Top 10 Summer Vacations

ocean city beach vacation

We researched a ton of summer destinations for this list, and the ones that rose to the top include stereotypical (but-no-less-worth-it) hot spots, as well as a few surprises. If you’re still undecided about where to go for your trip, consider these Top 10 Summer Vacations.

Cape Cod

Every summer, Cape Cod gets a wake-up call – an army of five million sun seekers crowd the Cape in May, June, July, and August. If you don’t mind sharing the sun with others, you’re in for some quintessential fun in it. But while the Cape Cod National Seashore is the star of the show – there’s everything from whale watching on Race Point Beach to tanning on Cape Cod Bay – plenty of options exist off the water, too. Biking along the Shining Sea Bicycle Path and Cape Cod Canal, shopping for art in Wellfleet, strolling through ultra-quaint Chatham, and throwing back a cold one on a hot day at the Beachcomber bar, are just as worthwhile as hitting the beach.

San Diego

Packed with surfer-friendly beaches, kid-friendly attractions, and shops and restaurants to retreat to on rainy days, San Diego really does have it all. Especially for families – the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld alone could fill a whole trip. However, it would be a shame to miss out on the USS Midway Museum, Mission Beach boardwalk, pet-friendly Ocean Beach Dog Beach, and the very swimmable Coronado Beach. So, make sure you’ve got a full weekend or week to dedicate to this California beach town.

The Hamptons

When New York State is stripped of snow, accolade-worthy beaches fill the void. Although it’s a magnet for the rich and famous, the Hamptons are now more affordable than ever (thanks to the abundance of vacation rentals in the area). If your dream summer vacation includes celebrity sightings and nights out on the town, head to East Hampton. If, however, you’re planning a fishing or surfing trip, go with mellower Montauk. For something in between, try Westhampton or Southampton.

chicago shopping


Summer vacations don’t have to begin and end at the beach. Take Chicago as a great example. The weather’s warm enough for shopping and sightseeing, and there’s a whole lot of that to do – from Millennium Park to Wrigley Field to the Magnificent Mile. Plus, the Windy City is loaded with festivals and events for summertime guests, including the Chicago Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago, Chicago Air & Water Show, and the Chicago Jazz Festival.

Myrtle Beach

Summer vacations in Myrtle Beach are simply made for kids (and their parents). The famous family destination boasts the South’s best fishing spots, golf courses, and beaches, so that way the grown ups don’t miss out. It’s also got year-round entertainment in the form of the Carolina Opry, Medieval Times, and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and Dinner Show.

Yellowstone National Park

America’s first national park guarantees a first-class summer vacation. Whether you’re here just to see Old Faithful and Yellowstone’s own Grand Canyon, or hope to stay active all vacation-long, summertime is a great time to visit. In May, the wildflowers start to bloom, and by mid June, the park’s conditions are perfect for hiking and fishing. Catch trout at Yellowstone Lake, or a break at Mammoth Hot Springs, or go on a white-water rafting journey. Summer vacations at Yellowstone can be as calm or thrilling as you like. 

Ocean City, Maryland

While it doesn’t promise the same quality of beaches as those in neighboring Cape Cod and New York, Ocean City has proven itself a great summer destination year after year after year. In fact, its population swells so much in the summer that Ocean City is now Maryland’s second-largest city, after Baltimore. Thankfully, Ocean City has a lot more to offer than crowds. Stroll down the Ocean City Boardwalk for views of the coast and lots of distractions (like ice cream stands and bars). When it dead ends at the Pier, the Boardwalk morphs into the Jolly Roger Amusement Park. In between shops, restaurants, and rides, there are miles and miles of beachfront to explore.

Summer Vacation


Tragically, many travelers only think of Colorado when the time for their bi-annual ski trip arrives. Colorado has just as much, if not more, up its sleeves for summertime visitors, though. The snow limits your activity to skiing and snowboarding, so when it’s gone, a world full of outdoor adventure opens up. Fish, golf, hike, bike, river raft, horseback ride, boat… whether you choose Winter Park or Steamboat Springs, you will not be disappointed with a summer vacation crafted by Mother Nature.


As far as summer vacations go, it doesn’t get any better than Florida. One doesn’t have to go far to experience pristine, might-as-well-be-exotic beaches. The sprawling Sunshine State has every kind of beach you could imagine; choose the peaceful waters of the Gulf Coast or the exciting surf of the Atlantic. Plus, your whole crew – regardless of age gaps and conflicts of interest – will have something to do.  Florida happens to be home to the country’s best theme parks and most sizzling cities, including Disney World and Miami Beach (respectively).


Since it spans most of North America, there’s no telling what your specific Canada summer vacation will entail. Maybe you’ll sea kayak in Vancouver, lap up views of wildlife in Banff, or check out historic buildings in Old Montreal. While you won’t be the only tourist in Canada during the summertime (hardly), the weather’s great for sightseeing and outdoor recreation. 

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