Some people like a warm and pleasant summer vacation, with temperatures perhaps in the mid-70s to low 80s, a light breeze off the water and perhaps low enough humidity that you don’t break much of a sweat during a light jog. There are lots of choices for people who want that kind of holiday.
This list is more selective: It’s for people who love the heat and really want to embrace their inner lizard — people interested in sunning themselves on desert rocks or experiencing some of the hottest temperatures in the country while splashing in a cool lake. For these destinations, visiting at the hottest times of the year can be a great deal, since most travelers visit in the spring, fall or winter.
Check out these scorching destinations and some of the things you can do when you arrive. All ticket prices below are from searching on MSN Flight Search:
Death Valley, California
Why not start your search for heat with a place that holds the world record for highest air temperature ever recorded? That would be Death Valley, which recorded a temperature of 134 degrees on July 10, 1913.
Although the accuracy of that record is a little controversial, it is guaranteed to be one of the hottest places you can find in the summer — with average high temperatures in July hovering around 116 degrees.
The best way to get there is to drive from Las Vegas (which itself is no slouch itself in the heat department, with the mercury rising to an average high of 105 degrees in late July). To give you an idea of cost, we looked at round-trip flights from Seattle in the third week of July and found that you could book on Spirit Airlines for $185. That’s $15 lower than the cheapest flight in the first week of May.
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Further south and east of Death Valley lies Lake Havasu City, Arizona — where average high temperatures in July range between 105 and 112 degrees. The city has recorded temperatures in excess of 120 degrees.
As the name suggests, Lake Havasu City is on a lake that supports activities such as boating, swimming and fishing — and there’s biking, ballooning and golfing. It is also home to London Bridge — purchased by entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch from the London County Council in 1968 and then relocated and re-opened on Lake Havasu in 1971.
Probably the easiest way to get to Lake Havasu City is by driving from Phoenix. Traveling in mid- to late July, you’ll find ticket prices are pretty good. For instance, we found a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix for $177 on Delta when booking from July 17 to July 24. That’s significantly less than the $290 round-trip ticket price we saw for the same round-trip flight on American Airlines in the first week of May.
Looking at an average high temperature chart for Laughlin, Nevada, in July, you know that it is going to be sweltering. There isn’t a single day when the average high temperature drops below 105 degrees — and it goes as high as 113 degrees.
While you are out doing some sun-worshipping, you can also be highly entertained. Laughlin has grown into something of a destination for those who want some of the entertainment and gambling options of Las Vegas, but without the crowds. Laughlin also offers plenty of outdoor activities — including fishing, golfing, horseback riding and jet boating.
Getting to Laughlin is pretty simple: You can either drive the hour and a half south from Las Vegas or the three and a half hours north from Phoenix. If you don’t want to rent a car, there are also flights into Laughlin-Bullhead International Airport (IFP).
New Orleans, Louisiana
The great thing about the summer heat in New Orleans is that it doesn’t vary a whole lot. For the month of July, average high temperatures sit between 90 and 95 degrees.
But, as with many other hot places, the temperature is only part of the story. The thing that really makes New Orleans hot — besides the great jazz and blues music (and more!) and all the dancing you’ll be doing there — is the humidity. According to Weatherspark.com, the humidity reaches its most challenging level on about July 23 — with muggy conditions about 99 percent of the time.
That does mean you’ll need to prepare for a little “freeze and fry” as you move from heavily air-conditioned hotels and shopping malls to a hot and humid outdoor environment and back again. And you’ll need a deodorant that you really trust!
Getting to New Orleans in July is significantly cheaper than in the spring. For a round-trip flight from New York to New Orleans in July, we found prices as low as $293 on Delta, while the cheapest flight on offer for the first week of May was $486 on JetBlue booked through JustFly.
Austin, Texas, is hot in the summer, with average July daily high temperatures between 91 and 99 degrees. Austin is on this list, however, because it’s not just hot, it’s also a lot of fun.
The city has a great music scene (calling itself the “Live Music Capital of the World”)and also a rich history, with some great museums and unique attractions. And there also is a broad range of outdoor activities including cycling, golfing, hiking and kayaking.
Best of all, it’s a pretty affordable place to visit. We found a round-trip ticket from Chicago on Frontier Airlines booked via Orbitz in the third week of July for as little at $197. However, since Austin is that little bit cooler than some of the other destinations above, it is actually cheaper in the spring — with our searches showing a round-trip ticket in the first week of May for as little as $148 on Frontier Airlines.
What’s your favorite summer hot spot? Comment below or let us know on Facebook.