Underrated Summer Travel Ideas
Underrated Summer Travel Ideas

Are you tired of visiting the same old tourist traps every summer? Do you want to explore new and exciting destinations off the beaten path? Look no further! I’ve compiled a list of underrated summer travel ideas that will take you to some of the most beautiful and unique destinations in the United States.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, a thrilling outdoor adventure, or a cultural experience, I’ve got you covered. My shared list includes destinations perfect for families, couples, solo travelers, and groups of friends. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and prepare for an unforgettable summer adventure!

By the end of this article, you’ll learn about some of the most underrated summer travel ideas for 2024 that will help you explore hidden gems across the United States. You’ll also know why these destinations are worth visiting and what activities you can do there. So keep reading and get ready to plan the ultimate summer getaway!

Table of Contents

49 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas

1. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Escape the crowds and experience the stunning natural beauty of the largest national park in the United States. With over 13 million acres of wilderness, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is a paradise for hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

2. The Golden Road, Maine

Follow the Golden Road and discover the hidden gems of Maine’s North Woods. This 96-mile scenic byway takes you through some of the most remote and beautiful wilderness areas in the eastern United States.

3. Bellingham, Washington

Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the San Juan Islands, Bellingham is a charming city with a laid-back vibe. Explore the historic Fairhaven district, hike in the nearby Mount Baker Wilderness, or enjoy a craft beer at one of the city’s many breweries.

4. Taos, New Mexico

Visit the rich cultural heritage of Taos, a small town in northern New Mexico. With its adobe architecture, vibrant art scene, and stunning natural beauty, Taos is a unique and unforgettable destination.

5. Door County, Wisconsin

Escape to the charming villages and scenic beauty of Door County, Wisconsin. With its picturesque lighthouses, historic buildings, and miles of shoreline, Door County is a perfect destination for a summer getaway.

6. White Mountains, New Hampshire

Explore the rugged beauty of the White Mountains, a stunning mountain range in northern New Hampshire. With its scenic drives, hiking trails, and quaint mountain towns, the White Mountains are a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

7. Lanai, Hawaii

Get away from it all on the secluded island of Lanai, Hawaii. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and luxurious resorts, Lanai is a perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a relaxing vacation.

8. Cumberland Island, Georgia

Take a step back in time and explore the unspoiled beauty of Cumberland Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. With its pristine beaches, historic ruins, and wild horses, Cumberland Island is a unique and unforgettable destination.

9. Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

Experience the otherworldly beauty of Great Sand Dunes National Park, a stunning landscape of towering sand dunes and snow-capped mountains. With its unique combination of desert and alpine environments, Great Sand Dunes is a perfect destination for outdoor adventurers.

10. Traverse City, Michigan

The scenic beauty and charming small towns of northern Michigan’s Traverse City region. With its miles of shoreline, rolling hills, and award-winning wineries, Traverse City is a perfect destination for a summer vacation.

11. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Explore the pristine beaches and historic lighthouses of the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and laid-back vibe, the Outer Banks is a perfect destination for a summer getaway.

12. San Juan Islands, Washington

Escape to the tranquil beauty of the San Juan Islands, a scenic archipelago off the coast of Washington. With its pristine beaches, charming small towns, and abundant wildlife, the San Juan Islands are a perfect destination for a summer vacation.

13. Fredericksburg, Texas

The unique blend of German and Texan culture in Fredericksburg, a charming small town in the heart of Texas Hill Country. With its historic buildings, award-winning wineries, and delicious cuisine, Fredericksburg is a perfect destination for a summer getaway.

14. Bisbee, Arizona

Explore the quirky and colorful town of Bisbee, a historic mining town nestled in the mountains of southern Arizona. With its eclectic art scene, vibrant nightlife, and stunning natural beauty, Bisbee is a perfect destination for a summer vacation.

15. Padre Island, Texas

Escape to the pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters of Padre Island, the world’s longest barrier island. With its miles of shoreline, abundant wildlife, and laid-back vibe, Padre Island is a perfect destination for a summer getaway.

16. Beaufort, South Carolina

Discover the historic charm and natural beauty of Beaufort, a small town in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. With its antebellum architecture, scenic waterways, and delicious seafood, Beaufort is a perfect destination for a summer vacation.

17. Moab, Utah

Explore the stunning natural beauty of Moab, a small town in southeastern Utah. With its towering red rock formations, world-class hiking trails, and thrilling outdoor adventures, Moab is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

18. Les Cheneaux Islands, Michigan

Escape the crowds and head to the Les Cheneaux Islands in Michigan. This hidden gem boasts 36 islands and miles of untouched shoreline. Enjoy kayaking, fishing, and hiking in the summer months.

19. Mendocino County, California

Mendocino County in California offers stunning coastal views, redwood forests, and charming towns. Take a scenic drive along Highway 1, hike in the Mendocino National Forest, and explore the local wineries.

20. Grand Valley, Colorado

For a unique summer adventure, head to Grand Valley in Colorado. This region offers world-class mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing. Don’t miss the stunning views of the Colorado National Monument.

21. Florence, Oregon

Florence, Oregon is a coastal town with plenty to offer. Spend your days exploring the dunes, hiking in the Siuslaw National Forest, and visiting the historic Heceta Head Lighthouse.

22. Gros Ventre Wilderness, Wyoming

For a true wilderness experience, head to the Gros Ventre Wilderness in Wyoming. This area offers stunning mountain scenery, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Don’t miss the chance to soak in Granite Hot Springs.

23. The Black Hills, South Dakota

The Black Hills in South Dakota offers stunning scenery and plenty of outdoor activities. Enjoy hiking in Custer State Park, visit Mount Rushmore, and explore the local caves.

24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin may not be the first place that comes to mind for a summer vacation, but it should be! Enjoy the city’s vibrant arts scene, explore the historic Third Ward, and sample some of the city’s famous beer.

25. Peru, Vermont

Peru, Vermont is a charming New England town with plenty of outdoor activities. Hike in the Green Mountain National Forest, visit the local farmers’ market, and enjoy a scenic drive along Route 100.

26. Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky, Montana is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing in the summer months. Don’t miss the chance to take a scenic drive through Yellowstone National Park.

27. Lake Lure, North Carolina

Lake Lure in North Carolina is a hidden gem in the state. Enjoy hiking in the nearby Chimney Rock State Park, visit the local beaches, and explore the charming town.

28. Stanley, Idaho

Stanley, Idaho is a small town with a big adventure. Enjoy hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains, rafting on the Salmon River, and soaking in the natural hot springs.

29. Ogden, Utah

Ogden, Utah is a hidden gem in the state. Enjoy hiking in the nearby Wasatch Mountains, visit the local breweries, and explore the historic 25th Street.

30. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

For a unique summer adventure, head to Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. This park offers stunning waterways, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing. Don’t miss the chance to take a boat tour of the park.

31. Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island in Rhode Island is a charming island with plenty to offer. Enjoy the local beaches, explore the historic lighthouses, and visit the local shops and restaurants.

32. Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes in New York is a beautiful region with plenty to offer. Enjoy hiking in the local state parks, visit the local wineries, and explore the charming towns.

33. Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont, is a charming college town located on the shores of Lake Champlain. With its pedestrian-friendly downtown, outdoor cafes, and scenic bike path, Burlington is the perfect summer destination for those who love the outdoors.

34. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is a historic town located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. With its Civil War history, scenic hiking trails, and charming bed and breakfasts, Harpers Ferry is a great place to relax and unwind.

35. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado, is known for its world-class skiing, but it’s also a great summer destination. With its stunning mountain views, hiking trails, and outdoor concerts, Aspen is the perfect place to escape the summer heat.

36. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, Michigan, is a charming island located in Lake Huron. With its historic architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and fudge shops, Mackinac Island is a great place to step back in time.

37. Kodiak Island, Alaska

Kodiak Island, Alaska, is a remote island located in the Gulf of Alaska. With its stunning scenery, wildlife viewing opportunities, and fishing charters, Kodiak Island is an excellent place to experience the natural beauty of Alaska.

38. Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri, is a family-friendly destination located in the Ozark Mountains. With its theme parks, water parks, and live entertainment, Branson is a great place to take the kids for a summer vacation.

39. Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket, Massachusetts, is a charming island located off the coast of Cape Cod. With its historic architecture, beaches, and seafood restaurants, Nantucket is a beautiful place to escape the summer crowds.

40. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a vibrant city located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. With its riverfront parks, museums, and outdoor activities, Chattanooga is a great place to explore the great outdoors.

41. Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, New Jersey, is a historic seaside town located on the southern tip of the Jersey Shore. With its Victorian architecture, beaches, and seafood restaurants, Cape May is a perfect place to relax and unwind.

42. Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon, is a charming town located in the Columbia River Gorge. With its scenic hiking trails, water sports, and craft breweries, Hood River is a great place to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

43. Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado, is a charming mountain town located in the San Juan Mountains. With its stunning scenery, hiking trails, and outdoor festivals, Telluride is an excellent place to escape the summer heat.

44. Marfa, Texas

Marfa, Texas, is a quirky town located in the West Texas desert. With its art galleries, hip restaurants, and stunning sunsets, Marfa is a great place to experience the unique culture of Texas.

45. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia, is a charming southern city located on the banks of the Savannah River. With its historic architecture, parks, and seafood restaurants, Savannah is a perfect place to experience the charm of the South.

46. Madeline Island, Wisconsin

Madeline Island, Wisconsin, is a charming island located in Lake Superior. With its beaches, hiking trails, and charming bed and breakfasts, Madeline Island is a great place to escape the summer crowds.

47. Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida, is a tropical paradise located at the southernmost point in the continental United States. With its beaches, water sports, and nightlife, Key West is a beautiful place to escape the winter blues.

48. Galena, Illinois

Galena, Illinois, is a charming town located in the rolling hills of northwest Illinois. With its historic architecture, wineries, and outdoor activities, Galena is a great place to escape the summer heat.

49. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona, is a stunning desert town located in the red rocks of northern Arizona. With its hiking trails, art galleries, and spiritual retreats, Sedona is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some hidden gem destinations in the US for a summer vacation?

If you’re looking for a unique summer vacation, consider visiting some of the lesser-known destinations in the US. Some hidden gem destinations perfect for a summer vacation include Sedona, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Traverse City, Michigan. Each destination offers breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities, and a relaxed atmosphere.

Which up-and-coming vacation spots should travelers consider this summer?

Consider traveling to Bend, Oregon, or Asheville, North Carolina, this summer if you’re searching for a new and exciting vacation destination. These locations are popular because of their breathtaking natural beauty, lively arts scenes, and distinctive local cultures.

Can you recommend unique summer vacations that are often overlooked?

Yes, many unique summer vacation destinations are often overlooked. For example, consider visiting the Finger Lakes region of New York, which offers beautiful lakes, scenic vineyards, and charming small towns. Another option is the San Juan Islands in Washington state, which offers stunning natural beauty, outdoor activities, and a relaxed island vibe.

What are the best destinations for a tranquil and uncrowded summer getaway?

If you’re looking for a tranquil and uncrowded summer getaway, consider visiting less-popular national parks, such as Great Basin National Park in Nevada or Congaree National Park in South Carolina. These parks offer stunning natural beauty, peaceful surroundings, and a chance to escape the crowds.

Where can travelers go in July for a vacation with minimal tourist crowds?

Some lesser-known beach destinations, like Gulf Shores, Alabama, or Cape May, New Jersey, are worth considering if you’re looking for a vacation with fewer tourists in July. Both locations have lovely beaches, outdoor recreation opportunities, and a laid-back vibe without the crowds of other, more well-known beach destinations.

Which lesser-known US cities offer a unique experience for summer travelers?

If you want a unique summer travel experience, consider visiting some lesser-known US cities. For example, Asheville, North Carolina, offers a vibrant arts scene, stunning natural beauty, and a charming downtown area. Another option is Boise, Idaho, which offers outdoor activities, a thriving food and drink scene, and a relaxed atmosphere.


Plenty of underrated summer travel ideas offer unique experiences without the crowds. From exploring the coastal charms of Charleston, South Carolina, to taking a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are endless possibilities for adventure.

Remember to pack your bags, venture beyond the familiar, and make this summer a season of discovery and unforgettable moments. Whether you’re drawn to the serenity of lesser-known countries, traveling on a shoestring budget, or exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, the joy of travel is finding those hidden gems that resonate with you.

So, book your next summer trip to one of these underrated destinations. Don’t forget to share your experiences on social media and converse with fellow travelers. Thank you for reading, and happy travels!