Where do you want to go this summer – hiking along the Oregon coast or surfing the Snake River, stargazing in the darkest corners of the Allegheny Mountains or exploring late-night Chicago? We scoured the USA in search of every state's hidden summer gem. All you have to do is get there.
Alaska: The Marine Highway
The Alaska Marine Highway ferry takes a month to make its 3,500-mile voyage from Bellingham, Washington, to Dutch Harbor – the farthest reach on the Aleutian chain. Typically, riders are island-locked locals stocking up at Costco, but for a select few, it's more of a floating backyard get-together. First fly to Kodiak to explore the island's bear-viewing camps. Then jump the ferry when it hits port on July 10 or 24, or August 7 or 21. You can pitch a tent on the top deck and spot orcas and eagles, listen to fellow travelers play guitar, or just nap under the 24-hour boreal sun. Stretches between islands are as short as two hours, though some require a full 18 hours at sea. At Dutch, the party moves to the Grand Aleutian hotel for a few days. The rest of the time is about eating crab and drinking, alongside guys who look like they were on 'Deadliest Catch' (or actually were). From there, it's a quick flight back to Anchorage. "It's peaceful except for the breaching humpbacks," says former Highway employee Cathy Hart. "This isn't for hyper people."
Getting there: From Anchorage, fly for roughly $600 round-trip to Kodiak to catch the ferry. Purchase your ferry ticket well in advance – they go fast and are about $300.
Credit: Alaska.com / Alamy