Heat is the enemy
June 18, 2014 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Where is the coolest place I can visit in July or August? Primarily in terms of weather, but also the other type of cool! Preferably in the US, due to cost, but also open to foreign locales if the average flight might be $1000 or less, leaving from the Midwest.

My spouse and I really, really, really don't like summer weather. Sun exposure makes me physically sick and I am generally miserable from June - September so we generally take our vacations in the fall and winter. But circumstances have left us with over a week of vacation time that has to be taken in July or August. Please help me not waste it binging on Netflix! (My usual summer weekend activity of choice.)

I know about the Pacific Northwest of course - any specific locations to recommend beyond Seattle, Portland and Vancouver would be great. Less obvious choices would be amazing. For various reasons, I don't want to go to California this year.

Cool (sub 70 for this time of year) is good. Cold would be amazing. Cloudy is okay. Wet is fine. We basically plan all of our trip itineraries around food so the availability of good, maybe even interesting, cuisine is crucial.

We will be leaving from Indianapolis, but can also easily fly out of Chicago. Some place within a 10 hour drive would be interesting but we are fully prepared to fly. As I said, overseas would be great, but I'm worried that the flights would eat up too much of my max $3,000 budget, unless the destination costs were really low after we paid for the flights.

Please tell me about the best, cool weather place you've ever been during the summer!
posted by cessair to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
You should go to Newfoundland. I just got back from a week there and it was absolutely wonderful. Beautiful, culturally interesting, affordable... I cannot recommend it highly enough, and will be going back to explore other parts of the island someday sooner rather than later. Here is a question I asked about it a few months ago when I was planning the trip. If you're interested I can also memail you a link to my blog with pictures and details.
posted by something something at 4:10 PM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

I haven't been to Alaska, but the Temps in its major cities range from the 50s to low 70's this week.
posted by brujita at 4:11 PM on June 18, 2014

The northern puget sound is fantastic; Bellingham, Anacortes, the San Juans in general are all brilliant. Food is better than average for sure, and if you hunt a little you can find some amazing food.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:15 PM on June 18, 2014

A beach in Maine or Oregon/washington. The coasts in the PNW are quite cool during the summer and sometimes cold. You can fly into portland and then drive north or south depending on were you want to go and see.

You could also see the high rockies in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. So much to choose from.

The pick problem that time of year is going to be crowds at all the major national parks. I would concentrate on state parks and public camp grounds.

My personal recommendations would be flaming gorge in Idaho/wyoming/utah, if fishing/hiking/camping is your thing or taking a few days going from Astoria to Gold Beach in Oregon with lots of stops by the ocean and excursions into the coast range if people watching/attractions/hotels/restaurants are your thing.
posted by bartonlong at 4:17 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd consider the mountains - maybe Big Sky, Montana or even Vail, Colorado. Both are beautiful. Might be warm during the day but cold at night.
posted by kdern at 4:46 PM on June 18, 2014

Maine is unlikely to be sub-70s on average in July and August, though sub-80s.

If "cold would be amazing", should you find youth-hostel-type accommodations and exceptionally cheap flights you might be able to do Iceland. Interesting food certainly fits, if donut shops aren't what you meant by that. Though Maine can do interesting food too.
posted by XMLicious at 5:02 PM on June 18, 2014

If you like nature, Michigan's Upper Peninsula is both cool and beautiful that time of year. You'd probably fly into Marquette (MQT) or possibly Green Bay if you felt like driving.

Pictured rocks lakeshore, there are a billion waterfalls, lots of museums and mine tours and shipwreck tours. There's a good guide here.
posted by zug at 5:39 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

North American West Coast tour: Monterey, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Alaskan coast
All chill cool and awesome cool!
posted by IpsoFacto at 6:04 PM on June 18, 2014

People, the OP has said no to California, which means no cool, foggy San Francisco (more for me!).

Here's a list of monthly average temperatures. Alaska wins, but Montana looks pretty dang cool, too, but it's probably sunnier. Downside of Alaska: Sun doesn't set.
posted by rtha at 6:23 PM on June 18, 2014

I grew up on the North Oregon coast, and one of the many reasons I'll never move back is the cold cold summers. Note that Portland is not on the coast, and gets nice and warm (but not usually hot) in the summer. You have to go to the actual coast for the cold.
posted by outfielder at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2014

Salt Spring Island! It's one of the Gulf Islands off of Vancouver and easily rates as one of my best vacations of all time. I went the third week of August and it was cool and rainy. The island is covered with farm stands so you can eat delicious, organic, homegrown food the entire time you're there. Hikes and views abound. I stayed here...highly, highly recommended.
posted by mynameisluka at 6:39 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

The Olympic peninsula is the place you want to go. It has whole ocean in front of it cooling the air and a mountain range behind it stopping the clouds and is gorgeous. I recommend Kalaloch, Sequim and a bit more inland Lake Quinalt and Lake Crescent which are both chilly and shaded by the local terrain. Anything by Lake Ozette.
posted by vapidave at 6:46 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would bet you can get to Iceland for that amount. Impossibly beautiful. Not Hot. Everyone wins.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 6:47 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

We love to go to the Oregon Coast. Yachats Inn is our usual place, but the last time we went we stayed in Florence to visit Oregon Sand Dunes , which was amazing.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:55 PM on June 18, 2014

Come on up to the North Shore of Minnesota! It's about 50 degrees in Grand Marais right now. Cool breeze off the lake. I've still got to wear a coat when I go out in the early morning and evening.
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:06 PM on June 18, 2014

Born and raised in the Midwest, lived in Montana for a few years, and moved back to the Midwest. Montana is what you want. Even if it's "warm," it is so much drier and that makes all the difference. At the extreme end, Glacier National Park got a foot of snow yesterday.
posted by desjardins at 8:11 PM on June 18, 2014

Prince Edward Island has a high of 50s-60s all this week...
posted by nathancaswell at 8:12 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Newfoundland. That place is beautiful but reliably cool.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:56 PM on June 18, 2014

Isle Royale in Lake Superior would probably be fairly cool.
posted by Dansaman at 12:58 AM on June 19, 2014

Iceland is amazing and fits nearly all your criteria, but the cost would be tight. You could get August flights for $1100-1200 each. The later in August you go, the better chance of seeing the northern lights. Eating in restaurants is hideously expensive (one night was $200 without booze), which is why we ate a lot of Icelandic hot dogs and made dinner in our VRBO flat (cheaper than hotels). Tours (glaciers, horseback riding, blue lagoon, waterfalls, snorkeling etc) also cost.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:26 AM on June 19, 2014

Alaska! I went last summer for a week and it was a really nice escape from the heat (though it ended up being in the 70s and sunny most of the time I was there...I was told this was a freak occurrence so if you're looking for cooler temps, you'll most likely find them there). I spent around $700 for my flight from NYC. Regarding the setting of sun in Alaska, when I was there the last week of July, yes, it set late (around 11) and while it didn't get completely dark, I had no problem falling asleep or anything like that.

If I could go somewhere cooler this summer, I'd try Nova Scotia.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 5:32 AM on June 19, 2014

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