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6 Summer Vacation Hotspots in the U.S.

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I love to travel! I think I have been to 33 states now and I can adamantly say that you don’t have to leave the United States to enjoy your summer vacation. There are many fascinating travel hotspots in the U.S. that are waiting to be discovered. From slow to fast-paced and everything in between, Here are a few ideas for you this summer if you want to stay close to home and still have an amazing time.

This was a recording of a live video I did on my personal Facebook page in case you would rather listen to my story rather than read it.




1.) Chicago


Come summertime, the Windy City is an amazing place to visit. We lived in the Chicago area for about a year. It was actually in Indiana, but just minutes away from everything. You can enjoy great music at one of Chicago’s free Summer music festivals, or soak in the sun while attending one of its food festivals, such as the well-known Taste of Chicago. Take in some shopping on the famous Magnificent Mile, and grab some crazy photos of yourself in front of the well-loved Bean.



If it gets hot and you want to head indoors, visit the Shedd Aquarium and check out the interesting underwater life. Then dip your toes into the cool, blue freshwater and soft sand at one of the 26 free beaches stretched across 26 miles of lakefront, to burn off Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza that you will surely try while you are there.


2.) Pacific Northwest

We lived in Vancouver Washington for a little over a year. We moved there from the Chicago area. There is are so many scenic views to be seen. We went to a few different beaches, through the mountains, up to a Volcano, and a couple lighthouses too. The Seaside Aquarium has touch tanks and a seal exhibit.

Seaside, OR

This was our favorite beach vacation. There is a long promenade to stroll on while watching the waves. There is a playground with swings right on the beach. You can hike up to the 19th-century Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Lighthouses are another favorite of mine.

The Seaside Aquarium has touch tanks and a seal exhibit. There are many places to set up shop to eat. Over 15 different fresh seafood places. The kids loved a little ice cream shop that had salt water taffy.

Mt. Saint Helens

Check out the Volcano in Skamania County, Washington. It is about 50 miles north of Portland, and 96 miles south of Seattle. This is an active volcano it is known for being the deadliest and most destructive in US history in 1980 killing 57 people and 185 miles of destruction. They have a monument open Monday through Friday to visit. Plan for the hike up there though to get a good view.


Seattle is another great summer hotspot. If you are craving delicious, fresh seafood then be sure to visit Pike Place Market and one of its many restaurants. Take a trip to the top of the Seattle Space Needle, and enjoy the view from 520 feet in the air. Learn about the city’s amazing history while on the Seattle Harbor Tour.


3.) California


California will always be a great place to visit in summer. With its warm climate and long stretch of beautiful beaches, there is never a shortage of places to relax outdoors in the sun. Yosemite National Park, with its majestic beauty, is known for its amazing waterfalls and glaciers.

Or roam around Los Angeles and count your celebrity sightings. Participate in an oceanside yoga class, or have a drink by the beach on a rooftop bar. There are many attractions in the Los Angeles area for adults and children alike.

We really enjoyed a sightseeing tour in San Francisco where we got to tour the house that was the setting for Full House, along with other interesting places. We also visited Alcatraz where you will need to bring a jacket no matter if it is in the middle of Summer.

Want a beach and amusement park experience check out Santa Cruz. They have an amusement park right on the beach. There are roller coasters (big and small), arcade games, putt-putt golf, a bowling alley, restaurants, and even a steam train that departs from the beach for a trip through redwood forests and a river gorge. I think we visited Santa Cruz a few times the year we lived in California.


4.) Yellowstone National Park


If you prefer a more relaxed and nature-oriented vacation this summer, head to Yellowstone National Park. Be amazed by the breathtaking beauty of Old Faithful, and most of the world’s other geysers. Observe all that nature has to offer while hiking, and consider camping in one of the park’s several campgrounds. You will most certainly not regret your visit.




5.) Florida


Throughout the state of Florida, summer draws the crowds. There is no shortage of great places to visit here. The Florida Keys has become a place where Americans flock when they desire a tropical vacation in the comfort of their own country. Snorkeling, scuba diving and sailing are some of what this area has to offer on and around its lovely beaches.

Another great summer destination is Miami, with its fascinating nightlife. Miami also has amazing beaches. It is less crowded in summer than when visitors from all around the U.S. go there in the winter season.



If you have children, consider heading a little farther north in Florida to the Orlando and Kissimmee area for a visit to Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios or one of the other amusement parks and attractions. And don’t forget to hop onto an airboat ride so you can see a few of the state’s alligators up close and personal.


6.) St. Louis


Last stop is back to the center of the U.S. in Missouri. Back when the kids were little we went here every summer. If you need a place that isn’t hard on the pocketbook this is the place. They have many places for families that don’t cost any entry fee.

Grant’s Farm: This 281-acre farm in South St. Louis County is home to hundreds of animals, including the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. You take a tram ride to the middle of the park and from there, it’s easy to explore. Admission to Grant’s Farm is free for everyone, but parking is $12 per car.



Prarie Farms: This is out past Six Flags in Eureka, MO. There are cows you can milk, a unique cat house, dog shows, and farm animals you can pet. There is a barn play area for the kids to swing on ropes and drive little tractors. It is a nice laid back experience that our family loved going to year after year.

St. Louis Zoo: Tons of exhibits, animals to see for no admission. The do have extras like parking, a train ride, and a children’s zoo that do cost a small fee.

St. Louis Science Center: You can test your knowledge of fossils and dinosaurs, the human body, and clock the speed of cars on Highway 40 with a radar gun. You can also experience what it’s like to travel to outer space in the planetarium.




You will not be disappointed if you decide to spend your summer vacation at home in the U.S. With a variety of vacations to choose from, there is something for everyone. Take your pick and make your summer exactly the one you want, without even stepping foot outside your country. I only picked out 6 areas to travel, where is your favorite place to travel for summer vacation in the U.S? Tell us about it below.

The rest of this week I will be sharing different travel tips with you to help you get prepared for a great Summer vacation this year. I will update the list below to give you the link to each one in the series:

6 Summer Vacation Hotspots in the U.S.

Budget Travel 5 Ways to Save Money on Summer Vacation

7 Safe Travel Tips for Summer Vacation

Pet Travel Tips for a Safe & Stress-Free Trip

Traveling With Children | How to Keep the Kids Busy on a Trip


summer vacation