If the heat of the summer is getting you down, save yourself from melting with a trip to one of these cool (both literally and figuratively) destinations and make some new memories while beating the heat. Here are five great American cities where you can cool off this summer.
Finger Lakes, New York
Located in central and western New York state, this region is quickly becoming a popular destination for people all over the New England area — and with good reason. Head out for a day of kayaking or paddleboarding in one of the many lakes or hike the waterfalls and gorges of beautiful Ithaca until the sun finally wears you out. Then stop at a local vineyard or brewery for a refreshing finish to your day.
If you want to get out of the elements, the Corning Museum of Glass is endlessly fascinating for visitors of all ages with its live glass-blowing demonstrations and gorgeous glasswork displays. If the stagnant summer air is too much for you, take to the skies on a glider plane ride from the Soaring Museum in Elmira. Fans of literature will also enjoy a visit to the gravesite of the legendary Mark Twain, who spent summers in Elmira and even cited it as the inspiration for some of his most famous works.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
These natural hot springs in the mountains of Colorado are well-known to locals and the perfect way to get to know this outdoor playground state in the summer months. The mineral hot spring pools of Glenwood are the largest in the world and allow you and your skin to experience geology at its finest. Situated on the Colorado River, a visit wouldn't be complete without a quick trip kayaking or rafting down its waters or hiking along its banks in Glenwood Canyon. The hike to Hanging Lake is largely considered one of the most beautiful trails in the state, though its booming popularity of late means you need to make a reservation in order to visit this charming spot. Go on thrill rides as well as cave tours by visiting the only mountaintop amusement park in America, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, and take in the beauty of the mountains from the seat of a rollercoaster.
The South in the summer might be hot, but with the abundance of water activities in and around Atlanta, you don’t have to feel that way. The Chestatee River is a great spot for tubing, kayaking or canoeing your way through the heat, or give your fitness regimen a new challenge with some SUP yoga — that is, yoga on a stand-up paddleboard. If the workout gets too hot, just fall into the water for a refreshing dip. More adventurous swimmers can even go for open water scuba or do dive training in Kraken Springs Watersports Park. Those who prefer dirt under their feet can head to the Chattahoochee National Forest or take in one of the many summer festivals for everything from food and beer to music and culture.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Well-known as a place to escape reality for a little while, it’s no wonder that Las Vegas offers a multitude of ways to cool down and forget how hot the summer months are. From the freezing cold pools to air-conditioned casinos, it’s easy to stay cool in Sin City. But there are plenty of ways to get off of the Strip and into more adventurous summer activities. Its close proximity to the Colorado River provides opportunities for rafting and kayaking, with lots of companies offering day tours through the waters of the desert. In typical Vegas style, the options are endless — you can take in the desert from the sky, ground or water. Relax for a day with a round of golf at one of the many award-winning courses or go off the beaten path with a visit to one of Mojave’s ghost towns to add a little spook to your summer.
Grab your bikinis and trunks and head to lively Miami for a never-ending stream of ways to cool down and chill out this summer. An obvious spot for beach clubs and oceanside relaxation, Miami is also a hotspot for fashion, art and cultural celebration. Miami Swim Week and Miami Fashion Week are great draws for lovers of the spotlight. If you’re more into mangos than models, Miami has you covered, too, with more than one mango festival taking place this summer. Enjoy artwork for free by wandering the streets of Wynwood. The Zoo Miami and Miami Seaquarium are great day trips, and you can get the blood flowing and the heart pumping with free hour-long outdoor yoga offered almost every day somewhere around the city.