Cities, towns, and villages that experience bitter-cold weather in winter are some of the best places to visit in summer. These places come alive with plenty of summer street festivals and activities. The days are longer, warmer, and without the oppressing humidity of the south-east or the high three-digit temperatures of the south-west.
Forget the air-conditioned shopping malls this summer. Let’s take a road trip and explore 10 best summer vacation spots in the US:
1. Skaneateles, New York
Located 23 miles from Syracuse and 254 miles from New York City, Skaneateles is a historic village studded with museums, galleries, restaurants, and antique inns with lake views. Skaneateles is also home to the award-winning Mirbeau Spa.
Some of the summer activities include boating, fishing, hiking, biking and touring the wineries at the Finger Lakes.
Information: 7 Wineries to Visit in the Finger Lakes
2. Bellingham, Washington
Bellingham in Whatcom County WA is located 90 miles north of Seattle and only 50 miles from Vancouver, Canada. It is America’s Raspberry Capital and America’s number one milk producing region. The other fun facts and accolades of Bellingham include – Top Mountain Biking Destination, Best Paddling Town, Best Paddling and Adventure Town, Adventure Town USA and Best Place to Play Year Round.
Summer activities to enjoy in Bellingham:
- Water adventures like fishing, boating, sailing and paddling
- Hiking on mountain trails
- Scenic drives
- Biking at Galbraith and other country roads
- Golfing in one of the 14 local courses
3. Grand Marais, Minnesota
Grand Marais is located 499 miles from Minneapolis and 578 miles from Chicago. It was named as one of the Top 100 Adventure Towns by National Geographic and was the winner of Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town award. Grand Marais is located between the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior.
Hiking, birdwatching, fishing, sailing, sea kayaking and wildlife watching are some of the summer activities in Grand Marais.
Information: Grand Marais
4. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, “The Windy City”, is a popular year-round destination, but the summer months are the best time to visit when the city comes alive with festivals and concerts.
Here is a list of festivals and concerts in Chicago from June to August: Chicago Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago, Square Roots Festival, Lollapalooza, Chicago Air and Water Show, and the Chicago Jazz Festival.
5. Washington DC
Most museums, national monuments, and parks are free to visit in Washington DC. In the summer, the capital city is packed with free and bargain-priced concerts, performances and festivals, making it even cheaper to visit the city.
6. Asheville, North Carolina
When the rest of North Carolina may be experiencing hot and humid summer days, Asheville with its higher elevations is a little cooler and less humid. Asheville is located 129 miles from Charlotte and 208 miles from Atlanta, GA.
Enjoy scenic drives, waterfalls, hikes and the historic Biltmore Estate when visiting Asheville.
7. Monterey CA
Besides the great outdoor adventures and the top class aquarium, Monterey has and is close to some of the top scenic drives in America. Here are six scenic drives recommended by SeeMonterey.com:
A Scenic Drive Through Carmel
Carmel Valley Scenic Drive
River Road Scenic Drive
Old Coast Road
Information: See Monterey
8. Jasper Arkansas
Jasper, AR is located 142 miles from Little Rock, AR and 269 miles from Memphis, TN. It is a scenic small town surrounded by rivers and parks with plenty of outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, caving, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing.
The Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper caters to the whole family’s needs – from horseback riding to rock climbing to moonlight rides. There is something for everyone in the family from sunrise to sunset.
Information: Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
9. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster gives a countryside experience for families looking to vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Families can have a hands-on experience in a family-owned farm where there are opportunities to milk a cow, feed a calf and visit a historic barn. Or take an Amish buggy ride and have an authentic Amish experience.
There are opportunities to learn about homemade ice cream, making pretzels and cheesemaking. It is only 78 miles from Philadelphia.
10. Durango, Colorado
Durango Colorado is one of the best places to go off-roading or four-wheeling in the US. You have the options of easy, moderate, difficult and extreme trails.
Other summer activities to enjoy in Durango: hiking, climbing, cycling, mountain biking, zip lining, backpacking, horseback riding and water sports.