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• Apr 24, 2024

This summer, while everyone else is headed to tried-and-true vacation spots, head off the beaten track. These lesser-known spots can be just as enjoyable as their better-known counterparts but with thinner crowds and lower prices.

Many of these destinations have plenty of free activities to help you stay on a budget without sacrificing fun. Think creatively and you just might find a new favorite vacation spot so good you will want to keep it to yourself before it becomes the next big thing.

Fabulous Philadelphia

Philadelphia is often overlooked as a travel destination. This historic city is often overshadowed by nearby destinations like New York City and Washington, DC. However, Philadelphia is well worth a visit. It’s the perfect blend of old and new. Visitors can see where the Declaration of Independence was signed before hiking in the woods of Fairmount Park, or seeing classic impressionist paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Quaint Quebec

It’s hard to resist the appeal of Quebec City, a charming French town with cobblestone streets, plenty of history, and delicious pastries. Mild temperatures make summer an ideal time to visit. Whether you prefer to spend your days lazily strolling along the St. Lawrence River, visiting Quebec’s historic fortifications, seeing top musicians play at the Festival d'été de Québec, or soaking in French culture at the New France Festival, there is something for everyone.

Stunning Shenandoah

While much of the East Coast heats up in the summer, temperatures remain cooler in Virginia’s scenic Shenandoah Valley. Explore Shenandoah Caverns, visit a quirky American Celebration on Parade museum of floats, or take a ride in a hot air balloon. Nearby, hike along the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington National Forest or drive along the scenic Skyline Drive which winds through Shenandoah National Park.

Pretty Providence

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the union, but it’s full of beauty, culture, and fun. When visiting Providence, Rhode Island get a taste of Venice by taking a gondola ride down the scenic Riverwalk or explore the city’s vibrant arts scene. Providence is also perfectly situated for many day trips. It’s a great jumping-off point for visiting beautiful Newport to spend an afternoon lounging on the beach and exploring the historic Cliff Walk’s stunning mansions. Block Island, which also has a beautiful beach, along with water sports and hiking, is also just a short ferry ride away.

Beautiful Branson

Branson, Missouri isn’t just for country music fans. Explore the gorgeous Ozark Mountains by foot, horseback, or bike. Then, see one of Branson’s many live shows, or spend an evening on the Branson Belle, a grand showboat on the picturesque Table Rock Lake. While in Branson, don’t miss Silver Dollar City for thrilling rides all summer long. It’s a great alternative to bigger parks like Disney World that become overrun with tourists in the summer.

Positively Pigeon Forge

Best known as Dolly Parton’s hometown, Pigeon Forge is the jumping-off point for the stunning Great Smoky Mountains. Camp, hike, or drive through the mountains for breathtaking views. Experience more of the great outdoors in Pigeon Forge by fishing in Little Pigeon River or whitewater rafting. Many people head to Pigeon Forge to make a pilgrimage to Dollywood, an amusement park that celebrates the town’s favorite hometown girl. There, visitors can eat some of Dolly’s favorite foods, see a replica of the small log cabin where Dolly grew up, and ride plenty of roller coasters.

Splendid St. Augustine

When the crowds head to Key West, take a detour to St. Augustine, Florida. This quaint island is the oldest continually occupied settlement in the United States and is steeped in European charm. Explore the city’s centuries-old history dating back to before the founding of the United States, ride a bike along the shore, or head out for an afternoon on a sailboat. The island also has a robust nightlife with plenty of live music and late-night restaurants and bars.

Minnesota is Mighty Nice

Spending winter up north isn’t for everyone, but when temperatures start to rise, Minnesota becomes the ideal vacation destination. The vibrant twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul boasts theaters, exhibitions, and plenty of lakes perfect for swimming. The twin cities are also a great launching point for exploring the state’s boundary waters by kayak or canoe.

Cute Cooperstown

Best known for being the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York is much more than a destination for sports fanatics. The entire town looks like a Normal Rockwell painting frozen in time. Grab coffee on the town’s quaint Main Street, visit nearby beaches, rent a kayak, or hike in one of the area’s beautiful parks.

Boone is Best

Steer clear of the crowds in the Outer Banks, North Carolina by heading to the tiny town of Boone. The town’s namesake, Daniel Boone, came to this part of North Carolina to hunt. Visitors can explore historic hunting cabins that still dot the landscape, although Daniel Boone’s cabin is no longer standing. The area around Boone is packed with activities including hikes in state parks, museums, and wineries. With one of the few Dark Sky locations in the United States, Boone is also a fantastic destination for stargazers.

Terrific Toronto

Toronto, Canada is a fantastic summer destination. The town’s annual Carribean Festival is a celebration of Toronto’s rich Afro-Carribean community. Or, visitors can rock out at one of the city’s many music festivals held throughout the city all summer long. No trip to Toronto would be complete without a visit to the city’s castle, Casa Loma, or a trip to the top of the CN Tower, once the tallest freestanding structure in the world. When it’s time to eat, head to the St. Lawrence Market, which has been operating as a food hall since 1803.

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We hope you found this helpful. This article is based on information available in April 2024 and is subject to change. It is provided as a convenience and for general information purposes only. Our content is not intended to provide legal, tax, investment, or financial advice or to indicate that a particular TD Bank or third-party product or service is available or right for you.

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