdoor lover's haven, with water activities like kayaking, rafting, and whale watching. Summer hiking gives you full access to trails at Cape Breton Highlands National Park , the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail on the Bay of Fundy, and other trails with a seascape backdrop.

Flights to Nova Scotia pick up in June, so getting to the province is easier in the summertime. There are many festivals during June, July, and August, and these are ideal months to see the true culture of the region, with music and local events that celebrate Nova Scotia's heritage.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Nova Scotia
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions on Cape Breton Island

Over the water bungalows in the Maldives

Highlights: Multiple islands in the Indian Ocean region to explore in one visit

The islands of the Maldives are best experienced in the summertime when they have dry weather. There are nearly 1,200 islands along the Maldives archipelago, so there are many options for a tropical summer vacation and lodging in one of the region's famous overwater bungalows . The draw of the islands are the deep blue seas, water sports, beautiful coral reefs, and tropical beaches.

The summer weather, with warm and dry conditions, enables you to spend the most time out exploring the islands and the Indian Ocean waters. The islands are surrounded by reefs, so the pleasant weather days make it nice to spend time in the water to see some of the spectacular reefs and aquatic life.

Accommodation: Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the Maldives

  • Read More: Most Beautiful Islands in the World

Zermatt village in the summer

Highlights: Hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking in the Swiss mountains

Summertime in Zermatt, Switzerland is flush with color. It is when the snowcapped mountains are accented with lush, green meadows and a mesmerizing blue color in the lakes. Zermatt sits at the base of the Matterhorn peak.

The summer temperatures and climate enable mountain adventures beyond just skiing . Visiting during June, July, and August allows for other outdoor recreation, from hiking and mountain biking to kayaking and swimming. There are many tour companies in Zermatt that focus on various adventures, so even beginners can feel comfortable hiking in the Swiss mountains.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Zermatt

Summer sunset over the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall and Kirkjufell mountain

Highlights: Relaxing in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon

Warmer temperatures and not having to worry about brutal winter weather are two of the biggest reasons to visit Iceland in the summer. The winter months are great for attempting to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis since there are long, dark, cold nights but many roads are closed because of inaccessibility, and many attractions close as well.

The summer months have drier conditions making it easy to access hiking trails throughout the island. There are small festivals in Iceland during summer, and it is the best time for whale watching and visiting the cities throughout Iceland like Reykjavik .

Since summer is also the season for the midnight sun, you will have many hours of daylight to experience the best that Iceland has to offer including jaw-dropping waterfalls , the Blue Lagoon and Glacial Lagoon.

  • Read More: Iceland Road Trip: Driving the Ring Road

Seattle skyline

Highlights: A walkable city center and many nearby trails to enjoy the outdoor scenery

The city of Seattle is known for two things: great coffee and gloomy weather. The summer is high tourist season in this low-key city, so hotel rates are higher but it is a great time to visit. July and August are the months with the lowest amount of rainfall, so enjoying the outdoor festivals and parks will be comfortable, although you will still want to take a light jacket for evenings. Summer is a nice time weather-wise to enjoy some of the nearby hiking trails near Seattle , including those on Mount Rainier.

Since summer is a busy time for tourists, you will want to plan extra time to see attractions like the Space Needle , but the upside is that skies should be clear during these months for a great view of the city. Clear skies also mean that walking around the city, versus hopping on local transportation, makes it easier to see the Pike Place Market and the Olympic Sculpture Park.

  • Top-Rated Hikes near Seattle
  • Top-Rated Beaches in the Seattle Area


Highlights: The Old Port area with waterfront dining, luxury hotels, and historic architecture

A summer visit to France in the port city of Marseille is one of the best places in the country to visit in the warmer months. The summer climate, especially in June and July, is spectacular, which is why these are popular tourist months. The comfortable days mean you can spend time outside kayaking around or exploring the Old Port area, which has been instrumental in trading for thousands of years.

There are so many ways to enjoy the culture and heritage of Marseille, from electric bikes and walking around the historical center to a boat cruise and seeing the top sights from a hop-on, hop-off bus. Since summer is an ideal time to visit Marseille, you will need to make hotel reservations far in advance but you can base in the city and make day trips to other top areas like Arles and Nîmes .

Fireweed in Anchorage

Highlights: Long daylight hours to take in museums, wildlife tours, hiking, and rafting

Anchorage, Alaska is one of the best places to visit in the summer, when the weather is ideal, and since the days are longer, you can pack more into the daily itinerary. During the summer solstice in June, daylight lasts close to 22 hours , so you have more time to hike, canoe, golf, or do a whale-watching tour.

There are also many heritage centers like the Anchorage Museum to visit, so you can plan a mix of outdoor and indoor activities. The temperatures in the summer are comfortable (averaging in the 60s Fahrenheit), so it is a great time to try river rafting, take a wildlife viewing tour, and see the landscape by railroad.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Anchorage, Alaska

Positano, Amalfi Coast

Highlights: Picturesque views at every turn, from the ocean to the cliffs, at this UNESCO World Heritage Site

The summer sun and vacation vibe is terrific on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, which already has an exotic flare. The natural beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is even more picturesque during summer, when the forests are vibrant and the coast and cliffs are at your beck and call.

The Amalfi Coast beaches are where you will likely spend much of your time, but carve out some of the itinerary for visiting the beautiful Villa Cimbrone Gardens and walking the narrow streets of Centro Storico.

Since the Amalfi Coast is a treasure of Italy, it is also where many Italians go for vacation, so the summer season is busy at the beaches and resorts, but it is also the best time to see the coastal region at its best.

  • Read More: Exploring the Top Attractions of the Amalfi Coast: A Visitor's Guide

Old town Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle

Highlights: Walkable city, easy access to attractions via the double-decker bus system

While the summer months in Scotland are the peak of tourist season, they are the best times to experience cities like the capital of Edinburgh. June, July, and August have comfortable temperatures in the mid-60s (Fahrenheit), which are ideal for walking around the city or taking a sightseeing tour on a double-decker bus.

Summertime also means longer days in the city, so you can take your time strolling down the Royal Mile in the Old Town area, sitting on a bench in the parks and gardens and visiting Edinburgh Castle . With the clear summer days, you can get a great photo from above the city at Calton Hill, one of the most popular vantage points.

Summer is festival time in Edinburgh and the height of tourist season, so book travel and hotels far in advance. You can save a little bit of money during this busy season by taking advantage of some of the free things to do in Edinburgh .

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Edinburgh

Chicago skyline in the summer

Highlights: Summer outdoor festivals showcase the best in Chicago's music, food, and culture.

The city of Chicago comes alive in the summer with outdoor festivals, boats on the water, the Navy Pier in full swing, and perfect outdoor weather. Summer is the busiest time in Chicago because it is an exciting time to visit, when the fierce winter cold is gone and before it returns again in the late fall.

Summer means walking the Magnificent Mile and spending time in Grant Park. With the sun at its full potential in June, July, and August, you can get a great reflective selfie in "The Bean" sculpture in Millennium Park .

Hotel availability can be scarce in the summer months and expensive for the lodging that is available, so plan on booking hotels several months in advance.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Chicago

Llama and Machu Piccu

Highlight: Hiking the famous Inca Trail on a guided expedition

Since Machu Picchu is a bucket-list vacation for many people, it is best to experience it in the summer, when there is less chance of rain showers and inclement weather, especially if you plan to hike. This is a popular time for tourists who want to hike the Inca Trail .

Even if you do not plan to hike, the summer weather in Machu Picchu and Cusco is ideal. Keep in mind that since this is a popular time of year and trail spots require reservations and tickets, hikers should plan far in advance.

  • Read More: Top World Heritage Sites

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado

Highlights: Riding ski lifts to the top of the mountains to enjoy the summertime views of the lakes and landscape

In the wintertime, this mountain resort is known as the American celebrity ski hot spot, but in the summer, Aspen is a fun, family-friendly destination that's perfect if you love the great outdoors. You can enjoy some of those incredible ski slopes by mountain bike or on foot using the ski lifts to get to the top. The mountains are beautiful, with lush green valleys and wildflowers, perfect for hiking.

Areas like the Maroon Bells, located just a few minutes outside downtown Aspen, offer postcard-like mountain vistas. As this is the off-season, hotel rates are less expensive, and there are fewer crowds to deal with.

  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Aspen, CO
  • From Denver to Aspen: Best Ways to Get There

Colorful buildings in Cagliari, Sardinia

Highlights: Iconic blue water, a playground for the jet-set, hidden beaches, charming small towns

This magical Italian island, which is closer to Africa than it is to Europe, comes alive during the summer. The international glitterati converge here, arriving mainly by yacht and private jet. Get a taste of it by visiting places like Porto Cervo and the Costa Smeralda. But there is so much more here than fancy stores and live music.

Head to places like the Bidderosa Oasis, a large nature preserve near the city of Orosei with forests and many secluded beaches and coves. You'll find that electric aqua blue water and the white-sand beaches the island is famous for.

Skip the pricey beach resorts and stay in an albergo diffuso in one of the island's small towns like Santu Lussurgiu. These are boutique hotels diffused or spread out across multiple properties in the town, usually old houses. So instead of a hotel room, you get a little self-contained house.

Take some time to explore the island's Bronze Age history. There have been people here for over 4,000 years, and you can visit nuraghi, which are ancient stone structures whose meaning or use is still a mystery.

  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Sardinia
  • Best Beaches in Sardinia

View over the Danube River and the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest

Highlight: Taking a dip in the century-old hot springs pools

Another great place in Europe to visit during the summer, this Eastern European city delivers an amazing vacation experience at a lower price than cities like London or Paris . Perched on the banks of the Danube River, Budapest is filled with history, culture, great food, and friendly people.

Trace Budapest's Roman history with a visit to the Aquincum Museum and site, the original Roman settlement area. Jump into the massive Szechenyi Bath, a mineral hot spring spa pool over 100 years old or take a day just to explore the attractions of Castle Hill . Enjoy some goulash, the local spicy beef stew, and spend an evening listening to music composed by Hungarian composers at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music's concert hall.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Budapest

London, England

Highlight: Walking the streets of London to take in the nuances of this famous city, like neighborhood markets, alongside the key attractions

Summer in London is a trip you will never forget. Yes, it is the busiest time of the year in the city, but it is also the most exciting time to visit, when flowers are in full bloom in the city parks , festivals are underway, and the weather is pleasant.

Given London's reputation for grey skies and drizzle, summer is your best opportunity to comfortably visit the top tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London , the Shard, Trafalgar Square , and the city's museums. It's still best to pack a light jacket or travel umbrella just in case.

London's transportation system makes it easy to get around by train or by bus but there are some fantastic walking tours that you can do on your own and adjust to fit the time that you have available. Since the weather is mostly nice in the summer, you can spend more time outdoors getting to local markets and small eateries.

More Related Articles on


More Summer Vacation Ideas: Perhaps you already have your mind set on a particular part of the world. As you research your summer vacation ideas, be sure to review our top places to visit in Europe in Summer and the best summer vacation spots in the USA . If beaches are a priority, you will want to review the top-rated beaches in Thailand and the best beaches in the Caribbean .

instagram logo

More on Arizona

Arizona Travel Guide

Choose your own adventure: Where to go and how to save on summer vacations

cities to visit this summer

Revenge travel is so last year.

“It's not necessarily about just getting out of the house anymore,” said Sydney Stanback, Global Insights and Trends lead at Pinterest, which has seen more than 1 billion travel searches and more than 10 billion travel saves over the past year. 

Sure, many of the usual suspects are once again among the most popular destinations across multiple search engines this year, but she said this summer, “It's more so about traveling with intention.” 

According to NerdWallet’s Summer 2024 Travel Report , 45% of Americans plan to take a trip requiring a hotel stay or flight this summer with expenses averaging just under $3,600. A fifth of those travelers expect to go into debt to pay for vacations.

Here’s what to consider when booking a summer trip, including where to go, when to travel and how to save:

Learn more: Best travel insurance

What is the best place to travel in summer? 

The answer is subjective, especially this summer.

“Everyone's kind of choosing their own adventure based off of what their needs are for travel,” Stanback said. 

Pinterest’s Summer 2024 Travel Report found summer travelers are most interested in adventure, exploring mysterious or uncharted destinations, and rest. Searches for “quiet life” jumped 530%, but that doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.

“My mother actually just took a yoga retreat to Panama,” Stanback said. “That's what she needed to do in order to get the rest that she needed and the well-being that she needed. But for me, when I think of rest and restoration, I simply think about going to a beach spa and just sitting and being by myself.”

Solo travel remains popular. Solo travel searches reached an all-time high in Google in January, but again, not for everyone.

“For Gen Z specifically, that need is to gather and reconnect with their community because they were in isolation for so long and during very meaningful moments in their lives,” Stanback said. She noted group travel and road trips are of keen interest to Gen Z.

“It's not necessarily about traveling and going out and going to restaurants and going to bars and clubs,” she added. “We actually see that a lot with younger generations. They’re kind of stepping away from that and really considering their well-being when they're taking time off.”

Where do most tourists go in summer?

Expedia’s Summer Outlook and Google Flights identified the same cities among their most searched summer 2024 destinations based on flights, though rankings varied by platform.

Top 5 domestic destinations 

◾ Orlando, Florida

◾ Los Angeles

◾ Las Vegas

Top 5 international destinations

◾ Cancun, Mexico

◾ Paris, host of the Summer Olympics

Allianz Partners found slightly different results in their analysis of “more than six million flight itineraries for trips between five and eight days in length for travel booked between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.”

Instead of LA and Vegas, Allianz named Boston and Honolulu among this summer’s top five domestic destinations. Internationally, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, made Allianz’s top five, instead of Rome, Paris and Tokyo.

“I am expecting crowds to rival last summer's in popular overseas cities,” Expedia’s travel expert Melanie Fish said, noting how places like Barcelona and Venice are trying to curb overtourism. “They're trying fees and if that's not enough, they're going to have to go even further.”

How can I save on a trip?

Summer trips are already costly for many travelers. “Americans with household income under $100,000 accounted for nearly half (46%) of intended leisure travel spend in summer 2023,” according to Deloitte’s Facing travel’s future report from April.

Expedia’s Fish shared five tips for booking summer 2024 vacations:

◾ Bundle your trip. Booking airfare and a hotel at the same time can earn you deep discounts.

◾ Travel midweek or later in the summer if it's an option. You'll save money and save yourself from fighting crowds. 

◾ Fly early in the day … The early bird who takes the first flight of the day will typically get a better price and a lower chance of delays and cancellations.

◾ Book once, earn twice. You can stack rewards from your travel credit card (and) your airline.

◾ Just go. Don't pressure yourself to create the trip of a lifetime … Do it in a bite-sized chunk if possible. 

'Expensive in every way': What travelers should expect this summer

How far ahead should I book travel?

“The sweet spot is now,” Fish said. “We're within that 21- to 60-day pre-travel window to save around 15% on airfare, so now is the time to plan. That means ready, set, but maybe wait until August to actually go.”

She said travelers can save an average of $250 on international flights if they wait until the peak summer travel season passes. 

“It's 15% cheaper on average to fly domestically in August versus June, 30% cheaper to fly to Europe in late summer, and 55% cheaper to fly to Mexico and the Caribbean in August,” she said. “Of course, August is peak hurricane season , so that has something to do with that price dip.”

Accessibility Links

times logo

21 of the best places for summer sun

Mediterranean countries get deliciously hot during the summer months, while it’s also a great time for kenyan safaris or breaks to bali.

The coast in Cilento, Campania, southern Italy

S ummer brings with it a wealth of options for sun-worshippers and you needn’t go far to find it — there are destinations on the Mediterranean riviera perfect for blissful beach holidays. But travelling further can also be rewarding. There’s wondrous natural scenery to be enjoyed in Bali, Oregon and Denmark’s South Jutland, and it’s also a canny, cost-effective time to tour Rajasthan in India. Meanwhile, wildlife-lovers can swim with whale sharks off Mexico’s idyllic Isla Holbox, trek to waterfalls in Guyana or watch the exciting Great Migration of wildebeest in Kenya. Here are some of the best places to soak in the summer sun.

This article contains affiliate links, which may earn us revenue

1. Basel, Switzerland

The old town of Basel

Located at the border of France and Germany, Basel is the sort of place that allows you to visit three countries in a day, all on public transport with Swiss efficiency. The annual Art Basel kicks off the summer season in June, after which the banks of the Rhine suddenly erupts with activity. The quintessential pastime here is to drift down the river with a Wickelfisch, a waterproof swim bag that stores all your belongings and acts as a floatation device. But if that sounds too daunting, you could also try a refreshing dip in the city’s many water fountains — it’s not just acceptable but actively encouraged here. Elsewhere, the cobbled streets of the old town provide an interesting contrast to the stunning array of modern architecture, while museums such as the Museum Tinguely will change your perception of the Swiss identity forever.

How to do it The historic Krafft Basel is right on the river, with al fresco dining that overlooks the water and steps that lead down to the banks of the Rhine.


2. novi sad, serbia.

Novi Sad

Split in two by the Danube river, Novi Sad makes for a budget-friendly break thanks to a favourable exchange rate and the fact that it’s largely a university city. The right bank of the river feels medieval, and is dominated by the 18th-century Petrovaradin Fortress, the unlikely setting of Serbia’s biggest drum’n’bass and techno event, Exit Festival. Come at any other time of the year and you’ll find a peaceful spot with unobstructed and breathtaking views of the river, plus walks that extend into the Fruska Gora mountains. The left bank is comparatively modern, with lively bars and restaurants tucked between quite magnificent baroque and neo-Byzantine architecture. There’s also a small beach, known as the Strand, that gets packed out in the warmer months.

How to do it Book an apartment and take your time — the nature trails around the city are particularly lovely in summer

Once known for its raves and sunrise parties, Mykonos has gone glam in recent decades. Supermodels, super yachts, designer boutiques and cabana-lined beach clubs are now the norm, although that sense of decadence remains. Summer is peak posturing time but, for all the absence of subtlety, there’s something addictive about it all. Beyond a sugar-white, oh-so-Cycladic old town, it’s also easy to find the natural beauty that pulls everyone here — windmills, wondrous beaches and brilliant light.

How to do it This Greek island’s hotel scene has never been hotter. Among the newbies is the arty, all-vegan Koukoumi Vegan Hotel

• Best things to do in Mykonos

4. Albanian Riviera

Ksamil Beach on the Albanian Riviera

Although it’s a bit more “discovered” these days, Albania ’s long seaside remains attractive — aided by the olive grove hills overlooking those golden bays — and it’s sensationally affordable in European terms. Its two main resort towns are Durres and Saranda but, in peak summer, make for Ksamil and its three offshore islands to escape most day-tripping Tirana families. Very close by is Butrint, an ancient, Unesco-listed city and just one historical marvel you’ll find along this coast; others include Gjirokastra’s giant hilltop castle and Durres’s ruined Roman amphitheatre.

How to do it Overlooking Ksamil’s gin-clear waters, Hotel Utopia has white cabanas on its private beach

• Best things to do in Albania

5. Cilento Coast, Italy

Santa Maria di Castellabate on the Cilento Coast

Italy’s Amalfi coast is rightly renowned but mamma mia does it get busy in summer. Around 20 miles south, the Cilento is infinitely quieter — even at the height of July — and has better blue-flag beaches. Instead of Pompeii, there’s Paestum: the sprawling remains of an ancient Greek city with splendidly complete Doric temples. You’ll also find affordable, attractive towns such as gently chichi Castellabate and healthy-living Acciaroli, famous for its many centenarians — plus some of the finest buffalo mozzarella in Italy . Inland are forested bumps, hill towns and hikes along maquis-perfumed ridges.

How to do it Take a private tour that offers plenty of free time

• Best villas in Italy

6. South Jutland, Denmark

Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town

Jutland is Denmark’s continental peninsula, and its southern section shares a border — and occasional cultural echoes — with Germany. Although Legoland charms children, this is chiefly an area of wild places and open spaces. Hills rise from rivers as castles crown forests and moors cede to marshlands. Surprisingly scorching in August, the coast yields a series of fine sandy beaches, especially on islands such as Fano or Romo.

How to do it One worthy manmade addition to all this natural finery is Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark and famed for half-timbered houses. Stay at its original base, the Hotel Dagmar

• Safest countries in the world

7. Côte d’Azur, France

Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the Côte d’Azur

The most fêted French Riviera locales — Cannes, Nice, Antibes and St Tropez — are as certain to be overcrowded during sun-soaked summers as locals are to be sipping chilled rosé. Even so, their unique brand of glam is near-unmissable, as are all the palm-lined beaches, bars and boutiques. One solution is to visit such places on people-watching, tan-maintaining day trips but otherwise hole up in a still-authentic and less-expensive Côte d’Azur town. Framed by plunging peaks and possessing the prettiest of Mediterranean harbours, tree-lined Beaulieu-sur-Mer is one such charmer.

How to do it Beaulieu’s Le Havre Bleu boutique hotel occupies a blue-shuttered belle époque villa

• Best beaches in France

An ashram in Georgetown, Guyana

As virgin rainforest covers most of Guyana, this small South American nation abounds with jungle camps whose expeditions look for giant anteaters, caymans and jaguars. In addition to treks to remote Kaieteur Falls, the world’s longest single-drop waterfall, a growing number of offerings also allow visitors to support indigenous Amerindian communities. But don’t neglect the English-speaking country’s coast, whose beaches and British-colonial capital Georgetown relish the dry season in August.

How to do it A wildlife-focused group tour

9. Cesme Peninsula, Turkey

Alacati on the Cesme Peninsula

As the Turquoise Coast — Bodrum, Marmaris et al — got busier and busier, savvy Turkey fans preserved their summer breaks by relocating 100 miles north to the sun-kissed Cesme Peninsula. Even now, a laid-back innocence survives, with aniseed fields or olive groves between hot-spring spas and pretty beaches (albeit more suited to windsurfing than swimming). As for the towns, none rivals Alacati for romance: its bougainvillea-scented cobblestone streets host antique shops, cafés, folksy restaurants and a growing cluster of boutique shops.

How to do it Near Alacati, the Stay Warehouse has a big pool, a bigger art collection and its own beachside deck

• Best all-inclusive hotels in Turkey

10. Brac, Croatia

The Brac seaside

The Dalmatian Coast is no secret these days and summers here are predictably heaving. Far better, then, to ditch Dubrovnik or Hvar in favour of a quieter corner. Brac fits the bill. Best known for Zlatni Rat, its remarkable V-shaped beach, the third-largest island in Croatia also brings great variety: pine forests, vineyards, orchards and ancient cliff monasteries — all accessed by the Via Brattia long-distance path — segue into sleepy fishing villages and quietly stylish resorts such as red-roofed Bol, where cocktail bars face colourful fishing boats.

How to do it Stylish yet affordable, the Bluesun Hotel Borak is equidistant from Bol and Zlatni Rat

• Best things to do in Croatia

11. Rajasthan, India

Hawa Mahal — Palace of the Winds — in Jaipur

August is a canny time to visit this state in northern India . It’ll be hot — averaging 29C — yet much less so than May or June. You’ll likely have to endure some quick showers, but bargain-priced accommodation and crowd-free sightseeing soften the blow. Far fewer tourists will interrupt your photos of the Pink and Blue Cities, Jaipur and Jodhpur, named for their singularly coloured buildings, nor those of desert forts, finely carved temples and lakeside palaces. Perhaps most pleasingly, you’ll even have tiger-patrolled Ranthambore National Park much more to yourself.

How to do it A highlights tour that also visits the Taj Mahal

• Best places to visit in India

The beach on Isla Holbox

12. Isla Holbox, Mexico

Curiously, Isla Holbox’s drawback is also its greatest asset. Reaching this slender slice of land involves the faintest of faffs: a 30-minute ferry from the Yucatan Peninsula’s tip after a three-hour drive from Playa del Carmen or Cancun. Hardly the stuff of great explorers, but enough to dissuade most. Consequently, Holbox remains a blissed-out Mexican holiday destination of hammocks, barefoot beach cafés and unpaved roads. That’s even true in summer, when whale-shark pods gather offshore to gorge on plankton.

How to do it Promoting ethical whale-shark swimming tours, eco-boutique Las Nubes de Holbox has an organic spa and neighbours Yum Balam’s croc-filled nature reserve

• Best hotels in Mexico

13. Menorca, Spain

Mahon in Menorca

For some, summer holidays aren’t summer holidays unless they involve a villa with its own swimming pool. And mellow Menorca , one of Spain’s lower-profile Balearic islands, has plenty of those. Nor is that the only perk: there are more than 100 sandy beaches between two elegant, atmospheric old ports in Mahon and Ciutadella. Shops sell the isle’s hip avarca sandals and A-list gallerist Hauser & Wirth has converted an offshore naval hospital into its most surprising contemporary art space yet.

How to do it Pool villas along Punta Prima bay put you close to that gallery plus Mahon’s shops and restaurants

• Best hotels in Menorca

14. Slovenia

Triglav National Park in Slovenia

Tiny Slovenia has handsome cities — led by Ljubljana, whose centre is a car-free web of art-nouveau lanes — yet its countryside tempts most. That’s thanks to plentiful pine forests and Lake Bled, where peaks and a castle loom idyllically over the pointy-roofed island chapel. In nearby Triglav National Park, activity-lovers can hike, cycle or river-raft. Slovenia’s gastronomy is equally diverse, swearing by local fodder and pairing well with some of Europe’s best orange wines. At this time of year, a 30-mile coastline also comes into its own.

How to do it Start at Barbara Piran, a sophisticated beach hotel and spa

15. Oregon, US

Eno Williams and Ibibio Sound Machine perform at Oregon’s Pickathon music festival

Now served by a direct British Airways flight, Portland’s youthful attractions range from a high-calibre food and beer scene to the sustainable music festival Pickathon each August. The remainder of surrounding Oregon, one of America’s Pacific Northwest states, is a riot of nature: snowy Cascade Mountains and their aquamarine Crater Lake here; river gorges and forests there. Protected against development or private ownership, its 363-mile coastline contains various fine beaches. Those in the milder southern “banana belt”, such as Lone Ranch, are ideal to conclude a perfect summer break.

How to do it A fly-drive tour roaming the state

• Best road trips in the US

Camels at Diani beach

Between July and September, the unceasing Great Migration reaches an apogee as its 1.5 million wildebeest and accompanying zebra, eland and gazelle come to cross the Mara River — while hungry lions or leopards prepare an ambush. With everything at stake, this is nature-viewing at its most elemental and dramatic. After bouncing around the Masai Mara National Reserve in 4x4s, recuperate on Kenya ’s palm-fringed coast. It’ll be warm and dry along the mainland’s Diani Beach, 11 miles of white sand offering dives, dhow boat tours, swims and spa treatments.

How to do it A classic “bush and beach” break

• Best Kenya safaris

17. Bali, Indonesia

Mount Agung in Bali

While most of southeast Asia is deluged by monsoons, Bali stays hot and dry during summer with ten hours of daily sunshine on average. While this does mean that south-coast resorts around Kuta will be busy — including their vast beaches, whose choppy waters better suit surfers than swimmers — there’s still many a languid, leafy hotel to be found hidden between rice paddies in this Indonesian island’s interior. Ubud, famous for its wellness options, is an essential day trip, as are Mount Agung’s 80 ornate temples.

How to do it One such secluded rural retreat is Wapa di Ume, close to Ubud

• Best hotels in Bali

18. Corsica, France

Bonifacio in Corsica

In tourism terms, this French-overseen island’s greatest asset is its flexibility. A holiday here might purely revolve around white-sand beaches — those of the Agriates Desert in the north, or southerly Palombaggia. It could involve scenic trains, historic towns such as fortified Bonifacio or natural wonders including the rouged Calanques de Piana rock spires. Or it can be exploring the beautiful, cooler, more rugged interior of Corsica , where hiking, cycling, canyoning, zip-lining and a zillion other activities are possible. All of which means there’s room for everyone — especially in late August , when France’s school holidays have ended.

How to do it The island’s accommodation scene is no less rangy, with great self-catering and hotels for all budgets. Few of the latter type are as stylish as beachside Le Pinarello, which opens seasonally from April

• Best beaches in Corsica

19. Bohuslan, Sweden


The west coast of Sweden is renowned for the quality of its seafood — langoustines and oysters in particular — which often finds its way to Michelin-starred restaurants in the capital Stockholm . But it could hardly be more delicious and fresh than if you eat it plucked straight from the sea. In Bohuslan, you can couple this seafood odyssey with a road trip that takes in the region’s many islands. Fjallbacka, Marstrand and Grebbestad are among the most picturesque, with those classic rust-coloured wooden huts and sail boats off the coast.

How to do it Fly into Gothenburg and then hire a car for the scenic trip north

• Best things to do in Sweden

20. Comporta, Portugal

An old pier at Carrasqueira

Leave the Algarve to summer’s hordes and try this beach-studded region instead. Ninety minutes’ drive south from Lisbon, family-friendly Comporta is the chicest destination in Portugal . Its namesake village gives onto a nature-reserve coastline; discreet villas proliferate, many observing the classic Comporta style: a fisherman’s hut-type façade and whitewashed, wood-beamed interiors. Also prominent are yoga classes, horse rides through rice paddies or pine forests, and fine dining in shack-style barefoot restaurants. Be sure to visit Carrasqueira, where an old port is stilted over the Sado river estuary.

How to do it Stay in a typical villa. Silica House’s pool and pastel-pale hues are seven minutes’ walk from the sea

• Best Portugal tours

Fishers on Lake Malawi

Malawi remains an unsung safari destination despite the efforts of African Parks. This non-profit has rejuvenated the country’s wildlife reserves — working to prevent poaching, restore game, improve accommodation and empower locals — including forested Majete and riverside Liwonde, one of the continent’s most photogenic national parks. In summer, with water scarce, it’s easier to see elephants, lions and honking hippos on walking, boat or classic 4×4 safaris. Just north begins Lake Malawi, with the season’s sultry temperatures suiting its sandy beaches, diving, snorkelling and kayaking.

How to do it Combine safaris with lakeside luxury on a private tour

Additional reporting by Qin Xie

Sign up to the Times Travel newsletter for weekly inspiration, advice and deals here

Related articles

15 incredible destinations to visit in June

Awesome, you're subscribed!

Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!

The best things in life are free.

Sign up for our email to enjoy your city without spending a thing (as well as some options when you’re feeling flush).

Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

By entering your email address you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receive emails from Time Out about news, events, offers and partner promotions.

  • Things to Do
  • Food & Drink
  • Time Out Market
  • Coca-Cola Foodmarks
  • Los Angeles

Get us in your inbox

🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

Skyview Atlanta

The top affordable summer destinations in the U.S. for 2024

WalletHub shares this year's perfect getaways that won't break the bank

Erika Mailman

Summer’s just a heartbeat away. If you’re stuck in your cubicle, or you’re a teacher showing movies for the next week or so, or maybe you’re a high-powered CEO getting off your private jet: you’re fantasizing about the beach or a tent pitched in the wilderness...or a visit to the big metropolis you’ve always dreamed of.

According to personal-finance website WalletHub , nearly 82 percent of Americans plan to take a trip this summer (hopefully the remaining 18 percent aren’t traveling this summer because they already took off in the winter!). And close to half of those who plan to travel will take more than one trip (42 percent). That’s a whole lot of us—whether it’s far-flung travel or just renting a weekend space an hour away. We personally love the day trip turned into an overnight trip. WalletHub studied 100 metro areas, using 41 metrics, to come up with its list of the perfect summer getaways, considering our budgets and hopes to have a great time without credit card trauma down the road. The metrics were details like the average price of a two-person meal, the city's tennis courts and beer gardens, and average gas prices: you get the idea. It’s a great way to get a quick look at how a city measures up to others around the country.

This summer, you will want to hit Atlanta , since it is the top scorer on this study. It did well in all categories, including not having many travel hassles and costs, having good weather and a fair amount of entertainment options, and doing well in terms of safety (having low numbers for property damage and violent crime). Take a walk on the BeltLine or visit the Coke museum, and enjoy the best of Georgia’s capital.

Second on the list is Washington, D.C. It scored first for safety and did well in the other categories. With parks, cherry blossoms, historical sites, and an incredible art museum , this city makes for an incredible destination. Did we mention that the Smithsonian museums are free and are open daily except for Dec. 25?

In third place is Orlando, Florida, which fulfills all the amusement park -meets-beach desires you’ve ever had. In fact, Orlando is No. 2 nationwide for best activities (the No. 1 spot is taken by urban Honolulu, which is fourth on this overall list).

Here is the full list of the top 20 summer travel destinations:

1. Atlanta, GA

2. Washington, DC

3. Orlando, FL

4. Honolulu, HI

5. Tampa, FL

6. Austin, TX

7. Philadelphia, PA

8. Chicago, IL

9. El Paso, TX

10. Cincinnati, OH

11. Salt Lake City, UT

12. New York, NY

13. Richmond, VA

14. Miami, FL

15. Springfield, MO

16. Knoxville, TN

17. Tulsa, OK

18. Oklahoma, OK

19. San Antonio,TX

20. Los Angeles, CA

  • Erika Mailman USA contributor

Share the story

An email you’ll actually love

Discover Time Out original video

  • Press office
  • Investor relations
  • Work for Time Out
  • Editorial guidelines
  • Privacy notice
  • Do not sell my information
  • Cookie policy
  • Accessibility statement
  • Terms of use
  • Copyright agent
  • Modern slavery statement
  • Manage cookies
  • Advertising

Time Out products

  • Time Out Worldwide

Dips and Trips

Dips and Trips

Cooler (Colder) Places to Visit This Summer

Posted: May 15, 2024 | Last updated: May 15, 2024

<p>The summer heat has become unbearable in some parts of the world. That’s really unfortunate for some travelers, particularly families with kids in school, or even teachers, who get most of the summer off. What’s unfortunate, of course, is not the fact that you get time off work, but that it comes at a point in the year when the weather is so hot! Are you really going to be in the mood to walk around and explore new places in 90-degree heat? What you could do this summer to put a twist on things is head to a <a href="" rel="noopener">cooler destination</a> where you won’t be under the sun all day! Here are a few options.</p>

The summer heat has become unbearable in some parts of the world. That’s really unfortunate for some travelers, particularly families with kids in school, or even teachers, who get most of the summer off. What’s unfortunate, of course, is not the fact that you get time off work, but that it comes at a point in the year when the weather is so hot! Are you really going to be in the mood to walk around and explore new places in 90-degree heat? What you could do this summer to put a twist on things is head to a cooler destination where you won’t be under the sun all day! Here are a few options.

<p>When the temperature in Oslo exceeds 77 degrees on a summer day, that’s considered one of the hottest days of the year! In many places, both domestically and abroad, 77 in the summer is a Godsend. You could argue that it won’t ever happen again. One of the best things about Norway is that you can enjoy things like hiking, kayaking and all sorts of outdoor activities. If you try and put those into your itinerary in other places you’ll need plenty of water for the journey. That won’t necessarily be the case here.</p>

When the temperature in Oslo exceeds 77 degrees on a summer day, that’s considered one of the hottest days of the year! In many places, both domestically and abroad, 77 in the summer is a Godsend. You could argue that it won’t ever happen again. One of the best things about Norway is that you can enjoy things like hiking, kayaking and all sorts of outdoor activities. If you try and put those into your itinerary in other places you’ll need plenty of water for the journey. That won’t necessarily be the case here.

<p>If you’re sick of the heat, what you can do is take a trip south of the equator. You know what’s on the other side of the equator, particularly further down south during June and July? It’s called winter there! Argentina is a great place to visit in June and July if you can handle the cold to still walk around and enjoy Buenos Aires. This is perhaps the most “European” city on this side of the Atlantic. You could even spend some days at a ski resort in Bariloche.</p>

If you’re sick of the heat, what you can do is take a trip south of the equator. You know what’s on the other side of the equator, particularly further down south during June and July? It’s called winter there! Argentina is a great place to visit in June and July if you can handle the cold to still walk around and enjoy Buenos Aires. This is perhaps the most “European” city on this side of the Atlantic. You could even spend some days at a ski resort in Bariloche.

<p>Global survey respondents have spoken and named Australia the world’s friendliest destination. This country, with 26 million people, ranked fourth among the best countries overall and came in as the world’s third most agile nation. Australia also boasts strong cultural influence, heritage, and quality of life.</p><p>Kangaroos, koalas, and the Sydney Opera House are all cherished icons of this Oceanic country that has been inhabited for as long as 50,000 years. Thanks to destinations like well-preserved coral reefs and tropical beaches, Australia came in 8th in adventure. Another great thing about the Commonwealth nation is its openness to business and entrepreneurship, shadowed only by a strong social purpose and belief in religious freedom and human rights.</p>

In Australia, you’ll also be able to catch some slopes during this time of year because again it’s winter during June and July. Perhaps what’s best about going down under throughout these months is that you can visit places that get really hot towards the end of the year while enjoying mild weather. The problem is you may have to contend with some rain. Sydney averages highs of 65 degrees during their winter months. The Gold Coast Area gets highs of 70. Keep in mind, this is the winter we’re talking about.

<p>There are a couple of criteria that this city fulfills that can make it a good spot for student travelers. It’s generally not as expensive as most other European capitals. Iceland, in general, is a very safe country, even for younger travelers. Also, it can provide a unique set of experiences that you may not have access to anywhere else. Even though it’s the summer, you can expect to be a bit cold out. What you want to do here as a student traveler is really embrace the local culture. Go out and eat at the places the locals frequent. You won’t have too many options to choose from, so a longer trip may not be too exciting. A short stop in Reykjavík as part of a longer Euro trip can make a lot of sense.</p>

If you don’t like the cold at all, but you want to come to Iceland, then you really have to do it during these moths. Another country that gets highs of 77 degrees during the summer months. At night, though, it can drop to within the 40s! You want to come prepared with the right clothes. The summer can be the perfect time to explore more the country. It’s easier to get around without as much snow. If you want to see the aurora borealis in Iceland with “mild” temperature, you may be able to do that if you arrive at the very tail end of August!

<p>You could argue that Stockholm is one of the most under visited European capitals. One of the reasons for that is that weather is typically not friendly most of the year. If you come here in July, though, you can expect highs of about 75 degrees. That’s pretty much as hot as it’s going to get all year. It’s very good weather to be out and about exploring a new country. Also, you’ll only get about a week’s worth of rain within those 30 days. If you plan the trip out just right, you could be in for great weather throughout your whole stay.</p>

You could argue that Stockholm is one of the most under visited European capitals. One of the reasons for that is that weather is typically not friendly most of the year. If you come here in July, though, you can expect highs of about 75 degrees. That’s pretty much as hot as it’s going to get all year. It’s very good weather to be out and about exploring a new country. Also, you’ll only get about a week’s worth of rain within those 30 days. If you plan the trip out just right, you could be in for great weather throughout your whole stay.

<p>A destination that’s probably not on many people’s travel wishlist, but it could be after this. Botswana is also south of the equator. The temperature gets up to about 82 degrees during the day and can drop to within the 40s at night. You really want to come prepared with shorts, but cozy pajamas. It’s typical dry during this time of year, so it’s actually one of the best times to go on safari, as animals will hover closer to specific bodies of water. It could be a great off the beaten path destination.</p>

Safari in Botswana

A destination that’s probably not on many people’s travel wishlist, but it could be after this. Botswana is also south of the equator. The temperature gets up to about 82 degrees during the day and can drop to within the 40s at night. You really want to come prepared with shorts, but cozy pajamas. It’s typical dry during this time of year, so it’s actually one of the best times to go on safari, as animals will hover closer to specific bodies of water. It could be a great off the beaten path destination.

More for You

Harvard psychologist shares 6 toxic things 'highly narcissistic' people always do in relationships: 'Don't be fooled'

Harvard psychologist shares 5 toxic things 'highly narcissistic' people always do in relationships

Michael Cohen

Donald Trump Lawyer Just Had 'Historic Stumble' in Court—Legal Analyst


Maria Shriver hits back at Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s ‘demeaning’ commencement speech

6. Selling a Home Is Burdensome

7 Ways People Destroy the Value of Their Homes, According to a Real Estate Agent

Jennifer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in Selena

Spot-On Performances: 25 Actors Who Nailed Famous Roles

I teach dining etiquette to Americans. Many people miss the basics — here are the most common mistakes I see.

I teach dining etiquette to Americans. Many people miss the basics — here are the most common mistakes I see.

You Are Too Old To Do These 12 Things After 55

You Are Too Old To Do These 12 Things After 55

Nissa Graun Weight Loss

I Lost 100lbs by Following 5 Small Daily Habits

Beyoncé Is a Bombshell in a Cutout Dress

Beyoncé Is a Total Bombshell in a Ruched Dress With a Gaping Bust Cutout

Mark Cuban’s Quote

Mark Cuban’s 5 Best Passive Income Ideas

The Best Movies Streaming on Paramount Plus

The Best Movies Streaming on Paramount Plus

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has been banned by a seventh Native American tribe for comments she made earlier this year about tribal leaders benefiting from drug cartels. The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the Republican governor, saying

Gov. Kristi Noem banned from seventh Native American reservation in South Dakota

Wonder Woman

25 Unforgettable Fictional Female Heroines

Cardone on 'the worst investment'

'The worst investment people can make': Real estate guru Grant Cardone says too many Americans are chasing after the dream of homeownership. Here's what he thinks you should do instead


McDonald’s $5 menu is out – and people are not happy

Travis Kelce Sounds Off on Fox for Replacing Greg Olsen With Tom Brady

Travis Kelce Sounds Off on Fox for Replacing Greg Olsen With Tom Brady

Apple could owe you up to $349 in the iPhone 7 settlement. The deadline to register is coming up.

Apple could owe you up to $349 in the iPhone 7 settlement. The deadline to register is coming up.

50 best Netflix original series

The 50 best Netflix original series of all time, according to fans

Jimmy Fallon in Band of Brothers

Spotlight Sleuths: 25 Actors Who Were Unnoticed in Famous Roles

LeRon L. Barton experienced racism US

I Lost White Friends When I Finally Spoke Out

A guide to dreamy stargazing adventures in L.A. and beyond

  • Show more sharing options
  • Copy Link URL Copied!

I’ll never forget my first stargazing experience in Southern California. It was during a spring camping trip to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, not long after nearby Borrego Springs was designated the state’s first dark sky community in 2009. There were no telescopes or binoculars to enhance the view; yet the night sky was like nothing I had seen before — an endless array of shimmering stars against a black-velvet backdrop. It was hard to believe we were only about 150 miles from L.A.

You are reading The Wild newsletter

Sign up to get expert tips on the best of Southern California's beaches, trails, parks, deserts, forests and mountains in your inbox every Thursday

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Since then, I have discovered there is no shortage of excellent stargazing spots in Southern California. (And even the rare opportunity to see the aurora borealis or a solar eclipse !) But the variety of options, locations and organized events can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the area or the hobby.

This roundup focuses on what to expect in the celestial skies over the next few months and how to plan accordingly to maximize your chance of spotting some spectacular sights. Whether it’s a public star party at Griffith Observatory or a private astronomer-led tour in Joshua Tree, there is a proverbial universe of activities to meet your desires (and, hopefully, your schedule).

Backcountry camping and stargazing in Joshua Tree

An off-season for planets

In general, this summer won’t be very impressive for planet viewing, says Tim Thompson, a science advisor at Mt. Wilson Observatory. (Though take note, on June 3 around dawn Jupiter, Mars and Saturn will be visible in the eastern sky.)

Instead, the main attraction will be the Milky Way. Thompson says the starry band is typically the most prominent object in the northern hemisphere summer sky and best viewed in remote locations like the Southern California desert between July and September.

The fuller the moon, the less visible the stars. In Joshua Tree, the best moonless nights for observing the Milky Way are the first eight days of June, July and August. The national park has designated stargazing areas , or you can line up private tours with experienced guides.

The desert is also an ideal place to view the perseids , the reliably spectacular meteor shower that sends bright trails of light streaking across the sky every summer. Last August’s perseid show drew record crowds to Joshua Tree. This summer, the perseids are expected to peak on Aug. 11 and 12, but they won’t be as luminous as last year’s shower since the moon will be about 50% full.

A view of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

Local stargazing options

Neither the Milky Way nor the perseids will be visible in the city of Los Angeles, but there are still plenty of opportunities here to witness the wonders of the night sky.

Griffith Observatory hosts star parties once a month (there’s one this Saturday from 2 to 9:45 p.m.). Its Zeiss refracting telescope is open for public viewing, along with about 30 high-powered telescopes operated by local astronomy groups on the west lawn. It’s a chance to see a variety of views of the night sky, each one slightly different, notes Spencer SooHoo of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society (LAAS). “People are thrilled when they see the moon for the first time through a telescope,” he says. On any given evening (except Monday) up to three observatory staff members set up and run telescopes on the observatory lawn between 7 and 9:30 p.m.

The Monterey Park Observatory in the Garvey Ranch Park in Monterey Park is run by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society.

A lesser-known local spot is Garvey Ranch Observatory in Monterey Park. Run by LAAS, it’s open for stargazing every Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 10 p.m. There’s even a broadcast feed for those who can’t climb the narrow steps to the observatory’s 8-inch refractor telescope. Admittedly, there’s some light pollution, but it’s a great place to chat with experts and get help setting up your own telescope.

Up on Mt. Wilson, the observatory’s summer roster includes public ticket nights , which allow a limited number of visitors access to its historic 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes. Tickets, which range from $110 to $230, sell out fast. But more nights will be added throughout the summer.

Still want more info on stargazing? The Griffith Observatory’s website is a terrific resource, with monthly sky reports and links to dozens of active local astronomy clubs and planetariums. And don’t forget to check the weather. Dense clouds and the marine layer (also known as June gloom ) will dim your prospects for a starry night.

3 things to do

A CicLAvia event in Wilmington.

1. Ride a bike or take a stroll near the Port of Los Angeles CicLAvia is holding a mini-version of its popular car-free events Sunday and shutting down a 2.75-mile stretch of the neighborhood of Wilmington between its Waterfront Park and Banning Park. Expect a pedestrian-focused experience featuring street games, music, art activities and free tours of the historic Banning Museum. It all takes place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. For more information, visit .

2. Clean up the San Gabriel River in Whittier Last year, Heal the Bay volunteers removed more than 22,000 pounds of trash from the L.A. watershed. The environmental group is taking its mission inland on Saturday with a trash cleanup event from 10 a.m. to noon at the San Gabriel River near Whittier Narrows Recreation Area. Anyone is welcome to help pick up plastic and other harmful items before they get washed downstream to the San Pedro Bay. Supplies will be provided and environmental educators will be on hand to explain water’s journey from the Sierras to the Santa Monica Bay. You can register at .

3. Take a wilderness walk in Redondo Beach Just a few blocks from the ocean, Hopkins Wilderness Park is a peaceful 11-acre natural area with four ecological habitats, including a pond, forest and meadows. On Monday, representatives from the South Bay Parkland Conservancy will lead a free hourlong walk through the park aimed at promoting the health benefits of connecting with nature and the community. Also sponsored by the Beach Cities Health District, the walk begins at 10:15 a.m. and you can register at .

The must-read

A whale breaches close to the Harbor Breeze Cruises La Espada whale watching boat off the coast of San Pedro

Blue and humpback whales typically arrive in Southern California in May from their breeding grounds in Mexico and hang out until December. Here’s a timely article by Times reporter Hayley Smith about the profound effect that noise pollution caused by cargo ships can have on whales and other creatures that pass through the Santa Barbara Channel . A study found that the once-quiet environment of the channel is about 30 times louder than it once was, and that can reduce an animal’s ability to detect and interpret sounds used to mate, feed and migrate. Sean Hastings of the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary said the findings drive home the need for slower ship speeds and other efforts to mitigate ocean noise and protect wildlife.

Happy adventuring,

Signature for Laura Randall

The L.A. Times just published its 101 best West Coast experiences , a guide to essential things to do in Baja, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. A few of travel writer Christopher Reynolds’ favorite adventures: communing with whales in Baja, paddling rapids on the South Fork of the American River, hiking beneath the falls in Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley and walking above a misty forest on Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge. Check out the whole list here . Or if you’d prefer a print copy, you can now pre-order the “West Coast 101” zine, which is the perfect size to pack in your travel bag.

Cover of The 101 Best West Coast Experiences zine.

For more insider tips on Southern California’s beaches, trails and parks, check out past editions of The Wild . And to view this newsletter in your browser, click here .

Sign up for The Wild

We’ll help you find the best places to hike, bike and run, as well as the perfect silent spots for meditation and yoga.

cities to visit this summer

Laura Randall is a Los Angeles-based writer and author of several Southern California hiking guides. She has written about hiking and travel for a variety of newspapers and magazines and is the author of “60 Hikes 60 Miles: Los Angeles” and the Wilderness Press guide to the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern California. When she’s not hiking, she can usually be found reading L.A. noir novels at the beach or being walked by a headstrong golden retriever named Boris.

More From the Los Angeles Times

Newspaper photo cover and zine cover showing outdoor photography on a blue background with star illustrations and a stamp

Travel & Experiences

Buy a copy of the new ‘West Coast 101’ zine

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 15: General views of The Mirage hotel and casino on April 15, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Las Vegas’ Mirage Resort to close after 34-year run. Volcano to go dormant

Paper checklist of west coast locations on an orange background with illustrations of stars and a trophy and a stamp

Download the checklist of the 101 best West Coast experiences

May 16, 2024

Photo of people biking at Yosemite Valley with the words "Best of the West" in the middle and a stamp in the corner.

Take an epic trip along the West Coast in 2024. Here are the top 10 places to visit now

Best summer destinations in Europe

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

Select Month

  • best-summer-destinations-europe

Plan your tailor-made trip with a local expert

Book securely with money-back guarantee

Travel stress-free with local assistance and 24/7 support

Joanne Owen

written by Joanne Owen

updated 01.05.2024


Wondering where to head this summer for your perfect break? Our run-down of the best summer destinations in Europe has you covered, whether you’re seeking a chic sojourn in the sun or adventures in the great outdoors. There’s plenty here if you’re travelling with kids, too, or fancy sampling the continent’s finest food and wine. Read on for inspiration that’ll have you reaching for your passport.

13. Bay of Kotor: best for dramatic scenery

12. french riviera: best for glamour, 11. azores islands: best for natural beauty, 10. balearic islands: best all-rounders.

  • 9. Greece: best for history and island magic

8. Italy: best for romance

7. andalucia: best for foodies and fiestas, 6. switzerland: best for scenery and cycling.

  • 5. Portugal: best for world-class water sports

4. Sweden: best for midsummer festival fun

3. slovenia: best for caves, castles and coastline, 2. iceland: best for adventure, 1. croatia: best for sailing and island-hopping.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for exploring the world.

Travel ideas for Spain, created by local experts

Andalucía Explored

9 days  / from 2468 USD

Andalucía Explored

Discover the best of Andalucía's breathtaking palaces, churches, museums, vineyards, and more, as you travel through spectacular scenery dotted with pueblos blancos and bordered by rugged mountains and coast en route to Granada, Seville, Ronda and Jerez de la Frontera.

A culinary experience in Seville

4 days  / from 643 USD

A culinary experience in Seville

Explore the cuisine and surroundings of Seville in Andalucia. From Iberian ham over sherry wines to the production and secrets of olive oil, this tour is an ideal weekend getaway. Decide yourself if you prefer a rental car or a chauffeur-driven car to explore the beauty of Andalucia.

Spanish Honeymoon

10 days  / from 3791 USD

Spanish Honeymoon

Discover Andalusia, starting with the cultural city of Seville, then on to Córdoba and Granada, home of the stunning Alhambra Palace. Next you'll visit Granada and the Albayzin Arab quarter, then enjoy a stunning hot-air balloon ride, before ending your trip with a luxury boat trip from Marbella!

Perched on the edge of a majestic bay, Kotor is the undisputed jewel of Montenegro’s crown. 

Though no longer exactly Europe’s best-kept secret, Kotor’s (modest) rise in popularity hasn't dimmed its timeless delights. By which we mean the cobbled alleyways and secluded piazzas of its medieval Old Town, with its town walls overlooked by monumental peaks.

Visiting for the first time? Read our first-timer's guide to Montenegro, and wise up on the best things to do in Montenegro. You'll also find inspiration in the Montenegro itineraries curated by our local experts.

For example, our Montenegro Adventure will see you experience the country's lakes and mountains in exhilarating style, while also offering the chance to explore Kotor's cultural hotspots.

Where to stay in Montenegro

  • Best for amazing bay views: Conte Hotel & Restaurant
  • Best for price and quality: Apartments Dakovic
  • Best for luxury: Heritage Grand Perast

Browse more accommodation options in the Bay of Kotor.

Things not to miss: Kotor bay, Montenegro.

Kotor Bay, Montenegro © Shutterstock

The Côte d’Azur polarises opinion like few places in France . To some, it remains the most glamorous of all Mediterranean playgrounds. To others, it’s an overdeveloped victim of its own hype.

On balance, though, it's impossible to deny the remarkable beauty of the hills, and the impossibly blue water. It's also clear why the region's light has drawn so many artists, and why visiting the French Riviera remains one of the best things to do in France.

Editor's tip: to experience more of France, check out our walking tour itinerary that'll see you explore less-crowded areas.

Where to stay on the French Riviera

  • Best for budget stays: Hôtel Richelieu
  • Best for secluded stays: Le Clos de Saint Aygulf
  • Best for a perfect honeymoon: Villa 35 de Saint Aygulf

Explore more accommodation options on the French Riviera.

Saint Tropez, Cote'd Azure, France © Shutterstock

Saint Tropez, Cote'd Azure, France © Shutterstock

Looking for a European summer destination that delivers stacks of natural beauty? The Azores offer just that. 

A volcanic archipelago that intersects Eurasian, North American and African plates, its nine islands are lush, and laden with lakes and waterfalls. That and bubbling hot springs and flowery meadows. 

In addition, the Azores offer year-round warm weather, and an inviting unhurried vibe.

It's also a top spot for adventures. Inland, take your pick from cycling, hiking canyoning. Meanwhile, the coast is ripe for whale and dolphin-watching experiences, with satisfying surf off spectacular sandy beaches.

Editor's tip: if you're into nature and adventure, take inspiration from our Azores Wild Nature trip .

Where to stay in the Azores

  • Best for couples: Miradouro da Papalva Guest House
  • Best for budget stays: ZIGZAG HOSTEL
  • Best for luxury: Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa

Browse more accommodation options in the Azores.

Angra do Heroismo z Alto da Memoria, Terceira, Azores, Portugal © Francesco Bonino/Shutterstock

Angra do Heroismo, Terceira, Azores, Portugal © Francesco Bonino/Shutterstock

East of the Spanish mainland, the four main Balearic Islands – Ibiza , Formentera , Mallorca and Menorca – are distinct from the rest of Spain , and from each other.

For example, Ibiza Town is loaded with historic attractions, and also remains hugely popular with clubbers and LGBTQ+ visitors. Meanwhile, the north of the island retains an old school bohemian atmosphere.

For a more rustic vibe, try tiny Formentera — it's not for nothing it's known as Ibiza's unspoiled sister . 

Meanwhile Mallorca — the largest Balearic island — has long cast-off its rep being a place overrun by hard-boozing Brits. These days, it draws more visitors to its fantastic hiking and cycling trails. That said, the island's beaches remain a great reason to visit.

Editor's tip: discover the best Balearic Island for different travel experiences.

Where to stay on the Balearic Islands

  • Best on Ibiza: Aparthotel Puerto Cala Vadella
  • Best on Formentera: Riu La Mola
  • Best on Mallorca: Aparthotel Ona Cala Pi Club
  • Best on Menorca: Grupotel Playa Club

The City Palma de Majorca from a bird's eye view © Olga Yatsenko/Shutterstock

Palma de Majorca © Olga Yatsenko/Shutterstock

Related articles from the blog

Elafonissi beach in Crete © Shutterstock

9. Greece: best for history and island magic 

Boasting historic sites spanning four millennia, an incredible coastline, and over 200 beautiful islands, it’s little wonder Greece  is one of the best summer destinations in Europe. 

Kicking off in the capital, Athens is a city that melds the magic of ancient myth with the energy of a modern metropolis. 

With the iconic Acropolis —  voted one of best places on earth  — looming large over the city, and family-friendly tavernas serving tasty  Greek food , it's a vibrant starting point for summer vacations.

When it comes to choosing where to find the best break for sand, sea and sun, read up on the  best beaches in Greece , and the best Greek islands . We have to say, even though it's hugely popular, witnessing a a Santorini sunset remains one of the best things to do in Greece . 

Editor's tip: to blend the best of both worlds (island sun and history), see our customisable Historic and Mythological Cyclades itinerary. It includes Santorini and Mykonos .

Where to stay in Greece

  • Best for beach-loving foodies: Corfu Palace Hotel
  • Best for culture vultures: SV Acropolis Residence
  • Best for Santorini sunsets: Golden Sunset Villa

The iconic blue-domed churches of Oia, Santorini

Santorini – one of the best summer destinations in Europe © Shutterstock

Narrowly missing out on the top spot in our reader survey of the most beautiful country in the world,  Italy  is hard to beat when it comes to offering opportunities to indulge in adulterated romance. 

From  Tuscany’s rolling hills and vineyards , and the dazzling Amalfi coast , to romance-rich cities like  Rome ,  Florence  and  Venice , Italy isn’t short of  beautiful places  that'll help you realise your dreams of  La Dolce Vita .

Beyond the mainland, islands like  Sicily  and  Sardinia  offer seclusion and a bounty of beautiful Italian beaches . 

Looking for romantic inspiration? Consider taking a  custom-made trip to the Italian lakes , or a romantic break in Venice . Or how about a longer tour that includes three dreamy cities of the Italian Renaissance .

Where to stay in Italy

  • Best for romantics: Hotel Casanova  
  • Best for history buffs: Residenza Roma Imperiale
  • Best for wine-lovers: Borgo Conde Wine Resort

Tuscany road with cypress tree © Shutterstock

The romance of Tuscany's rolling hills – hard to beat in summer © Shutterstock

For foodies, Spain is one of the best summer destinations in Europe, with Andalucía (arguably) best showcasing the country’s food.

The region’s three most significant cities —  Granada ,  Seville  and  Córdoba  — also display Spain’s Moorish architecture at its most magnificent, providing awe-inspiring backdrops for al fresco dining.

Editor's tip: to make the most of your time in the region, see our customisable best of Andalućia trip, or give your tastebuds a treat on a  culinary break in Seville .

Where to stay in Andalucia

  • Best for traditional charm: Hotel Las Casas de la Judería
  • Best for style-seekers: Vincci Albayzin
  • Best for couples: Casagrand Luxury Suites


Andalucía is known for its flamboyant flamenco traditions and fine food © Shutterstock

Our survey of the most beautiful countries in the world saw Switzerland praised for its “spectacular scenery” and “beautiful spotless cities". It’s also one of the best summer destinations in Europe. 

Switzerland sparkles at pretty much every turn, with dozens of ways to enjoy exhilarating outdoor experiences . 

While adventurers will want to hike the Eiger in the spectacular  Jungfrau region , you could also be inspired by scenery from a quaint mountain train.

That said, there’s no better way to experience Switzerland’s mountain passes than on your bike. 

Running between Italian-speaking Airolo and German-speaking Uri, the epic St. Gotthard Pass is hard to beat. Expect hair-raising hairpin bends, mountain villages, and, uniquely for the  Swiss Alps , bone-shaking cobblestones. 

Switzerland’s urban hotspots are as sparkling as its lakes and ice-capped mountains. Head to well-heeled  Geneva  for museums, scenic shopping and Old Town charm. Meanwhile, cosmopolitan  Zurich  offers café culture and nightlife in sublime surroundings.

Editor's tip: check out our  guidebook and, given that Switzerland has four official languages — German, French, Italian, and Romansch — you might also want to search our  range of phrasebooks . 

Where to stay in Switzerland

  • Best for pampering: Sunstar Hotel and Spa Grindelwald
  • Best for couples: Hotel de Geneve
  • Best for alpine adventurers: Endweg Apartment


Switzerland's awe-inspiring scenery is sure to stop you in your tracks © Shutterstock

5. Portugal: best for world-class water sports

Portugal’s  expansive coastline makes it a hotspot for water sports, with the  Algarve  boasting the country’s most sheltered — and popular — sandy beaches. 

In fact, this area is home to many of the  best beaches in Portugal.  

Not keen on crowds? Discover where you can get off the tourist trail in Portugal, and take an off-the-beaten-track tour of North Portugal.

Undecided about where to go? See our guide to Porto vs. Lisbon , and read up on the best things to do in Portugal .

Where to stay in Portugal

  • Best for luxury lovers: TURIM Terreiro do Paço Hotel
  • Best for families: Torel Avantgarde
  • Best for surfers: Vila Gale Ericeira


Wild water sports await in Nazare, Portugal © Shutterstock

Sweden  is a glorious destination for travellers seeking space, serenity and sports around the year. That said, experiencing the midsummer solstice celebrations provides a mix of magic and mayhem you’ll never forget.

Celebrated across the weekend closest to the 24th of June, Sweden’s midsummer celebrations spark a mass exodus from towns and cities as everyone heads to the countryside and coasts. 

Dalarna , the island of Öland, and the  Bohuslän coast  are among the most popular spots. 

As for what to expect, maypoles are erected in gardens and parks as gigantic fertility symbols, while trestle tables buckle under the weight of huge feasts. 

The party extends long into the light night, with much dancing and drinking enjoyed to the tune of accordions and fiddles.

Editor's tip: for year-round inspiration, read up on the best things to do in Sweden.

Where to stay in Sweden

  • Best for 19th-century style:  First Hotel Grand Falun
  • Best for cyclists and canoeists: Slipens Hotell
  • Best for eco-minded families: First Camp Västerås-Mälaren

Nice Little Houses and Luxury Cottages on Stockholm's archipelago © ROUSSELLE Xavier/Shutterstock

Stockholm's archipelago attracts thousands of fun-loving midsummer celebrants © ROUSSELLE Xavier/Shutterstock

Kicking off in Slovenia's  elegant capital,  Ljubljana , is a convenient base from which to visit a host of the country’s attractions. This city has its own hilltop 15th-century castle to explore before you venture further afield.

On that subject, Lake Bled  is an absolute must-visit. A mere 50 minutes from the capital, this mirror-like expanse of water boasts a fairy tale island and cliff-top castle, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Around 53 kilometres from Ljubljana, visiting Postojna Caves is another unmissable day trip. On arrival, you’ll board a train that’ll transport you to a sublime subterranean world, culminating in a show-stopping, cathedral-like chamber. 

A few kilometres northwest of Postojna caves, sixteenth-century Predjama Castle is a precariously-sited feat of architectural wonder. It’s built into and around an elevated cave entrance in the centre of a dramatic karst landscape.

Beyond its undeniably beautiful interior, Slovenia’s coastline might be short, but it’s incredibly sweet and varied. 

From picturesque Piran to the spa town of Portorož — which is oft-described as Slovenia’s answer to the French Riviera — Slovenia’s coastline has much to commend it

Editor's tip : to experience Slovenia in all its majesty, book a customisable  treasures of Slovenia trip .  

Where to stay in Slovenia

  • Best for lakeside luxury: Vila Bled
  • Best for families: Guesthouse Soul
  • Best for travellers on a budget: Guest House PachaMama

Slovenia, Julian Alps, Gorenjska, Reflection of Santa Maria Church on Lake Bled

Bleeding beautiful — Lake Bled, Slovenia © Shutterstock

As revealed in our guide to the best places to visit in the summer in Iceland , the country is stacked with adventure experiences — from ice and lava-caving, to glacier hiking and intercontinental snorkelling. 

As a result, it's clear why  Iceland  made it into our run-down of the world’s best adventure holiday destinations, and all done against spectacular backdrops of glaciers, fjords and mighty volcanoes. See for yourself in our  gallery . 

While serious hikers will want to tackle Iceland’s most extreme trail , you could opt to enjoy less challenging walks to cascading waterfalls and bubbling hot springs.

Talking of springs, before you go, read up on Iceland’s best hot pools , and the dos and don'ts of Icelandic spas . It's fair to say, taking the plunge is among the  best things to do in Iceland . 

Editor's tip: want to mix adventure with wildlife-watching and cultural experiences? See our our customisable trips to Iceland’s  enchanting east , or the  wild west .

Where to stay in Iceland

  • Best for families: Kvosin Downtown Hotel
  • Best for thrill-seekers: Hótel Skógafoss  
  • Best for price and quality: Saeluhus Apartments & Houses


Dyrholaey beach © Shutterstock

With its gorgeous Adriatic coast offering over 200km of brilliantly blue sea and more than 1000 islands,  Croatia  is one of Europe’s top sailing destinations. 

For chic bars, fun nightlife and fine food, head to handsome Hvar Island. You'll certainly be able to enjoy some of Croatia's top foodie experiences here.

Given that the islands are home to many of the  best beaches in Croatia , you might want to learn how to make the most of island-hopping in Croatia .

Sailing and island exploration aside, Croatia is also an excellent destination for adventure-seekers and culture vultures, as revealed in our run-down of the best things to do in Croatia . 

Editor's tip: been there, done that? Croatia has plenty of  unusual things to do , among them visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia's capital of cool .

Where to stay in Croatia

  • Best for island elegance: Hotel Adriana .
  • Best for Art Deco aficionados: Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
  • Best for couples: Villa Dubrovnik

City Harbour of the town of Hvar, on the island of Hvar, the Adriatic coast of Croatia © rustamank/Shutterstock

Hvar, Croatia © rustamank/Shutterstock

Ready to start planning your trip? Search the Rough Guides Shop  to find the perfect guide to enhance your summer in Europe. 

Alternatively, to forgo the faff of planning and booking your break, use our tailor-made trip service .

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

  • Coasts & Islands
  • Where to Stay
  • Australasia
  • Inspiration
  • See & Do

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Find even more inspiration here

Ready to travel and discover spain, get support from our local experts for stress-free planning & worry-free travels.

Devil's Tower, Sundance, Wyoming: Geological formation against the sky.

  • 8 Coolest Towns in Wyoming for a Summer Vacation in 2024

A summer vacation in Wyoming is always a satisfying experience for many reasons. First, the state is rich in Wild West culture, unsullied natural elegance, exotic and generic wildlife, and amazing locals. All of these features combine in the small towns of the Cowboy State to give visitors an extraordinary summer experience where each moment unfolds like magic. Some of these small towns even serve as gateways to a few of the state’s most famed attractions , like Yellowstone National Park , Devils Tower National Monument, and Grand Teton National Park. From Green River to Thermopolis, there are eight of the coolest towns in Wyoming to visit for a summer vacation.

Devils Tower near Sundance, Wyoming.

Devils Tower near Sundance, Wyoming.

Sundance is a small town with a true Wild West aura and enthralling outdoors. Visit this town in Crook County this summer to marvel at the nearby Devil's Tower National Monument , jutting from the prairie and rising to the skies. Visitors can climb this towering geological landmark, hike around it to spot animals like prairie dogs and deer, and learn about its cultural significance with tour guides. Step down from the Devil's Tower and cool off with a dip at the Sundance Pond or paddle on the water. Proceed to Washington Park Pond to fish, stroll on a boardwalk, and enjoy picnics. For even more adventures, take a short trip to Cook Lake, framed by Bearlodge Mountain, to fish, hike, and camp. Before leaving, stop by the Crook County Museum to learn about the town's past while exploring exhibits and dioramas.

Powell, Wyoming: US Post Office listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Powell, Wyoming: US Post Office listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By 25or6to4, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Powell is a decent small town in Park County that is perfect for laid-back visitors. On a summer vacation here, visitors can hop into the town's parks, which cover an area of about 125 acres. These parks offer green spaces, picnic shelters, 1.5 miles of hiking and biking trails, sporting facilities, and more. The town also features the Powell Aquatic Center, where visitors can float on the Lazy River and swim in indoor pools to ward off summer's heat. For some local history, head to the Homesteader Museum. Additionally, Powell is an excellent gateway to Yellowstone and Big Horn Basin, where endless adventures exist.

Laramie, Wyoming: Downtown panoramic view from 1st Street and Grand Avenue intersection.

Laramie, Wyoming: Downtown view. Editorial credit: Nagel Photography /

Spend the summer in the beautiful town of Laramie to enjoy history, adventure, arts, culture, and nature. Start by exploring the downtown to capture the captivating murals plastered on several buildings by local artists. Proceed to experience a dose of history at the Wyoming Women's History House, which celebrates the achievements of women in America. Next, interact with nature at the Williams Conservatory, home to over 600 plant species from around the world. Make the summer all about adventures at the nearby Vedauwoo Recreational Center, where towering rocky formations set the stage for hiking, rock climbing, camping, and wildlife-watching adventures. This area is also within the Medicine Bow National Forest, which offers more adventures, including biking, horse riding, fishing, hunting, and more.


Thermopolis, Wyoming: Hot Springs State Park.

Thermopolis, Wyoming: Hot Springs State Park.

Thermopolis is a unique town that promises visitors a summer vacation of adventures and jaw-dropping discoveries. The town is famous for its abundant natural hot springs most of which can be found at the Hot Springs State Park. Visit this area to soak in a mineral spring, hike six miles of trails, admire the mountains and a swinging footbridge across the Bighorn River, and fish in the river. Additionally, the park is home to one of the largest bison herd in America. Next, head 30 miles to Legend Rock Petroglyph Historic Site to gaze at over 300 petroglyphs created by inhabitants of the area thousands of years ago. For lovers of the most famous prehistoric animal, head to Wyoming Dinosaur Center to see dinosaur fossils, including footprints and bones.

Pinedale, Wyoming: Aerial view of Fremont Lake.

Pinedale, Wyoming: Aerial view of Fremont Lake.

Pinedale is a summer vacation destination for nature lovers, especially tourists interested in lakes and creeks. Approximately 1,300 lakes surround the Pinedale area, making it a great place for endless water adventures. Visitors can head to the massive Lake to enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, and camping around the lake. Other top waterbodies to visit for similar adventures include - Half Moon, Boulder, and New Fork Lakes. Away from the waters, visitors can get a dose of the area’s history at the Museum of the Mountain Man and then enjoy a scenic drive on the Centennial Scenic Byway or the Skyline Drive, where nature spreads like a postcard.

Green River

Green River, Wyoming: Sunset view of the Green River and Visitor Center.

Green River, Wyoming: Sunset view of the Green River and Visitor Center. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

Green River is a charming river town with so much to offer. During summer, visitors are welcome to cool off by kayaking on the river and then visit the Sweetwater County Museum afterward to learn about the area’s history. For some more adventures, the town is a short drive to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, home to an extensive reservoir, the Green River, stunning rock formations, and interesting wildlife. Activities offered in the recreation area include - boating, camping, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking, biking, horse riding, and more. If there’s still time, head to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge to see several birds, such as owls, falcons, hawks, and geese. To wrap up, combine history and fun at Expedition Island, the starting point for Major John Wesley Powell’s expedition in 1869 and 1871. The island features picnic spots, and visitors are welcome to fish, boat, kayak, or tube on the river.

Lander, Wyoming: Sinks Canyon landscape with trees, waterfall, and river.

Lander, Wyoming: Sinks Canyon landscape with trees, waterfall, and river.

Lander is a prime tourist destination in Fremont Country, surrounded by picturesque natural gems like the Wind River Basin and Popo Agie River. Summer vacationers here are invited to the Lander City Park, featuring picnic benches, playground equipment, and spectacular greenery. The Sinks Canyon State Park is another amazing attraction in Lander worth visiting as it features waterfalls, a river, wildflowers, aspen trees, and impressive bird and wildlife diversity. Activities offered in the park include - hiking, camping, rock climbing, fishing, and picnicking. Back in town, visitors can head to the Fremont County Pioneer Museum to learn about the history of this area from its first inhabitants.

Main Street, Saratoga, Wyoming.

Saratoga is a quintessential Wyoming small town, where summers will feel short for vacationers courtesy of the endless list of things to see and do in the area. This town is home to Saratoga Lake, which is excellent for fishing, boating, and camping. The town also features the Veteran Island Park, where visitors can enjoy picnics with family, enjoy a relaxing stroll, and admire enchanting river scenery. History buffs will enjoy a field day at Saratoga Museum, which features artifacts and photos of the county’s earliest days, as well as rocks, gemstones, and minerals from around the world. Even though it's summer, Saratoga invites visitors to check out its Hobo Hot Springs, even if it is just to take pictures of the scenery. To wrap up, head to the nearby Medicine Bow National Forest, where more than a million acres of land offer endless adventures from hiking to rafting, rock climbing, wildlife watching, and more.

Explore Wyoming's Hidden Highlights This Summer

The larger towns and cities in Wyoming often steal the spotlight even though the state is blessed with so many cool towns offering unbelievable adventures. This summer, visit these cool towns in Wyoming to enjoy jaw-dropping scenery and endless outdoor adventures away from the crowds. Whether you’re a history buff, avid adventurer, or a peace-loving traveler, these towns will have you hooked the entire summer and probably even for life.

More in Places

Tourist embark on horseback on a farm in Glenorchy, New Zealand. Image credit superjoseph via Shutterstock

6 Offbeat Towns to Visit in New Zealand

Fort Myers Beach, Florida: View of the beach from the fishing pier.

The Gulf Coast's Best Small Towns for a Weekend Escape

Aerial view of Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

8 Most Idyllic Small Towns In Connecticut

Aerial view of Lake Ozark, Missouri.

6 Most Idyllic Small Towns in Missouri

Aerial view of Port Townsend, Washington.

6 Towns Perfect For Retirement On The Pacific Coast

Buildings on Front Street in Ogallala, Nebraska. Editorial credit: YULIYAPHOTO /

7 Serene Towns in Nebraska for a Weekend Retreat

Aerial view of the Fairhope, Alabama.

7 Breathtaking Towns To Visit In The Southern United States

Overlooking Port Angeles City Pier view, Washington.

6 Most Affordable Towns to Retire in The Pacific Northwest

This Arizona city was named the top dog-friendly destination in the United States

cities to visit this summer

With lots of pet-friendly trails and restaurants, hundreds of vet offices, and a community that embraces four-legged visitors, Flagstaff was named the ultimate travel destination for dog owners in the United States.

A recent ranking by USA TODAY and Blueprint analyzed how the most touristy cities across the U.S. accommodate pets based on several categories including the number of dog-friendly places to stay, dog-friendly restaurants, dog-friendly bars, vet offices, and dog-friendly trails and beaches. Most of the categories were analyzed in relation to the city's population density.

So, if your idea of a perfect vacation includes your canine friend, here's a roundup of the best dog-friendly vacation destinations in the U.S.

Why was Flagstaff named the most dog-friendly city in the US?

Flagstaff is known for its stunning alpine landscape, vibrant downtown shops, popular outdoor activities and artsy charm.

Flagstaff is a four-season climate town with more than 260 days of sunshine each year, according to USA TODAY. At approximately 7,000 feet of elevation, Flagstaff's weather contrasts with the Phoenix Valley's arid year-round climate.

Flagstaff has nearly 56 dog-friendly accommodation options per 100,000 residents on average, making it the city with the highest concentration of dog-friendly accommodations, according to analysts with USA TODAY and Blueprint.

Flagstaff also has about 132 dog-friendly trails and about 39 dog-friendly restaurants per 100,000 residents for you to choose from. 

Top 10 dog-friendly vacation destinations

According to U.S. International Trade Administration data, USA TODAY and Blue Print analyzed the top 50 most visited cities by overseas tourists in 2022. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the most favorable vacation destination for dogs.

Each city’s weighted average across all metrics was calculated to determine its overall score on a scale from one to 100.

Here are the best dog-friendly vacation destinations and their scaled score, according to USA TODAY and Blueprint:

  • Flagstaff: 100.00
  • San Luis Obispo, California: 98.67
  • Santa Barbara, California: 96.80
  • Austin, Texas: 94.13
  • Portland, Oregon: 85.33
  • San Diego: 84.13
  • Naples, Florida: 84.00
  • Nashville: 81.47
  • Denver: 81.07
  • Key West, Florida: 80.93

If you want to explore more places for you and your pup, the table below shows how many dog-friendly features the top 20 cities in the rating have, rounded to the nearest whole number.

56 Best Places To Visit In Summer In India

Best places to visit in summer in india, here is the list of 58 56 best places to visit in summer in india.


Known For : Cellular Jail Scuba Diving In Andaman Radhanagar Beach

Popularly referred to as the " Paradise on Earth, " Kashmir is a breathtaking region in northwestern India. Historically part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir , Jammu & Kashmir was declared a Union Territory in 2019. The major cities in the Kashmir Valley include Srinagar, Gulmarg, Anantnag, and Baramulla.  Places to stay: Houseboats, Guesthouses, Homestays etc Average Budget : INR 6000- INR 10000 per week. How to Reach:  Kashmir is accessible via Srinagar International Airport, offering flights from major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, or by road from Jammu, followed by a picturesque drive to the valley.

Best Time: October to Jun

81 Andaman Attractions


Known For : Pangong Lake Khardung La Magnetic Hill

During the summer months in Ladakh, the snow blankets recede, unveiling panoramic landscapes of barren mountains, azure lakes, and lush valleys, making it an ideal time for trekking, biking, and cultural explorations. As monasteries come alive with festivals, the region becomes a melting pot of traditions, and the melting snow feeds the glistening rivers perfect for rafting. Places to stay : Leh market hotels, Nubra Valley guesthouses, Pangong side camps, homestays in remote villages. Average budget : INR 20,000 to 40,000 for a week (varies based on accommodation and activities). How to reach: Direct flights to Leh from major Indian cities, road trip from Manali or Srinagar (open during summer).

Best Time: April - Mid-July

70 Ladakh Attractions


Known For : Hidimba Temple Solang Valley Manu Temple

In summer, Manali turns into a verdant paradise with blooming apple orchards, gushing rivers, and an escape from the scorching plains, offering myriad activities from trekking to paragliding. The pleasantly cool climate combined with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks makes it a favorite spot for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Places to stay : Luxury resorts, boutique hotels in Old Manali, riverside camps, and homestays. Average budget: INR 15,000 to 35,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach : Flights to Kullu's Bhuntar Airport, followed by a short drive; regular bus services from Delhi, Chandigarh; drive via NH-21.

Best Time: October to June

51 Manali Attractions


Known For : Reckong Peo Nako Kalpa

In summer, Kinnaur unveils its vibrant colors with orchards full of apples, peaches, and apricots, against the backdrop of majestic snow-clad mountains and azure skies. The mild temperatures make it ideal for exploration, from wandering through charming villages to embracing the region's rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Places to stay : Local guesthouses, eco-resorts in Sangla, and traditional homestays in villages like Kalpa. Average budget: INR 12,000 to 28,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: Nearest airport is Shimla, then a scenic drive to Kinnaur; regular bus services from Shimla and Chandigarh; self-drive or taxis via NH-5.

Best Time: April to June; September, October

12 Kinnaur Attractions

India Travel Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

Srinagar Package for 5 Nights with Sonamarg Excursion

Manali volvo tour package - excursion to solang valley, leh ladakh summer holiday package with nubra & pangong stay, darjeeling tour package for family: gangtok & kalimpong, sikkim tour package for 7 days - excursion to tsomgo lake, andaman island trip package, 5. dalhousie.


Known For : Panchpula Khajjiar Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary

Dalhousie, with its colonial charm and serene landscapes, becomes a verdant retreat during summers, offering travelers respite from the scorching heat. The season is perfect for strolling along the Victorian-era mansions, trekking through pine-clad valleys, and experiencing vibrant local festivals. Places to stay : Grand View Hotel, Alps Resort, Aamod at Dalhousie, and several homestays offering panoramic views of the valleys. Average budget : INR 10,000 to 25,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach : The nearest airport is Pathankot (80 km away) followed by a scenic drive; regular bus services from Delhi, Dharamshala, and Amritsar; train services up to Pathankot followed by taxis or buses to Dalhousie.

Best Time: Throughout the year

28 Dalhousie Attractions

6. Mussoorie


Known For : Mussoorie Mall Road Kempty Falls Camel's Back Road

Mussoorie, fondly known as the 'Queen of the Hills', offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges and becomes a picturesque escape with pleasant temperatures during the hot months. The vibrant flora, bustling Mall Road, and cascading waterfalls create a lively ambiance for both adventure enthusiasts and leisure seekers. Places to stay: WelcomHotel The Savoy, JW Marriott Walnut Grove Resort, Rokeby Manor, and several charming colonial-era cottages. Average budget: INR 8,000 to 20,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun (54 km away); Dehradun railway station is the closest rail link; buses and taxis from major cities like Delhi, Dehradun, and Haridwar are frequently available.

Best Time: September to June

36 Mussoorie Attractions

7. Pahalgam


Known For : Aru Valley Chandanwari Baisaran

Pahalgam, often termed as the 'Valley of Shepherds', transforms into a verdant paradise during summers, with its meadows bursting into a riot of colors and the Lidder River complementing the serene atmosphere. The refreshing climate makes it a sought-after destination for those looking to revel amidst natural beauty and engage in soft adventure activities. Places to stay: Pahalgam Hotel, Hotel Heevan, The Lalit Grand Palace, and WelcomHotel Pine-n-Peak. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 18,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach:  The nearest airport is Srinagar Airport, about 95 km away; Jammu is the nearest major railway station; taxis and buses are available from Srinagar to Pahalgam.

21 Pahalgam Attractions


Known For : Mall Road, Shimla The Ridge Jakhu Temple

Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of British India, offers a refreshing escape with its cool temperatures, lush green landscapes, and colonial architecture. The town bustles with tourists, especially on the Ridge and Mall Road, as they soak in panoramic views and indulge in local experiences. Places to stay: Radisson Jass Hotel, The Oberoi Cecil, Clarkes Hotel, and Hotel Willow Banks. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 15,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Jubbarhatti, 23 km from Shimla; the town has its own railway station connected by the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway; roadways connect Shimla to major cities like Delhi and Chandigarh.

63 Shimla Attractions


Known For : Banasura Sagar Dam Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Chembra Peak

Wayanad, set amidst the Western Ghats, presents a refreshing retreat with its misty mornings, vast spice plantations, and vibrant wildlife. The region bursts into a lush green tapestry in summers, making treks and sightseeing an absolute delight. Places to stay: Vythiri Village Resort, Wayanad Wild - CGH Earth, Banasura Hill Resort, and Lakkidi Village Resort. Average budget: INR 15,000 to 40,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Kozhikode (Calicut) International Airport, about 65 km away; well-connected by roads from major cities in Kerala and Karnataka.

37 Wayanad Attractions

10. Rishikesh


Known For : Rafting in Rishikesh Lakshman Jhula Triveni Ghat

Rishikesh, flanked by the Ganges and the majestic Himalayas, becomes a hub for spiritual seekers and adventure enthusiasts alike during summers. The refreshing river breeze coupled with the mellifluous chants from temples creates a harmonious blend of tranquility and thrill. Places to stay: Aloha on the Ganges, Atali Ganga, EllBee Ganga View, and Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Average budget : INR 10,000 to 30,000 for a week (varying with accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, approximately 35 km away; Rishikesh railway station connects to major Indian cities, and buses ply regularly from New Delhi and other cities.

53 Rishikesh Attractions

11. Nainital


Known For : Naini Lake Snow View Point Mall Road Nainital

Nestled around the emerald Naini Lake, Nainital offers a refreshing summer retreat with its cool climate, panoramic views, and vibrant flora. Boating, walking along scenic paths, or merely reveling in its colonial charm, the town presents a picturesque summer escape. Places to stay: The Naini Retreat, Shervani Hilltop, Hotel Himalaya, and Manu Maharani Hotel. Average budget : INR 10,000 to 35,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport, around 70 km away; the closest railway station is Kathgodam, 34 km from Nainital, and there are regular bus and taxi services connecting Nainital to major cities.

33 Nainital Attractions


Known For : Gurudongmar Lake Yumthang Valley

Nestled in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is a captivating state that offers a mesmerizing blend of breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and spiritual tranquility highlighted by the dramatic contouring of the scenery from thick woodlands to colourful meadows and panoramic views of the snowcapped mountains.  Places to stay: Apple Orchard Resort, Lachung Heritage, Magellan's The Golden Bridge, and Tenzing Retreat. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 30,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal, and the closest railway station is New Jalpaiguri. From there, one can hire taxis or use shared vehicles to reach Sikkim. It's advised to arrange transportation through a registered travel agency due to permit requirements.

Best Time: April to June, October to December

9 North Sikkim Attractions


Known For : Echo Point, Munnar Atukkad Waterfalls Munnar Tea Plantations

Munnar, nestled in the Western Ghats, is a picturesque hill station known for its lush green tea plantations, misty valleys, and cool climate. During summers, the pleasant weather combined with blooming flora and exotic wildlife provides an ideal escape from the heat. Places to stay: The Panoramic Getaway, Parakkat Nature Resort, Fragrant Nature Munnar, and Spice Tree. Average budget : INR 6,000 to 25,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, and the nearest railway station is Aluva. From there, taxis and buses are available to Munnar which is approximately 110 km away.

Best Time: September to May

51 Munnar Attractions

14. Pachmarhi


Known For : Bee falls Jata Shankar caves Pandava Caves

Pachmarhi, often dubbed the "Queen of Satpura," is Madhya Pradesh's only hill station, enveloped by cascading waterfalls, ancient caves, and dense sal forests. Summers here are milder than the plains, making it an attractive destination with its fresh mountain breeze and sunlit plateaus. Places to stay : WelcomHeritage Golf View, Misty Meadows Resort, Champak Bungalow, and The Fern Pachmarhi Hill Resort. Average budget: INR 5,000 to 20,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest railway station is Pipariya, about 50 km away. From there, taxis and buses ply to Pachmarhi. The nearest major airport is in Bhopal, which is around 200 km away.

18 Pachmarhi Attractions


Known For : Nilgiri Mountain Railway Ooty Lake Emerald Lake, Ooty

Ooty, or Udhagamandalam, is the "Queen of Hill Stations" nestled in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. Its verdant tea gardens, winding roads, mist-covered mountains, and colonial architecture make it a summer haven for tourists escaping the heat of the plains. Places to stay: Sterling Ooty Fern Hill, Savoy - IHCL SeleQtions, Hotel Lakeview, and Kurumba Village Resort. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 25,000 for a week (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest railway station is in Mettupalayam, 40 km from Ooty. From there, you can board the heritage toy train or hire a cab. The closest airport is Coimbatore International Airport, about 88 km away.

43 Ooty Attractions

16. Vaishno Devi

Vaishno Devi

Known For : Vaishno Devi Mandir Ardhkuwari

Vaishno Devi, located in the Trikuta Mountains of Jammu and Kashmir, is a sacred pilgrimage site dedicated to the Hindu goddess Vaishno Devi. Drawing millions of devotees every year, this spiritual journey entails an uphill trek through scenic landscapes to reach the holy shrine where the goddess resides in a cave. Places to stay: KC Residency, Hotel Devi Grand, Shree Hari Niwas, and Atul Regency. Average budget: INR 3,000 to 15,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest railway station is in Katra. From Katra, one can start the trek or avail helicopter services. The closest airport is Jammu Airport, approximately 50 km from Katra. Buses and taxis frequently ply between Jammu and Katra.

8 Vaishno Devi Attractions

17. Srinagar


Known For : Dal Lake Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden Shankaracharya Temple

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is renowned for its picturesque Dal Lake, houseboats, and vibrant Mughal gardens. Surrounded by the majestic Himalayan peaks, it's a haven of tranquility with its shimmering lakes and colorful houseboats set against the backdrop of verdant meadows. Places to stay: The Lalit Grand Palace, Vivanta Dal View, Houseboat Zaindari Palace, and Jamal Resorts. Average budget: INR 5,000 to 20,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: Srinagar has its own airport with regular flights connecting it to major cities. By road, it's connected via National Highway 1. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi, from where one can take buses or taxis to Srinagar.

Best Time: April to October

56 Srinagar Attractions

18. Gulmarg


Known For : Gulmarg Gondola Kongdori Phase 1 Apharwat Peak

Gulmarg, nestled in the Pir Panjal mountains of Jammu and Kashmir, transforms into a carpet of vibrant flowers in summers and offers a serene escape with panoramic vistas. Renowned as a skier's paradise in winter, the town offers cool relief and adventure opportunities during the warmer months. Places to stay : The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Hotel Heevan Retreat, The Vintage Gulmarg, and Pineview Resort. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 25,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Srinagar International Airport, approximately 56 km away. From there, taxis are available to Gulmarg. The nearest railway station is in Jammu, from where you can hire a cab or take a bus.

30 Gulmarg Attractions

19. Shillong


Known For : Umiam Lake Elephant Falls Laitlum Canyons

Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, fondly referred to as the "Scotland of the East," boasts of a gentle climate in summers and is adorned with cascading waterfalls, rolling hills, and beautiful lakes. Its unique culture, colonial-era architecture, and natural beauty make it a sought-after summer retreat. Places to stay : Ri Kynjai, Pinewood Hotel, Cafe Shillong Bed & Breakfast, and The Eee Cee Hotel. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 20,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Shillong Airport. However, the Guwahati airport, around 125 km away, is better connected. From Guwahati, one can hire a cab or take a bus to Shillong.

33 Shillong Attractions

20. Darjeeling


Known For : Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Tiger Hill Batasia Loop

Nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas, Darjeeling is renowned for its sprawling tea gardens, the enchanting toy train, and panoramic views of the Kanchenjunga peak. The summer season, with its cool breeze and clear skies, provides an ideal ambiance for tourists to explore its British-era architecture, monasteries, and vibrant local culture. Places to stay: Mayfair Darjeeling, Windamere Hotel, Sinclairs Darjeeling, and Summit Swiss Heritage Hotel. Average budget : INR 7,000 to 25,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport, roughly 95 km away. From there, you can hire a taxi or use shared transportation. Alternatively, New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest major railway station connecting to major cities.

Best Time: February to March, September to December

31 Darjeeling Attractions

21. Ranikhet


Known For : Chaubatia Orchards Majhkhali Golf Course

Ranikhet, often referred to as the "Queen's Meadow", offers a refreshing blend of pine-covered hills, lush green meadows, and splendid views of the snow-capped Himalayas. Summers in Ranikhet bring a pleasant respite from the sweltering heat of the plains, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and nature walks. Places to stay : Chevron Rosemount, Woodsvilla Resort, West View Hotel, and Ranikhet Grand. Average budget: INR 5,000 to 15,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, around 75 km away. From Kathgodam, taxis or buses are available to reach Ranikhet.

22 Ranikhet Attractions

22. Patnitop


Known For : Nathatop Skiing in Patnitop Naag Mandir

Patnitop, nestled in the Shivalik belt of the Himalayas in Jammu, is an enchanting hill resort known for its panoramic vistas and idyllic beauty. The pleasant climate during summer months makes it a much-sought-after escape, complemented by scenic treks, lush green landscapes, and activities like paragliding. Places to stay : Vardaan Resort, Green Top, Hotel Samson, Forest View Resort. Average budget : INR 4,000 to 10,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is in Jammu, 112 km away. From Jammu, taxis or buses are available to reach Patnitop. The Udhampur railway station, 45 km away, is the closest train link.

13 Patnitop Attractions

23. Mcleodganj


Known For : Triund Bhagsu Falls Bhagsunag Temple

Mcleodganj, often dubbed as 'Little Lhasa', is a serene hill town in Himachal Pradesh, renowned for its Tibetan culture, monasteries, and breathtaking vistas of the Dhauladhar ranges. It's a hotspot for trekkers, spiritual seekers, and those looking for a peaceful retreat amid the mountains. Places to stay: Dharamshala Delight, Pink House, Hotel Bhagsu Heights, Green Hotel. Average budget: INR 5,000 to 11,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport, 20 km away. The closest major railway station is in Pathankot, 89 km away. Buses and taxis are easily available from these points to Mcleodganj.

42 Mcleodganj Attractions

24. Corbett National Park

Corbett National Park

Known For : Jungle Safari in Corbett National Park Corbett Waterfall River Rafting in Corbett National Park

Corbett National Park, located in Uttarakhand, is India's first national park and a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. With its lush landscapes and a plethora of wildlife including the Royal Bengal Tiger, it's a perfect destination for those who seek the thrill of observing animals in their natural habitat. Places to stay: The Solluna Resort, Namah Resort, Corbett Riverside Resort, Jim’s Jungle Retreat. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 15,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach : The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport (110 km away). The closest railway station is Ramnagar Railway Station. Buses and taxis are easily available from these points to Corbett National Park.

Best Time: Mid October to Mid June

19 Jim Corbett Attractions


Known For : Sela Pass Tawang Monastery Madhuri Lake

Tawang, nestled in Arunachal Pradesh, boasts mesmerizing landscapes and is home to the iconic Tawang Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in India. The region, rich in Tibetan culture, becomes especially picturesque with snowfall in the winter months. Places to stay: Hotel Zambhala, Tawang View Hotel, Dondrub Homestay. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 12,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: The nearest airport is Tezpur Airport. From there, taxis can be hired to reach Tawang, but the journey is long and best covered over two days.

Best Time: March - June; September - October

12 Tawang Attractions

26. Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga, in Assam, is famed for housing two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a biodiverse hotspot, drawing nature enthusiasts globally. Places to stay: Wild Grass Lodge, Iora - The Retreat, Diphlu River Lodge. Average budget : INR 7,000 to 14,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: The nearest airport is Jorhat Airport. From there, Kaziranga is about 2 hours away by car.


Known For : Dzukou Valley and Japfu Peak Kohima Museum Touphema Village

Kohima is the hilly capital of Nagaland, which is one of the seven sister states of India. ‘Kohima’ is the anglicized name given by the British, the original name being 'Kewhira' derived from the Kewhi flowers found in the region. Famous for its ethereal environment and untouched beauty, it is a land of folklore passed down through the ages.  Places to stay: The Heritage, Hotel Japfü, Razhu Pru. Average budget : INR 5,000 to 10,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Dimapur is the nearest airport and railway station. Buses and taxis are available from Dimapur to Kohima.

11 Kohima Attractions

28. Cherrapunjee


Known For : Double Decker Living Root Bridge Dawki Nohkalikai Waterfalls

Cherrapunjee, in Meghalaya, is often dubbed the wettest place on Earth. Its surreal landscapes, root bridges, and cascading waterfalls make it a monsoon paradise. Places to stay: Polo Orchid Resort, Saimika Park, Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 11,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: The nearest airport is in Shillong. From there, taxis can be hired to reach Cherrapunjee in about 2 hours.

Best Time: October to February

21 Cherrapunji Attractions


Known For : Tarin Fish Farm Kile Pakho Ziro Music Festival

Ziro, located in Arunachal Pradesh, is renowned for its breathtakingly beautiful valleys and the unique Apatani tribe. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ziro also hosts the famous Ziro Music Festival, attracting music enthusiasts globally. Places to stay: Siiro Resort, Ziro Palace Inn, Blue Pine Hotel. Average budget: INR 5,000 to 10,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: The nearest airport is Tezpur Airport in Assam. From there, taxis can be hired to reach Ziro.

Best Time: September - November ; March - May

9 Ziro Attractions


Known For : Kamalabari Satra Dakhinpat Satra Garmur

Majuli, in Assam, holds the distinction of being the world's largest river island. Rich in culture, it's a stronghold of Neo-Vaishnavism and boasts numerous ancient Satras (monasteries). Places to stay: La Maison de Ananda, Risong Guest House, Ygdrasill Bamboo Cottage. Average budget : INR 4,000 to 8,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: The nearest airport is Jorhat Airport. From Jorhat, one can take a ferry to reach Majuli.

Best Time: October - April

5 Majuli Attractions


Known For : Raghurajpur Artist Village Sri Jagannath Puri Temple Puri Beach Markandeswara Temple

Puri, situated in Odisha, is primarily known for the revered Jagannath Temple and its sun-kissed beaches. As one of India's Char Dhams, it's a significant pilgrimage spot for Hindus. Places to stay: Mayfair Waves, Toshali Sands, Coco Palms Puri. Average budget : INR 6,000 to 12,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar Airport. From there, Puri is about a 2-hour drive away. Puri also has its railway station.

Best Time: July to March

29 Puri Attractions

32. Gangtok


Known For : Nathula Pass MG Road, Gangtok Tsongmo Lake

Extremely alluring, pleasantly boisterous and wreathed in clouds - Gangtok, the capital city of the Sikkim can also give you a spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, at a distant skyline. The pristine hill station nestled in mountains and clouds is also a base for a whole lot of trekkers to the Himalayan mountain ranges. Places to stay: Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino, The Elgin Nor-Khill, Summit Namnang Courtyard & Spa. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 15,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Bagdogra. Regular taxis and buses ply from the airport to Gangtok.

34 Gangtok Attractions

33. Kalimpong


Known For : Morgan House Durpin Dara hill Cactus Nursery

Kalimpong is a virgin hill station in West Bengal renowned for its panoramic valley views, Buddhists monasteries and churches and Tibetan handicrafts etc. Perched on the eastern Himalayas, Kalimpong is known for its colonial-era architecture, monasteries, and vibrant markets. Places to stay: The Elgin Silver Oaks, The Sood's Garden Retreat, Kalimpong Park Hotel. Average budget : INR 5,000 to 10,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Bagdogra. Taxis are available from the airport to reach Kalimpong.

Best Time: March to June, September to December

24 Kalimpong Attractions


Known For : Mahanada Wildlife Sanctuary Sumsing and Suntalekhola Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

Starting from river Teesta in the East to river Sankoshi in the west, Dooars is a local name given to the floodplains of North-East India around Bhutan. The name 'Dooars' has emerged from 'door' as Dooars is the gateway to Bhutan. Nestled at the foothills of the eastern Himalayas, Dooars is renowned for its rich biodiversity and dense forests. Places to stay: The Mystic Forest, Aranya Jungle Resort, The Reserve Gorumara. Average budget : INR 5,000 to 9,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Bagdogra. From there, taxis and buses are available to reach Dooars.

4 Dooars Attractions


Known For : Abbey Falls Raja's Seat Mandalpatti

Located amidst imposing mountains in Karnataka with a perpetually misty landscape, Coorg is the place to be for all nature lovers.  This popular coffee producing hill station is not only popular for its beautiful green hills and the streams cutting right through them. It also stands as a popular destination because of its culture and people. Places to stay: The Tamara Coorg, Club Mahindra Madikeri, The Ibnii. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 14,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Mangalore. Regular taxis and buses connect Mangalore to Coorg.

Best Time: October to March

37 Coorg Attractions

36. Yercaud


Known For : Emerald Lake, Yercaud Pagoda Point Botanical Garden, Yercaud

Nestled in the Shivaroy Hills of Tamil Nadu, Yercaud is a hill station in the Eastern Ghats steeped in abundant greenery. Commonly called ‘Ooty of the Poor’, this region has a history dating back to the time of the British. Located at an altitude of 4970 feet, Yercaud is known for its vast expanses of coffee plantations and great weather. Places to stay: Sterling Yercaud, Grand Palace Hotel & Spa, Grange Resort. Average budget: INR 5,000 to 10,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach : Nearest airport is Salem. Yercaud is well connected by road to major cities.

20 Yercaud Attractions

37. Coonoor


Known For : Sim's Park Dolphin's Nose Ketti Valley

One of the three beautiful Nilgiri hill stations, Coonoor is the second largest hill station of the Western Ghats. It is situated at an altitude of 1930 meters and just 19 km from Ooty . With slopes of tea plantations, dotted with many attractions and blessed with chilly weather throughout the year, this place is a perfect summer retreat. Places to stay: Gateway Coonoor - IHCL SeleQtions, Kurumba Village Resort, Sunvalley Homestay. Average budget : INR 6,000 to 12,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach : Nearest airport is Coimbatore. Coonoor is well connected by road and rail.

17 Coonoor Attractions

38. Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park

Located in the Mysore district of Karnataka, Nagarhole National Park boasts of rich wildlife including both flora and fauna. Located near Bandipur National Park, it is packed with the bounty of raw nature in its best form. Bestowed with best of wildlife, forest cover and varied topography, this place offers gushing streams,  gentle slopes and shallow valleys.  Places to stay : The Serai Kabini, Waterwoods Lodge Kabini, Red Earth Kabini. Average budget : INR 7,000 to 15,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Mysore. Nagarhole can be reached by road from major cities.

Best Time: October to May

7 Nagarhole Attractions


Known For : Jungle Safari, Kabini Boating in Kabini

Located around 245 km from Bangalore, Kabini is primarily known for its handful of luxury resorts around the Kabini River and Nagarhole National Park in the vicinity.  Please note that there are not many budget-friendly accommodations near Kabini River. It is a popular weekend getaway from Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. Places to stay : The Serai Kabini, Orange County Resort, Kaav Safari Lodge. Average budget : INR 8,000 to 18,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach : Nearest airport is Mysore. Kabini is well connected by road.

5 Kabini Attractions

40. Panchgani


Known For : Kaas Plateau Table Land Mahabaleshwar

Deriving its name from the five hills surrounding it, Panchgani is a popular hill station near Mahabaleshwar  in Maharashtra, famous for its various sunset and sunrise points and scenic valley view. A picturesque hill station in Maharashtra, Panchgani is renowned for its pleasant climate, strawberry farms, and colonial architecture. Places to stay: Ravine Hotel, Il Palazzo Hotel, Miraya Hotel. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 11,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Pune. Panchgani is accessible by road from major cities.

13 Panchgani Attractions

41. Mahabaleshwar


Known For : Elephant's Head Point Chinaman's Falls Dhobi Waterfall

Mahabaleshwar is a hill station located in the Western Ghats, in Satara district of Maharashtra. Apart from its strawberries, Mahabaleshwar is also well known for its numerous rivers, magnificent cascades and majestic peaks. It is among the most sought after weekend getaways from Pune & Mumbai, located about 120km south-west of Pune and 285km from Mumbai. Places to stay : Brightland Resort & Spa, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, Evershine Resort. Average budget : INR 6,000 to 12,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Pune. Well connected by road.

31 Mahabaleshwar Attractions


Known For : Raigad Fort Diveagar Beach Jagadishwar Temple

Raigad, is a historically rich district is situated in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. Located at 2,851mts, it is surrounded by Mumbai Harbour, Thane, Pune, Ratnagiri and the Arabian Sea. Historically significant for its fort, Raigad was the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's Maratha Empire. Places to stay: MTDC Resort, Raigad Fort Resort. Average budget: INR 3,000 to 7,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airports are Mumbai and Pune. Accessible by road and rail.

Best Time: November to March

5 Raigad Attractions

43. Harihareshwar


Known For : Harihareshwar Beach Kalbhairav Temple Ganesh Gully

Surrounded by four hills and with river Savitri flowing through the town, Harihareshwar is famous for its temple of Lord Harihareshwar and is a popular weekend beach destination especially for people in Mumbai and Pune. It's a coastal town renowned for its temples and serene beaches. Places to stay: Tranquil Beach Resort, GreenGate Resort. Average budget : INR 3,500 to 8,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Mumbai. Accessible by road.

8 Harihareshwar Attractions

44. Mount Abu

Mount Abu

Known For : Nakki Lake Guru Shikhar Toad Rock

The only hill station of Rajasthan , its cool atmosphere and lush green surroundings make it a major tourist spot within the state. The most important attraction, however, are undoubtedly the Dilwara temples , which is one of the most stunning piece of architecture in the country. If you are a history or architecture buff, this is one of the places you should absolutely not miss out in India. Places to stay: Cama Rajputana Club Resort, Hilltone Resorts & Spa, Sterling Mount Abu. Average budget : INR 6,000 to 13,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Udaipur. Accessible by road and rail.

21 Mount Abu Attractions

45. Thekkady


Known For : Periyar National Park Periyar Tiger Trail Bamboo Rafting in Thekkady

Home to the country's largest Tiger Reserve- Periyar, Thekkady is an important tourist destination in Kerala. Periyar National Park , a major attraction, is where you can enjoy bamboo rafting in the catchment area of Mullaiperiyar Dam. Travelers can also experience night treks in the wilderness of Periyar.  Places to stay: Spice Village, Greenwoods Resort, The Mountain Courtyard. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 14,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Kochi. Accessible by road.

24 Thekkady Attractions

46. Kodaikanal


Known For : Green Valley View (Suicide Point) Kodaikanal Lake Bear Shola Falls

Located in the state of Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal is one of the most famous honeymoon destinations in India. When you think of Kodaikanal, you think of a wonderful climate, cliffs covered in mist, cloud-capped mountains and beautiful lakes and valleys, and once you visit this hill station, you will find that every bit of what you have imagined it to be is true.  Places to stay : Sterling Kodaikanal, The Carlton, Kodai Resort Hotel. Average budget: INR 5,500 to 12,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Madurai. Accessible by road.

35 Kodaikanal Attractions

47. Mukteshwar


Known For : Sitla Chauli ki Jaali Mukteshwar Dham Temple

Mukteshwar is a small hill town located around 50 km from Nainital in Uttarakhand. Known for adventure sports, fruit orchards, ancient temple.and a dazzling view of Himalayan ranges, Mukteshwar is named after the 350-year-old Shiva Temple housed here called Mukteshwar Dham. Places to stay: The Swiss Village Resort, Ojaswi Himalayan Resort, The Moksh Eco Inn. Average budget : INR 4,500 to 10,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach : Nearest airport is Pantnagar. Accessible by road.

12 Mukteshwar Attractions


Known For : Skiing in Auli Trishul Peak Auli Ropeway

Dotted with the apple orchards, old oaks and pine trees there is no dearth of natural beauty in Auli. Apart from skiing you can also go for numerous treks in the hills of Garhwal Himalayas and enjoy the spellbinding views of the snow-draped mountains. Auli is a popular hill resort in the Himalayan range dating back to 8th Century AD. Places to stay: Cliff Top Club, The Royal Village Auli Resort. Average budget: INR 7,000 to 15,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Dehradun. Accessible by road.

12 Auli Attractions

49. Malshej Ghat

Malshej Ghat

Known For : Malshej Falls Pimpalgaon Joga Dam Harishchandragad

Malshej Ghat is a mountain pass and a popular hill station, nestled in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. With its numerous lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and verdant flora and fauna, Malshej Ghat is popular among hikers, trekkers and nature lovers. Places to stay : MTDC Resort, Sushant Holiday Resort. Average budget: INR 4,000 to 9,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Mumbai. Accessible by road.

4 Malshej Ghat Attractions

50. Matheran


Known For : Louisa point Charlotte lake Monkey Point Matheran

Nestled amidst the Sahyadri range on the Western Ghats, Matheran is a cosy little hill station that stands at an elevation of 2600 feet above sea level, and is just 100 kilometres away from Mumbai, making it the perfect weekend getaway. With its name literally translating to “overhead forest”, Matheran is the smallest hill station in all of India. Places to stay: The Byke Heritage, Usha Ascot. Average budget: INR 5,000 to 11,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Mumbai. Accessible by rail and road.

29 Matheran Attractions

51. Devikulam


Known For : Devi Lake Pallivasal Falls Thoovanam Falls

Devikulam is a small hill station in Kerala, it's known for its serene landscapes, tea gardens, and waterfalls. The lake in Devikulam with a legend of its own, greenest sceneries, waterfalls and tea plantations are what offer its charm to Devikulam, a hill station in Kerala. Places to stay: Double Tree Villa, Green Ridge Holiday Home. Average budget: INR 5,500 to 12,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Kochi. Accessible by road.

Best Time: November to May

4 Devikulam Attractions

52. Pithoragarh


Known For : Munsiyari Chandak Kafni Glacier Trek

Pithoragarh is an idyllic valley in Uttarakhand, it's often termed as the 'Little Kashmir' for its picturesque landscapes. The small urban town bustling with tourists is a prime example of raw beauty of nature. A gateway to Himalayan Range, this town also serves as the stop over for pilgrims on their way to Kailash Mansarover. Places to stay : Ojaswi Resort, Hotel Yash, Parwati Resort. Average budget: INR 4,000 to 8,500 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Pantnagar. Accessible by road.

20 Pithoragarh Attractions


Known For : Zero Point Jageshwar Kasar Devi

Set in the background of snow-capped Himalayan ranges of Uttarakhand, the sprawling town of Almora is a beautiful hill station. With easy accessibility from Delhi and other major cities of North India, Almora is known for its rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts, sumptuous cuisine and magnificent wildlife. This town has two major rivers- Koshi (Kaushaki) and Suyal (Salmali). Places to stay : Club Mahindra, Imperial Heights, Kasaar Jungle Resort. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 13,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Pantnagar. Accessible by road.

16 Almora Attractions


Known For : Key Monastery Chandratal Lake Kunzum Pass

Long winding roads and picturesque valleys presenting glimpses of cold deserts and snow-crowned mountains, with intermittent greenery and picture-perfect villages welcome you when you set foot into Spiti Valley. With the thick Himalayan snow cutting Spiti off from the rest of the country for around 6 months a year, the summer months are the only time Spiti is directly accessible via motorway. Places to stay: Banjara Camps, Spiti Ecosphere, Moustache Hostel. Average budget: INR 8,000 to 18,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach : Nearest airport is Kullu. Accessible by road.

Best Time: Mid May to Mid Oct

37 Spiti Attractions


Known For : Manikaran Sahib Nature Park Kasol Cafes in Kasol

Commonly known as the Amsterdam of India, this quaint little village is resplendent in natural scenic beauty, and is one of the few places in the country that is yet to be ruined by urbanization and commercialization.  Situated between the towns of Bhuntar and Manikaran, Kasol might seem like a plain, nondescript village from the outside, but it is one of the best places in the country to just sit back and chill in the lap of nature. Places to stay: The Himalayan Village, Parvati Kuteer, The Hosteller Kasol. Average budget : INR 5,000 to 10,000 for a 3-day trip. How to reach: Nearest airport is Bhuntar. Accessible by road.

28 Kasol Attractions

56. Meghalaya


Meghalaya, famed as the "abode of clouds," captivates visitors with its diverse landscapes, including hills, valleys, lakes, caves, and waterfalls. Cherapunji, renowned for its high rainfall, adds to the state's allure, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere that enchants all who visit. Places to stay : Ri Kynjai, Pinewood Hotel, Cafe Shillong Bed & Breakfast, and The Eee Cee Hotel. Average budget: INR 6,000 to 20,000 for a 3-day trip (depending on accommodation and activities). How to reach: The nearest airport is Shillong Airport. However, the Guwahati airport, around 125 km away, is better connected. From Guwahati, one can hire a cab or take a bus to Shillong.

12 Attractions


The ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ – Bhutan nestles in the mountainous regions of the Eastern Himalayas and is one of the cleanest countries in the South Asian region. A remote kingdom that still clings to its Buddhist culture but embraces modernization, Bhutan is a land of beautiful valleys, snow-clad mountain views, and lush greenery.  Ideal Duration : 7-10 days for a cultural tour or trekking; 2 weeks for a more immersive experience Airport : Paro International Airport (PBH) Getting Around : Government-approved vehicles, limited public transport, trekking for some regions


Nepal, nestled between India and China and renowned as the home of Mt. Everest, beckons adventure enthusiasts with its Himalayan allure. Dubbed the "roof of the world," Nepal boasts diverse landscapes, from towering peaks to verdant valleys and vibrant cities, making it a destination rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. Ideal Duration : 7-10 days for trekking and cultural exploration; 2 weeks for a broader experience Airport : Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu Getting Around : Buses, microbuses, taxis, and domestic flights for longer distances

Which is your preferred place to visit in summer in India? Let us know in the comments below!

This post was published by

Share this post on social media Facebook Twitter

Related Collections

Family Holidays

Family Holidays

55 Hill Stations in India For a Perfect Holiday



32 Most Beautiful Gardens in India for a Blissful Natural Retreat

Best Places to Visit in August in India : The Mid-Monsoon Trips

Most Beautiful Places In India

Places To Visit in December in India

Hill Stations

Hill Stations

Beautiful Valleys in India


27 Caves in India That are a Must Visit for a History Buff!

Luxury Trip

Luxury Trip

The Maharaja Express: Experience Luxury on Wheels Like Never Before!



15 Magnificent Stepwells in India That Are Frozen in TIme

6 Biggest Dams in India: Tehri Dam & 5 Other Highest Dams

18 Best Water Parks in India to Travel to this Summer!

Urban Experience - 8 Ways To Truly Explore A City

12 Jyotirlingas in India - Temples of Lord Shiva

Art & Culture

Art & Culture

42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Switzerland of India- Which Places are Called Switzerland of India?

Beaches & Islands

Beaches & Islands

Places You Should Avoid This Monsoon Season! Go TO THESE Destinations Instead


10 Historical Monuments Extended Closing Time! Read More To Find Out

Dolphins in India: 15 Best Places for Dolphin Watching

Best Places to Zipline in India 

10 Solo Destinations in South India To Break Free From Your Comfort Zone

10 Snow Treks in India For The Best Trekking Adventure of Your Life

IRCTC'S Introduces Bharat Darshan Tourist Package this Diwali Season!

Taste the Best Tea in India at These 9 Tea Hubs Across the Country!

10 Best Tiger National Parks in India

Exotic Tourist Places To Visit In India Under 20k

Coolest Glass Houses to Stay in India - For a Luxurious Escapade

Travelling Mathematicians - Funny Habits of People Travelling Abroad

Bollywood Celebs & the Holiday Spots that Own Their Hearts!

7 Sex Temples of India: Idolising Sex through Erotic Sculptures

Spring in India - Climate, Nature, Best Destinations and More

Comments on this post

Browse package collections, india package collections.

India Honeymoon Packages

North East Tour Packages

South India Tour Packages

International Honeymoon Packages

International Tour Packages

Honeymoon Packages

Top Listed Packages

Kerala Munnar Tour Package with Thekkady and Alleppey

Spiti Valley in Summers: 1 Week in Breathtaking Kinnaur & Spiti

Kashmir 8 Days Itinerary: Enthralling Trip with Srinagar Houseboat Stay

Sikkim Tour Package for 5 Days

India Tour Package with Best of Himachal

3 Days Tour Package in India: Char Dham Yatra By Helicopter

Luxury India Honeymoon Tour Package - Tri-City Tour

Sikkim Tour Package for Couple - 8 Nights

5 Days Trip in India: Alleppey, Kovalam & Munnar

Gangtok Itinerary of 7 Nights 8 Days Package

Meghalaya Tour Package 7 Days with Shnongpdeng

Browse Hotel Collections

By hotel type.

Best Private Pool Villas in India

Best Cottages in India

Best Hostels in India

Capsule Hotels in India

Ski Resorts in India

Eco Friendly Resorts in India for Those Who Travel Consciously

Best Heritage Hotels in India for a Royal and Luxurious Stay

By Budget Category

Most Expensive Hotels in India for a Royal Stay

Best Luxury Hotels in India

Best Luxury Resorts in India

By Star Category

Best 5-Star Hotels in India

For Special Purposes

Resorts & Homestays to Work from Mountains in India

Best Yoga Retreats in India

Beautiful Treehouses in India Perfect for a Quick Staycation

Best Beach Resorts in India

Most Romantic Resorts in India

Top Places in India

Leh Ladakh

Get the best offers on Travel Packages

Compare package quotes from top travel agents

Compare upto 3 quotes for free

  • India (+91)

*Final prices will be shared by our partner agents based on your requirements.

Log in to your account

Welcome to holidify.

Forget Password?

Share this page

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Newsletters
  • Sweepstakes

These Are the Most Popular Places to Travel in 2024, According to Mastercard

Americans are traveling overseas in record numbers this year.

Paul Brady is the news director at Travel + Leisure and the brand's expert on cruise travel. He has been covering the travel industry for more than 15 years for outlets including Condé Nast Traveler , Skift , and The Huffington Post .

cities to visit this summer

master2/Getty Images

Americans are traveling overseas in record numbers this year, setting aside worries about inflation and “prioritizing meaningful experiences over material goods,” according to a new report from Mastercard. And people aren’t afraid to spend big for those experiences, according to the card issuer: “Nine out of the last 10 record-setting spending days in the global cruise and airline industry were in 2024.”

Mastercard compiled its report using anonymized spending data as well as third-party sources, which track things like visitor arrivals, length of stay, and even weather data.

“Today’s travelers are discerning, choosing destinations that offer both value and authenticity,” Michelle Meyer, chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute, which compiled the report, said. 

“They are savvy enough to stretch their funds and extend their stays, immersing themselves fully in the experiences and wonders of each locale,” she added in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure .

Some of the destinations that are trending right now are those where once-in-a-lifetime events are happening, whether it’s a Taylor Swift concert, an international soccer tournament, or a solar eclipse. At the top of Mastercard’s list for this summer is Munich, which is playing host to the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship. (That’s one reason the city landed on T+L’s own list of the 50 best places to travel in 2024 .) Other global hotspots include Bali; Bangkok; and Nice, France — all three of which are surging in popularity thanks to remarkable beaches and pleasant weather.

Consumers are also looking for places that offer excellent value, whether through favorable currency exchange rates or the overall bang-for-your-buck of a compelling destination. Among the hottest trending spots on Mastercard’s list is Tokyo, where the yen is down significantly compared to the U.S. dollar, as well as fair-weather favorites including Aruba in the Caribbean and Cancun, Mexico, which are in the top 10.

When it comes to U.S. travelers specifically, other destinations rise to the top for this summer, including Athens; Barcelona; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The surge in bookings for the season contradicts some forecasts, which had predicted a rise in “ coolcations ,” or vacations to cold-weather spots, after record-breaking heat in recent years. According to the latest Mastercard data, high temps aren’t yet tamping down demand.

In fact, the latest information shows that travelers do indeed tend to spend more time in locations with warm weather: For example, in Italy, where the average temperature is 58 degrees, visitors tend to stay for 5.4 days on average. Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, where 76 degrees is the average, visitors often stay for more than a week or 7.4 days. (A couple of exceptions to that rule are ski destinations and places where it’s often hotter than 80 degrees.)

One other bright spot is the global cruise industry, which is, Mastercard says, “full steam ahead.” According to the issuer, spending on cruises is up 16 percent in 2024 compared to 2019, thanks in part to the value of a vacation at sea. “Given persistent price increases in the hotel industry, the price difference between cruises and hotels has widened, making trips by cruise a relatively more budget-friendly option in many cases,” according to Mastercard.

Indeed, the prices for travel are up significantly. In the U.S., the average airfare was up more than 20 percent in March 2024, compared to 2019; the average hotel room, for the same period, was up 15 percent. Still, the experts at Mastercard, say, consumers are excited to go on vacation. “Boundaries are made to be broken, and tourists have been doing just that by spending in the sector in record numbers around the world,” the company said in its latest trend report. “Whether it’s cruise ship bookings or top destinations offering great value and unforgettable experiences, the appetite for travel continues to grow.”

For more on the numbers, check out "Travel Trends 2024: Breaking Boundaries," the full report from the Mastercard Economics Institute, at .

Related Articles


  1. Top 10 Cities to Visit This Summer

    cities to visit this summer

  2. Top 10 Cities To Visit This Summer For Things To Do Outdoors

    cities to visit this summer

  3. The Best 16 places to visit in Germany in summer

    cities to visit this summer

  4. 10 Reasons to Visit Seattle this Summer

    cities to visit this summer

  5. 6 Cool Places To Go In Italy This Summer

    cities to visit this summer

  6. 34 Top Places to Visit in Europe in Summer

    cities to visit this summer




  1. Best Summer Vacations in the USA for 2024

    Kiawah Island. #6 in Best Summer Vacations in the USA for 2024. Located about 20 miles outside of historic Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah Island boasts 10 miles of sandy beaches, 30-plus miles ...

  2. 27 Best Places To Visit In Summer In The USA (2024 Vacation Ideas For

    10. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. If you want the best summer in the great outdoors, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is a beautiful choice for a summer vacation. The national forest is just outside of Salt Lake City in Utah and is an accessible choice for a summer trip combined with a city break.

  3. Where to go this summer: 11 top destinations

    Darren/Adobe Stock. New York City: The city is swinging into summer with a handful of brand-new hotels. marikpeter/Adobe Stock. Singapore: While Singapore is densely populated, the city-state is ...

  4. Best Summer Vacation Spots in the World for 2024

    Glacier National Park. #3 in Best Summer Vacation Spots in the World for 2024. Glacier National Park is open 365 days a year, but summertime brings out the best of this Montana gem. Temperatures ...

  5. Best U.S. Cities for Summer Travel

    No. 2 Seattle. Gautier Houba/Travel + Leisure. The notoriously drizzly city in the winter actually stays pretty dry and sunny throughout the summer. It's a great time to get outdoors in Seattle ...

  6. 33 Stunning Places to Visit in Summer in the USA (Vacation Spots Not to

    From Dhara of Roadtripping California. Monterey, on the Central California coast, is an excellent beach town to visit during summer break in the USA, especially in conjunction with nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea and the spectacularly beautiful Big Sur coast. Monterey Bay is known for its temperate weather. READ NEXT.

  7. 14 of the best places in the USA for a summer vacation

    3. Glacier National Park, Montana. Few places on earth are as magnificent and pristine as Glacier National Park. Protected in 1910 during the first flowering of the American conservationist movement, Glacier ranks with Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon among the United States' most astounding natural wonders.

  8. 7 Great U.S. Cities to Visit This Summer

    7 U.S. Cities to Visit This Summer America's cities were hit hard by the pandemic, but they've roared back to life with new attractions, a renewed focus on outdoor spaces, and plenty of dining and hotel options. Here are seven particularly exciting places for the coming months.

  9. The 15 Best Places to Visit in the Summer in the USA

    Pick your favorite vacation from this list, and you're bound to have an amazing summer escape. Quick Navigation Links. The 15 Best Places to Visit in the Summer in the USA. 1. Step Back in Time in Boston. 2. See the Wildlife at Katmai National Park. 3. Enjoy a Sunny Summer Day at Spring Lake.

  10. Best Places to Travel in the Summer: Where to Go in US and the World

    Similarly, for summer travel dates between June and August 2022, Orlando was the top-searched destination. Other cities like Las Vegas, my perennial favorite, and New York also cracked the top five.

  11. The 26 Best Places to Travel This Summer

    Montecito, California. San Ysidro Ranch. Maybe leave the kids at home for this one. Arguably the most romantic hotel on the west coast, the 130-year-old San Ysidro Ranch has quite a storied ...

  12. 25 Best Summer Vacation Ideas for 2024

    These Are the Most Popular Places to Travel in 2024, According to Mastercard 100 Fun Things to Do This Summer — From Outdoor Concerts to Hiking Adventures Why You Should Skip the Hamptons and ...

  13. 15 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas for 2024

    15 Underrated Places to Travel This Summer, From Kosovo to Quebec. It's time to shake up your summer vacation plans. By Jamie Spain. March 18, 2024. Getty All products featured on ...

  14. Best Places to Visit in the USA for 2023-2024

    Glacier National Park. #1 in Best Places to Visit in the USA for 2023-2024. Glaciers are the main draw of this Montana national park, but its more than 700 lakes, two mountain ranges and multiple ...

  15. 50 World's Best Places to Travel in 2022

    Here are the best places to travel right now and in 2022 for summer, spring, winter, or fall vacations. Our list of best vacation spots includes destinations in Hawaii, California, Italy, the UK ...

  16. 19 Best Places to Visit in Summer

    2. Rome, Italy The Colosseum in summer. Highlight: Many types of tours to accommodate your top places to visit, but book early Since many of the best attractions in Rome are outdoors, a visit in the summer puts you in the city at a prime time. Tours to famous ancient sites like the Colosseum and the Pantheon are plentiful, but you will still want to book tickets ahead of time.

  17. Where to go this summer: A dozen destination ideas

    Summer 2023 is poised to be a travel blockbuster. Globally, international arrivals were already at 80% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023, and a strong summer is expected in the ...

  18. Summer travel tips: Where (not) to go, how to save in 2024

    According to NerdWallet's Summer 2024 Travel Report, 45% of Americans plan to take a trip requiring a hotel stay or flight this summer with expenses averaging just under $3,600. A fifth of those ...

  19. 21 of the best places for summer sun

    5. Cilento Coast, Italy. Santa Maria di Castellabate on the Cilento Coast. ALAMY. Italy's Amalfi coast is rightly renowned but mamma mia does it get busy in summer. Around 20 miles south, the ...

  20. 15 Best Summer Family Vacations

    Hilton Head. #6 in Best Summer Family Vacations. Choose this barrier island off of South Carolina for a carefree family vacation full of beach days, recreation and relaxation. Hilton Head Island ...

  21. Top Affordable Summer Destinations for 2024, According to WalletHub

    Take a walk on the BeltLine or visit the Coke museum, and enjoy the best of Georgia's capital. Second on the list is Washington, D.C. It scored first for safety and did well in the other categories.

  22. Cooler (Colder) Places to Visit This Summer

    When the temperature in Oslo exceeds 77 degrees on a summer day, that's considered one of the hottest days of the year! In many places, both domestically and abroad, 77 in the summer is a Godsend.

  23. A guide to stargazing adventures in Los Angeles and beyond

    What to expect in SoCal's night skies this spring and summer, ... Here are the top 10 places to visit now. May 16, 2024. Travel & Experiences. From Baja to British Columbia, these are the 101 best ...

  24. 14 Best Summer Destinations In Europe

    Sweden: best for midsummer festival fun. 3. Slovenia: best for caves, castles and coastline. 2. Iceland: best for adventure. 1. Croatia: best for sailing and island-hopping. The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for exploring the world. 9 days / from 2468 USD.

  25. 8 Coolest Towns in Wyoming for a Summer Vacation in 2024

    Sundance. Devils Tower near Sundance, Wyoming. Sundance is a small town with a true Wild West aura and enthralling outdoors. Visit this town in Crook County this summer to marvel at the nearby Devil's Tower National Monument, jutting from the prairie and rising to the skies.Visitors can climb this towering geological landmark, hike around it to spot animals like prairie dogs and deer, and ...

  26. Want to travel with your dog? Try these 10 dog-friendly US cities

    Top 10 dog-friendly vacation destinations. According to U.S. International Trade Administration data, USA TODAY and Blue Print analyzed the top 50 most visited cities by overseas tourists in 2022.

  27. 56 Best Places To Visit In Summer In India

    Here is the list of 58 56 Best Places To Visit In Summer In India. 1. Kashmir. 4.5 /5 View 19+ photos. Known For : Cellular Jail Scuba Diving In Andaman Radhanagar Beach. Popularly referred to as the "Paradise on Earth," Kashmir is a breathtaking region in northwestern India. Historically part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu ...

  28. These Are the Most Popular Places to Travel in 2024 ...

    15 Best Places to Travel in July . This Unicorn-themed Island Is the Most Magical Place You've Ever Seen. The Most Popular Summer Travel Destinations for Americans This Year.

  29. 15 Best Cheap Summer Vacations

    Grand Canyon National Park. #3 in Best Cheap Summer Vacations. It doesn't get more affordable than camping, and this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Arizona is a unique place to rough it. You'll ...

  30. 30 World's Best Places to Visit for 2023-2024

    Paris. #1 in World's Best Places to Visit for 2023-2024. France's magnetic City of Light is a perennial tourist destination, drawing visitors with its iconic attractions, like the Eiffel Tower and ...