Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations in the USA for Active Travelers

Are you traveling this summer? Check out my Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations in the USA for Active Travelers – featuring US Virgin Islands, Yellowstone National Park, Monterey Bay, California and more!

Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations in the USA for Active Travelers - featuring US Virgin Islands, New England, San Diego, California and more!

Are you traveling this summer?

Every summer I get the itch to travel. I think it is because when I was a child my family always traveled during summer vacation. Summer is a great time to travel because the weather is nice throughout most of the United States. With so many great destinations, it is difficult to pick just one. I narrowed it down and am sharing some of my favorite places. There is no need to grab your passport to experience these destinations. Here are my top 10 favorite summer vacation destinations in the USA for active travelers.

(1) St John, US Virgin Islands

Do you know those places where you love to travel but you secretly never want to tell anyone about them so you can keep them all to yourself? The island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands is one of those places. It is truly an American Paradise. Sun, sand, beautiful beaches and an abundance of underwater wildlife make St. John a great place to visit this summer. If you live on the East Coast, it is a relatively quick flight. With no airport on the island, you must fly into St. Thomas and take a ferry over to St. John. The best thing about St. John is that over half of the island is designated as a national park, so the natural beauty of the island is preserved and most of the beaches are free and open to the public. Explore on land and in the sea by hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, paddleboarding and more.

(2) Hawaii

It doesn’t really matter which island you visit in Hawaii. Each of the six major islands has their own distinct personality and offer endless adventures and natural beauty. Visit some of the best beaches in the world, snorkel some of the most beautiful reefs, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Hawaii is a relatively short flight from the western U.S., so you can be in paradise in little time.

(3) 30A, Florida

Florida’s scenic highway 30-A is a 28.5 mile road along the Gulf of Mexico located on the Florida panhandle. Sugar-white sand beaches and emerald green water line the coast. Fun, quaint and unique communities are located along 30-A. These little towns make it easy to bike or walk to the beach or nearest farmer’s market and restaurants. Summer is the most popular time to visit 30-A so activities for kids and adults are plentiful. Golfing, biking and paddleboarding are popular outdoor activities. If you are looking for a place to stay, try The Pearl in Rosemary Beach.

A weekend in Gulf Shores, Alabama - sun, sand and fun! A perfect place for a family vacation or weekend escape!

(4) Gulf Shores, Alabama

With 32 miles of shoreline, a beautiful state park and endless water sports, Gulf Shores is the perfect place to experience the outdoors. Taste fresh Gulf seafood, ride your bike through the Backcountry Trail in Gulf State Park or join a fishing charter to fish for fresh Gulf seafood. Check out my favorite things to do in Gulf Shores for a sampling of the fun activities that you can experience while on land or in the water.

(5) Amelia Island, Florida

Another Florida destination that offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of theme parks is Amelia Island. Located on the northern tip of Florida’s east coast, the island is the perfect place to enjoy Florida’s beaches, state parks and miles of bike trails. Visit Fort Clinch and take a step back in history or fish from one of the longest piers on the Atlantic coast. Amelia Island is also a great day or weekend trip if you live in the Southeast part of the U.S. Don’t miss a few of the best things to see, do and eat on Amelia Island.

(6) Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is on my bucket list. While I have never actually visited myself, there is a reason why it becomes more popular every year. Where else can you get out of your car and see Bison roam and then spot bear, wolves and more? Pack your backpack and hike through the rugged wilderness. Climbing, biking, fishing and rafting are only a few of the endless outdoor activities at Yellowstone. Visit the very first national park this summer and you will not be disappointed.

Point Lobos State Reserve, Carmel, CA

(7) Monterey Bay, California

With Point Lobos, the aquarium and even the little town of Carmel, the Monterey Bay area of California is one of my favorite places on the Pacific coast. It is quaint, fun and a great place to enjoy the outdoors. I could easily spend a few days walking the trails at Point Lobos. The park is one of my favorite state parks in the entire United States. Look out over the cliffs and spot sea otters, sea lions and even whales! The views of the Pacific Ocean are stunning. If you love biking, the town of Pacific Grove is a great place to cycle and enjoy beautiful ocean views. Make sure you don’t miss the best of Monterey Bay!

(8) Grand Canyon National Park

Visit one of the seven national wonders of the world without even leaving the country. You may hear stories or look at pictures of the Grand Canyon, but you never really appreciate its beauty until you visit it for yourself. Walk or hike the rim, tour the scenic desert view drive or join a rafting trip on the Colorado River. Stay in nearby towns, such as Flagstaff or Sedona and experience life in the desert. Although the temperatures can get warm at some locations, summer is a great time to visit. Both the north and south rims are open so you can experience everything that the Grand Canyon has to offer.

(9) New England

I love New England because no matter where you go, there is always something to keep you busy in the summer. New England is also the perfect place to take a summer road trip. Start in coastal Maine and drive south through New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Make a stop in Boston and explore Beacon Hill, the Back Bay and more. Continue your journey down the coast of Rhode Island and Connecticut, stopping is quaint coastal towns such as Newport, Rhode Island and Mystic, Connecticut. Or, head to New Hampshire and Vermont to visit the mountains and lakes. Everyone should spend at least one summer vacation in New England. After all, you can’t get a fresher Maine lobster roll or New England Clam Chowder anywhere else.

(10) Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island is a place that everyone will love. Golfers love the endless beautifully maintained golf courses. Kids love the beach, pools and fun activities. Everyone else loves the ability to explore outside, whether it means fishing, biking or swimming. My family spent many summers visiting Hilton Head Island. One of my favorite places in the entire country, Palmetto Bluff, is located right outside of Hilton Head and is a spot that should not be missed.

11 comments on “Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations in the USA for Active Travelers”

  1. I wonder if I could fit all of these on my list before the summer is over? 😉

  2. You have listed so many of my favorite places. I visited St. John right after college and remember it truly being like paradise. I haven’t been to Hilton Head yet but would love to visit. Such a great list, Ashley!

  3. We just LOVE Hilton Head! Plus, it is just a short drive to Savannah from there. 🙂 Hawaii is definitely on my travel bucket list. Every time someone I know travels there and post photos, I feel the pull…

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