10 Places to Visit in the U.S. This Summer
We’ve had our eyes on which destinations are on the tip of our members’ fingertips. Increased search volume, stellar deals and summer-friendly activities make these 10 destinations the best of the best when it comes to summer 2016 travel. If you really want to “Have a Great Summer!”, then there’s only one place to start: with this list.
Park City, Utah
If you think Park City is solely a wintertime destination, then you’re missing out on all this mountain town has to offer during the summer months. Apart from the snow sport scene, Park City is home to one of the best and most on-the-rise culinary scenes, which is why Condé Nast Traveler readers named it among the top five food cities in the U.S. The city also boasts a rich arts culture both influenced by and extending beyond the renowned Sundance Institute, including a series of free film screenings and the acclaimed Park City Museum. And though the winter sports might be the most popular activities in Park City, there’s hiking, fishing and river rafting scenes in summer.
Don’t miss: Without a doubt, the best way to see Park City is from a hot air balloon. Romantic and adrenaline-inducing, local hot air balloon rides offer riders breathtaking mountain views that will make you appreciate this destination in a whole new way — and from a whole new angle.
Where to stay: No matter the season, a ski lodge is an idyllic setting for a cozy retreat. The 4-star Chateaux Deer Valley is just 10 minutes from downtown and directly across from Deer Valley Resort, which offers trails for hiking and biking. View all available Park City hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, visitors flock to Asheville for its fresh air and incredible views. The River Arts District is home to urban street art, museums and a variety of artist studios and galleries that have helped Asheville develop into a cultural hub for the arts. Average temperatures through summer hover in the low to mid 80s, making Asheville especially appealing during this season.
Don’t miss: The Biltmore Estate, a mega-mansion built as a private home by George Vanderbilt that today serves as a popular tourist attraction. The estate houses many original artworks, including those by artists like Renoir and Sargent.
Where to Stay: The Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate opened this year on the sprawling estate, so guests can expect new rooms and amenities. Guests of this hotel stay in the heart of Antler Hill Village, which features an array of shops, dining and a winery. View all available Asheville hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
Near Flagstaff, Sedona is a desert town known for its unparalleled natural beauty. Stunning red rock formations line the landscape, and 1.8 million (yes, million) acres of national forest land offer guests a wealth of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking and Jeep tours. Native Americans believe Sedona is sacred, and it’s difficult to deny that the outstretched desert offers a sense of spiritual renewal and serenity. Although Sedona does reach especially high temperatures in summertime, tourists can snag great deals and beat the heat by ducking into local art galleries, indulging in spa treatments or dipping into the area’s renowned hotel pools.
Don’t miss: To truly immerse yourself in nature, spend a night or two sleeping under the stars at one of the many campsites in Oak Creek Canyon. For those visiting with kids, be sure to check out the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, located just outside of Sedona in Camp Verde, where guests can zip-line and learn more about the animals.
Where to Stay: Bringing a taste of French countryside to Sedona, the 4.5-star L’Auberge de Sedona offers “spectacular views” (Fodor’s) of the iconic red rock formations from personal guest cottages, many of which offer wood-burning fireplaces, outdoor showers and private decks. View all available Sedona hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
A sleepy town on the coast in Northern California, Santa Cruz has long been a best-kept secret of California, often overshadowed by the state’s larger and more popular cities. But it looks like the secret is out, as tourists are beginning to flock to Santa Cruz’s stunning coastline and sandy beaches. A 75-minute drive from San Francisco, Santa Cruz is a good choice for a weekend retreat or a day trip to escape the notorious San Francisco fog.
Don’t miss: Without a doubt the most popular attraction in the area, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park offers oceanfront rides, classic carnival games and fair-style treats. For nature lovers (or Instagrammers), Natural Bridges State Beach’s rock formations will blow you away.
Where to stay: A member-favorite hotel, The Dream Inn lands guests directly on the beach and places them within walking distance of the boardwalk and Pacific Avenue. As a Travelzoo member, you’ll receive exclusive perks including a $40 daily breakfast credit and two $10 drink vouchers. View all available Santa Cruz hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
A destination built on a foundation of family-friendly fun, Myrtle Beach offers tourists a beachfront location at accessible prices — the ideal balance for budget travelers who don’t want to sacrifice a true vacation experience. The beachfront boardwalk and its large Ferris wheel mark Myrtle Beach as the centerpiece of the Grand Strand shoreline, while about 100 golf courses cater to a leisure travelers.
Don’t miss: A ride on the iconic SkyWheel offers far-reaching views of the ocean and coastline. For golfers, it doesn’t get much better than teeing off at the many acclaimed courses at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club.
Where to stay: Dunes Village Resort is home to Myrtle Beach’s only indoor water park, which Travel + Leisure calls one of the “coolest” in the country. It also offers unlimited mini golf and a premier oceanfront location with an expansive pool deck. View all available Myrtle Beach hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
The capital of Georgia, Atlanta is a modern metropolis rooted in Southern history. This dynamic city has something for everyone: amusement parks, museums and historical landmarks, and local arts performances are just the tip of the iceberg.
Don’t miss: It may sound kitschy, but no visit to Atlanta would be complete without a tour through the World of Coca-Cola and a custom Coke can bearing your name. Sports fans — or those looking for an activity that can accommodate families or larger groups — can hang with the locals at an Atlanta Braves game, a.k.a. the perfect summer afternoon activity. Visitors eager to learn more about the city’s cultural and historical significance should not miss The King Center, dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and his work with the Civil Rights movement.
Where to stay: Once the host of the pre-premier party for “Gone with the Wind” and famous guests like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Helen Keller, the century-old Georgian Terrace Hotel is one of Atlanta’s National Register landmarks. It neighbors the famous Fox Theater and is a quick MARTA trip away from downtown. View all available Atlanta hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
An island just off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s easy to see why Galveston is beloved by tourists and locals alike: it’s easily accessible via a drivable bridge, provides activities geared toward the entire family, and is home to a series of unspoiled beaches and a preserved state park. Galveston is just an hour south of Houston, making it work as an add-on to a Texas trip or a standalone getaway. Learn more about how to plan the ultimate Texas road trip.
Don’t miss: Moody Gardens, an interactive amusement park and educational complex that boasts an aquarium, rain forest exhibit, 3D theater, 4D special FX theater, discovery museum, ropes course, zip line, and more. Both kids and adults will find thrills at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, a classic, boardwalk-style amusement pier. For those looking to catch sight of local wildlife, Galveston Island State Park offers a serene stretch of beach and wetlands.
Where to stay: The Tremont House, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, opened its doors in 1872 and has since remained one of downtown Galveston’s premiere boutique properties. The hotel has kept it’s Victorian decor in pristine condition, while introducing contemporary amenities in each of the guest rooms. It also is home to the city’s only open-air rooftop bar, perfect for a summertime stay. View all available Galveston hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
Key West, Fla.
The most popular island in the Florida Keys group of islands, Key West is the quintessential island paradise — right here in the U.S. Although you won’t need a passport to travel there, the island has a distinctly Caribbean vibe, from the easy-going attitude to the renowned coral reefs. Just over a three-hour drive from Miami, Key West is popular with with local Floridians and travelers coming from afar.
Don’t miss: No trip to Key West would be complete without taking a dip in — and under — the water. Families or beginners can participate in guided snorkeling adventures, while those looking for a more immersive (pun intended) experience can opt for a scuba tour or Key West’s signature “snuba diving,” a combination of both geared toward non-certified water adventurers.
Where to stay: Key West is famous for its breathtaking sunsets, and Mallory Square offers one of the best viewing spots in all of Key West. Luckily for guests of Ocean Key Resort & Spa, A Noble House Resort, it is just a two-minute walk away. If you can snag one of the coveted pre-sunset dinner reservations at the hotel’s restaurant, Hot Tin Roof, you’ll understand why Gayot says “there is no dining room like this anywhere else, period.” View all available Key West hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
Best known for its role in the American Revolution, historic Colonial Williamsburg is the thriving tourist center of this city. But Williamsburg hasn’t been left in the past. Home to universities; a rich winery, brewery and distillery scene; theme parks; and many outdoor activities, Williamsburg is a truly modern town rooted in our country’s earliest days.
Don’t miss: Colonial Williamsburg is undeniably the heart of this town, and it offers an interactive educational experience that all ages will enjoy. During summer, kids and adults can splash around in the popular Water Country USA water park or test their fear factor on the coasters at Busch Gardens.
Where to stay: A perfect compliment to Colonial Williamsburg’s celebrated past, The Historic Powhatan Resort has overlooked 265 green acres since 1735. The Manor House makes for a idyllic home-away-from-home with spacious villa guest rooms. View all available Williamsburg hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.
America’s “Music City,” Nashville is packed with live music events, renowned venues and arts attractions — but the appeal of this destination extends beyond its significance within the music industry. Nashville’s restaurant scene is one of the most up-and-coming in the country, drawing a lineup of resident chefs who embody the creative spirit seen across the city. Best of all, Nashville’s many outdoor attractions, including the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Bicentennial State Park and Radnor Lake, make it a perfect summer vacation spot.
Don’t miss: During the summer, one of the best perks of being in Nashville is the many outdoor music shows and festivals that dot the seasonal calendar. This year’s CMA Music Festival (June 9-12) features Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan, while the Live On The Green free concert series draws alternative bands that cater to an indie crowd. Other outdoor concert series happening this summer include the family-friendly Musicians Corner, Bluebird on the Mountain, and the Nashville Symphony’s Free Community Concerts.
Where to stay: One of Nashville’s newest properties, the Hutton Hotel sits in the West End, and with its eco-chic decor, it blends in well with the hip surroundings. A slew of restaurants, cozy cafes and music venues dot the area, and Vanderbilt University is a five-minute walk away. What’s more, the hotel provides complimentary rides within a two-mile radius. View all available Nashville hotels on the dates you want to stay with our new hotel search.