Summer vacation is the highlight of the year for millions of solo travelers and families alike. According to Forbes, 216 million Americans plan to take vacations this summer. That means that you will likely have to navigate huge crowds if you visit any of the top tourist attractions in the United States and abroad.
Popular tourist attractions like Los Angeles, Orlando, New York City, Chicago, and Las Vegas attract millions of travelers each summer. Summer vacation doesn’t mean that you have to rub elbows with large crowds of tourists, however. Luckily, 8 summer vacation destinations are less-crowded than what you’d typically expect from your yearly trip.
8. Yachats, Oregon
Yachats is a coastal town in Oregon that has gone under the radar for many travelers for years. However, vacationers looking to get great deals and avoid crowds know Yachats all too well. Yachats is home to just over 1,000 residents, so it never feels too crowded.
Tourism in Yachats has steadily increased over the years, so it’s worthwhile to visit this town before it gets too crowded with tourists. Even still, Yachats is less crowded than popular Oregon tourist cities, such as Portland and Bend.
7. Sanibel Island, Florida
While Miami and Fort Lauderdale are no-brain vacation spots in Florida, Sanibel Island is a much better option if you want to avoid crowds. Sanibel Island only has 6,400 residents and it’s the hidden gem of southwestern Florida.
Known for its sandy beaches, Sanibel Island is also a haven for tourists that want to gather as many sea shells as possible. Only 160,000 tourists visit Sanibel Island per year, on average, so you don’t have to worry about navigating large crowds. Close to Fort Meyers, Sanibel Island avoids most of the traffic that the latter city is known for.
6. Laughlin, Nevada
When most travelers picture Nevada, they imagine Las Vegas. However, this western state is home to several underrated summer vacation spots, such as Laughlin. Laughlin, Nevada is a resort town home to 8 resorts that have casinos.
Think of Laughlin as a condensed, less crowded, and more affordable alternative to Las Vegas. It has many of the same attractions as Las Vegas, such as buffets, casinos, and resorts, but Laughlin accommodates far fewer tourists each year.
To put it into perspective, Laughlin only sees 2 million tourists per year. This may sound like a lot, but it pales in comparison to the 32-38 million tourists that visit Las Vegas yearly. Whether it be the Riverwalk Trail or Golden Nugget Casino, travelers with any type of ideal vacation can find something to do in Laughlin, Nevada.
5. Hudson Valley, New York
The Catskill Mountains are inarguably the most breathtaking natural beauty in New York. Travelers often flock to New York City along with 56 million other tourists per year. However, Hudson Valley offers a unique, uncrowded summer vacation experience that provides a unique experience.
You can still get plenty of great pizza in Hudson Valley, and this beautiful area is home to unforgettable views. It only takes just over two hours to drive from Hudson Valley to New York City, so you can still hit both destinations if you drive or rent a car. Hudson Valley has recently seen a real estate boom, so visit before it becomes too crowded.
4. Molokai, Hawaii
Hawaii has been a top tourist destination for decades. However, Hawaiian vacations typically involve navigating massive crowds of tourists. Luckily, that’s not the case when you visit Molokai which is one of the least-crowded vacation spots in Hawaii.
Only 7,400 people live in Molokai, and it’s far from the tourist hotspot that many travelers associate with Hawaii. Fewer than 60,000 people visit Molokai per year, and that is quite low compared to the 1.4-1.8 million people that visit Kaui per year. Hula originated in Molokai which makes it a staple in Hawaiian culture, and a must-stop destination.
3. Carlsbad, Caifornia
Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco are great vacation spots, but California has plenty more to offer, especially if you want to avoid crowds. Carlsbad is much less crowded than Los Angeles, and it offers a unique vacation experience. Ocean views, parks, fine dining, and unique shops make Carlsbad an appealing destination for vacationers looking for an alternative to a crowded city.
This quiet California city is also home to an iconic outlet mall that is a popular stop on any vacation. Home to Legoland, several resorts, a world-class aquarium, and unforgettable views, Carlsbad is one of California’s most underrated cities. While Carlsbad is home to over 115,000 residents, that’s nothing compared to popular California tourist attractions like Los Angeles.
2. San Juan Islands, Washington
The San Juan Islands consist of 5 islands in Washington that provide views you won’t find anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest. You can watch whales emerge from the water, take waterfront bike rides, and kayak with your friends and family. Orca Island is the biggest of the San Juan Islands, and it’s the best option if you want to go whale-watching.
Tourism in the San Juan Islands has steadily increased with the region bringing in $267 million from tourist revenue in the past few years. Because of that, it’s a great idea to visit the San Juan Islands while it still flies under the radar compared to other tourist attractions in the state, such as Olympia and Seattle.
1. Amelia Island, Florida
While you may not recognize Amelia Island as quickly as Marco Island, it’s one of the best summer vacation destinations in Florida. Amelia Island is home to more than 40 beaches as well as several hiking trails and great restaurants. The island spans 40 square miles and is part of Nassau County.
Fernandina Beach is the most popular beach on Amelia Island. You can find several resorts, a lavish golf course, and unforgettable views of Amelia Island. Currently, Amelia Island sees just over 750,000 tourists per year which means you won’t have to worry about the crowds you’d find on Marco Island or in Fort Lauderdale.