Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy activities that celebrate getting outdoors and soaking up the sun – while also taking in some entertainment. Some of the most popular things to do include watching a fireworks display, playing at a splash pad, enjoying tunes at an outdoor concert series, setting out on a scenic train ride, and traveling for a summer vacation.
To find the best of these beloved pastimes, 10Best editors and a panel of experts nominated their favorites, then readers voted for their top picks – and the results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full winners list:
Best Outdoor Concert Series: Somers Point Beach Concert Series in Somers Point, New Jersey
Enjoy summer evenings at Somers Point Beach Concert Series — Photo courtesy of John Loreaux Photography LLC
“This bay town located just outside Ocean City goes all out with their summer concert series,” says 10Best contributor Catherine Smith. “Residents and visitors bring their beach blankets and folding chairs down to the little bayside beach and dance the night away under the stars." From blues rock and reggae to Motown and swing, listen to it all as you close out a day on the beach.
Full list of winners: Best Outdoor Concert Series »
Best Place to See Fireworks: Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois
Navy Pier is the place to be for fireworks shows — Photo courtesy of ®Nick Uliveri Photography
One of Chicago's secret pleasures is that you can enjoy fireworks at the iconic Navy Pier almost any time of year, including shows every week during the summer and when welcoming in the new year with a blast every December 31.
That said, the annual Fourth of July fireworks display is something special, with a 15-minute bombardment. In addition to viewing from the pier itself, pyrotechnic lovers can watch the show from charter boats on Lake Michigan, hotel rooftops, Maggie Daley Park or along Chicago's Lakefront Trail.
Full list of winners: Best Place to See Fireworks »
Best Splash Pad: Scissortail Sprayground in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Cool off at Scissortail Sprayground — Photo courtesy of FlightTimeOKC
A small forest of wand-like water jets squirt in harmony with the shrieking delight of young visitors to Oklahoma City's Scissortail Park, a natural urban oasis.
Full list of winners: Best Splash Pad »
Best Summer Travel Destination: Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island, Michigan is a favorite summer travel destination — Photo courtesy of Michael Deemer // Getty Images
Between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, you’ll find Mackinac Island, where you’ll ride on horse-drawn carriages along car-free roads, observe fudge being made (and then sample it) and tour the historic Fort Mackinac. This Lake Huron-based continental island is also home to Mackinac Island State Park, where you can hike, bike, kayak, and take photos of the local natural beauty, including the stunning limestone Arch Rock.
Full list of winners: Best Summer Travel Destination »
Best Train Ride: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango, Colorado
Hop aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad — Photo courtesy of Paul Hamilton // Getty Images
The historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad once hauled silver and gold between these two Colorado towns. Today, visitors can hop aboard for this 7-hour round-trip journey through some of Colorado's most impressive scenery, with a stop in Silverton to explore the historic mining town.
Full list of winners: Best Train Ride »
Congratulations to all these winning nominees! Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in our Readers' Choice contests.