Here Are 20 Summer Vacation Ideas Filled With Endless Fun Activities (not just beach trips)

Whenever you hear the words “summer vacation,” you might think of lazy days on the beach, cool ocean waves, and sand castles with the kids. At TripAdvisor, we know that some of the most memorable summer getaways don’t have to be oceanside. From the mountains to the countryside to the city, here are 20 great summer vacation ideas across the country.

Whether you live too far away, you don’t like sand in your toes, or you’re just ready to try something new: TripAdvisor is here to help you keep the beachside blues at bay this summer. This list of top summer vacation ideas represents a variety of getaways in the United States and offers a variety of great activities and memorable experiences.

You can plan your entire itinerary on TripAdvisor, no matter where you’re going. In addition to finding the lowest hotel rates across 200 booking sites, we offer thousands of tour, excursion, and attraction tickets that can be booked directly through our site.We now have a 24-hour cancellation policy (for in-destination experiences), so you can pre-book before you arrive but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes..

With these great summer vacation ideas, you can enjoy time with family, friends, sunscreen, and your camera.

Seattle, WA

Purchasing a CityPASS before visiting Seattle is a smart move if you’re considering a summer getaway. Some of Seattle’s top attractions, including the Space Needle, can be booked together to save up to 47% on admission. You can ride up to the observation deck at the top of the needle for incredible 360-degree views. The world-famous Pike Place Market is always bustling and full of fresh, delectable eats; it is the perfect place to spend a beautiful summer afternoon. Washington Brewers Fest is a great place to plan your trip if you’re a beer lover. It features hundreds of beers from breweries throughout Washington, food vendors, music, and entertainment. If the timing isn’t right, you can still book a refreshing beer tasting and brewery tour any time of year.

Bozeman, MT

Bozeman’s summer getaways will keep you busy with fun and memorable activities in the heart of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Whitewater rafting down the Gallatin River or tubing down the Madison River are great ways to escape the summer heat. There are several fantastic dining options in downtown Bozeman, where you can stroll, shop, and dine. With its varied menu and delectable plates, South 9th Bistro is one of the city’s most highly regarded restaurants. From June through August, Bozeman hosts the free Music on the Main festival every Thursday.

Vail, CO

Vail is more than just a winter getaway, thanks to its incredible skiing and snowboarding. A scenic, mountainous city like this has plenty of summer attractions to offer. A free concert series called Hot Summer Nights is held every Tuesday during the summer at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater and includes local craft beer and yard games. A river rafting trip or guided fly-fishing trip is a great way to cool off with friends, family, or both. The American gastropub Mountain Standard offers mouthwatering dishes for lunch and dinner. Consider taking a food tour of Vail Valley, followed by a beer tasting experience to round it off instead of just selecting one restaurant.

San Diego, CA

It’s not just June through September that you can take a summer trip to San Diego. Taking an electric bike tour of La Jolla and Mount Soledad will allow you to enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean and hills while riding to the city’s highest point. For its wide array of animals and interactive exhibits, the San Diego Zoo is an iconic attraction. You’ll be treated to some of San Diego’s best Mexican fare and tequila drinks during the Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones Culinary Tour. Organize all your San Diego sightseeing excursions and experiences in advance for a stress-free trip.

Portland, ME

Its waterfront beauty, fresh seafood, history, and more make Portland (in a state whose slogan is “Vacationland”) an ideal summer vacation destination. Pass several postcard-worthy lighthouses on a Casco Bay Custom Charter boat tour. A must-see for history buffs is the gorgeous Tate House Museum, one of the oldest residences on the East Coast dating back to 1755. There is a booming craft alcohol industry in Portland, so beer and wine lovers should take advantage of a Maine Brew Bus tour. Enjoy tastings at local breweries, wineries, distilleries, and learn how they make drinks with a fun and knowledgeable guide.

Sonoma/Napa Valley, CA

A summer getaway to Sonoma or Napa Valley will be filled with breathtaking scenery and world-class wine. Experience the best of Napa and Sonoma Wine Country on a Small-Group Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour, including a gourmet lunch at the Sonoma Bistro. Visit Sonoma Plaza, a picturesque town square filled with adorable shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms. For those lovely summer nights in Sonoma, the girl & the fig restaurant offers delicious French and American fare. Enjoy brunch and sparkling wine with a Napa hot-air balloon ride!

Jackson, WY (Grand Teton National Park)

It hosts many unique summer vacation ideas and activities right in the park itself, Grand Teton National Park in Jackson. With views of the mountains all around you, the Grand Teton Wildlife Safari takes you through rugged terrain where you can encounter wildlife up close. Swimming, sailing, and windsurfing are all available at Jackson Lake on hot summer days. After all this adventuring, you’ll be hungry, so check out the Jenny Lake Lodge Dining Room. You can enjoy a more casual meal at Deadman’s Bar, which is known for its fantastic burgers. In the heart of Wyoming’s wilderness, both restaurants are located in the park.

Friday Harbor, WA (San Juan Islands)

The San Juan Islands offer a great summer getaway at Friday Harbor. Summer vacationers will enjoy whale watching excursions in this area, which is one of the best places to see Orca whales in the wild. With lavender fields stretching over 25 acres and a view of the Olympic Mountains, the Pelindaba Lavender Farm is one of Friday Harbor’s most popular visitor destinations. San Juan Islands hosts a County Fair every August, with a different theme every year.

Delray Beach, FL

Delray Beach is ranked as one of the “Most Fun Small Towns in America” by USA Today, and it’s a great place to spend a summer vacation. It is not necessary to spend all summer vacations on the beach, but you will want to spend some time swimming and lounging on the beautiful white sands of Delray Municipal Beach. Shopping, restaurants, bars, and a quaint park are all found along Atlantic Avenue, Delray’s main street. Enjoy some of the best cuisine Delray Beach has to offer on the Crafted Food Tour, which takes you right down Atlantic Ave to six of the city’s top-rated restaurants.

Williamsburg, VA

Consider Williamsburg as one of your summer vacation ideas, where summers are warm and sunny and there are endless attractions to explore-especially if you have kids. The Colonial Williamsburg village and Historic Jamestowne make Williamsburg a history-lover’s paradise. Take a creepy tour through old homes, taverns, and cemeteries on the Williamsburg Ghosts and Witches Tour. There’s more than history to discover nearby, with both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA being kid-favorites. An annual Whistle Belly Beer Festival every August features 40 breweries and 80 types of beer for a lively and light-hearted time! Take a walk around Williamsburg while enjoying this Walking Food Tour or sample two different local distilleries, meaderies, and breweries on a Craft Alcohol Tasting Tour.

Savannah, GA

An attractive coastal city with cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages, Savannah is an ideal summer getaway with its architecture, parks, and cobblestoned streets. Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tours allow you to explore the city at your own pace. Walk along the waterfront and through the city’s historic downtown on the Savannah Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour. Visit Savannah’s diverse art scene on a multi-museum tour or book a scenic riverboat cruise with live entertainment. There are close to 50 food trucks in attendance as well as a beer garden, live music, craft vendors, and even free yoga at the annual Food Truck Festival in Daffin Park in June.

Charleston, SC

There is something for everyone in Charleston, a charming southern city with colorful historic architecture and a beautiful coast. During Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Tour, you’ll ride an old-fashioned horse and buggy around downtown Charleston as your knowledgeable guide teaches you 300 years of city history. Located inside a beautiful converted historic home, Husk Restaurant is a delicious American-style restaurant. One of America’s best performing arts festivals, the Spoleto Festival is a lively gathering of renowned artists, dancers, and emerging musicians during the first two weeks of June. On this history and cocktails tour, you will learn about mixology and indulge in Charleston’s food scene.

Newport, RI

Anyone seeking gorgeous ocean views, a classic New England vibe, and the opportunity to see the city’s stunning mansions will enjoy a summer getaway in Newport. During the guided Newport Gilded Age Trolley Tour, you will have the opportunity to see these magnificent and ornate residences as well as tour the spectacular Breakers Mansion. Walk along the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, which borders the ocean and several mansions’ back lawns. Castle Hill Inn’s Dining Room offers fresh seafood and an outdoor patio overlooking the harbor if you’re looking for a bite to eat.

Minneapolis, MN

Several fascinating and fun museums can be found in Minneapolis, including the Mill City Museum, which is built into the ruins of a former flour mill. Get a 360-degree view of the city by riding the elevator to the top of the Foshay Tower observation deck. Plan your summer trip around Minneapolis’ great summer events and festivals. With over 30 parks participating, you can enjoy Movies & Music in the Park anytime from May to September! Minneapolis is also a great destination for food and brewery tours, so you can indulge all your senses while you’re there.

Memphis, TN

A trip to Memphis would not be complete without a visit to Graceland? You won’t be able to resist the expansive, interactive exhibits at Graceland, even if you’re not an Elvis fan. Take a Memphis City Tour on a pretty summer day to fully immerse yourself in Memphis. The comfortable tour bus will take you past the city’s most famous sites, including the world-famous B.B. King Blues Club. The barbecue in Memphis is world-famous, and two local favorites are Corky’s BBQ and Central BBQ.

Anaheim, CA

With so many fun attractions and great things to do during your summer getaway, it’s hard to narrow down the top Anaheim activities. Whether you are a kid or an adult, you’ll find plenty to do at Universal Studios and Disneyland. A Full-Day Tour of Hollywood will take you to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, and even Santa Monica Pier for pop culture fans. Anaheim’s annual Concerts in the Canyon festival offers free concerts every Thursday in July.

Custer, SD

For nature lovers, Custer is the perfect summer vacation destination. Among other wildlife, you can spot roaming buffalos in the Black Hills National Forest. Swim in the refreshing and clear waters of Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park (or book a memorable safari jeep tour) to escape the summer heat. Rockin R Rides will pair you with a horseback guide who will show you the ropes (and the reins) so you can experience Custer’s natural beauty on horseback. A classic and delicious American meal is available at Sylvan Lake Lodge right on the lakeshore if you work up an appetite after all this adventure. A sunrise hot-air balloon ride is also an excellent way to see the Black Hills.

Boston, MA

A summer in Boston is synonymous with baseball, beach trips, food, and funky accents. Several services (or day trips) can take you to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, two of New England’s coastal gems. Even a sightseeing tour and cruise are included in the Cape Cod Summer Day Trip! Fenway Park, one of the most famous ballparks in America, is the perfect place to catch a Red Sox game. Around Boston, there are many food tours that explore highly-rated culinary neighborhoods such as the North End (Little Italy), Beacon Hill, and the Back Bay. A Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Tour is an easy way to see the city’s top sights and attractions.

Myrtle Beach, SC

During your next summer trip to Myrtle Beach, you can bask on the beach’s pristine sands, but this charming seaside city offers much more than that! Broadway at the Beach, South Carolina’s largest entertainment venue, offers one-of-a-kind shopping, fine dining and nightlife, and fun attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium. A fondue restaurant that offers exceptional food and service is The Melting Pot, one of the city’s most highly rated restaurants. Hot Summer Nights is held annually in Myrtle Beach during the summer with live entertainment every night and fireworks every Wednesday. There are also several interesting activities to keep you occupied, such as a Polynesian Fire Luau and Dinner Show or a visit to the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Boise, ID

Boise, the capital of Idaho, offers both urban and natural attractions, making it a unique summer vacation destination. Enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon flight over Boise for an absolutely unforgettable experience. For your flight, choose between a private flight for two or a group flight for up to 15 people, surrounded by breathtaking views for miles. The Boise River can be floated down at Barber Park, where you can rent tubes and relax with your family and friends. Take a Culinary and Cultural Tour to six or more local restaurants where you will taste and learn about the city’s history and culinary culture and experience some of Boise’s best local food.