Let’s face it: it’s HOT. I live in Phoenix, so I am feeling that statement right now! I will concede the title of “worst summers ever” to Mississippi, but Phoenix has to be a close second. I decided to get out of the heat for a while and head north last weekend, and I quickly discovered that southern Utah is not a good place to beat the summer heat. I guess I should have known better!
So what places are great for getting out of Mississippi, Arizona, Utah, and whatever hot place you may be in right now? As a reference for future summer trips, I’ve put together a list of places to beat the heat if you live in a miserable place in the States. Is your home on this list? Check it out and see where you should be this weekend!
If you live in Mississippi, go to the Smoky Mountains. It might be a half-day or even all-day drive for you, but it’s a sure-fire way to feel a whole lot cooler. There’s plenty to do in the Smoky Mountains, whether you want to stay at a quaint mountain lodge, camp in the middle of nowhere, or shop the streets of small-town historic districts. Gatlinburg is also a great place to go, if you want to hang out in a city setting.
If you live in Arizona’s deserts, go to Flagstaff. Unless you’re new to Great State 48, you know this. Payson is also a great place to visit, and Oak Creek Canyon isn’t half bad, either. Basically, go somewhere in Northern Arizona that has pine trees and snow in the winter. Stay away from any place with cactus and low elevation.
If you live in Nevada, go to Lake Tahoe. Just a drive up the hill from Carson City is the most fabulous summer escape in the States. In June this year, the water was still ice-cold and the peaks still had snow! This more than beats sitting in air conditioning in Vegas while pretending like it’s not 120 degrees outside.
If you live in Utah, go to Colorado or Northern Arizona. Flagstaff isn’t too far of a drive for anyone who lives in southern Utah, and those in the east can cross the border to cooler temps in Colorado. Northeasterners can find refuge in Idaho.
If you live in Louisiana, go to Lafayette. While it may not be the most fascinating destination ever, it is a good 10 degrees cooler than Baton Rouge and much less humid. It’s still not amazingly cool, but hey, what do you expect? You’re in Louisiana. Suck it up. If you really need to get out of the Louisiana humidity haze, you can head to Savannah, Georgia.
If you live in Alabama, go to a state park. Wind Creek State Park and DeSoto State Park are awesome options! Here, you can find camping, swimming, and hiking opportunities, and you won’t even need A/C to stay alive. You can also head to Destin, Florida, where you can spend your days lounging by the beach.
If you live in the hot parts of Texas, go to the cool parts of Texas. To be more specific, go to Guadeloupe Mountains National Park. This area is found in west Texas, and it includes the highest point in the state. Change your altitude, and you’ll find that the cool weather will follow.
If you live in New Mexico, go to Elephant Butte State Park. While the name of this park will keep your kids snickering in the back seat all the way to your destination, they’ll forget about names altogether as soon as they step out of the car and feel the cool air. Hang out at the beach, or go hiking. It’s not too hot to enjoy all things outdoorsy!
If you live in South Carolina, go to Highlands, North Carolina. A few hour’s drive from your muggy South Carolina home will bring you to beautiful Highlands in North Carolina. Here, you’ll find “The Aspen of the East,” a wonderful place to play outdoors or enjoy shopping on Main Street. Or, head to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a little nature and cool weather.
If you’re in either Virginia, go to Hawksbill Mountain. Both Virginia and its often-forgotten little brother, West Virginia, can get flat-out hot in summertime. But you already know this if you’re a resident of either state! Get out of the heat and head to the mountains.
If you live in Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Kansas or Oklahoma or any other humid and miserable Midwest state, go to Michigan. In the Upper Peninsula especially, you’ll find a wonderful reprieve from the oppressive heat of summer. Head to any beach on Lake Michigan, and you’ll be able to enjoy the nice weather all day long. Another option is the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. If those are both too far, Shlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City can help you cool off, even if the weather is hot.
If you live in any other state… just stop complaining. We’re all coming to you for vacation and loving your weather. Come back in winter and then I’ll be glad to hear your woes!
There you have it: the ultimate heat-beating guide for every miserably hot place in the United States! Did I miss your favorite place to escape the heat? Let me know in the comments! Check out find even more cool travel destinations and attractions to beat the summer heat