Cool Summer Getaways

Picture of Author: Kristen Eckblad

Author: Kristen Eckblad

Summer is right around the corner, so if you haven’t planned your summer getaway yet, then I’ve got some “cool” ideas for you. The average temperature in South Florida is only 15 degrees warmer in the summer than it is in the winter, but our humidity during the summer months can make it feel a lot warmer. Going to the beach or out on the boat for water activities can provide some relief, but many Floridians like to get away and escape to cooler temperatures. Here are my suggestions for some “cool summer getaways” where you can beat the Florida summer heat!  

Also See: Drivable Summer Trips for Floridians

7 Cool Vacation Spots to Beat the Summer Heat

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada 

Lake Tahoe Nevada
Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Lake Tahoe sits on the border between Northern California and Nevada, providing visitors with cooler summer temperatures and some of the most memorable scenery in the country. The Sierra Nevada Mountain views are truly amazing and Lake Tahoe itself is absolutely stunning.  The blue color of the lake surrounded by the mountains is most definitely a sight worth seeing. The area offers plenty of water-based recreation including boating, parasailing, fishing and kayaking. Throw in the endless hiking trails, stunning lake front beaches and world class casinos (without the Vegas glitz) and you have a cool summer vacation for everyone!

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Cool off here in July and August when the average temperatures are typically in the mid 70’s.  Think stunning vistas and awe inspiring waterfalls as they spill from the towering cliffs.  Be prepared to pack a backpack and hike or mountain bike to the many waterfalls along Columbia River Gorge.  While there are plenty of water sports along the river, if you’re a windsurfer you will want to visit the town of Hood River, also known as the windsurfing capital of the world. Besides its spectacular scenery, the Gorge is home to several outstanding wineries.  You will find Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the cool western hills, and big wine lovers can get their fix of Syrah and Cabernet in the slightly warmer climate to the east.

Seattle, Washington 

Pike Place Market Seattle Washington
Pike Place Public Market – Seattle, Washington

Seattle is known for being one of the best states in the country for enjoying milder summers.  The city is bordered by Lake Washington to the east and Puget Sound to the west.  In addition to numerous water sports there are plenty of other things to see and do in this amazing city.  Of course we all know about the space needle, a 185.5 meter high legacy to the 1962 World’s Fair, but did you know Seattle is also home to the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the country?  Stop by Pike Place Market, stroll through the grounds and take in the sights and sounds of this historic market where farmers, artisans, craftsman and “flying fish” all come together. Looking for even cooler temperatures? Seattle also provides easy access to 3 amazing national parks: Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park and North Cascades National Park.

Plymouth, Massachusetts 

If you are looking for beautiful scenery and a bit of history this would be the perfect getaway for you.  Plymouth Rock is known around the world as the spot where the Mayflower pilgrims first stepped foot in America.  It has long been known as a symbol of immigration and the American Spirit. Take some time to visit the area’s famous lighthouses: Plymouth Light (aka. Gurnet Light) in Duxbury, Minot’s Ledge Light in Cohasset, and Scituate Light in Scituate. During the months of April through November you can take a tour of one of many local cranberry bogs. If you really want to cool off then try visiting Nelson Memorial Beach Park, one of many great beaches in the Plymouth area. The ocean temps in the summer here will feel like a “polar plunge” compared to our coldest winter water temps in South Florida.

Stowe, Vermont 

Known as a ski town in the winter, these mountains become a scenic backdrop in the summer for endless outdoor activities. Stowe was named a “mountain biking mecca” by The Boston Globe. With more than 50 miles of well cared for trails that are suitable for all riding levels, everyone can enjoy the surrounding beauty and greenery of summertime in the mountains. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a day trip to visit Smuggler’s Notch where you can try zip lining and maybe some disk golf.  After all of that outdoor activity you can “wine down” at the local winery, Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits, with a wine tasting and tasty cheese platter.

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan 

Florida has so many wonderful people from the great midwestern state of Michigan who venture south during the summer months to escape their bitter cold and snowy winters. It’s only fair that we go north to visit their beautiful state during our warmer summer months.  Isle Royale National Park is located on Lake Superior and offers that perfect Midwest summer get-away. Activities include hiking, kayaking and even scuba diving. Here are some more fun facts about the park.

  • Isle Royale National Park is actually an archipelago consisting of 400 total islands.
  • The main island, Isle Royale, is approximately 50 miles long and 9 miles wide.
  • The park is only open from April 16 through October 31 annually. Ferry and seaplane service typically runs from mid-May through the end of September. The park is closed from October 31 through April 15.
  • The highest point in the park is Mount Desor at 1,394 feet.
  • There are 165 miles of trails and 36 campgrounds in the park.

Asheville, North Carolina

Biltmore Estate - Asheville North Carolina
Biltmore Estate – Asheville, North Carolina

Last, but certainly not least are the beautiful mountains of Ashville which has long been a popular get-away and even a second home for many Floridians. Summer in Asheville is the perfect time to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains where sightseeing, hiking and camping are among the many popular summertime activities. If you really want to cool off then consider the world-class white water rafting on one of six nearby rivers including the French Broad River, believed to be the third oldest river in the world. Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding are also very popular on the calmer sections of the French Broad. Looking for a little more culture? In addition to the endless mountain activities Asheville offers a vibrant arts and crafts scene as well as historic attractions like the famous Biltmore Estate.

Also See our Blog: Drivable Summer Trips for Floridians

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