One of the best parts of summer is vacation. There are many great places to explore, and the best part is, you often don't have to go far from home to enjoy a getaway. If you've already crossed major cities like New York and Chicago off your bucket list and you need some travel inspiration, here are three midsize cities that are perfect for a summer adventure.
Biltmore Estate. Photo courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
The number one attraction in Asheville is Biltmore Estate. While you could spend your entire vacation on the property, one day will likely satisfy most people. The audio-guided tour is extensive, and the gardens are beautiful. Complimentary wine tastings at Antler Hill Winery are included with your ticket (separate reservation required).
You'll also want to take advantage of all that downtown Asheville offers, including plenty of shops and art galleries. One gallery, Walls Wine Bar, combines wine and art. They have patio seating, but the draw of the space is inside, where you can taste wines while walking among the travel- and nature-inspired art.
If beer is more your thing, you came to the correct city. A recent article in Travel and Leisure magazine featured 40 breweries. These frequented spots are mostly clustered around the South Slope Brewery District, so bar-hopping is encouraged. Be sure to check out favorites Wicked Weed and Green Man.
Before your night out, fuel up at Cúrate, a tapas bar on Asheville's main drag. Make reservations and come hungry, as the shareable menu has many enticing options.
Gateway Arch Explore St. Louis. Photo courtesy of the Gateway Arch & Explore St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
Gateway Arch National Park is a spectacular national landmark on the banks of the Mississippi River. Take advantage of all this attraction offers, including the tram ride to the top, the museum, and a riverboat cruise. Save time before or after the experience to walk around the grounds and lakes.
As a home base for your trip, stay at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch, which is practically inside the National Park. You can have views of the Arch from your room and easily snag photos of the Arch, including at night.
Aside from the Arch, attractions worth visiting include the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, known for its mosaics, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. The grounds have a main loop path, but offshoots lead to themed gardens, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden. The house of the garden's founder, Henry Shaw, is also open for exploration.
Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. Photo by DenisTangneyJr/iStock.com
Burlington may be small, but it's packed with so many things to see and do. When starting your day, there is no shortage of excellent local coffee. On and around the famous Church Street Marketplace, you'll find Kru, Black Cap, and the uniquely decorated Muddy Waters.
Once fueled and ready to go, rent a bike from Local Motion and head north. The Island Line Trail leads to the Colchester Causeway, a spectacular biking trail over the water. If two wheels aren't your thing, go hiking at Red Rocks Park instead. Take a well-deserved break and enjoy Lake Champlain. Tan in the sun on North Beach or enjoy lunch aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III.
For a fun evening, head to Foam Brewers in the South End to check out Zero Gravity and Switchback breweries. For nonalcoholic fun, snag a swing along the lakefront and enjoy the sunset at Waterfront Park until it's time to walk back to your hotel—consider Hotel Vermont or Courtyard Burlington Harbor.