Time for Summer Vacay! 10 Best Places to Visit in July

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Laguna Beach in Orange County, California, a great place to visit in july

With the kids out of school and summer weather at its sunny peak, July is one of the most popular months for travel. Top spots include coastal beach towns, mountain resorts and big cities celebrating the Fourth of July with parades and fireworks shows.

So, where are the best places to travel in July? Here are 10 fantastic options from all corners of the globe to put on your summer vacation wish list.

Great Park Balloon at Orange County Great Park, a top vacation spot for July
Take in the views on the Great Park Balloon at Orange County Great Park. Photo credit: Orange County Great Park

1. Orange County, California

Southern California is known for its world-class beaches. But the beach is just one of the amazing things you can do in Orange County! From theme parks to museums to baseball games to water sports, the OC is the place to be in July.

July is peak season in Orange County, and the weather is perfect for enjoying the outdoors and the many family-friendly attractions. June Gloom – Southern California’s infamous cool, cloudy weather that arrives every year in late spring/early summer – is gone, replaced by sunshine, warm temperatures and cool ocean breezes.

There are more than 40 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline in Orange County, boasting a number of boardwalks, piers and endless white sand. Popular beaches include Newport Beach, San Clemente, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar.

Fun Things to Do in Orange County in July

  • Spend a day at the beach
  • Visit the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, one of Orange County’s oldest great coastal amusement areas
  • Take in the views onboard the Great Park Balloon in the Orange County Great Park in Irvine
  • Ride the coasters at Knotts Berry Farm
  • Go to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure
  • Take a hike in the Santa Ana Mountains
  • Explore the many cafes and art galleries in Laguna Beach
  • Go boating, snorkeling or kayaking
  • Take a day trip to Catalina Island
Santorini black sand beach, a great place to visit in July
Relax on the black sand beach in Santorini. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist

2. Santorini, Greece

If Santorini, Greece is on your bucket list, July is the quintessential time to visit this stunning Greek Island. Spend time relaxing on the beach and swimming in the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Santorini is one of the most popular destinations in Europe in July.

Santorini comes alive during the summer months. The weather is warm, the beaches are hopping and the highlight of each day is the stunning sunset sinking into the water. Book a sunset cruise or dinner reservation in Oia overlooking the sea for the best views.

Fun Things to Do in Greece in July

  • Tour the ancient city of Akrotiri
  • Visit the Santorini Wine Museum
  • Spend time shopping and dining in Oia
  • Take a sunset cruise
New York City skyline during the day
New York City skyline from FDR Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island. Photo credit: Judy Antell

3. New York City

July is a great time of year to check out the biggest city in America. NYC heats up during the month of July, so spend time on the water cruising to the Statue of Liberty or head to the Bronx Zoo or a ballgame at Yankee Stadium. If it gets too hot, beat the heat with a visit to one of New York City’s many world-class museums or theaters.

Perhaps the best thing to do in New York in July is catch the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show. This annual event features multiple musical performances and of course a spectacular fireworks show over the East River!

SheBuysTravel Tip: Save money on your NYC visit with a CityPASS. Even better: It allows you to skip the long admission lines!

Fun Things to Do in New York in July

Coopers Beach, one of the best beaches near NYC
Cooper’s Beach is one of the best beaches on Long Island. Photo credit: Discover Long Island

4. Long Island, New York

Adjacent to New York City but worthy of a mention of its own for best places to visit in July is Long Island.

With some of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast, July is the perfect time to visit Long Island for a relaxing getaway. Stretching more than 100 miles from New York City to Montauk Point, Long Island’s south shore is lined with white sand beaches, quaint small towns, marinas and great restaurants.

On the east end of Long Island, the Hamptons are known as the premier beach getaway destination. It is a hotspot for New Yorkers looking to get away from the city in the summertime. The Hamptons are famous for beautiful beaches, upscale hotels and restaurants, nightlife and shopping.

If you are visiting Long Island over Independence Day, you’ll find many parades and fireworks shows happening in various towns. Two of the most popular fireworks displays take place at Jones Beach in Nassau County, and further east in Southampton.

Fun Things to Do on Long Island in July

  • Climb to the top of the Montauk Lighthouse in Montauk Point State Park
  • Spend a day at Cooper’s Beach in the Hamptons
  • Go wine tasting at one of the many wineries on the east end
  • Visit the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum
  • See a concert at the Jones Beach Amphitheater
  • Watch a fireworks show at the beach
  • Take the kids to Splish Splash Water Park
Buffalo at Yellowstone National Park.
Buffalo grazing at Yellowstone National Park. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist

5. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA, and July is the most popular time of year to visit Yellowstone. Although it may be busy, the weather is at its warmest, ideal for hiking, biking, spotting wildlife and checking out Old Faithful and the many other geysers throughout the park.

The park covers more than 3,400 square miles, spread across northwestern Wyoming and parts of southern Montana and eastern Idaho. If you plan on camping or staying at one of the lodges inside the park, be sure to make reservations way in advance!

Fun Things to Do at Yellowstone National Park in July

  • Go hiking
  • Watch Old Faithful and other geysers erupt
  • See giant, colorful hot springs
  • Take a kayaking excursion on Yellowstone Lake
  • Explore Yellowstone on horseback
  • Go river rafting
  • Go camping

6. Charleston, South Carolina

One of the most historic destinations in the south, Charleston, South Carolina is a big city with a charming small town feel. It is a wonderful destination to visit during the month of July! Experience great food, southern hospitality, and an array of interesting attractions on a getaway to South Carolina.

The weather in July is great for being outdoors. You can explore the old streets and historic buildings. There are a number of walking tours that will take you around to all the city’s highlights.

Fun Things to Do in Charleston in July

Telluride, Colorado Gondola Ride
The towns of Telluride and Mountain Village are linked by a spectacular, 13-minute ride on a free gondola—the first and only free public transportation system of its kind in the United States. Photo credit: Telluride Tourism Board

7. Telluride, Colorado

Once the snow has melted in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado becomes a summer oasis. One of the most beautiful places to visit in Colorado in July is Telluride.

Just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long, Telluride sits at 8,750 feet above sea level and has been designated a National Historic Landmark District. A popular ski destination in the winter, Telluride in July offers 360-degree views of peaks and mountains.

The area is perfect for hiking, biking, fishing, camping and enjoying the natural hot springs.

From Telluride, you can easily take a quick road trip to spend a day at Arches National Park, located about two hours to the west just outside of Moab, Utah.

The summer season also brings live music festivals, with the annual Ride Festival happening in July. Telluride Art & Architecture Week and the Americana Music Festival also happen in July.

Fun Things to Do in Telluride in July

  • Take a day trip to Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park
  • Ride the free gondola from Telluride to Mountain Village
  • Go mountain biking
  • Hike to Ajax Peak or choose from countless other hiking trails
  • Go zip-lining or repelling at Telluride Canopy Adventure
  • See Bridal Veil Falls, the highest waterfall in Colorado
  • Visit Dunton Hot Springs, an 1800s ghost town
Kejimkujik national seashore in Nova Scotia
Cormorants and seals warm on the rocks at Kejimkujik, a stunning national seashore – but it still feels like the beginning of time. Photo credit: Christine Tibbett

8. Nova Scotia, Canada

Though it is one of the coldest spots in North America during the winter months, Nova Scotia in the summertime is a delight, with warm weather and very little rain.

Warm temperatures are ideal for spending time near the ocean or enjoying outdoor activities inland.

Popular activities in July include hiking, biking, taking a boat tour and kayaking along the rugged Canadian coastline.

Fun Things to Do in Nova Scotia in July

  • Eat lobster – Nova Scotia is famous for it!
  • Take a boat tour with Salty Dog Tours
  • Visit the Halifax Public Gardens
  • Go hiking or camping at Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Stroll along the Halifax waterfront
  • Wander Old Town Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Take a whale watching cruise
  • Visit the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
Lake Tahoe Kayaking
Kayaking on the lake with Clearly Tahoe’s transparent kayaks is definitely a memorable experience. Photo credit: Margot Black

9. Lake Tahoe, California

Located on the border of California and Nevada in in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is a beautiful destination to visit in July. In the winter, it is a popular ski destination, but when the snow melts, it’s time to trade in your snowboards for paddleboards.

Temperatures range from the 60s to the 80s, making for warm days and cool, cozy nights. There are numerous activities to enjoy in Lake Tahoe, including hiking, golf, lounging on the beach and endless activities on the water.

Lake Tahoe is just 45 minutes south of Reno, so nightlife and gaming options are a short drive away.

Fun Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in July

  • Take a tour of Vikingsholm Castle
  • Spend long days in the sun at Baldwin Beach
  • Take a hike at Eagle Falls and Lake
  • Take a day trip to Yellowstone National Park
  • Visit Tallac Historic Site
  • Play a round at one of Lake Tahoe’s four golf courses
  • Go hiking, fishing, boating or biking
  • Take a sightseeing cruise
  • Gamble at one of Lake Tahoe’s casinos
  • Take a day trip to Reno
  • Go zip-lining, summer tubing or ride the gondola at Heavenly Mountain Resort
Seattle, Washington skyline
View of the Seattle skyline. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist

10. Seattle, Washington

Though it is known for its rainy weather, July is typically dry and sunny in Seattle, making this the perfect time of year to visit.

Some of the must-visit attractions in Seattle include Pike’s Place Market and Pioneer Square, and of course the iconic Space Needle.

Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park are also within a half-day drive of this west coast city.

Fun Things to Do in Seattle in July

Gwen Kleist is an award-winning travel writer and author based in Southern California. She is the mother of one very active son who shares her love of travel and adventure. She is the owner and publisher of CaliforniaFamilyTravel.com, a family travel blog dedicated to sharing the best destinations and experiences in California and beyond! Her articles have also appeared in San Diego Family Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Cat Fancy, Huntington Beach Magazine, and she was a contributing author to Explorer Publishing’s guidebook, Los Angeles: The Complete Resident’s Guide.
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