05/27/2014 01:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

30 Bucket-List Summer Adventures

Let's face it: Summer is way too short. While technically summer lasts from June 21 to September 22, traditionally the vacation months for many travelers are July and August, and those 62 days fly by -- there's nothing lazy about these dog days of summer. Make your summer one to remember by checking off one (or all!) of these amazing bucket list travel ideas. Be sure to bring along stamps to mail postcards home -- these amazing adventures are 100 percent brag-worthy.

Pure Adventures can help you plan a self-guided summer vacation to each of the National Parks listed below. Our new supported self-directed model for several of our Western US tours allow you to experience the National Parks in a a whole new way. Pure Adventures takes care of the accommodations and luggage transfers while you get to explore your destination at your own pace. (A full explanation of this new format can be found here.)

Grand Canyon National Park

Known for its geological significance, a vacation in Grand Canyon National Park is an experience to be remember for a lifetime. From easy day trip hikes to week-long camping adventures, there is something for everyone at this natural wonder. Here are are few of our traveler's favorites (and learn more about Grand Canyon vacations here)
  • Hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim
  • Dip your toes in the waterfall at Havasupai Falls; or dive in!
  • Hike the Bright Angel Trail
  • Camp at the bottom of the canyon under the cotton-wood trees
  • Drink  your coffee while watching the sunrise from your base camp at the bottom of the canyon
  • Hike to Hopi Point
  • Explore the South Kaibab Trail
  • Take in the views from the Yavapai Observation Station
  • Overnight at Phantom Ranch

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is often called the Yosemite dressed in red due to its towering sandstone cliffs sculpted and carved from an ancient desert by the force of flood waters and time.   Zion was named by early Mormon settlers, meaning a "place of refuge," you're sure to see why they found comfort within these walls. These adventures are named the top to experience while in Zion National Park. (Learn more about traveling to Zion National Park here)
  • Hike among the hoodoos
  • Tube down the Virgin River
  • Explore the slot canyons
  • Climb to the top of Angel's Landing
  • Dip your toes in the serene Emerald Pools
  • Look for birds - Zion is home to 207 different species, including the Peregrine falcon and California condor
  • Stand under the towering Kolob Arch

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is incredible. Located in the high desert of southern Utah, the landscape is a mysterious wonderland of distinctive rock formations known as hoodoos - a sea of multi-hued silt- and sandstone spires punctuated by ponderosa forest. Here are our top summer adventures in the Bryce Canyon. (Find out more about visiting Bryce Canyon National Park here.)

  • Hike among the hoodoos
  • Explore the Calf Creek Falls trail
  • Horseback ride down into the canyon
  • Drive along the Rim Road
  • Picnic at the bottom of the canyon at the end of the Peek-a-Boo Loop
  • Hike to the top of Inspiration Point for the best views in the Park

Yosemite National Park

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The oldest National Park in the United States is perhaps best known for the towering Yosemite Falls, but outdoor enthusiasts know that the falls are just the beginning. Hiking, climbing, cycling and more await visitors to historic Yosemite National Park. Pure Adventures includes a time in Yosemite as part of our US Passport to the West self-drive vacation -- see the complete itinerary here.
  • Stand next to Yosemite Falls, the fifth tallest in the world
  • Climb the challenging El Capitan rock formation
  • Hike to the top of the Sentinel Dome
  • Climb to the top of Glacier Point for stunning views of the park
  • Drive the picturesque Tioga Pass
  • Hike the accessible Mist Trail
  • Dip your toes in Mirror Lake
Contact Pure Adventures for your free destination guides or to begin planning your self-guided summer vacation.