Special Report

Best Summer Destination for Outdoor Fun in Every State

kenlund / Flickr

As the weather warms, vaccinations proliferate, and pandemic-era restrictions on dining, gathering, and travel are canceled or greatly curtailed, one refrain is common throughout the country (either literally or figuratively): Let’s get out of here!!!

After a year-plus of being cooped up, Americans are ready to travel. With that in mind, 24/7 Tempo has put together a list of recommendations for great summer destinations in every state. Depending on where you live — and your tolerance for long car trips — some will be within driving distance. Others are a plane ride away, with or without some driving on the other end. These are the world’s busiest air routes right now.

Everybody has a different idea of the ideal way to spend time off. For some, it’s loafing on a beach or idly fishing in a mountain lake. Others seek more activity — hiking, mountain biking, kayaking. Some want to add an educational component to their vacation, visiting monuments and museums. Still others prefer an environment where the pleasures include charming streets, ample shopping, and good restaurants. ( If you’re visually inclined, these are most beautiful places to visit in the U.S.)

Click here to see the best summer destination in every state

The list that follows offers something for everyone. State and National Parks are included, as are beach communities and lakeside retreats. So are venues offering nature walks, winery tours, waterfalls or wildflowers, even the chance to pan for gold.

To assemble a list of the best summer destinations in every state, 24/7 Tempo compared recommendations from a variety of travel websites and blogs, including Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Afar, Planet Ware, Only in Your State, Tripping, The Crazy Tourist, and Places You’ll See, as well as numerous official state and regional tourism sites.

Source: 130478877@N02 / Flickr

Alabama: DeSoto State Park
> Attractions: Stunning waterfalls, hiking, wildflowers

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Alaska: Homer
> Attractions: Fishing, flowers, art, dining

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park
> Attractions: Camping, horseback riding, Grand Canyon itself

Source: Photo by Judy C. via Yelp

Arkansas: Mountain View
> Attractions: Mountain vistas, caverns, folk music

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California: Santa Catalina Island
> Attractions: Beaches, boating, boutique hotels

Source: Archive Photos / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Colorado: Garden of the Gods Park
> Attractions: Hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, nature center

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Connecticut: Mystic
> Attractions: Seaport museum, shopping, restaurants

Source: Mark Makela / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Delaware: Rehoboth Beach
> Attractions: Beaches, boardwalk, festivals and concerts

Florida: Sanibel Island
> Attractions: Fishing, boating, beaches, seashell hunting

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Source: Courtesy of pixabay

Georgia: Tybee Island
> Attractions: Beaches, kayaking, shopping

Hawaii: Hana (Maui)
> Attractions: Beaches, surfing, tropical gardens

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Idaho: Thousand Springs
> Attractions: Dramatic landscapes, hiking, horseback riding

Source: Photo by Jeff C. via Yelp

Illinois: Galena
> Attractions: Small town charm, bird sanctuary, scenic drives

Source: Jeremy_Hogan / Getty Images

Indiana: Bloomington
> Attractions: Fishing, sailing, hiking, nature preserves

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Iowa: Okoboji
> Attractions: Watersports, amusement park, local products

Source: dragonflyajt / Flickr

Kansas: Lindsborg
> Attractions: Swedish architecture and culture, historic homes, parks

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Kentucky: Bardstown
> Attractions: Bourbon distilleries, museums

Louisiana: Avery Island
> Attractions: Wildfowl refuge, semitropical gardens, Tabasco factory tour

Source: The White House / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Maine: Acadia National Park
> Attractions: Beautiful seascapes, moountain climbing, clean air and water

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Maryland: Ocean City
> Attractions: Beaches, boardwalk, family activities

Source: Photo by Kane's Donuts - Lincoln Avenue via Yelp

Massachusetts: Marblehead
> Attractions: New England history, pretty townscape, sailing

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Source: 110399462@N02 / Flickr

Michigan: Mackinac Island
> Attractions: Golf, biking, horsedrawn carriages

Minnesota: Grand Marais
> Attractions: Colorful waterfront, art galleries

Mississippi: Ocean Springs
> Attractions: Gulf Coast beaches, fishing, shopping

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Missouri: Ste. Genevieve
> Attractions: Historic sites, water park, winery tours

Montana: Virginia City
> Attractions: Old West atmosphere, fishing, gold panning

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Source: Photo by Joe Y. via Yelp

Nebraska: Lake McConaughy
> Attractions: Beaches, boating, fishing, camping

Nevada: Lake Tahoe
> Attractions: Boating, fishing, walking trails, restaurants

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

New Hampshire: Portsmouth
> Attractions: Beaches, parks, museums

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New Jersey: Frenchtown
> Attractions: Riverside walks, biking, boutiques, restaurants

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

New Mexico: Santa Fe
> Attractions: Summer opera festival, museums, restaurants

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Source: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

New York: Cooperstown
> Attractions: National Baseball Hall of Fame, museums, historic downtown

North Carolina: Highlands
> Attractions: Antiques, small theatres, restaurants, clean air

North Dakota: International Peace Garden
> Attractions: Formal gardens, hiking, biking

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Ohio: Mohican State Park
> Attractions: Camping, hiking, mountain biking

Source: Courtesy of Lake Murray State Park, Lodge, Cabins, Nature Center & Golf Course

Oklahoma: Lake Murray State Park
> Attractions: Floating cabins, swimming, hiking, hayrides

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Source: Dendron / Getty Images

Oregon: Crater Lake
> Attractions: Fishing, boating, knockout vistas

Pennsylvania: Jim Thorpe
> Attractions: Romantic Victorian townscape, whitewater rafting, shopping

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Rhode Island: Newport
> Attractions: Sailing, mansion tours, jazz and folk festivals

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South Carolina: Charleston
> Attractions: Museums, shopping, top-rated restaurants, pro sports

South Dakota: Sioux Falls
> Attractions: Public sculpture, tribal arts, outdoor festivals and concerts

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Source: Jason Kempin / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Tennessee: Gatlinburg
> Attractions: Mountain hiking, aquarium, chilcrens’ attractions

Texas: Matagorda Bay
> Attractions: Beaches, fishing, seafood restaurants

Source: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

Utah: Moab
> Attractions: Unique rock formations, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, camping

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Vermont: Montpelier
> Attractions: Nature center, mountain biking, museums

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Virginia: Richmond
> Attractions: Civil War historical sites, museums, top-rated restaurants

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Source: jmoor17 / Getty Images

Washington: Leavenworth
> Attractions: Bavarian architecture, rafting and kayaking, fishing, hiking

Source: Photo by Summersville Lake Retreat via Yelp

West Virginia: Summersville
> Attractions: Freshwater scuba diving, fishing, hiking

Source: mulad / Flickr

Wisconsin: Bayfield
> Attractions: Lake cruises, kayaking, restaurants and B&Bs

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Source: Emil Muench / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park
> Attractions: Wildlife, geysers, waterfalls and lakes, camping, hiking

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