The sun is blazing, the temperature is rising and you simply cannot wait to take a much-needed August vacation. With so many places to see in the United States, figuring out where to go can be a daunting task. While Florida or California are both popular choices of destination, be daring by opting to go somewhere new and exciting. Your friends will be envious when you come home well-rested and with unique photos from your summertime adventure.
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
If you plan to explore Alaska, chances are you might prefer going during the summer when the days are longer and the weather isn't as cold and brutal. Explore Alaska's crown jewel, Denali National Park and Preserve. With over six million acres at your disposal, you won't be lacking for something to do.
Mount McKinley serves as its centerpiece at a whopping 20,320 feet, making it the highest mountain in North America. During the summer, visitors can gain access to the park via bus, unlike in the winter when roads are icy and treacherous. Private vehicles can be driven on the first 15 miles of the 92-mile Denali Park Road, which runs along the Alaska Range of mountains. Only buses are allowed to continue past the 15-mile marker, where the road turns to gravel, so it's wise to book a bus tour (either shuttle bus or tour bus) if you don't want to miss anything the awe-inspiring park has to offer.
Spend a few days backpacking or cycling and camping in the unspoiled forest. You may even run into a black bear, wolf, caribou, moose or golden eagle. Bring plenty of batteries, film or memory sticks because Denali is guaranteed to offer you the photographic opportunities of a lifetime.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
If you want warm sand between your toes and plenty of exciting activities to occupy your kids, Myrtle Beach is an ideal summer vacation spot. Offering 60 miles of beaches, countless golf courses, amusement parks, water parks, miniature golf courses, restaurants and outlet malls, there is plenty to do for people of all ages.
Once voted one of the "Top 10 Places for Families to Visit in the U.S." by Yahoo! Travel, you are sure to score many thanks from the kids. Myrtle Beach is called the "Seaside Golf Capital of the World" because of its more than 100 golf courses, and has been dubbed the "Miniature Golf Capital of the World," with over 50 miniature courses in the area.
Rent a boat or jet ski and explore the beautiful inlets and coastline, or head south toward Pawley's Island or Litchfield Beach for a less crowded, laid-back atmosphere that's bursting with southern charm. No trip to Myrtle Beach is complete without dining at one of the many fresh seafood joints in the area (there are over 30 in Murrells Inlet alone). After a good seafood diner, take a stroll along the oceanfront boardwalk, basking in the salty sea air and enjoying the colorful evening sunsets.
Classic car connoisseurs can head to Reno during August for the annual Hot August Nights. Over the course of a week, more than 800,000 people descend on this gambling town to check out the hot cars, attend the sock hop and pick up parts in the swap meet. Bring your poodle skirts and bobby socks; you will most certainly not look out of place. This event started in 1986, designed as a nostalgia event celebrating the 1950s and 1960s rock and roll. The Friday night car parade grew into the highlight of the entire event, blossoming into the focal point of Hot August Nights. With the event's close proximity to scenic South Lake Tahoe and expansive mountains and nature, turn this annual event into a fun summertime vacation and stay at a beautiful local hotel or resort. You may even encounter a celebrity or two in this star-studded area.
If Hot August Nights isn't enough for you, there are always the casinos. Reno's nightlife is world-famous; you can take in a show or spend the evening in one of the many nightclubs or bars. Whatever your speed, "The Biggest Little City in the World," has a plethora of options for you.
- Photo Credit Catching the sun image by sasar from Fotolia.com Denali/Mt. Mckinley image by Robert Ulph from Fotolia.com
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