15 of the Best Vacation Spots for Summer Travel in the U.S.
We've gathered the top 15 summer travel destinations with the help of TripAdvisor Rentals. Use our guide to find a vacation destination that fits your idea of a great getaway while also fitting your budget. With our help, your summer vacation will be affordable and relaxing like you deserve.
Best historic beach vacation: Cape May, New Jersey
The lovely Cape May, New Jersey, is a quaint, Victorian town that boasts year-round activities, such as a food and wine festival, a winery that hosts tastings, and a bird observatory, making it one of the best vacation spots for summer travel. In addition to a beautiful beach, visitors can view the town from atop a restored lighthouse, built in 1865. There are over 600 preserved historical buildings in Cape May, and visitors may find themselves being transported in time as they ride the trolley tour through the historic district. In the evening, take a ghost tour and learn who haunts the beaches.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Cape May is $1,675.
Best quiet Florida Beach: Miramar Beach, Florida
Who doesn’t love a beach vacation? This western-most Florida beach on the gulf is one of the not-as-well-known destinations, making it less crowded and commercial than many other Florida destinations. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to do in Miramar Beach. In addition to relaxing gulf side, visitors can dine at one of the many restaurants or shop at any of the 100 boutiques and name-brand stores. If you are a doughnut enthusiast, there’s also a self-guided tour of all of the best donuts Miramar Beach has to offer.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Miramar Beach is $2,249.
Best beach for active families: Orange Beach, Alabama
If your idea of a family vacation includes more than just laying on the sand, Orange Beach, Alabama, is your spot. Deep sea fishing excursions are available, as well as sunset cruises and dolphin watches. For cultural experiences, check out the local museum for the preservation of the area’s Native American history and art galleries featuring local artists. Here are more top family travel destinations in every state.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Orange Beach is $1,950.
Best family beach community: Ocean City, New Jersey
Ocean City, New Jersey, is known as America’s Greatest Family Resort. The charm of Ocean City lies in its appeal to children of all ages, even to those young at heart. Amusement rides, mini golf, and several day camps where parents can drop off the kids to take a break are all a part of this beach town. Each week, there’s a family night offering face painting and free concerts during the peak months of July and August. Families will enjoy swimming in the Atlantic and a plethora of other affordable activities. The best vacation spots always involve a beach, so make sure you check out these other amazing family beaches to visit this summer.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Ocean City, New Jersey, is $1,473.
America’s favorite island: Hilton Head, South Carolina
There are 12 miles of beach on Hilton Head, and that is just the beginning of what to do while vacationing. Golf, tennis, and horseback riding through a nature preserve are just a few of the many alternatives to sun and sand. The island boasts 250 different restaurants as well, so you’ll never have to worry about where you’ll have your next meal. Here’s an activity you can’t find everywhere: interacting with the local reptiles.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Hilton Head is $1,399.
Best outdoor activities: North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The year-round pleasant weather makes North Myrtle Beach one of the best vacation spots for lovers of all things outdoors. Ride horses along the beach, take a riverboat cruise, or go on a fishing excursion and bring back the largest catches available—all for those times when you’re not soaking in the sun on your beach towel. In the evening, practice the local dance, the Shag, which originated here. Don’t miss these tips to have your healthiest summer ever when you’re on vacation.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in North Myrtle Beach is $1,380.
Best small town Florida vacation: Davenport, Florida
While most visitors to Davenport are staying there because of its close proximity to Disney World and the affordable vacation rentals, there are many activities that make Davenport a destination in its own right. Davenport has two large golf courses and a nature preserve in Lake Kissimmee State Park, where visitors can ride horses or rent boats.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Davenport is $693.
Best couples spot: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia is for lovers, and Virginia Beach is no exception. There are 14 miles of public beaches along with countless nighttime activities for couples to enjoy while reconnecting. There are several music festivals each summer that draw nationally recognized acts. Couples may also enjoy riding a scary roller coaster at the Virginia Beach Amusement Park if they need an excuse to hold on tight to one another. Need a break from the beach? Check out the historical monuments and museums that can teach you all about Virginia’s history, including historic homes that are older than the United States itself.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Virginia Beach is $1,483.
Best water sports vacation: Gulf Shores, Alabama
If spending time on or in the water is your jam, Gulf Shores is the perfect vacation spot. Kayaking, parasailing, surfing, or renting your own personal watercraft are all available to you in Gulf Shores. You can even sign up for a guided diving tour of a freighter ship that sank not far off the shore and makes up the largest artificial reef program in the United States. This is a great starter dive for beginners. Check out these affordable summer getaways perfect for families.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Gulf Shores is $1,583.
Best theme park vacation: Orlando, Florida
If you’d rather spend your summer vacation with Mickey Mouse than on the beach, a trip to Orlando is perfect for you and yours. Known as the Theme Park Capital of the World, Orlando is the home of Disney World and its sister parks, in addition to Universal Studios, Sea World, and more. Visitors can also find luxurious spas and award-winning restaurants, making Orlando one of the best vacation spots. And if you do decide you would like to include the beach in your vacation, you can drive about an hour or so east and find the ocean. These are the 15 summer vacations you need to book in advance.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Orlando is $1,086.
Best wildlife enthusiast vacation: Kissimmee, Florida
For those wishing to visit amusement parks one day and nature preserves the next, Kissimmee is an excellent choice for your next summer vacation. Ziplines, hot air balloon rides, and wildlife tours of the Everglades, which offer views of alligators, birds, and unusual plants native to the area. And you don’t even have to travel too far off the beaten path. To enjoy more peace and quiet, book one of the 10 best solo vacations to take alone.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Kissimmee is $903.
Best golf vacation: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
In addition to the over 60 miles of beach available in Myrtle Beach, there are several award-winning golf courses designed by world-famous architects including Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, making this a top destination. These courses frequently win awards in Golf Digest and are recommended by the PGA as well. Serious golfers will enjoy spending their days on the links in Myrtle Beach.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Myrtle Beach is $1,250.
Best fishing vacation: Destin, Florida
Is catching a few fish a priority for your summer vacation? Destin, Florida, is the ideal spot. Known as the “world’s luckiest fishing village,” Destin offers both saltwater and freshwater fishing excursions where you can catch bass, mahi mahi, red snapper, and countless other types of fish. When you need to relax after a day on the water, Destin has an active nightlife and boasts many restaurants. Don’t miss the best free tourist attractions in each state.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Destin is $2,390.
Best friends’ getaway: Ocean City, Maryland
Plan for Ocean City, Maryland, if you’re looking to reconnect with your BFFs. Yes, you have the beach, but that also happens to be adjacent to a fantastic boardwalk where you can grab a drink, listen to live music, and play old-fashioned arcade games just like when you were kids. Leisurely walk the nearly three-mile length of the boardwalk, ride a bike, or catch a ride on the tram that runs frequently. If you want some quiet time away from the hustle of the beach, Assateague Island is just a short drive away, with wild horses and several nature trails.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Ocean City is $1,939.
Best nightlife vacation: Panama City Beach, Florida
If the nights are just as important as the days on your trip, head to Panama City Beach. Countless restaurants and lounges offer live music nightly in a variety of styles—from honky tonk to rock ‘n roll to blues to dance clubs. Karaoke is also a popular pastime in here. And when the lounge lizards finally arise the following day, everyone can wander down to the shore where they’ll discover that Panama City Beach has 27 miles of white sand upon which they can lay down your towel and take a nap.
The median weekly rate for a two-bedroom rental in July in Panama City Beach is $1,835. Next, check out these summer vacation packages that are totally worth the money.