23 Exciting Cool-Weather Summer Destinations in the U.S. for Families

Two young children explore tidepools while explore Bar Harbor, Maine.
Photo Courtesy: Jill Worden Rippy
Acadia National Park

Enjoy lazy days in the sun, fun times in the water, and more excitement when you visit these cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families. From coast to coast, the country boasts fantastic places to spend your summer. So, if you’re looking for a vacation to keep everyone from complaining about the heat, these destinations are perfect for you! Spend your summer vacation hiking through Acadia National Park or enjoying the breezy weather in Anchorage, Alaska. Alternatively, enjoy popular cities such as Seattle or San Francisco. We’ve compiled the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families, alongside where to stay with kids when you visit.

Best Cool-Weather Summer Destinations on the East Coast for Families

East Coast families won’t have to travel far to find the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families! Whether you want an outdoor adventure in Vermont or to explore Acadia National Park in Maine, these summer getaways are perfect for all ages. Keep reading to learn more! 

Acadia National Park, Maine

A young girl smiles broadly on a sunny day while explore Jordan's Pond in Acadia National Park, one of the best cool-weather destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Amyw Goldshvartz

Acadia National Park is a wonderful summer getaway for families! Located near Bar Harbor, this Maine destination features mild summer temperatures of about 70 degrees. Plus, with more than 50 trails, there are plenty of chances for hiking, biking, climbing, and more!

Read more: Amazing Things to Do in Bar Harbor with Kids

First, stop by the visitor’s center to get Junior Ranger packets for the kids and to learn more about park programs like Stars Over Sand Beach. Want an easy hike? Try the Ocean Path near Sand Beach. Or, drive The Park Loop Road, winding through stunning views of mountains, rugged coastline, and forests. The road is paved for most of its length, but be prepared for significant changes in elevation as you drive. Families can also drive or hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain or walk along the path to Bar Island for tide-pooling, Kids will love spotting colorful algae and marine animals at low tide! 

Check out this narrated bus tour of Acadia National Park with Viator here!

Where to Stay near Acadia National Park with Kids

For first-time visitors to one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families, Bar Harbor is a great place to stay near Acadia National Park. From here, you can easily visit some of the park’s best attractions. There are hotels, VRBO, and camping options in Bar Harbor.  

Reserve your hotel stay near Acadia National Park with Expedia here!

Block Island, Rhode Island

A young child chases after her dad along a sandy path between beach grass in Block Island.
Photo Courtesy: Block Island Tourism Council

Block Island, located off the coast of Rhode Island, is the perfect destination for a summer getaway. Featuring miles of sandy shorelines and beautiful views, temperatures average around 75 to 80 degrees and it’s accessible via a quick ferry ride.

Visit the beach located alongside the scenic Mohegan Bluffs or the Fred Benson Town Beach, which is family-friendly and features soft sand, calm waves, and a lifeguard on duty. Baby Beach and Mansion Beach are great too, though they’re a little more remote. Families can also bike around the island to explore its various lighthouses, from the Southeast Lighthouse to the Block Island North Light. You can also visit the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge to watch local wildlife or the 1661 Inn and Gardens to see a “zeedonk” – a rare zebra and donkey hybrid! Seafood lovers can’t miss restaurants like The Oar or Mohegan Restaurant and Bar!

Where to Stay on Block Island with Kids

Block Island offers plenty of places to stay with kids. A lot of hotels in the area are small, boutique-style accommodations or meant to resemble quaint inns, like The 1661 Inn, the Old Town Inn, or the Spring House Hotel. For accommodations on the beach, check out the Block Island Beach House. Families visiting Block Island also like to book home rentals through local realtors or, less commonly, options like Vrbo. 

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

A woman zip-lines above the tree line, with the White Mountains of New Hampshire in the distance.
Photo Courtesy: Omni Mount Washington Hotel

For one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families, you can’t go wrong with Bretton Woods. Located in New Hampshire, this small alpine town is nestled in the same valley at Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the northeastern United States. As such, you can expect summer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees, ideal for hiking, biking, and more outdoor adventures.

Take a guided adventure hike through trails on Mt. Washington, Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Eisenhower – the possibilities are truly endless! The Omni Mount Washington Resort also showcases a trail system behind its resort, allowing families to bike through town in style. For a breathtaking view over the valley, hop in the Bretton Woods Skyline Gondola or soar through the treetops on a Bretton Woods Canopy Tour. Other activities for families include fly fishing, horseback riding, and disc golf. 

Where to Stay in Bretton Woods with Kids

Bretton Woods offers plenty of summer resorts for families to choose from. To enjoy a variety of activities and a sprawling property, book a stay at The Omni Mount Washington Resort. Featuring a heated pool, hot tub, two golf courses, and more, there’s enough to keep the entire family entertained! Families also love the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa, which has a huge property and indoor and outdoor pools for kids. We also suggest The Lodge at Bretton Woods or The Glen House.

Stowe, Vermont

A family of four enjoys summer ice cream cones, while sitting along a sidewalk, in Stowe.
Photo Courtesy: Go Stowe

Outdoor enthusiasts can’t get enough summer fun in Stowe! Located just two hours from Burlington, this idyllic mountain town in Vermont averages summer temperatures of around 65 to 75 degrees. Families can take advantage of scenic hikes, waterfalls, state parks, and other kid-friendly activities!

Rent a bike and ride down the Stowe Recreation Path for a great view. Along the way, you’ll pass pedestrian bridges, Mount Mansfield, and plenty of swimming holes! Families who want a real adventure shouldn’t miss Smuggler’s Notch State Park, where you can stroll the Sterling Pond Trail and even see some caves. To see the beautiful Stowe Sterling Valley, families can also hike the Sterling Falls Gorge, a short but stunning trail right outside of Stowe. Want to see Stowe from an aerial perspective? Head to the Stowe Mountain Resort to ride the Gondola Skyride.

Where to Stay in Stowe with Kids

Stowe has so many great hotels for families to choose from. Make the most of summer at accommodations like The Lodge at Spruce Peak, a high-end alpine-style resort near downtown Stowe. Families can also stay at Topnotch Resort, the Trapp Family Lodge, or Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa.

Book your next Vermont stay with our list of the 9 Best Vermont Hotels For Families

Manchester, Vermont

A teenagers stands on a large rock along the lake shore in Manchester, Vermont.
Photo Courtesy: Tina Maree

Manchester is a picturesque destination with an old-fashioned, small-town feel. Located in southern Vermont, it averages a summer temperature of around 75-80 degrees, offering everything from shopping to dining, arts & culture, plus outdoor adventures!

Towering over downtown, Mount Equinox is accessible via hike or the famous Skyline Drive. To cool down from the summer weather, kids will love tubing or paddling down Batten Kill River. North of Manchester, discover Emerald Lake State Park, perfect for a day of soaking up the sun and amazing views! Kayaking, canoeing, and more water sports are available here too. Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home is another great place for families, offering kids’ day camps and a working goat farm. A few towns over in Dorset, families can swim in the Dorset Quarry, featuring clean, calm water and lots of cliffs to jump from! Finally, check for cool events like the Manchester Music Festival, which usually happens in July. 

Where to Stay in Manchester with Kids

Most accommodations in Manchester have a quaint, bed & breakfast feel. In fact, you’ll find lots of local bed and breakfasts downtown if you’re looking to stay like a true local. For a hotel stay, we recommend the Equinox Golf Resort and Spa, the Hampton Inn and Suites in Manchester, VT, or the Kimpton Taconic Hotel.

Best Cool-Weather Summer Destinations in the Southern United States for Families

Whether you want to visit Virginia or Tennessee, the southern United States isn’t always scorching hot in the summer. In fact, at these cool-weather destinations, you can enjoy mild temperatures and a ton of family fun! Here are our top suggestions! 

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Two kids stand along a rock fence in Shenandoah National Park, looking over at a few of the mountains.
Photo Courtesy: Nicole Ratliff

Looking for a summer adventure from Washington DC? Visit Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, only an hour and a half away! This is a great place to experience during the summer because temperatures only reach between 70-75 degrees in June, July, and August.

Then, even with the abundance of scenic hikes, you’ll find an equal amount of waterfalls to help you cool down! Of course, the best hikes here are along the Appalachian Trail, which you can access from the park’s entrances. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as coyotes, deer, and other stealthy animals! Other activities for families within the park include horseback riding, biking, and fishing. If you’d rather stay in your car as you tour through the park, take Skyline Drive. Not only is it incredibly picturesque, but you’ll also pass historical sites such as the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields!

Where to Stay near Shenandoah National Park with Kids

Families looking for somewhere to stay near Shenandoah National Park with kids often rent homes or cabins from Vrbo.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 

A stunning sunrise over the Smoky Mountains at Clingman's Dome, featuring hues of orange, pink, and blue.
Photo Courtesy: Kelli Levesque Wein

One of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families is surely Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, this lesser-visited national park reaches around 75-80 degrees in June, July, and August. As such, it’s a perfect place to explore beautiful waterfalls, mountains, and lakes!

Go wading in Deep Creek, try tubing, or take a short hike to scenic overlooks like Juney Whank Falls. Some other kid-friendly trails include Grotto Falls and Laurel Falls – both about 2.5 miles roundtrip with a waterfall at the end. Clingman’s Dome is a brief, ½-mile hike for little kids while Cove Mountain Trail to Cataract Falls is ¾ of a mile with flat ground. This is also an excellent spot for bird watching. To explore the historic area, hop on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and travel back in time through charming rustic towns. 

Looking for a home stay in the Great Smoky Mountains? Try VRBO here!

Where to Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Kids

Families visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park often choose to stay in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. Renting a cabin is a popular choice. Some options have outdoor pools, hot tubs, and more family-friendly amenities. For the comforts of a hotel stay, choose the Country Cascades or Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, which both offer water parks to enjoy after a day of exploring the area. 

Read our article to plan an Exciting Family Itinerary For Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

Asheville, North Carolina

A person wearing a yellow helmet ziplines towards two invidiuals waiting on the treetop platform.
Photo Courtesy: Adventure Center of Asheville

Take your next summer adventure to Asheville, a beautiful mountain town in North Carolina where temperatures only reach around 80-85 degrees. Here, families can enjoy a unique mix of nature, historical architecture, and artsy city culture.

Outdoorsy types can hike in Pisgah National Forest, slip down Sliding Rock Falls, or visit the Looking Glass Falls. Slightly outside of Ashville, you’ll find kid-friendly trails at the top of Mount Mitchell or through Grandfather Mountain. Or, cool down from the summer heat with a white water rafting adventure down the French Broad River with Nantahala Outdoor Center or French Broad Adventures! Other activities for families include zip-lining at Adventure Center of Ashville or touring The Biltmore, a historic mansion with a Barn and Farmyard for kids. In downtown Asheville, browse bistros, bustling breweries, eclectic shops, or escape the heat at the Asheville Art Museum!

Where to Stay in Asheville with Kids

Need somewhere to stay in Asheville with your kids? Try The Inn on Biltmore Estate, The Grand Bohemian Hotel, or the Omni Grove Park Inn.

Best Cool-Weather Summer Destinations in the Midwest for Families

From Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, the Midwest is also a wonderful place for your next cool weather summer vacation. Here are our favorite picks for the best cold-weather summer destinations in the United States for families! 

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota

A Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) sign along a portage trail to Bower Trout Lake near Lima Grade on the Gunflint Trail (Superior National Forest) in Northern Minnesota.
Photo Courtesy: Tony Webster

This canoeing and wilderness haven is the heart of Minnesota. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the perfect place to explore all that northern Minnesota has to offer. With summer highs in the low- to mid-seventies (and lows in the fifties), this area is also referred to as “The Wilderness ABCs”.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness covers more than 1.1 million acres, making it the largest protected wilderness in the lower 48 states not designated as a national park or monument. This region is the perfect destination for anyone who loves to be out in the wild. The area stretches over an astounding 1.1 million acres, and contains more than 1,200 lakes, including some of Minnesota’s deepest. Visitors can camp out or stay in cabins and enjoy canoeing, fishing, water skiing, and other available opportunities. Finally, some of the best entry points to the Boundary Waters with young kids include Kawishiwi Lake using Sawtooth Outfitters, Sawbill Lake using Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, and Brule Lake using Sawtooth Outfitters.

Where to Stay near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with Kids

If you’re planning to camp in the Boundary Waters, work with the outfitter or ranger station near your chosen entry point to ensure you have the proper gear and permits. Then, families planning to take day treks in and out of Boundary Waters with kids and explore the rest of the local area, generally choose to rent homes or cabins from Vrbo. Alternatively, families planning to enter near Ely can consider Grand Ely Lodge Resort & Conference Center or the Ely Log Cabin. Those entering near Sawbill Lake will love staying at Lutsen Resort. Finally, if you’re entering near Brule Lake, Skyport Lodge & Raven Rock Grill is a great option with kids.

Grand Marais, Minnesota

A young girl wanders about the large rocks and tide-pools near the Grand Marais Lighthouse, with the lighthouse and Sawtooth Mountains in the distance.
Photo Courtesy: Antonia Grant

Grand Marias, Minnesota is one of the best cool-weather summer destinations with kids. Nestled along Lake Superior, this charming town has a lot to offer families during the summer. Firstly, temperatures near the lake stay cool, with highs in the mid-sixties to low-seventies. In fact, sweatshirts are the fastest-selling souvenirs!

While in Grand Marais, embark on a family-friendly tour aboard the iconic Hjørdis. From this historic schooner, kids and adults alike will adore the unparalleled views of Grand Marais and Lake Superior. Then, walk along the break wall to the Grand Marais Lighthouse. Featuring views of the nearby Sawtooth Mountains, Lake Superior, and the downtown area, kids will love splashing in tide-pools and climbing rocks. Families can also enjoy hiking, kayaking, shopping, taking a class at the North House Folk School, and more in Grand Marais. Finally, you can even hike to the mysterious Devil’s Kettle at Judge C.R. Magney State Park.

Where to Stay in Grand Marais with Kids

In town, consider Grand Marais Campground and Marina. Located within walking distance of downtown, families will appreciate the cobblestone beaches and on-site mini-golf. Then, East Bay Suites is nestled along the edge of Lake Superior, offering suites and dog-friendly accommodationsFinally, just outside of Grand Marais (and near the Gunflint Trail), families will adore the lakeside location of Skyport Lodge. No matter where you choose to stay, your family is sure to find Grand Marais one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families!

Book Lake Superior Beachfront in Grand Marais on Vrbo!

Apostle Islands/Bayfield, Wisconsin

A series of colorful kayak rest on a beach on Madeline Island.
Photo Courtesy: Madeline Island Chamber

Bayfield, Wisconsin is a small town perched on the shore of Lake Superior. Bayfield is also the jumping-off point to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – the largest archipelago in the Great Lakes region. Located on Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands offer a remote and relatively untouched haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Madeline Island, accessible by ferry from Bayfield, is the largest and most popular option for visitors. Summer temperatures can reach into the mid-to-high-sixties, making it one of the coolest cities on this list.

In addition to being home to plants and animals not found anywhere else in the world, it also offers a wealth of activities such as hiking, kayaking, birdwatching, biking, fishing, and rock climbing. The park offers visitors wonderful views of the rugged islands and wildlife like loons, otters, and waterfowl. Be sure to check out Madeline Island Museum. Here, families can explore a variety of exhibits highlighting the island’s vibrant history. Afterward, go to Woods Hall where kids can watch as weavers work a traditional loom. Finally, boat i and kayak ps are popular things to do in the Apostle Islands for families!

Where to Stay in Bayfield and the Apostle Islands with Kids

On Madeline Island, families will have an array of cabins, cottages, hotels, and camping options to choose from. Offering cottages and condos, including lakefront options, families will adore The Inn on Madeline Island. Alternatively, Ferry Landing Suites on Madeline Island embodies tranquillity and peace. Not to mention, stunning scenery and cabin living close to many things to do. On the mainland, the Woodside Cottages of Bayfield feature lovely private cottages with fireplaces and kitchenettes for families. Also in Bayfield, The Bayfield Inn, has standard rooms, suites, and vacation rentals.

Reserve top-rated guest accommodations at Bayfield, WI through Vrbo here!

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

A mom and her son smile after hiking to the top of an overlook, with a view of the Lake of the Clouds behind them.
Photo Courtesy: Laura Finley

Families looking for endless outdoor adventures will adore Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In fact, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a stunning mix of nature and outdoor recreational activities. Summer highs range from the mid-sixties to mid-seventies, making it a comfortable location for families to hike, kayak, and explore. Across the UP, you’ll find beautiful lakes (including three great lakes – Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron!) and rivers, which offer some of the best fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels.

Families adore the variety of hiking options, including several waterfall hikes! Kitch-iti-kipi, Lake of the Clouds, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are particularly popular amongst Families. For more hiking recommendations in the UP, read this article. Other activities include great lake cruises, horseback riding, and mountain biking. In fact, you can even take a Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour! Finally, at the tip of Michigan’s “mitten,” charming Mackinac Island is a great place for kids to explore historic fortifications and horse-drawn trolleys. 

Where to Stay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with Kids

Families staying near Munising will find an array of options including AmericInn by Wyndham Wetmore Munising (featuring an indoor pool and waterslide) and Northwoods Resort, offering cabins and cottages located on the sandy north-shore of Au Train Lake. Then, in Marquette, consider Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Marquette. Want to be near the Porcupine Mountains, kids will adore The Konteka Black Bear Resort. The Porcupine Mountains are also a great place to camp!

Then, read: The Best Upper Peninsula Michigan Hikes For Families

Best Cool-Weather Summer Destinations in the Mountain States for Families

The Rocky Mountain States are a great place to visit during the summer, from national parks to destinations in Colorado that don’t get too hot. Next time you’re planning an itinerary, keep reading for our suggestions! 

Glacier National Park, Montana

A young girl dips her toes in the water in a lake at Glacier National Park.
Photo Courtesy: Lynette Johnson

Glacier National Park is a must-see for any family in the United States, especially those visiting during the summer. Located in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, summer temperatures reach around 65-75 degrees, offering a pleasant mix of sunny afternoons and cooler evenings.

With over 130 lakes, 2,000 plant species, and 250 bird species, there’s plenty to do and see. Drive the famous Going-To-The-Sun Road, passing through glacial lakes, cedar forests, and grassy valleys along the way. (This narrow, two-lane highway features some scenic twists and turns better suited for an experienced driver.) For easy hikes with young kids, try the Avalanche Lake Trail. Or, the Fish Lake Trail for more experienced hikers. Of course, don’t forget to watch out for wild animals like mountain goats! When you’re done exploring, visit West Glacier Village for multiple dining options, shops, and even mini-golf.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Family Guide to Yosemite National Park

Where to Stay near Glacier National Park with Kids

Families looking for somewhere to stay near Glacier National Park have various options. Located directly inside the park, the Glacier Park Lodge is one of the most convenient accommodations for families. Want something more upscale? Book the luxury Prince Of Wales Hotel instead! There’s also the Belton Chalet, located outside the park’s West entrance. This is surely one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families!

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Mother and daughter stand in a field of flowers in front of mountains in the Grand Tetons.
Photo Courtesy: Kelly Studer

Grand Teton National Park is at its finest in the summer. Located in Teton County, Wyoming, it’s one of America’s oldest national parks, showcasing 3,000 lakes and ponds, more than 200 glaciers, and 300 miles of streams. Enjoy balmy temperatures of about 65-75 degrees in the summer months, perfect for taking a dip in the glittering Jenny Lake. Plus, from May to September, all activities and trails are available with extended hours!

Other activities include kayaking, canoeing, and paddling! Then, take a shuttle across the lake and hike to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls. Additional family-friendly hiking includes Leigh Lake and Hermitage Point. Along the way, look out for resident animals like moose, elk, bison, black bears, and cougars! If you’re looking for an Old West experience, be sure to try an adventure or covered wagon dinner with Bar T 5.

Research tours near Grand Teton National Park with Getyourguide.com here!

Where to Stay near Grand Teton National Park with Kids

Need family-friendly accommodations near Grand Tetons National Park? Try the Four Seasons Jackson Hole for a luxury stay in nearby Jackson. Or, consider the Jackson Lake Lodge for rooms with incredible views. For a luxury dude ranch experience, you can’t go wrong with Turpin Meadow Ranch. Families who would prefer to camp will love Colter Bay. Regardless of where you stay, you are sure to find Grand Teton National Park as one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the US for families.

RELATED ARTICLE: Ultimate Guide to Grand Tetons National Park with Kids

Ouray, Colorado

An aerial view of the Ouray downtown area, with a view of the mountains in the distance.
Photo Courtesy: Mike McBey

Located in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray has everything you want for a summer family vacation. As one of the most picturesque Colorado mountain towns, you can expect cooler temperatures of around 70 to 80 degrees. This is perfect weather for biking the Ridgeway Area Trail System to nearby Ridgeway!

Families can also drive the San Juan Skyway/Million Dollar Highway, a 235-mile loop through the San Juan Mountains. Or, you can take in the scenic views on foot and hike through the Ouray Perimeter Trail, a six-mile trail system accessible from multiple points in town. You don’t have to hike the whole thing, but even a few miles will reveal stunning waterfalls. Ouray is also a popular destination for off-roading due to its old mining roads, so book an ATV tour with Ride-N-Adventures. After a long day, cool down at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Fitness Center

Where to Stay in Ouray with Kids

Families looking for somewhere to stay in Ouray with kids often rent homes or cabins from Vrbo.

Aspen, Colorado

A mom holds her toddler, looking at her fondly, with a ice and snow covered lake and mountains in the background.
Photo Courtesy: Dalya Gershtein

No, Aspen isn’t just a winter wonderland – this Colorado mountain town is perfect for a summer escape too! Famous for its upscale resorts, high-end restaurants, and luxury boutiques, this Rocky Mountains destination averages temperatures of around 75-80 degrees.

In the summer, families can go white water rafting with local outfitters such as Rafting Aspen or Aspen White Water. Or, take advantage of the sunny weather and hike to the Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed spots in Colorado! The Crater Lake Trail, Maroon Creek Trail, and the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail all provide stunning views and aren’t too difficult for kids. More beautiful scenery awaits on the Independence Pass, a gorgeous drive that passes through the Continental Divide. For a birds-eye view over Aspen Mountain, families can also ride the Silver Queen Gondola. Once you’re done exploring, be sure to end your day in downtown Aspen! 

Where to Stay in Aspen with Kids

If you’re wondering where to stay in Aspen with kids, there are lots of options to choose from. When visiting in the summer, a lot of families like to stay near the hustle and bustle of downtown Aspen, near Aspen Mountain. One great option here is the St. Regis Aspen Resort, which is near the Aspen Mountain gondolas and has a heated outdoor pool. You can also try The Little Nell or Hotel Jerome, also located at the foot of Aspen Mountain. Limelight Hotel is also within walking distance of Aspen Mountain and downtown Aspen. 

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 

A young boy runs along a gravel trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, with large pines flanking both sides of the trail.
Photo Courtesy: Sarah Einhorn

Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular summer destination for visitors who thrive on outdoor activities. Located in the Front Range between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake, it spans the Continental Divide, encompassing protected mountains, forests, and alpine tundra. Reaching around 70-80 degrees in the summer, it’s also home to abundant wildlife including elk, moose, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and deer.

Families can see some of these incredible animals on scenic drives like Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road, passing through trees, rivers, and alpine wildflowers with amazing views of the Rockies. Or, explore the park on foot by hiking. Younger kids can trek the Bear Lake Trail, the Alberta Falls Trail, and the Lily Lake Loop. Intermediate hikers can try the 2-mile Dream Lake Trail or the 3.8-mile Emerald Lake Loop. Ask about the Junior Ranger Program so kids can earn a badge!  

Pro Tip: Summer is a popular time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. Arrive early to find parking to give your family the best chance of exploring one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the US for families!

Where to Stay near Rocky Mountain National Park with Kids

Families looking for somewhere to stay near Rocky Mountain National Park with kids can try The Stanley Hotel, an RV park, or book various cabin rentals in the area. 

Best Cool-Weather Summer Destinations on the West Coast for Families

Your next summer vacation could be to the sunny West Coast! Though some cities here can get quite hot in the summer, several destinations boast cooler temperatures, from San Francisco to the San Juan Islands. Here are some of our favorite cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families! 

San Francisco, California

A young boy wearing headphones enjoys a view of the San Francisco Bay with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
Photo Courtesy: Kim Burns

A visit to San Francisco promises families adventure, sightseeing, and summer fun! Temperatures average around 65-70 degrees, with tepid afternoons and cool nights.

Explore Golden Gate Park, stopping by the Japanese Tea Gardens or Botanical Gardens to enjoy the weather. On a sunny day, families can even stop by Stowe Lake to rent boats and marvel at the cascading waterfall. Alternatively, head outside the city to Angel Island for hiking, kayaking, and more. Adventurous families can also take a self-guided bike tour through neighborhoods like Haight-Ashbury. Head down to Fisherman’s Warf to rent a bike and ride along the bay. Or, head to Pier 39 to see the famous sea lions! Kids will love riding the carousel, playing arcade games, and eating sweet treats. From here, families can also embark on a bay cruise, where you’ll sail past landmarks like Alcatraz!

Research recommended tours of San Francisco here with Getyourguide.com!

Where to Stay in San Francisco with Kids

Need somewhere to stay in San Francisco with kids? To stay by the water, book a room at the Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco, Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman´s Wharf, or the Suites at Fisherman’s Wharf. Kids will love riding up the glass elevators at The Westin St. Francis San Francisco! In Nob Hill, there are famous hotels like The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, and Hotel Fairmont San Francisco. In the trendy Yerba Buena and downtown area, guests can stay at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Palace Hotel, and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Funky families will love the fun Hotel Del Sol!

For more suggestions, check out our list of the Best Family Hotels in San Francisco (With Great Options for Large Families & Pools)!

San Juan Islands, Washington

A lone lighthouse stands amongst tall grasses on San Juan Islands in Washington.
Photo Courtesy: Bureau of Land Management

When summer arrives, you want to get out of the city and breathe. A weekend in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, only two and a half hours from urban Seattle, will be an affordable and eye-opening experience.  Although on the border near Canada, you don’t need a passport to enter a different world of “island time.” As one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the US for families, this is the perfect time for families to unplug and learn in nature’s classroom.

Children can see real skeletons and find out about marine mammals at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor and then go look for them in the wild. The San Juan Islands are one of the best places in the world to whale watch for orca, minke, and humpback whales, like Lime Kiln Point State Park on the west side of San Juan Island. Ideal for anyone who loves spending time outside, the temperate climate may require only an extra waterproof layer stuffed in a backpack or around the waist while hiking through towering evergreens, the fresh scent of fir and cedar on the breeze. In fact, you can expect mild summer temperatures of around 65 to 75 degrees.

If aquatic adventure appeals, experience Washington’s coastal wildlife and scenery from a spectacular sea-level perspective: a kayak. Paddling your way around the breathtaking shorelines of Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan Island is a classic San Juan adventure and a rare opportunity to become a respectful part of the marine ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to take the San Juan Islands Pledge and treat the Islands as they would their own backyards – with kindness and care.

Look here for some highly rated whale watching tours through Viator!

Where to Stay on the San Juan Islands with Kids

The San Juan Islands offer a variety of accommodations for families. On Orcas Island, you can book a stay at luxury seaside resorts like the West Beach Resort, Inn at Ship Bay, or the Orcas Hotel. On San Juan Island, families can stay at the Snug Harbor Resort or the Friday Harbor House. Travelers vacationing on the San Juan Islands often opt to rent homes from VRBO or AirB&B as well. 

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Three kids stand near one another on the beach with a large rock formation behind them at Cannon Beach in Oregon.
Photo Courtesy: Tiffany Mendoza Pontesso

Cannon Beach is a tiny town on the Oregon coast that’s perfect for families. Located 90 minutes from Portland, this seaside community is certainly one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families! Temperatures range from around 65-70 degrees, ideal if you love the beach but not the heat.

First, visit Cannon Beach’s most famous landmark, Haystack Rock. At low tide, you can walk right up to it and see colorful sea stars in the water! Your kids will love peering into the many tidepools dotting the coastline and spotting a variety of marine life. Plus, unlike much of the northwest coastline, Cannon Beach is wide with sand. Watch the surfers catching waves, or wait until sunset to walk along the beachfront boardwalk. To explore more of the Oregon Coast, check out nearby Seaside or stop at Ecola State Park for the scenic trails and overlooks. 

Check out our article on Best Things To Do In Portland with Kids.

Check out these highly-rated tours of Cannon Beach with Viator!

Where to Stay in Cannon Beach with Kids

Families looking for somewhere to stay in Cannon Beach have many options to consider. Some visitors prefer to rent homes through VRBO or AirB&B, whether on the beach otherwise. If you’d prefer the comforts of a luxury hotel, book a room at the Hallmark Resort. Cannon Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S. for families, awaits you! Use Travelocity or Expedia to book your stay today!

Seattle, Washington

A young boy looks at a dinosaur exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo.
Photo Courtesy: Edith Arteaga-Medina

Seattle is the perfect destination for a cool-weather family vacation. It’s typically in the 60s or 70s during summer, with lots of sunshine and very little rain. No wonder this is a popular choice amongst the best cool-weather summer destinations in the US for families. Bustling with art galleries, live music, and outdoor adventures like kayaking or biking, you’ll also find plenty to do as a family here.

To explore the city, head to Lower Queen Anne to visit the Seattle Center with the Museum of Pop Culture, stop at the Space Needle, and ride the historic monorail from downtown Seattle. Of course, don’t forget to stop at Pike Place Market for delicious food! Families can enjoy a stunning sunset among the greenery at Golden Gardens Park or head outside of Seattle for more nature. Go hiking in Olympic National Park or head east to Mount Rainer National Park. Families can also take a ferry to Bainbridge Island, only a scenic, 45-minute boat ride away. Also, read 6 Best Things to Do In Seattle For Families.

Book your Seattle tours through Viator now!

Where to Stay in Seattle with Kids

​​Wondering where to stay in Seattle with kids? Fairmont Olympic Hotel – Seattle has a wonderful location. Plus, they offer babysitting services, as well as other amenities like kids’ menus and children’s bathrobes. Then, the Sheraton Grand Seattle offers standard rooms and suites, as well as a pool and fitness center. The Hyatt At Olive 8, Silver Cloud Hotel – Seattle Stadium, and the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle are also great options. Or, check sites like VRBO or Airbnb for home rentals!

For more Seattle hotel suggestions, read our list of the Best Hotels In Seattle For Families (Including Pools Or Kitchenettes)

Best Cool-Weather Summer Destinations in Alaska for Families

A visit to Alaska guarantees a cool summer! As the warmest time of year to visit this notoriously freezing state, June, July, or August are the ideal months to see everything Alaska has to offer. Keep reading to learn more about the best cool-weather summer destinations in the United States for families! 

Denali National Park, Alaska

Boy in Denali National Park standing at the edge of the water in one of the best cool-weather destinations in the US for families.
Photo Courtesy: Anonymous

In Alaska, animals roam free and without fear. Denali National Park is home to bison, moose, woodlands caribou, and more! During the warmer months, temperatures may be a little hard to predict, but usually reach around 50-75 degrees with extremely cool nights.

Located in the Alaskan Wilderness, just a few miles away from the Denali Highway, Denali National Park covers over 6 million acres and includes Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. Most of the hiking trails begin at the park entrance, like the Horseshoe Lake Trail, which is two miles round-trip. Watch for trees gnawed by beavers, and at the end, spot the beaver dams! You can also visit the Denali Visitor Center, white-water raft in Canyon Run, and spend time with Alaskan huskies at the kennel. Up for a real rugged adventure? Take the Denali Backcountry Adventure tour! Buses make frequent stops over a thirteen-hour period. 

Pro Tip: Remember there’s just one crowded road in the park, so opt for the shuttle bus to get around instead. Plus, the park doesn’t fully open until June 8, so plan accordingly.

Reserve your tours in Denali National Park here through Getyourguide.com!

Where to Stay near Denali National Park with Kids

For somewhere to stay near Denali National Park with kids, try the McKinley Chalet Resort, Tonglen Lake Lodge, and Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. A lot of families visiting here also choose to go camping. If you do camp, be sure to bring mosquito repellant, bear spray, and know how to protect your camp from curious resident animals. 

Anchorage, Alaska

A mother and son tandem kayak along Eklutna, with mountains in the distance, near Anchorage.
Photo Courtesy: Visit Anchorage

Anchorage is a summer hub for families who want to escape the heat. With average temperatures from around 44-64 degrees, this stunning Alaskan city offers a variety of outdoor and indoor things to do, from hiking to fishing, museum-hopping, and more.

In downtown Anchorage, families can stroll by various shops and restaurants, visit the Anchorage Museum, or ride the trolley. Rent a bike to ride the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail along the shoreside or soar through the treetops on the Alyeska Aerial Tram. To immerse yourself in nature, travel slightly outside of Anchorage to find the best hikes in Alaska for families. We recommend the Eagle River Nature Center, Potter’s Marsh Boardwalk, Byron Glacier Trail, or Powerline Pass. Another popular spot to visit near Anchorage is Reflection Lake, great for hiking and fishing. Or, take a trip to Chugach National Forest for beautiful views, camping, and fascinating wildlife. 

Look here for the most highly rated tours near Anchorage with Viator!

Where to Stay in Anchorage with Kids

Where you stay in Anchorage as a family will ultimately depend on the vacation you want. In Girdwood near Anchorage, you’ll find the family-favorite Alyeska Resort & Hotel Alyeska, a luxury mountaintop destination with a spa, saltwater pool, and more kid-friendly amenities. If you’d prefer to stay in the heart of downtown Anchorage, consider the Crown Plaza Anchorage or the Sheraton Anchorage. No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll love your time in one of the best cool-weather summer destinations in the US for families.

Happy Travels!

A young girl wearing a life jacket smiles as she sails along Lake Superior in a schooner, off-shore from Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Photo Courtesy: Antonia Grant
Grand Marais, Minnesota

We hope you liked this list of the Best Cool-Weather Summer Destinations In The United States For Families! From Vermont to California, there are endless ways to keep your family happy without the heat. Enjoy your summer vacation with your kids in some of the best cool-weather destinations in the US for families!

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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Families Love Travel Team

The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.