As a gal who was born and raised in Central Florida right next to the Gulf of Mexico, I’m definitely biased and the first person to declare that a summer without a trip to the beach is a summer done wrong. There’s nothing quite like salty hair, having your toes in the sand, and rocking a fresh new swimsuit. But if you’re not a beach person, there are still a ton of places you can vacation during the summer that will give you amazing memories and, of course, pretty epic pics for the ‘Gram.
The U.S. is filled with destinations that aren’t near (or super close) to the beach, but are still fantastic summer vacation spots. Portland, Oregon is a foodie heaven with plenty of outdoorsy activities in the mountains to participate in, while Scottsdale, Arizona is the perfect place to plan your desert spa retreat. (And who doesn’t want a picture with a giant cactus?)
It just so happens that this list contains seven of my favorite destinations in the country, and if I — a Florida girl with a never-ending love for the beach — can hop on board with making these places summer vacay hotspots, you definitely can, too. If you’re thinking of planning a memorable summer getaway but want to skip the beach, try heading to these places instead.
1. Portland, Oregon
I could truly write about Portland for days — it’s one of my favorite cities in the U.S. Portland is filled with so many activities that are even more fun during the summer. You can go on a picturesque hike through the mountains, spend a day wandering through the shelves of books at Powell’s, and savor delicious meals from restaurants like Beast and Coquine.
The city’s rich culture, epic scenery, and endless amounts of Insta-worthy food won’t leave you longing for the beach. Get ready to have an incredible vacay for the books.
2. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale definitely deserves a spot on your summer bucket list. It’s a quick flight from LA, so it makes for a great weekend trip if you’re based there, and according to a WalletHub study, it’s one of 2019’s happiest cities in the U.S., so you’re sure to have a great time. (Plus, you’ll capture the most incredible #DesertVibes pics for the ‘Gram.)
The city is home to a variety of amazing resorts and spas, so it’s the perfect summer getaway if you need a little bit of R&R. You can head to any of the gorgeous hotels and day spas in the city for a massage or facial to destress and relax.
3. Reno, Nevada
Reno has no shortage of things to do in the summertime. Athletic travelers can head on over to Whitney Peak’s Basecamp for rock climbing, foodies can try to hit every restaurant on THE ROW, and beer lovers can indulge in a self-guided brewery tour through the city’s Riverwalk District.
4. Orlando, Florida
Many people know Orlando for its awesome theme parks. But after I traveled there earlier this year, I didn’t realize just how much more there is to do in and around this bustling city.
From the deliciously gooey giant cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse, to the fun Winter Park scenic boat tour (which is about a 17-minute drive from Orlando), you’ll never run out of things to do. You don’t have to be near a beach — or a theme park, for that matter — to have a great time during the summer.
5. Woodstock, Vermont
As someone who went to college in Boston and spent most of my summers exploring New England, I can safely say that there are few destinations in the region better than Woodstock, Vermont. It’s an incredible town, complete with adorable boutiques, stunning views of the mountains, and of course, many Instagrammable spots for a weekend getaway.
It has all of the charming aspects travelers love about small Vermont towns (including covered bridges), but it’s big enough to explore fancy restaurants, and has fun places to go out at night, too. You can even spend the night in a cool log cabin at [KAB-IN]. Kick back and relax in one of the property’s adirondack chairs, and enjoy all this outdoorsy retreat has to offer.
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