Heat “dome” descends on mid atlantic region: what are the coolest places to visit this summer?

mid atlantic heat wave What’s hot for summer? Well, everywhere. The predicted heat index for Friday in Washington, D.C. is a miserable 116 degrees. According to ABC News, 22 people have already died as a result of this natural phenomenon and this temperature spike could last weeks.

Sitting in the air conditioning all summer just won’t do.

Thankfully for us, the folks over at MyWeather.com have come up with the seven “coolest” cities to visit this summer. These domestic cities have average July high temperatures of 81 degrees and below, as well as an array of attractions, activities and other amenities that make them desirable vacation spots.

Breckenridge, Colorado – Average July High: 73 Degrees F

What’s cool about it: This winter wonderland is more than just a ski town boasting 300 days of sunshine annually with activities to keep you busy all year long. Breckenridge Fun Park features scenic gondola and ski lift rides – two miles high – along with plenty of hiking, whitewater rafting, and picturesque views of the Continental Divide.

[Flickr via Ed Yourdon]

Upper Peninsula, Michigan – Average July High: 73 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: With more than 150 waterfalls, 40 lighthouses, and a terrain that’s perfect for camping, boating, fishing and other outdoor activities, Upper Peninsula boasts 1,700 miles of shoreline along three of the nation’s five Great Lakes. Want to be adventurous? Try taking a glass-bottom shipwreck boat tour.

San Francisco, California – Average July High: 68 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Besides being home to Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., San Francisco has the coolest daily summer temperatures among major U.S. cities. In fact, a popular quote (incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain) notes: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” While wine country and Fisherman’s Wharf are popular tourist destinations, the Monterey peninsula is a less traveled side trip. Though it may be summer, be sure to bring plenty of layers!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Average July High: 81 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Breathtaking views, national park access and a whitewater rafting mecca – that’s Jackson Hole. If a leisurely float down the river is more your speed, you can do that, too. Grand Teton and Yellowstone Park offer great hiking, climbing and water activities, with unparalleled photo opportunities. Wyoming‘s daytime temperatures run in the 70s and 80s in the summer, but the air cools quickly after sundown and humidity is low year-round.

Portland, Maine – Average July High: 79 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: With the Atlantic coast and Appalachian Mountains only a 45-minute drive apart, Portland has the best of both worlds. There’s also fine cuisine in between as Bon Appetit recently dubbed Portland the “Foodiest Small Town in America.” With tours to help you sample culinary delights by foot or by trolley, Maine‘s seaside climate creates cool breezes and temperatures which are comfortable and with low humidity all summer long.

Olympic National Park, Washington – Average July High: 73 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Located on Washington‘s Olympic Peninsula, this million-acre national park encompasses three major ecosystems ranging from rain forest to snow-topped mountain peaks. Here you can walk, backpack, camp, or fish, as well as participate in one of the many ranger-led programs. Summers are fair and warm with highs between 65-75 degrees. Little rain falls during the summer months, although the low valleys are foggy in the morning.

Chena Hot Springs Resort, Alaska – Average July High: 73 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Located 60 miles from Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs features legendary healing mineral waters, a renewable energy tour, and a working dog mushing kennel. To keep cool you can also visit the Aurora Ice Museum. Maintained by world ice art champions Steve and Heather Brice, the museum began as the only ice hotel in the Americas. Summer days are breezy, dry and warm – perfect for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. The area has less than 12 inches of annual rainfall.
Where did they miss? Is your hometown or favorite vacation spot a “cool” place to go this summer? Leave suggestions for heat-ravaged mid-atlantans in the comments below.