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Summer got away from you? If your fun-in-the-sun vacation didn’t happen yet, you can still snag an end-of-season escape — without spending a tanned arm or leg. Plan that hiking junket in the Colorado mountains or get a mini-tan on a peaceful Florida beach. Here are some ideas for scoring top-notch, affordable getaways to the nation’s top destinations:
Celebrate the red, white and blue in hot spots — with cool sights. The temps may still be August high, but the Nation’s Capital is always in season. Duck into Washington, DC’s Smithsonian Museum, National Gallery of Art or International Spy Museum in air-conditioned comfort. Or chill in patriotic Philadelphia, PA to gaze at Liberty Bell, Independence National Park and Independence Hall. Boston, MA, another cradle of history, takes its harbor seriously. Opt for a bona-fide Bostonian experience aboard a breezy USS Constitution cruise for impressive views of the Old North Church and “Old Ironsides”.
Dubbed “America’s Sailing Capital”, Annapolis, MD is a quaint harbor town, filled with great eats, maritime adventures and the US Naval Academy. Take a sunset sail aboard a schooner or grab an Annapolis trolley tour. A 200-mile exploration through coastal Carolina/Georgia Low Country backroads offers tidal marshes, silver Spanish moss and thick forests. Save time to visit Charleston, Beaufort and Savannah where you’ll unwrap shrimp and grits, Maryland crab cakes, and stately antebellum plantations.
Need some authentic Southern charm? Take an overnight riverboat cruise or a carriage ride through Natchez, Mississippi. Explore a city bursting with Greek revival mansions, original Natchez rum and the imposing Frogmore Cotton Plantation. (You just might get to pick your own cotton!) San Antonio, TX is home to the Alamo (yes, that one) but the town offers so much more. Savor lunch alfresco on the colorful River Walk, traverse the San Antonio Missions, a Unesco World Heritage site, and visit an authentic Japanese Tea Garden.
Newfoundland, an unpretentious Canadian island, is full of lush landscapes, Irish lore and bakeapple jam. The misty island serves up-close views of icebergs, humpback whales, majestic mountains, and a pristine coastline. What’s not to love about the Honeymoon Capital of the World? A perennial natural wonder, Niagara Falls boasts three astonishing falls surrounded by radiant rainbows in breathtaking splendor. Make like a tourist and gape at Niagara Whirlpool’s natural water formation, sip Canadian ice wine and get soaking wet in a mountain of mist.
If New England Coastlines make you swoon, end of summer is the perfect time to wander. Begin your excursion through Marblehead’s charming 18th century streets, then encounter a ghostly vibe in Salem, the site of the 1692 Witch trials. Channel maritime history in bustling, seaside Portsmouth, NH, through 40 gracefully preserved buildings and museums. Glimpse stunning views of Casco Bay in Portland, Maine, the cultured home of 19th century poet, Longfellow, before reaching Quoddy State Park, easternmost point of US land.
Traveling westward to the Great Lakes, capture an American-as-apple-pie vacation in classic Lake Michigan. Take the scenic Lake Shore Drive, where proud lighthouses and the amazing Chicago skyline become the fascinating backdrop. Pioneer trek through Montana’s still wild frontier, bookended by Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks before scaling Wyoming’s Grand Teton Range — or at least gazing wistfully.
If a West Coast odyssey perfectly fits your late summer plan, the Pacific Coast Highway is waiting. You may not leave your heart in San Francisco, CA but the city just might try to steal it. Wander offbeat Haight Ashbury ‘s hippie trail, stroll the city’s storied waterfront and sample a dizzying amount of food choices. Back on the highway, stop in Carmel, Santa Barbara and Big Sur, where commanding views of the majestic coastline reign.
There’s still time to recharge, refresh and rewind, so choose your destination, grab your end-of-season savings — and pack your bags.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.