Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
10 coolest places to beat the heat this summer
Chilling out at some of the nation’s most refreshing spots
During summer’s nasty heat waves, it’s easy to sprawl out on the cold tile floor, facing the AC unit, promising you’ll never step foot outside until the mercury starts to drop. But what’s the fun in that? The essence of summer involves finding fun and innovative ways to keep from melting, whether that’s turning on the sprinklers or sipping on something frigid in cool summer vacation spots.
This season, don’t let yourself wither away when the weather gets toasty. Instead, stay cool this summer with our list of refreshing places that will keep the sweat at bay. Broken down by water parks, ice cream parlors, breweries, and juice bars, these sweet spots have the cool factor in more ways than one.
Come on in, the water’s fine
Jolly Roger Amusement Parks: Ocean City, Maryland
As if the refreshing stretch of waves along Ocean City’s Atlantic coastline wasn’t enough to cool you down, Jolly Roger Amusement Park has two locations on the inlet! Take a break from the heat of the sand with a visit to Jolly Roger at the Pier—the wind flying through your hair on Looping Star Roller Coaster is sure to lower your temperature. Better yet, cannonball into Splash Mountain Water Park at 30th street for the coolest vibes around. Between the swings and water slides, you’ll hardly even notice that scorching summer sun.
The warmer months are on their way, and so are the crowds, so book your mid-Atlantic vacation sooner than later. A stay at Commander Hotel, a family-friendly resort, is a great place to start your summer jaunt, or consider Dunes Manor, the only oceanfront Victorian-style hotel in town.
Mountain Creek Resort: Vernon, New Jersey
Find respite from the sun’s rays at Mountain Creek, where you can spend all day splashing in the water. Peacefully float down the Lost Island River or brave the white water rapids ride. Bombs Away is a ridiculously crazy water slide that spits you out into an 18-foot free fall, and the H2-Oh-No! slide takes a 99-foot plunge toward the water below. When you jump from 23 feet in the air off the Canyon Cliffs, the sizzling temperatures will be the last thing on your mind.
Big Surf Waterpark: Tempe, Arizona
So many waterparks brag about their wave pools, but few offer waves big enough for surfing and boogie boarding. At Big Surf Waterpark, you can forget about driving 5 hours west to the nearest ocean, and instead you can shred the waves at the Waikiki Beach Wave Pool, where 2.5 million gallons of water slosh around to epic proportions. This water wonderland also hosts a ton of water slides, from the pitch-black tube tunnel to the twisty White Serpentine. Make a splash at Big Surf and you won’t care how high the mercury rises.
I scream, you scream
Browndog: Farmington, Michigan
Can’t decide between a scoop of ice cream and a frothy beer? You don’t have to at Browndog Creamery, an ice cream parlor with a liquor license (a barlor!) that serves frozen treats for the big kids—that is, those 21 and older. The micro-creamery specializes in beer floats made with craft cocktails and artisan ice cream, though alcohol-infused deserts make the cut, too, like stout-blended ice cream and German cake with whiskey. But with non-alcoholic ice cream choices, like mint cookies ’n’ cream and cherry chocolate chipotle, you just may fall in drunk love, without even getting tipsy.
Coolhaus: Culver City, California
On a hot summer’s day, an ice cream sandwich makes a perfectly acceptable lunch, and the co-founders behind Coolhaus would be the first to agree. However, don’t expect to go the traditional vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafer route at this scoop shop—the unique flavors go beyond your frostiest dreams. Avocado sea salt; balsamic fig and mascarpone; and brown butter candied bacon are just a few of the creams you can pair with your choice of cookie casings, such as coffee cake whoopie pie; coconut almond chip; and snickerdoodle candy corn. Better yet, you can flag down their ice cream truck in Los Angeles, New York City, and Dallas, too.
Knock back a cold one
Whetstone Station Bier Garten: Brattleboro, Vermont
At Whetstone Station Bier Garten, let a crisp, cold beer be the remedy to the sweltering summer heat. The brewery’s own Galactic Vienna pale ale and Whetstoner session IPA pair perfectly with the breezy rooftop vibes, overlooking the Connecticut River. Find a spot in the shade and keep your cool as you sample summer-inspired guest brews on tap, like the Sip of Sunshine IPA and Aloha Friday cider.
Great Northern Brewing: Whitefish, Montana
If there’s only one thing that gets you outside of the house during a heat wave, let it be Great Northern Brewing. As soon as the chilled mountain brew hits your lips, you’ll forget about those scorching temperatures. A citrusy splash of the Going to the Sun IPA and a dose of the Good Medicine red ale will do the trick, which leaves the only thing left to do is to drink up the views of the mountain range from the upstairs bar. At three stories high, the brewery is the tallest building in town, so make sure to appreciate the best seats in Whitefish!
Lumpy Ridge Brewing Company: Estes Park, Colorado
Don’t let the quirky gas station exterior deter you from this summertime haven, where the taps are eagerly awaiting to pour you something to combat the summer fervor. Take a hearty swig of the Dark Earth Ale and chill out with some Sunlion Wheat, and you’ll be feeling as refreshed as the day is long. After cooling down and imbibing indoors, surrounded by mural artwork, take your flights to the outdoor patio, where the mountain views are so striking they just may sober you up.
Get more than just vitamin D
Peeled: Chicago, Illinois
All that’s cool and refreshing doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. At Chicago’s Peeled Juice Bar, you’ll find nutritional goodness packed in flavorful bursts of icy smoothies and juices that keep you from melting from the blazing summer temps. The Blue Magic smoothie is crammed with berries, mango, banana, and pineapple, while the Hot Pink juice pops with beet, pineapple, ginger, and lemon. This healthy joint even serves bubbly strawberry basil, lavender, and grapefruit kombucha to ward off heat stroke.
Raw & Juicy: Seaside, Florida
You’ll find cool vibes and even cooler juices at Raw & Juicy, an organic raw food, juice bar that’s taken over a vintage Airstream. Parked along the corner of County Highway 30A and Central Square, this silver trailer with the black and white awning is the place to be when it’s hotter than Dante’s inferno outside. Beat the heat with a frosty smoothie like the strawberry and banana Pink Panther or a pineapple, ginger, and apple Zippy Hula juice.
What are your favorite cool places to vacation when the temperatures are high?
Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.