It’s finally happening! Summer is coming. As we bid a gleeful farewell to parkas and slush and gloom, we’re getting seriously amped up for warm weather, beach days and, most importantly, vacation. Whether your summer break means cookouts and cold beers on the Jersey Shore, white parties and champagne in the Hamptons or ‘smores over the fire in Yellowstone, there’s a charm to classic US vacation towns that holds a special place in our heart. So, as part of our countdown to summer, we’re celebrating homes inspired by our favorite summer getaways.
With its incredible seaside estates and breezy pristine beaches, the Hamptons are a longtime favorite for New Yorkers looking to escape the sweltering heat of the city. The destination is known for its affluent residents (Calvin Klein, Steven Spielberg, Gwyneth Paltrow) who spend their summers in stately shaker shingle mansions tucked amid organic farms and seagrass lined dunes. The look? Perfectly manicured, with a touch of prep and a muted palette of sandy neutrals and pale blues.
The Pacific Coast Highway—often considered the most beautiful road in America—is a long stretch of bucolic scenery boasting a white-capped ocean on one side and an impressive mountain range on the other. There’s an otherworldly majesty to the emerald cliffs tumbling into the intensely blue sea, one of the many reasons Big Sur became a hippy hangout. Homes here, like this glass-walled mansion by Architect Mickey Moennig have a touch of 70s earthiness and use organic materials to blend into their environments.
Though many people aim to escape the humidity of the South in the summer, there are some places that are well worth the sweat. Enter the Inn at Palmetto Bluff — a dreamy Low Country idyll on the coast of South Carolina. Picture swaying acres of live oaks, gracious porches, wide arched doorways, pine-plank floors, and Southern hospitality at its finest.
Nothing says vacation like a summer spent on the glimmering beaches of Malibu. The surfer’s paradise has a seriously glamorous side (hello, Richard Gere) and the prevailing look is haute hang ten. Think floor to ceiling windows (for optimal ocean views), muted palettes and bold modern architecture. The year round rays mean that many houses mix indoor and outdoor living via moveable glass walls.
The seaside town of Cape May sits on the coast of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. As one of the country’s oldest summer vacation destinations, you get a gracious Old World vibe here. Pastel hued gingerbread Victorians line the boardwalk and you’ll be hard pressed to find a porch without either a rocking chair, a porch swing or both.
As the second largest of the Great Lakes, the sparkling clear waters of Lake Michigan draw throngs of visitors each summer. Whether you choose to splash around the lake in a cityscape like Chicago or enjoy its wonder on a quiet Michigan island like Mackinac, this staple of America’s heartland brings to mind shingle-style cottages, traditional interior design, and nods to lake life. Think prized fishing catches over the mantle, classic red, white and blue interiors and grand fireplaces for the post-sundown chill.
Yellowstone National Park
The dramatic canyons, dense forests, alpine rivers, and gushing geysers of Yellowstone National Park will make you proud to be an American. Offering a little bit everything in terms of nature, the treasured land is a family vacation favorite. This home draws on organic elements like rustic wood and stone aside elegantly curved chairs and textural quilted cowhide for an equally inspired natural vibe.
It’s not uncommon to hear nostalgic tales of childhood vacations spent at Martha’s Vineyard. The Massachusetts island is a New England summer colony just south of Cape Cod, accessible only by boat and air. Home to lighthouses, farmland, and sandy beaches, the island has been called the “quaintest place on Earth” for its collection of charming gingerbread houses that look like something from the pages of a fairytale.
Lake Tahoe is one of those magical places that makes for a spectacular visit year round. The large, freshwater lake is perfect for swimming in the summer while the surrounding snow-capped mountains and towering evergreens provide sensational ski terrain in the winter. As a result, the homes here lean towards a ski chalet look. Expect tall windows, exposed beams and a mix of indoor and outdoor fireplaces, where you can swap stories after the sun goes down.