Treat yourself to one of these great drives, islands, beach towns, lakes, or wilderness escapes
1 of 42Ashley Davis
Splashy adventures in Kremmling, CO
This real-deal ranching town at the confluence of the Colorado, Blue, and Muddy Rivers serves up splashy outdoor adventures for summer, from rafting to dips in hot springs.
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Poolside R&R in Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs in summer? Yep, we said it. Zero crowds, killer deals, and a pool around every corner make this the place to be.
3 of 42Audrey Hall
Climb to your heart's content in Lander, WY
Dip into Lander, Wyoming, a cool town of climbers, killer coffee, and cowboys. Epic hiking trails also await you there.
4 of 42Andrea Gómez Romero
Sizzling deals in Scottsdale, AZ
In Scottsdale, expect summer temps of triple digits with a chance of more triple digits. But hotels and resorts—even the ultraposh ones—drop their room rates by as much as two-thirds in summer.
5 of 42Audrey Hall
Cowboy cool in Cody, WY
Grab your cowboy hat and hit the rodeo in this wild west town. Mountain trail horseback rides and whitewater rafting are just a few of the adventures that await you.
6 of 42David Fenton
Vineyard hop in Geyserville, CA
Geyserville is a wine-lover's low-key paradise. Sip some poolside vino at Francis Ford Coppola's winery, or taste your way through Alexander Valley, home to world-class Cabernet.
7 of 42Andrea Gómez Romero
Hang ten on San Diego's Solana Beach
At picturesque Solana Beach, you can spend the day visiting artsy, cool shops, munching on good eats, and catching some waves.
8 of 42Gina Sabatella
History lesson in Jerome, AZ
Explore this old mining town and you'll find an up-and-coming art scene, handmade pottery, and a refreshing cooler temperature than nearby Phoenix.
9 of 42Andrea Gómez Romero
Splash around in Cascade, ID
Explore nature's very own water world in Cascade, Idaho. Sparkling lakes, flowing rivers, and natural hot springs boast fun activities for the whole family.
10 of 42John Clark
On a budget in Ashland, OR
On a bargain weekend in Southern Oregon's famous culture town, see a world-class play, hear live music, wander galleries, and beat the heat in woodsy 93-acre Lithia Park.
11 of 42Andrea M. Gómez
Sun and surf in Huntington Beach, CA
Whether you're carving up the waves or watching the pros from the sand, the classic beachy California vacation town of Huntington Beach will work its charms on you. Here's where to stay, get lobster tacos, watch the surfers, and learn to catch a wave.
12 of 42Michael Hanson
Escape to Edmonds, WA
Summer brings out the all-American spirit in this small waterfront ferry port town. Grab some gourmet picnic grub and head to the beach, or hop a ferry for a scenic tour of the nearby Kitsap Peninsula.
13 of 42Jen Siska
Cool off in Sierra City, CA
In summertime, a cool pine forest laced with bracing-cold streams sounds just right. Sierra City is where to make it happen! Take a dip in ice-cold swimming holes, hike through fields of wildflowers, then jump back into the crisp alpine waters to cool off again.
14 of 42Thomas J. Story
Surrounded by nature in Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Imagine a national park-level wilderness without national park-level crowds. No bus tours. No traffic. No entrance fees. Just drop-to-your-knees gorgeous land full of hiking trails, hot springs, trout-filled streams, and some of the best lemonade we've ever tasted.
15 of 42José Mandojana
Raise your sail in Gig Harbor, WA
Set sail—or just watch the boats glide by—in this mile-long harbor town. Rent a boat, watch one being made, or count them up in the harbor, then feast on the catch of the day at a local tavern.
16 of 42Andrea M. Gómez
Take in the beauty of Maui, HI
Maui’s got all the essentials for the ultimate tropical vacation. Snorkel, shop, head out on a horseback ride, and enjoy the island's immense beauty.
17 of 42Andrea M. Gómez
One perfect day in Yosemite
Our hour-by-hour breakdown of the perfect day in Yosemite: See the sun rise over glistening meadows, trek to three waterfalls, eat lunch beneath El Capitan—and still have time for an ice cream break.
18 of 42Andrea M. Gómez
Explore nature in San Juan Islands, WA
A long summer weekend in Washington's San Juan Islands is just enough time to savor the area’s patented pleasures: orcas and eagles, kayaking and hiking, and a food scene that shows the influence of a burgeoning slow-food movement.
19 of 42David Fenton
Sparkling scenery at Lake Tahoe
Clear, blue, and still a classic: Summer in Tahoe is the same as it ever was. Go for a sunset sail, take a shot at paddleboarding, or find a slice of beach and take in the to-die-for beauty.
20 of 42Thomas J. Story
Go wine tasting in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley
This achingly beautiful wine country is in full-throttle mode, with new wineries and different kinds of grapes going in all the time―nearly 60 varietals, planted all over the benchlands, hillsides, and valley floor. Add to this the Okanagan's pristine lakes, orchards, and wide range of non-wine-related things for the whole family to do (from riding the century-old Kettle Valley steam train to biking and hiking), and you have a wine-country experience like no other.
21 of 42Andrea Gomez
Kayak through Denver, CO
For a unique spin through Denver, rock the South Platte River's rapids or simply relax on the banks of Confluence Park and sip a beer at notorious Beat Generation hangout My Brother's Bar.
22 of 42John Clark
Pour a glass in Oregon's Willamette Valley wine country
With luxe inns and tons of tasting rooms, Willamette is ready for prime time. You can get lost on the backcountry roads but always find a good glass of Pinot around the bend. And now, with great hotels and tasting rooms mustering in towns like Carlton, you can experience the valley’s off-the-beaten-path vibe yet have the comforts of a soft bed close by.
23 of 42Brown Cannon III
Road trip through Yellowstone, WY
This is the granddaddy of national parks, full of waterfalls, bison, and geysers. From cabins to fishing to camping, here's our tips on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay.
25 of 42Charles Shapiro / Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
Cruise along Highway 395 in the Eastern Sierra
From Gold Country to Mono Lake, you'll hop from lake to forest to charming mountain town on this road trip along the Sierra’s eastern slope.
26 of 42Jim Henkens
Delicious eats in Long Beach Peninsula, WA
Explore a scenic stretch of Washington coast that's a foodie's paradise. If you like oysters―we're talking just-harvested Willapa Bays―you'll love the Long Beach Peninsula.
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Discover Prince William Sound, AK
Adventure therapy? Paddling the pristine Prince William Sound―alongside humpback whales, floating icebergs, and 350-pound sea lions―is the ultimate Alaskan adventure.
28 of 42Brown Cannon III
Pristine waters in Idaho's lake country
Deep, blue, and busy are three words that sum up three of the West's most beautiful lakes: Coeur d'Alene, Pend Oreille, and Priest. Each has its own character -- Coeur d'Alene's got boats and golf and high-end resorts; Pend Oreille has the little town of Sandpoint; and Priest has huckleberry pie.
29 of 42Creative Commons photo by Troy Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Family time on the Southern Oregon Coast
First-time family camping is best done by car. The Southern Oregon Coast, a boulder-strewn, hermit-crab-crawling stretch of pure summer fun, is the very best place to do it.
30 of 42Rob D. Brodman
Natural surroundings in Olympic National Park, WA
A national park to yourself? In prime summertime? Yup―it's possible in superlush Olympic―the greenest, wettest, wildest of the bunch.
31 of 42Jim Henkens
Fresh and organic in Lummi Island, WA
Calling all locavores to this little land of blackberries, just-plucked salad greens, and sustainable salmon.
32 of 42Robert Leon
Paddle through North and South Pender Island, BC
The Southern Gulf Islands are a paradise for paddlers―and anyone who loves hidden beaches, small farms, and seaside spas.
33 of 42Wolfgang Kaehler / Getty Images
Relax and refresh in Sooke, Vancouver Island
Escape to the wild seaside on the south coast of Vancouver Island. You'll need a car to drive the pretty back roads, where there is a meadery and honey farm, but you can also rent a bike and pedal the Galloping Goose Trail. Cap it off with a stay at the artsy Sooke Harbour House. Berries seem to hang on every bush in the summer.
34 of 42Thomas J. Story
Embrace nature in Lassen Peak, CA
Lassen Peak is Northern California's hidden treasure. It has all the scenery of Yosemite, but without the crowds.
35 of 42Thomas J. Story
Amazing eats in Point Reyes/Tomales Bay, CA
An hour from San Francisco, Point Reyes and Tomales Bay is a wonderland of rolling hills, placid waters, wild coastline―and some of the most amazing food anywhere.
36 of 42Rob D. Brodman
Tour the coast from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz, CA
In Pescadero, located just south of San Francisco, discover mile after mile of undeveloped, rugged coastline.
37 of 42Jason Todd
Pitch your tent the West's best campgrounds
Camping is the ultimate bargain getaway. From the rim of the Grand Canyon to the sweeping Arch Rock Campground in Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park, here are over 100 great spots to roll out your sleeping bag.
38 of 42Dave Lauridsen
Soak up some sun on Catalina Island, CA
This is a SoCal island retreat only 40 minutes by ferry from the mainland. You can splash around on Avalon Beach, stroll through the harbor town of Avalon, or take a jeep tour of the wild backcountry.
39 of 42Andrea Gómez
Get sandy on the waterfront in Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara is the beach town off 101. Tall palm trees, a great sweep of beach and wine country just over the San Marcos pass.
40 of 42Jen Judge
Cultural experience in Sante Fe, NM
The high-altitude capital of New Mexico is an ideal summer escape. See a different side of it with our picks for 4 ways to experience Japan without leaving the city.
41 of 42Richard Cummins / Getty Images
Make a pit stop in Williams, AZ
This tiny Route 66 town has been dubbed the gateway to the Grand Canyon, but it’s much more than a refueling stop along the way. Take in Old West history at Wild West Junction, shop in the reinvigorated downtown, and explore the town’s own secret―and dazzling―canyon.
42 of 42Andrea Gomez
Have some fun in San Diego, CA
San Diego is summer personified. What to do, where to stay, and where to eat in the city's three best neighborhoods for sun-kissed fun.