Summer. Doesn’t that word just send you spiraling into a blissful day dream of laying in a lounge chair, sipping lemonade by the beach. Phones off, sunglasses on, secretly feeding the seagulls flying above while the sweet smell of salt fills the air. Or maybe horseback riding in the mountains on a trail alongside the crystal rushing waters of a cool mountain stream. Or even taking in a baseball game. That is what is so great about summer! There is so much to see and do. And the weather is perfect for it all. No matter where your mind goes when you hear the word summer, you are sure to find it in one of these six places that set the stage for a perfect summer vacation.
1. Cape Cod, MA
Cape Cod is the ultimate summer destination. It offer’s beaches, baseball, shopping, and adventure. The best part of visiting the Cape in the summer is the weather. Massachusetts is in the Northeast which is much cooler in the summer than it is down south, yet it is still warm enough to spend the day swimming in the ocean. Aside from spending the day at the Cape Cod National Seashore, during the summer you have the opportunity to take in a game from the one and only Cape Cod Baseball League, enjoy a magnificent whale watching experience, take a fascinating dune tour, and even enjoy two different day trips to the islands of the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, which offer even more fun activities.
2. The Yadkin Valley
North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley is primarily known for wine but there is so much more to this region. Nestled in the breathtaking North Carolina Mountains, the Yadkin Valley is in no way lacking in adventure. It is the perfect place for horseback riding, fly fishing, kayacking, ziplining, and rock climbing. If you want something a little less adventurous and a little more laid back, you can spend the day in Mount Airy, Andy Griffith’s hometown and experience Mayberry first hand. You can also try some sonker made from fresh fruit on the Surry County Sonker Trail. Sonker is a Yadkin Valley staple. And of course, you can’t visit the Yadkin Valley without visiting at least one winery, and there are certainly many to choose from.
3. Williamsburg, VA
Colonial Williamsburg is always a good idea. It is filled with so much history, and with quick day trips to Jamestown and Yorktown, you are sure to leave with a first hand experience of colonial life. Beyond history, you can spend the day at Busch Gardens riding all the roller coasters your heart desires. Busch Gardens holds an annual food and wine festival on the weekends throughout June where guests can experience culinary traditions from around the world, including 43 specialty entrees and desserts. But in my opinion, the main reason to visit Williamsburg in the summer is Water Country USA. Virginia’s largest water park is the best way to enjoy the heat. If the state of the art water rides are not your thing, the park offers more relaxing options such as a lazy river and a wave pool.
4. Miami, FL
It’s no secret that Miami is one of the most booming cities on the east coast. South Beach is filled with vibrant night life, all the shopping you can afford, and one of the best culinary scenes east of the Mississippi. It’s no wonder this city is a favorite for A-listers. I’m not gonna lie, Miami is hot in the summer and they get afternoon showers almost daily. And of course, we can’t forget that it is hurricane season so there’s that. If you can put all that aside, however, the summer is the very best time to visit Miami. The spring breakers are gone so it is far less crowded. It is also a good time to save money as hotels seem to lower their prices in the summer. If you are looking for a spa getaway, this is the time they tend to lower their prices as well. If you are interested in fashion, Miami holds Swim Week every July which is a fashion week full of shows filled with swimwear from top designers and lots of pop up shops. You will also find South Beach swarmed with models running around. If food is more your thing, every August the city holds its Miami Spice event where restaurants offer 3 course meals for a fraction of the cost. And not just your average restaurants. These are restaurants ran by world-renowned chefs. It’s really the best time to taste Miami’s diverse cuisine and culinary masterpieces.
5. The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is something everyone should see in their lifetime. Pictures could never do it justice. Being 277 miles long, there is no way you can take it all in so why not make a vacation out of it. The south rim is where most people go to take in the breathtaking views. If you want a closer look at the canyon and to get a little more adventurous, you can take a mule ride down into the canyon or even a helicopter tour. If you feel like driving a little farther, you can get even more breathtaking views at the north rim which is far less crowded.
6. Vail, CO
Vail is one of my very favorite destinations. It is primarily know for skiing, after all it is America’s largest ski resort. Nestled in the Rockies, during the winter months, Vail offers views that are to die for. But in the Winter, temperatures frequently hit 40 below. If you are like me, that is way too cold to bother with. This is why summer is a great time to visit. Don’t get me wrong, it is still cold, but more like 50’s and 60’s. Much better, right? And you still get beautiful views as there are still snow caps on the mountains. While you can’t ski in the summer, it is definitely not lacking in adventure. It’s the perfect time for white water rafting. Whether you want extreme rafting or something a little more laid back, there is an experience for everyone. And because it is a mountain town, you have the usual options like horseback riding, fly fishing, and hiking. You can even go hiking with a llama. For even better views, you can take a hot air balloon ride, which everyone should do at least once. You can also walk around Vail Village and do some shopping as well as try some of their top notch restaurants. And lastly, it wouldn’t be a first class ski resort without a relaxing spa and you are sure to find the best of the best in Vail.