Top Locations for Summer Fun

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Crater Lake - Discovery Point

Crater Lake – Discovery Point (Photo credit: Odalaigh)

Mid-July is the hottest time of the year. If you are sitting in your apartment in front of the air conditioner waiting for those cool September breezes, don’t let the summer pass you by! It may be hot, but here are some of the best places to cool off:

The Best Water Slide – The top honor goes to Aquatica SeaWorld in San Antonio. This park is home to something called the Walhalla Wave, a crazy-looking striped water slide with a zero-gravity wall. While it may look like an illustration straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, this wild ride combines waves of water with a feeling of weightlessness – guaranteed to leave you giddy. So what are you waiting for? Today is your day – your mountain (um, water slide) is waiting, so get on your way.

The Best Whitewater Rafting – Of course, the Colorado River as it winds through the Grand Canyon is the best whitewater rafting around. Soaring canyon walls, hidden waterfalls, spectacular sunsets, ancient Anasazi ruins, and rushing waters guaranteed to take you on an exhilarating summer adventure — this truly is the trip of a lifetime.

Snowcapped peaks are a backdrop to many Puget ...

Snowcapped peaks are a backdrop to many Puget Sound scenes; here Mount Rainier is seen from Gig Harbor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) 

The Best Place for BoatingSeattle, Washington is beautiful – soaring mountains and emerald green rolling hills. The boating in Seattle is unlike anywhere else – you’re surrounded by the Olympia and Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound is stunning. There’s also Lake Washington and Lake Union to explore. If you don’t own your own yacht, there are several boat tours to choose from – from whale watching to fishing to exploring a Native American village at Blake Island State Park.

The Best Waterfall – DeSoto Falls, part of DeSoto State Park in Alabama, is a gorgeous sight. It is located about six miles from the main park, which includes a campground. About 10 miles from DeSoto State Park you’ll find another waterfall – Little River Falls, which flows into the Little River Canyon. Both are well worth the trip. In addition to developed campgrounds, backcountry campsites are available. Other park activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and mountain biking.

Havasu Falls

The Best Waterfall with Swimming Hole – Back to the Grand Canyon for this one – Havasu Falls is spectacular. The swimming hole is a vivid blue, while the waterfall tumbles down a sheer cliff. About a mile from Havasu Falls is another great waterfall and swimming hole – Mooney Falls. These two must-see falls are well worth the hike – or the horseback ride.

The Best Beach – According to Dr. Beach, the best beach in the US for 2013 is Main Beach in East Hampton, New York. The Hamptons have long been associated with the rich and famous, and Main Beach is no exception. Even though Hurricane Sandy tore through and left some scars, the beach has recovered to the point where it has been named the best beach in the country. This beach features a pavilion that offers food and drinks, as well as lockers for beachgoers.

The Best Lake – Crater Lake is located about 80 miles northeast of Medford in Klamath County, Oregon. If it is too hot where you are now, the weather at Crater Lake may appeal to you – there are sometimes snowstorms in August. Crater Lake is surrounded by sheer cliffs – some nearly 2,000 feet high. It is the deepest lake in the US and one of the 10 deepest lakes in the world with a depth of 1,943 feet. In the summer, visitors can go hiking, take a boat tour, camp, and go fishing or swimming.

Snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The Best Snorkeling (East Coast) – If you have a chance to get to Key Largo, Florida, you’ll experience some amazing underwater adventures. Key Largo is home to a unique state park – unique because it is under water. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the nation’s first undersea park. It covers about 70 nautical square miles and contains some spectacular reefs, tropical fish, and even the remnants of an early Spanish shipwreck. The park includes a campground and a swimming beach.

The Best Snorkeling (West Coast) – Catalina Island, located off the shore of Southern California roughly 22 miles from Los Angeles, is only accessible by boat or helicopter. There is a city and an unincorporated town located on the island, so hotels and vacation rentals are available. In addition to snorkeling in crystal clear waters and enjoying spectacular marine life, the island is home to casinos, restaurants, shops, spas, and more.

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