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The Ultimate Summer Travel Hack: Top U.S. Destinations That Are Surprisingly Cool and Crowd-Free

The Ultimate Summer Travel Hack: Top U.S. Destinations That Are Surprisingly Cool and Crowd-Free

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Are you planning a summer vacation but are worried about the heat? You won’t want to miss this list of U.S. destinations where you can beat the heat AND the crowds!
This list of U.S. summer destinations was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Summer is here, and everyone is thinking about vacation!

But let’s face it, popular places like Disney World and the beaches of California can be super crowded and really hot.

What if I told you there are secret spots in the U.S. where you can chill out without bumping into tons of people?

Yes, it’s true! Let’s check out some of the coolest, crowd-free travel destinations for this summer.

Top U.S. Summer Travel Destinations For Great Weather

1. Traverse City, Michigan – The Cherry on Top!

Forget the usual beach scene and head to Traverse City, Michigan! This place is not just cool in vibe but also literally cooler in temperature, thanks to its location near Lake Michigan.

Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan shore on a partly cloudy day

Traverse City is famous for its Cherry Festival, but the real magic is in its uncrowded beaches, quaint shops, and scenic vineyards.

Imagine yourself sailing or kayaking in crystal clear waters and then enjoying a fresh cherry pie in a quiet park. Sounds perfect, right?

2. Ely, Minnesota – A Wilderness Escape

If you’re into exploring the great outdoors without the summer swarms, Ely is your go-to spot.

Bear Head State Park is located in Northern Minnesota by Ely

Nestled near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely offers a refreshing escape with its lush forests and serene lakes. It’s the ultimate place for fishing, hiking, and canoeing.

And the best part? You’ll feel like you have the whole wilderness to yourself!

3. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California – A Cooler Kind of Hot Spot

When you think of California, you might picture sunny beaches and Hollywood. But Lassen Volcanic National Park is a hidden gem that’s cool in every sense of the word.

Lake Helen und Lassen Peak USA

This park features everything from bubbling mud pots to clear mountain lakes and even snow in the summer! You can hike through volcanic landscapes without the crowds of more famous parks like Yosemite.

4. The San Juan Islands, Washington – An Island Retreat Without the Heat

Just north of Seattle, the San Juan Islands are a refreshing retreat from the summer heat.

Sail Boats Anchored in Garrison Harbor Roche Harbour Washington USA on San Juan Island Aerial View of nature and Landscape

With cooler temperatures and fewer visitors, you can enjoy whale watching, biking, and exploring charming small towns.

The ferry ride to the islands offers stunning views, and once you’re there, the laid-back island life will make you forget about the busy world you left behind.

5. Portsmouth, New Hampshire – Coastal Charm Without the Crowds

Portsmouth offers all the beauty of New England without the crowds of Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

This historic city has everything from cool, breezy beaches to antique shops and revolutionary landmarks.

You can stroll along the harbor, enjoy fresh seafood, and take in this charming coastal town’s rich history and architecture.

6. Great Basin National Park, Nevada – Starry Nights and Cool Days

Far from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas, Great Basin National Park is a stunning place where you can enjoy cool mountain air and some of the best stargazing in the country.

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

The park’s Wheeler Peak rises over 13,000 feet, offering breathtaking views and subalpine landscapes. Plus, you can explore caves and ancient bristlecone pines without bumping into too many other travelers.

7. The Black Hills, South Dakota – A Monumental Experience

The Black Hills of South Dakota are not only home to the famous Mount Rushmore, but they also offer a cool summer escape with fewer tourists.

The Black Hills, South Dakota

You can explore caves, hike through forests, and see wild horses roam. The area is rich in history and natural beauty, providing a peaceful yet exciting vacation destination.

Why These Spots?

These destinations offer a unique combination of cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, making them perfect for a summer getaway.

Whether you’re looking for adventure in the wilderness, a peaceful beach day, or a historical exploration, these spots provide it all without the hassle of fighting through crowds or enduring sweltering heat.

Making the Most of Your Summer

Choosing any of these destinations will allow you to enjoy summer to the fullest. Pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and get ready to explore these hidden treasures. You’ll return home with amazing memories and perhaps a new favorite summer spot!

So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to these surprisingly cool and crowd-free U.S. destinations and experience the best summer travel hack ever!

Your perfect summer adventure awaits, away from the crowds and the heat! Happy travels!

Looking for more summer travel content? Check out How to Save on Summer Travel This Year, How to Enjoy Europe’s Top Sights in Summer Without the Massive Crowds, 25 Go-To Baby Gear Items for Summer Travel, and Summer Travel Tips for Moms (Plus My ULTIMATE Travel Packing List)!

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