Average July temperature: 75 degrees
It's not always cool during the summer in temperate Seattle, but it's close enough. Seattle's temperature is pretty moderate and is only helped by its position along Lake Union and Lake Washington and the Puget Sound and between the Cascade and Olympic mountains. The rain cools things down a bit as well, but July and August tend to the most reliably sunny months on the calendar and a great time to be outdoors. It's one of the few times out-of-towners can get across to Seattle's Alki neighborhood -- the site of the city's first incarnation of New New York -- and walk along its rugged beaches combing for crabs and snails in the sand, trying to spot killer whales in the sound or just sipping on a frozen latte from Tully's and strolling along. It's also a great opportunity to fly a kite over the water amid the industrial relics of Gas Works Park, take a long ride out of town and past the Microsoft ( MSFT) campus on the Burke-Gilman Trail or head out on the water in one of the city's ferries. "If you fly into Seattle, you can go out to Bainbridge Island on a quick ferry ride," says Anne Banas, editor of SmarterTravel. "That whole area near Puget Sound has access to islands that you can hop to or evergreen forests and mountains that you can hike through." More intrepid explorers can take a ride through the Cascades and stop for some trout fishing, canoeing or just a view of the silty emerald waters of Ross and Diabo lakes and their respective dams, take a hike around the base of Mount Rainier or head west to the Olympics and scale hurricane ridge for views of Mount Baker, Rainier and Olympus. The one sage bit of advice for the temperature-sensitive traveler is not to head too far west or east. Parts of Washington devolve into dense, humid rainforest closer to the Pacific, while the lush Cascades yield to desert steppes and buttes near the Grand Coulee Dam and punishingly hot vineyards and wheat fields as travelers press into Eastern Washington.