Discover America's Most Popular Summer Vacation Spots [Mapped!]

Explore the most popular summer vacation spots in the United States, from stunning beaches to vibrant cities to breathtaking national parks!

Summer vacation season is fast approaching. That means it's time to start planning supper trips! Vacationing in the U.S. offers vacationers a plethora of options, from big cities to National parks, beaches, and historic landmarks. America has options to meet everyone's vacation dreams. Exploring popular summer vacation spots in the U.S. can bring you to relaxing beach destinations on either coast or the diverse landscapes in between.

Check out this expansive list of America's most popular summer vacation spots - mapped!

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Beach Destinations

Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii is well known as a top vacation destination in America. Maui's pristine beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and turquoise waters are a perfect place for vacationers to enjoy snorkeling at one of the island's world-famous beaches during the day and enjoy farm-to-table cuisine in the evening.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks has pristine beaches stretching for miles. The Outer Banks is a sunbathing haven perfect for water sports, exploring lighthouses, and little coastal towns like Nags Head and Duck. This American beach spot perfectly combines relaxation, southern charm, and adventure.

South Beach, Miami, Florida

South Beach, Miami, is full of vibrant art deco, high energy, and endless stretches of white sandy beaches. Ocean Drive is full of shiny art deco architecture, sidewalk cafes, and music spilling into the streets. Miami also sports a fast-paced party scene and serves as a fashion hot spot.

Malibu, California

The almost irresistible allure of Malibu reaches beyond the picturesque landscape, Pacific Coast Highway, and pristine beaches. Malibu is home to many Hollywood stars and famous athletes. It also offers some of the best surfing waves in America and is home to the iconic Malibu Pier.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has a picturesque coastline with miles of beaches for sunbathers and swimmers. Set amongst quaint seaside towns and a coast spotted with historic lighthouses to explore. Cape Cod is a world renown spot for whale watching and water activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, and fishing.

City Escapes

New York City, New York

New York City offers visitors iconic landmarks, Broadway shows, and an exciting blend of diverse cultures and cuisine. Summer vacationers can visit famous places like Central Park, the High Line, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty, visit museums, and enjoy one of the city's many street festivals.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is saturated with unique charm. The infamous Golden Gate Bridge and vibrant, eclectic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Haight-Asbury offer visitors a satisfying blend of culture, natural beauty, and fantastic restaurants. Summer vacationers will enjoy cable car rides and explore the city's thriving art scene.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Famous for jazz and beignets in the French Quarter, New Orleans also offers the best Creole cuisine in the country and a treasure of endless history that can be experienced solo or with an exciting ghost tour. New Orleans is set among a rich cultural heritage and Gothic architecture. Summer visitors can also enjoy perusing historic plantations and a variety of free events like outdoor markets and festivals.

Chicago, Illinois

The windy city is a stunning lakefront city with a breathtaking skyline and a fast-paced, vibrant atmosphere. Summer baseball season offers a chance to visit Wrigley Field for a Cubs game or great weather to cruise along the Chicago River. There so many things to do in Chicago, including museums, summer festivals, and a vibrant culinary scene to experience at one of the city's many restaurants and bars.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston has gorgeous cobblestone streets, pastel-colored houses, and unmatched historic charm creating small-town charm with a big dose of Southern hospitality. Visitors can explore southern plantations, visit beautiful beaches, enjoy a thriving art scene during the day, and end the night sharing some fresh Lowcountry cuisine.

National Parks

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is a geological phenomenon presenting breathtaking beauty, amazing hiking adventures, and indoor adventures like Hopi House. Hopi House offers vacationers a break from the heat with two air-conditioned floors full of Native American arts and crafts. Grand Canyon National Park is a perfect way to experience the beauty of nature and experience history.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is full of natural beauty. It is well known for towering waterfalls, majestic valleys, and gigantic granite cliffs set among ancient sequoia groves creating a natural paradise for nature lovers and summer vacationers escaping the city. Yosemite is perfect for hiking adventures and offers beautiful landscapes for aspiring or experienced photographers.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone is an excellent summer destination because summer brings the best weather to the park, making all roads and facilities open and operational for visitors. Yellowstone has the most geysers and hot springs than any other place in the world. The park also has abundant wildlife, including grizzly bears and wolves, dramatic landscapes, and vast expanses of natural beauty.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, and North Carolina

Spanning Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park is a beautiful summer vacation spot full of misty peaks, lush forests, and many waterfalls. The famous Appalachian Trail is located in the park, making it the perfect choice for outdoor enthusiasts ready to hike away their summer vacation.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park in Maine offers breathtaking views of coastal scenery, rocky cliffs with granite peaks, and sandy beaches. In addition to coastal beauty, the park also has pristine lakes and excellent hiking and cycling trails. Outdoor adventurers will love Acadia's outdoor activities, charming seaside towns, and endless natural beauty.

Outdoor Adventures

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Home to the famous Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, also offers excellent outdoor adventures, including hiking and whitewater rafting. Many visitors experience wildlife sightings among the expansive landscape views of the Grand Tetons. Jackson Hole has fishing, rafting, and ranches, as well as a vibrant arts scene, fine dining, and many other exciting attractions for summer vacationers.

Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah, is a vibrant town famous for its outdoor recreation. Summer vacationers can enjoy biking, hiking, rafting, climbing, horseback riding, and many other outdoor activities. Just north of Moab, visitors can visit Arches National Park and see the red rock canyons or mountain bike Slickrock Trail. Moab is perfect for outdoor adventurers looking for summer fun.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park is a great place to fish, bike, and horseback ride through miles of vast, beautiful terrain. In addition to over 700 miles of hiking trails, the park also has cascading waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and active wildlife visitors often see throughout their stay. Whitewater rafting, among many other outdoor activities, is popular at Glacier National Park.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is set in a valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains making it a picturesque summer destination for outdoor activities and small-town fun. Visitors can explore the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the famous Biltmore Estate, and enjoy Asheville's vibrant art scene and one of the many craft breweries in this small town. Asheville is a unique blend of urban charm and outdoor adventure.

Lake Tahoe, California, and Nevada

In Lake Tahoe, summer vacationers find sandy beaches on turquoise waters surrounded by scenic hiking trails. Offering year-round recreation and a vibrant nightlife, Lake Tahoe is the perfect summer vacation escape combining relaxation and adventure.

Family-Friendly Destinations

Orlando, Florida

Visitors of all ages love Orlando for its fun-filled theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Orlando also offers plenty to do outside of theme parks, including family-friendly resorts, water parks, and various entertainment options.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Well known for expansive, beautiful beaches and a family-fun atmosphere, Myrtle Beach has a vibrant boardwalk and plenty of family-friendly attractions, including amusement parks and mini-golf courses.

San Diego, California

San Diego has over seventeen miles of beautiful coastline to explore, allowing visitors to experience the Pacific Ocean from wide, flat beach expanses or a bird's eye view from rocky cliffs. Families can also take in the famous San Diego Zoo, enjoy waterfront dining, and explore one of the many tidepools looking for treasures left by the outgoing tide.

Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia, immerses families into colonial history, where visitors can step back in time through interactive attractions sporting costumed interpreters. Family-friendly fun includes exploring the Jamestown Settlement or riding thrill rides at Bush Gardens amusement park.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is located in the Great Smokey Mountains. It is a charming mountain getaway full of family-friendly activities, including Ripley's Aquarium, amusement parks, family-friendly entertainment, and outdoor activities.

Historic and Cultural Sites

Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C., is full of iconic U.S. landmarks, including the White House and Smithsonian museums. It offers visitors endless entertainment, sightseeing, and excellent restaurants and bars to enjoy after a full day of activities.

Boston, Massachusetts

Full of historic sites and classic American culture, Boston boasts vibrant neighborhoods full of beautiful architecture and amazing food. Boston is a coastal town, so the summer heat is met with cool breezes making it s bit more pleasant when visiting during the summer heat.

Savannah, Georgia

Full of historic charm, town squares lined with oak trees, and riverfront, Savannah is a perfect place to leisurely stroll while exploring landmarks and quaint stores. The city boasts a vibrant restaurant scene, trolley tours, historic cemeteries, and museums.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

One of the most historic, artistic cities in the US, Santa Fe is America's oldest state capital city, full of culture drawn from the past and present. Visitors can explore the Plaza, immerse themselves in Native American culture, and enjoy excellent restaurants.

Coastal Escapes

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket is a charming coastal town full of sandy beaches and maritime history, perfect for beach lovers and seaside adventurers.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Famous for world-class golf courses, Hilton Head also has pristine beaches and abundant outdoor activities. It is a perfect location for everyone in the family to enjoy a relaxing summer vacation.

Key West, Florida

Key West has a lively atmosphere with vibrant nightlife. This tropical island paradise has gorgeous sunsets and a relaxing atmosphere perfect for summer vacation.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

The serene atmosphere is picturesque, with coastal views, dramatic sea stacks, lush vegetation, and a charming seaside town full of everything you need for summer vacation.

Cape May, New Jersey

Also known as "the Jersey Cape," Cape May is known for its beaches and boardwalks. It is full of Victorian architecture and old-world charm, with many historic sites and things to do during summer vacation.

Mountain Retreats

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is nestled in the Rockies, perfect for mountain enthusiasts who love outdoor adventures. Vacationers will enjoy meadows full of wildflowers, mountain biking, hiking, zip-lining, and many other activities, as well as Aspen's vibrant cultural scene.

Lake Placid, New York

The Adirondacks surround Lake Placid. It is full of scenic beauty and plenty of water sports on one of the cleanest freshwater lakes in the world.

Park City, Utah

Best known for its ski resorts in winter, Park City transforms into a gorgeous summer vacation spot offering hiking, mountain biking, and a lively arts scene.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is perfect for outdoor adventures, perusing art galleries, and experiencing the rich Native American heritage of the area.

Summer Vacation Planning

It’s time to plan your perfect domestic summer vacation! Be sure to consider your personal preferences and interests when selecting your vacation destination! The good news is that some American getaways include something for everyone.

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