32 Best Summer Vacations in the USA & 4 Places to AVOID

While the USA has endless places to visit in the summer, the weather varies across the country, making some destinations better vacation spots than others. To help you plan your summer vacation, we’ve collected the 32 best places to visit in the summer in the USA and a few that we think you should avoid. Whether you are a solo traveler, taking a road trip, or planning a family vacation, these are the best summer vacations in the USA + unique things to do in each location.

Best Places to Visit in the USA in Summer

1. Apostle Islands, Wisconsin ★

A Wisconsin hidden gem on the shore of Lake Superior, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Northern Wisconsin is one of the best summer vacation spots in the USA. Twelve miles of shoreline and 21 islands feature beaches, cliffs, and sea caves, making it an ideal destination for swimming, kayaking, and sailing. Because the waters are clear, the islands are popular with scuba divers exploring shipwrecks. Stay at the Queen’s View Bed and Breakfast in nearby Bayfield and spend your day discovering the lake with Apostle Islands Tours. For a great beach day, check out Big Bay Town Park beach on Madeline Island – you can take the ferry from Bayfield. 

  • June temperatures: low 50s – high 70s
  • July temperatures: low 50s – high 70s
  • August temperatures: low 50s – high 70s

2. Glacier National Park, Montana

Because many of its roads are closed during winter, Glacier National Park is one of the USA’s most popular places to visit. Known for its open skies and incredible wildlife, you’ll see much more than glaciers on your visit (although you can still see some). Hike the Three Falls Trail, take a Glacier Park Boat Company guided boat tour through the lakes, or go on a raft trip with Glacier Raft Company. One of the most iconic things to do in Glacier is to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, but you’ll want to time your trip just right – head out in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

  • June temperatures: low 30s – high 60s
  • July temperatures: low 40s – low 70s
  • August temperatures: low 40s – high 70s

3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

One of the best summer vacations in the USA is visiting Yellowstone National Park, perhaps the most famous national park. Yellowstone is home to incredible wildlife and landscapes but is most famous for its geologic activity, including geysers like Old Faithful. Stay in the historic Old Faithful Inn – but make your reservations early, as it fills up before summer even starts. Take a drive through Hayden Valley and be prepared to drive slowly – you might get stuck in “animal traffic jams” of bison. Because it is such a popular destination, plan your trip to Yellowstone well in advance and be prepared for summer crowds. To get to Yellowstone, many visitors fly into Bozeman, Montana, a city with vibrant music, food, and arts scene worth visiting for a day or two of your trips.

  • June temperatures: low 30s – high 60s
  • July temperatures: low 30s – high 70s
  • August temperatures: low 30s – high 70s

4. The Adirondacks, New York

In the 1800s, the Adirondacks became a destination getaway for wealthy people living in New York City. The higher elevation and vast wilderness mean cooler temps, fresh air, and thousands of freshwater lakes perfect for swimming, kayaking, and other watersports. There are tons of cute towns in the Adirondacks; Lake Placid and Saranac Lake are two of the most popular to visit during summer. Lake Placid is a quaint village in the High Peaks region, which features many options for beautiful hikes – Whiteface Mountain offers hiking for the adventurous and a paved drive to the summit for those less adventurous – alongside fine dining restaurants like Salt of the Earth Bistro and nearby local breweries like one of our favorites, Raquette River Brewing

  • June temperatures: low 40s – high 70s
  • July temperatures: low 50s – high 70s
  • August temperatures: low 50s – high 70s

5. Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine

On Maine’s southeastern coast, you’ll find one of the most popular national parks to visit in the summer months, Acadia National Park. There are countless things to do in Acadia, especially if you love the outdoors.  Built on Mt. Desert Island and parts of 16 other islands, the park has mountains, hiking and biking trails, and miles of Atlantic coastline. Bar Harbor, a charming New England fishing town nearby, has tons of things to do, and makes a great place to stay during your Acadia vacation.  Bar Harbor is a walkable town with cute pubs, ice cream shops, and the freshest seafood you can imagine.  

  • June temperatures: Mid 50s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: High 50s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: High 50s to high 70s

6. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Long known as a winter destination, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, also makes a place to visit for a summer vacation. Whether you are into horseback riding at a dude ranch, whitewater rafting the Snake River Canyon, or relaxing at a luxury spa, Jackson Hole has something for you. Don’t miss Grand Teton National Park, which features towering, jagged mountains overlooking Jackson Hole. The park has hiking trails and clear lakes and is a favorite destination for rock climbers. If you’re into a culture-centered vacation, check out Jackson Hole’s the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Grand Teton Music Festival – a summer-long celebration of classical music and opera.

  • June temperatures: High 30s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 40s to low 80s
  • August temperatures: Hugh 30s to low 80s

7. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod, one of the most classic summer destinations, features over 550 miles of coastline, meaning you can see the ocean almost everywhere. The hook-shaped peninsula includes the Cape Cod National Seashore, 40 miles of unspoiled sandy beaches. The eastern tip of Cape Cod includes Chatham, a seaside town known for its beaches, including Lighthouse Beach, which also features an active lighthouse. Grab a bite at Mom & Pop’s Burgers, whose burgers use meat from small, family-owned farms. At the very end of the cape, Provincetown is known as one of the meccas of LGBTQ travel. You’ll find it’s one of the most welcoming and accepting places in the U.S. If you’re visiting P-Town, make reservations for an elegant but cozy evening at Ciro & Sal’s.

  • June temperatures: High 50s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 60s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: Low 60s to high 70s

8. Lake Tahoe, California ★

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a picture-perfect destination for a summer vacation in the USA.  Because of its location, Lake Tahoe attracts all types of visitors – those who like a luxury resort experience and those who love camping and canoeing.  Although Tahoe’s ski slopes make it a popular winter destination, the clear alpine lake is surrounded by state parks, mountain trails, golf courses, and resorts.  On the south shore, South Lake Tahoe is the largest city on the lake.  With plenty of restaurants, breweries, and shopping, South Lake Tahoe is a great place to base your Tahoe vacation from.  Just 10 miles away, visit Emerald Bay State Park on the south edge of the lake for waterfall hikes, picnicking, and kayaking. 

On the lake’s northern end, the historic small town of Truckee makes a great visit for a day or two.  Visit the Donner Memorial State Park and the Emigrant Trail Museum, which tells the history of the emigrant movement to California and the infamous story of the Donner Party. After the museum, stop by one of Truckee’s great breweries, like the Truckee Brewing Company and FiftyFifty Brewing.

  • June temperatures: Mid 40s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 50s to low 80s
  • August temperatures: Low 50s to high 80s

9. Redwood National Park, California

With nine national parks, it’s easy to see why California is one of the best states to visit in summer.  If you’ve never experienced the awe of the California Redwoods, summer is a great time to visit.  Although known for having some of the tallest trees on earth (over 370ft, or 113m), Redwood National Park is much more than just trees.  You can drive through the park on roads, but with over 200 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, you’ll want to spend your time on outdoor activities.  Although it’s part of the nearby Humboldt Redwoods State Park, be sure to check out the Avenue of the Giants, where you can drive your car right through three redwood trees.

  • June temperatures: Mid 40s to low 60s
  • July temperatures: High 40s to high 60s
  • August temperatures: High 40s to high 60s

10. Big Sur, California

Along California’s Highway 1, Big Sur is a stretch of rugged coastline just south of San Francisco and San Jose. With stunning cliffs, wildflowers, waterfalls, and unbelievable rock formations, the drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in Bug Sur is one of the most iconic drives in the USA. Many visitors come to Big Sur during their summer vacations simply for the views and wildlife, including eagles, sea otters, and even Gray whales.  

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a beachside town just north of Big Sur and should be a must-visit on any road trip in the area. With quaint boutiques and wine shops, Carmel is a great place to stay when visiting Big Sur.  Check out the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, a 1770’s structure that was once the only building in the area.  If you’re visiting during June, be sure to check out the Carmel Surfabout, an annual surf competition that brings together surfers and spectators on the white sand of Carmel Beach.

  • June temperatures: High 40s to mid 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 50s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: Low 50s to high 70s

11. Portland, Oregon

Full of breweries, farm-to-table dining, and museums, Portland, Oregon, is absolutely one of the places to visit in summer in the USA. There are so many amazing things to do in Portland, you will never run out of new places to explore.  With museums including the Portland Art Museum (including the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art), live music at events like the Waterfront Blues Fest, cultural festivals including Portland Pride, there is something for everyone.  

Portland recently started a new program called the Foodie Passport, which takes visitors on a journey through the city’s best BIPOC-owned restaurants, including Roux Boi and Fat Cupcake. If you’re a book lover, Powell’s City of Books is the largest independent bookstore in the country, with over a million books to browse. If the city gets to be a bit much for you, take a break and a hike in Forest Park, the largest urban park in the United States.

For some beach action, just a two-ish hour drive west is the Pacific Coast which offers gorgeous beaches along the Oregon coastline. Check out Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park (three miles apart)!

  • June temperatures: Low 50s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: High 50s to low 80s
  • August temperatures: High 50s to low 80s

12. Zion National Park, Utah ★

If you’ve never experienced it, Zion National Park is beyond describing with words. Red, pink, and orange rocks tower over desert landscapes, and it is a great summer destination for both hiking and photography. Because it’s one of the most popular places to visit during summer in the USA, Zion can be crowded in summer. We recommend arriving early each morning to avoid crows while hiking. For outdoor adventure lovers, try renting bikes or going river tubing with Zion Outfitters in nearby Springdale.  For an epic summer road trip, start with Bryce Canyon National Park (only 80 miles north of Zion), stop by Zion for a day or two, and then continue to Grand Canyon National Park, about 3 hours south.

  • June temperatures: High 40s to low 80s
  • July temperatures: High 50s to high 80s
  • August temperatures: Mid 50s to mid 80s

13. Newport, Rhode Island

Just a few hours’ drive or train ride from New York City, Newport, Rhode Island, is one of the best summer vacation spots in the USA and has been a popular summer vacation destination for America’s wealthy for years. The Cliff Walk is a famous Newport excursion: walk along a 3.5-mile-long cliffside trail with ocean views on one side and historic mansions on the other.

Newport has plenty of great beaches – Easton’s Beach (also known as First Beach) is a short stretch with sand and waves at the start of the Cliff Walk. After a day at the beach, you can eat a New England classic like lobster rolls from Blount’s Clam Shack or oysters on the half shell at the Clarke Cooke House – both local favorites, but with different price tags. Bowen’s Wharf is ideal for eating, shopping, and people-watching.

  • June temperatures: Low 60s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: High 60s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: High 60s to high 70s

14. Gatlinburg + Great Smoky Mountains (North Carolina & Tennessee)

If you enjoy hiking, rafting, swimming, or exploring waterfalls and mountain landscapes, the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee are one of the best places to visit during summer in the USA. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a good base from which to see the area. Stay at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn, and you’ll be close to the park and other attractions like the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an obvious choice to start your outdoor exploration, and hiking Cades Cove gives you the opportunity to see both wildlife and some history of the area.

  • June temperatures: High 50s to low 80s
  • July temperatures: Low 60s to high 80s
  • August temperatures: Low 60s to mid 80s

15. Upper Michigan & Mackinac Islands ★

When people describe Michigan, they often indicate that it’s mitten-shaped.  However, most people don’t remember that Michigan has an Upper Peninsula (called the UP in Michigan) that sticks out from northern Wisconsin, divides Lake Superior from Lake Michigan, and borders Lake Huron.  The UP has stunning landscapes and over 1700 miles of shoreline along the lakes, making it the perfect summer destination for boating, kayaking, fishing, and sailing. The UP is connected to the rest of Michigan (the “mitten”) by the Mackinac Bridge, a 5-mile-long suspension bridge that’s worth visiting in itself.  Check out the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in St Ignace, a charming city across the Mackinaw Strait.  Keep going west in the UP, and you’ll reach Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which features miles of trails, jagged cliffs, and rock formations jutting into Lake Superior.

Whatever you do while in Upper Michigan and the Mackinac Islands, you must eat a pasty.  These delicious little pockets of dough are filled with everything you can imagine – chicken pot pie, cheddar jalapeno, veggies – you name it.  The pasties are a holdover from British miners who emigrated to the area and are found throughout the UP.  We recommend Roy’s Pasties and Bakery in Houghton. 

  • June temperatures: Low 50s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: High 50s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: High 50s to high 70s

16. Seward, Alaska ★

While it may seem like a far-flung destination, Seward, Alaska, is actually one of the best summer vacation spots in the USA.  One reason is the daylight – because it is so far north, Seward gets so much sunlight during the summer months that it’s never really dark, just twilight, and only for a few hours in the middle of the night. With every kind of outdoor adventure just minutes away, Seward makes a great destination, and summer is the best time to visit.  Check out hiking at Exit Glacier and the Kenai Mountains if you’re up for outdoor adventures.

Another draw during the summer is the scenery.  You can take a scenic train ride from Anchorage to Seward in just over four hours, with breathtaking views of mountains, glaciers, and coastline. Once in Seward, take a boat tour among the fjords, and enjoy local favorites like coffee from Caine’s Head Coffee Company and craft beers from Stoney Creek Brew House.  Because you’re right at the source of world-renowned Alaska seafood, don’t miss the salmon or the views from Ray’s Waterfront.

  • June temperatures: Mid 40s to high 50s
  • July temperatures: Low 50s to low 60s
  • August temperatures: Low 50s to low 60s

17. Seattle, Washington

Seattle has pretty much everything you could want in a vacation destination – scenic views, outdoor adventures, world-class restaurants, museums, and whale-watching on Puget Sound.  No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market, the city’s original farmer’s market famous for fish throwing.  Enjoy cafes and food stalls in the market, along with boutique shops and six independent bookstores.  Visit the Chihuly Gardens and Glass for a unique art experience right next to the famous Space Needle. There are so many food options in the city you’ll have a hard time deciding what to try, but we recommend Fat’s Chicken and Waffles for a great meal and Hood Famous Bakeshop for unique Filipino desserts afterward. Although it seems like an odd choice, round out your Seattle vacation with a visit to the Seattle Public Library – an architectural masterpiece in the middle of the city. 

If you find yourself in Seattle, don’t plan to spend your entire trip there.  The surrounding area has stunning landscapes from Puget Sound to the Cascade Range, which includes Mount Rainier. Rent a car and take a quick trip up to Olympic National Park, which has massive Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir, but also, surprisingly, temperate rain forests.  The Hoh Rain Forest, located within the park, receives over 140 inches of rain per year and looks like a different planet with trees and a landscape covered in lush moss.  The San Juan Islands, many of which can be reached by ferry, are located a few hours north of the city.  This is the best place in the world to see orcas, so be sure to take a whale-watching trip if you visit the islands.

  • June temperatures: Low 50s to high 60s
  • July temperatures: Mid 50s to mid 70s
  • August temperatures: Mid 50s to mid 70s

18. Jekyll Island, Georgia

With miles of beachfront and a quaint historic district, Jekyll Island, Georgia, is a great choice for a summer vacation in the USA.  Enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing in the calm waters, or rent a bike from Jekyll Wheels and enjoy the 22 miles of bike trails around the island. Because the island is mostly flat, it makes a perfect destination to see on foot or by bike. Learn about sea turtle rehabilitation at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and take a relaxing walk along Driftwood Beach.  Take a day trip to nearby St. Simon’s Island to explore more stunning beaches and ocean views.

Jekyll Island has a dark history, under the control of various colonizers, including the Spanish, English, and French, at different times. It also served as a location for plantations dependent upon enslaved Africans. The Wanderer Memorial Trail is an interactive educational exhibit that memorializes the experience of more than 400 enslaved Africans brought to the island on the ship The Wanderer in 1858. 

  • June temperatures: Low 70s to high 80s
  • July temperatures: Mid 70s to low 90s
  • August temperatures: Mid 70s to high 80s

19. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Breweries, lobster, and history are around every corner in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, making it one of the best vacation spots in the USA.  You can visit nearby Hampton Beach and Rye Beach in New Hampshire or York Beach and Ogunquit Beach in Maine – Portsmouth is right between both areas. For a bit of history, the Strawbery Banke Museum features historic buildings and gardens and is a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon.  Take a guided tour along the Black Heritage Trail NH, which makes visible the history of African Americans in the region, including the African Burying Ground, now a memorial park.

Portsmouth is home to some of the region’s oldest breweries, including Portsmouth Brewery, established in 1842. If you’re in the area in July, be sure to check out the Tall Ships Festival, where spectators can see traditional sailing ships in the harbor.

  • June temperatures: low 50s – high 70s
  • July temperatures: low 60s – high 70s
  • August temperatures: low 60s to high 70s

20. Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

It may seem like an odd choice for a vacation destination, but Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota, is a great place to visit during the summer months. Just off I-90, Spearfish makes an easy stop on a road trip through the Midwest. The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is a 22-mile stretch of road surrounded by hills, streams, waterfalls, and wildlife.  There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails and plenty of places to stop for a picnic next to breathtaking waterfalls like Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls.

If you are into motorcycles, the Sturgis bike rally is not far away from Spearfish and draws thousands of bikers in August. If this is not your thing, we recommend visiting Spearfish Canyon in June or July, when there will be summer tourists, but nothing like the Sturgis crowds. About an hour and a half away is the Black Hills, another perfect destination for a summer vacation, especially for those who love the outdoors.  While in the Black Hills, check out the Crazy Horse Memorial and the Indian Museum of North America, a collection highlighting the culture of over 300 Native Nations. 

  • June temperatures: low 50s to high 70s
  • July temperatures: low 50s to high 80s
  • August temperatures: low 50s to high 80s

21. The Finger Lakes, New York

With wineries, waterfalls, and every type of watersport, the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York is the perfect summer vacation destination.  The eleven lakes that comprise the Finger Lakes are long and narrow, mostly aligned north-south between rolling hills.  Because the lakes and hills make a temperate climate, the area is full of wineries, and taking a Finger Lakes wine-tasting tour is a must – hire a driver, and you won’t need to worry about enjoying all the wine samples!

There are so many options for things to do in the Finger Lakes during your summer vacation. Ithaca is a great place to start and makes a perfect summer destination for travelers who like a mix of outdoor adventures and culture.  Nearby are numerous state parks, which almost all feature beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails. We recommend Robert Treman State Park, which has a diving board right over a swimming hole at the base of a waterfall, making it an epic destination for the summer months. There are tons of options for beautiful hikes in the Finger Lakes, but Watkins Glen State is an absolute must-do. It’s a narrow canyon with a winding trail between and under waterfalls.  We highly recommend getting to Watkins Glen as early as you can, as it really fills up during the summer months. 

  • June temperatures: low 50s to high 70s
  • July temperatures: low 60s to low 80s
  • August temperatures: low 50s to low 80s

22. Suffolk, Long Island, New York ★

Long Island has long been one of the most popular places to visit in the summer in the USA.  Just a train ride from New York City, Suffolk, Long Island is an entirely different experience than the city.  Suffolk County is the entire eastern half of Long Island, full of surprisingly lush landscapes and charming towns. With some of the best beaches in New York, farmer’s markets, and incredible restaurants and wineries, it’s easy to see why Suffolk makes an ideal destination. Explore galleries in the historic seaport village of Greenport on the North Fork or spend the day beachside in the Hamptons.

You can explore some unique adventures in Suffolk, such as the Longhouse Reserve, a massive outdoor sculpture garden and arboretum in East Hampton, or visit Lavender By the Bay, a family-owned lavender farm in East Marion. At the easternmost tip of Long Island is Montauk, a charming town with beautiful beaches.  Whether you like sailing, wine tasting, or picnicking on the beaches, there’s no shortage of things to do in Montauk.

  • June temperatures: High 50s to mid 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 60s to low 80s
  • August temperatures: Low 60s to low 80s

23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin ★

With museums, boat tours, brunch spots, and breweries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a great summer destination for just about any vacationer.  If you wander down to the lakeshore, you can’t miss the Milwaukee Art Museum – its distinct modern architecture makes it stand out, and its impressive collection makes it a main attraction in the city.  The Milwaukee Public Market is open year-round, but during summer features the best and freshest that the Midwest has to offer, including veggies, baked goods, and of course, cheese!

Plan your Milwaukee visit during late June and early July, and you can catch Summerfest on the weekends.  This multi-weekend festival claims to be the largest music festival in the world, partly because it brings in so many bands – over 250!  And if you plan your visit just before Summerfest, you can catch another fantastic festival: TacoFest!

  • June temperatures: High 50s to high 70s
  • July temperatures: Mid 60s to low 80s
  • August temperatures: Mid 60s to low 80s

24. Door County, Wisconsin ★ 

With dozens of beaches and five state parks, Door County, Wisconsin, is a perfect place to relax and get outside for your summer vacation. Between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, the region has orchards, wineries, and over 34 islands to explore.  Take the Washington Island Ferry out to the island for the day for bird watching, hiking, and climbing the Mountain Park Lookout Tower for a spectacular view. If your visit is in June, check out the Door County Beer Festival, featuring more than 40 Midwestern craft breweries.

From mid-July to mid-August, it’s cherry season in Door County.  You can pick your own cherries at dozens of orchards like Lautenbach’s Orchard Country or enjoy the harvest at local farmer’s markets and restaurants. Stay at the Scofield House, a charming bed and breakfast in Sturgeon Bay, and spend the day at nearby Peninsula State Park or exploring the Door County Wine Trail.

  • June temperatures: Low 50s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: High 50s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: High 50s to high 70s

25. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts ★

Just south of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard is one of the USA’s most popular summer vacation places.  If you like to spend the day at the beach relaxing or playing in the surf, stop by South Beach in Edgartown, recently voted the best beach on the island. You can visit the Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse and grab a delicious meal at Rockfish. This local favorite serves both fresh seafood and pizza.

If you enjoy nature, hike on one of the many trails at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, part of Mass Audubon.  The quiet space is perfect for a morning stroll and offers plenty of bird-watching opportunities. If the ocean is more your thing, consider a sailing tour around the island with Black Dog Tall Ships.  And lastly, summer is the perfect time to sample the best summer flavors that the island has to offer.  Stop by the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer for fresh produce, flowers, and baked goods – you’ll be glad you did!

  • June temperatures: High 50s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 60s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: Low 60s to high 70s

26. Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

Full of lighthouses and New England charm, Nantucket is a small island south of Cape Cod that’s long been considered one of the best summer vacation spots in the USA. The Whaling Museum will give you a glimpse at the island’s history and the industry that built it. Staying at a quaint bed and breakfast feels appropriate in Nantucket –the charmingly-named Barnacle Inn, just off Main St, serves breakfast in its charming garden.

There are several lighthouses to visit, but we recommend Great Point Lighthouse, which is at the northernmost tip of the island. You can also do a number of walking tours on the island, but a sailing tour with Endeavor Sailing Excursions may be more exciting. If you’re thirsty after a day at sea and want to enjoy a local beer, check out Cisco Brewers, called “the happiest place on earth.” 

  • June temperatures: Low 50s to high 60s
  • July temperatures: Low 60s to mid 70s
  • August temperatures: Low 60s to mid 70s

27. Portland, Maine

On the shores of Casco Bay on Maine’s south coast, Portland is the largest city in Maine, but with a population of 68,000, that doesn’t really mean it’s a large city.  With breweries, galleries, and a bustling waterfront called the Old Port, there is a ton to see and do on a summer vacation in Portland. If you’re into outdoor activities, there are plenty of trails nearby and several islands to visit in Casco Bay. 

Pick up fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers at the Portland Farmer’s Market, then catch some live music at One Longfellow Square. For something different, check out the Maine Classic Car Museum or the Southworth Planetarium, followed by some local treats. It doesn’t get any more local than donuts from Holy Donut – made with Maine-grown potatoes in the batter – try the Maine Blueberry if you’re there in season.

  • June temperatures: Low 50s to mid 70s
  • July temperatures: High 50s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: High 50s to high 70s

28. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina, was a sleepy mountain town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, it’s become a haven for foodies and craft beer enthusiasts in recent years, making it a popular summer destination. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is plenty of hiking and biking in the Blue Ridge Mountains – rent a bike or take a guided tour from Asheville Trails and Taps. If seeing the sites from the car is more your style, drive along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway for incredible views.

For a different look into Asheville, check out Hood Huggers, which offers walking tours of Asheville, celebrating the history of African American communities in Asheville and showcasing art, music, community spaces, and grassroots initiatives. And be sure to check out the dozens of unique restaurants and breweries – some of our favorites are Table Asheville and Burial Beer Co.

  • June temperatures: Low 60s to low 80s
  • July temperatures: Mid 60s to mid 80s
  • August temperatures: Mid 60s to mid 80s

29. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For a vacation with plenty of history and culture, consider Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for your next summer trip.  Historical sites, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, can be seen on a self-guided walking tour and costs only $1.00 for a ticket.

When you’re hungry, head to Reading Terminal Market – an indoor farmer’s market with fresh produce and seafood, cafes, and bakeries. For a bit of culture, stop by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and see if you can run up all the steps like Rocky. If street art is more your thing, check out HAHA X Paradigm, a public art initiative that curates shows throughout the city. 

  • June temperatures: Mid 60s to mid 80s
  • July temperatures: Low 70s to high 80s
  • August temperatures: High 60s to high 80s

30. Burlington, Vermont

Surrounded by Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains, Burlington is one of the prettiest small cities for a summer vacation in the USA. Although Burlington has several small breweries, two local breweries really shine. Foam Brewers offers patio seating with a lake view and frequently features live music to accompany small plates and snacks. Zero Gravity Brewing has a beautiful brew hall, tasty food served on a sunny porch, and a commitment to sustainability and community – they celebrate Loving Day each June, the day that legalized interracial marriage in the United States. 

While in Burlington, don’t miss shopping and people-watching on the Church Street Marketplace and picking up local foods at the Burlington Farmer’s Market. If you’re a foodie, you’ll never run out of food options in Burlington. Try Asiana House for sushi and Pingala Café for food truck inspired-vegan food – order their delicious crunch wrap supreme,  and you won’t miss the meat!  Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Vermont without stopping by the Ben & Jerry’s Factory – it’s about 30 minutes outside of Burlington in Waterbury, VT, and offers tours ($6) with free tastings.

  • June temperatures: Mid 50s to mid 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 60s to low 80s
  • August temperatures: High 50s to high 70s

31. Cape May, New Jersey

Just a few hours’ drive from New York City, Cape May, New Jersey, feels like a whole different world in the summer.  A stunning beach is bordered by a paved promenade with ice cream stores, boutiques, and arcades.  While you can spend plenty of time lounging on the seashore, you’ll want to tour of Cape May’s incredible houses.  Named a National Historic Landmark, the city is full of Victorian mansions called Painted Ladies, many of which are bed and breakfasts you can book for your trip – we recommend The Mason Cottage downtown for the most authentic Cape May experience. You can see the houses on a walking tour, but it’s recommended to try the Cape May MAC Trolley for a guided tour – beyond the Victorian houses, they offer themed tours, including Cape May oddities and Underground Railroad sites. For a bit of history, visit the Harriet Tubman Museum, which tells her story (she lived in Cape May for part of her life) and the history of the Black community in Cape May. To round out your summer vacation, dine at the local favorite Louisa’s for fresh seafood, and don’t miss the gourmet ice cream sandwich at Peace Pie.

  • June temperatures: High 60s to low 70s
  • July temperatures: Low 70s to high 70s
  • August temperatures: Low 70s to high 70s

Places to AVOID in the Summer in the USA

Now that you know about the best places for summer vacation in the USA, we wanted to share a few places you should avoid for summer vacation.

1. Death Valley

Known as the hottest, driest, and lowest part of the entire USA, Death Valley is not ideal for a summer vacation.  With almost no water and temperatures that can hit over 130°F, it’s best to avoid this national park during summer months.

2. Joshua Tree, California

Another beautiful national park in California, Joshua Tree is where two deserts meet – the Mojave and the Colorado.  The unique trees and incredibly dark skies make it an interesting place to visit, but the heat of the California summer in the desert is too much.

3. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is one of our favorite destinations for a fun trip, it can be very hot during summer.  While there are still plenty of things to do during summer, you might want to consider one of the other destinations we recommend for a cooler summer vacation.

4. Miami, Florida

Because Miami lies in the path of summer hurricanes, we don’t recommend planning a summer vacation there.  If you do plan to visit Miami or any other coastal or Caribbean locations during summer, we recommend booking your trip with free cancellation.  With climate change becoming a reality, there are more and more hurricanes and flooding in coastal areas, so protecting your trip is always a good idea.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana

Although New Orleans is one of our favorite USA destinations to visit in the winter, it’s best not to plan a trip there during the summer months. The heat and humidity in July and August can be oppressive, and the city is sometimes the target of hurricanes. However, in other months, we think New Orleans makes an amazing destination, with excellent museums, restaurants, and tons of things to do both in the city and neighboring areas like Lafayette

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