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Eight Places You Need To Visit for Summer 2021 That Are Right Here in America

With the COVID-19 vaccine being distributed by June 2021 and summer break approaching, many students are looking for ways to hang out and travel with their friends since the pandemic ruined their summer in 2020. Here is a list of my top eight destinations in the U.S. you should visit during the summer.

1. Key West, FL

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Located in the southern tip of Florida in a chain of small islands, Key West is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny, tropical experience without leaving the country. While Key West itself is only eight square miles, its sister islands also offer the same Caribbean vibes that make your trip feel international without the hassle of needing your passport. The streets are lined with colorful buildings, restaurants and art galleries while offering vibrant nightlife attractions like bars and nightclubs. Of course, there are plenty of seafood options, as well as cuisines made by local ma and pop eateries. Known for its snorkeling and sailing offers, Key West is the perfect place to hang out with friends and enjoy a peaceful ambiance that surrounds the beautiful beaches lining the coast.

2. Grand Canyon, AZ 

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If you are fascinated by landmarks and outdoor adventure, this might be the destination for you. Arizona is considered to hold one of the greatest examples of arid-land erosion in the world, the Grand Canyon. With an incredible 277 miles long, the Grand Canyon ranges as deep as 6,000 feet and 18 miles at its widest. There are three ways to experience this natural beauty: with an entrance fee of $30 per vehicle, there are private vehicular tours that can help you explore the canyons, you can hike down to the Inner Canyon to take a boat ride along the Colorado River or you can take an aerial tour to get the perfect bird’s eye view of the wonder that lies below you. All in all, a trip with the girls here can become a quiet but wondrous adventure with nature.

3. Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

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If you are a big astronomy fan, this place is by far the most astonishing viewpoint for stargazing because of its view of amazing clear skies atop the dunes. The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado has dunes that can rise over 700 feet in height and covers a whopping 232.9 square miles. The entrance fee is less than $30 for individuals but can be waived for certain holidays. While there, you can enjoy activities such as sandboarding, sand-sledding and an endless sandbox for hiking with friends. When you are done exploring, the national park is surrounded by hotels, food and entertainment for all age groups and interests.

4. Big Sur, CA

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Do you need a Mediterranean getaway for the summer? Big Sur is the perfect place to go with its Santa Lucia Mountains that surround the coastline with beautiful beaches and waterfalls that fall right onto the sand. Dubbed the “American Riviera,” this American region is known to have inspired many writers, artists and poets for its scenery while offering relaxing spas, delicious restaurants and exciting nightlife attractions. A trip with the girls here can offer you a place to experience nature and take a break from school!

 5. Napa Valley, CA

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If you are dying to go to Italy and experience some European history, Napa Valley is the epitome of Italian culture with its picturesque Tuscany region, rolling hills of vineyards and a beautifully styled 13th century Tuscan castle that uses medieval building techniques. Offering a winery, a functional drawbridge and an iron maiden, Napa Valley sets the mood for a romantic and idyllic city for visitors. While it is best to be 21 years or older to experience all it has to offer, you can still enjoy the non-alcoholic sights and the hand-chiseled castle with your friends!

 

6. St. Augustine, FL

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A top Florida city, this tropical destination is filled with an old-world ambiance and historical architecture that recreates the era of 16th century Spain. St. Augustine offers many historical sites that people can tour, like the Castillo de San Marcos or the Youth Archaeological Park where explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed in 1565. There is even an authentic old jail set up for tourists to walk through and experience the Spanish culture that is encased in the oldest settlement in United States history. Of course, their food and nighttime city life are unforgettable and delightfully entertaining for all ages and interests!

7. Seattle, WA

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Known for its youthful and hip urban life that serves as a hub for arts and culture, Seattle offers both the quiet suburban and bustling city life for tourists, depending on what they want to explore. Since there is always something going on in the Emerald City, you have plenty of options for food and entertainment. Pike Place Market is great for grabbing a bite to eat while walking downtown gives you a chance to check out the waterfront views and outdoor music events hosted regularly. If you are a sucker for museums, the Museum of Pop Culture is the place for you, while Grey's Anatomy fans can live out their Derek Shepherd fantasies by hopping on a ferry and heading to the Olympic National Park for some peaceful time with nature.

8. New Orleans, LA

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As a native to this lively city, I can attest New Orleans is the place to go if you enjoy getting down to good music and digging into some delicious food. Known for its rowdiness and party lifestyle, NOLA offers an array of bars, nightclubs and local musicians down Bourbon Street that attracts a diverse group of individuals. As the national melting pot of America, New Orleans also allows you to dive into Cajun-French culture with a mixture of jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll tunes that create a loud and bright representation of its ancestors that settled in the early 1700s. If you are a foodie, downtown NOLA is the place to visit with its mouth-watering cuisines like Jambalaya and seafood etouffee. If you are a shopaholic, you can cruise through the French Quarter for trinkets and merch while strolling through the ghost lore that lurks throughout the antiquated architecture and colonial heritage surrounding the Crescent City.

While COVID-19 is still a health threat to the country, the government is hoping the vaccine will allow more opportunities by the summer for travel and entertainment. Until then, use this guide to find what landmark or destination you want to visit next with your friends for summer break!

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FSU EWM Major 2023 Aspiring journalist
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