Summer is upon us, and that means it’s time for a vacation! The United States has such a variety of landscapes and opportunities that it can be difficult to choose, so we’ve compiled some of the best vacation destinations in the US to spark your curiosity and get the creative vacation wheels turning. Ready, set, get out your maps…
Boston/Cape Cod, MA
With both the culture and bustle of Boston as well as the coastline and gorgeous beaches of Cape Cod, this part of Massachusetts has pretty much everything you could want — making it one of the best vacation spots in the US, surprise surprise. Either start in the city with a Duck Tour in one of the giant land/sea vehicles, catch a game at Fenway Park, or for an indoor take visit the Museum of Science or Boston Children’s Museum. During your time in the city you won’t need a car — Boston’s public transit system is very thorough and easy to use.
Then, rent a car and make the hour drive out to the Cape. Staying in a quaint town like Chatham will give you a great jumping-off point for exploring the Cape, including the National Seashore and its gorgeous beaches where you can stargaze with your sweetheart or watch the seals play in the waves. Try some of the local seafood, which you can find pretty much everywhere — or make the trip out to Provincetown for a comedy show or other live entertainment. Note: Provincetown is a more “adult” kind of adventure.
Ocean City, MD
The second east coast town on our list is both family-friendly and quite affordable. Summers in Ocean City are, as you might imagine, a delight to spend on the beautiful beaches. A stroll along the Boardwalk will take you past amusement park rides that sit just along the seashore, so the views from the top of the ferris wheel are spectacular. For some indoor time, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum is located in Ocean City, where the kids can discover all sorts of weird facts and oddities. For a more mellow day in nature and away from the arcades, Assateague Island National Seashore is only a 20-mile drive down the coast.
Vail may be a place you’ve only thought of for winter travels, but we think summer is prime time to visit this mountain town. Skipping the slopes makes for more of an affordable vacation with a family, and you’ll still find tons of outdoor activities to keep you entertained and active: those same slopes host downhill mountain biking and horseback riding, and the local rivers are great white water rafting spots for the more adventurous family. The Rockies are chock full of great camping opportunities like the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness area, nearly 133,500 acres of wildlands just north of Vail, though the summer “off season” does make the hotels a little more affordable. Check out the schedule at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, which hosts some of Vail’s most popular entertainment and nightlife events.
San Diego, CA
Who hasn’t heard of the San Diego Zoo? With animals from all over the world in beautifully curated exhibits, this is a must-see for animal lovers of all ages. Don’t miss out on the Safari Park, which allows you to tour a large expanse of wildlife reserve. If you haven’t checked out a San Diego forecast, it’s almost always sunny and the proximity to the coastline keeps things relatively cool. On hotter days, skip town and head to Point Loma to let the kids explore the tidal pools while you kick back in the ocean breeze.
Ready to leave the mainland? There are tons of amazing destinations in Hawaii, but Kauai is notable for its affordable vacations, excellent weather, and fewer crowds, making it one of the best family vacation spots. Rent one of the many available condos on Kauai and enjoy the leisure of cooking your own meals, or choose a resort if you’d prefer something more catered. With short driving distances between everything, you can take the kids ziplining, go to a new beach, and ride bikes along the coastal path all without traveling too far. Huleia National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for birders, and Sleeping Giant is a well-loved destination for hikers with numerous trail options. It’s your first time flying with your kids? Have a look at our tips on how to move and travel long distances with children.
Mt. Ranier, WA
This 14,410-foot-high snow-covered peak has 25 major glaciers, and with plenty of family-friendly trails on the lower part of the mountain, you don’t have to be a mountaineer to scale it. In the summer you’ll find fields of wildflowers, waterfalls, and crystal-blue alpine lakes to explore. Drive up to Sunrise (6,400 ft) to get the highest view you can access by vehicle and take in the stunning views of the landscape. Camp in the park (make reservations ahead of time!) or stay in some of the nearby lodging — you’ll find options ranging from rustic cabins to the historic Paradise Inn, built in 1916 and designated as a National Historic Landmark, or the Crystal Chalets at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort with fully furnished condos.
Are you vacationing because you’re moving? Check out our tips for moving in summer to make the best of your relocation! Don’t forget to compare long distance moving quotes well in advance so you can just kick back and enjoy the vacation.