Explore America / Explore The Outdoors

Best Places to Beat the Heat This Summer

It’s been a sweltering summer for a huge portion of the United States. If you’re dreaming of cool water fun, here are a few unique destinations to beat the heat in Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Colorado. These are amazing aqua adventures including learning to sail, boating in a swamp, and kayaking in a grand lake. Plus, there’s a bonus for the best spot for whale watching on the West Coast.

Live Segment aired during AMHQ on The Weather Channel on July 28, 2023

Learn to Sail on Lake Superior

Head to Bayfield, Wisconsin for some cool fun on Lake Superior, which is the largest freshwater lake in the world. You can do a 3 night learned to sail adventure with Superior Charters. They offer a variety of options for chartering boats and sailing school. I had never even driven a boat and learned to sail from Captain Kristine DeVinck. She’s a fabulous instructor and a lot of fun. Sailing is a great way to explore the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore made up of 22 islands. Only one island, Madeline Island, is access by ferry and is only island with roads. You can also go on sightseeing cruises and guided kayaking trips from Bayfield if your time is limited.

Swamp Boating in the Southeast

Cypress Gardens is in Moncks Corner near Charleston, South Carolina. You can go on self-guided and guided tours. My friend Wendy and I had a ball as we did a self-guided tour of the blackwater swamp with cypress and tupelo trees. Cypress Gardens has been featured in movies like The Notebook and television series Outer Banks.

Grand Kayaking Adventure in Colorado

Grand Lake is the largest and deepest natural lake in Colorado. Rent kayaks from Mountain Paddlers Kayak Shak for $30 per hour or rent before 10am for a 20% discount. The morning water is calmest and as my friend Lisa and I found out it’s the perfect time for a paddling adventure. Grand Lake is the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is the best area to see moose in the national park. You can also rent canoes, paddleboards, and boats on Grand Lake.

Bonus: Whale Watching on the West Coast

Morro Bay is in SLO CAL (San Luis Obispo County). The Central California Coast is home to a 60-mile stretch of historic Highway 1. Whales are observed in Morro Bay year-round. You can see gray and humpback whales and maybe orcas. Summer is peak for humpback whales. I went with Morro Bay Whale Watching and had a wonderful time. They’re fun to follow on Instagram too. Make sure to take layers and a rain jacket on their 2.5-3.5-hour tours.

I also shared this information from Bayfield, Wisconsin in a live segment on Great Day Colorado. Hope these cool water adventures help you beat the heat this summer or help you plan an amazing aqua adventure next year.

Author Jennifer Broome has visited all 50 states and traveled extensively across America. For more cool summer adventures, check out posts Cool Colorado Lakes and Amazing Aqua Adventures.