50 Cool Summer Destinations in 50 States

With the airlines adding high ‘fuel surcharges’ to the cost of expensive peak-season plane tickets, and an exchange rate situation that has gone from sad to downright embarrassing, many Americans are working on a Plan B for their vacations this summer. Okay, so spending two weeks skipping around Europe might be best saved for another year, but what to do?

If you get creative you’ll realize there are many ways of doing something new on your vacation this year. Those of us in the United States are lucky enough to live in one of the most amazing countries on Earth in terms of varied sights and natural beauty, but few of us have really explored some of the better attractions in our own parts of the country.

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Partly as an experiment to show that our summer vacation options near home are almost endless, BootsnAll has gathered up one destination in each of the 50 states that could be a cool part of a summer trip. No matter which corner of the country you live in, something interesting is not far away. Some of these places are very famous, and others might be news to you, but either way we think these are interesting and worth a look for those who are struggling to find an affordable way to have a blast this summer.

New England

Maine
Bar Harbor – The postcard-perfect village is a summer playground and home to the gorgeous Acadia National Park

Connecticut
Mystic Seaport – This historic fishing village has an aquarium, a lovely downtown, and yes, Mystic Pizza

Massachusetts
Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield
– Come see this perfectly restored 200-year-old historic village and look at Shaker life, but don’t stir your drinks!

New Hampshire
White Mountains – Excellent hiking, gorgeous scenery, and plenty of family activities to keep everyone busy

Rhode Island
Narragansett – Possibly the best beaches in New England are surrounded by plenty of summer recreation opportunities

Vermont
Long Trail – The oldest long-distance hiking trail in the country runs the length of the state

>> Read about things to do in Portland, Maine

Mid-Atlantic

Maryland
Assateague Island National Seashore – Take a wildlife tour of this unique island and see the wild ponies

Delaware
Dewey Beach – This sandbar island is one huge beach party all summer long

New Jersey
Cape May – This historic Victorian town on the state’s southern tip was the country’s first seaside resort and maintains much charm today

New York
Yankee Stadium – This is the last year to visit the authentic house that Ruth built before they tear it down

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Dutch Country – The fascinating Amish locals don’t actually like outsiders so try your best to blend in

>> Discover the top travel experiences for horse lovers

The South

Alabama
Gulf Shores – This pretty beach town hosts the National Shrimp Festival in October

Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park – Historic district of Bathhouse Row is an interesting look at the spa scene from 100 years ago

Florida
Key West – The long drive starting at Key Largo feels like half the fun, but there’s plenty to see once you actually arrive

Georgia
Stone Mountain – Huge park in the Atlanta suburbs has tons of interesting things to do

Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park – The world’s longest cave system is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Louisiana
New Orleans – The city is open for business and crowds and prices are down in this post-Katrina era

Mississippi
Vicksburg – A historic downtown, civil war sites, and a whole bunch of casinos will keep you busy

North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – The most visited national park in the country is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site

South Carolina
Myrtle Beach – Golf heaven and great for beachgoers along the regions famous Grand Strand

Tennessee
Graceland – This Memphis attraction is always packed, but it’s the kind of place everyone has to experience once anyway

Virginia
Colonial Williamsburg – There’s the living history, but also golf courses and spas to balance things out nicely

West Virginia
Blackwater Falls State Park – The water in this gorgeous park isn’t exactly black, but it is an interesting shade and only one of the many attractions

>> Read about seven great weekend getaways in the South

Midwest

Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – This park is a combination of stunning sand dunes, beaches, forests, and ancient glacial phenomena

Illinois
Galena – This small town is packed with history and classic architecture, but also golf courses and resorts

Indiana
Wyandotte Caves – This is the most popular of 4 completely unique cave systems in this part of the state

Iowa
Amana Colonies – These 7 mysterious villages keep up their European traditions, but they also have endless summer festivals and events to enjoy.

Kansas
Dodge City – The Boot Hill Museum is one of dozens of attractions dedicated to the Old West history of this legendary town

Minnesota
Itasca State Park
– No end of things to do in this scenic area, including seeing where the Mississippi River begins as just a stream

Missouri
Branson – Entertainment galore for most people, but also with loads of irony for hipsters

Nebraska
Scotts Bluff National Monument – Stunning scenery and plenty of interesting exhibits about the history of the settlers and the Oregon Trail that passed right by

North Dakota
Devil’s Lake – The state’s largest natural lake has unlimited summer recreation possibilities, and there’s even a casino nearby for fun after dark.

Ohio
Lake Erie Islands – Take a car ferry out to one of these resort islands in the lake and leave your cares behind

South Dakota
Mount Rushmore – The sculpture is as breathtaking as you’d expect, but the surrounding park is worthwhile as well

Wisconsin
Door County – This lovely area between Lake Michigan and Sturgeon Bay booms with recreational opportunities every summer

>> Check out seven worthwhile weekend getways in the Midwest

Southwest

Arizona
Sedona – Whether you believe in energy vortexes or not, this city is stunning to see and pleasant to visit

New Mexico
Santa Fe – This 400-year-old city offers amazing views and history mixed with great museums and a thriving art gallery scene

Oklahoma
National Cowboy Hall of Fame – This Oklahoma City attraction is the biggest of its kind and holds a big sale and exhibition each June

Texas
South Padre Island – More famous for Spring Break, this place is an ideal spot for a Texas summer beach trip

West

Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park – The massive glaciers are only one part of the charm of this park filled with wildlife and recreational opportunities

California
Yosemite National Park – One of the most famous and scenic of the national parks is also a UNESCO World Heritage site with excellent facilities throughout and plenty of places to hide from the crowds

Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park – The famous and well-preserved cliff dwellings here make this one of the most important archaeological sites in the country

Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – In addition to the volcano there is also rare and exotic flora and fauna and many other things to see and do

Idaho
City of Rocks National Reserve – Climbers and hikers flock to this scenic collection of granite columns that reach up to 600 feet high

Montana
Yellowstone National Park – The world’s first national park is spread over 3 states, and Old Faithful is only one of hundreds of things to see and do here

Nevada
Lake Mead – This huge man-made lake south of Las Vegas is scenic and jammed with water recreation to cool you off

Oregon
Hood River – This popular recreation area not far from Portland offers windsurfing, kiteboarding, hiking, and even wine tasting

Utah
Canyonlands National Park – The breathtaking scenery at this place competes well with the state’s many amazing parks and monuments

Washington
North Cascades National Park – This favorite among hikers and mountain climbers contains over 300 glaciers, but don’t wait to long to visit

Wyoming
Devils Tower National Monument – This ‘Close Encounters’ natural monolith is only one of many amazing formations and parks in this area in addition to Yellowstone

>> Read about why you should visit a ski town in summer

Get more ideas for summer travel:

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  • Shane Flores said at 2012-11-20T01:41:08+0000: Cool and AWSOME.