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Top 5 summer vacation destinations for 2024

Grab your sunscreen and get excited for your upcoming summer adventure in one of these incredible destinations around the U.S.

April 11, 2024

It's that time of the year. You know what we mean: the weather alternates between gray, drizzly skies and sunny yet chilly; you have a burning desire to start making tomato salads, but the tomatoes aren't there yet; and the internet keeps targeting you with swimsuit ads. Yes, you guessed it. Summer travel-planning season is officially here! Not to worry if you haven't started thinking about it yet because we've done the research for you. Read on and discover the most popular summer vacation destinations in the U.S. for 2024:

San Diego

San Diego boasts a riviera atmosphere and laid-back SoCal charm, including a diversity of neighborhoods and natural surroundings. Take in the seaside beauty at San Diego Bay, enjoy the pristine beaches of La Jolla and the vintage allure of the Gaslamp Quarter. A stroll along the Embarcadero, San Diego’s waterfront social hub, includes everything from shops, grassy parks and restaurants to Navy aircraft carriers that now house museums. For wildlife encounters, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park are internationally known attractions that also add to the city’s family-friendly reputation. Green spaces abound and joining the locals to bask in the lush surroundings of Balboa Park is never a bad idea. While exploring the park’s multiple gardens, don’t forget its top-notch museums, too. The San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum and The San Diego Museum of Art are fascinating and memorable and filled with exhibits that will appeal to a wide range of ages.

Portland, Maine

Portland fits the bill for any traveler who wants a bit of everything in their summer getaway: outdoorsy fun, great food, history and intriguing art. Start by acquainting yourself with the city’s Old Port. With cobblestone streets, 19th-century brick buildings and dozens of boutiques, this riverfront part of town is oozing with New England charm. Positioned at the heart of Old Port and only four blocks from downtown, Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront is ideally located and shows off Portland’s chic, modern side. Venturing outside of the city’s central area, a stop at Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest lighthouse, is a must. If you’d like another quintessential Maine experience, and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, then hop on a tour with Lucky Catch Cruises for a hands-on look at lobstering. Continue the seafood experience at Luna Rooftop Bar where the menu selections include fresh-from-the-ocean Maine oysters and other shareable dishes like wagyu sliders, tuna tartare and truffle fries.

Boston

If you’re able to get an early start on your summer vacation, head to Boston in June. With area schools typically in session until later in the month, visitors get to enjoy the city’s attractions without the crowds. Of course, the other months have their perks, too. In July, the city hosts Boston Harborfest, one of the biggest Independence Day festivals in the country. The weeklong celebration includes parades, live music, fireworks, Chowderfest and other special events that are mostly free to the public. For travelers who love a great deal and the chance to savor award-winning cuisine, visit in August, when Dine Out Boston offers discounted prix fixe meals at some of the city’s top restaurants. That same month, the August Adventures program grants free admission to several museums and attractions. No matter when you’re in town, the Boston Children’s Museum, the New England Aquarium and the popular-for-all-ages Boston Duck Tours make the city particularly welcoming for families.

Bend, Oregon

Bend is arguably the hottest travel destination in all of Oregon right now. The city sits on the eastern side of the Cascades, putting it squarely in the high desert. The mile-long (1.6-kilometer) Lava River Cave at Newberry National Volcanic Monument is the longest lava tube in Oregon and is accessible to the public. Visitors descend 55 steps into the cave and the tour takes about two hours. Inside the cave can be as cool as 42 F (5 C), even in summer, so bring warm clothes and sturdy shoes to traverse the sharp and potentially slippery rocks. Learn more about the area by visiting Bend’s High Desert Museum. The museum brings regional wildlife, culture, art and natural resources together to promote an understanding of natural and cultural heritage of North America's high desert country. Another local highlight is the dozens of tiny breweries all over town. Stop in for a pint at the Deschutes Brewery, known for being a community gathering place since 1988.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is split up into four sections: the South Rim, the North Rim, the West Rim and the East Rim. The South Rim and the North Rim are operated by the National Park Service, and the West Rim is on Hualapai Indian Tribal Lands. The West Rim, home to the Skywalk and rushing waterfalls, makes for a doable day trip from Las Vegas (some visitors even opt for helicopter tours of the West Rim, which leave from Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas and take only a few hours). The South Rim and the seasonal North Rim work best as overnight trips, but you can’t go wrong exploring any part of the Grand Canyon and its striking rock formations.

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