Summer’s coming, so now’s the time to plan your ultimate vacation itinerary! Whether you’re ready to hit the beach or explore a mountainous national park, we could all use some time to relax, unwind, or let off some steam. We’ve cherry-picked some of our favorite summer destinations to fit all your vacation needs no matter your style or budget!
For a luxurious getaway…
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
A classic, luxurious destination for thousands of families each year, Cape Cod’s elegant seaside views are a must-see for any summer vacation. While typically a slower-paced town, Cape Cod is the baseline of what you can do during your Massachusetts stay. A short distance from Cape towns like Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Provincetown, Cape Cod attracts luxe-seekers and vacationers looking for a timeless getaway. Both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are quick ferry rides away, and offer marvelous beachside views, fun cycling trails and sailing opportunities.
Napa Valley, California
Exquisite wineries and a quaint downtown — for all you wine lovers, Napa Valley has to be added to your summer vacation plans. Where else can you tour a winery that completely operates 45,000 feet underground! Novelty wineries like Jarvis Estate can only be experienced in this little piece of California paradise — while Napa Valley consists of 5 towns, there are over 400 wineries to choose from. Ranging from France-inspired chateaus to mountainside hideaways, this is the premiere destination for your next girls weekend, romantic getaway or milestone celebration.
The Outer Banks, North Carolina
Relax, John B — this fun beach town is nothing like the popular Netflix show painted it to be! Located in North Carolina, the Outer Banks are known for their insanely expansive beaches (over 100 miles!), picturesque lighthouses, wild horses and of course, the historic landmark of the first airplane flight by the Wright Brothers. With a perfect blend of history and fun, it’s no surprise the Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, on a typical year sees over 1 million visitors.
Grab the family for an adventure-packed vacation, full of hang gliding, whale watching, horseback riding, surfing and kite flying! And don’t forget: a beach vacation isn’t complete without checking out the local ice cream shops every day! Clever names like “Booty Treats,” “Surfin Spoon” and “Happy Belly” speak for themselves, and well… we’ll let you decide which shop is the best!
Here’s the thing about D.C. that most folks don’t realize: it has a little bit of everything! History buffs, arts aficionados, sports fans, outdoor adventurers, foodies, you name it — short of having a tropical beach, it’s got something for everyone! (But if saltwater is still your thing, the Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore are convenient to reach from here.)
All Smithsonian Museums are free, and both the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of African American History and Culture are absolute must-dos. But if history’s not your thing, take your young ones to the International Spy Museum, the National Zoo, the Museum of Natural History or the National Air and Space Museum. The grand animal exhibits and spacecraft displays will have everyone entertained for hours!
For nature lovers…
Great Sand Dunes National Park: Mosca, Colorado
If you love nature, chances are you’re looking for an adventure beyond the typical hiking trail and campground scene. With the tallest sand dunes in North America, Great Sand Dunes National Park provides a unique experience that’s sure to please! Try your hand at sandboarding and sand sledding (yes, these are real!), and even ride horses along dune ridges! Bring your camping gear to finish your trip at Piñon Flats Campground — just trust us, you’ll never have another camping experience quite like this!
Mount Rainier, Washington
An impressive 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier in Tacoma is technically considered an active volcano in the west-central Washington area. But don’t let that alarm you; seismic monitors surround the entire area at all times! With dozens of hiking trails around the National Park, there’s plenty of options to soak in the fresh Cascade Mountains air! You can elevate your stay in a cozy wilderness cabin and spend your mornings sipping fresh coffee surrounded by nature.
Start your trip by hiking the aptly-named Paradise area, where, in prime summer months, you can catch grassy meadows filled with colorful wildflowers. Take a gondola ride over the mountain range, and unleash your thrill for adventure with some high-altitude mountain biking. An absolute must-visit for any nature, adventure or thrill seeker!
For our four legged friends…
Folly Beach, South Carolina
Located less than 30 minutes from Charleston, Folly Beach is a charming, pet-friendly destination that makes you feel like you’ve got your own private beach! Bring your furbabies along for a shoreline sunrise stroll, an afternoon stick chase or a quick, sunset dip in the ocean. After all — who says Fido doesn’t need a summer vacation, too?!
Start your mornings at Lost Dog Cafe, with all-day Southern-cooked breakfast for you, and water and treats for your furry family member! Inside, you’ll find hundreds of photos of dogs all sent in from customers! (For anyone looking to give their dog a bit of fame, send Lost Dog your best pet picture for a chance at stardom!) After sunbathing and kayaking on the beach, head over to Folly Beach’s pier to enjoy incredible oceanside views and dinner. You’ll find several folks riding around on golf carts — and if you’re one of them, make sure to give your pup the best view in the house: the passenger seat!
Doubling as a nature-lovers’ destination, Portland has a thriving coffeehouse and brewery scene, a commitment to sustainability and is the ultimate dog park! There are over 10,000 acres of park and forest space to run around or go bike riding or hiking in. Plenty of local restaurants serve dogs, too, with several sporting dog-themed names and special dog menus and treats!
Be sure you stop by Java Hound Coffee Bar, a quaint coffee shop (located inside a pet store!) to grab a local-brewed coffee and a specialty drink for your pup. Then, check out Lucky Labrador Beer Hall — if you love your experience, you’ll have to plan a trip back in October for their “Dogtoberfest,” a charity event that benefits a local animal hospital. This place really is a doggy dream!
Ready to take your summer vacation to the next level? Let Homes.com help you with all your vacation must-sees — and when you’re ready: your next vacation home!