20 Jul 10 Best Summer Destinations in America: Beaches, Bars and Belays
Summer is in full swing, and there’s still plenty of time to hit the road and head out for a great vacation or two. Because, really, when is there a better time to travel the country than summer? From small-town country getaways to full-on outdoor excursions, here are some of the best summer destinations across the country.
Summer is prime-time for biking and hiking, and Crested Butte offers some of the most gorgeous scenery and trails in a state just chock-full of gorgeous scenery and trails. They may call this former coal mining town the Last Great Colorado Ski Town, but it’s just as great in the summer as it is when there is snow on the ground. There’s a small downtown with shopping and dining once you’ve exhausted the scenery.
Mount Rainier looms 14,400 feet over Seattle, the highest mountain in the Cascade Range. And while it’s a beautiful place to check out year-round, it’s much more hospitable come summertime and the snow has melted. Climbing the peak itself is a serious task for only the most advanced climbers, thanks to some of the largest glaciers in the country – but the park has more than enough for hiking, backpacking, camping, to your hearts content. It’s also gorgeous, dotted with pine trees and alpine flowers.
It’s easy to wax poetic about the mountains and rocky beaches of the West Coast, but the East Coast has some pretty cool places, too – like the coast of Maine, with it’s jagged, rocky beaches abutted by heavy forests. (In fact, counting it’s inlets and waterways, Maine has over 3500 miles of coastline). Acadia National Park has over 76 square miles of rugged coastline, forest and even mountains, and is an awesome place to spend a weekend that feels far more remote than it is.
A sleepy little beach town on the Delaware coast, Rehoboth has at least somewhat managed to escape some of the crowds and busyness that plague so many other beach destinations. There’s miles of calm, sandy seashores to explore, loads of outdoor activities to partake in, and tons of delicious seafood downtown (among other kinds of food, of course). It may not offer the same excitement as some more popular beach towns, but sometimes, that’s the idea.
Yes, it’s hot in Texas. Especially in the summer. But the Texas Hill Country is way too beautiful to pass up any time of year. From Austin to San Antonio and dozens of small towns in between, the landscape is full of rolling hills, miles of hiking and biking, and endless swimming holes. There are dozens of wineries, pecan orchards and BBQ, and bountiful opportunities for great music – whether country, folk or a little bit of that Austin-style rock.
Why Miami? Why not. Tropical beaches are great getaways year round, and maybe you can avoid some of the crowds that hit during winter and Spring Break. Miami is a colorful, vibrant city with fantastic cuisine, coffee, and endless waterfront bars. Check out the Vizcaya gardens, explore Calle Ocho in Little Havana, or take a trip to Key Biscayne for some peace, quiet and perfectly clear water.
BBQ and blues make Memphis a must-see stop on your next roadtrip through the South. You can check out Graceland, immerse yourself in the history of Rock and Roll, and take in some of the eclectic tunes rocking on Beale Street.
Laguna Beach is a classic, SoCal beach town, with year-round mild weather, miles of gorgeous beach and endless array of activities. When you’re not sitting in the sand or hitting up the waves at Crystal Cove, you can check out the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, browse the Laguna Art Museum, or check out the Pageant of the Masters. There’s also the Sawdust Art Festival, which showcases woodwork, painting, glassblowing, and textile making. Surf’s up.
A resort area known for it’s high-profile visitors and active arts scene, Sun Valley is also a great destination for some outdoor adventures, no matter the time of year. When the snow has melted, there’s countless opportunities for hiking, biking, camping and fishing, before heading back to town for the numerous art galleries and exhibitions, theater shows and film festivals that take place year-round.
Located in the absolutely beautiful area of Southern Utah, Zion National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the country, thanks to it’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous red rock canyons. You can explore the Slot Canyons, hike the multi-day Trans-Zion Traverse, and climb the fittingly named Angel’s Landing. Be warned, however – this place is ultra-popular, and if you plan on camping, fills up fast.
Most people think of South Dakota as simply endless prairies and Mt. Rushmore, but there is so much more to it than that, and this state is truly the Wild West. The Black Hills are some of the most gorgeous terrain in the country, and there’s endless tourist attractions, burgers and BBQ, and even wineries to hit up across the state. There’s also the incredible Badlands – some of the most beautiful and most rugged terrain in the Midwest.