Beach Vacations

35 Of The Best Summer Vacations Ideas

Are you looking for some great ideas for planning the best summer vacation in the USA and Canada?

Awesome, you are in the right spot!

If you need ideas for fun summer vacations in the US for your family, look no further.  This is a collaboration post for the best summer vacations in the USA and Canada.

I totally understand the need to have something to look forward to and want to give you as many ideas for summer vacation spots in the US and Canada as possible to get those wheels spinning!

Let's explore all these awesome places for the best summer vacations in the USA and Canada!

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Summer Vacations East Coast

Best summer vacations in the USA -EAst Coast beach

Let's begin with the best summer vacations on the East Coast of the United States.  There are so many amazing places to visit.

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1. Summer Vacation in Pennsylvania 

Summer Vacation to Pennsylvania

As a chocolate lover, you would never imagine that you can visit a place where literally EVERYTHING revolved around chocolate. Well a weekend Getaway to Hershey, Pennsylvania was just that! Hershey is about 3 hours from New York City. The “sweetest place on earth” is a great place for a family-friendly vacation.

Not only is there an entire amusement park dedicated to chocolate but all around the town you can find great chocolate-themed restaurants and lodges.  This is a great East Coast getaway that will be sure to make your entire family happy!

It is one of the best summer vacations in the USA! 

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2. – 3. Summer Vacation to Vermont and New Hampshire

Vermont Summer Vacation

Do you find yourself longing for cooler breezes during the hot, humid summer months?  The northeast United States is a great choice for a summer trip! There are plenty of fun things for families to do in Vermont and New Hampshire.

If you are interested in seeing the Grand Canyon of Vermont be sure to check out Quechee State Park.  It is the deepest gorge in Vermont with a flowing river right down the middle.  This is a perfect activity for a summer vacation.

Once you explore Vermont drive a short distance to New Hampshire to see the Lost Gorge which is located in the White Mountains.  The White Mountains also offers amazing resorts that are perfect for summer family reunions.

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4. Summer Vacation in Massachusetts 

Summer Vacation in Massachusetts

Boston is a great city to spend your summer vacation.  There is so much history along the Freedom Trail.  The Boston hop on hop off trolley tour is a perfect way to see the entire city.

This tour takes you to Massachusetts State House, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, and even ends with a harbor cruise. If you love American history Boston will not disappoint. It is one of the best summer vacations in the USA! 

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5. Summer Vacation in Nantucket

Summer Vacation in Nantucket

 A great place to spend your summer vacation in the US is Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. The island has perfect white beaches to enjoy and play beach games on long summer days, but there is so much more to the island.

Museums in Nantucket

Downtown has many interesting museums showcasing the island's intriguing history. Among the most important are the Nantucket Whaling Museum, Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum, and Museum of African American History.

Biking in Nantucket

To get the most of your stay, rent a bike and see Nantucket by bike. The bike trails take you all around the island, from the best lighthouses to beaches and even some beautiful hiking trails!  There is plenty of wildlife on the island too, so don’t be surprised if a deer jumps in front of you while hiking in the forest.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the sunset at Sankaty Head Lighthouse. You can either bike there or you can walk the Sconset Bluff Walk from Siasconset.

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6. Summer Vacation in New York

Summer vacation in New York City

New York City

As a quote from the Broadway musical, Hamilton says, “There's nothing like summer in the city.” While every season has its charm, New York City truly comes alive in the summer. Central Park is teeming with life. People are riding bikes, artisans creating and selling their works, and families out for walks together.

Things to Do in New York City

There are bucket-list activities like festivals, outdoor movie nights, and concerts almost every day of the week. Two of my favorites are Broadway in Bryant Park, a free festival on Thursday afternoons where the casts of Broadway musicals each perform a few songs from their shows.

Also, every night for three weeks, musicians jam out under the stars at the Midsummer Night Swing Festival at Lincoln Center. Dancing is encouraged! They even offer a dance class in the first hours of each night to learn the evening's style.  There are so many things to do in New York

Beaches in New York City

Most importantly, when you come to New York City as a summer vacation destination, you will even have access to some beautiful beaches. Coney Island and the Rockaway Beaches are all accessible using a MetroCard. A city teeming with history, metropolitan experiences, and a beach getaway. New York City truly has everything you're looking for in summer vacation!

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7. Summer Vacation in Washington DC

Summer Vacation in Washington DC

Our nation’s capital is a must-see destination for family travelers. No matter what your interests are, Washington DC has something for you, whether you like the great outdoors, history, culture, or museums, it’s all here for you to explore.

Things to Do In Washington DC

The first place to visit is the White House.  Being inside the White House is amazing and certainly something your family will talk about for years to come. Seeing the iconic China Room and Blue, Green, and Red Rooms is spectacular.  Having your picture taken under the official White House seal and on the steps out front are certainly Christmas card-worthy.

National Zoo and Smithsonian

The next place you shouldn’t miss is the National Zoo.  The pandas are super fun to watch as are the elephants. It’s a nice leisurely walk around the zoo to see all the animals.  I would also recommend the Smithsonian.  My kids loved being able to go in the different planes and space capsules.  The planetarium shows are also amazing.

You can go to the National Zoo and the Smithsonian for an all-day adventure or just part of the day.  That’s the best thing about them being free.

Plan Your Trip

A Washington DC summer vacation is the perfect destination if you are thinking about planning a summer vacation trip.  There are so many museums that are geared towards both adults and children.  The monuments are incredible, especially the monuments at night.  They really bring true meaning to freedom.

The nation's capital is a perfect place to plan a trip!

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8. Summer Vacation in North Carolina

Summer Vacation at the Outer Banks

Outer Banks

For as long as I can remember, my family has been going to the Outer Banks in North Carolina every summer. It is my absolute favorite summer destination! It of course has a special place in my heart but is also the perfect place for an easy week at the beach with friends or family.

Beaches at the Outer Banks

The beaches are clean, the sand is soft and it's not overly crowded (except on 4th of July weekend, of course). Although there are plenty of tourists all summer, the Outer Banks just doesn't have that touristy vibe.

Renting a Beach House

I highly recommend renting a house, there are so many houses at different prices and it can be very affordable when traveling with friends! The island itself is 200 miles long, so there are PLENTY of options on where to stay. The most popular areas tend to be between Nagshead and Corolla, my favorite spot to stay is right in the middle in Duck.  This is the best location for enjoying all the things to do in the Outer Banks.


Things to do at the Outer Banks

You can't miss Duck Donuts, live music at Tap Shack, local beer at THE Shack, the fresh seafood roadside markets, and driving on the 4WD beach in Corova! There are some GREAT seafood restaurants as well as a few bars if you're looking for a night out. OBX is just the perfect spot for a no-fuss week at the beach with all the East Coast beach feels.
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9. Summer Vacation in South Carolina

Summer Vacation in South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is a great summer vacation destination.  There are so many things to do in this area. It is a perfect place for a family/friends reunion!

Things to Do in Myrtle Beach

The beach is obviously the main reason why you would want to head to the area. But did you know there is so much more to do?

Have you heard of Wonderworks?  It is a mind-blowing museum full of fun.  Planet Jellies Aquarium is another great place to check out. Broadway at the Beach is a great area with shopping, restaurants, and attractions for the whole family to enjoy.

Plan Your Trip

Super-size your summer vacation by planning a getaway with multiple families. A multi-family vacation can make your trip to Myrtle Beach a great experience for the whole crew. A little forethought and some honest discussions go a long way towards creating vacation memories everyone will be talking about for years to come.

Contributed by: Traveling Tanya

10. Summer Vacation In Florida 

Summer Vacation in Florida

Florida has some of the best amusement parks in the USA such as Disney World, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure but a summer vacation is not complete without a visit to SeaWorld Orlando SeaWorld is a fabulous way to spend a summer day.

Even with the heat of the Florida sun, you will have an enjoyable time.  There are plenty of ways to get wet, actually if you watch the whale demonstration or the dolphin show you can sit in areas that will soak you.  There are a few amazing roller coasters and rides that you will get totally drenched.  It is so much fun.

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11. Florida Keys

Summer Vacation in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are the southernmost point of the United States, and are made up of approximately 1700 islands! Stretching for around 120 miles and culminating in the famous town of ‘Key West, the area is known for its stunning beaches, beautiful views, and unusual flora and fauna (with many species not found anywhere else in the United States). 

Florida is already widely known as a vacation destination, thanks to the theme parks in Orlando, party vibes in Miami, and the cultural city of Tampa. Combined with the warm weather, beaches, and delicious cuisine, all of which draw in over 100 million visitors each year, Florida is absolutely a prime summer vacation spot. 

Venture a little further south and check out the unique beauty of the Florida Keys, or, if you have time, see the whole state in style and combine a visit to the Keys with the many other attractions in Florida. 

Things to do in Key West

With something to suit everyone, families can enjoy a relaxing beach holiday along with one of the many beaches dotted down the coast. Adventure seekers can visit shipwrecks, go on fishing charters, or kayak, snorkel, or scuba dive at the many marine hot spots.

Try a variety of fresh seafood or delicious local cuisine, drive across the amazing Seven Mile Bridge, visit some of the quirky art galleries and museums, and make the most of the warm nights by getting amongst the fantastic friendly nightlife.

Places to Stay in Key West

There are a variety of places to stay, including budget hostels and hotels, cozy bed-and-breakfasts, and waterfront bungalows right through to five-star luxury resorts. The town of Key West is a great place to stay and be in the middle of everything, with plenty of shopping, dining, and attractions within walking distance. If you want a little space, try staying in Big Pine Key, with secluded beaches and lots of nature to explore. 

How to Get to Key West

Visitors can get there via car, or fly to Key West or Miami airports. Buses also run along the chain of islands, and many even opt to visit by boat. However you get there, the Florida Keys are an absolute bucket-list destination and a great option for a summer vacation. 

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12. Summer Vacation in Kentucky

summer vacation in Kentucky

Lexington Kentucky

There is so much to do in and around Lexington, Kentucky.  We decided to do an unplanned trip to the area and had so much fun!  Did you know there is a life-size Noah's Ark Museum with a zoo next door?  It is incredible!

Historic Sites in Lexington

There is so much history in the Lexington areaGeorgetown has 200 buildings listed as historic sites. Also, Mary Todd Lincoln House and the Henry Clay Estate are located in downtown Lexington and are worth visiting.

Outdoor Recreation Near Lexington

If you like hidden gems, Thoroughbred Park is a cute little tribute to all the amazing horses Kentucky is known for.  After enjoying Lexington head east to the Red River Gorge area where you can kayak, hike, and enjoy the beauty of Kentucky.

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Midwest and Central United States Summer Vacations

Best summer vacations in the US - Midwest chicago

]Moving on towards the best vacation spots in the US in the Midwest and Central part of the United States, let's explore some more amazing options.

13. Summer Vacation in Michigan

Summer Vacation in Michigan

Michigan's Thumb is a great place to spend your summer vacation!  Three of the cities we love to visit are Caseville, Marlette, and Port Austin.  Both of these cities border Lake Huron which makes for a perfect beach day.

Great Food in Michigan's Thumb  

You wouldn't believe the food in this area!  Lefty's is a favorite all-American diner, it is a must! We also like going to Treve's Pizza, Grindstone General Store, Thumb's Brewery, and The Tap Room at Bird Creek Farms.

Things to Do in Michigan's Thumb

The beach along Lake Huron is a must.  We also like to visit the Key North Family Fun Center.  There are so many amazing things to do in Michigan's Thumb you won't want to miss out on any of them.


14. Summer Vacation in Minnesota

Summer Vacation in Minnesota

Minnesota is especially beautiful in the summertime.  There are over 10,000 lakes throughout the state.  It is a perfect getaway from the heat especially if you are traveling from the south.

Gooseberry Falls is one stop you should not miss.  There are many trails located throughout the state to hike and explore.  Split Rock Lighthouse should definitely be on your list.

Don't forget the Mall of America!  It is a perfect place to spend a summer day!

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15. Summer Vacation in Illinois

Summer Vacation in Chicago

As one of the major metropolitan cities in the US, Chicago stands out as one of the best destinations for a summer vacation.  

Situated on Lake Michigan, Chicago’s location right on the water gives tourists an abundance of water activities they can enjoy including boating, jet skiing, kayaking, tubing, parasailing and so much more.  Kayaking down the Chicago River is a favorite pastime of sports enthusiasts.

Festivals in Chicago

Chicago also holds some of the most famous festivals in the world including Taste of Chicago, which has hundreds of food vendors, music, concerts, and activities for families.  Lollapalooza is a multi-day music festival held annually in Chicago near the end of July.

Museums and Sites in Chicago

Chicago is also home to world-famous museums such as the Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Art Institute of Chicago.  A walk down the block from the Art Institute puts you right on Michigan Avenue, a famous shopping district just blocks from the lake.

Finally, Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower and the second tallest building in the US, allows visitors to step onto its infamous glass ledge overseeing the entire city below.


16. Summer Vacation in South Dakota

Summer vacation in South Dakota

During our Midwest Summer Tour, we decided to add South Dakota to our itinerary. We planned on visiting Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial because every American should have those on their bucket list. What we discovered is that South Dakota has so much more to do than we expected.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National park is a destination that is a must-see when traveling in South Dakota.  There is a nice boardwalk with various viewpoints along the path.  The views are breathtaking. In the summer heat be sure to have lots of sunscreen and water.

Things to Do in South Dakota

When planning your summer vacation think about a South Dakota road trip. You can stop at Wall Drug Store, Corn Palace, and the Minutemen Missile Site are a must. These are less-known areas that are worth visiting. 

Enjoy a great summer vacation in South Dakota!

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17. Summer Vacation in Missouri

Summer Vacation in Missouri


Branson is a top summer vacation destination!  Family-friendly entertainment is what this entire city thrives on.

Silver Dollar City

It is home to the amusement park Silver Dollar City.  This is an excellent amusement park with roller coasters for your adventurers and your little kids.  There are so many fun activities in Branson to keep you busy all day long.

Things to Do In Branson

After, you have fun at the amusement park be sure to check out the Marvel Cave, Hannibal, and Dolly Partons Stampede.   Branson Missouri is a great place for your next family summer vacation!


18. Summer Vacation in Texas

Texas Summer Vacation

Most people may want to avoid Texas in the heat of the summer but the end of August was a great time to make a trip to Waco, Texas.  If you don't know, Waco, TX is the home of Chip and Joanna Gaines from the hit TV show Fixer-Uppers.

Magnolia Market

The Gaines have created a great tourist attraction in a little town located between Dallas and Austin.  Magnolia Silos, Magnolia restaurant, coffee shop, and bakery are all great locations to explore.  You can even stay in some of the houses that the Gaines have remodeled and have on Airbnb.

The “Waco-Tours” is a great way to see the entire town and get a local's insight on all that the town has to offer.  Waco is incredible even in the heat of the summer!

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Summer Vacation Western States

Best Vacation spots in the US - Western United States - Utah

The Western United States has so many of the best summer destinations in the US.  There are amazing places to visit. Let's check them out!

19. Summer Vacation in Arizona 

Summer Vacation in Arizona

Even though the Arizona desert is extra hot during the summer, Page makes for a perfect destination in the USA during the summer months.

There is so much to do and see around this little town, and dipping into the hotel pool underneath the summer sun is never a bad idea.

Antelope Canyon

Start your day in Page by waking up bright and early to go on a tour through the Antelope Canyon.  These canyons are unlike you have ever seen before, it’s like looking at a painting but you’re in it. The morning tours are recommended because the sunlight drips in beautifully and it won’t be too warm to walk around.

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

In the afternoon, check out Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. This is the second-largest man-made lake in the US and makes for some great pictures. If you have time, I recommend going for a hike up to the Rainbow Bridge too.

Horseshoe Bend

One of the most popular sights located near Page is the Horseshoe Bend. This beautiful horseshoe-shaped meander is the perfect place to watch the sunset due to its location. From the parking lot, it takes about 10 minutes to get to the view – so make sure to bring some water!

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20. The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Summer Vacation

Grand Canyon National Park is a perfect summer vacation destination.  The canyon is truly awe-inspiring, and there are multiple lookouts along the rim with amazing views.

Hiking in the Grand Canyon

The South Rim is the most popular place to see the canyon and is the most accessible.  To see the canyon from a different perspective, if you are reasonably fit, it is highly recommended to hike from the rim down into the canyon.  The Bright Angel Trail is the most popular of several trails.

Camping at the Grand Canyon

You can stay at one of several campsites or a cabin or dorm at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon, though reservations for Phantom Ranch are difficult to get.  An alternative is to hike down part of the trail, then return to the rim for the night.

Rafting in the Grand Canyon

It is also possible to take a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the canyon.  You can choose from wooden dories (small boats), regular white-water rafts, or more stable and faster-motorized rafts.

No matter how you choose to experience Grand Canyon, you will have an incredible time!

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21. Summer Vacation in Oregon

Summer Vacation in Oregon

Portland, Oregon is often overlooked when it comes to cities to visit in the United States. Although it is often described as “weird,” Portland is a unique city with a ton of outdoor activities to do.

Things to Do in Portland

During the summer months, the weather averages in the high 70s. This makes it an awesome place to escape the heat due to most other places being super hot. Portland is also super affordable with many free or inexpensive sites.  There are tons of gardens to walk through and hikes to go on. Another superb thing about Portland is the food scene.

Eating in Portland

There are a ton of highly-rated restaurants and food trucks scattered around the city and you will never get tired of the food that is offered.

I loved eating at Mucca Osteria, a local Italian joint. If you are a wine lover, Portland is also a great destination to hit. The area is surrounded by vineyards and contains over 600 wineries. The summer weather is perfect to sit outside and enjoy a nice glass of wine.

Make sure to make Portland one of your top North American summer vacation destinations!

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22. Summer Vacation in Washington State

Olympic National Park Summer Vacation

Olympic National Park

My absolute favorite North American summer destination is the Olympic National Park. This beautiful peninsula has something for everyone, but especially for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. Paradise beaches, breathtaking mountains, idyllic villages, fascinating forests, and colorful sunsets – you’ll find it all in the Olympic National Park!

The location of the Olympic Peninsula is just perfect – it’s 2-4 hours by car, depending on where in the National park you’re going, away from Seattle. Add another 2 hours, or take the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, and you’re in Canada – if you can’t spend a whole week in the National Park, which is something I’d highly recommend since there’s so much to do, it’ll be the perfect weekend trip!

Not only is the Olympic National Park perfect if you love spending time outside, but it’s also a great place to visit if you’re interested in seeing wildlife such as whales and seals.

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23. Summer Vacation in Monterrey California

There are so many cities in California to explore! Let's start with one of the best summer vacations in the USA….Monterrey. 

Summer Vacation in California

Located along the California coast, Monterey is one of the most beautiful places to visit in California. Monterey is best known for its world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row, the Monterey Peninsula has so much to offer. 

The beautiful coastal trails take you along the main areas, including Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row from Monterey, and into Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove.


Be sure to check out Carmel-by-the-Sea, home to Clint Eastwood, and the links at Pebble Beach. Take the 17 Mile Drive and you’ll get a chance to see some of the golf course as well as beautiful blue beaches such as Bowling Ball Beach, Asilomar Beach, and even the Lone Cypress that you see on the Pebble Beach logo. 

Don’t forget to check out downtown Carmel, the area is super cute and full of mom and pop shops!

There are so many things to do in Monterey, it’s a perfect long weekend trip, especially from San Francisco.

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24. Summer Vacation to Santa Barbara 

Summer Vacation in California

Santa Barbara, a coastal city located in Central California, is an ideal place to spend a summer vacation.

Temperatures, on average, reach the high 70s and rain is pretty much not existent.  In terms of attractions, Santa Barbara has Spanish Revival architecture, miles of beaches, an abundance of wine tasting rooms, a healthy craft beer scene, restaurants serving gastronomic delights, and luxurious spas.

Things To Do in Santa Barbara 

Visitors can spend hours exploring historical spots Downtown such as the Presidio and Courthouse.  It is not uncommon to bump into whimsical arcades, public art, and bougainvillea trees.

State Street, the main drag, is home to numerous shops, eateries, cafes, and ice cream shops. Those who prefer to support small businesses can spend time visiting the farmer’s markets that take place on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning.

Funk Zone

The Funk Zone is the top area to indulge in a wine or beer crawl.  It counts with over 15 tasting rooms and that doesn’t include businesses specializing in beer and spirits.  In addition, the “Zone” is home to restaurants serving modern dishes with fresh ingredients.

Santa Barbara Beaches

Those who want to maximize beach time can claim a spot on East Beach, West Beach, or Leadbetter Beach.  Strolling the Stearns Wharf, biking the coastal trail, practicing water sports at the harbor, or taking a boat ride are options too.

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25. Summer Vacation to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park Summer Vacation

Yosemite National Park is gorgeous! It is a fantastic North American vacation destination to visit in summer!

Full of huge granite cliffs, pretty waterfalls, epic views, and giant trees there is so much do to in Yosemite. It is the perfect summer vacation destination given the warm Californian climate.

Outdoor Activities

This means you can enjoy the great outdoors whether that is cycling along the river or hiking one of the many trails. If it does get a little too hot you can escape the heat by wandering amongst some of the biggest trees in the world in the Mariposa Grove. The silent giants protect you in the shade with their huge branches.

After it has cooled a little, you may want to see if you can chase the Yosemite sunset! There are many epic Yosemite sunset spots to watch the Yosemite sunset from. Tunnel View and Sentinel Dome are two of the best places to end the day.

Visit Yosemite during the summer for some epic summer vacation memories to look back on in years to come.

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26. Summer Vacation in Nevada/ California

Summer Vacation in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe covers a 70-mile perimeter and graces both California and Nevada with its breathtaking, deep blue, calm waters. The mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe provide a perfect ski playground in the winter, but the lake offers so many reasons to visit in the summer, too.

Things to do at Lake Tahoe

My favorite activity at Lake Tahoe is hiking. You can choose from any level and length of the trail. One of my favorites is the Tahoe Meadows Trail on the northeast end of the lake, right above the little city of Incline Village.

It’s fairly flat, and after a short while, you burst out of the forest to overlook the lake far below. For a more strenuous hike, try the Flume Trail, also out of Incline Village. Mountain bikes are also welcome on these trails. On the west side of Lake Tahoe, you can bike or walk down a paved trail that winds right along the shore.

Emerald Bay 

And no visit here is complete unless you drive to Emerald Bay. Park here, and then enjoy tumbling Eagle Falls. Hike down the steep path to the quaint Vikingsholm Castle. Savor a picnic under the pines. You can also hike the Rubicon Trail that hugs the shore for several miles north of Emerald Bay.

Water Sports

Water sports thrive in the summer. Kayak, navigate a stand-up paddleboard, jet ski, and parasail. Swimming is allowed, though the water remains cold at least into mid-summer.

Ski resorts such as Heavenly and Northstar run lifts in the summer. You can ride up the mountains and bike or walk down.  You have a choice of so many enjoyable activities out in the fresh mountain air. Lake Tahoe is the perfect setting to enjoy summer vacation!

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27. Summer Vacation in Montana

Summer Vacation in Montana

Yellowstone National Park belongs among the most fascinating national parks in the USA. It’s a true natural wonderland. There is over 60 % of all the world's geysers and about 10,000 other geothermal features because the whole park sits on top of a giant supervolcano! 

Things to See at Yellowstone

With an area of 3,472 square miles (8980 km²) of wilderness, it is home to bison herds, bears, coyotes, wolfs, and elks. You will be amazed to see all these colorful hot springs, erupting geysers, bubbling mud pots, fumaroles, and steam coming out of the earth. There are simply so many beautiful things to see in Yellowstone National Park, that you should rather plan a longer visit.

Old Faithful

Yellowstone is home to the most famous and 3rd largest hot spring in the world – The Grand Prismatic. You can also see the magnificent Old Faithful geyser eruption every 90 minutes, and the monumental Grand Canyon of Yellowstone will take your breath away.

Hiking and Camping

Yellowstone National Park is a family-friendly place as well as the right place for adventurous souls. It’s a great base for backcountry hiking and camping – there are more than 900 miles of hiking trails!

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28. Summer Vacation in Wyoming

Summer Vacation in Wyoming

Spend your summer in Cheyenne, Wyoming, getting back to your pioneer roots and exploring the history of America's wild west. This is the home to museums filled with covered wagons, special festivals celebrating cowboys, and one of the American West's most iconic animals: the bison.

Terry Bison Ranch

One of the best things to do in Cheyenne is Terry Bison Ranch where you can try your hand at horseback riding and ranching, or take a ride on the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley that takes you past iconic Cheyenne landmarks in style.

Gowdy State Park

If you love the outdoors, you can also head to Curt Gowdy State Park where you can spend the whole day boating, fishing, or wandering the trails trying to spot native wildlife along the routes. Kids will love searching the city for the Cheyenne Boots, massive statues of cowboy boots that are each uniquely decorated and linked up by a walking map around Cheyenne.

The weather in Cheyenne in the summer is mild and moderate, perfect for exploring without needing to worry about overheating or encountering too many days of rain.

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29. Summer Vacation in Colorado

Summer Vacation in Colorado

Ouray Colorado

Ouray is the perfect picture of a mountain town. The snow-capped mountains of the San Juan Forest loom large behind Ouray and the main street is made up of cute boutiques, coffee shops, and friendly locals.

A summer trip to Ouray is an off-the-grid adventure since there is little to no cell service in the area. However, you will be rewarded with stunning nature, great hikes, beautiful drives, and nearby waterfalls.

Black Canyon of Gunnison

The Black Canyon of Gunnison has a plethora of trails to explore which weave through the steeped walled gorges from the bottom of the gorge to the top. After a day of hiking your muscles will thank you for taking a dip in the nearby Orvis Hot Springs. The pools are nature's own jacuzzi.

For a scenic drive, the Dallas Divide and Million Dollar Highway are a great way to experience nature's finest. The Colorado mountain passes weave through San Juan National Forest and has truly stunning views. It’s the next best thing to a Colorado road trip.

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30. Summer Vacation to Colorado Springs

Summer Vacation Colorado Springs

If you are looking for nature and endless adventure Colorado Springs is the perfect summer destination for families. It is the perfect place to relax and take in natural beauty.

Garden of the Gods

One of our favorite places is Garden of the Gods, it is a National Natural Landmark. You will be amazed by the rock formations and wildlife you encounter. There are tons of trails to choose from and you can stop at the tumbling rock for the perfect photo. 

Things to do in Colorado Springs

After leaving Garden of the Gods you can head to the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, Broadmoor Seven Falls, and if you are brave enough Pikes Peak Highway. All of these places offer fun and exciting things to do from zipline, waterfalls, phenomenal views, rock climbing, and even Virtual Reality Theatres. If you are looking for a unique and fun experience the Royal Gorge is a fun day trip from Colorado Springs. You can ride the Royal Gorge Train then head to the bridge to take in the views from the gondola.

 You will be amazed by the beauty of nature in Colorado Springs in the summer.

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31. Summer Vacation in Utah 

Spring Break in Utah Arches National Park

A summer vacation in Utah is a great idea! Especially, if you are planning a family reunion.  There are so many amazing locations.

One of the best reason's to have a Utah Family Reunion is that you have the option of going into the mountains where it is much cooler to beat the heat of the summer!  Hiking with the kids in Utah is amazing!

There are 5 National Parks located in Utah which are so beautiful you will not want to miss the opportunity to see them. They include:

I love Utah summers because even though it can be hot, it is a really dry heat. It is nothing like the humid air I grew up with in Oklahoma.  Plus, the mountains are a great place of refuge, even on the hottest day you can hike and explore and barely break a sweat.

Utah is the best summer vacation in the USA!

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32. Summer Vacation to Hawaii

Summer Vacation in Hawaii

One of the best summer vacation spots in North America is the tropical state of Hawaii! The top 4 Hawaiian islands to visit include Oahu (that’s where Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and Waikiki are), Maui (famous for the spectacular sunrise from Haleakala Crater and the winding Road to Hana), the Big Island of Hawaii (home to the famous Hawaii volcanoes Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea), and Kauai (where you can find the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.)

Things to Do In Hawaii

Summer is a great time to visit Hawaii because the waves are usually pretty calm, which makes it perfect for learning how to surf. Some of the top activities to do in Hawaii include hiking to see a waterfall, exploring the jungle, kayaking on the rivers, going on a sunset boat ride, checking out a Hawaiian luau, and so much more!

While you’re in Hawaii, make sure to try Spam Musubi, Hawaiian Plate Lunches, Poke, and Shave Ice!

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Summer Vacation in Canada 

Summer vacation in Canada

Now moving on to summer vacations in Canada.  Let's explore some amazing places.

33. Summer Vacation in Nova Scotia

Summer Vacation in Nova Scotia

There is absolutely nothing like Maritime hospitality and some people come to Nova Scotia year after year because it's such a welcoming place.

It has lots of nature and hiking opportunities, with great provincial and camping parks. Or you can choose to rent oceanside cottages along sandy beaches or overlooking the Bay of Fundy, the site of the highest tides in the world.

Nova Scotia Wine

Recently Nova Scotia wine has emerged as one of the up-and-coming wine destinations. This is not surprising as it has a similar climate and soil composition to the Champagne region in France, for this reason, many wineries are committed to producing sparkling wine in the same method.

And no one can pass up the opportunity to try Tidal Bay, the appellation wine that only exists in Nova Scotia. Its bright crisp flavor and minerality makes it a perfect pairing for world-class seafood such as lobster, mussels, and of course Digby scallops.

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34. Summer Vacation to British Colombia

Summer Vacation in British Colombia

Summers in British Columbia are beautiful! Once the weather is nice and sunny, the only thing on our minds is getting outside in the fresh air at a nearby lake. There are many lakes near Vancouver but a lot of them are extremely crowded

Rolley Lake

Rolley Lake, located near Mission, BC is a small charming pool of water, day rest area, campgrounds, and few fun family-friendly, accessible hiking trails + a harder trail to Rolley Falls.

The Rolley Lake beach is not too large, but hey, there are not too many people either! There is a sandy part and there is a grassy picnic area.

Things to Do at Rolley Lake

The absolute best thing about Rolley Lake is that there are no motorized and powerboats allowed!!! This is such a relief especially when you are looking to get some downtime with small kids.

There are plenty of fishing boats and kayaks in the water – actually we'd rate this place the perfect spot to teach your children kayaking.


35. Summer Vacation to Tofino

Best Summer Vacation Tofino

Tofino is located on the western edge of Vancouver Island off of Canada’s west coast. It is known for its rugged natural beauty and surf culture.

What To Do in Tofino

Tofino makes for a perfect summer vacation destination with sandy beaches, surfing, an ancient rainforest, whale watching, hot springs, hiking and so much more. You can do as much or as little as you want and your vacation will fantastic regardless.

Places to Stay in Tofino

There are a variety of places to stay in Tofino, including resorts and hotels, campgrounds, motels, B&B’s, and vacation rentals. Whether you want to wake up with an ocean view or camp in the forest, there are many options available.

How to get to Tofino

You can fly to Tofino (YAZ) from Vancouver on daily non-stop flights on Pacific Coastal Airlines or into Tofino Harbour on Harbour Air.

If you are driving from Vancouver you will need to take a ferry to Vancouver Island and then drive 3 hours to Tofino. The drive itself is fantastic with many places to stop along the way.

Whichever way you decide to get there, Tofino should be on everyone’s bucket list. You will not be disappointed!

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Best Summer Vacation in the USA

Summer Vacation

Hopefully, this gives you many ideas of where you want to spend your summer vacationYou might be thinking this summer is going to be a summer staycation.  Whatever you decide it will be the perfect option for you.

Facebook Community

If you have further questions and want to ask advice about your summer vacation, come join Planningaway's Facebook Travel CommunityThis is a great place to ask questions! I also try hard to put good deals companies send me in this group.

Road Trip Guide

Road Trip RV Share

I have something super special for youA USA Road Trip GuideThis is a Free 27-page road trip guide book with some of the best routes, things to do at each location, and how many miles between point A and point B.  It is awesome.  

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    1. I’ve always wanted to go to Canada! It’s on my very long list of places to go someday.

  3. Sooooo many great ideas…I want to go where summer never ends. Thanks for including me in this special summer roundup!

  4. This is such a great list for travel ideas! Thanks for including me. I appreciate it. I’m already stalking the other bloggers for future plans,

  5. Had to chuckle as I noted the destinations – I will have been to at least 6 of them in the span of a year! I love travel!!! 🙂

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  7. Oh how I wish I could visit all of these this summer! Since I’m from Michigan, I think I will venture to some of those places. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. All great places to visit! We’re hoping to make it to Hawaii by the end of summer if things start opening up.

  9. There are so many places on this list that I want to take my family to! Pinned it for when we can travel again.

  10. I love the pictures of all these places! They really spark the imagination. Great ideas! I want to go to all of the ones I haven’t been to, and I want to revisit the ones I have!

  11. There’s so many places I’d want to visit. I’d want to do the parks, and visit places of my ancestors.

  12. Such an amazing and detailed list, cannot wait to start exploring more of the US once the lockdown is lifted 🙂

  13. WOW! What an amazing list! I am saving this for many years of future reference. I would like to visit Massachusetts next!

      1. Oh that is cool! My husbands extended family is from there so we have been and might be going again in the next few years.

  14. Sooooo many great ideas for summer getaways! Happy to be a part of this collaboration and looking forward to checking out some of the other experiences.

  15. Since we’ve had to cancel our trip to Europe for this summer, your list is a great reference for me to use in adjusting our plans. Right now we are leaning towards skipping summer travel and venturing out somewhere in the fall. We homeschool so our travel time is pretty flexible. Top of my list of possibilities at the moment are the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. Something open air where we can explore without a lot of other people around. Sounds like a perfect post-Covid-19 trip.

  16. Woo! What a list!!! I loved browsing through these and getting some summer inspiration! Btw, Hershey, PA is the best!!!

  17. What an extensive list from coast to coast! Anyone following this list will have the best and fullest Summer in North America!

  18. These look like amazing trips! Looks like this year we may be hanging closer to home. How much we get to venture out will remain to be seen. Most things are closed and cancelled here at home.

    1. Yea it depends on where you live. We are opening up out west I am hoping by the end of summer we will be normal again.

  19. I shared this on my FB again! It is a great list! I know people will get great info. Thanks!

  20. Great list of some amazing vacations… I know everyone will be ready to get out a d enjoy their summer!

  21. No need for me to make a bucket list. You’ve done it for me! This is an awesome list and one I’m seriously saving to refer to once we can start traveling again. Thank you so much!

  22. These are all great ideas! Will start dreaming and planning for 2021! Thinking we are going to keep it much more low key this summer!

  23. So many locations that are on my bucket list! These visits all look amazing! (And it doesn’t hurt that we are all itching for nice weather and the ability to travel.)

  24. This is a great list! I’m going to pin it to reference later. And being a Wacoan – transplanted to Alabama – it’s still shocking to see it on so many must see travel lists!

  25. Thanks for bringing back so many summer vacation memories: Garden of the Gods, Outer Banks, Monterey, and the entire East Coast.

  26. Great collaboration piece! Tons of information on places I’ve been and others I need to visit. 🙂

  27. So wonderful to see NH listed in your travels! Hopefully you were able to visit The Big Lake (Winnipesaukee) & the Seacoast while you were there as well!

  28. An incredible list for inspiring summer vacations! Thank you for including us 🙂

  29. Wow this is one comprehensive list. Would need several lifetimes to do all of this. Great work. John

  30. Any of these places sound great after being stuck at home for the last couple months!

  31. Wow! Amazing list of places to go! I wouldn’t know where to start! Loved all the pictures too! I live in Hawaii, great tips on coming to Hawaii. I love that you included thing to eat! I’d add malasadas to the list.

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