Best Summer Half Marathons in the U.S.

Fun Destinations to Run 13.1 Miles

If you’re looking to run a half marathon this summer, you’ve got plenty to choose from. Check out this list of unique and exciting places to run or walk 13.1 miles.

1
Faxon Law Fairfield Half Marathon

fairfield half marathon

Where: Fairfield, Conn.
When: June 25, 2017
Why do it:  The Faxon Law Fairfield Half Marathon beachfront half-marathon has been a popular annual event since 1981. These days, up to 5,000 runners come out to Connecticut’s Jennings Beach each year on the first official weekend of summer. You’ll race along the water, over a few bridges and past beautiful, waterfront homes on this out-and-back course. The post-race beach party is a fun-filled way to celebrate your accomplishment.

2
Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

Where: Portland, Maine
When: July 8, 2017
Why do it: The Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon goes right through the heart of Portland’s Old Port district and West End neighborhood and features sweeping views of the Casco Bay, its many islands, ferries, sailboats, lobster boats, tug boats, the Presumpscot River, the City of Portland skyline, and the Back Cove. Race swag includes race photos, a mobile app, two complimentary Shipyard beers, and more.

3
Missoula Half Marathon

Where: Missoula, Mont.
When:  July 9, 2017
Why do it: Although Missoula is a Rocky Mountain town, the Missoula Half Marathon course is flat , fast, and gets high marks from participants. More than 4,000 runners participate in this point-to-point race, which starts with a scenic route through the countryside, continues along the Bitterroot River, and finishes in historic downtown Missoula.

4
Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

Where: Sonoma, Calif.
When: July 16, 2017
Why do it: Runners start the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon near the city of Napa at the Cuvaison Carneros Estate and finish in historic Sonoma Plaza. They’re treated to beautiful vistas of the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, the San Pablo Bay, and the hills of Marin County. Each finisher receives a race shirt, finisher’s medal and an etched wine glass.

Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries help make the signature post-race Wine and Music Festival memorable for runners, as they sample wines from esteemed local wine producers, plus get access to live music, exhibitors, massage tents, food trucks and the Lagunitas Beer Garden. And if you don’t get enough wine at the post-race party, many of the local wineries offer tasting discounts to runners.

5
Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Where:  Chicago, Ill.
When:  July 16, 2017
Why do it: Runners love racing in Chicago because the race courses are typically flat and fast, and the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is no exception. The 13.1-mile race course starts and finishes in Grant Park, the 319-acre park on the city’s downtown lakefront that's home to the world-famous Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute of Chicago. Runners race through the streets of the Windy City’s downtown for the first two-thirds and then run along Lake Michigan, past Soldier Field, Chicago’s Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and through the southern end of Grant Park as they finish in front of the Buckingham Fountain.

6
San Francisco Half Marathon

Where: San Francisco, Calif.
When:  July 23, 2017
Why Do It: The San Francisco Half Marathon offers runners a unique opportunity: They can choose their half marathon, as runners may run either the first or the second 13.1 miles of the full marathon course. Both races showcase different famous parts of San Francisco, from the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf in the first half to the scenery of the second half, including gorgeous Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury district, and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

Of course, there are some hills (it is San Francisco, after all!), but the course doesn’t include any of the ridiculously steep ones that the city is known for. San Francisco is the perfect place to run a summer half marathon, as the city’s typical July weather is typically mild and cool with very little rainfall.

7
Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Where: Virginia Beach, Va.
When: September 3, 2017
Why do it: From start to finish, the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is a rockin’ good time. More than 20 local bands and 16 local high school cheerleading squads are spaced approximately every mile on 14 stages along the course to motivate the runners. You’ll get beautiful ocean views and sweet swag (their unique medals are always a favorite!) at the finish. And who doesn’t love a post-race dip in the ocean to soothe your tired legs?

8
Hole Half Marathon


Location: Jackson, Wy.
Date: Saturday, September 2, 2017
Why do it: If you're looking for a serene and small half marathon with breath-taking, unbelievable views (and also want to check Wyoming off your list of states where you've raced), the Hole Half Marathon may be the one for you. The point-to-point course takes you through the heart of the Jackson Hole valleys. The natural beauty and mountain views of Grand Teton are so spectacular. you may actually forget about any discomfort you're feeling while you're running 13.1 miles.

9
Brewers Mini-Marathon

Where:  Milwaukee, Wis.
When:  September 9, 2017
Why Do It:  Nothing says summer like watching a baseball game and, if you're a fan of baseball AND running, this half marathon is the perfect opportunity to merge your passions. The Brewers Mini-Marathon course passes the Harley Davidson Museum, runs through Miller Valley, and finishes at -- you guessed it -- Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Runners run around the playing field warning track and earn a voucher for a free Brewers spring regular season home game. Race entry also includes a fantastic Post-Race Party at Miller Park with live music, great food and, for participants 21 and over, two beers.

10
Navy-Air Force Half Marathon

Where: Washington, D.C. ·
When: September 17, 2017
Why do it: Starting under the Washington Monument, the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon takes race participants on a scenic tour of many of D.C.'s most iconic sights. With many members of the military participating in or volunteering at the race, it’s hard not to feel patriotic and inspired while you’re running 13.1 miles.

11
Maui Half Marathon

Where: Maui, Hawaii ·
When: September 2017
Why do it:  What better place to run a scenic 13.1 miles than beautiful Maui? Runners of the Maui Half Marathon are treated to coastal views for two-thirds of this very flat course. The race also features the Hawaiian spirit and culture, with Polynesian Fire Knife dancers at the sunrise start, as well as Hawaiian-themed water stops.

12
Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

When:   September 17, 2017
Where:  Philadelphia, Pa.
Why do it:  Rock 'n' Roll events are always well-organized and fun, and their event in Philly doesn't disappoint. Flat and fast, many half marathoners like this course to shoot for a PR. Runners of the Rock 'n' Roll Philly half also get a scenic tour of some Philadelphia landmarks and neighborhoods. Bands along the course provide lots of support and motivation along the way.