Still trying to social distance but also want to get out and make up for lost travel times? Well, this is the list for you to make those summer plans from. Allianz Partners USA released its findings for the most popular destinations this summer based on 985,000 flight itineraries and trips that are 5 – 8 days long. The typical favorites are there like Orlando, Florida for domestic travel and Cancun, Mexico for international travel. Let’s take a look at places we might want to avoid this summer and where we could go instead for a more relaxed, less crowded alternative.
Top 10 Domestic U.S. Destinations in 2021
- Anchorage(1st time on the list!)
- Las Vegas
- Big Island
Did you see that – 4 Hawaii Destinations! That’s okay because we know how to make our travel goals work, avoid crowds, and have an amazing summer!
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Unique Places to Visit
If you really have your heart set on Hawaii this summer, remember that Hawaii peaks in July with Honolulu, Maui, and the Big Island receiving millions of visitors annually in the past.
Lanai is the smallest inhabited island and still very close to Maui. It offers luxurious resorts and off-the-beaten path activities. There are no direct flights and typically you might catch a ferry or sail to the island. You’ll find beaches, ancient ruins, historic sites, hiking trails, off-roading, and a cat sanctuary. There’s a range of places to stay at from Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club to Kaanapali Alii with its beautiful beachfront condos.
Molokai has the highest sea cliffs in the world and is the perfect place to get close to Native Hawaiian living as much of the population preserves its rural lifestyle. You will bask in scenic views, overlooks, drives, falls, beaches, parks, and farms here. Hotel options are limited but you could reach Molokai for a day trip from Lanai or Maui. Hotel Molokai offers an authentic Hawaiian experience with an oceanfront setting and access to Hawaii’s only barrier reef.
Try some of the beach towns like Amelia Island on Florida’s Northeast coast or Sanibel Island on the Southwest coast. You could still take a day trip to the more popular destinations like Orlando and Miami. Both options have the perfect environment for a more relaxed, nature filled change of pace.
Amelia Island has 13 miles of uncrowded beaches. Walk through the historic district for its cute boutiques and restaurants. Take a boat tour of the waterways and catch a glimpse of the wild horses on Cumberland Island. Head to Fort Clinch State Park for amazing trails and a historic fort right on the Amelia River.
Looking for a historic retreat with a perfect location? Try the Amelia Schoolhouse Inn, an old schoolhouse restored in 2018 as a boutique inn with an upscale bar. Small and intimate with only 17 rooms. For luxurious coastal views with turndown service, there’s the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island. The Omni Amelia Island resort also offers coastal views family style.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands give you a combination of family friendly relaxation with quick access to spas, golf, shopping and 15 miles of unspoiled beaches with amazing shelling and nature tours available. You can find over 250 kinds of shells, 230 types of birds, and no stop lights. On Sundays, from October through May, you can find fresh seafood and local produce at the Sanibel Island Farmer’s Market. Take in a peaceful sunrise moment at the 120-year old Sanibel Island Lighthouse. Visit the patients at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) and see their work in person. You might meet a nestling bald eagle that fell from its nest or one of the ambassadors that have found a home after critical injuries like Mina, a great horned owl with an amputated wing.
You won’t find an abundance of the usual hotels here but instead resorts, inns, condos and cottages. Grab a free bike and ocean views at the Sundial Beach Resort and Spa. Surround yourself in beauty at Sanibel Moorings with its lush, tropical gardens and home away from home beachfront condo settings. Check July – September for the best rates this summer. If planning for fall, remember that rates triple on some dates in December.
We all know that many head to Vegas for the loads of fun to be enjoyed. How do we make that a family friendly trip? Split your time between Vegas and nearby less busy destinations like Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. Inside Las Vegas, families can enjoy the scenery of the fabulous hotels like the opulence of the Venetian with its indoor canals and gondola rides. Splash in an authentic feeling beach in the middle of the desert at Mandalay Bay. Swim with the sharks (sort of) as you slip down a waterslide that goes through a 200,000 gallon shark tank at the Golden Nugget. The Venetian has 10 different pools to fascinate the whole family from a sporty pool deck to the serenity of an adults only dayclub. Then, wander off into the Mojave Desert towards the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area or further west to Death Valley National Park where you might see salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, and mountains.
Should you find the Space Needle or the Chihuly Garden a little too crowded this summer. Try adding some time for wine tasting and hiking at Mount Rainier National Park. Don’t miss out on a glimpse of Narada Falls with its 2-tiered 188 foot drop. Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has beaches, mountains, forests, coastal views, and hiking trails – the Olympic National Park. Choose your time wisely for a view of the popular 270 foot Snoqualmie Falls. Get fooled into thinking you’ve arrived in a Bavarian wonderland in the town of Leavenworth. Head to the waterfront park for its riverside trails or the Leavenworth Nutcracker museum where a collection of over 7,000 nutcrackers are housed.
Stay at this hidden gem, Mountain Home Lodge, it’s the ultimate mountain view lodge with luxurious accommodations and outstanding cuisine. To wake up completely immersed in Bavarian splendor, try the Hotel Pension Anna. You might forget that you’re still in the United States.
After you stop at the historic Irish pubs or the museums and antique shopping in Beacon Hill, Rhode Island might be calling the foodie in you to Providence or the Art Deco lovers to the Newport mansions for a trip back to the Gilded Age. If you haven’t been to Providence, you’d be surprised to see all of the family friendly options such as, the 1895 hand-carved Crescent Park Carousel, the 1871 Pogham Rocks Lighthouse, the hilltop park with sunset views at Prospect Terrace, or the walking trails of the Caratunk Wildlife Refuge.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Downtown provides a great location for walkers with a ton of restaurant choices nearby, family rooms and suites, as well as, valet parking. Travel Savings Tip – Save on Aug 1, 2021 with points as low as 38,000 per night. Remember that the 5th night is free on point stays so your 5 night stay could be less than 160,000 points. Click here to learn more about using Hilton or Marriott points.
Notice: Travel Form Required
Before completing your booking, please review Rhode Island’s travel restrictions. Local rules require out-of-state guests to complete the Rhode Island Certificate of Compliance form. Proof of completion of the form will be required upon check-in at the hotel. Guests arriving from out-of-state also may be required to provide proof of a negative test or complete a self-quarantine. Please complete the form and get additional information at health.ri.gov.
There are so many reasons to sidetrack from the popular and well-trodden to the alternatives. With the slower pace in the smaller towns, you’ll also get to relax a little more. You can enjoy hidden gems and diamonds in the rough while getting a closer and more realistic look at life for the locals. You can use your spending to directly affect the lives of the locals more than in the larger, more commercial stores and hotels. You may even have the chance to support local small businesses and minority-owned businesses that greet you warmly and give you good suggestions for enjoying the area. Sometimes, you make a new friend or two. Your travel can be more than just fun and relaxing, it can be a learning experience that has a positive impact on the people and places.
You can find and support minority-owned businesses by using google and searching “women owned (location)”, “minority owned (location)”, “black owned businesses near me”. You will find articles, bloggers, and directories like the following:
- 40+ Black-Owned Restaurants in Rhode Island You Must Try
- 135+ women-owned restaurants around Seattle
- Black-Owned Businesses in Hawaii
- Top 10 Black-Owned Food Spots in Sanibel & Ft Myers, Florida
- 40 WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES SERVING SWEETWATER & EMPOWERING FARMERS
Another reason to search for these places and support them is because these businesses have been hit hardest by the impacts of Covid-19. I share a lot of small businesses on my social media because I love their creations and I want you to know them too. No matter how big your social media account is, you can do this also. We can all use our influence to help each other live better, fuller lives. Likes and shares are absolutely free in a world where almost nothing else is. Share the love and support each other.