10 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas You Need to Explore

Summer is the perfect time for a vacation, but if you’re tired of the same old tourist spots, it’s time to explore some hidden gems. Here are 10 underrated summer travel ideas that promise unique experiences and unforgettable memories. These destinations offer everything from stunning natural beauty to vibrant cultural experiences, all without the crowds of more popular locations.

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1. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina
Image Source: wikipedia.org

Asheville is a great place for art and nature lovers alike because it is in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can hike and drive through beautiful scenery. The downtown area is full of interesting shops and galleries, and you can’t miss the famous Biltmore Estate. Asheville is also a great place to eat because it has a booming food and craft beer scene.

2. Door County, Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin
Image Source: wpr.org

Often referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County boasts charming small towns, picturesque lighthouses, and stunning lakeshore landscapes. Enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, and exploring the numerous state parks. With its cherry orchards and fish boils, Door County also offers unique culinary experiences.

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3. Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico
Image source: casaescondida.com

Known for its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes, Taos is an ideal summer getaway. Visit the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and explore the artistic community that has inspired countless artists. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the opportunities for hiking, rafting, and hot air ballooning in the stunning Rio Grande Gorge.

4. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, Michigan
Image Source: travelandleisure.com

On Mackinac Island, Michigan, stepping back in time means taking a horse-drawn carriage ride instead of a car. You can enjoy beautiful Victorian architecture, bike rides along the coast, and historic places like Fort Mackinac on this charming island. When you go, don’t forget to try the famous Mackinac Island candy.

5. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington
Image Source: nps.gov/olym

Escape into the diverse landscapes of Olympic National Park, where you can explore rugged coastlines, lush rainforests, and majestic mountains all in one place. Hike through the Hoh Rain Forest, visit the stunning Hurricane Ridge, and relax on the serene beaches. The park’s biodiversity and natural beauty make it a true hidden gem.

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6. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona
Image Source: mensjournal.com

While the Grand Canyon gets all the attention, Sedona offers equally stunning red rock landscapes with a more tranquil atmosphere. Known for its vortex sites and spiritual energy, Sedona is perfect for hiking, meditation, and exploring the vibrant arts community. Don’t miss a scenic drive through Oak Creek Canyon.

7. Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York
Image Source: Tripadvisor

The Finger Lakes region is a picturesque destination known for its stunning lakes, charming small towns, and world-class wineries. Enjoy wine tasting tours, boating, and exploring the beautiful state parks like Watkins Glen and Taughannock Falls. The region’s farm-to-table dining and local craft beverages add to the appeal.

8. Cumberland Island, Georgia

Cumberland Island, Georgia
Image Source: The Nature Conservancy

For a truly secluded escape, visit Cumberland Island, a pristine barrier island with unspoiled beaches, wild horses, and historic ruins. Accessible only by ferry, this island offers a peaceful retreat with opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and exploring the ruins of the Carnegie family’s Dungeness mansion.

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9. San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands, Washington
Image Source: Tucker House Inn

The San Juan Islands offer a serene getaway with opportunities for whale watching, kayaking, and exploring charming seaside towns. Visit Friday Harbor, explore the beautiful beaches and parks, and take a boat tour to see orcas in their natural habitat. The islands’ natural beauty and laid-back vibe make them a perfect summer destination.

10. Burlington, Vermont

Tucker House Inn
Image Source: Vermont Vacation

Burlington combines the charm of a small New England town with vibrant cultural and outdoor activities. Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington offers opportunities for sailing, biking along the scenic waterfront, and exploring the lively Church Street Marketplace. The city’s farm-to-table dining and local breweries are also highlights.

Conclusion

These underrated summer travel ideas provide the perfect opportunity to discover new destinations and create lasting memories. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors, cultural experiences, or peaceful retreats, these hidden gems offer something for everyone. So, skip the crowded hotspots and explore these unique locations for an unforgettable summer getaway.

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FAQ: Underrated Summer Travel Ideas

1. What makes Asheville, North Carolina a unique summer travel destination?

Asheville offers a blend of natural beauty, vibrant arts, and rich history. Visitors can hike the Blue Ridge Mountains, explore the Biltmore Estate, and enjoy a thriving food and craft beer scene.

2. Why is Door County, Wisconsin often compared to Cape Cod?

Door County, known as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest," features charming small towns, picturesque lighthouses, and stunning lakeshore landscapes. It's perfect for outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking, and offers unique culinary experiences such as cherry orchards and fish boils.

3. What cultural experiences can I find in Taos, New Mexico?

Taos is rich in cultural heritage with attractions like the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is known for its artistic community, diverse galleries, and outdoor activities like hiking and rafting in the Rio Grande Gorge.

4. How do I get around Mackinac Island, Michigan if cars are banned?

Mackinac Island is known for its ban on cars, which adds to its historic charm. Visitors can get around by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, or on foot, making for a unique and relaxing travel experience.

5. What are the main attractions in Olympic National Park, Washington?

Olympic National Park boasts diverse landscapes including rugged coastlines, lush rainforests, and majestic mountains. Key attractions include the Hoh Rain Forest, Hurricane Ridge, and serene beaches, offering a wide range of outdoor activities.

6. What is special about Sedona, Arizona as a travel destination?

Sedona is renowned for its stunning red rock formations and spiritual energy vortex sites. Visitors can enjoy hiking, meditation, and exploring the vibrant local arts scene, as well as scenic drives through Oak Creek Canyon.

7. What activities are popular in the Finger Lakes region of New York?

The Finger Lakes region is famous for its scenic lakes, charming small towns, and world-class wineries. Popular activities include wine tasting tours, boating, hiking in state parks like Watkins Glen, and enjoying farm-to-table dining.

8. How can I access Cumberland Island, Georgia?

Cumberland Island is a secluded barrier island accessible only by ferry. The island offers unspoiled beaches, wild horses, historic ruins, and opportunities for hiking and bird-watching, providing a peaceful retreat from the mainland.

9. What can I do in the San Juan Islands, Washington?

The San Juan Islands are perfect for whale watching, kayaking, and exploring charming seaside towns like Friday Harbor. Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty, take boat tours to see orcas, and relax in the laid-back island atmosphere.

10. What makes Burlington, Vermont a great summer destination?

Burlington offers a mix of outdoor and cultural activities. Located on Lake Champlain, visitors can enjoy sailing, biking along the waterfront, and exploring the lively Church Street Marketplace. The city also boasts excellent farm-to-table dining and local breweries.

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