So summer is here, and like everyone else you want to get away somewhere and relax. Preferably wherever you go should be easy on your wallet, but still have some amazing views worth a photo or two. To a lot of people combining these two things might seem impossible. The truth is there a lot of scenic summer vacation spots that offer great views, and are budget friendly. Here, for example, are our five favorites.
5. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has some of the most beautiful scenery in the western United States. These parks are often overshadowed by nearby Yosemite National Park so they don't get as many visitors as they deserve. This can work to your advantage though as the parks don't necessarily have an optimal time to visit during the summer. This can give you some flexibility when you're making your travel plans. The parks themselves offer a lot of different stuff to do. It's a popular area for rock climbing, and hiking for those looking for a bit of a challenge. The Giant Forest Museum is a great family friendly spot for the kids to visit. If you're into photography then the giant sequoia trees offer a unique scenery you can't find anywhere else in the world.
4. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder might not automatically seem like a great vacation spot, but looks can be deceiving. Its position at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains offers some of the best scenery in the United States. When you combine this with having access to all the modern conveniences of a big city, it can be hard to resist. How to properly enjoy Boulder depends a lot on what kind of vacation you're looking for. If your looking for some outdoor fun then your options are almost limitless. Everything from hiking, hunting, mountain biking, or fishing are just a few of things you can do. The town itself definitely caters to outdoors types, and this can really translate into a lot of savings on your budget. If you want something a little less rigorous than Boulder has a lot to offer. It has a vibrant food and local brewing scene, plus other entertainments like the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.
3. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is the only national park in Maine, but it also holds some of the best scenery in New England. Much of the park is compromised of Mount Desert Island, and the local town of Bar Harbor is just outside the park. There are a couple of obvious things to do in Acadia, these include but aren't limited to hiking and bike riding. The park has a big system of carriage roads, and the hiking trails vary from easy to tough. There are some wonderful photo opportunities in Acadia as well. This includes 1,530ft Cadillac Mountain which is the tallest mountain on the North American seaboard. The Park Loop Road is a 27-mile road that is the fastest way to explore the park in a car. Thunder Hole is one of the more interesting natural phenomena that can be found in Acadia. It's submerged cave that due to its unique shape it sounds like a thunderstorm, and water can spray up to 40ft.
2. Zion National Park, Utah
Much like our first entry on this list, Zion National Park is a place that often gets overshadowed by it's more well-known cousin to the south, the Grand Canyon. Again this can also work to your advantage since it's not as overrun with tourists as the Grand Canyon and it should be easier on your budget as well. Zion is a great place for hiking enthusiasts as it offers a wide variety of trails that cover the entire park. These trails can range from a leisurely few hours walk to the more tougher overnight versions. If you do decide to take on the tougher trails make sure you have the right equipment. If you're more adventurous then you might consider canyoneering an activity that combines climbing, swimming, and rappelling amongst other things. This can be dangerous if you've never done it before so consider hiring a guide if you need to learn the ropes. You should also remember that all canyoneering trips require you get a permit. Finally, if you're just interested in taking some great pictures then Zion also has a lot to offer. The first place to consider is Angels Landing, a 5.4 hiking trail that will take you to an elevation above 1,400ft. If you want something easier then the Riverside Walk also has some amazing views worth seeing.
1. Big Sur, California
Big Sur, California isn't what you would call a small location by any means. It stretches over 90 miles in central California and offers a diverse range of scenery to enjoy. There are beaches you can soak up some sun or forests where you can go hiking. It's also a place that to enjoy properly requires a bit of planning. A few things to remember when planning a trip to Big Sur involve the geography of the place. Cellphone service can be very spotty in large patches of Big Sur, and this means no relying on navigation apps. If you want to rely on a map on your cellphone make sure to download an offline version. It's also important to note that gas can be very expensive depending on where you fill up, so try to fill your tanks beforehand if possible. What to do in Big Sur depends entirely on you. Hiking and camping are the most common activities for people visiting Big Sur, but there also amazing beaches and bike trails you can enjoy. If your looking for the best photo opportunities then driving through Big Sur in a car might be your best option. Just make sure to go slow and take in the beauty!
The United States has some of the most beautiful, and diverse landscapes in the entire world. This is especially true during summer, but that doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money either to enjoy them. So now that you know where to go, it's time to start planning next your summer getaway. Just remember to bring your camera and favorite accessories to get the most out of it!