With summer around the corner and trip planning in full swing, it’s important to consider the big crowds that come with the typical vacation destinations. Below, we’ve highlighted six new, less traveled destinations or attractions to try this summer, all equally as beautiful and family fun—just with a little less commotion.
Swap Disneyland for Legoland
Disneyland’s two parks tend to be the busiest during the summer months, but don’t feel like you need to put up with the sweltering sun and endless lines because it’s your best option. Try trading Disney for Legoland—roughly 90 minutes south of Disneyland in Carlsbad, California. Legoland is rated as one of the best parks and resorts for children, as the hands-on interactive theme park built and themed by Lego brick guarantees family fun with fewer crowds.
Swap Times Square for the Finger Lakes
New York City—specifically Times Square— is the No. 1 most-visited location in the U.S., making your summer trip to the Big Apple a bit of a competition with the daily estimate of 400,000 visitors. But you can discover a totally different side of New York with a trip upstate to the Finger Lakes, a group of 11 long and narrow lakes. From kayaking on Skaneateles Lake to wine tasting at Seneca Lake, there’s no shortage of things to do during this laid-back vacation.
Swap Grand Canyon for Black Canyon of the Gunnison
With Grand Canyon consistently one of the most-visited national parks to visit in the summer, it’s worth investigating an equally thrilling and beautiful trip elsewhere. In western Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an expansive national park with incredible hiking options and endless views. Right after checking out the visitor center, a short walk will lead you to one of the best overlooks to the canyon at Gunnison Point. Explore the South and North Rim hiking trails or get even more adventurous as you head into the inner canyon.
Swap Huntington Beach for Seal Beach
Summer holidays call for sandy jam-packed parties all across California’s busiest beaches, including Huntington Beach. But for a quaint, “sleepy beach” feel with all the typical perks of Orange County without the crowds, visit Seal Beach, just 9 miles north of Huntington Beach and less than a half hour from Newport Beach. The area is popular with local residents due to the great surfing, but a breath of fresh ocean air away from the more go-to beach spots. Take a breezy stroll on the second-longest pier in the state and peruse the small shops and tasty restaurants along the way—you may even spot a seal.
Swap Cape Cod for Cape Ann
In northeastern Massachusetts, Cape Ann is the most realistic swap to those searching for a Cape Cod experience at a less overwhelming scale. This New England destination—just an hour’s drive from Boston—is one of the prettiest seaside towns in the country, featuring pristine beaches, beautiful hiking trails, and calm waterways where you can kayak or canoe around. Check out different sailing and charter tour options for a day on the water, then hop into town for the freshest seafood you can get.
Swap Cancun for Punta de Mita
Cancun’s sunny beaches, clear waters, and jungle-meets-beach feel can be replicated for a more intimate vacation experience in Mexico. Visit Punta de Mita— a 1,500-acre private peninsular on northern Banderas Bay, situated far away from the bustling towns that cater to more conventional tourists. Between the pristine beaches and luxurious secluded feel, this is a can’t-miss slice of paradise. Surfing, snorkeling, kitesurfing, and whale watching are just a few activities that makes this vacation spot worth a second visit