Estes Park, Colorado
Famous as a winter wonderland, Estes Park, Colorado is an underrated summer getaway. Whether you take a short flight out of Austin or plan a road trip, Estes Park isn’t as far away from Kissing Tree as you might think. A 15-hour drive feels leisurely in a camper, or you can split the trip into a two-day event with a stopover in Amarillo, Texas, the halfway point. Once you’re there, you’ll find dramatically cooler temperatures and outstanding rates on rooms. Summer is the off-season for ski country, so you’ll get a bargain while enjoying some of the Rocky Mountains’ most spectacular views. This is a great vacation to plan if you enjoy the outdoor life and feel comfortable at higher altitudes.
San Francisco, California
The city by the bay deserves its reputation for mild weather and year-round appeal. Whether you go for the food, the antiques, the shopping, or the architectural charm, you’ll find something to love there. San Francisco is a destination for nearly 17 million visitors a year, so be prepared for a wait at the city’s most well-known restaurants. Another option for adventurous diners: street food. San Francisco has some of the best in the country. You’re not far from Napa Valley wine country either, so consider adding a few days to your stay to get out of the city itself and enjoy a tasting or two.
Saranac Lake, New York
If bigger cities aren’t for you, try a summer escape to this small town in upstate New York. Billed as the “Adirondacks’ coolest place,” Saranac Lake and nearby Lake Placid enjoy summer evenings as brisk as a crisp November day in central Texas. Despite its small size, the village has a surprisingly hip and cosmopolitan feel, thanks to the number of New Yorkers who have visited there for decades to take a break from city life. The region is also a haven for artists and authors, many of whom have drawn inspiration from the area’s stirring beauty. Art lovers can find their own inspiration while escaping the Texas heat, but plan for a longer trip as Saranac Lake doesn’t have an airport.
If you’re not looking for a long jaunt, stay here in central Texas and explore local natural and man-made waterways to get relief from the soaring temperatures. You’ll find a list of favorite swimming holes on this blog, including the Blue Hole and the Comal River in New Braunfels. Local water parks are a great choice if you don’t have much time to travel or want to stay close to home. Volente Beach Resort near Austin is less than an hour’s drive and offers multiple ways to keep cool, including a lazy river and water slides. If accessibility is a priority, try Morgan’s Wonderland near San Antonio.