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Summer opens up a world of possibilities for those who are living in or visiting the United States. You can find a multitude of options when it comes to places to visit in summer in USA.
The US is a large country with every state having its own distinctive set of things to see or do. Whether you like to live life on the edge, or you are looking for a laid-back vacation, you have endless choices.
The most popular tourist destinations, such as national parks and waterparks, are a great choice in the summer. But given the popularity of these places, you can expect that they will draw a crowd during the warm months.
On the other hand, the US is so big that there are several hidden and undiscovered gems just waiting to be explored.
Here is a list of the top 10 best summer vacation spots in the US to add to your itinerary. Take your pick among them to add to the perfect summer getaway!
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Summer in USA: Top 10 Best Summer Vacation Spots in the US
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is one of the top attractions in Washington State. The main attraction within this park is Mount Rainier.
But the park also offers a wide range of landscape features such as waterfalls, valleys, old-growth forests, and subalpine meadows. There are over 25 glaciers in the park that bring down tremendous amounts of rain and snow throughout various parts of the year.
During the summer, the park is a favorite destination for mountaineers. There are over 10,000 attempts to climb the summit each year.
Some of the most notable attractions within Mount Rainier National Park include the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, which is a one-mile loop trail filled with western red cedar and Douglas fir trees.
Other must-try trails include the Silver Falls Trail and Skyline Trail. The nearest city to this national park in Tacoma.
Zion National Park – One of the best summer destinations in USA
Zion National Park is another must for your list of the best places to visit in summer in USA. This national park is managed by the National Park Service and is located in Southwest Utah. The park is best distinguished for its steep red cliffs at Zion Canyon.
This is one of the favorite stops in most western US road trips as the scenic drive offers views of the photogenic canyons and the forest trails. This park is open for 24 hours and has plenty of things to offer for those visiting in the summer.
Angels Landing is one of the most-visited parts of the park, especially among avid hikers. This is a steep hike above the landmark rock formation that is best reserved for advanced hikers.
The Narrows is another scenic portion of this national park that leads to the Temple of Sinawava. For the best views of the park, you can explore the Canyon Overlook Trail and be rewarded with unbeatable views!
Grand Teton National Park
The Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming. The Teton Range, which is a 40-mile-long major peak in Wyoming, is the focal point of this national park. As of 2018, this park is visited by nearly 3.5 million tourists annually.
It spans a total land area of 310,000 acres and is frequented by hikers, mountaineers, as well as those interested in fishing and other recreational activities.
There are also several campsites within the grounds of the park, along with hiking trails that lead to backcountry camping sites. One of the best things to enjoy when you visit Grand Teton National Park in the summer is the Jackson Lake Cruise.
A wild and scenic rafting session at the Snake River is highly recommended, too. The abundance of wildlife in the park also makes it the perfect spot for wildlife viewing. It is home to elks, bison, bears, moose, and other types of wildlife.
This post may interest you also: 11 Stunning and Best National Parks in Europe
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is the most visited national park in the US. This park is situated on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. Hence, it is easy to access from either of the states.
The place features a sprawling landscape filled with wildflowers that are in full bloom throughout the year, as well as rivers, streams, and waterfalls. A portion of the Appalachian Trail also passes through this national park.
Part of the popularity of this national park is the abundance of things to see. Among them is Cades Cove, which is a go-to spot for its historic homesteads and wildlife viewing. Clingmans Dome is another spot to go to if you want to explore a paved hiking trail.
There is also an observation tower and visitor center nearby. Other highlights worth visiting in the summer are the Ober Gatlinburg and Newfound Gap.
Boston – Best US summer destinations
Boston is one of the best cities to visit in USA during summer. It is one of the oldest cities in the country, so it is steeped in history and culture.
The town played a significant role in the American Revolution, of which you can learn more when you take a tour of the Freedom Trail. This is a 2.5-mile walking route that takes you to the most important historic sites in the city.
But there is more to Boston than meets the eye aside from its history-rich destinations. Checking out one of many outdoor concerts is a must for your summer trip to Boston. The city is filled with a variety of outdoor venues so you can easily find activities or events on your visit.
You can also go on a whale-watching cruise from Boston, which is a high family activity in the summer. Or you may choose to cool off in one of the many gorgeous beaches or take the harbor sightseeing cruises.
Looking for other places to spend summer? Read our post about the top summer destinations in Europe!
Hilton Head is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the state of South Carolina. This is a perfect choice for those looking for a weekend escape or late summer break.
Hilton Head is also best known for its golf courses, Atlantic Ocean beaches, luxury resorts, and heritage buildings. It is less than two hours away from Charleston, South Carolina.
Coligny Beach is one of the best spots to relax and unwind in Hilton Head. It boasts of a scenic shoreline and an adjacent beach park filled with amenities ideal for beachgoers to enjoy.
If you are looking for a quiet escape within Hilton Head, Mitchelville Beach is a great option. Expect fewer crowds here without compromising on the beauty of the beach and its surrounding scenery. Other must-see attractions in Hilton Head are Harbour Town and the Coastal Discovery Museum.
Yellowstone – One of the best places to visit in summer in USA
This is yet another must-see attraction and as well one of the best summer vacations in the US for adventure seekers or people who enjoy the wild outdoors.
If you are looking for summer vacation ideas, this should definitely be on your list. Yellowstone National Park is a wilderness recreational area that is best known for its volcanic hot spot and geysers. At nearly 9,000 square kilometers in size, this park straddles two states, Idaho and Montana.
When in Yellowstone, do not miss out on seeing the national park’s biggest attraction – the Old Faithful Geyser. It is the largest geyser in the park, and its eruptions are so awe-inspiring that you have to see it for yourself.
There is also a Grand Canyon in Yellowstone, which is transforming into one of the most popular hiking trails within the park. And if you want to go on a quiet picnic, you can head to Yellowstone Lake for that. But if you are seeking unique attractions, the Grand Prismatic Spring is probably the best of them here.
Do you know that Europe also have some of the awesome natural wonders in the world? Check it out here!
It is not just a historic city in California but also one of the best winemaking regions in the country. For this reason, it makes the list of the top 10 best summer vacation spots in the US. This city encompasses the Sonoma Valley where the winemaking region is found, along with colonial-era buildings and other attractions.
Sonoma Plaza is one of the best places to check out in the city. It is the historic center of the town that was once the home of a Spanish mission village but is now lined with over 100 restaurants, shops, and wine-tasting rooms.
The Sonoma Coast State Park is another unique attraction to visit, especially if you want to explore sandy beaches, coastal prairies, and rugged shoreline. And, of course, you cannot afford to skip a winery visit, and the best ones include the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards and the Buena Vista Winery.
Cape Cod is another notable tourist attraction and one of the best summer vacation ideas in USA, especially for those looking for a weekend getaway from the city. Like Hilton Head, Cape Cod is relatively easy to access from Boston or other major cities in Massachusetts.
It is a hook-shaped peninsula that is a popular summertime destination due to its seafood shacks, quaint villages, oceanside beaches, and lighthouses.
Cape Cod boasts of up to 40 miles of seashore, so make sure to explore this particular attraction. Some of the best beaches along this national seashore are Marconi Beach and Nauset Beach. You can also explore the Cape Cod Rail Trail by bike or horseback.
It is a 22-mile paved trail that showcases the beauty of the Cape Cod ecosystem. Other must-see destinations to add to your sightseeing tours are the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Cape Playhouse, and the Pilgrim Monument.
Read also: Top 9 Camping Destinations in the USA
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is another favorite summer vacation in US for many people – local and international visitors alike. Located in Montana, this wilderness area boasts of glacier-carved peaks, valleys, hiking trails, and mountain ranges. It is one of the best visited national parks in the US because it offers a wide array of activities.
Lake McDonald is one of the notable attractions within the park. It is the largest lake in Glacier National Park and is a major hub for activities such as hiking, boating, and horseback riding.
The Trail of the Cedars is another recommended attraction as it is a short loop hike that showcases the beauty of the red cedar forests. For more on the beauty that this park can offer, do not miss out on the Iceberg Lake Trail.
Read also: Top 10 Iconic Places to Visit in the USA
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Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.