In the summer of 2023, embark on an unforgettable adventure to some of the most picturesque and unique destinations in the United States.
From outdoor adventures to casual getaways, these 18 destinations offer a mix of popular and hidden gems that cater to every traveler’s taste.
We have visited every one of these places multiple times!
1. Put-n-Bay, Ohio (Lake Erie)
Put-in-Bay, Ohio, is a summer destination that shouldn’t be missed! It’s a great place to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, with various outdoor activities such as fishing, kayaking, and swimming in Lake Erie.
The island is known for its vibrant nightlife, with a range of bars and restaurants offering live music, delicious food, and refreshing cocktails. Put-in-Bay is rich in history and offers a unique glimpse into the past with attractions such as the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial and the South Bass Island Lighthouse, and is home to several annual events, including the popular Pyrate Fest and the Wine Festival.
It also has stunning scenery and a charming atmosphere making it ideal for a relaxing day trip or a fun-filled getaway with family and friends.
- Where: Put-n-Bay is located on South Bass Island, just north of Sandusky, Ohio, in the great Lake Erie. Maps
- Cost: The Miller Ferry offers the cheapest way to Put-n-Bay, at $7.50 for adults and $1.50 for children 6-11, under six years of age, rides for free. The island itself is free to wander around as you, please.
- Weather: The weather in Put-n-Bay for the summer months averages a high of 80°F (26.6°C) and a low of 67°F (19.4°C).
2. Hocking Hills, Logan, Ohio
Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio is a fantastic summer destination. We love it, because it offers so many outdoor activities and events. Old Man’s Cave offers scenic hiking trails that take you through breathtaking rock formations, waterfalls, and forests, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and hikers.
The park’s vast expanse has opportunities for many outdoor activities, such as rock climbing, zip-lining, and canoeing. All that makes it a great spot if you are an adventure seeker.
If you visit in August, the park hosts the annual Hippie Fest, which celebrates the music, art, and culture of the 1960s and 70s, with live performances, art vendors, and food trucks.
Hocking Hills is surrounded by little towns and is full of charming accommodations, such as cabins and camping sites, providing the perfect place to rest and recharge after a day of outdoor activities and exploration.
- Where: Hocking Hills State Park is located in Logan, Ohio. Maps
- Cost: Since Hocking Hills is a State Park in Ohio, there is no cost for visiting, and it is free to enjoy the area as you wish.
- Weather: The weather in Hocking Hills for the summer months averages a high of 83°F (28.3°C) and a low of 58°F (14.4°C).
3. 4th of July on Broadway, Nashville, Tennesse (Holiday)
Spending the 4th of July on Broadway Street in Nashville, Tennessee, is an exciting and unforgettable experience. The street hosts the city’s annual Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th celebration features live music, fireworks, and family-friendly activities. It’s lined with numerous bars, restaurants, and music venues, offering a variety of options for dining, entertainment, and nightlife.
Sitting in the heart of downtown, Broadways Street’s location provides easy access to the city’s other famous attractions, such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Ryman Auditorium. Spending the 4th of July on Broadway Street in Nashville is an opportunity to celebrate America’s independence in the company of locals and visitors alike, creating a sense of community and camaraderie that makes for a memorable holiday experience.
- Where: The 4th of July Holiday Festival occurs downtown on Broadway Street in Nashville, Tennesse. Maps
- Cost: Broadway Street is free to walk around and enjoy the holiday. Bars and restaurants vary in cost but typically do not include a cover charge.
- Weather: The weather in Nashville for the summer months averages at a high of 90°F (32.2°C) and a low of 68°F (20°C).
4. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is a must-visit destination during the summer months. The weather is perfect for exploring the park’s vast underground caves, which maintain a cool temperature year-round.
The park offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and canoeing, and the diverse flora and fauna are in full bloom, providing a beautiful backdrop for your adventures. Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world’s longest known cave system, with over 400 miles of underground passageways, giving it a rich history, including the legacy of the enslaved guides who first explored the cave.
- Where: Mammoth Cave National Park is located in central Kentucky near Brownsville. Maps
- Cost: Entry to Mammoth Cave National park is free of charge, however, there is a fee to tour the cave or stay in campgrounds. Prices range, depending on tour type, from $8-$66. Kids under 6 and Seniors have a discount on arrival. Camping prices are $25 ($12.50 for seniors) or $40 for groups per night.
- Weather: The weather in Mammoth Cave State Park for the summer months averages at a high of 89°F (31.6°C) and a low of 62°F (19.4°C).
5. Columbus Food Truck Festival, Ohio (Festival)
The Columbus Food Truck Festival in Ohio is a must-visit destination for foodies and festival-goers alike during summer. The festival features over 60 food trucks from across Ohio and beyond, offering a diverse range of delicious and unique culinary experiences. It includes live music, art vendors, and family-friendly activities, making it a fun and entertaining outing for all ages.
Eco-conscious travelers will be happy to know the Columbus Food Truck Festival adores sustainability, including the use of compostable materials and recycling stations, making it a socially responsible and eco-friendly event.
- Where: The Columbus Food Truck Festival is located in Hilliard, Ohio, at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Maps
- Cost: Advanced tickets cost $5 for adults; children under 12 get free entry if accompanied by an adult. Tickets at the gate will cost $7.
- Weather: The weather in Columbus for the summer months averages at a high of 85°F (29.4°C) and a low of 60°F (15.5°C).
6. Moab, Utah (Arches National Park)
Moab, Utah, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, boasting access to the mesmerizing Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Known for its iconic red rock formations and stunning desert landscapes, Moab is the perfect summer destination for hiking, mountain biking, and off-roading. In Arches National Park, you’ll find over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the famous Delicate Arch, as well as scenic drives and beautiful sunsets. Meanwhile, Canyonlands National Park offers deep canyons, spectacular vistas, and some of the most challenging hiking trails in the country.
Tip: Start your hikes early in the morning to avoid the scorching midday heat, and always carry plenty of water with you. Consider visiting the national parks during weekdays to avoid the peak crowds.
- Where: Moab is located in southeastern Utah, just a few miles from the entrances of both national parks.
- Cost: Entrance fees for Arches and Canyonlands are $30 per vehicle, valid for 7 days. Various outdoor activities and tours are available at additional costs.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Moab during the summer months ranges from 90°F (32°C) to 100°F (38°C).
7. Asheville, North Carolina (Blue Ridge Mountains)
Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers a vibrant arts scene, a burgeoning food and craft beer culture, and access to a wealth of outdoor activities. Hiking, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting are just a few of the adventures awaiting visitors in this charming mountain town. The Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most scenic drives, runs through Asheville and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Tip: Take advantage of the higher elevation to escape the heat, and consider exploring the many waterfalls and swimming holes in the area to cool off.
- Where: Asheville is located in western North Carolina, about 130 miles west of Charlotte.
- Cost: Accommodation and activity prices vary, but Asheville offers options for all budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Asheville during the summer months ranges from 80°F (27°C) to 85°F (29°C).
8. San Diego, California (Beaches and Culture)
San Diego, California, is famous for its beautiful beaches, diverse cultural attractions, and perfect summer weather. Explore the picturesque La Jolla Cove, relax on the shores of Coronado Beach, or visit the family-friendly Mission Beach. In addition to the coastline, don’t miss Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and the USS Midway Museum for a mix of culture, history, and outdoor fun.
Tip: While at the beach, use umbrellas, sun hats, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. Stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade to avoid overheating.
- Where: San Diego is located in Southern California, about 120 miles south of Los Angeles.
- Cost: San Diego offers a wide range of accommodations and activities to suit all budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in San Diego during the summer months ranges from 72°F (22°C) to 78°F (25°C).
9. Traverse City, Michigan (Lake Michigan)
Traverse City, Michigan, situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, is a popular summer destination known for its beautiful beaches, lush vineyards, and vibrant downtown area. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers miles of sandy beaches, towering dunes, and scenic hiking trails. Wine enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula, both of which boast numerous wineries.
Tip: If visiting the dunes on a hot day, wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water, and take breaks in the shade when possible.
- Where: Traverse City is located in Northern Michigan, about 250 miles northwest of Detroit.
- Cost: Traverse City offers a variety of accommodations and activities for different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Traverse City during the summer months ranges from 75°F (24°C) to 80°F (27°C).
10. Sedona, Arizona (Red Rock Scenery)
Sedona, Arizona, is renowned for its stunning red rock formations and vibrant arts community. This desert town offers numerous hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as opportunities for spiritual exploration and relaxation. Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, experience a healing vortex, or take a jeep tour to explore the unique geological wonders of the region.
Yes, we know it’s very hot, but with the right planning, it’s still a very enjoyable visit. The big advantage: It’s significantly less busy compared to the previous spring months. That’s why we recommend visiting Sedona in the summer.
Tip: Due to the extreme heat, plan outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon, and always carry plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat.
- Where: Sedona is located in northern Arizona, about 120 miles north of Phoenix.
- Cost: Sedona offers various accommodations and activities, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts and spas.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Sedona during the summer months ranges from 90°F (32°C) to 97°F (36°C).
11. Savannah, Georgia (Southern Charm and History)
Savannah, Georgia, exudes Southern charm with its cobblestone streets, historic squares, and beautiful antebellum architecture. Discover Savannah’s rich history with a guided walking tour or a visit to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. In the summer months, enjoy the city’s lush parks, outdoor cafes, and vibrant riverfront area.
Tip: Stay cool by exploring Savannah’s many indoor attractions during the hottest parts of the day, and don’t forget to indulge in some refreshing Southern sweet tea.
- Where: Savannah is located on the eastern coast of Georgia, about 250 miles southeast of Atlanta.
- Cost: Savannah offers a range of accommodations and attractions for different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Savannah during the summer months ranges from 88°F (31°C) to 92
12. Burlington, Vermont (Lake Champlain)
Burlington, Vermont, perched on the shores of Lake Champlain, is a vibrant college town with a lively arts scene, delicious farm-to-table dining, and plenty of outdoor activities. Rent a bike and explore the Burlington Bike Path, or take a boat tour of Lake Champlain to enjoy the stunning views. The city also hosts numerous summer festivals, including the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival and the Vermont Brewers Festival.
Tip: Explore the nearby mountains or take a refreshing dip in the lake.
- Where: Burlington is located in northwestern Vermont, about 100 miles south of Montreal, Canada.
- Cost: Burlington offers various accommodations and attractions, catering to different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Burlington during the summer months ranges from 76°F (24°C) to 81°F (27°C).
13. Santa Fe, New Mexico (Art and Culture)
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a hub for art and culture, boasting a rich history and distinctive adobe architecture. Visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, explore the historic Santa Fe Plaza, or take a stroll through the vibrant Canyon Road Arts District. Santa Fe is also known for its delicious cuisine, featuring a blend of Native American, Spanish, and Mexican flavors.
Tip: On hot days, explore the city’s indoor attractions, such as museums and art galleries, or consider taking a scenic drive through the nearby mountains.
- Where: Santa Fe is located in northern New Mexico, about 65 miles northeast of Albuquerque.
- Cost: Santa Fe offers a range of accommodations and attractions for different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Santa Fe during the summer months ranges from 81°F (27°C) to 86°F (30°C).
14. Acadia National Park, Maine (Coastal Beauty)
Acadia National Park, located on Maine’s rugged coastline, offers a stunning combination of ocean, mountains, and forests. Hike the numerous trails, explore the tide pools, or enjoy a scenic drive along the Park Loop Road. Don’t forget to visit the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coast of the United States, for breathtaking views.
- Where: Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, about 160 miles northeast of Portland, Maine.
- Cost: The park entrance fee is $30 per vehicle, valid for 7 days.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Acadia National Park during the summer months ranges from 67°F (19°C) to 75°F (24°C).
15. Outer Banks, North Carolina (Beach Paradise)
The Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, offer pristine beaches, rich history, and abundant wildlife. Enjoy swimming, surfing, and beachcombing, or explore the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and the historic lighthouses. The Outer Banks are also famous for their wild horses, which can be seen roaming the shores.
Tip: If you’re visiting during a hot spell, spend the hottest parts of the day in the shade or water, and don’t forget to use sunscreen and stay hydrated.
- Where: The Outer Banks are located off the coast of North Carolina, stretching from the Virginia border to Cape Lookout.
- Cost: Accommodations and attractions in the Outer Banks cater to a range of budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in the Outer Banks during the summer months
16. Glacier National Park, Montana (Mountain Majesty)
Glacier National Park in Montana is a hiker’s paradise, featuring over 700 miles of trails, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes. The park is home to the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot grizzly bears, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. Don’t forget to check out the historic chalets and lodges throughout the park.
Tip: Read our complete guide to Glacier National Park in the summer.
- Where: Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana, near the Canadian border.
- Cost: The park entrance fee is $35 per vehicle, valid for 7 days.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Glacier National Park during the summer months ranges from 70°F (21°C) to 80°F (27°C).
17. Newport, Rhode Island (Seaside Charm)
Newport, Rhode Island, is a charming seaside town with a rich history, stunning Gilded Age mansions, and a picturesque harbor. Visit the famous Cliff Walk, tour the opulent mansions, or enjoy a leisurely sail around Narragansett Bay. The city is also home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and hosts the annual Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival.
Tip: Head to one of Newport’s beautiful beaches for a refreshing swim or find shade in one of the town’s many parks.
- Where: Newport is located on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island, about 75 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts.
- Cost: Newport offers a variety of accommodations and attractions for different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Newport during the summer months ranges from 75°F (24°C) to 80°F (27°C).
18. Portland, Oregon (Urban Greenery and Food Scene)
Portland, Oregon, is a vibrant city known for its lush green spaces, thriving food scene, and diverse cultural attractions. Wander through the city’s numerous parks, including the expansive Forest Park and the International Rose Test Garden. Don’t miss the eclectic food cart scene, where you can sample dishes from around the world. For art lovers, the Portland Art Museum and numerous galleries are a must-see.
Tip: On a very hot or rainy day, consider visiting one of Portland’s many indoor attractions, such as the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or take a stroll along the shaded waterfront park.
- Where: Portland is located in the northwestern part of Oregon, about 170 miles south of Seattle, Washington.
- Cost: Portland offers a variety of accommodations and attractions to suit different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Portland during the summer months ranges from 72°F (22°C) to 80°F (27°C).
19. Key West, Florida (Tropical Island Vibes)
Key West, Florida, is the southernmost point in the United States, offering a laid-back tropical atmosphere with beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, explore the historic Old Town, or take a snorkeling or diving trip to the nearby coral reefs. The city is also famous for its stunning sunsets, best viewed from Mallory Square.
Tip: To stay cool in Key West, take advantage of the island’s many water activities, such as snorkeling, swimming, or kayaking, and always wear sunscreen and a hat.
- Where: Key West is located at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys, about 160 miles southwest of Miami.
- Cost: Key West offers various accommodations and activities, catering to different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Key West during the summer months ranges from 87°F (31°C) to 90°F (32°C).
20. Lake Tahoe, California (Mountain Lake Paradise)
Lake Tahoe, straddling the border of California and Nevada, is a stunning alpine lake surrounded by majestic mountains. The area offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and water sports. Relax on the beautiful beaches, such as Sand Harbor or Kings Beach, or try your luck at the casinos on the Nevada side of the lake.
- Where: Lake Tahoe is located on the border of California and Nevada, about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco.
- Cost: Lake Tahoe offers a variety of accommodations and activities to suit different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature in Lake Tahoe during the summer months ranges from 74°F (23°C) to 80°F (27°C).
21. Mackinac Island, Michigan (Step Back in Time)
Mackinac Island, located in Lake Huron, is a car-free destination that offers a unique step back in time. Explore the island by foot, bike, or horse-drawn carriage, and visit historic sites like Fort Mackinac and the Grand Hotel. The island is also known for its delicious fudge, beautiful lilacs, and stunning waterfront views.
- Where: Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
- Cost: Mackinac Island offers various accommodations and activities, catering to different budgets.
- Weather: The average high temperature on Mackinac Island during the summer months ranges from 67°F (19°C) to 75°F (24°C).
From coastal paradises to mountain escapes, these 18 unique summer destinations in the USA offer something for everyone. No matter which location you choose, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories and experience the diverse beauty and culture that the United States has to offer.