Finding fun ways to cool off every summer can be a tiring effort. There are only so many times you can take the kids to the pool or head out to a movie to escape the summer heat. Why not use the kid’s summer vacation as a chance to get your own summer break in as well? It’s the perfect excuse to grab the family together for a summer getaway at one of the many spots around the country with much cooler weather over the summer. You don’t have to go that far to enjoy cooler, crisp days. These cities have tons of great things to do and enjoy, all with summer temperatures rarely climbing above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent survey from the National Climatic Data Center. So grab the kids, plan some activities and check out these great destinations for a truly cool summer.
San Francisco, California
According to the survey, San Francisco topped the list for the coolest average temperature in the summer months. The average just barely reaches over 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it a perfect destination during the hottest months of the year. It also helps that there’s a ton of different things to enjoy in San Francisco, so you’ll also have a plethora of entertainment options while you are there. Visit Pier 39 for incredible views and amazing restaurants, or take a walk across the Golden Gate bridge, which is open to pedestrians during the day. Visit the California Academy of Sciences if you are in the mood for something educational or the world famous San Francisco Zoo. No matter what you’re looking to enjoy on your summer vacation, San Francisco has you covered, and with an average summer temperature of just 61 degrees, you’ll be comfortable the whole time you’re there.
The second coolest place in America during the summer is Seattle, with an average daily temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Those cool, rainy days in the Pacific North East are perfect for the hot days of July and August. Seattle is also a great family-friendly vacation destination. Check out the Woodland Park Zoo with its own tropical rainforest and jaguar habitat, or go underwater at the Seattle Aquarium. Don’t miss the iconic Pike Place Market, where you can shop for nearly anything you could possibly want on your vacation while you watch the world famous fish throwers. Or get that perfect view of the Space needle from Kerry Park, then take a ferry across Elliott Bay. The best way to beat the heat this summer is to enjoy the Pacific breezes with a trip to Seattle, Washington.
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The Pacific North East hits the top of this list again, coming in at No. 3 for coolest average summer weather. The temperature here averages 67 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so it’s another great spot for an impromptu summer getaway to beat the heat. Portland loves to stay weird, so you’ll find lots of fun, funky ways to pass the time while you’re there. A few of the can’t-miss spots in Portland include Powell’s City of Books, which is one of the world’s biggest independent bookstores and a landmark in Portland, and the Lan Su Chinese Garden, where you can walk through a picturesque garden built to resemble the Ming Dynasty style. The country’s largest open-air arts and crafts market is the Portland Saturday Market in Waterfront Park, where you can wander through hundreds of booths filled with creations by local artisans, or stop by Stumptown Coffee Roasters for one of the most popular local coffee shops. No matter how you enjoy relaxing, in Portland there is no shortage of great vacation opportunities.
Buffalo, New York
From the East Coast to the West Coast, the next spot at the top of the list of coolest summers in the United States is Buffalo, New York, with an average summer temperature of 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Other cities in New York may get more attention than Buffalo, but you may be surprised at how much there is to do and enjoy here. Massive revitalization has led to a huge craft beer scene, and architecture fans will love exploring the seven different Frank Lloyd Wright structures in Buffalo. Check out the art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, or take in a show at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Of course, no trip to Buffalo is complete without some time at the world famous Niagara Falls, so make sure to schedule that stop while you’re visiting Buffalo for the perfect cool summer vacation.
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Rounding out the top five, just barely breaking 70 degrees for the average summer temperature is Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While you’re there check out the Harley Davidson Museum for a look back through the creation of the world’s most famous motorcycle, or visit the Milwaukee Art Museum if you prefer gazing at art to bikes. You’ll also find lots of great places to get a fantastic mug of ice cold, local craft beer or take one of the many Brewery Tours available. Then head over to Wauwatosa for some of the best shopping around. You’ll browse through lots of adorable one-of-a-kind shops in the European-style village, and you’ll find lots of charming restaurants to pop in for a quick bite between stores. If you’ve never discovered the fun to be had in Milwaukee, now is the perfect time to escape the heat of your home town and get away for a cooler summer vacation.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.