Top 6 U.S. Summer Vacation Destinations of 2023

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As summer approaches and concerns about air travel rise, Americans are opting for road trips to explore the country. USA Today’s “Readers Choice 10 Best” awards have announced the top six summer vacation destinations in the U.S. for 2023.

1. Mackinac Island, Michigan

This car-free island is famous for its historical forts, oldest houses in Michigan, and biking, walking, and horse-drawn carriage transportation. Visitors can explore the charming boutiques that line the island’s streets and sample delicious cuisine from an array of dining options.

2. Mobile, Alabama

Alabama’s oldest city is known for its rich history, museums, water sports, and amazing nightlife. Visitors can visit the Mobile Carnival Museum or explore the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail. While there are no beaches within city limits, the nearest can be found at Dauphin Island, a 40-minute drive away.

3. Door County, Wisconsin

This lakeside vacation destination has 300 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan and offers a plethora of water activities such as skiing and scuba diving. The charming towns boast a vibrant food and drink scene, great shopping, and many homegrown local treats to sample.

4. Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic is a charming seaside village with a thriving food scene. Visitors can sailboat ride and explore the quaint downtown shopping and restaurant options. Nature lovers can explore the wildlife on Denison Homestead Museum’s trails or take a boat ride.

5. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago in the summertime is a classic American experience. Visitors can explore Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and take a boat ride on Lake Michigan. The city also has beaches nearby, perfect for cooling off after exploring downtown’s shopping and eating tours.

6. Hocking Hills, Ohio

Hocking Hills is a beautiful area located in Southeast Ohio with great outdoor activities such as gorges, rock formations, cliffs, and waterfalls. Visitors can also indulge in cozy cabins in the state park when they are done adventuring.

USA Today’s Best Summer Travel Destinations Winners

USA Today also listed the next five popular summer destinations, including Crystal River, Florida; Asheville, North Carolina; Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, New York; and Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.


1. Why are Americans choosing road trips instead of flying?

With the U.S. air travel industry facing challenges such as delays, cancellations, and understaffing, many Americans are opting for road trips instead.

2. What is the main selling point of Mackinac Island?

Mackinac Island is unique because there are no cars allowed on the island, making transportation by bike, walking, or horse-drawn carriages the norm.

3. What can visitors do in Door County, Wisconsin?

Visitors can enjoy water activities such as skiing and scuba diving and explore the charming towns with great food and drink scenes, shopping, and local treats.

4. What can visitors do in Mystic, Connecticut?

Visitors can indulge in the town’s charming seaside village, sailboat ride, explore downtown’s shopping, and restaurant options. They can also explore nature and wildlife on the trails at Denison Homestead Museum and take a boat ride.

5. What can visitors do in Hocking Hills, Ohio?

Visitors can explore the natural beauty of this area that boasts deep gorges, rock formations, cliffs, and waterfalls. They can also retreat to a cozy cabin in the state park after a day of adventuring.