We sat down with Matthew David Parker to find out his favorite vacation getaways. He dislikes crowded touristy destinations, preferring those under-looked gems with a leisurely pace and great scenery, and also those ideal for enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
#1: Sedona, Arizona
Sedona enjoys some of the coolest and most temperate climate in Arizona. While the Grand Canyon is a few hours away, Sedona is more relaxed and still has jaw-dropping scenery in its painted rocky mountains. It’s a great outdoors destination for hiking and biking, with a quiet atmosphere to get in touch with your inner Zen monk.
#2: Glacier National Park, Montana
Another secluded nature getaway, this spiritual retreat is a haven of endless placid lakes, majestic mountains, and beautiful scenery everywhere. This area of Montana straddles the Canadian border and is known as “America’s Switzerland.” The hiking and kayaking is breathtaking, and lacking that there’s always the leisurely bus tour. The area is also dotted with charming chalets and bed-and-breakfast inns.
#3: St. Augustine, Florida
It’s a great mix of European old-world architecture, beaches, great summer weather, and not nearly as crowded as other Florida tourist spots in the summertime. It’s also dotted with historic landmarks like the Castillo de San Marcos. The shopping is an adventure year round, seemingly with something new to discover every time you return.
#4: Southern Maine
Come for the clam chowder and lobster, stay for the refreshing seaside bay towns perfect for yachting. Portland or Kennebunkport is ideal for more urban tastes, but really you could throw a dart at the Maine coast and hit any town to find a quaint coastal community with shops and restaurants off the beaten path.
#5: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
This is the most authentic town if you’re looking for Yankee east coast seaside villages. While the town bills itself as “the nation’s summer capitol” due to its close proximity to Washington, D.C., it’s actually not at all crowded even in the height of tourist season. It’s an East Coast playground of boardwalks, piers, bays, harbors, beaches, lighthouses, and historic landmarks.
#6: Santa Barbara, California
Where can you go in California that isn’t a crowded, congested tourist trap? The pickings are slim, but Santa Barbara is a moderately peaceful community that gives you all California can offer while dodging the hordes of tourists. The whole town is built in Spanish Mission revival style, with a beach next to it and a thriving eclectic culture.
#7: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
What about when you want a traditional family vacation destination that still isn’t overcrowded? Wisconsin Dells is a city located at the dells of the Wisconsin River, featuring glacially-carved sandstone formations along a river. On top of that, Wisconsin Dells calls itself “the water-park capitol of the world” and also has the occasional roller coaster along with the indoor water-slides. It’s definitely a place to take the kids, while adults will enjoy the region’s famous cheeses and fine dining.
Studies show that Americans are taking less vacation time than ever before, and the stress of constantly working is adding up. Perhaps economical destinations right here in the country will inspire people to give themselves a break, without having to travel far.