Top 10 U.S. Travel Destinations for Summer 2015
When it comes to booking a summer vacation, it can be difficult to choose where to go. Do you try somewhere new or return to an old favorite? Go across the country or stay local? Pick a destination known for its adventure or relaxation?
We’ve got you covered. Based on popularity, search results and information from our Deal Experts, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 destinations to visit this summer. Ready, set, book.
Colorado River Region, Arizona
For travelers looking to experience some of the country’s most breathtaking natural beauty, this is the place for you. Take a river-rafting tour, hike one of the many national parks in the region, and absorb the breathtaking power of the natural wonder that is the Colorado River. We’re especially smitten with the view of Horseshoe Bend — don’t miss seeing this landmark.
Catskills, New York
Forget Brooklyn and Portland — the Catskills region has emerged as one of the hippest watering holes for design-minded travelers. Just a few hours north of Manhattan, the Catskills Mountains and surrounding Hudson Valley offers stylish boutique hotels, locally-owned stores, a burgeoning art scene, and incredible restaurants courtesy of the local Culinary Institute of America — not to mention the incredible natural landscapes.
Bourbon Country and Louisville, Kentucky
Bourbon lovers, rejoice! Thanks to the rising popularity of this Southern spirit, Kentucky is enjoying a subsequent rise in popularity for tourism. Distilleries, downtown Louisville, bluegrass fields, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and more make this region a must-visit for this summer. To keep up with the booming tourism industry, downtown will be home to five new hotels this year, more urban distilleries, and critically acclaimed restaurants.
We, too, were perhaps a bit surprised to see Cleveland on both Fodor’s Go List 2015 and Travel + Leisure’s list of Best Places to Travel in 2015. But in terms of cities experiencing revival, Cleveland is booming with renovated and repurposed buildings, new hotels, acclaimed restaurants and even big-name athlete LeBron James. With views of Lake Erie and a bike-friendly city plan, summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit.
Santa Barbara, California
In the most recent search metrics from Travelzoo.com, we were shocked to see how high this small, beachfront enclave ranked — just below Paris, and above London and Ireland. A couple hours north of Los Angeles and easily accessible via the oceanside 101 freeway (cue “The O.C.” theme song), it’s naturally set up to become a local and national favorite. Summer visitors get to experience the best of Southern California’s notoriously ideal weather, as well as local event offerings like the Santa Barbara Bowl, the Summer Solstice Parade, and wine-tasting events.
Note: The Santa Barbara community has been reworking to recover after an oil spill earlier this summer, and the final effected beach in the area has now reopened.
Florida Keys, Florida
Travelzoo Deal Expert Hilary Solan says the Florida Keys are “really having a moment.” With two new boutique hotels (The Marker Resort Key West and The Gates Hotel) and a blooming craft beer scene, this Florida classic is once again a favorite for beach-seeking travelers. Relive the days of Tennessee Williams and Hemingway and stock up on some great beach reading.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
This Southwest capital city is experiencing a tourism (and popularity) boom, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Between the stunning natural monuments (Gila Cliff Dwellings, Petroglyph, Bandelier, White Sands) and parks (Carlsbad Caverns, ABQ BioPark), the entire state has long been a niche favorite of adventurous explorers. But with an increasingly popular cultural and art scene, Santa Fe is definitely coming into it’s own. Must-see spots include the George O’Keeffe Museum and the rest of Canyon Road.
According to search results, small-city Denver was one of the top 10 most searched destinations. While winter is ideal for snow bunnies, summer supplies up an entirely different wealth of reasons to visit the Mile High City — including hiking, beer festivals, free events, Rockies games and more.
Boundary Waters, Minnesota
Channel your inner Huck Finn in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. With one million acres of lakes, streams, and natural forests, this Minnesota destination offers about 1500 miles of canoe routes and 2000 secluded campsites. Summer means it’s warm enough to fully enjoy this slice of the great outdoors, and is guaranteed to convert even the least outdoorsy travelers.
Although Molokai has long been praised by USA Today as the “last undiscovered spot in Hawaii,” an impressive feat considering it belongs to an island chain known for its almost-unrivaled popularity as a domestic tropical haven. Though it’s still free of mega-resorts and high-profile restaurants and shopping, new air service from Oahu and Maui make Molokai a bit easier to access — and a bit more popular with tourists seeking an off-the-beaten path Hawaii offering.