Five alternative vacation destinations for your summer trips

Summer 2023 is going to be crazy. Studies show a large segment of the American population has saved considerably over the last few years and is ready to spend it. Naturally, that means people will be in vacation mode for a long while, and the usual places will be packed. Due to this, it’s paramount to find some alternative vacation destinations that are still amazing but not where everyone will be.

Below are five alternative travel destinations I can vouch for being pretty awesome without the INSANE fanfare of the more popular places. (PS: Hit the famous places in the off seasons for a more enjoyable time.)

Alternative Vacation Destinations for Summer 2024

 Instead of Grand Teton National Park… Choose the Wind River Range

This isn’t a dis on the Tetons. They’re unique, and I love them so much. But the Wind River Range, with Pinedale as your home base, is a pheromonal area to explore, too, and it’ll be less crowded. If you want backpacking, oh boy, this is the spot.

If you want a small-town feel, this is also the spot. The only thing you’re trading from Jackson to Pinedale is an official national park and a 5-star hotel…probably. So this summer, let everyone else go to the National Parks and blaze your trail into the Wind River Range!

Two alternative travel destinations to consider exploring in the region: Titcomb Basin and Green River Lakes.

Airport: Jackson or Salt Lake City (4-hour drive)

Pinedale wyoming hiking vacation destinations
Pinedale wyoming alternative travel destinations

Instead of Lake Tahoe… Choose Redfish Lake

Take a pass on Lake Tahoe in 2021 and head to Stanley, Idaho’s Redfish Lake instead. With boating, hiking, backpacking, or simply relaxing, Redfish Lake has it all. It’s a perfect alternative vacation destination and you’ll be away from the swarms who flock to Tahoe this summer. For those who haven’t been to Stanley (thinking not too many of you), it’ll keep you occupied for the entire trip. Plus, there are tons of hot springs in the area!

Two places to consider exploring in the region: Saddleback Lakes and Alice Lake

Airport: Boise

Saddleback Lake Sawtooth Mountains Idaho Backpacking Photography Hiking
Saddleback Lake Sawtooth Mountains Idaho Backpacking Photography Hiking alternative travel destinations

Instead of Mt. Rainier National Park…Choose the North Cascades or Mt. Baker National Forest

Once the snow melts, Mt. Rainier will be a parking lot. With two main areas where people congregate, I can only imagine the zoo-like atmosphere of it this summer. So instead, head north toward the North Cascades or the Mt. Baker National Forest as your alternative travel destinations. Here, you’ll be somewhat away from the crowds and won’t miss out on the region’s beauty.

Two places to consider exploring in the region: Cascade Pass to Sahale Arm (go past the pass) and Park Butte Lookout.

Airport: Seattle or Vancouver (this might be a stretch)

Cascade Pass to sahale Arm Doubtful Lake North Cascades National Park Hiking
alternative travel destinations

Instead of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon…Choose the North Rim

The Grand Canyon is remarkable; there’s no argument there. But do you know what ruins that specialness? Hoards and hoards of people. Either get there early OR spend another three hours driving (from Phoenix) and hang out on the Northside of the park, which receives a fraction of the visitors. If you do this, check their open dates as they close down for the winter. There’s also limited camping and lodging, but it’s still worth it!

Two places to consider exploring on your way to the north side: Vermillion Cliffs (if you have a 4×4, try White Pocket) and hike down the North Kaibab Trail (Rim to Rim anyone?)

Airport: Phoenix or Las Vegas

alternative travel destinations
alternative travel destinations

Instead of Zion National Park…Choose Kanab or Capitol Reef

I am not going to lie to you all. Avoid Zion this summer. This is the bottleneck of all bottlenecks right now, and there are plenty of alternative vacation destinations for you to see. My first suggestion is Kanab. There are TONS to do, and if you want a National Park, Bryce Canyon is 90 min. There’s also Buckskin Gulch about an hour away, Page (and everything there), Paria Townsite, and plenty of other gems. If you REALLY want a National Park, go to Capitol Reef (middle of nowhere Utah), one of the country’s least visited parks. It’s wonderful and a perfect alternative travel destination.

Airport: Salt Lake City or Las Vegas

Buckskin Gulch Hike Arizona Utah
alternative travel destinations

As you’re planning your trips, seriously consider these alternative travel destinations. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll have much more fun not waiting for others to move along.

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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