Summer crowds can be an issue anywhere but if you are savvy enough you will find some amazing places to explore in July in the USA. Temperate Rainforests, Breathtaking Beaches, awesome city breaks, and lakeside lodgings are but a few of the possibilities. Here are 20 of the best places to visit in July in the USA to get you started!
Portland Oregon – visit in summer for the city’s thriving outdoor culture
Portland is one of my favorite places on the planet, the perfect example of brilliant things coming in small packages! As far as US cities go it’s fairly compact but it’s literally stuffed with hip and unusual things and full of innovative, creative people, from the city mayor downwards. It’s all about sustainability and low impact living which means the city hums with a cool relaxed vibe which can be enjoyed to its fullest in July, when the weather is warm, the roses are in full bloom, and the fun moves outdoors!
Under normal circumstances the city is heaving with festivities from the Fourth of July onwards, kicking off with the impressive Waterfront Blues Festival, followed by The Craft Beer Festival, The Oregon County Fair, and Edgefield Concerts on The Lawn, among others. My favorite is The Big Float, where everyone takes their favorite floaty and jumps in the Willamette River, then heads to a beach party by The Hawthorne Bridge. I haven’t even scratched the surface here, for full details of all the amazing festivals check the city website! Even without festivals, Portland is full of life; head up to Hawthorne Boulevard for Vintage Shopping, independent boutiques, and locally sourced al fresco dining, or hit a ‘pod’ of food trucks.
If you’re feeling outdoorsy the city is surrounded by beauty, head to the Willamette Valley Wineries for gorgeous agricultural landscapes or out to one of the area’s many stunning waterfalls. For longer trip film buffs will love a visit to Haystack Rock, made famous by Spielberg Classic ‘The Goonies’, around 80 miles south on the 101 near Cannon Beach. Honestly, anyone who enjoys cool and quirky locations won’t be disappointed by a summer visit to The City of Roses!
Finger Lakes, New York – combine wine and waterfalls for a gorgeous summer break
I’ve always loved a legend and the one behind Finger Lakes in west-central New York State is no exception. Folks say that the beautiful area, where the lakes stretch out like the fingers of two hands, was formed when the great spirit laid down his palm to bless the land. Now the area is in the process of campaigning to become a National Park and so it should be as the unique and picturesque landscape is home to plenty of Flora and Fauna!
The very first wine region in the USA was established here in 1983 and is still going strong, one of the favorite activities in the area is a tour of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trails where you can sample some of the finest locally produced Riesling. Probably the biggest draw though is the beautiful watery landscape punctuated by hundreds of stunning waterfalls that tumble between gorgeous forested escarpments from upwards of 150 ft. From the awe-inspiring Taughannock Falls that plunges from 215ft, the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Rockies, to the slightly smaller Buttermilk Falls which, along with Enfield Falls, is one of the few that you can swim in!
Much of the Waterfall action is centered around the shores of Lake Cayuga and the picturesque town of Ithaca, home of Cornell University. Ithaca is everything you’d expect from an Ivy League Town, full of stunning historic brownstone buildings, leafy avenues, and beautiful parks and gardens that will be in full bloom in July, basically the perfect base from which to explore this magnificent area.
Bar Harbor, Maine – one of the best places to visit in July in the USA
Bar Harbour is a picturesque town on Mount Desert Island, it’s shoreline sits along Frenchman’s Bay at the gateway of the beautiful Acadia National Park. Historically the town was a summer retreat for the rich and famous that rivaled Rhode Island until 1947 when much of it was destroyed by catastrophic wildfires.
Some of the old buildings survived however and today the Main Street that slopes sweetly towards the harbor is lined with colorful wooden shop fronts and charming flower baskets. Thankfully downtown is blissfully free of chain stores, instead, you’ll find independent businesses selling local artisan gifts and produce against the idyllic backdrop of Frenchman’s Bay. Foodies will find plenty to celebrate here – there are several top-class spots to dine and eat al fresco at one of the harbourside restaurants. Oenophiles can get their fix at Bar Harbour Cellars Winery, situated at the deliciously named Sweet Pea Farm.
For Nature Lovers there are wonderful Nature Cruises that sail regularly from Bar Harbour and offer an opportunity to spot porpoises, seals, eagles, and other marine life as well as elegant mansions and the scenic lighthouse at Egg Rock. Last but not least it’s the perfect place to base yourself whilst you explore the magnificent Acadia National Park, which spans 47,000 acres of rugged Atlantic coastline interspersed by dense woodland, rocky beaches, and granite peaks such as Cadillac mountain, the East Coast’s highest point.
Olympic National Park, Washington – spectacular scenery and great summer outdoor activities
Olympic National Park lies within the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. Stretching northwards towards the Canadian border the park is unique as it encompasses over 900, 000 acres and three specific ecosystems; temperate rainforests, glaciated mountains, and wild Pacific coastline. Much of the park is designated wilderness and the whole park is considered a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In July you will find the park verdant and green, with colorful wildflower meadows, lush rainforests, and amazing coastal hikes.
Due to its diverse landscapes weather in the park can be unpredictable, however, in July you are almost guaranteed warm and pleasant temperatures making it an excellent time of year for wildlife spotting, hiking, and water sports. Exploring the network of lakes, rivers, and coastline by boat, Kayak or Canoe can be really exciting! In the summer there is also the opportunity for biking and stargazing on Hurricane Ridge. If you only have a short time there I recommend booking yourself into the gorgeous Lake Quinault Lodge, a beautiful rustic lodge built in the 20’s that sits on the shores of the lake on the edge of the amazing Olympic National Forest.
It is the perfect place to relax and unwind away from urban stresses and to explore the luscious greenery, cascading waterfalls, and moss-clad tree trunks of the temperate rainforest. It’s also a great place to sit out on the deck and watch the sunrise over the beautiful glacial carved Lake Quinault and maybe catch an Osprey or two having an early breakfast. The park is vast with a rich Native American history and eight tribes continuing to recognize their traditions within its boundaries. Carve out some time to visit this breathtaking National Park, you won’t regret it!
Yachats Oregon – the small and attractive coastal city is a great place to visit in July
The minute I set foot in Yachats I loved it, the charming little ribbon of shops just off the 101 took us completely by surprise, meaning to stop for a very quick leg stretch we ended up wiping away hours chatting to friendly locals and perusing the quaint little independent businesses that form the backbone of the community.
Perched alongside Cape Perpetua on an unspoiled stretch of rugged Oregon Coastline, Yachats it’s really remarkable that Yachats is still a relatively hidden gem. You’ll find tide pools, black basalt cliffs, fern gullies, and beautiful lighthouses, all amidst the sound of ocean waves crashing. Aside from its perfect location it really is the people that give it that special edge, it’s like the Portland Spirit met the Northern Californian cool and created a perfect baby! Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size, Yachats is all heart! Each business downtown is run by someone with real passion, take social hub Bread And Roses Bakery for example which serves up fair trade coffee and organic bread and pastries to soothe the soul, or Yachats Brewing and Farmstore founded in 2013 in an old Bank.
Ken Kesey allegedly wrote ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ whilst staying at the Drift Inn, which is still thriving all these years later and creates a hub for the town’s live music scene. All the shop owners we chatted to were keen to tell us about all the amazing community events that happen here from ClamBakes on the beach to the weekly summer farmers market. I didn’t want to leave and if you go I am fairly certain you won’t either!
Geneva-on-the-lake, Ohio – old fashioned summer holiday fun
Established around 1869 Geneva-On-Lake is a quaint little holiday destination for all the family, situated in Geneva State Park on the shores of Lake Erie. GOTL is a great spot for an old-fashioned holiday where visitors can enjoy everything you get at a Pontins but elevated by the stunning surroundings.
You can bask in the July sunshine on one of the beautiful lakeside beaches, charter a boat or experiment with any number of water sports from the marina. For a real thrill try the canopy tours which include sky bridges, zip lines, and adventure rope courses. Take a laid-back tour of local breweries and vineyards on a nearby vines and wines tour, play a round of golf or eat al fresco whilst watching a beautiful sunset.
Peruse some of the cute little local shops, take a swim in the crystal lake waters or hike out on the trails for a bit of birdwatching. There’s mini-golf and amusement arcades galore to keep the kids happy too.
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota – a beautiful spot to visit in July
This amazing park straddles the border between Northern Minnesota and Canada and consists of acres and acres of interconnecting lakes and waterways. The biggest landmass in the park is the Kabetogama Peninsula, which lies completely within its borders.
Otherwise, it’s all about the water, with many of the most beautiful parts only accessible by boat. To the east of the park is Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, a stunning collection of forests, glacier lakes, and streams that draw millions of outdoor-loving visitors each year. There are over 50 miles of trails on the peninsula, punctuated by amazing overlooks but you can only reach them by boat, so integral to planning a trip to Voyageurs is sourcing your ideal craft. Canoes, motorboats, and kayaks are available to hire and if you are nervous on the water there are also organized cruises and shuttle boats to ferry visitors to their chosen destinations.
If you really are a water lover you might like to stay on a houseboat for a truly quirky and unusual accommodation alternative. There is one lodge within the park, the historic Kettle Falls Hotel: Built in 1913 and restored in the 1980’s it is set near the stunning falls themselves and it’s an amazing place to dine on a summer evening looking out over the watery wilderness, catching the sun set followed by the breathtaking night sky. The park consists of four big lakes, numerous waterways, and hundreds of islands, it is the perfect retreat for outdoor-loving explorers and one of the most unique National Parks in the USA.
Boston – for spectacular 4th July celebrations
The historic city of Boston is an amazing place to visit, in July it’s extra special as it hosts the amazing Summer Pops Concerts and breathtaking Fourth of July fireworks over the River Charles. All this is loosely connected to Harborfest, a week-long celebration of the city’s unique maritime history that kicks off on Independence Day.
Obviously this year things will be disrupted but I think that just means 2022 will be even more fabulous! Despite current circumstances, there is still plenty going on in this beautiful city, and visiting in July will mean you get to do it all in glorious sunshine. You can chill out on one of the amazing city beaches, grab a picnic and a bottle of wine and enjoy Shakespeare on the common, or take in a smaller concert and discover something new.
Boston is full of beautiful parks and a splendid esplanade, making it perfect for romantic summer strolls, perhaps followed by an outdoor movie under the stars? Of course, there’s also the wonderful food and craft beer scene that is all the more enjoyable when al fresco, as well as harbor cruises, whale watching, and amazing architecture both old and new. There’s a reason why Boston is at the top of the city-break list for so many people, why not add it to yours?
Half Moon Bay – visit in July for sun, sea and sand
Situated 28 miles south of San Francisco is the quaint coastal town of Half Moon Bay. A gorgeous spot to spend a summer weekend or to use as a base to explore the Northern Californian coastline. Good things come in small packages and Half Moon Bay is no exception. Its compact downtown area consists of attractive sandy shopfronts packed with all manner of a boutique fayre, from unique art and crafts to delicious wine and some fantastic eateries!
No visit is complete without a stop at Sam’s Chowder House for perfectly fresh, sustainable seafood with amazing views over the Pacific, and its the perfect place to spot migrating whales For a quirky dining experience Daddy’Os is perfect, based in an old rail car it serves up delicious comfort food to keep you going. through the day. Half Moon Bay is surrounded by protected parks and beaches including the Mavericks, a famous stretch of coastline that hosts a world-famous annual surf competition.
Other protected beaches such as Poplars serve as great spots for a sunset picnic. The best thing is these beaches don’t get crowded like some of the neighboring stretches, in fact, Half Moon Bay maintains a calm and relaxed coastal vibe even in the peak summer months. Don’t miss some nature spotting at Fitzgerald Protected Marine area and pay a visit to the historic prohibition Moss Beach Distillery whilst you are there. To learn more about the town’s interesting history head to the museum at The Old Jail. There’s plenty to keep you occupied in this picturesque little town, just don’t forget your surfboard!
Buffalo River Arkansas – the First National River in the USA
The protected Buffalo River flows for 153 miles uninterrupted by dams or any other kind of human interference. Beginning in The Boston Mountains, winding through The Ozarks and ending up in Buffalo NY, by far its most beautiful stretch is the Upper Buffalo Wilderness around Ozark St Francis, Arkansas. Outdoor enthusiasts are well catered for as there are 100 miles of trails that traverse the river banks.
The Hawksbill Crag trail is the only designated hiking trail that runs through the wilderness area and it offers amazing views down the steep bluffs formed by the winding river gorge. Here you’ll be treated with beautiful oak and hickory forests, ancient caves, waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife, including a herd of over 500 free-ranging Elk. The river sees many changes through its course, from whitewater rapids to tranquil pools and a great way to explore it is by Canoe or Kayak, there are many local companies that provide boat hire and tuition if required.
There is plenty for history lovers too including the eerie Rush Ghost Town and the even creepier Peppersauce Ghost Town at Calico Rock, both are designated historic districts with very chequered pasts!
Traverse City, Lake Michigan – cool vibes and pristine beaches make this a great July destination
With a shoreline spanning 307 miles, choosing where to stay on Lake Michigan can be daunting, I suggest Traverse City in Northern Michigan. It’s an excellent base to explore some of the most beautiful beaches and nature reserves along the lakeshore and it’s a totally cool and vibrant city in its own right.
The city offers amazing boutique shopping, microbreweries, food carts, gastro pubs, and fine dining as well as an abundance of public art and amazing urban walking/biking/ boating trails, museums, and galleries. It’s an excellent place for a summer vacation as it’s within spitting distance of numerous sandy beaches, including Clinch Park, just minutes from downtown. The Old Mission Peninsula just a short drive from downtown has some beautiful parks that overlook the water, enjoy some peace and quiet on Haserot Beach or take a picnic out to Bryant Park, but be sure to leave room for an ice cream from Barton’s Wonder Freeze! The Old Mission Peninsula Park also offers amazing views of Shadow Point Lighthouse and lots of shady woodland trails to explore.
To really get out into the wilderness take a drive to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a stunning area of protected dunes and beaches including the sheltered North Bar Lake, a perfect spot for swimming! For a romantic sunset, Good Harbour Beach is unrivaled, from this secluded stretch of sand you can watch the sun sink behind the Manitou Islands and paint the tranquil water in shades of rich red and orange. Take a bottle of wine and a blanket and bask in the beauty of the second largest Great Lake.
Cannon Beach – an iconic beach and the great outdoors
Cannon Beach is a small coastal city set against the stunning backdrop of the wild Oregon Coastline. The sweeping beach is set against steep crags and just offshore is the dramatic Haystack Rock, a towering rocky outcrop that was immortalized in The Goonies when the pirate ship appears from behind it in the film’s closing scene.
The beach has also been used in Point Break and more recently Twilight. As the wooded headland climbs up behind the beach and the sand stretches in a rugged arc before you it is easy to see why National Geographic included Cannon Beach in its 2013 list of the most beautiful places in the world! Just to the North is Ecola State Park which encompasses nine miles of coastline and includes the storm buffeted lighthouse at Tillamook Head. There are plenty of wonderful hiking trails through this area which offers amazing opportunities for bird and wildlife spotting.
You’ll find tide pools full of strange and remarkable creatures, Murres, Puffins and Bald Eagles nesting in the cliff-faces and Roosevelt Elk meandering through the forests. Seals and Sealions can often be seen basking on the sand and as you gaze out into the vast ocean you may even see magnificent Gray Whales spouting mist into the air above them. A true beauty spot and still hidden gem.
Beavers Bend Resort Park, Oklahoma – summer fun for outdoorsy types
This beautiful 1,300-acre resort park sits beside Broken Bow Lake in Southeastern Oklahoma and follows the banks of the Mountain Fork River through stunning woodland and cascading rapids. There are numerous activities on offer within the park including a curated lineup of campfire programmes, nature hikes, and arts and crafts classes, not to mention the 12 miles of hiking trails and roped-off swimming areas along the banks of the lake and river.
If you love the view from the water you can high a Yakanoe, Kayak, or paddleboat. There’s a steam train, golf course, visitor center, and numerous gorgeous wooden cabins to stay in all nestled within the stunning mountainous terrain. Don’t miss the sunset over the impressive Broken Bow Dam, all in all, a great place to escape back to nature for a long weekend as part of a bigger adventure!
Seattle – pop and rock culture without the downpours
Seattle gets a bad rap for weather so if you’re planning a visit you need to think about what is most important to you. June, July, August have the best weather conditions meaning you are able to enjoy all the fabulous outdoor adventures on offer in and around the city, however, it is also the busiest and most expensive season. If you go outside of the summer months you are at the mercy of the city’s extremely rainy micro-climate and low temperatures, so you need to be prepared! As a 90’s grunge fanatic and lover of the film ‘Singles’ I have always been obsessed with Seattle and when I finally got to visit it didn’t disappoint me!
It is such a cool and quirky city with an amazing relaxed vibe that effortlessly blends innovation and history at every turn! For artsy Bohemia head to the unique neighborhood of Fremont, famous for its laid-back cafes, independent shops, and public sculptures, in particular the monstrous 18ft Fremont Troll who resides under the George Washington Memorial Bridge. Music buffs should definitely take the Monorail downtown and visit the EMP, an amazing interactive museum that celebrates the famous Seattle Sound and everything that inspired and supported it. Whilst there you can get some shots of the iconic Space Needle, the jewel in the Seattle Skyline. Follow it up with a night out at the famous Crocodile, the venue which launched the careers of many iconic bands including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, REM… the list is long!
Another must-see is the famous Pike Place Market, where you can get everything from flying fish to Wiccan remedies, as well as eating some of the most delicious food you will ever find! I highly recommend the Salmon Caesar Salad at Lowell’s, unforgettable! Peruse antiques, check out the vinyl at cow records and have a coffee at the very first Starbucks, then stroll out along the river and check out the boats. Just to continue down the pop culture avenue, you’ll also find the grave of Jimmi Hendrix at Greenwood Memorial Park and for a day trip, I recommend driving out to Snoqualmie Falls, the dramatic cascading waterfalls that appear in the opening credits of Twin Peaks. Honestly, Seattle needs its own post, it is bursting at the seams with green spaces, innovative architecture, culture, and museums and I have barely scratched the surface here…Go! You won’t regret it!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – a great national park to visit in the summer
Set amidst the spectacular Teton Mountain Range in Northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park offers breathtaking scenery, alpine lakes and trails galore! Possibly one of the most photographed areas of the Park is Jackson Hole, home of the iconic Mormon Row Historic Area, Where wooden barns and ruined farmhouses hark back to the early Mormon Settlement.
Situated in the Antelope Flats the area provides stunning views of the Teton Mountains which rise protectively around the plateau. Water lovers can take a boat trip on Jenny Lake or the Massive Jackson Lake, more adventurous types might enjoy rafting down the rapids on Snake River or taking an Icy swim in String Lake. For keen cyclists, the 100 mile John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway is the perfect challenge and takes in some of the park’s best wildlife and scenery.
As one might expect there are multiple trails to choose from, one of the best takes you high up on a mountain path along Jenny Lake via the awe-inspiring Hidden Falls and Imagination Overlook and another takes you into the morbidly named Death Canyon. Climbing enthusiasts can tackle Grand Teton itself, the tallest peak in the 40 mile Teton Range. One of the most important experiences to have in the park is to witness at least one spectacular sunset.
Lake Chelan, Washington – a tranquil and scenic spot to take a July break
Beautiful Lake Chelan is located between Seattle and Spokane and is a popular summer resort town for both cities. The lake stretches 50.5 miles through a lush forested landscape and encompasses many protected lands. The Wenatchee National Forest, Twenty Five Mile Creek State Park, and Lake Chelan State Park all sit along its shores, and at its Northernmost point it provides a gateway to the breathtaking wilderness of Northern Cascades National Park.
During the summer it provides the perfect place to experiment with various water sports, hang out on beautiful beaches, hike spectacular lakeside trails and enjoy some local comforts at the Evening Farmers Market.
Glacier National Park, Montana – perfect for nature lovers
In July the stupendously arresting scenery is ablaze with color and thrill-seekers will find the Middle Fork Whitewater at its best, with water levels perfect for an exhilarating raft ride! The Flowers are in full bloom and from mid-July the huckleberries are out and at their sweetest!
In July all the trails and roads are open and it’s the perfect time for a drive along the scenic Going-To-The-Sun -Road. A historic civil engineering landmark The Sun Road was built in the 1930’s to span the width of the park from east to west. Not for the faint-hearted, it winds through the park in a series of hairpin bends dramatically dropping off in places and offering unbeatable views of St Mary’s Valley and Going-To-The-Sun-Mountain. The summit of the Mountain appears like a face looking upwards in profile towards the sky which the ancient Blackfeet Tribe believed to belong to the Sour Spirit who, after descending to teach the tribe how to hunt, left it as inspiration before returning to the sun. The road also appears in the iconic opening credits of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’.
There are miles upon miles of hiking trails traversing the park and a profusion of wildlife to see including rare wolverines and Canadian Lynx as well as black bears, grizzlies, and mountain lions! Although July is usually warm and temperate, go prepared for any eventuality as the weather can change on a whim and parts of the park are incredibly remote! Take bear spray too and follow all the park’s guidelines to keep you safe!
Monterey, California – July is a great month to visit with its warmest temperatures and excellent al fresco dining
I was super keen to see Monteray as I am an avid fan of Steinbeck who was deeply connected to the place, which provided the setting for three of his novels; Tortilla Flat, Sweet Thursday, and most famously Cannery Row. The latter tells the stories of migrant workers who rocked up in the area during The Great Depression, hoping to make a buck in the fisheries, the characters are inspired by real people that he met during his time in the city.
Cannery Row Historic District is now a major draw for the city of Monterey and has been completely restored, within its red brick walls you’ll find boutique hotels, independent shops, and plenty of relaxed places to sample local seafood whilst enjoying the waves and ocean views. Also on The Row is a gorgeous commemorative statue of the author that celebrates him and his most famous characters. Aside from Steinbeck, there is plenty more to explore, take a walk through Monterey State Historic Park to see some of the area’s oldest and most significant buildings including the cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, the oldest in California. For picturesque and colorful wooden buildings and stunning views of the bay head for Old Fisherman’s Wharf, a remnant of the city’s rich coastal history.
There are plenty of outdoor pursuits available nearby too with excellent surfing and plenty of wildlife along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail and The Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. It is worth noting that everything on the Monterey Peninsula is fairly close together so it’s easy to get out and explore the luxurious Carmel-by-the-Sea and famous Big Sur whilst basing yourself in this artsy and vibrant city.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – wildflowers in bloom and mountain magic
Mount Rainier National Park spans 369 sq miles of incredible scenery around the imposing 14,411 ft stratovolcano at its center. The foothills are a fantastic blend of subalpine meadows, valleys, and waterfalls cascading from rocky plateaus. From July through August wildflowers transform the Paradise area of the park in an abundance of color and the warmer temperatures make it the perfect time for hiking.
There are numerous trails to explore depending on your preferences be they wildlife, uninterrupted views or rushing falls. Peace seekers might enjoy the tranquility of The Spray Park trail which encompasses the stunning Spray Falls and Eagle Cliff viewpoint and tends to be quieter than some of its neighbors. If you like heights then take the amazing Skyline Trail for a close-up view of The Nisqually Glacier and Mount Rainier itself. Hardened hikers can attempt the 93-mile Wonderland Trail which encircles the mountain and offers the absolute best views the Park has to offer, 10 days is the recommended amount of time to try this in.
There are plenty of shorter accessible trails for those of us who are more sedentary too, Silver Falls and Sourdough Ridge are great options, also picturesque Myrtle Falls. If you want the views without the footwork why not take a Gondola ride up Crystal Mountain or drive the White Pass and Chinook Scenic Byways. If you are looking for a more spiritual experience then head for Sunrise Point where the facilities stay open for stargazers and early risers. It’s the perfect spot to see the full splendor of the night sky and, as the name suggests, it is also a great spot to watch the sun come up!
Grand Lake, Colorado – Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake is a gorgeous spot to explore in July
The historic mountain town of Grand Lake Colorado is a breathtaking location on the shores of Grand Lake considered the gateway to The Rocky Mountains National Park. It is a truly amazing spot to enjoy all kinds of summer water sports and you will notice instantly on your arrival, peaceful sailboats, paddleboards, and Kayaks galore drifting on the water framed by a backdrop of the spectacular snow-capped Rockies.
If you plan on hitting the National Park for some serious hiking and climbing it is prudent to spend a few days acclimatizing to the altitude first and you may as well do it somewhere beautiful like Grand Lake. The historic boardwalk is full of quaint little wood-clad shop fronts where you can peruse souvenirs, art boutiques and holiday clothes. Foodies might like to try local Rocky Mountain Oysters at Sagebrush BBQ or skip straight to boozing at World’s End Brewpub. It’s definitely worth heading up to the historic Grand Lake Lodge for a special dinner or a signature cocktail on the cozy deck overlooking the water.