Don’t get us wrong! We’re certainly not saying you should skip these top summer hotspots, but if you’re looking for a more underrated summer getaway, it’s worth checking out these options.
Need a bit of both? Many of these underrated summer destinations can easily be combined with a trip to their more popular counterpart.
We handpicked the following underrated summer destinations for you to get all the sunshine vibes you’re looking for (city exploration, fresh air, beautiful beaches…) but without the crowds.
Because who wants to see the Mona Lisa through a sea of selfie sticks anyways?
|Underrated Destination||% off Average||$ off Average|
|New Orleans, United States||-7%||-$20|
|Austin, United States||-7%||-$20|
|Myrtle Beach, United States||-7%||-$15|
|Punta Gorda, United States||-18%||-$40|
|Belfast, United Kingdom||-14%||-$100|
|Puerto Escondido, Mexico||-8%||-$45|
|Siem Reap, Cambodia||-12%||-$102|
|Jeju, South Korea||-13%||-$127|
*Average prices based off historical Skyscanner data on summer bookings
Top Domestic Underrated Summer Destinations
Top: Las Vegas | Underrated: New Orleans
Want a city that knows how to let loose? Thanks to Mardi Gras, New Orleans has all the street cred it needs as a party destination. Yet this Louisiana hotspot sees less than 1/4 of the visitors of Las Vegas during the summer.
Bourbon Street never lets up. You’ll find plenty of bead-throwing fun year-round in New Orleans, and the famous Hurricanes will keep you cool in the Louisiana summer heat.
However, just like Vegas, New Orleans is much more than a simple party city. Go on a haunted mansion tour, listen to live music in the French Quarter, and (of course) binge on beignets at Café du Monde.
Top: New York City | Underrated: Austin
New York City is anything but underrated. But along with a monumental reputation, comes massive crowds, especially in the summer.
Austin, Texas, on the other hand, is a lot cooler (and weirder) than it’s given credit for.
At Peter Pan Mini Golf, a beloved Austin staple since 1948, you BYOB and they supply the putter. Not good on the green? Visit Hamilton Pool Preserve an underground oasis just west of Austin. Try your hand on one of the skee ball machines at Full Circle Bar, or pop by on League Night to watch the pros. You can also pay your respects to Austin at the ‘Cathedral of Junk’ or during ‘Gospel Brunch’ at Stubb’s.
Hey, Keep Austin Weird, right?
Top: Los Angeles | Underrated: Myrtle beach
The ever-popular Los Angeles lures tourists in with its beachside boardwalks, star-studded streets, and unapologetically indulgent nightlife. If you’re looking for the same vibe on a slightly more bearable (and affordable!) level, check out Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
With immaculate golden sands, the beaches here are the city’s main draw. Reminiscent of the Santa Monica Pier, one of the country’s tallest Ferris wheels sits atop the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach. Over 100 golf courses are nearby that accommodate skill level from beginners to lifelong golfers.
Top: Orlando | Underrated: Punta Gorda, FL
You can’t go wrong with Orlando’s theme parks or the day-trips from Orlando to see Florida’s stunning nature. But that’s why Orlando alone saw over 70 million visitors in 2017.
Punta Gorda is home to nearly as many activities and close to the same day-trip destinations. But with way fewer people. Just north of Fort Myers, Punta Gorda sits on a beautiful harbor surrounded by state parks. Check out the Muscle Car Museum or pay a visit to Alligator Bay Distillery to experience Punta Gorda’s unique flair (and try some Floridian rum).
If you don’t want to skip the amusement parks, no worries! The two cities are only 2.5 hours away from each other, meaning you can rent a car and combine the best of both worlds on your vacation.
Pro Tip: Flights tend to be cheaper during the summer months into Punta Gorda, but it’s worth checking both airports from your home airport!
Top: Denver | Underrated: Moncton, Canada
Dreaming of fresh mountain air on your summer holiday? The most popular getaway for mountain-lovers during the warm months is Denver, Colorado, the Mile High City.
Moncton may have small town vibes, but you won’t be wanting for fresh air in this little Canadian town.
Complete with all the outdoorsy vibes you could ever hope for, this adorable city features some of the best seafood you can get your hands on. (Think huge, mouth-watering lobsters.) Fancy yourself a road trip? Visit nearby natural beauties like Blomidon and explore the apple orchards, or watch the tide roll in at the Bay of Fundy. You can actually walk on the ocean floor here!
If you want to feel connected to nature on a whole new level, you won’t want to miss out on Moncton.
International Underrated Summer Destinations
Top: Paris | Underrated: Strasbourg
You won’t find anything as grandiose in Strasbourg as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, but that’s the charming beauty of this French town near the German border.
Strasbourg is known for its adorable old town called “La Petite France” (Little France) built on the banks of winding canals. The towering Strasbourg Cathedral is admired worldwide for its stunningly detailed Gothic architecture.
Don’t want to skip Paris? That’s okay! The cities are less than two hours apart by train, so you can easily combine the two on your French getaway.
Top: London | Underrated: Belfast
London is timeless. But during the summer months, it can be a bit of a zoo (and not just the one in Hyde Park). Save England’s capital for another time and pay a visit to the other U.K. capital: Belfast.
Northern Ireland’s capital city is both beautifully modern and charmingly old school. Attend an open-air concert at the Titanic slipways, or visit the museums dedicated to the ship in its birthplace. The Botanical Gardens here are well worth a visit and, at night, there is no shortage of pubs— the oldest of which date back to the 17th century.
Top: Cancun | Underrated: Puerto Escondido
Landing at Puerto Escondido’s airport, window-seaters are treated to an aerial tour of the pristine coastline that makes up the entirety of Oaxaca’s border to the Pacific. The waters may look like the typical turquoise of the Caribbean, but this region of Mexico sees significantly fewer visitors than Cancun.
At Puerto Escondido’s popular surf beach, Zicatella, you’ll find restaurants with everything from kale-filled bowls to sushi and pizza for your inevitable “I can’t eat another taco” moments. The southern tip of Puerto (called La Punta), is a boho-vibed, dirt road strip of trinkety shops, killer taco stands (Pinche’s!) and the best beach for sunset viewing.
On the other side of town, you’ll find a more laidback, local vibe. Here, beaches like Carrizillilo and Coral are perfect for swimming, surf lessons, or blissful relaxation.
Top: Bangkok | Underrated: Siem Reap
Tourists are often told to only spend a few days in Bangkok. Not for lack of things to see and do, but because there’s almost too much.
Siem Reap in neighboring Cambodia is much more laidback. Most tourists in Siem Reap are there to see the famous temples of ancient Angkor Wat, which sells tickets that range from daily passes to weekly passes. (The sheer scale of Angkor Wat can truly take a week to explore!)
Flights between Bangkok and Siem Reap are frequently less than $50 each way, which means you could still get your day or two in Bangkok and then easily jet over to Siem Reap for a double dose of Asian countries.
Top: Tokyo | Underrated: Jeju, South Korea
Tokyo is a bright lights, fast-paced whirlwind of a city. And during the warm summer months, it’s also a crazy popular tourist destination.
Jeju is quite the opposite. Nicknamed “The Hawaii of South Korea,” Jeju has both luxury resorts and secluded natural oases.
With flights under $100 one/way from Tokyo to Jeju during the summer months, we recommend combining a trip and getting the best of both worlds!
Hike-able volcanos and forested national parks provide plenty of opportunity for adventure, as does the eclectic cuisine. The really brave can try the island’s famous live octopus. (Which is exactly what it sounds like.) The less adventurous can stick to the sashimi. Either way, Jeju is known for having some of the freshest seafood on Earth.