Published May 30, 2023
BY AVERY PALSHAW
With summer approaching, many families on the Monterey Peninsula are planning vacations to various destinations, and while traveling out of the country is an enriching experience, there are benefits to traveling within the U.S. As someone who has had the opportunity to visit 18 states, here are some of my favorite summer destinations around America.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Something about Cape Cod in summer feels truly nostalgic with its homey coastal towns and saltbox architecture. When on the Cape, it’s best to stay anywhere on the elbow near Chatham to the north fist of Provincetown. Some spots to definitely hit up are Schoolhouse Ice Cream, Red River Beach, Long Point Beach, Provincetown Portuguese Bakery and the Chatham
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Not far from the South Carolina-Georgia border, the small island of Hilton Head is a fun, laid-back destination. The long strip of beaches on the eastern side of the island is perfect to spend a day in warm water and warm weather. Though Hilton Head is home to many alligators, local restaurants like The Sea Shack actually cook them alongside classic seafood items.
Rich in southern culture, Savannah is a unique urban location with a lively historic downtown and some of the best food in America. The city is settled on the Savannah River, where tourists can take ferries or walk along the boardwalk, and there are scenic parks scattered throughout Savannah, like Warren Square, Washington Square and Forsyth Park.
South of Bend and settled along the Deschutes River, Sunriver is a large resort community with many summer activities like floating down the beautiful river, exploring abundant bike paths, hiking through the pine forest and volcanic rocks, visiting Bend for shopping, golfing or swimming at the community’s aquatic center. My family has rented a house there five times, and it really is the ideal vacation spot.
Santa Catalina Island, California
Commonly referred to as Catalina Island, this little isle is located off the sunny coast of Southern California. Most tourists rent golf carts to drive around the island, as the roads are narrow and uncrowded, and activities include shopping, going to the beach, hiking the island’s trails, parasailing, ziplining or getting treats at Scoops Homemade Ice Cream.
Though this isn’t necessarily the ideal tropical summer vacation, Juneau is incredibly underrated with mountainous glaciers to view, wildlife including grizzly bears and bald eagles, and fantastic seafood. Two other captivating towns to visit in Alaska are Skagway and Ketchikan, where it’s encouraged to take a boat excursion through the forested islands off the coast.
Unlike drivable destinations, the “garden island” of Kauai lives up to its name with its flora, plethora of wildlife, including sea turtles and wild chickens, and beaches such as Poipu Beach, Tunnels Beach, Hanalei Beach, Anahola Beach and Lawa’i Beach. When visiting the island, it is a necessity to kayak up the Wailua River to the Secret Falls Trail, where there is a swimming hole and waterfall to enjoy.