From big cities to small towns, these locales are filled with fun.
These 15 destinations are conveniently located throughout the United States, making it easy for locals from all corners of the country to pick a perfect summer weekend getaway spot. While some are major cities and others are quaint small towns, all boast plenty of outdoor activities, fun festivals and warm, sunny temperatures. Read on to find your ideal locale to escape to this summer.
Ideally located on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington offers ample outdoor pursuits for weekend fun-seekers, including biking or playing Frisbee along the waterfront. If you're traveling in June, don't miss the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, or arrive in August when the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival is taking place. No matter when you visit during the summer, make sure to stop by the popular headquarters of both Magic Hat Brewing Company and Ben & Jerry's (which is located in nearby Waterbury).
June plays host to both the North Beach Festival and San Francisco Pride, making the City by the Bay a top destination for party lovers. If you visit at the end of June and start of July, you'll catch the free Fillmore Jazz Festival, while August welcomes the Outside Lands music festival to Golden Gate Park. Keep in mind: You aren't the only one heading to this cultural hot spot during this prime time. The city sees some of its largest crowds in the summer, so expect hotel and airfare prices to be high.
With mild temperatures in the mid-80s, numerous craft breweries (and the Coors Brewing Company headquarters), the Denver Zoo and the sprawling Washington Park, there are plenty of ways to keep busy in Denver. If you visit in June, you should try to time your trip with the Juneteenth Music Festival, a free event in the historic Five Points neighborhood that showcases hundreds of vendors and lots of live music. July's Cherry Creek Arts Festival is another popular and free event worth traveling for that includes a combination of visual, culinary and performing arts.
If you can take the heat – highs will be in the 90s – Nashville is a fun place to escape to during the summer. Home to CMA Fest (a country music festival) in June, Nashville attracts big-name headliners year after year. If you're planning a trip for July, make sure you're in town on a Thursday, when Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman Auditorium reign supreme. Even if you miss a festival, you'll still find plenty of live music along Broadway, downtown Nashville's main thoroughfare and location of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Plus, you can always visit the renowned Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum if you need a break from the heat.
A thriving city in southern Maine, Portland is home to cobblestone streets, historic lighthouses and tasty lobster rolls, especially come early August when locals and tourists flock to nearby Rockland for the Maine Lobster Festival. If shellfish isn't your thing, plan a trip in June for the popular Old Port Festival, an outdoor party filled with music, art and vendors. Lodging here isn't cheap during the summer, but the pleasant weather (70s and sunny), brewery tours, historic Old Port and proximity to beaches make a trip to this coastal city worth the splurge.
Home of the St. Louis Cardinals and the country's oldest Anheuser-Busch brewery, this Midwestern city is a choice summer destination for baseball lovers and beer drinkers. For a taste of local brews, plan your trip for June when the annual St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival takes place. The event, which is held under the iconic Gateway Arch, is filled with more than 50 local breweries, live music and tasty eats. And if you want to take advantage of the long summer days, head to Forest Park, which spans more than 1,300 acres and offers a zoo, museums, trails, tennis courts, summer concerts, boating and more.
For a truly memorable Fourth of July – and an epic cheesesteak – head to the city where the country's Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. From the end of June through July Fourth, the city's Wawa Welcome America festival turns Philadelphia into a giant party with concerts, movies, fireworks and more. Keep in mind this is a popular time to visit, so you'll want to make travel reservations in advance. The summer also plays host to the Headhouse Farmers' Market in the Society Hill neighborhood, as well as the summertime concert series at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.
(George Widman Photography LLC/Courtesy of Visit Philadelphia)
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
If you want to have a quintessential New England beach vacation, place Cape Cod at the top of your list. With 40 miles of seashore to explore, your getaway will be filled with sun, sand, seafood and lighthouses. To get a feel for the area's culture, consider Provincetown, where you'll find numerous art galleries, or Sandwich for glass-blowing. The popular Wellfleet Drive-In is also an ideal way to spend a summer evening under the stars. However, the months that span Memorial Day to Labor Day fall within peak tourist season for this area, so plan on booking your stay in advance, and be prepared for it to cost you.
Seattle should be your go-to summer vacation spot if you're looking for a place that combines the beauty of the outdoors with a heavy dose of culture. With temperatures hovering around 75 degrees, summer is a popular time to visit this typically rainy city (just in case, pack an umbrella). You can expect crowds and pricier hotel rates, but you'll also get to take advantage of Seattle International Beerfest and the Capitol Hill Block Party during July visits, or Seafair and Seattle Hempfest if you plan a trip for August.
Shenandoah National Park
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle this summer, you can't beat heading to a national park. Shenandoah National Park is about 40 miles northwest of Charlottesville, Virginia, and offers plenty of activities for a weekend getaway. Hike along the Appalachian Trail, pack a picnic and trek out to see waterfalls and wildlife, or hop in your car for a scenic journey along Skyline Drive. With more than 200,000 acres to explore, campsites, dining and lodging options, and ranger programs, the park offers an ideal respite away from the city.
Fort Myers, Florida
Nature buffs and beach bums alike will appreciate a weekend in Fort Myers. Along with plenty of sand and surf to go around at Fory Myers Beach, the area is home to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a 2,000-acre conservation site that alligators, crocodiles, numerous birds and plants call home. You can also visit Manatee Park (though you're more likely to spot these animals during the colder months) to kayak or for a guided tour. Just keep in mind that with daily temperatures hovering in the 90s, you'll want to pack plenty of sunscreen and an umbrella – June, July and August see frequent afternoon showers.
Fans of the hit TV series "Gilmore Girls" will love a weekend trip to Washington (about 50 miles west of Hartford), one of the small New England hamlets that provided inspiration for the show's fictional town of Stars Hollow. Spend your days strolling along the quiet streets and stopping into local cafes and bookstores, and retreat at night to the Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa. The hotel houses a full-service spa and a highly regarded restaurant, meaning not just fans of the TV show will enjoy a vacation to this idyllic spot.
(Courtesy of Grace Hotels)
Napa Valley, California
Summer in Napa is pretty hard to beat. With plenty of wine, gourmet food, high-end spas and sunshine to fill your days, you're basically guaranteed to have a relaxing getaway. Make the most of the pleasant weather by attending one of the area's seasonal festivals, such as Shakespeare in the Park or Napa Porchfest, a neighborhood party with live music, food vendors and more. If your visit isn't until the end of the season, you'll be able to enjoy the annual Chamber Music Festival, which takes place every August in vineyards across the area. Note that this is peak tourist season (read: hotel prices will be steep), so you won't be far from crowds.
Acadia National Park
With 47,000 acres to explore in Acadia National Park, there's no shortage of outdoor pursuits for intrepid travelers. Visitors can hike the challenging Precipice Trail, picnic at Jordan Pond or dip into the chilly waters at Sand Beach (water temps heat up to about 55 degrees). Sunrise viewers should not miss a pre-dawn trek up Cadillac Mountain, though keep in mind the trail can get crowded on the weekends. And when you need a break from nature, you’ll find solace in the nearby town of Bar Harbor, Maine, where you'll discover hotels, shops and plenty of lobster rolls.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
With daily highs in the 80s, casinos, miles of shoreline and a renowned boardwalk, Atlantic City is a great summer getaway from nearby New York City. When you're not relaxing on the beach, take a 228-step hike up to the top of Absecon Lighthouse for panoramic views of the area. Kids will love a visit to the Atlantic City Aquarium and Storybook Land, and all ages will have fun at the Steel Pier, a nearly century-old amusement park with rides for young and old. Hotel prices aren't as high as they were in the city's heyday, but because summer is the most popular time to visit, you'll want to book your room in advance.