15 Beautiful Places To Escape The Summer Heat
It’s hotter than blue blazes! Cool off with a trip to the mountains, the water, or up north. We’ve hand-selected 15 places where you can beat the heat this summer while avoiding airport woes such as lost luggage, canceled flights, and labor shortages — you know, all of the fun things people are dealing with right now, not to mention the heightened cost of air travel! We also sourced a couple of great RV rental options from our friends at RVshare — the largest RV rental marketplace — that you can book for each destination.
Despite concerns over rising gas prices, the average cost increase of an RV trip is just $35 per trip compared to 2021, according to a recent press release. In fact, RVshare is seeing a 40 percent increase in bookings compared to last year. Rent a camper and escape the summer heat in one of these 15 gorgeous destinations.
When the going gets hot, the hot head up north! Here are some great northern destinations that put plenty of space between you and the equator.
1. Door County Wisconsin
Dubbed The Cape Cod of the Midwest, Door County spans the 60-mile peninsula of northeastern Wisconsin that extends into Lake Michigan. The area offers everything from hiking, kayaking, and biking to shopping and dining alfresco. According to TravelAwaits writer Kim Croissant, “If you like outdoor activities, beautiful sunsets, cool evenings, great food, and quaint towns, you’re going to love spending a summer vacation in Door County.”
RV Rentals Near Door County:
2. Bar Harbor
Known as the gateway to coastal Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is a quaint town on the coast of Maine. “Summertime in Maine is lovely,” remarks TravelAwaits writer Cindy Barks, “sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, all framed by the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.” With its coastal location, Acadia National Park is also especially lovely during the summer months. Swimming, hiking, kayaking, and boat tours are all great ways to take advantage of the perfect temps.
RV Rentals Near Bar Harbor:
3. Anchorage, Alaska
Overlooking Cook Inlet in the south-central part of Alaska, Anchorage is the largest city in the state yet its walkable downtown gives it a small-town feel. Summer is the perfect time to explore the city’s 223 parks and over 250 miles of trails. Scenic Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a paved 11-mile coastal trail that follows the shore of Cook Inlet from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park, features coastal marshes, forested areas, and beautiful views. On a clear day, you can see up to four mountains looming in the distance. Hike Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park and see what’s in bloom at the Alaska Botanical Garden.
TravelAwaits writer Peggy Cleveland offers this pro tip: “In the summer, make sure to have bug spray, sunscreen, and a bear bell and/or bear spray.” And here’s a tip from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation: “Bear spray does not work like bug spray.”
RV Rentals Near Anchorage:
4. Upper Peninsula Of Michigan
One of America’s most secluded and beautiful areas, the Upper Peninsula, or “UP” of Michigan is surrounded by Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. “The forests, lakeshore, rolling hills, and historical sites all offer experiences unique to the area,” says TravelAwaits contributor Sara Broers.
Summer is a popular time to visit the UP as the weather is warm enough to get in the water, but not too hot. Hike, boat, swim, and fish at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which is home to sparkling waters, a sandy beach, beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous cliffs, and more. While you’re up there, take a ferry to Isle Royale National Park, which is only open to visitors from mid-April to late October.
RV Rentals Near the Upper Peninsula
5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
With average temperatures in the 70s, summer is the ideal time to visit Milwaukee. Stroll the shores of Lake Michigan at Veterans Park or the 2-mile Milwaukee Riverwalk while enjoying art installations and dining throughout the city’s downtown area.
Fully immerse yourself in Midwest culture by planning your trip around the massive Wisconsin State Fair in early August. Live entertainment, hundreds of concessions, and beloved original cream puffs (a fair staple since 1924) draw more than a million annual attendees to nearby West Allis for the 11-day event.
RV Rentals Near Milwaukee:
6. Bandon, Oregon
Stretching along the south bank of the winding Coquille River where it flows into the Pacific Ocean, Bandon is a quaint town in southern Oregon that can be found about 100 miles north of California and 23 miles south of Coos Bay/North Bend.
Bandon boasts top-flight golf courses, fresh-caught seafood, spectacular ocean views, and a beautiful, walkable, dog-friendly beach. “Even after 20 summer vacations here, I still find Bandon interesting and a place I look forward to exploring,” says TravelAwaits contributor Patti Murphy.
Summer is the best time to be on Bandon Beach, which can be windy, cold, and foggy. Actually, the best time is low tide, when you can explore beach caves and tide pools. It is also the best time to see Circles in the Sand, a labyrinth just below Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint that is freshly raked into the sand each day from May through mid-August.
RV Rentals Near Bandon:
“When it’s hot outside we all want to be near a body of water,” says a recent reveal of RVshare’s summer travel trends. In a Travel Sentiment Survey from RVshare Renters, “A beach/ocean destination was part of the last RV trip for 24% of RV travelers while 16% went to a lake/river destination.” Here are some fabulous destinations to beat the heat near the water.
7. Watkins Glen, New York
Sitting between Niagara Falls and New York City is the village of Watkins Glen, New York. Nestled on the shores of New York’s Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen is one of the friendly towns with magnificent views that can be found amongst the vineyards of the Finger Lakes region, which is home to 10 other gorgeous lakes and over 100 wineries, distilleries, and craft breweries.
“The region is full of scenic natural areas and spectacular sites,” says TravelAwaits writer Robin O’Neal Smith, “Watkins Glen State Park is my favorite. It is considered to be the most popular and beautiful of all the Finger Lakes State Parks.” Perhaps that is due to its 19 waterfalls, cliffs, and lush greenery. In the summer months, you can take a scheduled tour. But beware of the 85-foot-high suspension bridge you’ll have to cross at one point as you hike the trail.
RV Rentals Near Watkins Glen:
8. Niagara Falls, New York
Summer is the most popular time of year to visit Niagara Falls. According to TravelAwaits writer Robbie Woods, “With average daily highs sitting between 75 and 80°F, it’s not hard to see why. Like much of the region, Niagara Falls tends to experience high levels of humidity, but the proximity to water moderates the temperature. Summers here are clement without being too stifling.” He notes that August is the driest month of the year, but also happens to be the zenith of tourist season.
This time of year everything is open, albeit busy. “On the American side, Niagara Falls State Park is a must-see,” says Woods, “with its 400 acres of verdant woodland pressed up against the water.” Get an up-close-and-personal look at the falls on the iconic Maid of the Mist boat tour and go behind the falls on a tour of the Cave of the Winds. “Most of these things are best done in the summer,” notes Woods, “so if you don’t mind a crowd — or paying top dollar — this is definitely the season to visit.”
RV Rentals Near Niagara Falls:
9. Mammoth Lakes California
As one of California’s most popular ski areas, Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevadas sees a lot of action in the winter months, but the area offers plenty of activities after the snow melts, from hiking and biking to boating and fishing. Nearby are numerous natural wonders, including the iconic Yosemite National Park, which lies less than an hour north, and Devils Postpile National Monument, a curious rock formation that is next to Mammoth Lakes.
RV Rentals Near Mammoth Lakes:
Speaking of the Sierra Nevadas, higher elevations provide sweet relief from the sweltering humidity of summer. Here are some wonderful mountainous locales where you can escape the heat.
10. Whitefish, Montana
A picturesque Rocky Mountain town, Whitefish can be found in the Flathead Valley, a few hours north of Missoula. It is known as the gateway to Glacier National Park. Summer is a great time to take a hike at Glacier and check out the park’s Going-To-The-Sun Road. Heavy winter snowfall and regular maintenance mean that the road is generally closed between mid-October and mid-June.
Home to Whitefish Mountain Resort, this premier ski destination offers outdoor fun year-round. The resort is 7 miles from downtown and hosts activities such as ziplining, hiking, and mountain biking from late May to mid-September.
RV Rentals Near Whitefish:
11. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs is another go-to ski destination, but this Colorado mountain town has lots of fun and exciting outdoor recreational opportunities in the summertime, too. “Visiting Steamboat Springs in the summer means that you can tube down the Yampa River, take a soak in one of the fabulous hot springs, or do some hiking and biking on the many trails in the area,” TravelAwaits contributor Michelle Snell tells us.
She also says summer is an excellent time to explore Steamboat Springs’ awesome downtown. Prior to 2020, the town hosted an annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo each July; however, the event has been put on hold indefinitely as of this writing.
RV Rentals Near Steamboat Springs:
12. Asheville, North Carolina
Known for its bustling arts scene and historic architecture, Asheville makes for an excellent stop on a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip. Cool off with refreshing mountain breezes, whitewater adventures, and nearby swimming holes.
Summer is a fabulous time to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains and check out historic landmarks, including the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate. “There are miles of hiking trails along the French Broad River, through the landscaped gardens and the meticulously preserved forests,” offers TravelAwaits writer Peggy Cleveland. The Outdoor Adventure Center at the Antler Hill Village offers guided hikes and other fun activities.
Additionally, Asheville’s quirky downtown area offers a number of exceptional restaurants, musical entertainment, open-air markets, and boutique shops.
RV Rentals Near Asheville:
13. Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Straddling California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This large freshwater alpine lake boasts stunning blue waters against a majestic mountainous backdrop that attracts tourists all year long.
“Cruising around Lake Tahoe is simply the best way to experience its magnificence,” states TravelAwaits contributor Amy Sward. In addition to boating, Sward’s other summertime suggestions include fishing, taking a ride in a hot air balloon, dining alfresco, hiking and biking, and visiting the beach.
RV Rentals Near Lake Tahoe:
14. Poconos, Pennsylvania
Situated in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains are a popular destination for hunting, fishing, and hiking. Although it is known for its peaks, the Poconos region offers plenty of ways to make a splash, from waterfalls to waterparks. Adventurous souls will enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Lehigh River. Plus, this golfer’s paradise provides plenty of places to tee off.
RV Rentals Near The Poconos:
15. Quechee, Vermont
Pronounced kwee-chee, Quechee is a nature lover’s paradise. Nestled in the Upper Valley on the eastern border of Vermont, this small Hartford village is surrounded by the vibrant Green Mountains. The perfect place to spend a summer weekend in the country, the area’s untouched natural beauty draws visitors back year after year.
RV Rentals Near Quechee:
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