5 Perfect Places for a Last Minute Summer Vacation
Travel + Leisure

5 Perfect Places for a Last Minute Summer Vacation

5 Perfect Places for a Last Minute Summer Vacation 5 Perfect Places for a Last Minute Summer Vacation

As more Americans receive the vaccine and start traveling again, many families are trying to book last-minute summer vacations. As more flights, hotels and beaches reach max capacity, it can be difficult to find an affordable, family-friendly destination. Luckily, there are still a few sunny cities to choose from if you act fast. When it comes to planning your next vacation, you may be wondering what hotels chains accept aarp discounts or what are the best flight hotel and car bundles? You can find the best economical vacations and more in our post. We hope that you enjoy this 5 Perfect Places for a Last Minute Summer Vacation post. 

5 Perfect Places for a Last Minute Summer Vacation

1. Panama City Beach, Florida 

Miami and Orlando have always been hot spots for vacationing families. This year, however, they’re booked full. Luckily, Florida is a big state with plenty of beaches, including Panama City Beach. Twenty-seven miles of white sand stretches along this section of the Gulf, making it much easier to find a quiet spot to relax and take a dip. 

Once you tire of swimming and sunbathing, head over to Pier Park to grab a bite to eat and shop for souvenirs. The pier is also home to an amusement park and movie theater, which are bound to keep the kids entertained. Gulf World Marine Park, Shell Island and Shipwreck Island Park offer fun for the whole family, too. 

2. Santa Ynez Valley, California 

After more than a year stuck inside, many Americans are traveling west in search of wide-open spaces, and they’re finding them in Montana, Wyoming and Utah. These states are home to several national parks and beautiful ranches, which all happen to be booked. However, if you’re looking for a true dude ranch experience, you can still find it out West. You’ll just have to travel to Santa Ynez Valley to find it. 

This sophisticated cowboy town is an hour’s drive from Santa Barbara and is most famous for its wineries. However, the area also offers activities like horseback riding, hot air ballooning and hiking, ensuring plenty of fun for the whole family. Plus, you’re more likely to find last-minute accommodations, especially if you plan your trip for late summer or early fall. 

3. Kaua’i, Hawai’i

If you’re hoping to book a last-minute summer vacation on one of Hawaii’s big islands, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single vacancy. Oahu and Maui’s Kona and Kapalua are so booked that rental cars are sold out and hotel concierges will be of little help if you’re trying to find a room. Meanwhile, searches for flights to the big island continue to soar, indicating its popularity this summer. 

Luckily, families can still find accommodations in the state’s quieter gem of Kaua’i. This little island is home to pristine beaches, clear waters and lush, green mountains that offer a variety of hiking and swimming opportunities. Explore local culture and history at Kaua’i’s many museums, historical landmarks and farmers markets. Meanwhile, small towns like Koloa and Kapaa offer a less crowded and more personal experience. 

4. Ocean City, New Jersey 

Most people don’t consider New Jersey when looking for family-friendly beach resorts. Yet, Ocean City is easily one of the nation’s best vacation destinations thanks to its eight miles of sandy coastline and world-famous boardwalk. Fish in the bay, swim at the beach, rent a paddleboard or go kayaking. Then, hit up the boardwalk for good eats, live music and more.

The city is also home to renowned attractions that captivate travelers from all over the world. However, you’re still likely to find accommodations in and around the area, even if you’re trying to book last-minute. That’s because there are dozens of hotels and motels along the boardwalk. Bed and breakfasts, beachside resorts and rental homes are also located across the island so can find the right place to stay at just the right price. 

Check out these Expedia vacation websites

5. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 

If your family is ready for an adventure across the border, head to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The city is located further south along the Pacific coast where ocean breezes prevent the area from becoming too hot. Here, you’ll find miles of pristine shoreline and beautiful beaches like Playa Medano and the popular Playa del Amor. Visit one of these sandy spots to catch the sunset, marvel at unique rock formations and take a dip in the warm, salty waters. 

While sunbathing and swimming are the most popular things to do in Los Cabos, you’ll also find golf courses, whale watch tours, historic churches and more. Many beachside shops also offer activities like snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding and jet skiing to keep the kids entertained. Don’t forget to grab some tacos on your way back to the hotel or head into town to get a taste of Mexican nightlife.   

Choosing the Perfect Destination 

Of course, even less popular destinations can experience crowds and congestion, which is why it’s important to figure out when each vacation spot is at peak tourist season. Apps like Crowdfree.me can also help you avoid busy eateries, attractions and other public places. Utilizing these tools and thoroughly researching potential destinations will help you choose the best vacation spot for your family.

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