9 Summer Vacation Ideas

For singles, couples, and families


MAY 17, 2021

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As people continue to get vaccinated and the CDC updates its travel guidelines, responsible travel is again on the docket. Whether you’ve ventured out close to home or you’ve had a year-plus long staycation, you’re probably itching to explore new horizons. Here are a few of the best summer vacation ideas, regardless if you’re embarking on a solo road trip, catching a plane for a family vacation, or driving to the next state for a romantic couple’s getaway. These spots will cure any wanderlust, and they’re all located throughout the United States. Just check your planned destination for any COVID-19 restrictions or rules, and continue to follow proper CDC protocols to ensure your health and the safety of others as you enjoy a little time away from home.

Travel ideas for the solo adventurer

Ever been to the South or the West? Even if you haven’t ventured into these spaces, here are three adventures that allow you to dip your toes in the Pacific or Atlantic oceans.

Charleston, South Carolina

If you’ve never set foot in the Lowcountry, you’re in for a real treat. In addition to its legendary Southern hospitality, the “Holy City” is sparkling clean with world-class restaurants and Insta-worthy views. Go for a stroll along The Battery, a seawall promenade from which you can view historic Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, and historic homes with broad, beautiful porches. Snap a selfie along Rainbow Row with its cobblestone street and sherbet-colored homes. Or venture across the Ravenel Bridge for a short trip to Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island for some beach-time fun in these quaint communities.

Pacific Coast Highway, California

Love to drive? Rent a ride and plan a week-long vacay of delicious twists, turns, and tide pools along California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Start your Highway One adventure in L.A., and carefully plan your pit stops. Places like Big Sur with craggy rocks and a roaring Pacific Ocean, San Francisco’s Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the redwoods of Muir Forest showcase some of the best views America has to offer. Check out more planning tips from Practical Wanderlust.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Where can you find dive bars with exceptional food, thick-trunked oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and a troupe of musicians blaring horns on any given corner? Book a stay at a funky B&B or one of the city’s many luxury hotels, and experience the food, drinks, and joie de vivre of the Big Easy. Sure, you can traipse down touristy Bourbon Street, but if you’re staying in the French Quarter, make the trek over to Frenchman Street in the Marigny for some serious jazz. A short streetcar ride away, Magazine Street offers world-class antiques and shops.

Family summer vacation ideas

Whether you choose to fly with your toddler or road trip with your teens and tweens, these kid-friendly trip ideas offer exhilarating sights and exciting opportunities. Take tours, go on horseback rides, play rounds of mini golf, book a whitewater rafting trip, or spend the day at a waterpark. Each of these summer vacations allows you to customize your own adventures.

National Parks road trip

Depending on the ages of your family — and the amount of free time you have this summer — look toward America’s National Parks service. From the fountain-like geysers of Yellowstone and the striated canyons of Zion National Park to the rainforests and beaches of Olympic National Park and the roaring falls tucked into the Great Smoky Mountains, there’s plenty to see and do. While the bigger-name parks tend to get more foot traffic, particularly in summer, there are more than 400 National Parks sites under the National Parks System umbrella. Most sites offer a Junior Ranger program, which includes hands-on activities for even the smallest visitors.

You may want to skip the lines at the Grand Canyon or Redwood National Park in favor of the swamps of South Carolina’s Congaree National Park or Texas’ Big Bend, with its mountains and canyons, hot springs, and Rio Grande River. No matter where you go, choose your own level of adventure by renting an RV, trying a tent, or booking a nearby hotel.

Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket

Only a short drive from Boston, the Cape Cod peninsula is ripe for exploration. Visit the Woods Hole Science Aquarium in Falmouth, pick up lobster rolls in Provincetown, spend an afternoon on Nauset Light Beach, or grab some ice cream in Hyannis, hometown of the Kennedy compound. Take a day to hop over to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket via ferry, and explore the quaint islands on bikes. If you visit Nantucket, make sure the kids throw pennies overboard when the ferry departs Nantucket harbor near Brant Point lighthouse. Local lore holds that tossing a penny into the water ensures your return to the island community.

Florida Keys

Aquatic adventures abound on the southern tip of the Sunshine State. While taking a photo at the Southernmost Point marker in Key West is a must on every bucket list, get to know the history of the keys, too. Little kids can pet the sharks at Key West’s aquarium, and everyone in the family can enjoy a chilled slice of key lime pie. Break out the snorkels in Islamorada or Key Largo to view colorful fish and stunning reefs. See dolphins up close and personal at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key. For a more rustic experience, book an overnight at one of the many campgrounds (or elevate your stay in a glamping site). Or check out a family-friendly resort, which offers everything from dolphin encounters to jet ski rentals.

Trips for two

Book a romantic stay at a quaint Northeastern inn, get your fill of tropical paradise, or make the trek into the City That Never Sleeps with a spouse or partner.

Newport, Rhode Island

Reserve a hotel room or suite in a historic Newport, Rhode Island hotel. Recharge and reconnect with your partner surrounded by luxurious accommodations and couples’-oriented activities. The historic 1920s Hotel Viking offers touches of the Gilded Age, while the Victorian-era Cliffside Inn bed and breakfast affords exquisite views of Newport’s Cliff Walk. Go for a drive or a trolley tour around town to view some of the opulent mansions, like The Breakers, Rosecliff, and Marble House. Take an evening stroll along the shore, or catch a play at one of the town’s theaters.


The allure of the islands makes it a perfect place for those seeking adventure and romance. You can’t go wrong in Hawaii, no matter which island you choose to explore with your significant other. Learn to surf on Oahu’s Waikiki Beach. Book a stay in a luxurious Wailea resort on Maui, and enjoy all the spa amenities and couples massage menu. Hit the links on the Island of Hawaii’s Kohala Coast, or make the hike to Haleakala Crater to catch the spectacular sunrise. For an exhilarating outing, be sure to hitch a ride on a helicopter to get a bird’s-eye view of magnificent volcanoes, pristine rainforests, and plunging waterfalls.

New York City, New York

You could take a rowboat out in Central Park, catch a Broadway show, or amble through The Met or the Guggenheim. Or, with so many options in the city and outer boroughs, you can let your imagination run wild. Wander the leafy neighborhood blocks of Brooklyn. Stroll the lush gardens of The Met Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. Relive your childhood on Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel, or grab a drink at a cozy haunt like Gallow Green perched atop the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea. Look for an AirBnB in the city, or splurge on a lavishly appointed room at The Pierre, Gramercy Park Hotel, or The Greenwich Hotel.

There are many summer vacation ideas to explore in the United States. Enjoy your time away with the peace of mind your home security system provides. Visit the Brinks Home™ Smart Center for tips on home security while you’re on vacation, protecting your home from burglary, and using smart lighting and thermostats.

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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