Average summer temperatures in the United States are high in most of the country, often making it impossible to function without air conditioning. If you’re tired of extreme summer heat and want to live somewhere in the United States with cool summers or mild summers, where do you go?
I researched all US states to figure out the best states with mild summers. The average summer temperature in these places is more moderate than in the rest of the country.
Here Are the Best States and Cities With Cool to Mild Summers
For the sake of presenting you with the best options only, I only list states that have cities with average summer temperatures not hotter than 80 °F during the day in the hottest month.
I list states as well as mention specific cities along with the average summer temperature in the hottest month during the day as well as at night.
Whether you’re looking for cool weather summer vacations or wishing to move to a place with cool summer months, here are your best options. The states are listed alphabetically.
Alaska is by far the best state for those seeking cool summer temperatures.
Wherever you go in Alaska, summers will never be hot. In fact, in some cities of Alaska (like Utqiagvik) summer temperatures don’t even go above 50 °F.
For mild summers that aren’t too cold, as I mention in my article “What City Has the Best Weather in Alaska?” Fairbanks is the best option. In the hottest month, average high temperature reaches 73 °F, with average lows (temperatures at night) dropping to 53 °F.
For an option with cool summer days (or an option for cool weather summer vacations if you want to escape the heat in your home state), you may also consider Juneau or Anchorage, both of which on average don’t experience hotter summer days than 66 °F (and nights at 53 °F at most).
The west coast of the United States is blessed with one of the most pleasant climates in the world. California is one of very few places in the United States that have a mild winter AND a mild summer. I’ve written an article on top10 cooler cities in California in which I describe in more detail where you can go if you want to escape summer heat.
As a quick recap, your best options are:
- Monterey Bay, with cities like Watsonville and Salinas. Summer temperatures reach 73-75 °F during the day and 54 °F at night.
- Bay Area, with cities like San Bruno or San Francisco. Summer temperatures reach mild 70-72 °F during the day and 56 °F at night.
- Northernmost parts of California with mild year round cities like Eureka and Crescent City. Temperatures in the summer months reach only 64 °F during the day and 53 °F at night.
- Cities on the Central Coast of California or nearby, like Santa Maria or Santa Barbara. Average temperatures reach 74 °F in the former and 78 °F in the latter. At night, Santa Maria records on average 54 °F and Santa Barbara 60 °F.
- San Diego and nearby cities also offer mild summers, with temperatures around 77 °F during the day and 68 °F at night.
- South Lake Tahoe and other cities on the shore of Lake Tahoe and nearby. Temperatures in the summer reach 80 °F during the day and cool 42.5 °F at night.
- Other cities and towns at a high elevation like Kirkwood or Big Bear Lake.
Due to elevation, Colorado has several smaller towns that have cool summers with cold nights. Many of these are popular resort towns. Examples include:
- Alma: highs of 68.2 °F, lows of 39.2 °F.
- Breckenridge: highs of 70 °F, lows of 37 °F.
- Silverthorne: highs of 74 °F, lows of 39 °F.
- Woodland Park: highs of 74.5 °F, lows of 43 °F.
- Aspen: highs of 75.5 °F, lows of 48 °F.
- Vail: highs of 77 °F, lows of 42 °F.
- Gunnison: highs of 79.9 °F, lows of 44 °F.
Sky Valley is northernmost city of the state, located at an elevation of 3,124 ft. This gives the town a cooler climate, with average highs reaching 79.9 °F and lows dropping to 58.3 °F.
You might be surprised to see one of the hottest states on this list. Scorching sun is indeed a common companion on a Hawaiian summer vacation. But there are also some areas of Hawaii that experience mild summers. Some examples include:
- Volcano on the east side of the Big Island. Due to its altitude, its average summer highs are 74 °F and lows are 56 °F.
- Kula on Maui, located at elevation with a cooler climate. It records average highs of 76 °F and lows of 59 °F.
- Waimea on the Big Island, another place with one of the coolest climates in the archipelago. Average summer temperature during the day reaches 77 °F and drops to 57 °F at night.
- Mountain View on the Big Island. As the name indicates, it’s located at an elevation. This gives it cooler temperatures, with average maximums of 78 °F and minimums of 62 °F.
- Lanai City on the island of Lanai, the smallest publicly accessible inhabited island in Hawaii. The average summer temperature reaches 78.5 °F and drops to 66 °F at night.
Idaho’s city at the highest elevation is Island Park. Located at 6,293 ft, it has much cooler summer months than the rest of the state. Maximums reach on average 77.2 °F and minimums drop to 43 °F.
The home to Acadia National Park is a great destination for those who prefer cooler summer months. Pretty much every city in Maine has mild summers, with temperatures below 80 °F.
Even the warmest city of Maine, Portland, records on average 79.5 °F in the hottest month (and 61 °F at night). The coldest cities in the state, located in its northern part (for example, Fort Kent), reach about 76 °F in the hottest month (and 54 °F at night).
According to my research, aptly named Frostburg is the only bigger city in Maryland that doesn’t deal with super warm days. On average, temperatures in the hottest month climb to 79 °F and drop to 59 °F at night.
Worcester and Pittsfield are two major cities in Massachusetts that experience summer days with temperatures lower than 80 °F. At 79.8 °F and 79.3 °F respectively they’re right below our cutoff. Nights in the hottest month in Worcester have temperatures of 62 °F while in Pittsfield they’re around 58 °F.
Due to the moderating effect of Lake Superior, the best places to be in Michigan to enjoy cooler summer months are by the water. Places like Copper Harbor, Sault Ste. Marie or Marquette have daytime temperatures of 73-77 °F in the hottest month, with nights around 55-58 °F.
Escanaba on Little Bay de Noc and Cadillac in Northern Michigan are two other cities that have lower temperatures in the summer. Escanaba records 77 °F during the daytime and 56 °F at night. Cadillac, due to its more inland location, is warmer, at 79.8 °F during the day and 57.5 °F at night.
The largest city in Minnesota that experiences moderate summers is Duluth. This city of over 85,000 people sees average high temperatures of 78 °F and average low temperatures of 56 °F in the hottest month.
Other cities with daytime temperatures below 80 °F include (starting from the coldest): Hibbing, Virginia, Bemidji, Cloquet, Crookston, Detroit Lakes, and Grand Rapids. Temperatures in these cities range from 77 °F to 80 °F during the daytime and 50-55 °F at night.
While Montana as a whole has hot summers, there’s one town in Montana that has very mild summers. It’s West Yellowstone, next to Yellowstone National Park.
Because of the town’s elevation at 6,664 ft, it has much milder summer temperatures than the rest of the state. It also has extremely cold winters, having recorded the lowest temperature for any residential community in the contiguous United States at −66 °F.
During an average summer day, temperatures climb to about 79 °F in the hottest month. But at night, they drop to very cool 40 °F. This means that apart from a couple of hours in the middle of the day, the town has cool summers as it takes time for cold night temperatures to climb back up to their maximums.
If we go beyond cities and towns, there’s also Cooke City, a community of just 77 people. It has the coolest summers in the entire state, with average highs of 73.7 °F and lows of 38.9 °F.
Mount Charleston, an unincorporated town in Clark County, is located at an elevation of 7,510 ft. This gives it a much cooler climate in the summer than in scorching hot Las Vegas.
Average daytime temperatures in the hottest month (July) reach 79 °F. Nights are cool, with 52.2 °F.
Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe also has cool summers. In fact, they’re much cooler than in Mount Charleston. During the day, on average they reach 73.4 °F in the hottest month (August). At night, temperatures drop to 54 °F.
Hampton, Berlin, and Plymouth are three major cities in New Hampshire that have summer temperatures below 80 °F.
Berlin is the coolest of them all, with average highs of 78 °F in the hottest month, dropping to 55 °F at night. Hampton and Plymouth are right below 80 °F, with temperatures at night retreating to 61.6 °F in Hampton and 54 °F in Plymouth.
Upstate New York cities near the Canadian border experience cooler summer months than the rest of the state. Examples include Watertown, Potsdam, and Ogdensburg, all of which are just below 80 °F during the day, with nighttime temperatures of about 60-62 °F.
North Carolina is otherwise a rather warm state but it does have one city with cooler summers. It’s a small town called Beech Mountain located atop a mountain of the same name.
Summer temperatures reach just 68.9 °F during the day in the hottest month, with temperatures at night dropping to 57.3 °F.
As the coldest US state after Alaska, North Dakota sounds like another great option to escape summer heat. But in reality, only some cities in the state have cool summers.
Among the major cities, the biggest city with daytime temperatures in the summer below 80 °F is Minot. This city of almost 50,000 residents experiences on average 79.9 °F in the hottest month which is right below our limit. The place does offer cool nights, though, with temperatures dropping to 56.5 °F.
The coolest cities in North Dakota, Langdon and Rolla, offer cooler summer months with temperatures reaching 75-77 °F.
Coastal Oregon is home to some cities with very mild year round climates. Because of the moderating effect of the ocean, these places on the Pacific coast never experience cold winters or hot summers.
Examples include Brookings (just north of California’s Crescent City), Coos Bay, Newport, and Lincoln City. The average summer temperature in these cities is between 64-70 °F during the day and 51-54 °F at night.
The three coldest cities in Pennsylvania, Coolbaugh Township, Johnstown, and Hazleton record average daytime temperatures between 78-80 °F in the hottest month, with temperatures at night dropping to 57-60 °F.
A borough of Seven Springs, due to its elevation at 2,530 ft, also has cool summers with maximum temperatures around 77 °F on average, with nighttime temperatures of 58 °F.
Due to its location on an island, Newport on Aquidneck Island is the only bigger city in Rhode Island with moderate summers. As a popular summer resort, Newport offers temperatures reaching 78 °F during the day and 64 °F at night.
Another option in Rhode Island is New Shoreham on Block Island. Average summer highs climb to 79 °F and remain around 63 °F at night.
South Dakota has a harsh climate but it has one city that enjoys much milder weather. It’s Custer, a small city of 2,000 people located at an elevation of 5,480 ft.
Average summer days in the hottest month in Custer climb to 79.7 °F while at night temperatures drop to 56.3 °F.
A tiny town of Brian Head located at an elevation of 9,800 ft has cool summers with temperatures reaching only 70.4 °F during the day and 41.5 °F in the hottest month.
The Green Mountain State has many cities with milder summers, perfect for cool weather summer vacations.
- the capital city of Montpelier (highs of 77.6 °F, lows of 55.5 °F),
- Bennington (highs of 79.4 °F, lows of 57 °F),
- St. Albans (highs of 79.4 °F, lows of 60.9 °F),
- Stowe (highs of 78.7 °F, lows of 55.7 °F in the village),
- Barre (highs of 77.6 °F, lows of 55.5 °F),
- Bristol (highs of 76.3 °F, lows of 55.2 °F),
- Newport (highs of 77.7 °F, lows of 56.6 °F).
Following the west coast of the United States from California to Oregon we now end up in Washington. Like in the previous two states, Washington’s Pacific coast is home to cities with mild climates where you won’t complain about blazing hot summer days.
One example is Ocean Shores and the nearby area, just a short drive from the Olympic National Park. Summer temperatures reach about 67 °F, with nighttime temperatures around 52 °F.
Neah Bay, Port Angeles, Sequim, and nearby places also offer similarly mild summers.
Olympia and cities nearby like Shelton or Centralia are hotter but still have daytime temperatures below 80 °F (about 78 °F during the day and around 50-53 °F at night).
Seattle, as one of the cloudiest cities in the United States, also has mild summers with temperatures in the hottest month reaching about 77-78 °F during the day and around 57 °F at night.
According to my research, Bluefield is the only city in West Virginia with a cooler summer. It owes it to its location in the Appalachian Mountains. The city records average daytime temperatures of 79 °F and nighttime temperatures of 62 °F.
Among the largest cities, Kenosha and Racine have warm but not hot summers. Kenosha’s average summer temperature in the hottest month is 79.7 °F during the day and 64.1 °F at night. Racine is a little cooler with temperatures of 78.5 °F and 63.5 °F.
The coldest city in the state, Superior across the bay from Duluth, Minnesota, records daytime temperatures of 76 °F, dropping to 58 °F at night.
The home to Grand Teton National Park has a couple of cities with cooler summers. They include Pinedale and Jackson (the gateway to Jackson Hole). These two towns have average summer temperatures of 79-80 °F during the day and cold 41-43 °F at night, making them have some of the coldest nights in this ranking.
Then there’s also Fox Park, the highest community in Wyoming. With a subarctic climate, it records only 72.3 °F during in the day in the hottest month, with cold 37.3 °F at night.
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