You are probably aware of the conventional vacation spots; the sites and attractions of New York City, the breathtaking beaches of Hawaii, or the rich history of Philadelphia, but if you are looking for a truly unique (and oftentimes less expensive) summer getaway this year – look no further! The below list examines some hidden gem destinations that are often missed.
Black Hills and the Badlands, South Dakota
The Black Hills and Badlands boasts a plethora of monumental places from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower. Badlands National Park features 200,000+ acres of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles and a large undisturbed grass prairie that is home to Bighorn Sheep and Bison. Be sure to include on the itinerary a trek through the passages of Wind Cave, where you can spy unique cave formations, stalactites and stalagmites. Finish up with a tour through Custer State Park to take in an array of wildlife and scenery.
Bar Harbor, Maine
This adorable town on Mount Desert Island boasts an array of activities from Acadia National Park to Cadillac Mountain to Egg Rock Lighthouse. The waters near the town are prime for whale watching, a ferry or boat ride, kayaking or spying some hermit crabs.
Zion National Park, Utah
Located in Southwest Utah, this park is saturated with rivers, forest trails, waterfalls, a hanging garden, and steep red cliffs. You can take a drive through the scenic canyons or wade along the paths and trails engulfed with massive sandstone cliffs. Be sure to check out the Emerald Pools, Canyon Overlook, The Narrows or if you are up for a challenge – Angels Landing!
St. Simons Island, Georgia
Nestled on an island off the Georgia coast, this quaint town boasts salt marshes and pristine beaches prime for your summer vacation. This hidden gem offers something for everybody! For the history buff – Explore the local museum that imparts the history of the St. Simons Lighthouse. For the dog lover – Check out East Beach for sandy shores you can enjoy with your furry best friend. For the Kids – Spend a day at Neptune Water Park.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Home to five dunes over 700 feet tall, Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve is the perfect summer getaway. Hike to the top and take in the view. Enjoy sports like sand boarding and sledding or rent a dune buggy for an adventure filled day. Be sure to explore surrounding attractions like Zapata Falls and Medano Creek. Cool down and camp out under the stars at night.