The days are getting longer and warmer, it’s time to start planning for summer vacations! Here are a few up-and-coming locations that are great for a weekend visit or a weeklong exploration that will be slightly off the tourist beat.
Hike Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley might be a skier’s paradise in the winter, but the crowds calm down in the summer and the activities are just as fun. There are activities for any level of outdoorsy person like hiking Bald Mountain. Try the Sunrise Loop—It’s about a mile and a half, and offers a great view of the mountains surrounding Sun Valley. Feeling more adventurous? Most of Sun Valley’s hiking trails are also open to mountain bikers, and if the resort’s lifts are still in season, bikers can ride the lift up the mountain and then fly down.
If outdoor adventuring seems daunting, Sun Valley’s town is equally exciting. Browse the local boutiques and restaurants, and enjoy the town’s ice skating rink. It’s fun for any age!
Explore Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii is often crowded, so the best times to book trips are in early spring and late summer. The crowds are lower, and the temperatures are just right. One of the most crowded places in Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach, but it’s still worth a visit. It’s a picturesque beach and it has lots of shopping and entertainment nearby.
Hawaii has picture-perfect sights, but there’s also a lot of history not to be missed. Even the Waikiki Beach used to be reserved for Hawaiian royalty. For a real taste of Hawaii’s history, check out the Iolani Palace. The palace was restored, and now it’s full of antiques. Visitors can take a tour with a docent, or explore the palace on their own.
Picture Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia has lots of important history, but the city’s culture is vibrant and new. First, appreciate the city’s and United States’ history, with the Museum of the American Revolution. It’s brand new, and has about 3,000 artifacts from the Revolutionary War. Plus, it’s within walking distance of Independence Hall.
After a day in the city, take advantage of Philadelphia’s growing food scene. Vernick is one of the most popular restaurants. It’s fine dining with reasonable prices and great reviews. Be sure to try something from their wood-fire oven, like their Amish chicken.
Rock Out in Nashville, Tennessee
Walk in the footsteps of Elvis, Dolly Parton and more in Nashville, the “Music City.” The Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-see for any music lover. Learn about the Nashville scene specifically with the “Dylan, Cash and Nashville Cats” exhibit. The museum also has a great restaurant and a gift shop with more than t-shirts and snow globes—it has all types of music for sale as well.
Later, tour the Ryman Auditorium. It’s a gorgeous theater with wooden seats and stained glass windows. All sorts of musicians have performed on its stage since 1892, and visitors can tour its backstage. Check its schedule for performances—lots of big names continue to play in the theater.
Discover Burlington, Vermont
There’s a lot to do in the East Coast, but Burlington offers some of the best things to do with much smaller crowds. Check out the Church Street marketplace, which is an outdoor market with shopping from large chains as well as local street vendors. This street used to be a terribly congested part of Burlington, but in the 1980s Burlington closed it off to cars, and let pedestrians take over.
After the market, take advantage of Vermont’s outdoor opportunities. Burlington is right by Lake Champlain, so visitors can hang out at Waterfront Park and watch the sunset on the lake. Lake Champlain is the sixth largest lake in the United States, and offers unique destinations like individual islands that have their own culture, or what scientists believe is the world’s oldest coral reef.
Take the path less traveled in Seattle, Washington
From Pikes Place Market to the Space Needle, Seattle is always a fun destination. But sometimes those places can get a bit hectic, so explore outside of Seattle to get just as great of an experience. Seattle has all sorts of destinations that are just a short drive away. Try Bellingham—it’s just an hour and a half north of Seattle, and makes for a great day trip. Walk along the Bellingham Marina, visit the San Juan Islands, and get great food without the crowds. Try Woods Coffee, which is what Starbucks was like thirty years ago.
Alternatively, stay in Seattle but spend time on the trails outside of it. Washington has incredible hiking opportunities that many Seattle visitors don’t even think about. Try the Wildside Trail—it’s just half an hour away from Seattle, and has wildflowers in the Spring, waterfalls in the summer, and perfect views of Mount Rainier any time of the year.
Adventure in Glacier National Park, Montana
Any national park gets crowded in the summer, but Glacier National Park is so big that it’s easy to get away from the crowds. To start off the trip, visitors can’t miss Going to the Sun Road. It’s a 50-mile loop that takes about two hours. It takes travelers through Glacier’s scenery, climbing through the towering peaks. There are lots of viewpoints to stop out, and visitors often see lots of wildlife.
There’s plenty of camping available in the park, or there’s lodging nearby. There are six lodges available in the park itself, but these fill up quickly. Try lodging in Whitefish, Montana. It’s about an hour away from Glacier, and has a small-town charm with local galleries and restaurants.
Can’t wait to visit these spots? Book lodging now at Reservation Desk.