Summer is a classic season for a holiday — a time when thousands of people cash in their vacation days and head to the beach, mountains and national parks around the United States. If you love summer vacations but hate rubbing elbows with thousands of other visitors, you may want to check out the destinations below. They’ve got all the holiday appeal without the crowds
Florida’s Space Coast
While Florida’s Space Coast, on the western shores of the state, sees plenty of people, summer is actually a great time to go, especially if you can hit the beach in June or August. Average temperatures in the summer are in the high seventies, which is perfect for exploring the area’s sandy beaches and coastal waters. The area gets its name from its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center, which is a must-visit attraction, but the beaches are fabulous as well. While throngs of vacationers head to Daytona Beach a bit farther north, the beaches on the space coast are a bit more relaxed. For surf and sand without the crowds, head to Canaveral National Seashore or Ocean Avenue in Ocean Beach.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
At the top of Michigan’s mitten is a beautiful island destination that makes for a perfect summer vacation. Mackinac Island does get busy in the summer, but one of the benefits is that cars aren’t permitted here, so even when the hotels and resorts are full, there’s a laid-back atmosphere that puts you right on island time. The streets of Mackinac are instead packed with horses, pedestrians, and bicycles, so to find solitude, head away from the downtown area. The farther you get, the more secluded the island becomes.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
With fewer than 10,000 residents and just a handful of visitors each year, the island of Vieques off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico is the perfect spot to find solitude. Average temperatures remain in the high seventies year-round, making it a great summer destination. The beaches on Vieques feature wide bays and secluded coves. Vieques is also home to the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, with guided tours available. Other highlights include touring a historical Spanish fort, hiking many of the local trails, or taking a guided trail ride on horse or bicycle. More than 60% of the island is covered by Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, so you'll be able to lose yourself in some stunning nature.
Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah is a world-renowned resort town, attracting skiers and snowboarders from every corner of the earth in the winter. But if you haven’t visited Park City in the summer, you’re missing out on half the fun. Whether you want to hike a mountain trail, get some exercise at Olympic Park or pamper yourself with a spa treatment, you’ll find numerous ways to treat yourself in Park City. Free summer concerts happen every Thursday night, and Sundays are for the Park Silly Sunday Market, where Main Street closes to traffic and opens up to pedestrians with food, art and crafts.
Just 598 souls live in the tiny town of Manzanita, Oregon, which is located right on the coast in Tillamook County. Manzanita is a small community, but it has a lot to offer. First stop? The beach of course! Manzanita Beach is a stretch of sandy paradise, perfect for relaxing with a book, building sand castles or flying kites. The Pacific Ocean rarely gets above 60 degrees here, so be prepared for chills if you choose to take a dip. Downtown Manzanita is an up-and-coming shopping and dining destination, so be sure to stroll the streets near the ocean to find boutique clothing stores, galleries, bakeries, and restaurants.