Discover the Best Summer Vacation Spots to Beat the Heat and Unwind

If you’re struggling to choose the perfect destination for your summer vacation, look no further. Grand Welcome, a short-term vacation rental management company, has curated a list of the most enticing summer vacation spots in the United States for you to explore this year. 

According to Brandon Ezra, the CEO of Grand Welcome, finding affordable and convenient summer destinations can be daunting, especially when traveling with companions. However, the trend this year indicates that more travelers are opting for drivable vacation destinations, seeking both convenience and cost-effectiveness. 

Get ready to embark on a new and exciting adventure with your loved ones this summer. Here are the Lucky Six destinations in the U.S. to consider this year.

Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri
Photo Credit: [@khairil77/DepositPhotos]

Looking for a summer getaway filled with music and entertainment? Try Branson, Missouri. Branson is home to several theaters, including Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Hughes Brothers providing live entertainment for all ages. The city is also filled with a number of adventure theme parks, from Bigfoot Fun Park and WonderWorks to Silver Dollar City. 

In addition, Branson is home to three beautiful lakes. Rent a boat and enjoy time with family on Lake Taneycomo, Bull Shoals Lake, or Table Rock Lake. You can also join one of several winery tours in the region. Or try some local moonshine for a real Ozark experience.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe, California
Photo Credit: [@photoquest7/DepositPhotos]

Although many think of Lake Tahoe as a ski destination, a summer at Lake Tahoe is an entirely different experience filled with sandy beaches, beautiful hiking trails, and scenic mountain views. With the temperature only around 70 degrees, Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for a comfortable summer vacation.

To experience the beautiful views of the lake, you can take a gondola lift at the Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort. Take a cruise on one of the locally charted speedboats, go kayaking, or paddleboard on the gentle blue waters. Besides hanging by the beautiful lake, you can explore the land through various hiking trails. Just take a deep breath of the pine forests and enjoy the panoramic views of the water and mountains.

If you feel like taking a break from nature for the day, you can head to the Town of Truckee for some fine dining and shopping. There are plenty of boutique art galleries to explore or walk through the Old Jail Museum.

Sea Ranch, California

Sea Ranch, California
Photo Credit: [@AlessandraRC/DepositPhotos]

Known for its rustic ocean vistas in Northern California, the lesser-known Sea Ranch is a newly popular summer destination. See unique architecture and local art, or explore historical parks. These are just a few unique experiences Sea Ranch has to offer.

Established in 1909, Fort Ross Historic Park is one of the most famous attractions in Sonoma County. The park features coastal baths and beautiful beaches and forests. You can take one of the hiking trails right along the cliffside of the coast.

If you are an avid golfer, hit the green at The Sea Ranch Golf Links. The combination of ocean views and natural redwood trees leaves it a desirable location, even if you just want to grab a snack and hit the shooting range. 

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, TN
Photo Credit: [@sainaniritu/DepositPhotos]

With beautiful mountain forests, stunning waterfalls, and sunny weather, the Smoky Mountains is a hot vacation destination for the summer. Go for a summertime hike and cool off at one of the famous swimming holes. Dollywood is necessary to visit if you are visiting the Smoky Mountains.

A unique location to check out is Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud. Think of it as Medieval Times, but the knights are replaced with lumberjacks who participate in a number of related sports, from log rolling to axe throwing.

Take your vacation up a notch with white water rafting at Pigeon River. The rapids and views of the Smoky Mountains and Cherokee River make it a premium outdoor activity. Finish with delicious southern cuisines like catfish, country ham, and classic Tennessee BBQ. You will be pleasantly surprised at what a great vacation destination this is by the end.

Tampa Bay, Florida

Tampa Bay, Florida
Photo Credit: [@blfink/DepositPhotos]

Everything you can imagine is offered within the diverse city of Tampa Bay. Located on the waterfront, the David A. Straz, Jr Center for the Performing Arts features concerts, operas, and Broadway shows for entertainment lovers.

Tampa Bay offers a variety of water activities at Adventure Island. Slide down intense waterslides, jump in splash pools, or unwind on the Lazy River. Or enjoy a number of roller coaster rides at Busch Gardens in between seeing the animal zoo they have here. The Florida Aquarium, named one of the United States’ top aquariums, features a variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals.

Stroll through the Tampa Riverwalk for skyline views of the city. Jump on a water taxi and enjoy sightseeing or take a boat tour of the bay. Enjoy rich Latin food in historic Ybor City with a guided walking tour, or head to Downtown Tampa for culinary delights.

Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach Florida
Photo Credit: [@jovannig/DepositPhotos]

Enjoy the perfect beaches, white sand, and crystal blue water along the coast of Panama City Beach. Head to uninhabited Shell Island just off the coast for a snorkeling or scuba diving tour, where you can spot wild dolphins beneath the waters. Or rent a few jet skis and cruise along the upper waves for fun. Go to the mega shopping complex Pier Park for all your shopping needs and see one of the busiest attractions in the city.

Once you head inland, you and your family can visit one of several amusement and water parks. Shipwreck Island focuses on tube rides and slides with a Caribbean pirate theme, while Race City gives you some traditional go-kart racing and roller coaster rides.

Best U.S. Summer Vacation Spots

family vacation
Photo Credit: [@AlexNazaruk/DepositPhotos]

When it comes to planning a summer getaway, these six destinations stand out as perfect options, each offering unique activities and attractions. These summer vacation spots are guaranteed to create beautiful memories for you, your friends, and your family.

Recommended by Grand Welcome. This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Photo Credit: [@tomwang/DepositPhotos]

Discover the Best Summer Vacation Spots to Beat the Heat and Unwind
Nicholas Rosen

Nick is the founder of The World Overload, a personal travel blog. From here, he shares his and others' personal travel experiences, trip itineraries, popular cultural events, and suggested destinations for every world-traveling enthusiast. Nick wants to experience the most of what this world has to offer and hopes to bring you into this as well.