Utilize your vacation days during the summer, whether you prefer a trip to a bustling city, a serene beach, an all-American national park, or a quaint small town. To determine the top summer vacations in the USA, U.S. News assessed various factors such as affordability, weather, availability of activities, and feedback from both travelers and experts. If you find a destination that appeals to you, cast your vote below to contribute to next year’s rankings.
1.Glacier National Park:
Glacier National Park is a stunning natural wonder located in the northwest corner of Montana in the United States. The park spans over 1 million acres and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, mountain goats, and wolves. The park is famous for its pristine alpine lakes, rugged mountains, and numerous glaciers, which give the park its name. Some of the most popular spots in the park include the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which offers breathtaking views of the park’s landscape, and the Grinnell Glacier Trail, which takes hikers through alpine meadows and past glaciers to the stunning Grinnell Lake. Visitors to Glacier National Park can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The park is also home to numerous lodges, restaurants, and other amenities, making it an ideal destination for both day trips and extended stays. With its unparalleled natural beauty and diverse range of activities, Glacier National Park is truly a national treasure that should not be missed.
2.Yellowstone National Park:
Yellowstone National Park is a vast natural wonder located primarily in Wyoming, but also stretching into Montana and Idaho. It was established as the first national park in the United States in 1872. The park is known for its impressive wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, as well as its geothermal features, such as the famous Old Faithful geyser and the multi-colored hot springs at the Grand Prismatic Spring. Yellowstone also boasts stunning scenery, with canyons, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls all within its boundaries. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities, as well as guided tours and ranger-led programs. The park is open year-round, though access to some areas may be limited during winter months. Yellowstone National Park is an iconic symbol of the natural beauty and wonder of the United States, drawing millions of visitors each year to experience its awe-inspiring sights and unique ecosystem.
3.Grand Canyon National Park:
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited parks in the United States and is located in northern Arizona. It is home to the famous Grand Canyon, which is a steep-sided gorge that was carved out by the Colorado River over millions of years. The park covers an area of over 1.2 million acres and is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including several that are unique to the park. The park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, camping, and sightseeing. There are several trails that lead down into the canyon, including the Bright Angel Trail, which is one of the most popular trails in the park. There are also several lookout points along the rim that offer stunning views of the canyon. The park is open year-round and attracts millions of visitors each year. It is a popular destination for families, nature lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts who come to experience the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon and the surrounding area.
San Diego is a coastal city located in the southern part of California, United States. Known for its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and laid-back lifestyle, San Diego is a popular tourist destination. It is the second-largest city in California and the eighth-largest in the United States. The city is home to several popular attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and SeaWorld San Diego. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, surfing, and biking, thanks to the city’s mild climate and beautiful scenery. San Diego is also a hub for the United States Navy, with several naval bases located in the city. The city has a strong military presence, with a significant number of veterans and active-duty personnel living in the area. In addition to its many attractions and natural beauty, San Diego is also known for its thriving food and craft beer scenes. Visitors can explore the city’s many restaurants, breweries, and markets to experience the local flavors and culture.
5.Grand Teton National Park:
Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming, in the United States. The park is named after the Teton Range, which is a 40-mile long mountain range that rises abruptly from the Jackson Hole Valley. The park covers over 300,000 acres and features pristine mountain lakes, rivers, and forests that are home to an abundance of wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, elk, and moose. Grand Teton National Park offers visitors a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. Some of the most popular hiking trails include the Jenny Lake Trail, the Cascade Canyon Trail, and the Taggart Lake Trail. The park is also home to several scenic drives, including the Teton Park Road and the Signal Mountain Summit Road, which offer breathtaking views of the Teton Range and the surrounding landscape. In addition to its natural beauty, Grand Teton National Park also has a rich cultural history. The park contains numerous historic structures and sites, including homesteads, ranches, and Native American archeological sites. Overall, Grand Teton National Park is a stunning destination that offers visitors an opportunity to connect with nature and experience the beauty of the American West.
San Francisco is a bustling city located in Northern California, known for its iconic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, and rich culture. The city is home to many famous attractions, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco is a hub for art, music, and theater, with many museums, galleries, and performance venues throughout the city. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a must-visit for contemporary art lovers, while the historic War Memorial Opera House hosts world-class productions throughout the year. The city is also famous for its food scene, featuring a wide range of international cuisines and innovative culinary creations. Some of the most popular dishes in San Francisco include sourdough bread, clam chowder, and the Mission-style burrito. San Francisco is a vibrant and exciting city with something to offer everyone. From the bustling streets of Chinatown to the natural beauty of Golden Gate Park, there is always something new to discover in this vibrant and diverse city.
Bar Harbor is a small town located on Mount Desert Island in the state of Maine, USA. It is the gateway to the popular Acadia National Park, which attracts millions of visitors every year. The town has a rich history and was once a popular summer destination for wealthy families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, Bar Harbor is a bustling tourist town with plenty of attractions and activities to keep visitors entertained. Some of the top things to do in Bar Harbor include exploring the town’s historic district, hiking the trails in Acadia National Park, kayaking along the coastline, and whale watching tours. The town also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with several galleries and museums showcasing the work of local artists. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of seafood restaurants and local shops selling handmade crafts and souvenirs. Bar Harbor’s stunning natural beauty, rich history, and charming small-town atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Maine.
The Adirondacks is a mountainous region located in upstate New York, known for its beautiful natural scenery and outdoor recreational activities. The Adirondack Park covers 6 million acres, making it the largest park in the contiguous United States. The Adirondack Mountains are a popular destination for hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. The park also features over 3,000 lakes and ponds, as well as over 30,000 miles of streams and rivers, making it a prime location for water-based activities. In addition to its outdoor offerings, the Adirondacks is also home to charming towns and villages, such as Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Old Forge, where visitors can find unique shops, restaurants, and lodging options. The region is also known for its rich history, including the Great Camps, which were built by wealthy families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Overall, the Adirondacks is a beautiful and diverse destination, offering something for every type of outdoor enthusiast and history buff.
Seattle is a vibrant and bustling city located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Known for its beautiful waterfront, iconic Space Needle, and thriving tech industry, Seattle offers something for everyone. One of Seattle’s main attractions is Pike Place Market, a bustling public market where vendors sell fresh seafood, produce, flowers, and handmade crafts. The market also features street performers, artisanal food stalls, and specialty shops. Another popular attraction is the Space Needle, a 605-foot observation tower that offers stunning views of the city and surrounding area. Visitors can ride the elevator to the top and take in the panoramic views from the observation deck. Seattle is also home to many world-class museums, including the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Pacific Science Center. Additionally, the city offers plenty of outdoor activities, from hiking in nearby mountains to kayaking in Puget Sound. With its unique blend of urban amenities and natural beauty, Seattle is a must-see destination for travelers.
The Outer Banks is a 200-mile-long string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. Known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and charming beach towns, the Outer Banks is a popular destination for vacationers and water sports enthusiasts. The area is rich in history and culture, with several historic lighthouses, including the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which stands at 198 feet tall. Visitors can also explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which commemorates the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903. The Outer Banks is also known for its seafood, with local favorites including crab cakes, shrimp and grits, and fresh oysters. The area is home to several fishing villages, and visitors can try their hand at fishing or take a charter boat tour. In addition to its beaches and historic attractions, the Outer Banks offers plenty of outdoor activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and hiking in nearby national wildlife refuges.
With its laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty, the Outer Banks is a perfect destination for those seeking a relaxing beach vacation.