The raging heat of summer is upon us and right now it seems like most of the US is steaming hot. If it all gets to be too much for you, consider hopping a flight to one of the following chilly US destinations where summer doesn’t necessarily mean 95-degree temperatures and 100% humidity. Here are some of the coolest places to visit in July, August and September.
San Francisco Bay
Mark Twain never actually said, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” but he may as well have. The Bay Area is an odd place when it comes to weather. The Mediterranean climate keeps the temperatures rather mild during the winter, but breezy Pacific winds also keep them cool in the summer; some of the coolest anywhere in the country actually. The average maximum temperature in July and August doesn’t even crack 70.
There is one downside to visiting in the summer – the cold, damp, view-obscuring fog that blankets the city. If the fog gets too depressing consider heading out to other Bay Area destinations like Silicon Valley and Half Moon Bay. Just remember that the further you head inland, the warmer it will probably be.
Discover one of San Francisco’s many great hotels
Seattle is one of the coolest major cities in the United States during the summer. Being surrounded by several large bodies of water, including the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, helps to moderate the temperature while whisking away most of the humidity. As a result, the average high temperature in July is barely 75 degrees.
Unlike the winter months, Seattle summers are bright and sunny, making it the perfect time to go outside and explore. All of these factors make Seattle the ideal summer travel destination: you can cool down while enjoying a city full of culture, scenery and great breweries.
If you’re into Vinyl records – sleep at Hotel Max in the downtown area.
It may seem counterintuitive, but San Diego is a great place to escape from the heat of summer. Yes, this classic beach and surf town actually stays relatively cool during the summer months. Temperatures typically remain below 80 throughout July and August, making this the perfect spot to soak up some sun and sand without the sweltering temperatures. Just skip a trip in June when gray clouds spread across the sky, a phenomenon known as the “June Gloom.”
To best take advantage of San Diego’s summer, spend some time enjoying the prolific brewery culture, hang out with the animals at the San Diego Zoo or stroll through Balboa Park on a sunny morning. If the temperatures start to creep up too high, you can cool yourself down at one of the city’s many beautiful beaches (there are even a few nudist beaches for those who want to avoid tan lines). Even if the air gets hot, the Pacific Ocean remains perennially chilly.
Keep cool at one of San Diego’s beachfront hotels
Use altitude to your advantage and head out to Denver, where the mile-high altitude means cooler air and less humidity than you’ll find at sea level (which also means great beer). Temperatures stay in the 70’s and low 80’s in town, and dip significantly lower at night.
For even cooler weather, head up into the surrounding Rocky Mountains, where high-altitude ski towns like Keystone and Breckenridge can be even chillier. The highest mountains maintain a snowpack all year round, so if you drive up far enough, you could even have a snowball fight in July. Don’t think there’s nothing to do now that ski season is over–the Rockies remain a gorgeous visit during summertime, with many opportunities to hike, bike, river raft and, of course, enjoy those endless beautiful views.
Stay at one of these rustic lodges and resorts
Milwaukee isn’t a city that gets a ton of buzz, but there are plenty of reasons to visit ranging from the terrific cheese to the fascinating history of Harley Davidson. Summertime is by far the best time to visit. Its perch on Lake Michigan keeps it cooler during summer months, and temperatures hang in the mid 70’s or low 80’s with a significant temperature drop after dark.
Another reason to visit Milwaukee during summer is for the great festivals that happen from June through July. The biggest and most exciting is Summerfest, an 11-day music concert on the lake. Keep an eye out for other large events like Pridefest, Polish Fest and the Wisconsin State Fair among others.
Sleep tight in Milwaukee at one of these hotels
When most of the East Coast is searing with heat, head north, way north. The Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate along Maine’s coast, taking the edge off of the summer heat. As a result, high temperatures rarely creep over the mid 70’s even during the hottest months.
There are many charming towns where you can rent a cottage by the shore, but that’s not all you can do in Maine during the summer. For a bigger adventure, head to Acadia National Park, the oldest National Park in the Eastern US. In addition to tons of pristine shoreline, there are great opportunities for hiking, rock climbing and wildlife spotting.