Discover the Best July Travel Destinations in the U.S.

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U.S. travel destinations

As the United States basks in the full glory of summer, the scent of freshly cut grass permeates the air, signaling carefree days ahead. Warm nights come alive with the resounding crackle of firecrackers. Calendars are brimming with outdoor activities, from Independence Day celebrations to music festivals and county fairs. Here’s a curated list of must-see and must-do experiences for this July.

  1. Uncover New York’s Enchanting Gardens

Buffalo, New York’s vibrant second-largest city, transforms into a literal paradise of botanical wonders. Embark on the annual self-guided Garden Walk (July 29-30), encompassing over 300 public and private gardens, including notable sites like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House. For a more serene experience, explore the charming Open Gardens every Thursday and Friday throughout the month, granting you access to a hundred private displays ranging from whimsical backyard wonderlands to serene zen-inspired oases.

While in Buffalo, don’t miss the grand reopening of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum after a comprehensive three-year, $200 million renovation and expansion. Starting July 20, this historic museum unveils its new Gundlach Building, featuring a sculpture terrace, the Ronnen Glass Box Theater, and over a dozen galleries showcasing magnificent works by artists such as Degas, Kahlo, Van Gogh, and many others.

Responsible travel tip: Consider planning a return trip next month for Urban Farm Day, where you can explore a mushroom farm, learn about composting, and support local farmers. Indulge in farm-to-table dining at renowned restaurants like Marble + Rye and Craving.

  1. Delve into the South’s Captivating Museum Exhibit

On July 8, 1860, shipbuilder William Foster brought 110 men, women, and children from West Africa to Mobile Bay, Alabama, more than 50 years after the abolition of slavery in America. “Clotilda: The Exhibition,” opening on July 8 at Africatown Heritage House, offers a poignant exploration of that tragic journey. Curated by the History Museum of Mobile and Clotilda descendants, this multisensory exhibit utilizes documents, artifacts, and remnants of the ship discovered in 2019 to illuminate the harrowing experiences of the enslaved individuals aboard America’s last known slave ship.

Responsible travel tip: Africatown Heritage House is situated in Africatown, a self-governing haven established by Clotilda survivors just north of downtown Mobile, Alabama. This unique community is listed on the World Monuments Fund’s 2022 Monuments Watch, which highlights historically significant yet endangered sites worldwide. Support organizations like the Africatown Heritage Preservation Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to contribute to their preservation efforts.

  1. Experience Montana’s Inaugural Dude Ranch

Until August 12, adventure-seekers can embark on an unforgettable journey in the breathtaking landscapes of Big Sky Country. Local preservationists and Montana’s Custer Gallatin National Forest welcome visitors to the historic O.T.O Dude Ranch through the Yellowstone Pop-Up Ranch program, which aids in the ranch’s preservation. Built in the late 1890s, this iconic “dude” ranch, the first of its kind in Montana, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2004.

Choose from three- or six-night packages, where you’ll reside in the original cabins just 10 miles from Yellowstone National Park’s north gates. Engage in activities like horseback riding through lush woodlands, fishing in the scenic Paradise Valley, and thrilling adventures like white water rafting and archery.

For those unable to stay overnight, don’t miss the opportunity to experience ranch life at Big Sky’s Lone Mountain Ranch. For the first time in its 108-year history, visitors can enjoy a day trip, indulging in horseback riding, archery lessons, and fly fishing.

Responsible travel tip: In Montana, the invasive species of lake trout, also known as Mackinaw, pose a threat to native fish populations like bull trout. Educate yourself on harmful species and where they can be found. Additionally, support local fishermen like Native Fish Keepers, a tribal company supplying gillnetted lake trout to local restaurants, including those at Lone Mountain Ranch.

  1. Join the Nation’s Oldest Fourth of July Parade

Established in 1639, Newport, Rhode Island, goes above and beyond to celebrate Independence Day. Experience a grand spectacle featuring a 21-gun salute, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, concerts, and awe-inspiring fireworks displays, all against the backdrop of the picturesque harbor. Across the bridge in Bristol, immerse yourself in history as you witness the Fourth of July parade, the country’s longest-running procession, which has captivated locals and visitors since 1785. Expect an array of fanfare, including bands, classic cars, floats, and Minutemen reenactors.

Additionally, from July 28-30, the Newport Folk Festival will fill Fort Adams State Park with soul-stirring melodies. This legendary event has graced the stage for nearly 65 years, showcasing over 70 acts that amplify not only folk music but also alternative, country, and bluegrass. Prepare to be captivated by performances from esteemed artists like Jon Batiste & Friends, Lana Del Ray, and Orville Peck.

Responsible travel tip: Support Clean Ocean Access in their efforts to maintain the pristine shores of Newport County. Join their beach cleanups, held twice a month on Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer.

Follow travel and food journalist Katie Lockhart on Instagram for more exciting updates and recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about U.S. travel destinations

Q: What are some recommended travel destinations in the United States for July?

A: Some recommended travel destinations in the United States for July include New York’s gardens, Alabama’s historic exhibit, Montana’s dude ranch, and Rhode Island’s Fourth of July festivities.

Q: Can you provide more information about the New York garden tours?

A: The New York garden tours include the annual self-guided Garden Walk in Buffalo, where you can explore over 300 public and private gardens, and the low-key Open Gardens that offer a glimpse of private displays. These tours showcase a variety of beautiful and inspiring gardens, including historic sites like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House.

Q: What can I expect from the “Clotilda: The Exhibition” in Alabama?

A: “Clotilda: The Exhibition” at Africatown Heritage House in Alabama provides a multisensory experience that delves into the tragic journey of the Clotilda, America’s last known slave ship. The exhibit uses documents, artifacts, and remnants of the ship to share the harrowing accounts of the enslaved individuals on board.

Q: Tell me more about the Montana dude ranch experience.

A: The Montana dude ranch experience allows you to visit the historic O.T.O Dude Ranch through the Yellowstone Pop-Up Ranch program. You can stay in original cabins near Yellowstone National Park, engage in activities like horseback riding, fishing, and even white water rafting and archery. The proceeds from these visits support the preservation of this iconic ranch.

Q: What can I expect from the Fourth of July celebrations in Rhode Island?

A: Rhode Island, particularly Newport and Bristol, offers vibrant Fourth of July celebrations. Newport hosts a 21-gun salute, reading of the Declaration of Independence, concerts, and fireworks shows. In Bristol, you can witness the country’s oldest continuously running Fourth of July parade, featuring bands, classic cars, floats, and reenactors.

Q: Are there any additional tips for responsible travel in these destinations?

A: Yes, there are responsible travel tips mentioned throughout the text. For example, in New York, you can dig deeper into the local farming community by attending Urban Farm Day or supporting farm-to-table restaurants. In Alabama, you can support organizations working towards the preservation of Africatown. In Montana, you can learn about invasive species and support local fishermen. Finally, in Newport, you can participate in beach cleanups organized by Clean Ocean Access.

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