Let’s Get Out of Here: 8 Cool Summer Getaways Within Reach
Summer in the city can be paradise: barbecues in the park, rooftop parties with friends, outdoor dinners that linger late into the evening. But there are those days when all you find are sweaty subway stations, locked rooftop doors, and a wheezing old window unit.
If your apartment feels closer to an oven than a habitable space, consider that your cue to get out of town. Not interested in a long drive? These eight cool summer getaways are a world apart from the city, but just a quick jaunt away. So pack a (small) bag and hit the (short) road.
POINT REYES STATION, CA
Say goodbye to the Bay. Once you’ve bid the Golden Gate adieu, it’s but a quick trip through Marin County up to Point Reyes Station. This rustic town has perfected the art of slow-paced West Coast living: browse the farmers market at Toby’s Feed Barn or head to Cowgirl Creamery for world-renowned curds (seriously—the Red Hawk is crazy good). Finish off the day with a stunning hike along the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Catalina Island, CA
LA is many things, and in the summer months, “super-hot” is one of ’em. But you don't have to go far for cool summer getaways. Just an hour’s ferry ride away, Catalina Island could almost be Mediterranean, thanks to its golden beaches and pretty marina. You can get active with some hiking and kayaking. Or you could just pick out a really good patch of sand. We don’t judge.
Instagram photo of Whidbey and Camano Islands by @scottwasner
WHIDBEY AND CAMANO ISLANDS, WA
Visit both neighbors or pick your favorite; just 25 miles north of Seattle, Whidbey and Camano Islands each have their charms. Camano Island is host to a community of artists and is just a quick bridge-drive away, while larger Whidbey Island has more than 100 miles of hiking trails. Either way, this is the waterfront, evergreen-y Pacific Northwest at its best.
Instagram photo of Essex National Heritage Area by @nicolebrosch
ESSEX NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA, MA
Lighthouses. Wildlife refuges. Witches. Wait, what? The Essex National Heritage Area, just north of Boston, does encompass Salem and its spooky sights, if you’re after a bit of the macabre. But it also comprises gorgeous New England seashores, quaint small towns, and lots of lobster rolls.
Instagram photo of Hood River by @corinne.wyss
HOOD RIVER, OR
With Mount Hood’s volcanic peak in the distance and the waters of the Columbia River at hand, Hood River is basically a nature lover’s dream. (It’s also renowned for its windsurfing.) Once you’ve filled your outdoor activity quota and you’re done driving for the day, there are some serious microbreweries to check out in town.
Instagram photo of Bear Mountain State Park by @apurpleheadedfreak
BEAR MOUNTAIN STATE PARK, NY
When you’re sweltering in the middle of Manhattan, it might be hard to believe that you’re less than an hour from the Appalachian Trail. But it’s true: A short drive away is Bear Mountain State Park, where this leg of the trail passes by. Beyond the iconic hiking path, this is prime turf for a weekend away. You’ve got Hudson-side views (it’s pretty up here, promise), lakes, swimming pools, and some super-scenic camping spots.
Instagram photo of Lake Lanier by @ashlevengood
LAKE LANIER, GA
When Atlanta gets hot—and in July and August, that’s a guarantee—the best thing to do is splash around the largest body of water you can find. Like Lake Lanier, which is only 45-minutes outside of the city. The lake has close to 700 squiggly miles of shoreline, which means it’s a natural stop for swimmers, boaters, kayakers, sunbathers—even hikers and campers. But first, some splashing.
ENCHANTED ROCK STATE NATURAL AREA, TX
Nope, that name is no misnomer. The stunning granite monolith that is Enchanted Rock isn’t just impressive in scale—it’s also pink. Trek to Texas Hill Country from Austin to take in the formidable landmark and hike the nearby trails. If it’s extra hot, head out earlier or later in the day, and while away the afternoon in the nearby town of Fredericksburg. (Peaches grow in abundance here, so be sure to seek out a slice of pie.)