When it comes to summer travel, sometimes it pays to go off the beaten path and skip the hotspots plastered all over Instagram in favor of somewhere a little less expected.
Discovering an under-the-radar destination quite often means that your travel budget will stretch that much further.
You’re not paying to fight the mobs or get into the see-and-be-seen hotel that everyone’s raving about. And beyond the chance to save a bit of cash, what really makes these off-season destinations special is the chance to experience some of the most beautiful places in the world, minus the crowds that may flood there at other times of year. The five destinations on this list aren’t all groundbreaking (we’re guessing you’ve heard of Palm Springs), but each is either out of its peak season, or offers an alternative to ultra-popular getaways. So pack your bags — let’s get outta here.
image by carmen collins
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs’s peak season is in the winter and early spring, when snowbirds descend on the desert to escape winter weather and festival-goers roll into town for Coachella. But during summer, the mid-century modern town clears out. Which means that you can score stays at some of the area’s top resorts (think the always-Instagrammable Parker Palm Springs, La Quinta, and more) at a fraction of their usual cost. Sure, it’s hot as hell outside, but when all you have on your itinerary is lounging by the pool and hitting up the spa, you won’t mind.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
There’s never really a down season on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, but there are discounts to be found if you head to Playa del Carmen this summer. There, you’ll find the same beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe as ultra-trendy Tulum for a fraction of the price. You’ll also be just a stone’s throw away from top sites in the area like Chichen Itza and the mesmerizing centoes at Xcaret. Just be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen.
Traverse City, Michigan
Though Traverse City is a firm favorite for Michigan natives, it is certainly one of the more unexpected summer getaway destinations on this list. Perched on one of Lake Michigan’s calmer bays, the city offers everything you could ask for on a summer getaway including sun, sand, and plenty of shopping. You’ll also find wine tasting routes where you can spend days sampling some of the best Rieslings in the country. And, if you head out there in early July, some of the juiciest cherries anywhere in the world.
Nyack, New York
If you’re looking for a Hamptons-style getaway, but don’t quite have Hamptons-level cash, head to Nyack instead. The small town on the base of the Hudson River is a quick drive out from New York City (making it a great add-on if you plan to hit up the Big Apple this summer), and a laid-back foodie paradise. The historic downtown area is easily walkable, offers more mouth-watering restaurants than you can try in one weekend, and chic hotels to boot.
Though you may run into some wet weather, summer is a great time to head to the Caribbean if you’re looking for a luxury experience at a (slightly) less-than-luxury price. Though resorts on nearly all of the islands will be offering discounts, you can’t go wrong by heading to St. Lucia. Check into the iconic Jade Mountain to be close to the best the island has to offer, and plan to spend plenty of time snorkeling, hiking, and sipping tropical cocktails by the beach.