The end of summer draws near, and while most are making back-to-school preparations, many are also trying to fit last-minute summer vacations within those few weeks before fall starts. But last minute summer vacation ideas can be daunting, with certain pressures that can limit your ideal plans. That doesn't mean you have to let your summer go to waste with the lack of realistic trip ideas.
We gave you tips on how you can plan a last-minute trip, and with that in mind, we now present a list of destinations you should consider for your late summer mini adventure. Once you've established the length of your vacation, how much you're willing to spend, and what you plan to do, you can explore your options on where you should go.
Last Minute Summer Vacation Ideas: Choosing the Right One for Your Trip
For Weekend Getaways
Normally, planning last minute summer getaways means you don't have a ton of time left to allot to your vacation. It might be too late to ask for a substantive time off of work, so weekends are only what you can dedicate to your choice of summer travel. If this is the case, then you'll want to book a flight to a major city or a small town somewhere in the US based on flight prices or make the drive if you're only a few hours away.
Check out Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to some of the best cities to visit in the country. You can compare which place will be cheaper to fly to, if you aren't picky about where you want to go. Below is a list of cities to consider visiting if you plan for you vacation to last only for a weekend.
- San Diego, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Denver, Colorado
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Miami, Florida
- Chicago, Illinois
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- New York City, New York
- Orlando, Florida
- Maui, Hawaii
- Los Angeles, California
- Augusta, Maine
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Wilmington, North Carolina
- ?Tampa, Florida
For Day Trips
If you're planning to take a day trip only somewhere, you'll probably be avoiding any airfares considering the very small amount of time you have to explore. Even if it's local, you can still make the most out of summer by getting creative with vacation spots. You might not have to travel far to take part in outdoor activities, unless you're really feeling the need to go snorkeling.
Explore your local city's historic sites, as almost every city should have them or be near them. If you're on the hunt for those last-minute deals, then make the most out of the nearest water parks and theme parks. They normally have great summer deals on admission prices and packages, especially since they tend to shut down as the weather starts to cool for the winter.
For Road Trips
If you decide to embark on a week long road trip, I advise you check out these sites that offer well-organized itineraries. Tripadvisor maps out popular US road trips to take, lined with places to stay and things to do along the way. You can pick to check out a major city's local cultural attractions or go visit the local state park.
Another website to help you plan out your destinations for road trips is fodors.com/best-us-road-trips. You'll also find amazing road trip itineraries, but what separates this site from Tripadvisor is how they cater to those who love exploring the gorgeous nature areas the US has to offer. While Tripadvisor is more broad in their suggestions, offering up more urban choices for activities, Fodors lays out pre-planned trips for those who are looking to hit a series of national parks.
So whether you're planning to only explore a region, or head across the country from the East Coast to the West Coast on Route 66, both Tripadvisor and Fodors are great places to look to help you arrange your journey. But if you're looking for a cheaper vacation, then hitting national parks will be your best bet. Below are links to itineraries laid out by Fodors that cover national parks and monuments based on region.
- The Great Lakes
- Across the Indigenous Lands of the Southwest
- Big Sky Country: Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho
- Natural Wonders of the Ozarks
- Utah's National Parks
- The Best of Colorado
- Road Trip to the Dakotas
- West Coast National Parks
We also offer unique road trip itineraries here on Wide Open Roads to follow if you're interested in more distinct adventures! Check out our options below:
- Ultimate Road Trip Guides: Las Vegas to Zion National Park
- 5 Oregon Road Trips for a Weekend Getaway
- 25 Cities, Parks, Forests & Attractions to Customize Your California Road Trip
- This 10-Day Road Trip Explores Utah's Natural Beauty
- 5 Arizona Road Trips Bringing Culture & Natural Beauty to Life
- 25 Cities, Parks & Attractions to Customize Your Texas Road Trip
- The Perfect 10-Day Colorado Road Trip
- Texas Road Trips Showing Off 'The Lone Star State' at Its Finest
- The 10 Best Places to Head on a Road Trip to See Fall Colors
Where have you traveled to for a last-minute summer vacation? Share your adventure with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!