Looking for the best summer vacations in the USA? You have come to the right place! The US is an incredibly big and diverse country and it can be hard to know where to start your plans. There are endless varieties of landscapes, cultures, and activities to explore.
Summer is the best season for exploration, adventure, and relaxation. It’s the time of year when to break free from our daily routines and embrace new experiences.
Here you will find beach vacations, outdoor adventures, and a few big cities to explore. From the stunning natural beauty of Alaska to the sun-kissed beaches of Maui, the USA offers a wide range of summer vacation options. Get ready to see all the best summer vacations in the USA!
Best Summer Vacations in the USA
Coastal Maine Road Trip
Maine is beautiful in the summer months and a road trip is a fantastic way to explore the coast. Your first stop should be at the Acadia National Park located on Mount Desert Island. This is one of the prettiest parks on the east coast and has epic views on the Park Loop Road.
Portland is another hot spot to check out and it is best known for the Old Port district. Explore the cobblestone streets, shop at the boutique local stores, and eat all the lobster you can find!
Camden is another coastal town worth stopping at. Here you will find historic buildings and plenty of hiking trails. Book a schooner cruise from Camden to see the nearby islands.
Maine is a great place to start when thinking of summer vacation ideas in the United States!
Where to Stay Near Coastal Maine:
Canopy Portland Waterfront is super close to the best beaches in Portland and is within walking distance of the old port. The rooms are cozy and clean, and the hotel itself is super sleek.
Acadia Inn is the perfect place to stay on your trip to Maine. They are one short mile from the park’s entrance and have a walking trail that will you lead you straight there. Enjoy swimming in the outdoor pool and free breakfast!
Up first is Alaksa! This beautiful state is one of the best places to summer in the USA. The days are extra long in the summer with plenty of outdoor adventures to keep you entertained. Most people fly to Anchorage and take smaller road trips around Alaska from there. Another popular way to get to the final frontier state is to take a cruise.
Make sure you plan to visit the Denali national park. This is where North America’s highest mountain range is. You can take a tour bus up to the top and may stop grizzly bears, moose, and maybe even a few caribou. Or check out the beautiful Kenai Peninsula for the best hiking and fishing spots.
If you are looking for one of the best places to visit in June in the USA, Alsakas weather is perfect. The long days stay around 70 degrees and June is one of the driest months of the entire year!
Where to stay near Denali National Park
McKinley Creekside Cabins- These beautiful cabins are only about 15 minutes away from the epic Park. They have an amazing view of the mountain ranges and a creek that runs through the property.
Denali Tri-Valley Cabins– Book a completely renovated cabin in the woods of Alaska. This is a great place to spend a few days out of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Big Sur in California
Big Sur is an area in the southern central part of Cali. They are best known for the epic Pacific Coast Highway, as it is one of the most iconic drives ever. Another popular destination in Big Sur is Pfeiffer Beach with its dramatic purple-colored sand and huge rock formations in the water.
Point Sur State Park is worth a visit as well. Here you can tour the Point Sur Lighthouse on the volcanic rock. You can also camp, surf, fish, and hike along this beautiful State Park! This is one of the best places to visit in the summer in the USA for outdoor lovers.
Where to stay near Big Sur:
Alila Ventana Big Sur Adult Only– is perched on a hillside overlooking the epic Big Sur Coastline on 160 acres. Every room comes with a stunning view that you can enjoy from a private balcony.
The Camp at Carmel Valley– Set up camp at this inside the lovely Carmel Valley Campsite. There are rustic cabins available to give you a real feel of the California countryside.
Chicago has always been one of the best places to visit in the USA in the summer. This midwest US state is known for its impressive architecture, museums, incredible Jazz and Blue scene, and the classically Chicago deep dish pizza.
A few hot spots to visit are the Millennium Park with the ionic Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain. The park also hosts ample free concerts in the park during the summertime.
When you think of Chicago you probably don’t think of beaches. But, there are several beaches to explore along Lake Michigan. The top two are Oak Street Beach and North Ave. Here you can spend your day sunbathing, or rent a kayak and get out on the water.
Where to stay in Lake Michigan in Chicago:
Grand Beach Resort Hotel– Book yourself a beach-facing room for the perfect summer vaca. When staying here you will be a short walk away from a private beach and have access to both an indoor and outdoor pool!
CitizenM Chicago Downtown– For a more downtown vibe, the Citizen M would be the perfect place to stay. And it is only a mile from Ohio Street Beach so you will have the best of both worlds.
Utah Big 5 National Parks
Thinking about doing a National Park tour of the US? Starting in Utah is a perfect place to start because you can visit 5 stunning National Parks all in one state. The Parks are Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capital Reed, and Zion.
Arches Park is known for its impressive Delicate Arch. The most popular things to do here are hiking, rock climbing, and laying out under the stars.
Bryce Canyon is known for its unique formation known as hoodoos. While Canyonlands has huge canyons and is a great place for river rafting. Capitol Reef Park has colorful rocks and Zion is one of the most popular National Parks in the entire country.
These parks are relatively close to each other and you could easily visit them all in one long trip. Making it one of the perfect United States summer vacation destinations for adventurous travelers.
Where to Stay Near The National Parks:
Sundance Mountain Resort– All rooms come with a cozy fireplace, and a full kitchen, enough for dining and relaxing inside and out on the patio. The views here are stunning and there are 3 restaurants and a spa onsite!
Zion Villa– If you are looking for a more private stay this amazing villa in Zion boasts 5 bedrooms and has stunning views of one of the most popular National Parks in Utah. Bring the whole family and enjoy a summer vacation for the books.
Lake Tahoe is one of the best American summer vacations to add to your list. This amazing lake is so big it stretches across both California and Nevada. It is best known for its clear blue waters and several beach spots.
Mount Tallac and Eagle Falls are the most popular hikes around the lake. And when it comes to beaches you will want to check out the Sand Harbor and Kings Beach State Recreation area for a fun day in the California sun.
It is also a hot spot for all the golf lovers out there. There are several world-class golf courses including the famous Edgewood Taho Golf Course. Pretty much anything you want to do outside, Lake Tahoe has it and you will be blown away by the natural beauty and is one of the best summer vacations in the USA.
Where to stay near Lake Tahoe:
Northstar Lodge by Vacation Club Rentals: When staying here you will be a short 10-minute drive away from Kings Beach. They have two and three-bedroom cabins available, so bring the whole family to enjoy one of the best summer vacations in the USA.
Donner Lake Village has a private lakefront beach and an incredible view from the living room. After your long day of exploring the lake relax in the sauna or sit outside to take in the views.
Montana and Glacier National Park
Montana is known for epic landscapes and the Glacier National Park is always on the top of the list for good summer vacation spots in the USA. You can enjoy hiking over 700 miles of trails. The two most popular hikes are the Grinnell Glacier and the Highline Trails.
Another hot spot is the Going to the Sun Road. This scenic drive takes you through the heart of the Glacier National Park. You will drive through the mountainside, valleys, and amazing glaciers.
You can also immerse yourself in the cowboy culture of Montana and take a guided horseback ride through Glacier. There are also several rivers for rafting and kayaking and big lakes for fishing. Montana is often overlooked as one of the best summer vacations in the USA, so it is a bit less crowded than others on this list!
Where to stay near Glacier National Park:
Great Northern Resort is one of the best resorts in Montana. They are a short drive away from the National Park and offer shuttles and you can book tours right in the lobby! Be sure to book a room with a mountain view, you will not regret it!
St. Mary Village is a great place to stay for an authentic Montana experience. All the rooms are decorated cowboy-style.
Boston is amazing to visit any time of the year, but it is really special in the summertime. The first place to visit is going to be the Harbor Islands. There are over 30 small islands off the coast of Boston to visit. The water is the perfect temperature for swimming in the summer, and there are places to rent canoes and explore the islands yourself.
Boston is one best places to visit in July in the USA because they go all out on July 4th. Harborfest is a week-long festival with a grand finale on the day of. There is also the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular with live concerts and the Boston Pop Orchestra.
Another important part of Boston’s culture is the food. If you have never had clam chowder you are in for a treat. Several breweries like Sam Adams are based in Boston and offer tours! Be sure to book now Boston is one of the most popular summer vacation destinations in the USA!
Where to stay near Boston:
Newbury Boston is one of the most amazing locations. you will be in the heart of Boston and within walking distance of all the best things to do in downtown. Plus, they have free bikes for all guests to use!
The Godfrey Hotel Boston is such a vibe. When staying you will be in pure luxury. Within walking distance, you will find the Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum and very scenic Boston Common Park.
Seattle in the summer is full of sunshine and cool temperatures. When planning to visit you have to check out the famous Pike Place Market. This is where over 200 local vendors gather to sell everything from fresh fish to handmade Christmas ornaments.
The Seattle Space Needle is also an incredible experience that you will only have in Seattle. You can climb (or ride) to the top of this iconic landmark for amazing 360 views of the city.
In the summer you can also find any events and festivals in Seattle. The ever-popular International Film Festival and the Seattle Art Fair bring hundreds of thousands of visitors every year! Be sure to check out Washington, it is always one of the fun states to visit in the summer!
Where to stay near Seattle:
MOXY Seattle Downtown is one of the coolest places to stay. The whole hotel has a vintage design with very cool vibes. There is a bar and restaurant on-site and you will be within walking distance of the Space Needle.
The Mediterranean Inn is super close to the Pike Place Market and very close to public transportation. You can dine at the Mediterranean rooftop restaurant and take in the stunning Seattle skyline.
There is so much to do during the summertime in Asheville. You can spend your morning driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop along the many beautiful viewpoints.
There is also plenty of hiking trails and the nearby Pisgah National Forest has a stretch of the Appalachian Trail with beautiful waterfalls. The Biltmore is also one of the top attractions in Asheville. This giant historic house was built and owned by the Vanderbilts, but today it is open to the public for viewing.
Asheville is also known for its nightlife in the downtown area. There are several craft beer breweries, trendy restaurants, art galleries, and live music on almost every block. If you are looking for cool USA places to visit in the summer, Asheville never disappoints.
Where to stay near Asheville NC for one of the best summer vacations in the USA:
Elevation Lofts Hotel is within walking distance of downtown and is super close to the Biltmore estate. But the coolest thing about staying at Elevation is that it is inside a restored warehouse building and has a modern feel to it.
The Residences at Biltmore is located inside the beautiful Biltmore Estate. This aparthotel comes fully equipt with full kitchens, an outdoor pool, and a hot tub. This is a great place to stay while on one of the best summer vacations in the USA.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is located in the Californias Sierra Nevada Mountains and is a hiker’s paradise. The most popular hikes are the Mist Trail, Nevada Falls, and the Half Dome.
Besides the many hiking trails, Yosemite is also home to some of the prettiest waterfalls in the states. The most famous is the Yosemite Falls. You can view this epic cascade from a viewpoint or hike up to the falls to see them up close and personal.
There are also dozens of campsites ranging from small tent sites to epic RV parks. If you are looking for a new adventure there are also hundreds of opportunities in Yosemite for rock climbing for all skill levels. Put this beautiful national park high on your list of the best places to go in the USA in the summer.
Where to stay near Yosemite:
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite has everything you need for an epic vacation in Yosemite. It is close to the park, and has an epic outdoor pool, and arcade room for the kids.
Yosemite View Lodge not only has amazing views, but they also have 4 pools to enjoy in the summer. There is also a restaurant on-site, and every room comes standard with a kitchen.
Year after year Yellowstone continues to be one of the most popular National Parks for summer vacation places in America. The Old Faithful geyser is the main attraction. To make sure you see an eruption you will want to check in at the visitor’s education center, but it does erupt approximately every 2 hours.
For outdoor lovers, Yellowstone has over 900 miles of trails. You can take an easy stroll along the main boardwalk or try one of the more changeling backcountry trails. Yellowstone is one Best places to visit in August in the USA because the weather is warm and the wildlife is very active.
There are also over 100 lakes and rivers to enjoy. You can charter a boat, or grab a fishing pole and catch trout and salmon. There are 12 campgrounds inside the National Park, and it is recommended to book early because they do fill up fast!
Where to stay near Yellowstone:
The Virginian Lodge is the perfect mix of country decor and modern touches. There is a Western-themed restaurant, a big outdoor swimming pool, and amazing views of the mountain range.
For all the wine and landscape lovers Napa Valley is the best thing to do in the summer in the USA. There are over 600 different wines in Napa alone. There are several ways to visit these lovely and scenic vineyards. One of the most popular is the guided wine tour along the Silverado Trail on the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Napa is also known for its gourmet food scene. Many restaurants will offer a farm-to-table approach. Ensuring your meal will be locally sourced and ultra-fresh.
Another fun thing to do in Napa is to wake up early and take a hot air balloon ride at sunset. This magical morning you will have a bird’s eye view just as the sun is rising in the valley. Napa is fun for the whole family, and is one of the best summer vacations in the USA!
Where to stay near Napa Valley:
Archer Hotel Napa is exactly what you have been looking for. This sleek Napa hotel is in the heart of downtown and has amazing views and decor. You will love the view from the rooftop bar after your long day of winery tours.
UpValley Inn & Hot Springs is the best place to treat yourself. When staying here the spa is included and you can walk to one of the wine train stops!
Miami will forever be one of the best summer vacations in the USA to take. The beaches here are pristine with white sandy shores and turquoise water. South Beach is definitely one of the most popular beaches in Miami and has an art deco vibe.
There are several different cultures influencing Miami’s food scene. You can get authentic Cuban food, fresh seafood, and Latin American flavors any day of the week. The food truck scene started in Miami and you will see hundreds of stalls around serving flavorful dishes.
The nightlife in Miami is another reason it is one of the best summer vacation spots in the USA. If you plan on dancing your nights away you have to check out LIV at the Fontainebleau or the Basement Miami clubs.
Where to stay near Miami:
Monte Carlo by Miami Vacations is right on the Miami Beach front away from the late-night noise. Besides a stunning view, there are also two outdoor pools and sauna areas.
Hawaii is the ultimate dream summer vacation. Maui is the most popular island in all of Hawaii and is best known for its gorgeous beaches with clear water and soft sand. When visiting be sure to check out the Kaanapali, Wailea, and Kapalua Beaches.
Maui also has some of the best snorkeling and diving in Hawaii. The waters are home to green sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and colorful reef fish. Maui is also a hot spot for whale watching. Take a boat tour to see a humpback whale in the wild, these large animals are unbelievable when you see them close-up.
Another popular thing to do in Maui is to Drive the Road to Hana. This route takes you along the east coast past waterfalls, rainforests, and stunning landscapes. Or you could visit the Haleakala National Park to see the largest dormant volcano in the world!
Where to stay near Maui:
Maui Seaside Hotel has a private beachfront, airport shuttle, outdoor pool, and live music, and they give you a $25 credit to explore some of the best things to do in Maui!
Wailea Beach Resort has amazing views of the sea and on clear days you can see the nearby islands. All of the rooms have a luxury feel with a peaceful beach vibe. Both Wailea and Ulua Beach are within walking distance of Wailea!
After the popular Netflix show “Outer Banks” the OBX is becoming more of world known spot. But this North Carolina beach town has been one of the best summer vacations in the USA for years. There are no major hotels in the area and very few chain restaurants on the island.
People head to OBX for one thing, the epic beaches. There are quite a few different towns to choose from when planning your summer vacation. Kitty Hawk and Nags Head are very popular with families because of the many attractions and restaurants.
But if you want an authentic Outer Banks experience you will want to head down Route 12 south to Hatteras Island. This beautiful barrier island is less crowded and has the prettiest beaches in the OBX.
Sign up for surf lessons, book a fishing charter out in the famous Orgean Inlet, or just relax on the beach. Although the secret is out, the OBX is still a great option if you are looking for one of the best and cheap summer vacations in the USA.
Where to stay in the OBX:
The Jetty Cottage is one of the beach houses to rent on Hatteras Island. This house has five bedrooms and can fit up to 15 people! You will be close to the beachfront, have a private pool, and plenty of places to sit out on the deck.
Beachwood Resort is one of the only hotels in Kitty Hawk. It is in a natural setting surrounded by nature and Kitty Hawk Wood Coastal Reserve. There is a fun indoor play area for the kids and you will walking distance of the waves.