U.S. Travel Destinations to Beat the Heat
America’s hottest destinations for a cool experience
When the temperature rises, motivation to travel can sometimes go down. Muggy, humid weather often confines travelers to indoor destinations; however, these nine attractions in the U.S. prove that spending time outside in warm-weather months doesn’t always have to be sweaty and miserable. Reinvigorate your travel group and dive headfirst into the chilliest places in America – you may even find that the natural crisp breeze and clear, brisk water is more refreshing than air conditioning could ever be.
Spectacular National Parks
Denali National Park, Alaska
When seeking adventure and rejuvenation, there’s no better place to explore than Alaska. More specifically, Denali National Park draws adventurers and lovers of nature from all over the world thanks to its various mountain peaks like Mount McKinley, which serve as a natural playground for hikers and backpackers.
Notorious for its unpredictable weather, Denali’s summer temperatures can dip as low as 33 degrees – it has even been known to snow in July! Even if it’s a warm day in Denali, the temperature always drops at night, making it an ideal place to escape the heat of the summer months. Visitors are encouraged to take a bus tour through the spectacular landscape as well as hike through the rocky terrain around Triple Lakes.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is one of the top national park destinations in the U.S. due to its abundance of wildlife, thrilling attractions and sheer immensity. Yellowstone is another energizing location because of its comfortable summer temperatures that usually hover around the high 60s and drop by sundown. It’s important to note that the fluctuating temperatures foster afternoon thunderstorms, which are incredibly common during the summer months.
When traveling to Yellowstone, your group should spend time at famous sites such as the Old Faithful geyser and Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as more obscure areas of the park such as Hayden Valley – an excellent place to view wildlife.
Olympic National Park, Washington
When traveling with groups who prefer a more dynamic trip with a variety of attractions, Olympic National Park in Washington is perfect and will provide a different adventure every day. Explore the luxuriant Hoh Rain Forest and the vibrant tide pools at Mora’s Hole in the Wall before backpacking along the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.
Temperatures in Olympic tend to be mild and variable with increased precipitation and rain, so there’s no need to worry about blistering heat. Due to its diversity and range of activities, Olympic National Park is an ideal spot for families.
Glacier National Park
Step inside a watercolor painting at Glacier National Park, where baby blue waters meet lush mountains that jut into the sky like stone teeth. Montana is the perfect place to evade sweltering forecasts, as the summer temperatures in Glacier National park linger between 60 and 75 degrees.
Travelers won’t want to miss the panoramic photo-ops at Avalanche Lake nor the idyllic masterpiece that is Logan Pass, a prominent scenic pass along the Continental Divide. If your group chooses to drive through the park, Going-to-the-Sun Road is your best bet to see all that Glacier National Park offers.
San Francisco, California
Although the Golden State doesn’t seem like the optimum place to beat the heat this summer, San Francisco in California is known for being refreshingly chilly due to its proximity to cold ocean waters. Plus, a perpetual summertime fog hangs comfortably in the air like a giant umbrella shading the ebullient city below.
Besides visiting the quintessential touristy landmarks like the impressive Golden Gate Bridge, the zigzagging Lombard Street and the iconic house used in the Full House television show, allow your group to step into the shoes of a typical San Franciscan and seek out the lesser-known areas like Ina Coolbrith Park. During your stay, try to attend a Giants baseball game and venture to Picnic at the Presidio, a free event that runs through October and combines food trucks, live music, crafts and stunning views of the cityscape – did we mention it’s free?
Experience the flourishing technology industry, quaint coffeehouses and distinctive music scene in one of the nation’s loveliest cities. Although it’s debatable whether the Space Needle or the Smith Tower offers the best view of the skyline, your travel group’s fascination with Seattle will be undisputed. Even at the height of the summer, Seattle’s temperatures don’t normally exceed the mid-to-high 70s, making it the perfect place to make memories this summer without breaking a sweat.
A trip to Seattle wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t meander through the nine-acre Pike Place Market, Seattle’s own renowned farmer’s market. For museum-lovers or groups traveling with children, the Museum of Flight allows visitors to step into the shoes of a pilot through interactive simulators and a gallery of real planes. If your group prefers small towns to a large metropolis, hop on a Washington State Ferry and check out the various islands that are sprinkled around the city.
For travelers who opt for an adrenaline rush over lounging at the beach, Breckenridge – a town in Colorado at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range – is the ideal getaway spot to beat the heat.
Colorado is known for its powdery snow and jagged mountain trails, but not many think to visit Breckenridge during the summer months. However, your travel group will savor the breezy high 60-degree temperatures and abundance of thrills that the mountainous landscape provides. See the South Park Valley from a hot air balloon, hike through the Hoosier Pass Loop, go fly fishing on the Blue River or even try whitewater rafting on the Colorado River.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
If your travel group is looking to wander through a charming downtown during the day and listen to steady ocean waves at night, Cannon Beach in Oregon will be your new summertime oasis.
Because temperatures rarely exceed 70 degrees, Cannon Beach offers a beach atmosphere without the stifling heat. With Haystack Rock and its needles on the shoreline, your group will yearn for a room with a view like those at the Ocean Lodge, a luxurious oceanfront hotel. Spend your days roaming through the many art galleries and boutiques sprinkled through the charming downtown, tour the beautiful waterfalls at Hug Point or visit the tasting room at the Cannon Beach Distillery.
Water Country USA, Virginia
Travelers of all ages will have a blast at the Water Country USA water park in Virginia. Although summers in Virginia can be balmy, your group will forget all about the heat when you’re flying in an inner tube down a waterslide or sprawled out in your own personal cabana.
Not only will the kids have the time of their lives riding down every slide and rollercoaster in the Busch Gardens complex, but parents will appreciate lazy days by the pool and vivacious nights out. The Food and Wine Festival and Summer Nights concert series runs from May to July. Be sure to let the park know if you’re traveling with a group of at least 15, as you’ll be rewarded with a special rate.
Don’t let the sunshine hold you back this summer, but allow it to propel you in new directions and to discover how much fun it can be to beat the heat. Even for those who dread the summer heat wave, experiencing these exhilarating destinations will have you grumbling that autumn came too soon.