Summer is nearly upon us, and that means it’s time to pick one of these incredible summer travel destinations in the US you’re going to visit! From national parks to bustling cities to quaint seaside towns, read on to find out the top picks for 2021 summer destinations you won’t want to miss.
10 Summer Travel Destinations in the US for 2021
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1. San Francisco, CA
This northern California metropolis is known for its unique mix of architecture, rolling hills, cable cars, and the bustling Fisherman’s wharf. Summer is one of the best times to visit San Francisco, as it enjoys relatively cool weather from June-August.
What to do in San Francisco in the Summer:
- Spend some time out on the bay and get a unique view of the city! There are many boat tours you can take in San Francisco, including sailing excursions, sunset cruises, and even boat tours to Alcatraz.
- Walk across one of the most iconic symbols of San Francisco: the Golden Gate Bridge!
- Take a day trip to Muir Woods. Located just 40 minutes away by car, you’ll get to explore forests filled with stunning redwood trees over 300 feet and 1,000 years old.
- Or head out to Napa and try some of the amazing wine the area has to offer! Hire a full-day Napa and Sonoma tour so you don’t have to worry about driving.
2. Miami, FL
Looking for summer travel destinations in the US where you can feel like you’re on a tropical vacation? Consider hot and steamy Miami, Florida! Filled with fabulous beaches, great nightlife, and incredible bars and restaurants, you’ll never run out of things to do in Miami. Just don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!
What to do in Miami in the Summer:
- Party in South Beach: from nightclubs to world-class eateries to strolling along and admiring the Art Deco architecture, there’s always something going on in South Beach.
- Explore Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. A luxurious national historic landmark filled with 10 acres of lush formal gardens and manicured woodlands.
3. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - Outdoorsy Summer Travel Destinations in the US
Rocky Mountain National Park is worth visiting year-round, but you’ll enjoy some of the best weather in the summer! This national park is home to all sorts of wildlife, like elk, mountain goats, and bears. With over 300 miles of hiking trails, plenty of high peaks, and refreshing rivers and lakes, it’s not hard to stay entertained when you’re in the Rocky Mountains.
What to do in RMNP in the Summer:
- Drive the Trail Ridge Road for the very best views of the park… you might even luck out and see some wildlife!
- Explore the park by horseback. Within RMNP there are two horse stables where you can hire a horse and a guide for the day!
- Spend some time in nearby Estes Park. It’s a great escape from the summer heat and filled with cute restaurants, cafes, and shops.
4. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is world-renowned for its lively and rich culture — from Mardi Gras celebrations to rich Creole cuisine, to the distinctive nightlife and music scene. Every night in New Orleans is a party, whether you’re sipping a Sazerac in the French Quarter or stuffing your face with beignets from Cafe Du Monde.
What to do in NOLA in the Summer:
- Go on a haunted pub crawl! Follow your tour guide as they take you to famous locales known for their ghost sightings, and grab a drink at each stop along the way (thank you, open container laws).
- Head to Frenchman Street for some live music. Summer nights are nice and balmy in New Orleans, making it easy to enjoy a little impromptu jazz on the street.
- Take a swamp tour. During the summer, you can even take nighttime swamp tours to avoid the daytime heat and get a special glimpse at swamp wildlife after the sun goes down.
5. Nashville, TN
Nashville, Tennessee is a southern hub for the music industry, especially country music. Summer is the best time to visit Nashville — you can enjoy everything the city has to offer, as well as some of the nearby nature.
What to do in Nashville in the Summer:
- See some live music! Most bars in Nashville have live music at least a few nights a week.
- If you want to go the historic route while in Music City, don’t miss checking out the Grand Ole Opry House and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
6. Glacier National Park, MT
Dubbed the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park in Montana preserves an astounding 1 million acres of glacial peaks, crystal clear lakes, and ancient forests. If you’re looking for USA summer travel destinations in the great outdoors, you won’t want to miss Glacier National Park!
What to do in GNP in the Summer:
- Take a dip in Lake McDonald. This glacier-fed lake has pristine turquoise waters and is perfectly refreshing during the summer heat!
- Drive up Going-To-The-Sun-Road for breathtaking views of many of the park’s ancient glaciers.
- Head out on a hike! The Trail of the Cedars is a beautiful loop hike that’s wheelchair accessible. For something more challenging, check out the 12-mile trek to Piegan Pass!
7. Palm Springs, CA - Summer Travel Destinations in the US
Palm Springs is located in the Sonoran Desert in southern California. It’s the perfect blend between rustic desert nature and upscale boutique-y vibes. Whether you want to rough it on the hiking trails or spend your trip at an all-inclusive resort and spa, you’ll find your bliss in Palm Springs.
What to do in Palm Springs in the Summer:
- Treat yourself to a little selfcare! From massages to facials to acupuncture treatments, Palm Springs is filled with incredible spas.
- Play a little night golf. It can be a little too hot during the day to hit the green in Palm Springs, but some golf courses offer playtime after dark.
8. Portland, Maine
What to do in Portland, ME in the Summer:
- Tour the local lighthouses. Portland is home to many historic lighthouses, some of which you can even climb up for great ocean views!
- You can’t get any fresher lobster than you can in Maine! Chow down on some fresh lobster or indulge in a rich and creamy lobster roll.
9. Austin, TX
Austin, TX has a little bit of everything, making it one of the best 2021 summer destinations no matter what you’re looking to do. You’ll find great food, live music, and plenty of things to do to stay busy—whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with kids!
Need a place to stay? Check out this post.
What to do in ATX in the Summer:
- Scope out the music scene. Austin is home to an eclectic array of live music venues and local performers!
- Enjoy Austin’s great outdoors —watch the sunset at Mt. Bonnell, take a picnic to Zilker Park, or even rent a boat on Lake Austin.
- Head out of the city and day trip to one of Austin’s swimming holes: a great way to beat the summer heat!
10. Chicago, IL - Summer Travel Destinations in the US
Located in the midwest, the Windy City is notorious for its freezing cold winters and lingering chill into spring. That’s why summer is the best time to visit Chicago! You can stroll the streets and see all the city sights without having to wear ten layers of clothing!
What to do in Chicago in the Summer:
- Kayak the Chicago River. Yes, really, you can rent a kayak and paddle amongst the giant skyscrapers!
- Eat some deep-dish pizza. While sometimes controversial, you can’t deny that Chicago-style pizza is absolutely delicious.
- Stroll the boardwalk and ride the carnival rides at Navy Pier. There’s a great view of the city from the ferris wheel!
Which of these summer travel destinations in the US are you planning to hit this summer? Let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram!
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