Best Off-Season Summer Destinations
Summer travel can be easy on your wallet, thanks to off-season destinations that continue to lure visitors with great hotels, attractions and -- best of all -- savings. Low-season prices in some top countries around the world prove travelers can beat the crowds without any effort and enjoy both major discounts at top hotels and exciting activities that fly under the radar in off-peak season. We rounded up the best off-season destinations (many in the United States!) for summer vacationing. Not only are these jaunts budget-friendly, they'll create unforgettable memories for any type of traveler. Prices and promotions are current as of June 2012.
The AAA, 5-Diamond Ritz-Carlton Cancun starts at $229 per night, a great deal considering high-season rates go as high as $659. Also, the all-inclusive Palace Resorts in Cancun is offering $213 per person, per night (compared with $269 in high season). Stay 5 to 8 nights and receive $1,500 in resort credit per room.
The best place to set up camp is at Sofitel Legend Metropole in the heart of Hanoi. The hotel includes 364 rooms, 3 restaurants, an outdoor pool and terrific spa. Rates are approximately $220 (compared with high season's $350) so it's a welcome steal. In Ho Chi Minh City, guests who buy 2 nights at Park Hyatt Saigon get the third night free. The hotel sets up exciting adventures like cooking classes, night Vespa tours and trips to the Mekong Delta.
The Marquesa Hotel in the heart of Key West is a former 1884 "conch" house with rates almost half off in summer. Travelers can take in that iconic sunset, then hit the streets for famous psychic readings. If you’re heading to Miami, the fancy JW Marriott Marquis Miami summer rates are almost half off, starting at $239.
Stay at the 239-room Montelucia Resort & Spa, which offers rates at a jaw-dropping $150 per night (compared with $419 during high season) and buy 1 treatment, get another 50% off in their Joya Spa. The iconic Phoenician (with 9 pools, 24-hole golf course, 11 tennis courts and 7 restaurants) starts at $169, which is more than 50% off peak-season rates.
The Four Seasons Troon North starts at $149 (compared with $459 during high season) and over in Phoenix, JW Marriott Desert Ridge offers a Family Fling package (from $149 per night) that includes free meals for kids. Feeling spiritual? Head to Sedona, home of the inspiring Red Rocks, where the intimate L'Auberge de Sedona resort just received a $25 million renovation and now flaunts cliffside villas for summer.
US Virgin Islands
The islands offer the Sizzlin' Sampler package from June 1 to Sept. 30, which includes a $200 instant credit toward any booking with minimum 5-night stay at a participating hotel (fifth night free), along with $50 in shopping certificates, $50 in attractions and $40 in dining certificates. Summer is also popular for events like Mango Melee, St. John Festival and Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament.
At Washington School House Hotel (an actual former schoolhouse from 1889), you can tell staff where you want to go and they'll take you there and set you up, though most outdoor activities can be experienced on grounds (like fishing, golf, kayaking and hiking). Don't forget to sample some whiskey at High West Distillery & Saloon (Utah’s first legal distillery), popular over summer months. Head to Cedar City, known as Festival City, which brims with myriad outdoor events over the summer months.
Check into some eco-friendly resorts, like Victoria House in Ambergris Caye, a highly touted luxury resort that flaunts thatch-roof casitas in a cool, colonial setting. Rooms start at $150 per night over the summer (must book via www.travelbeyond.com), with many free amenities included (breakfast, bottle of wine upon check-in and welcome cocktails). The hotel also offers free upgrades, which are more likely to be available in low season.