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There are some summer travel experiences that are a right of passage. Growing up in the United States, summer holds a special place. It also might be because in the Upper Midwest, summer is a short, wonderful 3 month window! To have an amazing All-American summer here are ten suggestions to add to your
There is no pastime more popular in summer than camping. It’s a time honored tradition and for many people it’s their first thought when summer arrives. The United States has amazing National and State Parks as well as countless campgrounds throughout the entire country. But, it also is an investment. If you want to camp but don’t care for tents (like me!) and don’t want to invest in a camper you can still go camping. Companies like RVShare allow RV owners to list their campers for rent. Owners can earn money on campers that aren’t being used while those that want to camp in comfort can do so without a major investment.
Another surprise to me was that more and more campgrounds are offering cabins for rent. If you know you’ll just be going to one spot this might be a good option as well.
BBQ on the Beach
A summer weekend in July is the perfect opportunity to head to the beach (or the lake) with a grill and some good food for a barbeque. Keep it simple with burgers, hot dogs and chips or go all out with a clam bake or another local specialty. One of my favorite things to make are these Moroccan Hamburgers with Harissa Mayonnaise for something a little classic and a little different.
Go to the Fair
There are SO many fairs held around the country during summer. Sure, some are cheesy and stereotypical but others are world-renowned. Embrace your inner child and head to a fair near you. Eat the food on a stick, go check out the livestock barns. Often times they showcase a different side of life many of us have become disconnected with. Oh, and don’t forget to at least go on one ferris wheel ride!
Sure, it’s simple but bike riding is one of those summer pleasures that will immediately transport you back to carefree childhood days. If you don’t have your own bike, you can buy one second hand or check out local bike share programs. There are more and more popping up across the country and are perfect for someone who wants a short term option.
Pick Your Own Produce
My mom LOVES to do this and every year gets us geared up to go. I grew up in the woods of northern Michigan where it was just normal to pick fruit off of wild bushes. My grandpa would round us up in the mornings (all six of his grandkids!) and take us out to pick raspberries or blackberries. I’m sure we ate more than we picked but I always remember it as something special. There are pick your own fruit farms all across the United States and depending on state and local laws you can also pick on public lands – just make sure to double check.
Sightseeing American Cities
Summer is also a time when tourism in large cities thrive. If adding one of America’s major cities is your summer travel list you’re not alone! But, keep in mind summer is also high season in many places and costs will also be high. Many cities offer discount passes and it’s worth checking the local tourism board. CityPASS is another option you can consider. They are in 12 different major cities. When you purchase a CityPass you get access to many (if not most) of the top attractions there. You’ll save BIG often with savings around 50% of purchasing entry individually.
Sit around a Campfire
Whether it’s in your backyard or somewhere else, sitting around a campfire at least once is a summer must do! We love to make pudgy pies and s’mores even if they’re not the healthiest snack – it’s summer! When the sun goes down and there’s a fire burning, sitting around a fire with friends and family naturally makes sense. If you don’t have a fire ring you can buy a portable fire pit that keeps everything contained. You can take it camping or to the beach as well – a multifunctional investment!
Make (and eat) Popsicles
One thing I never tell my kids they can’t have in summer is popsicles. I remember BOXES of popsicles in our freezer and it was free reign. While I might pick up a box here or there, we’ve also realized it’s a lot of fun to make our own with different ingredients around the house like fresh mango and yogurt for a frozen lassi. All you really need is a popsicle mold and you’re on your way!
Go to a Music Festival
When I go to the US in the summer it feels like there’s a different music festival nearby almost every weekend. They’ve taken over! This is great news if you’re a music lover. One of the biggest in the country is Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. No matter where you are in the country there will likely be a music festival happening nearby!
Take a Roadtrip
What’s better than hitting the open road? Nothing! You can combine any or all of the above ideas for your ultimate summer road trip. No car? No problem! Sometimes it’s even more affordable to rent a car and drive than to use your own vehicle. Companies like Hertz regularly run promotions throughout the year, and especially summer months.