15 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Unique Places To Visit

italy cinque terre coast cliff
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Are you ready for the sun?

Summer is upon us, beckoning with dreams of sunshine, adventure, and new experiences. 

But with popular destinations often crowded and expensive, it's tempting to throw in the towel. Fear not, intrepid traveler. This summer, venture off the beaten path and discover these underrated gems.

* Header image: Cinque Terre Cliff in Italy   BOOKING   EXPEDIA   HOTELS

Best Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Escape the Crowds and Discover Hidden Gems


1. San Sebastian, Spain

Best Hotels & Deals: 

Nestled in the heart of the Basque Country, San Sebastian invites you to bask on golden beaches while indulging in Michelin-starred pintxos. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of local festivals, making it a perfect summer getaway.

2. Ljubljana, Slovenia

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A fairytale capital surrounded by natural beauty, Ljubljana boasts a charming castle and colorful architecture. Embrace the laid-back vibe as you explore the city's unique blend of culture and scenic landscapes.

3. Porto, Portugal

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Explore Porto's rich history and culture as you wander through the vibrant Ribeira district. Sip on port wine along the Douro River, uncovering the city's maritime charm.



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4. Aberdeen, Scotland

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Beyond the North Sea oil industry, Aberdeen surprises with granite architecture, world-class museums, and charming fishing villages—all without the usual crowds.

5. Lofoten Islands, Norway

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Hike through dramatic mountains, kayak beneath the midnight sun-kissed fjords, and experience authentic Norwegian village life on the breathtaking Lofoten Islands.


6. San Juan Islands, Washington

Kayak amidst orca pods, explore towns like Friday Harbor, and savor fresh seafood in this idyllic archipelago—your gateway to the Pacific Northwest's natural wonders.

7. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Hike pristine beaches, spot wild horses, and climb historic lighthouses on this barrier island chain steeped in maritime history and Southern charm.

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8. Sedona, Arizona

Immerse yourself in the otherworldly beauty of Sedona's red rock formations. Indulge in wellness retreats and explore the area's rich Native American heritage.

9. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Venture to the summit of Wheeler Peak, marvel at ancient bristlecone pines, and stargaze under the vast, unpolluted skies of this hidden gem.

10. New Haven, Connecticut

Home to Yale University, New Haven offers a vibrant city experience with world-class museums, delectable pizza, and charming colonial architecture—making it a cultural haven for summer explorations.


11. Sri Lanka

Embark on a journey through Sri Lanka's rich tapestry, exploring ancient temples, traversing lush rainforests, and unwinding on pristine beaches. Immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality of Sri Lankan culture, creating lasting memories in this diverse and vibrant destination.

12. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dive into the dynamic heart of Kuala Lumpur, where vibrant street markets coexist with soaring skyscrapers. Experience the delicious blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences, making every corner a gastronomic adventure in this bustling metropolis.

13. Bohol Province, Philippines

Encounter the enchanting world of Bohol, from meeting the adorable Philippine tarsier to marveling at the geological wonder of Chocolate Hills. Dive into crystal-clear cenotes, discovering the natural wonders that make Bohol a tropical paradise.

14. Aruba

Indulge in pure relaxation on Aruba's pristine beaches, uncovering underwater wonders beneath the crystal-clear waters. Immerse yourself in the vibrant and colorful Dutch Caribbean culture, making Aruba truly the "One Happy Island."

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15. Dominica

Explore the untouched beauty of Dominica, hiking through lush rainforests, rejuvenating in thermal springs, and encountering rare wildlife. Known as the "Nature Island," Dominica promises an immersive and unspoiled paradise for nature enthusiasts.

How to Find an Original Hotel: Unwind Beyond the Ordinary

Tired of cookie-cutter hotels? Seek unique experiences? Finding an original hotel requires a shift in perspective. Here's your guide:

1. Ditch the chains

Branch out from familiar brands. Embrace independent hotels, boutique stays, or historic gems.

2. Embrace local flavor

Seek hotels rooted in the community. Look for locally-owned properties, cultural immersion experiences, or architecturally significant buildings.

3. Theme it up

Unleash your inner child! Explore themed hotels (rock n' roll, underwater, treehouse), glamping, or converted historical sites like castles or lighthouses.

4. Think outside the city

Escape the urban sprawl. Consider converted mills, farm stays, eco-lodges, or unique rural retreats for a nature-infused experience.



5. Leverage unique search tools

Utilize websites like "The Originals," "Small Luxury Hotels," or "Historic Hotels of America" to discover curated collections.


Originality is subjective. Define what makes a hotel unique for you, explore beyond traditional booking platforms, and embrace the unexpected.



Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Embrace the adventure

These are just a few of the many amazing, under-the-radar destinations waiting to be discovered. So, ditch the crowded hotspots, pack your bags, and embark on an unforgettable summer adventure to one of these unique and hidden gems.

Do your research, book accommodations in advance, and respect local customs to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Bon voyage !

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Most Underrated Summer Travel Ideas & Places FAQs


What is the most underrated place to travel?

It depends on what you're looking for! Some hidden gems include:

  • San Juan Islands, WA: Kayak with orcas and explore charming towns.
  • Sedona, AZ: Immerse yourself in otherworldly landscapes and wellness retreats.
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia: Discover a fairytale castle, colorful architecture, and a laid-back vibe.

What is the best place to travel in summer?

Again, preferences matter! Here are some ideas:

  • Lofoten Islands, Norway: Hike dramatic mountains, kayak under the midnight sun, and experience authentic Norwegian village life.
  • Sri Lanka: Explore ancient temples, lush rainforests, and pristine beaches, while experiencing warm hospitality.
  • Outer Banks, North Carolina: Hike pristine beaches, spot wild horses, and climb historic lighthouses.



Where to avoid crowds in July?

Popular European destinations like Paris or Rome can be packed. Consider:

  • Aberdeen, Scotland: Enjoy granite architecture, world-class museums, and charming fishing villages.
  • Great Basin National Park, Nevada: Hike to mountain peaks, marvel at ancient bristlecone pines, and gaze at star-studded skies.
  • What is the coolest place to travel to?

    "Cool" can be subjective:

  • Trendy: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, offers a vibrant mix of cultures and cuisines.
  • Actual coolness: Great Basin National Park boasts mountain hikes and stargazing for cooler temperatures.
  • Which US state has the least tourism?

    Delaware often flies under the radar, with beaches, lighthouses, and charming towns. Remember, hidden gems can get crowded too!



    What is the least visited place in the US?

    Data varies, but consider lesser-known national parks like Great Basin or Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

    Where do Americans travel in summer?

    Popular choices include beach havens like Outer Banks, NC, or national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Consider shoulder seasons for fewer crowds.

    What is the prettiest place to go on vacation?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but here are some of the most aesthetic places you can visit:

  • San Sebastian, Spain: Enjoy beaches and Michelin-starred bites.
  • Lofoten Islands: Marvel at dramatic mountains and fjords.
  • What's the best place to travel in July?

    Some of the best places to travel in july for warmth and sun are:

    • San Juan Islands: Enjoy pleasant summer weather.
    • Sedona: Offers cooler temperatures than its usual heat.
    • Remember to research weather and events for your interests.


    Where is everyone traveling to 2024?

    Popular regions included Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Consider hidden gems within these areas to avoid peak crowds.

    What is the most underrated US state?

    Many contenders!

  • West Virginia: Offers mountains, whitewater rafting, and historical sites.
  • Montana: Boasts glaciers, lakes, and charming towns.
  • Remember, the "best" or "least touristy" place depends on your preferences. Do your research, explore beyond the usual suspects, and discover unique and enjoyable travel experiences.

     Underrated Summer Travel Ideas (Unique places to visit)



    Alicia Foster

    Alicia is a trailblazer in luxury travel and all-inclusive resorts. Armed with a master's degree in Tourism Management, she has not only explored the hidden gems of the Caribbean, but has also collaborated with renowned hospitality brands. Her words are a treasure trove of expert advice on selecting the best all-inclusive getaways.