25 EPIC summer destinations in the US you need to visit this year

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Looking for your next adventure or travel destination in the United States this summer? These epic summer destinations in the US will give you plenty of inspiration!

With fifty states, charming US towns, countless landmarks scattered throughout the country, it can be hard to pick between them.

Whether you’re. traveling solo, or with family and friends, here are the 25 Most Epic USA Summer Destinations:

The Best Places to Visit in the US in Summer

Whether you seek spectacular natural landscapes or serious adventure. There is a range of options from romantic US towns to epic summer hiking spots in the US.

1. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is one of the best places to visiting during summer in the US. In fact, during the fall and winter, most of the shops and accommodation are closed so it can become difficult to find restaurants and bars that are open.

This is the perfect summer destinations in the US for outdoor enthusiasts

Acadia National Park - USA Summer Trips
View from the Beehive trail in Acadia National Park looking towards the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is one of the most instagrammable places in the United States! You’ll find wavy sandstone formations glowing in vibrant hues of orange and red. 

The canyon made up of two sections – Upper and Lower. Lower Antelope Canyon is less visited compared to Upper Antelope canyon but is just as pretty and can even be more fun as it is a bit more challenging to walk through.

Antelope Canyon is protected by the Navajo Parks and Recreation and only authorized tour companies can take visitors to the canyon.

Antelope Canyon - USA in Summer
Sunbeam in Upper Antelope Canyon

3. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor is the gateway to Acadia National Park, one of America’s most visited national parks situated along Maine’s coastlines. In addition to the breathtaking landscapes of Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor has so much to offer.

Bar Harbor is known for its culinary scene, seafood, many yachts, and abundance of sea life. You can enjoy a relaxing boat tour, or take a whale watching tour, catch the sunrise or sunset from the shore path at Agamond Park.

Summer in the US - Bar Harbor

4. Big Sur, California

Big Sur is a scenic coastline on California’s Central Coast. It’s known for its winding turns, seaside cliffs, and world-class coastline views. This is a popular USA  summer destination for beachgoers, hiking, and camping.

One of the best things to do in Big Sur like admiring the McWay Falls – the only waterfalls along the coast that feeds straight into the ocean at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

USA in Summer - Big Sur

5. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a 77-mile-long spit of land divided into four main sections with a total of 15 towns. Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are the most famous towns.

The region is known for its quaint fishing towns, whale watching, and beautiful beaches. Cape Cod is among the most unique places to visit in the US in summer!

Whitewash Lighthouse  - Cape Cod
Whitewash Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod

6. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns is one of the most unique places to visit in the US in summer.

This national park in New Mexico has over 119 unique caves. Its limestone chambers are embedded beneath the rocky canyons and cacti of the Chihuahuan Desert.

USA Summer Destinations - Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
119 limestone caves in New Mexico.

7. Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park was born out of a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in 1902. It’s known for its beautiful blue lake that’s 1943 feet deep – the deepest lake in America. The park is also home to some amazing old-growth forest ecosystems and an abundance of wildlife.

Crater Lake is the best US summer destination for hiking, cycling camping, picnicking and sightseeing are popular pursuits within the park. Boating and scenic driving around Rim Drive can be enjoyed by visitors during the summer months.

Crater Lake, Oregon - USA summer Destinations
Little Crater Lake in Oregon

8. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles west of Key West- off the coast of Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico.

The seven-island archipelago is known for its legends about pirates, shipwrecks, sunken treasure and it also houses the 19th-century Fort Jefferson.

The park had abundant tropical birds, sea life, and colorful coral reefs – the least disturbed of the Florida Keys reefs.

Note: You can only get to this park via seaplane or boat!

9. Hamilton Pool, Texas

The Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool that was formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to major erosion.

Located 30 miles west of Austin, this 50 ft waterfall is a great location for a morning swim or stroll. The pools are open year-round but very popular in the summer. It’s highly recommended that you make a reservation on the Travis County Parks website right here.

Hamilton Pool, Texas -  Beautiful US Summer Destinations

10. Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped incised meander of the Colorado River and arguably one of the most famous US summer destinations! It sits 5 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, and an overlook just off U.S. Route 89 provides the perfect vantage point for photographing or viewing it.

This geological wonderland was formed over 5 million years ago when sand dunes covered the landscape ranging from Arizona to Wyoming. Over time, the sand dunes turned into stone due to erosion.

This is a must-see and it’s highly recommended that you combine your visit to this site with a visit to the equally famous Antelope Canyon. 

Horseshoe Bend - USA Summer Destinations

11. Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai is the oldest of all habited Hawaiian islands. This island paradise is known for its # beaches, emerald green mountains, and stunning sunsets in Kauai

Some of the best things to do include visiting the  Nā Pali Coast State Park, seeing the stunning Wailua Falls, and visiting some of the most beautiful beaches in the US.

Summer US Destinations - kauai

12. Lake Tahoe, California 

Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake located in the mountain range of Sierra Nevada (border of California and Nevada). This is the largest alpine lake in North America and the lake is deep enough to cover the Empire State Building.

It’s believed to have formed during the ice ages and today it’s an epic US destination known for winter sports – home to many snow and ski resorts, and summer outdoor recreation – some of the best summer US hiking trails. 

Lake Tahoe - USA Summer Destinations
Eagle Falls at Lake Tahoe in California

13. Maroon Bells, Colorado

Maroon Peak is a reflective lake and two giant mountaintops located just 10 miles west of Aspen up Maroon Creek Road off Highway 82.

The mountains’ distinctive maroon coloring is attributed to the weathering of hematite, an iron-bearing mineral, according to the US Forest Service, while Maroon Lake is located in a basin carved by Ice-Age glaciers. This is a great summer vacation spot for scenic hikes and camping!

US summer destination - Maroon Bells
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak, and North Maroon Peak, in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, in Colorado.

14. Moab, Utah

Moab in Utah is arguably one of the most beautiful towns to visit in summer in the US. It’s home to two national parks: Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. With thousands of sandston arches, dramatic landscapes and hiking trails.

Moab is popular for canyoneering, biking, hiking, river rafting, and ATV or 4×4 riding adventures. This town is a popular stop on most Utah road trips. While in Moab, visit the Museum of Moab to see dinosaur bones and archaeological artifacts.

Moab - US Summer Destination

15. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is one of the world’s most vibrant cities. It’s known for its eccentric vibes, great food, and live music. The city has breathtaking architecture and a popular stop for cruises.

Some of the best things to do are attending a Mardi Gras parade in the French Quarter, visiting one of the many local breweries, and exploring the National World War II Museum.

16. Niagara Falls, New York 

Niagara Falls is one of the worlds most famous waterfalls that separates Ontario, Canada from the New York State. 

There are three different waterfalls that makeup Niagara Falls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls. The most powerful of the three is Horseshoe Falls, which touches both countries.

Niagara Falls- USA Bucketlist

17. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Known to most for its Philly cheesesteak, colonial history, and sports! Philly is actually a great option for a day trip from New York City.

Philadelphia is not only rich in culture, but it’s the only city in the US to be named a UNESCO World Heritage city. Must-see spots in the town include the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the National Constitution Center, and more.

Philadelphia - US Summer

18. Portland, Oregon

Portland is one of the best summer vacation spots in the Pacific North West. Whether you choose to spend a day in Portland or longer, there is so much to do! From the US’ top-ranked farmers markets, scrumptious seafood, an abundance of microbrews.

Portland had many summer outdoor activities from camping, hiking, and biking spots! There’s a little something for everyone in Portland.

US Summer Destinations,  Portland

19. Providence, Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a summer haven! From boating, museums and delicious foods

Some of the best things to do in summer include visiting the Roger Williams Park Zoo -the country’s third oldest zoo. it covers 40 acres that are home to more than 160 animals.

Indulge in scrumptious seafood, Rhode Island’s nickname is “The Ocean State” and has an abundance of seafood restaurants from mom-and-pop cafes to fine dining options. When visiting in summer, be sure to attend the Rhode Island Seafood Festival held annually in Providence the weekend after Labor Day.

20. San Diego, California

San Diego is one of the best US summer destinations, with over 70 miles of shoreline and a diverse selection of beaches to explore. The city offers year-round beach weather, a great art scene, and over 125 breweries in the county. 

Summer also brings conventions and events such as ComicCon, Del Mar racetrack and there are various family summer vacation options like Legoland, Seaworld, and San Diego Zoo.

21. Scenic Byway 12, Utah

The Scenic Byway 12 is a 122.863-mile-long highway that connects U.S. 89 near Panguitch on the west with S.R. 24 near Torrey on the northeast. It was voted as one of the most beautiful highways in the world and it should be on your bucketlist for epic US road trips!

Some of the best  stops include the Capitol Reef National Park  in Utah’s south-central desert, the Escalante Natural Bridge – a large stone arch formed naturally and

Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon, in the national park at Capitol Reef in Utah.

22. Shoshone Falls, Idaho

The Shoshone Falls is a waterfall located in Twin Falls, Idaho. Also known as the Niagara of the West, the falls stand at 212 feet tall and 900 foot wide (taller than Niagara Fall/)

The falls offer a unique blend of recreational facilities, including playgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, a boat ramp, a swimming area, and a scenic overlook. A picnic in the shaded, grassy areas provides a perfect vantage point for viewing the falls.

The best time to visit this natural beauty is during spring and early summer when water flows are high – depending on winter snowmelt. The area is remote and doesn’t have many hotels and crazy attractions around them.

23. Watkins Glen, New York

Located between Niagara Falls and New York City, Watkins Glen. This quaint village in the Finger Lakes Region is a great place to visit in summer for a variety of outdoor adventures! There are numerous walking trails, waterfalls, and eateries.

Some of the best things to do include visiting the Watkins Glen State Park, renting a boat to view the magnificent 165-foot -Hector Falls, or spend the day kayaking at Seneca Lake.

Watkins Glen -  New York
Watkins Glen State Park

24. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone was the first national park in the US. Known for its vibrant colors, diverse wildlife, and is home to one of the world’s largest active volcanoes – beneath Yellowstone.

The park has over 1000 hydrothermal features – geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. 

With 2 million acres to explore, guests can go hiking in dense forests, fishing, horseback riding and there are plenty of scenic wildlife tours available. The park is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, bison, and moose.

Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

25. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park

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