The Best US States To Visit In The Summer

Summer is coming to an end, but there is still time to visit some of the best US states for summer fun before the start of fall.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

US states summer

Summer is the ideal time to explore new places and embark on new adventures both far and near. And even though warm summer nights defined by a slowly setting sun are swiftly coming to a close, there is still time to soak up as much summer fun as possible before the start of fall. In fact, this just might be the perfect time. Gas prices have finally fallen below $4 and airfare is finally becoming more affordable. Luckily, the United States is chock full of beautiful places with loads of fun activities and excursions to partake in. There are actually so many fun US states to visit that it could be hard to narrow down where to go. However, there are a few US states that stand apart from all the others in terms of their potential for some serious summer fun. Read on to discover the best states to visit before summer is over. 

The top ten most fun US states (in order) according to Wallet Hub are California, Florida, Nevada, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, Texas, Minnesota, and Louisiana. Wow! What a lineup! That list has got every corner of the continental US covered! New York and Florida have got the eastern seaboard accounted for. Illinois, Minnesota, and Colorado represent the Midwest. Then there’s Texas and Louisiana to the south. Last but not certainly not least, there is Washington, California, and Nevada to the west with Washington and California accounting for nearly the entirety of the west coast (sans Oregon). The states on this comprehensive list each define little slivers of all of the United States’ unique locales. For the sake of brevity, we decided to pick out the best things to do in the top 5 US states for summer fun. 


Us states summer

California is the most massive of the US states. Needless to say, that makes for a massive amount of opportunities to have some summer fun. From the northern tip to the southern border, California offers a seemingly limitless amount of natural settings, traditional amusements, vibrant cities, and everything in between. 

If you are going to visit California I would advise visiting one section and honing in on all the activities to do there. Or, if you have the time, split the trip and spend time exploring multiple corners of the state. That being said here a just a few fun highlights that the Golden State has to offer. Drive the pacific coast highway. Gaze upon the Golden Gate Bridge. Visit Big Sur for big beautiful vistas and exquisite nature. Explore Napa Valley’s wineries. Travel to Yosemite, Joshua Tree, or Lake Tahoe. Journey to Catalina and Alcatraz Islands. California is calling you.


us states summer vacation destinations

There may be no better state to visit in the summer than the Sunshine State itself. Of all the US states, Florida epitomizes summer. While Florida might not be as big as California, it is still a sizable state with unique coastlines that define both its east and west. If you’re headed to Florida don’t hesitate to check out some of these awesome sights. Explore the Devil’s Den. Visit the Ringling Museum. Experience the Bok Towers Sanctuary. Discover the uniqueness of the Sunken Gardens. Go to Dry Tortugas National Park, its beauty will render you speechless. I would also be remiss if I did mention Disney World. And of course, there are beaches galore! 


us states summer

Nevada is known for Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Both are absolute must-visits. However, it is also one of the most eclectic US states full of other unique and fun experiences to partake in. Take a tour of Lehman Caves. Walk through Rhyolite Ghost Town. Gaze upon Fly Geyser. Visit Pyramid Lake and Valley of Fire State Park. Hang out with Lions at the Lion Habitat Ranch Inc or settle in for a day of summer fun at Sand Harbor. 


new york

The empire state, where New York City is a destination unto itself. New York City should absolutely be number one on your list to visit in New York. The city deserves a vacation dedicated to solely it. There are five boroughs to explore and some of the world’s most famous landmarks. And if you’ve never been, feeling the utter energy that is exuded from the concrete jungle is unlike any you will experience elsewhere. I can attest to this from having lived in NYC for five years and having spent my entire life just 35 minutes from Manhattan. Suffice to say, there are so many reasons to visit New York City. 

All that said, there is still a whole state to explore outside of the big apple. If we are talking about New York State, a visit to Niagara Falls is a must. Then of course there is Lake George, Lake Placid, and Thousand Islands. Don’t hesitate to explore the Finger Lakes region if you like wine. Then there is Watkins Glen State Park, Letchworth State Park, and the Ausable Chasm. And that really is just scratching the surface!



Last but not least in the top five most fun US states in summer is Illinois. Chicago and everything in it is an absolute must when visiting Illinois. Millennium Park is an iconic Illinois landmark. Navy pier, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Leaning Tower of Niles are all great to see. Love chocolate? Don’t pass up a visit to the Chocolate Sanctuary. For the nature seekers, there is Starved Rock State Park, Anderson Japanese Gardens, and Illinois Beach State Park. For those looking for a little more thrill, check out Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park and the Chicagoland Skydiving Center.


All the US states mentioned above are literally brimming with fun activities to do in the summer.  If you’re looking for even more ideas for where to partake in some awesome experiences check out our guides for the best National Parks, the best coastal cities, and the most beautiful places to visit in the United States. Ultimately, go out and have as much summer fun as you can because fall will be here before you know it!