10 Best Places to Travel in Summer 2023 in the US
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Warm weather is finally here, and it’s time to explore the best places to travel in summer. We’ve put together a line-up of cities that let you enjoy everything about the season—hot days lounging on the beach, adventure tours, exploring preserved historical sites, and more.
We’ve got vacation ideas for everyone, everything from hiking in Yellowstone National Park, snorkeling the coral reefs in Maui, or adrenaline-filled roller coasters in Orlando’s theme parks. So, if you’re looking for your next adventure, try one of these top US summer destinations.
1. Yellowstone National Park
America’s first national park remains a country treasure ever since designated in 1872. The passage of time has only confirmed the park’s beauty, as its 2.2 million acres appear as stunning as ever. Pack your binoculars and camera because there are tons of natural and wildlife sights you don’t want to miss this summer.
Things to do in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park stretches across three states–Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park’s widespread geothermal activity has created monumental landmarks seen on sightseeing tours of the park. Watch the timely eruptions from the Old Faithful Geyser spouting steamy water upwards of 184 feet in the air or witness the vibrant colors settled around the edge of the Grand Prismatic Spring. For even more water wonders, trek to some of the park’s nearly 300 waterfalls. The Lower Yellowstone River Falls is the most impressive, with a drop of 308 feet.
Keep alert to discover the many wildlife species lurking in the park. It’s home to the largest bison herd in the US, and you’ll easily see hundreds at a time grazing in the lush Lamar Valley. Other animals to tick off your list are grizzly bears, elk, wolves, and eagles soaring high overhead.
Where to Stay on a Trip to Yellowstone National Park
Gardiner, Montana, is the closest city to stay near Yellowstone National Park for easy access to the park’s North entrance. Charming inns and guesthouses are abundant here, but for one of the most unique Yellowstone National Park hotels, check out the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel or McDonald’s Ranch Lodge.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
The sun always casts the perfect glow over the red and orange-tinted cliffs of the Grand Canyon National Park. Recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, it’s one of the most breathtaking sceneries on Earth. Millions of years of erosion by the Colorado River carved out the canyon, leaving behind countless overlooks and canyon trails ripe for adventurers to explore.
Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park
Stop by one of the overlook sites around the canyon to get a true sense of its scale. The Eagle Point Overlook has one of the best panoramic canyon views, then muster up the courage to walk the Grand Canyon Skywalk suspended 4,000 feet over the canyon floor.
Descend to the depths of the canyon on its many hiking trails. Free park shuttles take you directly to the trailhead for the Bright Angel Hike through the South Rim. Or explore the North Rim (only open May-October) on treks like the Cape Royal Trail.
Where to Stay on an Outdoor Adventure to Grand Canyon National Park
Immerse yourself in the outdoors with stays that put nature right at your doorstep. Accommodations like the Backland luxury tents or the Wild West-themed Trapper’s Rendezvous are unique options. Camping in Grand Canyon National Park is also popular, with five campground options available for visitors.
3. Denver, Colorado
Nicknamed the Mile High City, a trip to Denver will elevate your summer travel this year. Give yourself a break from nature and experience the lively city energy through sports, culture, and breweries. Or use it as a kick-off location for day trips to nearby natural wonders.
Things to do in Denver
Denver is dotted with culture and history. Historic Walking Tours through the LoDo district uncover the past of the city’s oldest neighborhood. The Colorado State Capitol Building is perched atop Capitol Hill and is open for free tours. Or drink your way to the city’s famous craft brew scene with guided craft beer tours.
When nature calls, Denver is just a short drive to Colorado’s impressive landscapes. Journey into the peaks of the Rocky Mountain National Park, gaze at the iconic Pikes Peak and admire the beauty of the Garden of the Gods.
Where to stay on a budget in Denver
4. Myrtle Beach
Soak up the summer sun at one of the best beach vacation spots in the US: Myrtle Beach. So, pack your flip-flips and sunscreen because these sunny shores have plenty of things to do for visitors.
Things to do in Myrtle Beach
Summer is beach season at Myrtle Beach. Its seasonal attractions are all open and give something to do for all ages. Arrive early to get a spot on the popular North Myrtle Beach and enjoy activities like swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. Take in aerial views of the coast while parasailing or hop on a dolphin cruise to encounter these friendly marine mammals.
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is always busy with touristy fun. Take a ride on the SkyWheel or check out kid-friendly thrill rides at the beachfront Family Kingdom Amusement Park. Summer also brings major events to Myrtle Beach, including the Carolina Country Music Fest held in June.
Where to stay on a beach vacation to Myrtle Beach
Make the most of your trip by staying in one of the many oceanfront Myrtle Beach hotels. The Strand Boutique Resort, Coral Beach Resort, and the Courtyard by Marriott Oceanfront put the beach mere steps from your hotel room.
Summer is the best time to visit Alaska to avoid the icy winters. The seasonal weather will actually surprise you—and give you plenty of opportunities to experience the arctic wonders without the chill.
How warm does Alaska get in the summer?
Most people think Alaska is cold year-round, but it actually has a moderate climate during the summer. It gets the most sunlight this time of year to warm up the icy terrain. The season averages in the 70s, and July is the hottest month in Alaska.
Things to do in Alaska
The warm weather makes it perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Alaska is home to Denali Peak, the highest summit in North America, in Denali National Park. And cruises through the glacier-carved Kenai Fjords National Park reveal some of the region’s most dramatic landscapes.
Aside from nature, a visit to Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway exhibits remnants from a golden era, and the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage spotlights indigenous tribes.
Where to Stay on a summer trip to Alaska
Your itinerary determines the best place to stay in Alaska. For exploring Denali National Park, Fairbanks is the closest city with accommodations options like Northern Sky Lodge and A Taste of Alaska Lodge. Anchorage is the largest city and cultural center, easily accessible when staying local at places like the Embassy Suites Anchorage and Four Points by Sheraton.
6. Nassau, Bahamas
Whether flying or arriving by cruise, the Bahamas is a hotspot for summer travel this year. Powdery beaches extend along the shore for miles for the perfect beach holiday and tons of history to pique the interest of all history buffs.
Things to do in Nassau
Nassau is the capital and island hub for culture and politics. Attractions like Fort Charlotte and climbing Queen’s Staircase connect visitors to the history of this port city. Walking tours take you to landmarks like the Government House and the colorful buildings surrounding Parliament Square.
However, it’s the pristine water that attracts most tourists to the Caribbean. Cable Beach is the most popular for swimming and snorkeling the coral reefs. Escape the crowded shores of the main island for ventures to nearby Paradise Island and Rose Island to experience the unspoiled coasts.
Where to Stay on a Caribbean Vacation in the Bahamas
Nassau has several upscale resorts perfect for families visiting the Bahamas. You’ll be right on the beach when staying at Margaritaville Beach Resort and the SLS at Baha Mar. Paradise Island has the iconic Royal at Atlantis Resort and the adult-only Riu Palace.
7. Maui, Hawaii
Hawaii is an island paradise that most people only dream about. This summer, cross it off your bucket list with a trip to Maui. Island hopping around Hawaii will soon land you on the second largest island in the chain and a go-to destination for surrounding yourself with nature.
Things to do in Maui
Outdoor excursions in Maui take visitors across multiple climate zones—even during the summer. Hike to the top of Haleakala, a dormant volcano with a snow-capped peak. Hop in a car and drive the scenic Hana Highway hugging the island’s North Shore through lush mountainsides and waterfalls. Continue your descent toward sea level with a trek through the Pipiwai Trail to discover wildlife thriving in this rainforest. Finally, the island slopes gently into exotic beaches like Wailea and Hana for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing.
Where to Stay on a Beach in Maui
Spend your summer vacation in the ‘Happiest Place on Earth.’ Orlando, FL, is perfect for families, with tons of theme parks and attractions.
Things to do in Orlando
Theme parks are always a highlight when visiting Orlando. It’s home to Walt Disney World, the largest in the world, and full of rides, water parks, retail shops, and themed sections based on your favorite Disney movies. Universal Studios is another theme park bringing to life the Marvel and Harry Potter World. Sea Life gives visitors a glimpse at the vast underwater world, with more than 5,000 animals featured at this aquarium.
Where to Stay on a theme park holiday in Orlando
Orlando makes it easy for tourists to access its many theme parks. Shuttles stop by several popular accommodations, while some parks have resorts built onsite to fully immerse you in the fun. International Drive is one of the best areas to stay in Orlando, with choices like The Point Hotel & Suites, Avanti International Resort, and major hotel chains from Hilton and Hyatt.
9. San Diego
Summer days in San Diego can be spent wandering the eclectic districts and leisure time along the waterfront. It’s one of the most popular cities to visit in California, with its own charm that will make it your favorite trip this year.
Things to do in San Diego
Hop On Hop Off Trolley tours are the best way to go sightseeing in San Diego. It has stops in the historic Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park, where you’ll find the San Diego Zoo and 17 museums, before arriving near the waterfront.
Board the USS Midway ship museum to explore its naval history. If you can’t get enough of the water, join a whale-watching cruise to spot migrating gray whales in the Pacific Ocean or scenic catamaran tours in San Diego Bay.
Where to Stay on a trip to San Diego
There are several accommodation options for staying near popular tourist areas in San Diego. Explore downtown with a room at the Hard Rock Hotel and luxurious Manchester Grand Hyatt. However, beachgoers will prefer the Mission Bay Area with rooms at the Hyatt Regency and San Diego Mission Bay Resort.
Famous for its beaches and cultural events, Miami is the perfect getaway destination. You’ll enjoy hot days for relaxing on the coast and warm nights for checking out exciting offerings across the countless cultural venues.
Things to do in Miami
Experience Miami’s unique neighborhoods full of character. South Beach is a hub for beachcombers with 10 miles of white sand to enjoy swimming, jet skis, and other water sports. Little Havana exudes Cuban flair to enjoy authentic cuisine, salsa bars, or people-watching in Domino Park. Art enthusiasts will love Wynwood, which is covered with colorful murals and art galleries lining the streets. Nearby, Everglades National Park will give you close encounters with alligators lurking in the country’s biggest tropical wilderness.
Where to Stay on a Visit to Miami
Summer travel is in full effect! Don’t miss out on a chance to travel to these popular summer destinations and experience all they have to offer. Stay updated with news on PointsCrowd to see how you can redeem points and miles for award travel to many of these locations.
Let us know in the comments which of these summer vacation spots you plan to visit this year!