Summer is—believe it or not—almost at our doorstep, and so is the surge of wanderlust that goes along with it. If you’re currently planning a getaway, the sheer breadth of options can be overwhelming, particularly when it comes to international travel and the careful planning required beforehand. Not every prime summer destination, however, has to include a flight overseas. Some of the most beautiful spots to enjoy the season can be experienced stateside. From coast to coast, there are vacations of every type to enjoy, whether you prefer warm beaches, natural wonderlands, or cityscapes. Here we’ve handpicked stateside travel spots that only grow more beautiful in the summertime. Keep reading for six of the best places to visit in the U.S. during the summer.
Sprawling Art Deco architecture mingles with bayside views for a landscape unique to San Francisco. While the city is always a beautiful destination, SF gets even more idyllic during the summer when temperatures are just warm enough. Spend an afternoon in Golden Gate Park, an outdoorsy alternative to the city. Here you'll find plentiful hiking trails and picnicking spots. San Francisco’s art scene is equally vibrant and worth strolling through on a warm afternoon. Visit the de Young Museum or the recently reopened Museum of Modern Art.
Seattle has a reputation for its sleepy, overcast weather, but it all changes during the summer. Temperatures are mild, the sun is out, and summer activities are plentiful. Madison Park has some of the warmest waters around Seattle, and Green Lake Park is a great spot for boating, hiking, or holding a barbecue with the family. For music lovers, plan your trip over Labor Day weekend when you can go to Bumbershoot, one of Seattle’s largest cultural events.
A summer trip in Chicago means enjoying a drink at one of the city’s many rooftop bars, lazy days at the beach, and music festivals—namely the famous Lollapalooza, which this year takes place August 3 to 6. Start your evening in Chicago off with a drink at Cindy’s, a rooftop bar and restaurant in downtown, and then head to Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria for an authentic taste of deep-dish pizza—a must for any trip to the Windy City.
Beach lovers, look no further: Cape Cod is the summer destination for you. Race Point Beach in Provincetown is one of the area’s go-to spots—it’s not uncommon to spy whales directly from the shore. Another must-see is Nauset Light Beach located directly by Cape Cod’s most famous landmark, Nauset Lighthouse. In the evenings, enjoy downtown Provincetown’s charming sights, particularly on Commercial Street, filled with restaurants, bars, and clubs.
If you’re looking for an otherworldly domestic adventure, Alaska might be the destination for you. There’s no better time to visit the state than summer. The days are long with upward of 19 hours of sunlight so you can make the most of your time here. For a midpoint between wilderness and the city, spend your time in Anchorage. Take a trip through into the wilderness on a scenic train ride with Alaska Railway, which can take you throughout the state. Don’t forget to book a day tour during your stay, like the kind offered through Planet Earth Adventures, which offers everything from glacier to wildlife tours.
Savannah’s picturesque scenery is best enjoyed in the summertime. A walk along the waterfront River Street is filled with shops, restaurants, and all of the little quirks that make this city so unique: iron-gated homes with colorful doors, cobblestone streets, Victorian homes, and rows of oak trees. In the evening, enjoy a sunset at Tybee Island Beach for a relaxed, quiet stroll to the beach’s lighthouse.
Looking for an inexpensive way to enjoy the season? Keep reading for nine things to do in the summer that don't cost a bundle.