Unexpected Offseason Summer Getaways

Summer's arrival marks the start of high season at scores of destinations, leaving many vacationers frustrated as they jostle for elbow room at crowded beaches and tourist-clogged attractions. This year, avoid the masses and spend summer break enjoying the perks (including cheaper hotel and flight prices) of an offseason haven.

St. George, UT
St. George, city view, Utah
Matt Morgan/Visit Utah

St. George, UT, lies in the midst of dramatic red-rock scenery and is best known as a winter vacation hub, thanks to its temperate climate. But come summer, the upscale town grows blissfully quiet and makes an ideal jumping-off point for visiting nearby national parks including Zion and Bryce Canyon. The weather gets hot in summer, to be sure, so plan strenuous activities such as mountain-bike rides and hikes in the morning and early evening.

Big Sky, MT
Swan Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Montana
Jim Peaco/Yellowstone National Park Service

The posh resort town of Big Sky, MT, experiences its peak season during winter as skiers clamor to cut through fresh powder on the region's epic mountains. In summer, offseason hotel rates kick in and crowds wane, leaving visitors to relish spectacular mountain trails and views — plus enjoy easy day trips to both the funky town of Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park.

Sedona, AZ
Sedona, Arizona, horseback riding
James Feliciano/iStock/Getty Images

If energy work and mysticism are your thing, a trip to Sedona, AZ, will do your chakra good; the town is known for its proximity to a number of purported vortexes. If you'd rather gape at red-rock landscapes dating back millions of years, take an off-road Jeep tour past ancient sandstone formations and cliff dwellings, ride horses through canyons, or go rock climbing, Sedona has you covered there as well. It may be hot in summer (highs typically in the 90s), but it still has lower temperatures than nearby Phoenix.

Las Vegas, NV
evening, cityscape, Las Vegas, Nevada
Eric Lo/Moment/Getty Images

Desert heat aside, we like to think there's no "bad" time to visit Vegas, baby. Crowds thin out and prices drop during the scorching summer months, but remember: A majority of Vegas attractions are indoors and air-conditioned, including casinos, shows and nightclubs. If you'd rather not be cooped up indoors, a splashy resort pool is the perfect place to cool down (and party). 

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, Isle Verde Beach
Linda Whitwam/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Travelers tend to steer clear of the Caribbean during summer because it marks the official start of hurricane season. Still, the threat of a hurricane is low during early summer, and visitors can take advantage of cheaper airfare and hotel prices. Puerto Rico's history, culture, beaches and nearby islands, such as Vieques, make it a popular vacation spot. Because the island is a major travel hub, flights from the United States are often direct. Still worried about storms? Purchase travel insurance for peace of mind.

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