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

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

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Best Summer Vacations in the USA

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

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

1. New York City

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

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

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

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

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

2. Napa Valley

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

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

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

Where to Stay: The Estate Yountville.

3. Las Vegas

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

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

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

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

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

4. Bryce Canyon National Park

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Brian Head Lodge.

5. Outer Banks

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Check out Island Motel OBX.

6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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

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

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

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

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

7. Chicago

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

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

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

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

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

8. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Club Wyndham Kingsgate.

9. Boston

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: The Newbury Boston.

10. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: The Lodge at Snowbird.

11. Galveston

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Virginia Point INN.

12. Miami

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

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

Insider Tip: Sign up for hurricane and weather alerts.

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

13. Atlantic City

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay:

14. Lewes, Delaware

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

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

Insider Tip: Check out Lewes’ breweries.

Where to Stay: Home2Suites by Hilton Lewes Rehoboth Beach.

15. Olympic National Park

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Pacific Inn Motel.

16. Grand Teton National Park

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: The Virginian Lodge.

17. Orlando

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

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

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

Insider Tip: Research passes and theme park discounts.

Where to Stay: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort.

18. San Francisco

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

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

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

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

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

19. Glacier National Park

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

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

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

Insider Tip: Bring bear spray – enough said.

Where to Stay: Moss Mountain Inn.

20. Zion National Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Alila Ventana Big Sur.

22. San Diego

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

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

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

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

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

23. Grand Canyon National Park

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

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

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

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

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

24. Rocky Mountain National Park

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Blue Door Inn.

25. Yosemite National Park

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

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

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

Insider Tip: Visit on a weekday for fewer crowds.

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

26. Yellowstone National Park

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

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

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

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

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

27. Acadia National Park

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay: Bar Harbor Manor.

Best Places to Visit in Summer: FAQs

27 Best Places To Visit In Summer In The USA (2024 Vacation Ideas For Everyone) (41)

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

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

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

Which place is best to visit in summer?

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

Where is the best place for summer vacation?

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

What is the best country to visit in summer?

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

Where is the cheapest place to go in the summer?

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

Why You Should Visit The USA in Summer

27 Best Places To Visit In Summer In The USA (2024 Vacation Ideas For Everyone) (42)

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

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

Plan Your Next Summer Vacation With These Resources

  • 27 Best Places to Visit in March USA
  • 28 Best Romantic Getaways in the USA
  • 50 Best Places to Visit in the USA
  • 27 Best National Parks in the USA To Visit
  • 28 Best Beaches in the USA
  • 21 Best All-inclusive Resorts in the USA
27 Best Places To Visit In Summer In The USA (2024 Vacation Ideas For Everyone) (2024)


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

1. Orlando, FL: Known for its world-famous theme parks like Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, Orlando is a top travel destination in the US .

What is the number one vacation spot in the US? ›

1. Orlando, FL: Known for its world-famous theme parks like Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, Orlando is a top travel destination in the US .

Where is the coolest place in the US during summer? ›

The Pacific Northwest and Northern California are ideal for visitors seeking cooler summer temperatures, thanks to the moderating effects of the Pacific Ocean, climate patterns like La Niña, and the region's mountainous terrain.

What is the #1 most visited place in the US? ›

The #1 tourist spot in the US is Times Square in New York City. Some key details: * Times Square is one of the most visited places in the world, attracting over 50 million visitors annually.

What state has the most to do for vacation? ›

At the top of the list is California, which had an overall score of 64.56, and ranked first in entertainment and recreation and fourth in nightlife.

Which is the best state to visit in July? ›

Some of the best places to visit in July in India for a memorable vacation are Ladakh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, and Kerala. These places offer an amazing experience to travelers during the monsoon season.

Is it cheaper to travel in July or August? ›

Aug 4 The entire month of August is a better priced month for summer flights, relative to June and July.

What is the coolest city in the US in July? ›

Seattle. With an average July temperature of 66.5 degrees, Seattle ranks as one of the nation's coolest cities in midsummer. Seattle sits on the same chilly swath of the Pacific Coast as San Francisco, but about 800 miles farther north.

What is the #1 place to vacation in the US? ›

1. Orlando, Florida. As the theme park capital of the world, it's no surprise that Orlando is a top destination for families. In addition to Walt Disney World, the city boasts several other theme parks, including Universal Orlando Resort, Fun Spot America Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida.

What is the best state to visit in summer? ›

Florida can be hot and humid during the summer months but with an abundance of water parks, beaches, and other options to cool down, it's officially the best state to visit for a vacation right now. Tor has been writing for more than 20 years and has visited 25 countries (and counting!)

Where do the rich vacation in USA? ›

The top three seasonal vacation hotspots of the ultra-rich are found in the United States: Miami, the Hamptons, and Florida's West Palm Beach.


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