Top spots for a summer vacation in the USA

Yosemite Merced River el Capitan and Half Dome in California National Parks US

As the weather warms up and the chills of winter are a distant memory, travelers around the USA are dreaming about where to go on their summer vacation.

The summer months of June to August are the USA’s busiest travel season, with warm days across the entire country bringing in big crowds and higher prices. But music and food festivals and outdoor activities ensure that summer is the liveliest time to travel the country. Kids are out of school, and some of the USA’s outdoor spaces, including national parks, are open for the season.

Here are the best places for a summer vacation in the USA.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s history recalls revolution and transformation, and today the city is still among the country’s most forward-thinking and barrier-breaking cities. For all intents and purposes, Boston is the oldest city in America, and you can hardly walk a step over its cobblestone streets without running into some historic site. But Boston has not been relegated to the past. A history of cultural patronage means that the city’s art and music scenes continue to charm and challenge contemporary audiences. Cutting-edge urban planning projects are reshaping the city even now, as neighborhoods are revived and rediscovered. Historic universities and colleges still attract scientists, philosophers and writers, who shape the city’s evolving culture.

Although summers in Boston are hot and humid, the city is noticeably quieter when students have vacated and Bostonians head to their summer homes. When you need to beat the heat, join them at the irresistible North Shore beaches nearby, which draw crowds thanks to the hot sun and cold sea.

San Diego, California

San Diego calls itself “America’s Finest City,” and its breezy confidence and sunny countenance filter down to folks you encounter every day on the street. It feels like a collection of villages each with its own personality, but San Diego is the nation’s eighth-largest city, and for its size, there’s probably nowhere more laid-back on earth. What’s not to love? San Diego bursts with world-famous attractions for the entire family, including the zoo and the museums of Balboa Park. And then there’s the excellent seafood, a buzzing downtown and beautiful hikes for all, plus more than 60 beaches and the USA’s most perfect weather.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is the wild, free-flowing, beating heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Its real showstoppers are the geysers and hot springs – nature’s crowd-pleasurs – but at every turn this land of fire and brimstone breathes, belches and bubbles like a giant kettle on the boil. The park’s highways traverse these geysers, through meadows and forests, past roadside herds of bison and campsites aromatic with pine needles and family campfires. In between lies the country’s largest collection of elk, the continent’s oldest and largest wild bison herds, and a pristine wilderness roamed by wolves, grizzlies, moose and antelope.

June to August are the busiest times to visit Yellowstone, when more than half of the park’s visitors arrive, but it’s the time of year when the full range of visitor services, accommodations and entrances to the park are open. Hotel rates peak at gateway towns, park campgrounds fill by lunchtime and reservations are essential.

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