Ashley overlooking geological formations at Badlands National Park

US Destinations to Add to Your 2024 Summer Travel Bucket List

It's never too early to start planning your Summer travels. In all honesty, traveling is probably always on your mind.

A lot of people's first thoughts are to travel somewhere far, far away. Your Summer travel plans don't have to be in other countries though. The US has so much to explore — from national parks to big cities and small towns — to lakes, rivers, beaches, mountains, deserts, forests, and so much more.

So I've compiled where I believe would be great US destinations to spend your Summer months at, based on places I've visited before.

Here are 7 Destinations to Add to Your 2024 Summer Travel Bucket List

A lake view with snowy mountains in the background at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Because Glacier National Park is so far north, the park is only fully open a limited amount of time during the year, and that's during the summer months.

This park has all you could want from nature — stunning scenery, wildlife, and plenty of hiking. I don't think there's a hike you go on that you wouldn't love.

This park also has the Going to the Sun Road, which is the well-known road that goes from one end of the park to the other. It's only open during the summer once the snow has been removed. This is where you'll find some of the most spectacular views.

Pro tip: make sure to look up any reservations needed to enter the park and use the Going to the Sun Road. 

Ashley standing with a view of Mount Rainier in the background

Mount Rainier National Park

In my opinion, Mount Rainier National Park is a very highly underrated U.S. national park. I went during April, so only a small number of areas were open, but this would make a stunning place to go in the summer months when some of the snow has melted and the flowers are blooming.

Not only is Mount Rainier stunning itself, but it also has views of mountain ridges that are nearby. 

A steaming hot spring at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

After the Winter season is over, the US national park service prepares the park for Spring and Summer visitors. Over time, the park gradually reopens different areas of the park. By Summer, the entire park should be open for you to explore.

Yellowstone National Park is massive in size, so it would be very difficult to see the entire park in one day, even two. But its beauty and the abundance of wildlife will make you want to stay and explore for a longer amount of time.

Pro travel tip: make sure to refuel on gas before entering the park. You will need a lot of gas to travel throughout the park.

Bonus: Yellowstone National Park is near Grand Tetons National Park, so you could visit both in one trip. I haven't been but it's on my bucket list.

A view of the lake on a sunny day at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

If you're in the Pacific Northwest, whether living there or visiting, consider spending a few days at Crater Lake National Park. The lake itself is absolutely stunning and you can go to many different viewpoints to see it.

While you're in the park, I recommend going to the lodge. Even if you don't stay at the lodge, I recommend going there to see the lake from that viewpoint.

Ashley overlooking geological formations at Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

If you're looking for a place that's out of this world, Badlands National Park will leave you in awe! The rock formations are incredibly beautiful, and it's exciting to learn about how these geologic deposits were formed.

You can see a lot of the park without having to hike.

But, there is plenty of hiking in the park! Keep in mind that during the summer months, it will be hot and there is very little shade. It can be dangerous to hike here if you do not have the proper gear with you. Wear a hat and sunscreen. Bring items that you can use to create shade. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Bring more water than you think you will need.

Ashley standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset in San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

If you're looking for more of a city vibe, check out San Francisco. California has a reputation for being expensive, and San Francisco may cost you a little more, but this city makes a great option for a Summer trip. 

There is a lot to do in San Francisco, from exploring streets filled with cute colorful homes, like the Painted Ladies, to the curvy Lombard Street, to the Golden Gate Bridge, to Fisherman's Wharf, and so much more. There is no shortage of things to do!

Ashley on the beautiful beaches at sunset in San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

As a US territory, San Juan is a great destination to get an island vibe for your Summer plans. US citizens do not need a passport to travel here, and more and more US airports are adding San Juan as a destination from their airport hub.

San Juan makes a great destination for it's beautiful beaches, rich history, and delicious food. Whether you stay in Old San Juan or near Calle Loiza, this is a great place to live a summer island life.

Puerto Rico has a good balance of commonalities and differences with the US. Some commonalities include using the same currency and many people speak English. Some differences include the culture of the region and living a relaxed island life.

In general, Puerto Rico makes a great destination year-round as it has a moderate climate all year long.


It's time to start working on your Summer plans. Any of these destinations would make a great choice on where to spend your vacation time or whether you'd like to live there as a digital nomad.

Where else would you recommend adding to your Summer travel bucket list? 

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