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Summer Travel Ideas: Have an Unforgettable Time

Are you ready to dive into the best summer travel ideas? Say goodbye to the monotony of everyday life and hello to adventure with our ultimate guide to summer travel. Whether you’re seeking thrilling destinations or relaxing getaways, our collection of summer travel ideas is the perfect escape to explore the world and make unforgettable memories. Discover the hottest locations, latest trends, and insider tips to make your summer journey truly epic. Your next adventure begins here, with these inspiring summer travel ideas!

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As you plan your summer vacation, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest travel trends. This year, we’re seeing a rise in sustainable and eco-friendly travel, as well as a focus on off-the-beaten-path destinations.

When it comes to eco-conscious travel, travelers are looking for options like zero-waste hotels and carbon-offset flights.  Off-the-grid destinations are popping up to provide more secluded and unique experiences.  More families are traveling together with multiple generations. Travelers are also prioritizing their physical and mental health by seeking out wellness-focused destinations.  

Let’s take a look at some special USA locations and what they have to offer for your travel plans this summer!

Summer Travel Ideas for Travelling to Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC, is a charming city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Known for its vibrant arts scene, historic architecture, and stunning natural surroundings, Asheville is a popular destination for travelers seeking a mix of culture, relaxation, and outdoor adventure.

Highlights of things to do and see:

Biltmore Estate: This magnificent 250-room chateau is the largest privately owned home in the United States and a must-see attraction in Asheville.

Blue Ridge Parkway: A scenic drive through the mountains that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Downtown Asheville: A vibrant area with a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants, as well as historic landmarks like the Art Deco-style Asheville City Hall.

River Arts District: A trendy neighborhood that’s home to a variety of artist studios, galleries, and performance spaces.

Asheville Botanical Gardens: A beautiful 10-acre garden that showcases a variety of native plants and flowers.

Top-rated accommodations:

The Omni Grove Park Inn: A luxurious resort that’s been a favorite of visitors to Asheville for over 100 years. The resort features an award-winning spa, multiple dining options, and stunning mountain views.

The Inn on Biltmore Estate: Located on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, this elegant inn offers guests a unique opportunity to stay on the property and experience the estate’s grandeur.

The Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville: A stylish boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Asheville. The hotel features an on-site art gallery, a rooftop bar, and luxurious accommodations.

Princess Anne Hotel: A charming and unique stay with its historic architecture and modern amenities.

Princess Anne Hotel
Princess Anne Hotel Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Best time to visit:

The best time to visit Asheville is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is mild and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. The fall months of September and October are also popular, as the leaves in the surrounding mountains change color, creating a stunning display of fall foliage.

Travel tips and advice:

  • Expect crowds during peak tourist season, so it’s recommended to book accommodations and activities well in advance.
  • Bring comfortable shoes and plan to explore the downtown area on foot.
  • Make time for walks in the surrounding mountains and natural areas, as they offer some of the most breathtaking scenery in the region.


North Carolina Arboretum – This beautiful outdoor space features miles of hiking and biking trails, gorgeous gardens, and even a bonsai exhibit. Plus, admission is free! (But, parking is $20 – AAA members save $1 and AHS Reciprocal Garden members can park for free!)

Helen, GA

Helen, Georgia is a charming Alpine-style town located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors know this small town of just over 500 people for its Bavarian-style buildings and festive atmosphere, making it a unique destination.

Highlights of things to do and see:

It’s a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts with activities like hiking, tubing, and fishing in the nearby Chattahoochee River. You can also explore the town’s Alpine-themed shops, restaurants, and bakeries, attend local festivals, or take a tour of one of the area’s wineries.

Anna Ruby Falls: Take a scenic half-mile walk through the forest and arrive at the stunning twin waterfalls cascading down the rocks from over 150 feet above. 

Dukes Creek Falls Trail: An easy 1.9-mile round-trip hike that leads you to a stunning 150-foot waterfall in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The trail features a well-maintained path, beautiful scenery, and numerous observation decks to enjoy the breathtaking views.

Chattahoochee River: Experience nature’s beauty up close with the pristine waters and lush greenery lining the banks. Whether you want to swim, fish, or simply take a leisurely stroll along its tranquil shores, the Chattahoochee River is the perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Habersham Vineyards & Winery: This picturesque winery offers daily tastings of their award-winning wines, including reds, whites, and even muscadine wines. You can take a guided tour of the winery and learn about the wine-making process, or simply relax on the outdoor patio and enjoy the stunning mountain views while sipping on your favorite wine. With friendly staff and a charming atmosphere, Habersham Vineyards & Winery is the perfect place to unwind and indulge in some delicious wine.

Georgia Mountain Coaster: Take control of your own sled as you race down the mountain at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, twisting and turning through the beautiful forest scenery. You control the brakes, so you can make the ride as leisurely or as exhilarating as you like. With over a mile of track, this coaster is one of the longest in the country and offers a truly unforgettable experience.

Top-Rated Accommodations:

Valhalla Resort Hotel: Each of the 25 rooms and suites features elegant furnishings, plush bedding, and modern amenities, including a flat-screen TV and a coffee maker. You can also unwind in the cozy sitting area or on the private balcony, taking in the serene mountain scenery.

There’s a variety of on-site activities, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, an outdoor pool and hot tub, and a restaurant serving farm-to-table cuisine.

Sylvan Valley Lodge And Cellars:  A cozy retreat surrounded by the lush greenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The lodge features comfortable rooms and suites, each with its own unique character and mountain views. During your stay, be sure to indulge in the winery’s tastings and pairings, featuring their own signature wines made on site from local grapes. 

Helendorf River Inn and Conference Center: Right in the heart of town with spacious rooms and suites decorated in a traditional Bavarian style, you’ll feel right at home in the cozy and comfortable accommodations. Take a dip in the outdoor pool or hot tub, relax by the riverside fire pit, or indulge in a delicious breakfast buffet each morning.

Helendorf River Inn and Conference - summer travel ideas for Helen, GA
Helendorf River Inn Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit Helen is during the summer months when the weather is warm and the town is bustling with tourists. However, visitors can also enjoy the town’s fall foliage, holiday festivities, and winter activities like skiing and snowboarding.

Travel Tips and Advice:

Bring comfortable shoes for walking around town and exploring the nearby trails. It’s also a good idea to book accommodations and activities in advance, especially during peak tourist season.

Hidden Gem:

Hidden in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Helen, Georgia, Raven Cliff Falls is a true natural wonder that will take your breath away with its stunning beauty. This picturesque waterfall offers a moderate hiking trail that winds through lush forest and offers glimpses of the crystal-clear stream and towering trees before reaching the magnificent 40-foot waterfall. A perfect spot for a refreshing dip, a picnic with family and friends, or simply basking in the peaceful serenity of nature.

Looking for a unique food experience? With Helen & Back Food Tours, you’ll get to explore the town’s culinary scene while learning about its history and culture. Sample delicious bites and drinks from local restaurants and specialty shops, and enjoy the charming ambiance of Helen as you stroll through the town. 

Taos, NM

Sitting at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, surrounded by a rolling mesa and the wild Rio Grande river is Taos, New Mexico. With its rugged natural beauty and unique blend of Spanish, Native American, and Anglo cultures, this town has a magical quality that has historically drawn artists and photographers to capture its essence. Galleries, museums, and festivals here are plentiful, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this area. 

Highlights of things to do and see

There are plenty of things to see and do in Taos. You can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taos Pueblo, which has been inhabited for over 1,000 years. The town is also home to the iconic Taos Plaza, a hub of shops, galleries, and restaurants. If you’re looking for outdoor activities, you can go skiing in the winter or hiking and biking in the summer. 

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge: The bridge stands 600 feet above the gorge, offering spectacular views of the natural beauty surrounding it. The steel bridge is a popular destination for visitors to Taos, New Mexico, who come to marvel at the breathtaking views of the canyon, the river, and the mountains.

San Francisco de Asís Catholic Mission Church: Built in the early 1800s, the adobe structure is considered to be a masterpiece of Spanish Colonial architecture and has been the subject of many famous artists’ works, including Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. The church continues to be an active place of worship and is open to visitors who can admire its unique beauty and rich cultural history.

Top-rated accommodations

Adobe and Pines Inn B&B: An adobe-style inn featuring comfortable and uniquely decorated rooms, each with its own private entrance and outdoor seating area. Guests can enjoy the serene garden with a koi pond, outdoor hot tub, and a shaded veranda. A homemade breakfast is served each morning, using locally sourced ingredients. 

Casa Gallina: A tranquil retreat offering a range of beautifully decorated adobe casitas that are fully equipped with modern amenities. Guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in their private hot tub or sit by the fireplace in their casita. In the morning, a delicious homemade breakfast is served using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. 

Hacienda Del Sol: A historic adobe hacienda, originally built in the 1800s, and has since been restored to its former glory. Each room is uniquely decorated with traditional Southwestern furnishings and features modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a fireplace, and a private bath. The property also has a beautiful courtyard and garden area, perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring Taos. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the dining room, which features fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

Dreamcatcher Bed & Breakfast: The adobe-style bed and breakfast is located just minutes away from the Taos Plaza, offering easy access to the town’s shops, galleries, and restaurants. The property features six individually designed rooms, each with a unique decor and a private bathroom. Guests can enjoy a homemade breakfast each morning, as well as access to the property’s hot tub and outdoor seating areas. 

Dreamcatcher Bed & Breakfast
Dreamcatcher Bed & Breakfast Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Taos is in the summer, when the weather is warm and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. The town also hosts several festivals during this time, including the Taos Pueblo Powwow and the Taos Solar Music Festival.

Travel tips and advice

When traveling to Taos, be sure to bring layers as the weather can be unpredictable. It’s also a good idea to make reservations for popular restaurants and attractions in advance, especially during peak tourist season.

Hidden Gem

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a hidden gem in New Mexico and Colorado, offering a unique and authentic railroad experience. The steam train takes you through the beautiful San Juan Mountains, along the Continental Divide, and across the Colorado/New Mexico border. With breathtaking views of the rugged landscape, the journey takes you back to a time when railroads were the primary mode of transportation in the area.

The train passes through tunnels, over trestles, and through stunning scenery, providing a truly memorable experience. The historic railroad is also the longest and highest narrow gauge steam railroad in the country, making it a true hidden gem for railroad enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Bend, OR

Known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and laid-back lifestyle. You’ll be surrounded by the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, lush forests, and the Deschutes River, making it an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Bend is also known for its thriving art, music, and culinary scene, and microbreweries and local restaurants are plentiful.

Whether you’re into skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking, there’s something for everyone. Golf enthusiasts will love the world-renowned courses, and history buffs can explore the museums, galleries, and historical sites. 

Highlights of things to do and see

Explore the Deschutes National Forest: The forest surrounding Bend is perfect for hiking, camping, and exploring nature. There are several trails to choose from, including the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway and the Pacific Crest Trail.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, camping, and skiing. You can explore the lava tubes and caves, walk on the lava fields, and view the various geological formations. There’s also educational exhibits and ranger-led programs for visitors of all ages.

Tumalo Falls is a scenic waterfall that is easily accessible from the parking lot, and there are several hiking trails that lead to other scenic areas in the vicinity. 

Drake Park is 13 acres and features beautiful green spaces, a large pond, and picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy walking and cycling along the park’s paved paths, as well as fishing and paddle boarding in the pond. The park also hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including the annual Bend Brewfest and Munch & Music concert series. 

Top-rated accommodations

Bend offers a wide range of accommodation options, from hotels and resorts to vacation rentals and camping sites. Some of the top-rated accommodations in Bend include:

The Oxford Hotel: This boutique hotel features elegant and comfortable guest rooms with luxurious amenities like pillow-top mattresses, plush bathrobes, and 24-hour room service. It’s known for exceptional customer service and attention to detail.

Tetherow Hotel: A modern boutique hotel offering great views of the surrounding Cascade Mountains. The hotel features stylish and spacious guest rooms with luxurious amenities, including plush bedding, flat-screen TVs, and rainfall showers. The hotel also offers a range of on-site facilities, including a restaurant, bar, fitness center, and outdoor pool. 

Brasada Ranch: Luxury resort with various types of accommodations ranging from cozy ranch-style cabins to luxurious suites, all with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Known for its excellent golf course, spa, outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking. There’s also multiple restaurants that serve farm-to-table cuisine, as well as a winery with award-winning wines. 

Barsada Ranch
Brasada Ranch Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Bend depends on your interests and preferred activities. The summer months (June-August) are popular for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking. The fall (September-November) is a great time to visit for hiking, fishing, and leaf peeping, while the winter (December-February) is ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Spring (March-May) is a good time to visit for outdoor activities and to experience the blooming wildflowers.

Travel tips and advice

  • Bring layers: Bend’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to bring layers that you can easily add or remove as needed.
  • Book activities in advance: Popular activities such as golfing, skiing, and river rafting can fill up quickly, so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
  • Respect the environment: Bend’s natural beauty is its main draw, so it’s important to respect the environment and leave no trace when enjoying outdoor activities.
  • Try the local beer: Bend is known for its microbreweries and has been dubbed “Beer Town USA,” so be sure to try some of the local beer while you’re there.
  • Plan for traffic: Bend’s popularity has led to increased traffic, especially during peak tourist seasons, so plan accordingly and allow extra time for travel.

Hidden Gem

High Desert Museum: Offers a unique blend of wildlife, art, history, and culture of the high desert region. Explore indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring live animals, art installations, and interactive displays. The museum also hosts special events and educational programs for all ages. It’s a great place to learn about the history and natural beauty of the Central Oregon region in a fun and engaging way.

Bradenton, FL

Bradenton is a charming city located on the west coast of Florida. It is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant arts and culture scene, and abundant recreational opportunities. The city is situated along the Manatee River and offers easy access to the Gulf of Mexico.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as fishing, boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Bradenton is home to several museums and galleries, as well as the Village of the Arts, a unique community of artists and galleries. The city is also known for its delicious seafood and local cuisine, as well as its family-friendly attractions. With its warm weather, friendly locals, and abundance of things to see and do, Bradenton is a great destination for visitors of all ages.

Highlights of things to do and see

  • Visit the Robinson Preserve: This 600-acre nature reserve is a great place for hiking, kayaking, and birdwatching.
  • Explore the Bradenton Riverwalk: This scenic walkway runs along the Manatee River and offers great views, public art installations, and a splash park for kids.
  • Discover the Village of the Arts: This vibrant neighborhood is home to many galleries, studios, and restaurants housed in colorful bungalows.

Top-rated Accommodations Nearby

The Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club: This luxurious resort offers elegant accommodations with modern amenities, including fully-equipped kitchens, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi. 

The Londoner Bed & Breakfast: This charming B&B offers elegant rooms, personalized service, and a delicious breakfast.

Compass by Margaritaville: This hotel offers modern and comfortable rooms, with some of them having balconies that overlook the waterfront. It features a restaurant and bar, a heated outdoor pool, and a fitness center.You can also enjoy access to the private beach club on Anna Maria Island, which is just a short drive away. 

Compass by Margaritaville
Compass by Margaritaville Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Bradenton is from December to April when the weather is mild and pleasant, and there are plenty of outdoor activities and events to enjoy. Summer 

Travel tips and advice

  • Rent a car: Bradenton is a spread-out city, and a car is essential for getting around and exploring the area.
  • Check the calendar of events: Bradenton hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, so make sure to check the calendar and plan accordingly.
  • Protect yourself from the sun: The Florida sun can be intense, so make sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses when spending time outdoors.

Hidden Gem

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the more popular beaches, this pristine white sand oasis offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere perfect for unwinding and soaking up the sun. The crystal-clear waters and soft sands create the ideal setting for swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the shores. With equipment rentals and picnic areas available, you can spend a whole day enjoying the beauty of Cortez Beach. Best of all, this hidden gem is easily accessible with plenty of free parking, making it a must-visit for any beach lover seeking a quieter and more tranquil experience.

Final Thoughts on Summer Travel

As summer approaches, now is the perfect time to start planning your own travels. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors or relaxation on a beautiful beach, there are endless possibilities for summer travel. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and set out on your own adventure.

Traveling allows us to experience new cultures, make unforgettable memories, and take a break from our daily routines. As we navigate our way through the challenges of the world today, taking time to explore and appreciate the beauty of our planet is more important than ever. So, go out and discover all that the world has to offer. 

Happy Wandering! (safely)

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