Winters are cold and depressing, well they are where we live. What keeps us going is planning our summer vacations. Dreaming of getting out and active in the hot summer, visiting a glorious sandy beach, or hiking in a national park. Getting away for a couple of days or weeks, is just what you need, with these awesome summer vacation ideas in USA. 

These summer vacations in USA are ideal for those looking for a staycation or to get away to a far-flung destination.  

Spend a few nights in a city, take on a road trip, relax back on a sandy beach with clear blue waters, or take a hike, your options are endless, when you just want to get away. 

Let’s get dreaming of a summer vacation in USA. 

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Best Summer Vacation Ideas in USA 

What type of summer vacation are you looking for? To help you decide, we have broken it into beach locations, city escapes, National Parks and more: 

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Island Getaway

Relax back and soak up the sun on your summer vacation in USA, with these island getaways:

Oahu

Visiting the island of Oahu in Hawaii is the perfect summer getaway to the islands of Hawaii.

Summer is bustling with beach fun, outdoor activities and adventure or driving and exploring the entire island.

If you want to be staying central to all the hustle and bustle, consider Waikiki or the general area around Honolulu to be based in.

For transportation you can get around by walking, taking taxis or Uber or even public transportation.

Just in town are fabulous museums like the Iolani palace, Bishop Museum or Honolulu museum of Art, Chinatown, downtown historic Honolulu and the tourist zone and beaches of Waikiki. You can check out all these fantastic attractions around Honolulu like Diamond Head, Waikiki beach, Pearl Harbor or you can do some amazing sunset sailing, hiking some amazing trails, visit the gorgeous botanical gardens or even swim close to a waterfall.

One of the popular things to do, is rent a car for a few days and drive around the island, up to the North Shore and eastern parts of the island. Absorb the easy and relaxed lifestyle in these sweet little villages and towns, take a coastal drive to pristine beaches, visit a pineapple plantation or farmers market to sample some local fruits or even hand made specialty and prepared foods.

You’ll love the entire Oahu experience from delicious local and international food, shopping, active adventure or just lazy days on the beach and sunset strolls.

It is all on your pace and desire to do as much or as little as possible in Paradise.

Written by Noel | Oahu Travel Now

Kaiai

If you are looking for a perfect summer vacation in the USA, Kauai, Hawaii, should definitely be on your list!

Kauai during the summer months offers a perfect weather of 85°f, which is perfect for visiting the beautiful beaches in Kauai, going on fun hikes, visiting some beautiful waterfalls, and enjoying outdoor activities.

Kauai offers some of the prettiest beaches and waterfalls, here are some of the best Kauai activities you can do:

Have a fun beach day at Hanalei Bay Beach – this is one of the most famous and definitely prettiest beaches in Kauai!

You can have a fun beach day here, enjoy the water, get a nice tan, play in the sand, and more!

Secret Falls Waterfall is a great summer vacation in USA
Secret Falls Waterfall

Visit Secret Falls Waterfall – this is a super unique waterfall, because you can only get to it by a kayak!

To get to this beautiful waterfall, you’ll need to rent a kayak and then hike inland one mile.

Also, just a little travel tip here – if you want to rent a kayak here, you should be there right when they open. They sell out within an hour, so be on time!

As for the hike itself, the majority of this hike is flat, but you will be hiking on a narrow path and over some small rocks and tree roots.

Go on The Awa’awapuhi Hike – this beautiful hike is a downhill hike the whole way there, and then an uphill hike the whole way back!

The views in this hike are  A M A Z I N G! Once you finish the downhill portion of the hike, you will reach the end which offers a beautiful lookout point with some breathtaking panoramic views!

Written by Chelsey | Chelsey Explore

Related post: What to Pack for a vacation to the USA

Maui

Maui is an excellent summer vacation destination in USA – the weather is perfect, it’s during the dry season, and there is a lot to do for the whole family on the island. 

While there is no end to beautiful places to stay on Maui, I recommend staying at the Maui Marriott Ocean Club or the Hyatt Regency resort on Kaanapali beach. There are so many fun things to see and do on Kaanapali – it’s the perfect base for a Maui vacation.

You can do lots of fun beach activities, like surfing, body surfing, snorkeling off the beach, doing a snorkel boat tour, or parasailing. Watch the Sunset Ceremony at Black Rock, where a Hawaiian warrior lights tiki torches and then dives into the ocean in remembrance of the last Maui chieftain. Attend one of the many luaus, eating kalua pork and pineapple while watching an immersive show full of hulas, fireknife dances, the haka, or the ori tahiti dances. 

For a bit of adventure, go ziplining between ridges in the west Maui mountains, or bike down the old volcano of Haleakala, or go ATVing in the hills above the beach. 

When you’re ready for some extra amazing scenery, drive the Road to Hana, stopping off to visit some waterfalls and visit the gorgeous black sand beaches. 

Maui
Maui

Of course, no Hawaiian vacation would be complete without relaxing in some swimming pools, and the resorts on Maui have a variety of pools, with lush greenery and features like caves and grottos to swim into. 

Maui has no end to delicious foods to eat. For the best opakapaka you’ll ever eat, hit up the Paia Fish Market after biking haleakala. For a relaxing evening experience, dine at Hula Grill on Kaanapali, where you can dig your toes in the sand while you dig into fish tacos or a fish bowl.

And you can’t leave Maui without getting shaved ice from Ululani’s Shaved Ice – they shave their ice super fine and the flavors are top notch. 

No matter what type of summer vacation experience you’re looking for, you’ll find it on Maui!

Written by Stephanie | The Unknown Enthusiast

Key West, Florida

Traveling to the beautiful area of Key West is a great way to spend your summer vacation in USA. The weather is often warm, with the sun shining bright over the horizon. Because it’s often bright and sunny in the area, there are endless opportunities to get out and explore while making memories with loved ones. What is there to do in Key West?

There are more than just a few incredible things to do in Key West For example, if you love the water and you want to try new adventures, you can go snorkeling and scuba diving to see what you can find. You never know what types of colorful marine life you might see while you’re there.

In addition to scuba diving and snorkeling, there are other opportunities to have fun, whether you’re sailing on a boat, frolicking on a beach, or visiting some of the best local restaurants.

West Key
West Key

Where is a great place to stay in Key West?

Enjoy a safe and comfortable experience while staying at one of the many top-rated places in the area, such as the Margaritaville Beach House, NYAH Key West, or the Ibis Bay Beach Resort. With easy access to the water, regardless where you’re staying, you never have to worry about being bored. Head out on the adventure of a lifetime, but make sure to bring the essentials with you for this trip!

Written by Philipp | Journication 

Orcas Island

One of the best summer vacation in US is Orcas Island. Orcas Island is a peaceful island in the San Juan archipelago to the west of Washington State.

Orcas Island is truly an ideal destination because it provides a diverse abundance of activities, it is safe and offers comfortable accommodation options, and because it leaves plenty of room for magic to happen!

If you need any more convincing, know that Oprah recently purchased a home there, which makes sense because Orcas Island is easily one of the most beautiful destinations in the US! 

Orcas Island can be visited over a weekend if you are short on time, but if you can, allot at least 5 days for your visit to the island.

Orcas Island is a great place to visit any time of year, but summer is especially great because the sun is shining and there are a ton of activities to and tours to do. You can go whale watching or kayak around the islands. The water activities that are closed off in the slow winter season are back in full swing during the summer months.  

Orcas Island in USA
Orcas Island in USA

Beyond water activities, there are a multitude of activities to suit a range of interests. Art lovers will enjoy Orcas Island Artworks where you can see the work of local artists. Orcas Island Pottery is also a special place to visit for unique handmade pieces, and Darvill’s Bookstore has stunning views and is a great place to curl up with a book and coffee.

There is also a lot on offer for nature lovers. Some top hikes include Mount Constitution and Obstruction Pass. And foodies will delight in all the excellent culinary choices! You can’t go wrong anywhere you eat – everything on the island is fresh, cooked slowly, and made with love.

Finally, if relaxation is on your summer travel agenda, there are some great spa resort options to choose from.

Be sure to plan ahead for ferry times especially during the busy season, and bring a car so you can access all the best parts of the island. If you’re looking for a unique summer travel experience, Orcas Island is your ticket!

Written by Sumeeta | Sumeeta Seeks

City Break

Take on a fun pack city break on your summer vacation in USA:

Boston

Summer in Boston is the perfect time to get outside and explore American history, watch a baseball game at Fenway Park and discover all of the unique neighborhoods that make up the city.

A small city, Boston is very walkable. Public transportation is available and easy to navigate. Renting a car is not necessary when visiting Boston.

For Redsox fans or not, Fenway Park is worth visiting for a baseball game. The stadium was originally built in 1912 and has many unique features, most famously the “Green Monster,” a large green wall in left field.

Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile long walking path that goes past places that are important in history and the beginning of the United States. The south end of Freedom Trail begins at Boston Common, the oldest city park in the US. Other locations include the Old South Meeting House, where the Boston Tea Party was organized, Paul Revere House which is now a museum, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall where many speeches were given to encourage independence. Faneuil Hall is now a marketplace with shops and restaurants.

Boston Harbor, the site of the Boston Tea Party, is now a major port. There is a Boston Tea Party and Ships Museum on the harbor as well as The Institute of Contemporary Art and the New England Aquarium.

Fenway Park
Fenway Park

Newbury Street in the Back Bay neighborhood is a popular shopping destination. There is a mix of high-end shops, boutiques, art galleries, and cafes located in the brownstones along Newbury Street.

The North End neighborhood is known for its Italian roots. Italian restaurants and bakeries such as Mike’s Pastry are popular reasons to head to The North End, as is the Saint Anthony’s Feast which occurs each summer.

Just north of the Charles River is Cambridge, home to Harvard University. Harvard is an Ivy League school known as the first institute of higher education in the US. The campus of Harvard is beautiful to walk around in the summer.

For those looking to learn more during summer vacation in Boston, there are a few factory tours. Samuel Adams Brewery offers a tour of their facilities along with a tasting. Taza Chocolate, near Cambridge, allows tours of their factory where they explain stone ground chocolate and the cocoa bean to chocolate bar process. Children’s tours are available as well, and they are set up as a scavenger hunt. Both tours include tasting the chocolates.

Boston is full of history, art, and unique neighborhoods.  The weather in summer is generally mild, and Boston is easily walkable, making it a perfect spot to visit during summer vacation in USA.

Written by Lanie | Make More Adventures

Denver

One of the best summer vacations in the USA is Denver, Colorado. Summer is a great time to visit because of all the fun things to do in Denver. There are also lots of fun day trips from Denver like Garden of the Gods and Rocky Mountain National Park. In Denver, there are lots of fun outdoor activities as well as museums and urban attractions.

One of the best blocks to explore in Denver is Larimer Square. This was originally the site of the first pioneer camp back in 1858. Today, this historic neighborhood is home to charming streets filled with specialty boutiques and restaurants. The Walkway Gallery is a fun art gallery that supports the local Denver Community.

If you’re in town on the first Friday of the month, be sure to check out the Santa Fe Art Walk. The art district opens its galleries and studios to thousands of guests. Most of the galleries are found between 5th and 11th Avenue. There are also lots of food trucks on hand if you need a bite to eat.

The Red Rocks Amphitheater is another fun and iconic part of Denver. If there isn’t a concert going on during your visit, you can still tour the concert amphitheater. You can go down to where the stage is to see where performances from the Beetles, the Rolling Stones, and John Denver have all taken place. There is also a cool museum to visit as well.

The best area to stay in Denver is the Union Station/Lower Downtown area. There are lots of great hotels and restaurants in this area and is close to a lot of the fun things to do in Denver. The best hotel to stay at in this area is The Maven Hotel.

Writen by Candice | CS Ginger

Munising

Are you looking for an outdoorsy summer vacation off the beaten path? Munising, MI is the best summer vacation destination in the USA that you have never heard of.

Located in the beautiful Upper Peninsula, Munising is a serene little fishing town nestled on a bay of Lake Superior. The major draw of Munising is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Lake Superior’s crystal blue water crashing against 200 foot sandstone cliffs is breathtaking and unique. 

If you have time, I recommend exploring Pictured Rocks by land and by water. Don’t miss the best hikes in Pictured Rocks including the iconic Chapel Rock and Chapel Beach. There are hikes for all levels including a 10+ mile loop that includes cliffs, beaches, and waterfalls.

If you prefer taking in the sights without breaking a sweat, cruise ships operate out of Munising Harbor  throughout the summer with multiple tour options each day. 

Munising’s population is just over 2,000, so don’t expect the luxuries of a big city. Nevertheless, the growing popularity has resulted in plenty of hotels and restaurants to choose from.

Munising is one of the best summer vacations in USA
Munising

If you prefer camping by the lake over staying in a hotel, reserve a site at Bay Furnace Campground 5 miles west of town. Even if you don’t camp there, spend an afternoon learning about the historic Bay Furnace and hanging out at the small public beach.

Our favorite place to eat in Munising is EJ’s Dine or Dash. They have delicious fusion cuisine and a dog-friendly patio to enjoy a beautiful summer day.

If this is your first time visiting the UP, try a pastie (pronounced pass-tee). This local favorite dish similar to a pot pie has been a UP staple since the 1840s. 

While you might not have heard of Munising, MI, it is time to put this small town on your summer vacation bucket list. 

Written by Dan | Nomads in Nature

Chicago 

Chicago is one of the best cities in the US for a summer vacation. Some outdoor activities in Chicago can only be experienced in the summer, including free concerts and movies in the park and free fireworks twice a week. Every summer weekend, there are numerous food, music, art festivals and other outdoor events taking place.

The lakefront trail along Lake Michigan is full of locals and visitors walking, jogging, biking or just hanging out. A lake cruise is a great way to take in skyline views while enjoying the cool breeze on the water. Chicago has many miles of beaches along the lake that are open for swimming only in the summer.

The Chicago Riverwalk, a pedestrian walkway in the middle of the city along the Chicago River, is a great place to experience in the summer. The Riverwalk has many restaurants and spots to sit and relax while watching all the people, boats, and other river activity.

Chicago
Chicago

An architecture river cruise is one of the best ways to see Chicago while learning about the history of the city. Visitors on the budget can enjoy similar views as a river cruise (without the expert commentary) by hopping on a water taxi.

Summer is a great time to visit Chicago’s top outdoor attractions including Millennium Park and Navy Pier while enjoying the sun and warm temperatures.

More fun things to do in Chicago in the summer include exploring street art, going to baseball games, shopping at farmers markets, splashing in public fountains, kayaking in the river and lake, riding a bike along the lakefront and other trails, or just exploring Chicago’s many unique neighborhoods. It is the best season to dine outside at Chicago’s many patios and rooftop restaurants.

Written by Patti | The Savvy Globetrotter

San Diego

San Diego is the perfect summer vacation destination no matter what your interests are. If you are someone who likes adventure there are endless outdoor and water sports activities to try.

On the other hand, if you are looking to take it easy San Diego also has tons of great beaches, coffee shops, restaurants, and low-key activities for you as well.

La Jolla is the perfect base for any type of itinerary you are planning. It’s located right on the coastline and is known for its rugged sea cliffs. Even though La Jolla is known as one of the ritzier neighborhoods there are hotels for any budget, many of which are within walking distance of the beach!

La Jolla tide pools
La Jolla tide pools

Some of the best things to do in La Jolla include relaxing at La Jolla Shores Beach, visiting the La Jolla tide pools, hiking Torrey Pines State Park for sunset, or seeing the seals at the La Jolla Cove Cave. La Jolla Cove is also the perfect place for kayaking, snorkeling, and surfing! You can book the adventure of your choice through Everyday California.

No trip to San Diego would be complete without a visit to SeaWorld or the San Diego Zoo. From La Jolla, you’re only looking at a 20-minute drive to either one. If you get through these activities want to explore other parts of San Diego you can explore North County, Point Loma, North Park, East County, and of course, downtown San Diego to wrap up your picture-perfect summer vacation in USA!

Written by Chelsey | Chelsey Explores

Summer Beach Vacation

Relax a little, you deserve it with this summer beach vacations:

Virginia Beach

If you’re looking for the best summer vacation in USA, Virginia Beach comes highly recommended. During the summer, families, couples, and solo travelers alike head to Virginia Beach for entertainment and relaxation. With over 35 miles of accessible beach, what’s not to love!

If you’re looking for easy access to the water, you’ll want to stay at the Oceanfront. There are tons of hotels to choose from and for all price ranges. The most iconic, and luxurious, hotel is easily The Cavalier located on the main strip—Atlantic Ave. The Cavalier offers ocean views, easy access to the beach, pools, hot tubs, a restaurant, Beach club, and spa.

The Virginia Beach Oceanfront also offers parasailing, fishing, dolphin tours, surfing, shopping, mini golf, a fun park, the Creative ViBE District, and a plethora of restaurants and bars. If you’re looking to get out into nature, check out First Landing State Park which offers boating, hiking, kayaking, birdwatching, camping, and more.

Virginia Beach will be a great Summer Vacation in USA
Virginia Beach

Looking for a place to take the kids? Drive about 5 minutes away from the ocean and you’ll find yourself at Ocean Breeze Water Park! They have a large wave pool, tons of waterslides, and other activities for the little ones. But if you’ve had enough of the water, take the kids to Motor World!—right down the street from Ocean Breeze. Enjoy races tracks, bumper cars, and mini golf!

Venture away from the Oceanfront and you’ll still find plenty more to do. Head over to the Virginia Beach Town Center and you’ll find more dining and shopping options along with the Sandler Center for Performing Arts. Just a few minutes’ drive from Town Center you’ll find Top Golf as well as a rock-climbing gym!

With all the things to do and see in Virginia Beach, you and your family won’t be disappointed this summer!

Written by Alex | Wander with Alex

North Fork, Lond Island

The North Fork is located on the northern stretch of the easternmost part of Long Island, New York. Located 90 miles east of New York City, the North Fork spans from Baiting Hollow all the way out to Orient Point. From Orient Point, visitors may wish to take the ferry and spend a few days in New England.

This year-round vacation destination is home to around 50 wineries and vineyards, bucolic scenery, local family-owned restaurants, antique shops, and boutiques. 

The best time to visit the North Fork is in June or from September-October when the bounty of the seasons is at its peak.

In June visitors can attend the Mattituck Strawberry Festival, a weekend-long celebration. During the months of September and October you can visit all of the pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and be a part of the fall harvest celebrations. During these months, visitors can still split their time at the beach and visit the charming shops and farm stands dotted across the North Fork that may only be open during the high season or through Columbus Day weekend. Though August is one of the busiest months to visit the North Fork, it is well worth a trip to the Lavender Farms and to see the sunflowers in full bloom. 

Some noteworthy farm stands to visit include Ty Llwyd Farm in Riverhead, Sang Lee Farms in Peconic, and Sep’s Farm further east in East Marion.

The wide range of produce and locally produced goods sold at these farm stands is unbeatable. Everything sold is fresh and most of what is sold comes straight from their farm or from another local purveyor on the North Fork. 

Seascape with Orient Point Lighthouse in Long Island, New York. Orient is the eastern-most town on Long Island's picturesque North Fork.
Seascape with Orient Point Lighthouse in Long Island, New York. Orient is the eastern-most town on Long Island’s picturesque North Fork.

Popular spring, summer and early fall activities for couples and families of all ages on the North Fork include fishing, sailing, hiking, bike tours, farm excursions, and winery tours. Many of the wineries across the North Fork have live music, food trucks parked there on the weekends, and many more onsite activities and events that the whole family can enjoy.

Macari Vineyards in Mattituck and Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, for example, are great places to visit that offer live music on a regular basis. In addition, sailing around the Orient Point Lighthouse is a fun excursion. 

Not a fan of wine? The North Fork is also home to several craft breweries and distilleries, many of which are located in Baiting Hollow, Riverhead, and Greenport. Some of the most popular ones include the Riverhead Ciderhouse, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Twin Stills Moonshine, and Long Island Spirits. 

The North Fork is home to several noteworthy restaurants that are beloved by locals and visitors alike. Just a few of these restaurants to note that everyone must visit include Star Confectionery for breakfast and lunch in Riverhead (been in business since the 1920s), First and South in Greenport for lunch and dinner, brunch at Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck, and dinner at Touch Venice in Cutchogue. 

The North Fork is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway, though mid-week prices are considerably less expensive.

Hotels to consider include The Preston House & Hotel in Riverhead directly across the street from the Long Island Aquarium, Sound View Greenport that overlooks the Long Island Sound, and The Coffey House Bed and Breakfast just down the street from Lavender By the Bay in East Marion. 

Written by Vanessa | East End Taste Magazine

Related post: Things to do in New York City

Malibu, California

Malibu, California is one of the best summer vacation in the USA for so many reasons! Perfect weather, gorgeous beaches, stunning mountains, water activities, hiking, and wine tasting to name more than a few of them.

Situated on a beautiful stretch of coastline with the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Santa Monica Mountains to the North, Malibu’s climate is much cooler than most of LA county. While inland temperatures can reach in the 100’s on a summer day, Malibu will usually hover in the 80’s with very low humidity. 

Spend some time at Malibu’s longest beach, Zuma, where you’ll find trucks with kayak and stand-up-paddle rentals. These waters have a high dolphin population, so keep an eye out. If you see a fin, it’s much more likely a dolphin than shark. You may also see seals frolicking and pelicans flying.

Malibu
Malibu

Visit the nearby Serra Retreat, which still houses Franciscan Friars for stunning views of the Malibu Coast and mansions. One of the old mansions, the Adamson House is now a California Historical Landmark and can be toured at the Malibu Lagoon State Beach near the Malibu Pier.

You can walk on the pier which is home to two of Malibu’s best restaurants. Other than those eateries, the majority of Malibu’s restaurants can be found at the Malibu County Mart and the center across the street from it.

If you’re thirst exceeds your hunger, consider a drive through the mountains for some Malibu wine tasting. It is a small appellation, but home to some excellent wines and scenery. There are also lots of trails in this picturesque area; Malibu Creek State Park is a great place to start.

Written by Denise | Chef Denise

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Outer Banks

One of the best summer vacation spots in the USA is the breathtaking Outer Banks in North Carolina. 

The barrier islands stretch over 175 miles and are one of the best destinations for beach lovers. The breathtaking beaches span the islands, meaning there are plenty of places to spread out and relax.

Don’t forget to wake up early for a breathtaking sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. The Outer Banks is home to five lighthouses to visit – from the Hatteras Lighthouse at the southern tip to the Corolla lighthouse in the north.

History lovers should visit the Wright Brothers Memorial to learn all about how flight came to be and why they chose Kill Devils Hill in the Outer Banks to make it happen. 

Outer Banks is a beautiful place to watch sunsets, making this a top summer vacation in USA
Outer Banks

At the northern end, the town of Corolla is a hidden gem in the Outer Banks. There are plenty of things to do in Corolla for everyone.

Nature lovers can have a chance to see the wild horses of the Outer Banks right along the beach! Jet ski tours are available with Corolla Water Sports on the bay for a unique way of seeing the area while getting your heart racing.

The Historic Corolla Park is worth a day visit when you need a break from the beach. The Corolla Lighthouse provides beautiful panoramic views while the nearby Whalehead Club gives a look at the Outer Banks through the decades. The new Maritime Museum is all about how the water is such an important part of life on the barrier islands. 

The Surf Side Hotel, located in Nags Head right across the bridge, is a great place to explore the barrier islands as it’s located almost in the middle of everything.

Written by Pamela | The Directionally Challenged Traveller

Newport, RI

Newport, Rhode Island, is a beautiful place for a summer vacation because it offers the perfect blend of activities and balmy weather all summer long. 

One of the best things to do during the summer in Newport is to spend some time lounging at the beach! You can visit First Beach (Easton Beach), the most popular beach in Newport, for an upbeat crowd, or lesser-known beaches, like Second Beach and Third Beach, for a quieter atmosphere. 

If you’re looking for another fun activity to enjoy on the water, book a sailing excursion from Newport Harbor to enjoy the wind, sunshine, and waves on a boat ride! Or, if you’re looking to admire the ocean from afar, take a stroll along the Cliff Walk—a scenic walking and hiking trail that spans the city’s beautiful coast along the Atlantic Ocean. 

Newport, RI
Newport, RI

If you’re looking to escape the heat, spend some time touring the Newport Mansions, a collection of historic homes available to tour. The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House are three of the most famous mansions in Newport that you can’t miss the chance to visit during your summer vacation.  

When you’re not exploring the city, consider staying in one of the best luxury hotels in Newport, Rhode Island, so that you can relax and unwind. The swimming pools at Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina and The Wayfinder Hotel are perfect for a summer vacation!

Written by Brittany | Travel by Brit

Miami 

While Miami is one of the most popular places to visit in the USA, it is so due to a reason. Miami not only has excellent beaches but there’s something for everyone here, no matter the type of traveller you are.

The best way to get to Miami is to fly to Miami international airport, which is well connected to most places around the world. Once here, it takes about 45 minutes to get to South Beach. You can also make use of the shuttle that runs between the airport and the city if you haven’t sorted transportation.

There are lots to do when in Miami so make sure you at least spend 2 days in Miami.

Miami Beach one of the best summer vacations in USA
Miami Beach

Wynwood walls are great to visit due to the restoration of the area and the colourful murals, sometimes with social messages that occupy most of the walls here. The Art Deco architecture is worth checking out in Miami as it is equally colourful and fun.

Little Havan helps you get a look into the Cuban culture that is part of Miami and when here make sure to spend time in one of the pubs, grab a Cuban cigar and enjoy some authentic Cuban food here. Everglades national park is worth a visit if you’re spending a couple of days here.

Written by Lavina | Continent Hop

Door County

Door County shines bright in summers. There is no second thought to the fact that it is among the top destinations for a summer vacation in USA. The sun is warm, the water and the sand are perfect to spend the time at the shore and the breeze from the lake is the right balance to the heat. It all becomes lively when an al fresco dinner, live music, flower, and cherry blossoms come together.

During summer, Door County becomes charming and lively and offers a lot of fun things to do. Travelers can start with picking their own cherries and filling a bucket at a berries farm like Lautenbach’s Orchard. Make sure to pick the special cherry products on your way back from the farm markets.

It is better to check the cherry blossom report to go out on the right weekend. The next must-have thing to do is experience the sunrise and catch a good breakfast.

After that, you can visit Al Johnson’s to get an iconic goats-on-roof photograph. Explore the top biking routes by renting a bike.

Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan

It will let you discover more unexplored parts of Door County. For an added adventure, you can take a ferry to Washinton Island and then take a self-guided biking tour.

The most obvious part of visiting Door County in summer is to explore the beaches. Do not miss out on spending a day of swimming at one of the Door County beaches. There are more than 50 beaches including Egg Harbour beach and Ellison Bluff County Park. Do explore the Peninsula State Park as it offers a bunch of facilities including a golf course, outdoor theatre, a nature center, and even more.

For a wonderful stay, you can choose Westwood Shores Waterfront Resort, which offers great views and is among the best resorts in Door County. 

Written by Paulina | Paulina On The Road

Cape Cod, MA

With over 500 miles of coastline to explore, and 15 beautiful New England towns to visit, Cape Cod is the ultimate East Coast summer destination. The region is home to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which includes some of the top beaches in the U.S., and is a must-see when visiting. Three of the best beaches on the National Seashore are Race Point Beach, Coast Guard Beach and Marconi Beach, and a sunset at Race Point is the perfect way to end your beach day on Cape Cod.

If it’s shopping and quaint Main Streets you’re looking for, visiting Chatham, MA should be at the top of your list. Known as one of the most charming towns on Cape Cod, sidewalks and front yards are laced with blue and pink hydrangeas in July, and a stroll along Shore Rd will give you a glimpse at the beautiful ocean-front mansions.

Main Street in Chatham has the best for shopping with everything from souvenir shops, to penny candy stores to beautiful home decor and gift boutiques, as well as amazing cafes with outdoor, sidewalk seating. 

You can’t leave Cape Cod without getting some fresh seafood. Lobster rolls, lobster dinners, oysters and New England Clam Chowder are famous in this region.

Be sure to grab some Wellfleet oysters from Mac’s Shack right in Wellfleet from local fishermen, and a cup of the best clam chowder at Captain Parker’s Pub in West Yarmouth. 

Madaket Beach on Nantucket
Madaket Beach on Nantucket 

Cape Cod is also home to two islands: Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and both make for amazing days trips from mainland Cape Cod, or final destinations for your vacation.

On Martha’s Vineyard, you can spend your days walking through the grounds of the gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, visiting Gay Head Lighthouse and the red cliffs at Aquinnah and shopping in downtown Edgartown.

On Nantucket, you can boogie-board the waves at Madaket Beach, walk the cobblestone streets of the historic district and visit Brant Point Lighthouse after grabbing an ice cream at The Juice Bar.

Where to Stay on Cape Cod

If you’re looking for a luxury hotel, The Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham will have everything you need, including beach access with private cabanas, luxury accommodations and four on-site restaurants. The hotel is also walkable to downtown Chatham, and directly across the street from an ocean beach.

For moderate budgets, The Winstead Inn & Beach Resort is located right on an ocean beach, and offers homey, New England-style rooms, complimentary breakfast and is also walkable to the Harwich Port town center.

Written by Sam | New England Wanderlust

Family fun Summer vacations

Take the kids away for an all time family vacation:

Sanibel

While most people think of Florida as a winter vacation destination, the island of Sanibel is a relaxing spot for a lazy summer vacation in USA.  During the summer, the snowbirds are gone, and it is more of a haven for families wanting to relax.

There are miles of sandy beaches with gorgeous shells to collect. After all, Sanibel is known as the seashell capital of the world. Children will have hours of fun digging for sea creatures in the sand. You are sure to find tiny crabs popping out of their holes to spy on you.

To get to Sanibel, you can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. Sanibel is about a 50 minute drive from the airport.  There are tons of beachfront condos that are perfect for families. You can pick up groceries in Fort Myers before entering the island. This way you are free to spend more time on the beach. 

Family fun summer vacation at Sanibel
Family fun summer vacation at Sanibel

We stayed in the Sundial Beach Resort, which is the home of Sanibel Sea School.  Half day or full day classes are available to keep kids busy so mom and dad can enjoy time at the tiki bar.  Make sure you apply sunscreen and send your children with an eco-friendly water bottle as they will be outside for hands-on learning part of the time. They can learn about jellyfish, sharks, and many more of their favorite creatures.

This is my favorite beach for family vacations because it has activities for all ages. Staying on the beach makes it easy to head inside for younger kids’ naps. Due to the Gulf influence, the waters are calmer than the ocean so older kids can try paddle boarding or kayaking. We usually rent equipment for the week and have it delivered right to our condo. Then when you get tired of surf and sand, you can take a dip in the pool.

Written by Donna | Explore the Road with Donna Marie

Summer Vacation to a National Park in USA

Get out of the city and explore these awesome national parks on your summer vacation in USA:

Shenandoah National Park

If you want to escape the heat and enjoy beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains then Shenandoah National Park is one of the best summer vacations in the USA.

It’s a great escape to nature and one of the most beautiful national parks on the east coast. There are tons of hiking trails where you may see deer, turkey, and other animals. The temperature is always cooler up in the mountains too!

Some of the best hikes in Shenandoah National Park include Stony Man, Blackrock Summit, and Hawksbill Summit. Many of the waterfalls will only be trickles in the summer unless there has been recent rain.

If it has rained recently then make sure to hike Doyles River Falls and Dark Hollow Falls.

Summer is also a great time to kayak at Shenandoah River State Park just outside the northernmost entrance to the National Park near Front Royal.

The views from Shenandoah National Park is a great summer vacation in USA
The views from Shenandoah National Park

The small towns nearby are also worth exploring like Luray, Elkton, and Sperryville. Make sure to visit Luray Caverns which are the largest caverns in the eastern US.

There are tons of breweries and wineries near Shenandoah as well. A few favorites are Elkton Brewing, Blue Mountain Brewery, and Cave Hill Farms Brewery.

There are four campgrounds plus one group campground if you like to camp. You can also stay at Big Meadows Lodge or Skyland Resort inside the park.

Staying inside the park means you can sleep in a little later and still get an early start. Summer is a busy season for the park so you’ll want to hit the trail early to miss the crowds.

Getting out early also means you’ll be more likely to spot some animals!

Written by Anna | Stuck On the Go

Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks

A trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah is a great summer vacation in USA. The parks are less than two hours apart, so it’s easy to see both on the same trip. 

Zion National Park is centered around Zion Canyon. There are several legendary hikes to do there.

The most popular hike in the park is Angels Landing.  The last 0.5 miles of the trail involves walking along a narrow ridge, with steep drop offs on both sides. There is a chain to hold on to, but it’s not for the faint-hearted!

The reward at the end is a stunning view down the canyon. Permits are required for this hike in summer, so you’ll need to plan ahead. The Narrows hike involved wading along the Virgin River in a narrow slot canyon, at times only a few yards wide and over a thousand feet high!

It’s a unique experience you’ll love. An easier, but also wonderful, hike is the Watchman Trail, taking you around the base of the Watchman Tower to more lovely views. 

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon looks completely different. The national park has the largest concentration of hoodoos (sandstone pillars) in the world, and they are a breathtaking sight.

You can see the main Bryce Amphitheater from famous viewpoints including Inspiration Point and Sunrise and Sunset Points, hiking along the rim trail between them. Or head down into the canyon and see the hoodoos up close. The most popular trail is the Queen’s Garden – Navajo Loop trail.  

There is a lodge and 2 campgrounds inside each of the parks, but most people stay nearby.

Springdale is just outside Zion’ main entrance. A good option there is Flanigan’s Inn. Bryce Canyon City is just outside Bryce Canyon’s main entrance. The most popular place to stay is Ruby’s Inn, Campground and RV Park. 

Both national parks have free shuttle services. In Zion it’s mandatory, and in Bryce Canyon it’s optional, but recommended.  

Written by James Ian | Parks Collecting  

Redwood National Park

Redwood National and State Parks is a system of 4 redwood parks and is one of the most beautiful summer destinations to visit in the United States.

Established in 1968, this park system has been a favorite go-to for its majestic redwood trees. But there’s more than that. People from all over the world visit this wonderful region because of its rich natural beauty and amazing features which are worth seeing.

The park features a wide variety of flora and fauna including coast redwoods which are known for their height, size and beauty and famous for their age as well. The forest also houses some rare animals like Roosevelt elk, foxes, black-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, bobcats and many others.

Redwood National Park, great little walk during your summer vacation in USA
Redwood National Park

The visitor can explore the Redwood National and State Parks by foot or by car. The scenic drive through this place offers you an excellent opportunity to watch some of the rarest trees in the world at close range, while you cruise along with your car window rolled down.

You can also hike through the trails of this amazing park to explore every corner of it. Plan to check out the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Loop Trail, the Fern Canyon Loop Trail and the Trillium Falls Trail.

This park has plenty of campsites, and you can camp while enjoying the finest views of redwood groves from your campsite. There are also campsites outside the park and other lodging options near the park. We recommend staying at the Historic Requa Inn. Located in the sleepy village of Klamath, Requa Inn is a 3-star hotel that provides the comfort of home with scenic views of the Klamath River and the redwoods. 

Written by Rasika | Bae Area and Beyond

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Moab, Utah

If you’re looking for the best summer vacation in the USA, look no further than Moab, Utah. With amazing scenic views, high-adventure activities and hiking options, there’s so much to do in Moab.

First, Moab is situated right near two amazing National Parks and one State Park. Spending time in all 3 plus the Colorado River, Ken’s Lake, local wineries, hidden waterfalls – the list goes on.

There’s many things to do and places to stay in Moab. You’ll have the choice from plush hotels with lots of amenities – like pools – or from smaller campgrounds hosting those looking to save a little cash. Be sure to check out the food truck park for the best places to eat in Moab.

Moab
Moab

One of the best things to do in the area is to visit Arches National Park. With stunning scenery and unbelievable landscapes, you’ll think you were on another planet. If you’re up for a good workout, seeing Delicate Arch is on many National Parks bucket lists. The 3 mile uphill hike will result in seeing the world’s most recognized arch up close.

Observe how nature defies the laws of gravity by checking out the longest arch in the park – one that truly doesn’t make sense to still be standing – Landscape Arch. Or climb inside the massive Double Arch in the windows section of the park. Whether you have one day in Arches National Park or a week to explore, it’s a fun summer destination!

Written by Nikki | She Saves She Travels

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Sawtooth Mountains

The Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho are an outdoor lover’s paradise and a great place to spend a summer vacation in USA. The area features relatively cool summer temperatures, jagged rocky peaks, over 400 stunning lakes and above all, fewer summer crowds than you will find in most U.S. National Parks. 

The Sawtooth Mountains offer a huge selection of incredible hikes, ranging in difficulty from family friendly strolls to long, challenging backpacking trips. The hike to Alice Lake is a personal favorite, with crystal clear blue waters and a backdrop of the Sawtooth’s El Capitan, a distinctive peak with a rock face that slightly resembles it’s more famous namesake in Yosemite.  

In addition to hiking, the Sawtooth Mountains offer a variety of other outdoor activities, including camping, rock climbing, fly fishing, canoeing, kayaking on Salmon River, mountain biking, and more!

Stanley, Idaho
Stanley, Idaho

Furthermore, you can unwind from a busy day of hiking and exploring in one the area’s numerous natural hot springs, with unrivaled mountain views. 

The best place to stay while visiting the Sawtooth Mountains is the charming small town of Stanley, Idaho. Stanley has a variety of lodging and hotel options, restaurants, a few shops and all the necessities you need for your stay!

Alternatively, spend a night under the stars and go camping in the Sawtooth National Forest, which offers both established campgrounds and dispersed camping options. One of our favorite spots to camp is at the Pettit Lake Campground, located right on the lake and close to the trailhead for several awesome hikes!

Written by  Sarah & Matt | Two Outliers

Great Smoky Mountains

A trip to the Great Smoky Mountains during summer is always a good idea. Spread across an area of more than 800 square miles in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, the region is renowned for its diversity of plant and animal species.

The summer months are a great time to view this rich diversity and its surrounding beauty as the temperatures rise to a level that is conducive to all-round exploring.

The beauty is unmatched at this time of the year with the trees and wildflowers in full bloom. The natural and man-made attractions are a delight to those that love the outdoors.

Great Smoky Mountain is a popular summer vacation idea in USA
Great Smoky Mountain

Popular activities in the summer include biking in Cades Cove, white water rafting, chasing waterfalls, and river tubing. No visit is complete without seeing Clingmans Dome Observation Tower, Mount LeConte, Fontana Lake, and the Sugarlands.

The park also offers miles of scenic trails and hiking is a popular activity in the summer. The Great Smoky Mountains are, without doubt, one of the best places to visit in USA and should not be missed.

Fortunately, getting here is easy enough with the closest airport found in the nearby town of McGee-Tyson.

Written by Rai | A Rai of Light

Olympic National Park

One of the best places to visit in the Summer is Olympic National Park. This national park has it all. Mountains, rainforests, lakes, beaches, rivers, and waterfalls. It has everything any adventure lover needs, and it is best to explore it in the Summer when the weather is outstanding. Less rain and more sunshine! One of the best places to stay near the park is Olympic Lodge, located in Port Angeles, near many of the best attractions in the park. 

One of the best things to do is to check out Hurricane Ridge. This area is located near the town of Port Angeles, and there are many trails nearby, like Hurricane Hill and Klahhane Ridge. But you don’t need to hike to enjoy the breathing mountains in the area, and just drive up to Hurricane Ridge park and enjoy the stunning views. 

Olympic Nation Park
Olympic Nation Park

Another great thing to do is to hike to Sol Duc Falls. This is a family-friendly, easy hike with an outstanding waterfall. You can also hike to Mount Storm King, a more strenuous hike, or Marymere Falls, located nearby. Marymere Falls is another easy, family-friendly waterfall hike. 

Written by Michelle | The Wandering Queen

Mount Rainier 

Established in 1899 and encompassing an area of 369 square miles, Mount Rainier National Park is a great option for a summer vacation in USA.

Mount Rainier is an active volcano in Washington state, and is the state’s highest mountain. It offers visitors many opportunities to enjoy and experience nature.

Reaching up to 14,000 feet at its highest point, Mount Rainier is a popular place for hikers and mountaineers. While there are plenty of long Mount Rainier hikes, including the 93 mile long Wonderland Trail, which circumnavigates the mountain, there are also a good number of short easy hikes.

Some popular trails at Mount Rainier National Park include the Skyline Loop Trail (6.2 miles), the Tolmie Peak Trail (5.6 miles), and the Naches Peak Loop Trail (3.3 miles).

Besides hiking and climbing, visitors can also enjoy activities like bicycling, as well as fishing and boating.

Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier

The best time of year to visit Mount Rainier National Park is between the months of July and September. This is when the temperatures are the warmest.

In terms of places to stay at Mount Rainier National Park, visitors have several options. The two lodges at Mount Rainier National Park are Paradise Inn and National Park Inn. However, visitors can also opt to camp at the following campgrounds: Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, and White River.

Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park costs $30 per vehicle, which allows entrance for all its passengers. If you’re walking up or bicycling to Mount Rainier National Park, the entrance fee is $15 per person.

Mount Rainier National Park is a beautiful place to experience the wonders of nature. No matter what you choose to do in Mount Rainier National Park, you’re sure to have an amazing summer vacation.

Written by Astrid | The Wandering Daughter

Summer Road Trip Vacations in USA

You can’t get better than an all American road trip for your summer vacation in USA:

Oregon Coast

Nothing can quite beat the nostalgia and beauty of an Oregon Coast road trip for your summer vacation in USA. Whilst the kids may not get the significance of the wonderful sites of Astoria and the Goonies, I bet anyone born before 1990 will know exactly that breath-taking moment you see Haystack Rock!

With 360 miles to explore, the Oregon Coast is the outdoor lover’s paradise with some of the country’s best coastal trails and dramatic beaches. Starting from the north and Fort Stevens State Park, some of the most interesting coastal hiking spots can be found between Cannon Beach and Manzanita, Hug Point State Recreation Site and Oswald State Park are favorites – just watch your tides!

Further along the coast, enjoy the spectacular rock formations of Thor’s Well and Devil’s Punchbowl. The Sea Lion Caves north of Florence is also a huge drawcard to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. Further south again, try sandboarding or jump in an OHV to experience Oregon Dunes National Recreation Reserve.

The Oregon Coast is definitely a trip best tackled in small stages to fully appreciate the grandeur and raw beauty. There are so many beautiful towns along the Oregon Coast, plan out where you will make overnight stops at (or find somewhere secluded and settle in for a week!).

Oregon Coast on your summer Vacation in USA
Oregon Coast on your Summer Vacation in USA

Remember there are always plenty of roadside stops and trails to tackle along Highway 101, so don’t pack too many miles of driving into one day.

A great central point to base yourself on the coast is Newport. South Beach State Park is a very popular summer coastal vacation spot for families.

Remember if you will be camping in the summer, advance reservations are a must. The most popular state park spots book out months in advance. You will find a lot more options if you are looking for Aribnb or VRBO rental properties, many along your very own strip of sandy white beach!

If you are coming from a hot climate, you’ll undoubtedly find the Oregon Coast a wonderfully mild summer escape. The sun shines brightly, but don’t forget about the ever-present Pacific Ocean winds, always bring layers, and don’t expect to be doing too much ocean swimming! It is the Pacific North West, after all!

Written by Keri | Our Globetrotters

Alaska

If you are looking for a bucket list summer destination, you should consider an Alaska Road trip. The last frontier State is huge, and it offers amazing things to do all year long, but during summertime is when the magic really happens. 

From mid-May through mid-September the days in Alaska are long, the temperatures are pleasant, and the road are open for you to explore it. The summer months bring over 20 hours of daylight. 

There is always something to explore in Alaska in summer time. Alaska is a place where travel itineraries are dictated by nature, not by a list of attractions that must be checked off. Fishing, hiking, biking, boating, and glacier peeping top itineraries while umbrella dotted beaches, towering cathedrals, and bustling city squares are nowhere to be found. Here you can find an adventure for any age or taste.  

Alaskan Road Trip
Alaskan Road Trip

One of the best things to do in Alaska during summer time is to visit the Denali National Park. The park is a few hours from Anchorage and has only one road, a 92-mile stretch that’s open to visitors from mid-May to mid-September.

The park is home to North America’s highest peak, Denali, which has an elevation of more than 20,000 feet. The six-million-acre park is larger than the state of New Hampshire and about 16 percent of it is covered in glaciers. 

You can find several accommodations options along your road trip, for all budgets. You just plan what towns you will stop, and make reservations ahead of the time. The accommodations go fast during summer time, as it is the most popular time of the year to visit Alaska. 

Written by Paula | Paula Pins the Planet

Kenai Peninsula

The Kenai Peninsula in Alaska is the perfect summer destination in the USA and is the best time to visit the area. The peninsula is easy to reach from Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska.

The main reason to visit is for the epic outdoor activities you can do there in summer. These include hiking in the national parks, trekking up to glaciers, kayaking to remote forested areas for hiking, and generally getting out into nature.

The summer in Alaska is also the salmon run season and if you like fishing then this is the ultimate time to visit for that. And the salmon bring bears, of which there are countless numbers along the rivers during this time to see.

Kenai Peninsula
Kenai Peninsula

There are plenty of tourist facilities on the Peninsula as many people visit so finding a hotel is easy, although you should book ahead to be sure of a place in summer. Another option highly recommended is to go camping or rent a camper-van in Anchorage for your time there.

The two main towns to visit are Seward and Homer, each of which can be used as a base to explore the nearby nature. Homer is the more relaxed of the two and is famous for its halibut fish. A great place to try the halibut is at seafood restaurants on the Homer Spit.

Written by Jonny | Backpacking Man

Conclusion

We have included a wide variety of vacation ideas for your summer getaway in the USA. 

Enjoy a relaxing break, a fun packed family holiday, a city break, whatever your style of summer vacations, we hope to have covered them all. 

We are looking forward to our summer holidays, are you? 

Where do you plan to go this summer? Do you have any recommendations? Have you visited any of these places? Let us know, with a comment below. 

Don’t forget to pin this for later! 

Best Summer Vacation Ideas in USA
Best Summer Vacation Ideas in USA
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