Since the country has reopened, many popular vacation spots are crowded with tourists, and we are forced to hunt for hidden gems to spend the summer in.
Summer vacations in the US mean long days at the beach, boat rides on the lake, and road trips to national parks. But nothing ruins the fun of a relaxing summer getaway like long lines, traffic, massive crowds, and too many towels on the sand. After all, who wants to lounge on a beach with hundreds of other sun-baked bodies or go to a stunning national park just to be surrounded by hordes of children and campers?
If you’re looking for a quiet place with fewer crowds but plenty of activities to fill your schedule this summer, check out our list down below. We had our staff list down their best-secluded vacation experiences to help you out this summer. From pristine beaches to the least-visited national parks, these uncrowded locations will let you enjoy your well-deserved summer vacation.
Sanibel Island is a quiet and serene summer vacation destination. You’d think that it would be incredibly busy during the summer since it’s located off the coast of southwest Florida, but it’s surprisingly quiet.
Though the island is small, there is no shortage of things to do. You can spend your time searching for shells, watching the sunset over the ocean, exploring a nature preserve, enjoying the water, or simply relaxing on the beach and taking advantage of the quiet atmosphere.
Sanibel is a small island with no traffic lights and no high-rises, which makes it feel even more quaint. Due to its size, the best way to get around is by bike, and there are plenty of rental shops on the island if you can’t bring your own.
San Luis Obispo
Despite being sandwiched between two famous destinations Santa Barbara and Big Sur, one of the best-hidden vacation spots in the US that have managed to remain a hidden gem is San Luis Obispo, one of the most beautiful cities in Central California.
If you want to get away from all the crowded places around the Golden State, San Luis Obispo is your best escape. It exudes the typical charm of small towns, the quiet neighborhoods, and the originality that is hard to find in bigger cities.
San Luis Obispo County is also blessed with more than 80 miles of coastline. From suntanning and shoreline fishing to exploring sea caves and driving off-road vehicles across dunes, there's no shortage of ways to enjoy the typically sunny weather of the region. There’s definitely a hidden stretch of sand to suit everyone who’s ready to get outdoors and soak up the healing power of nature.
The Hawaiian island of Molokai is the ideal vacation spot if you are an adventurer or someone who prefers peace over crowds and noise.
The tallest sea cliffs in the world can be found on Molokai, the fifth-largest Hawaiian island. The beaches on the island are frequently deserted and offer some of the most beautiful Hawaiian island sunsets.
Due to the scarcity of lodging options and dining options, the bulk of tourists writes off Molokai as a vacation destination. While the island lacks opulent resorts and sizable malls, there are definitely great adventures around the island.
Choose from beaches like Papohaku, Dixie Maru, Kepuhi, or what locals refer to as "bare buns beach" if relaxation and rest are your primary concerns. You might even have the beach all to yourself.
US Virgin Islands
As the easternmost point of the USA, St. Croix has a wealth of attractions for tourists seeking a more relaxed summer vacation.
A sun-dream, lover's white sand, turquoise oceans, and bright days make up this location. There are around 30 beaches, from popular ones to more secluded ones. Pick one of the beaches close to Colony Cove or Chenay Bay if you want access to a wide selection of activities, While there are calm beaches close to Frederiksted if you like it to be a little more private.
The beaches on St. Croix are gentle and sandy, with a few rocky outcroppings scattered throughout to provide excellent snorkeling conditions. St. Croix is a popular destination for turtles, particularly in the early summer when numerous species use the island as a breeding site.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore's breathtaking grandeur has long been acknowledged, yet it is still a largely undiscovered addition to the National Park System. The lakeside is a terrific place to go if you're looking for privacy because it generally gets fewer than 500,000 visitors each year.
The streaks of mineral stain that may be observed on the face of the weathered-sculpted cliffs are the origin of the name "Pictured Rocks." When groundwater seeps through the fissures and trickles down the rock face, a variety of hues result. Among the most prevalent minerals that produce color are iron (red and orange), copper (blue and green), manganese (brown and black), and limonite (white).
The park is open year-round and is truly a four-season recreation destination with ice climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sightseeing, birding, backcountry, and vehicle-based camping.
Natural Bridges National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument in southeast Utah is a wonderful uncrowded summer destination in the USA. Though this underrated destination may be smaller than Utah’s other national parks, it’s also much less visited and is the perfect destination if you're looking for peace and quiet while hiking.
Natural bridges are significantly more uncommon than arches. Arches are created by a number of various erosional pressures while these bridges were created by flowing water. This is also the reason why arches are typically tall and exposed, frequently the last remains of cliffs and ridges, whereas bridges tend to be located within deep gorges, sometimes fairly hidden.
A visit to Tillamook County comes with seclusion. The trails, roads, and docks aren't clogged with tourists. And in these parts, you're much more likely to find yourself at a fresh seafood bar next to a local clad in camouflage rather than lined up to be served at a fancy restaurant.
The variety of recreational opportunities here is unmatched. Throughout the summer, Tillamook Coast hosts a number of festivals and events, but the crowds are much less dense than those you might find on other West Coast excursions. Take a scenic tour of the Three Capes Loop, go hiking in Oswald West State Park's pristine coastal rainforest, and explore the North Coast Food Trail while you're there. There are a ton of activities to do that staying only for a few days may not be enough.
Located amidst a tangle of rivers and farm fields, Tillamook is renowned for its agriculture that stewards and cultivates the region’s natural beauty. The highly successful dairy industry has led the name Tillamook to be frequently associated with dairy products, and tours of the sophisticated Tillamook Creamery are one of the most popular attractions in town.
Sonoma, a county in California, is known for its world-famous wines, but the region also offers 55 miles of unspoiled Pacific shoreline. And the seashore may be enjoyed all year round too. The region is covered in an explosion of wildflowers in the spring, and in the summer, the cool seaside breezes help to mitigate the heat. The Mediterranean environment along the shore is warm in the fall, and the winters are mild as well.
Bodega Bay is among the nicest locations on the Sonoma Coast. It is well-known for having been one of the filming locations for Alfred Hitchcock's classic movie, The Birds. It offers breathtaking vistas, excellent dining options, and a wide range of outdoor activities, such as walking and hiking paths, fishing, sailing, and whale watching.