Ready to hit the road for an unforgettable mid-summer trip? If destinations like New York City and Las Vegas seem a little too commonplace and touristy, you can find many other cities you can head to for offbeat fun and eccentric offerings. Plus, cities that don’t see as many tourists tend to be cheaper, so you can be kind to your budget.
What are some worthy destinations for your summer road trip? Here’s four to consider:
1) Portland, Oregon
The TV show Portlandia depicts this Pacific Northwest gem as out-of-this-world weird, and that isn’t far from the truth — in a really good way. All you have to do is head downtown, pick a spot for people-watching, and count all the unique characters that pass by.
But Portland’s lovable strangeness is only part of the city’s appeal. You’ll find amazing food, too. Enjoy handmade pasta, perfect pizza, stellar seafood, microwbrews galore, and more
For some stunning natural scenery, take the short trip to the Columbia River Gorge, where lush greenery and majestic waterfalls await. Or, if you’re up for a hike, try Mt. Hood, which is just a short drive out of town.
2) Memphis, Tennessee
For amazing Southern fun, head to Memphis. Walk along Beale Street and try not to let the tons of live entertainment and food options overwhelm you. Visit Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. Wander through museums that showcase the city’s rich music history (a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit soul, and all good). Want to find a unique piece to liven up your dorm room? Head to the Memphis Antique and Design District in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.
See Memphis’s true beauty when you go to the Mississippi River and take in a remarkable sunset while you unwind from a day of eating and shopping and exploring. Take a biking tour of the city for even more photo opportunities.
3) Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ready to have a grand time in Grand Rapids? This beautiful attraction-filled city is a great place to visit if you live in the Midwest. The GR beaches are a must-experience. In winter, the beaches are too cold to be much fun, but the warm summer weather lets you take full advantage of the clean white-sand shores of Lake Michigan.
In the city itself, you can enjoy top-notch shopping at malls and boutiques. After the sun sets, don your nighttime party apparel and head to a place like 57 Brewpub and Bistro or Dr. Grin’s Comedy Club.
4) Albuquerque, New Mexico
Pack your sunscreen when you head to Albuquerque. The average daytime temperature in the summer is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, although a low humidity level makes it tolerable.
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Albuquerque. Enjoy the allure of the desert when you traverse the Sandia Mountains. Keep an eye out for wildlife and bring your camera so you can capture a breathtaking sunset or sunrise. If your budget allows for it, you should take a hot-air balloon ride over the Rio Grande Valley for views unlike any other and you’ll understand why Albuquerque is considered The Ballooning Capital of The World.
If you’d rather spend your time indoors, you can have fun at a spa or casino in town. Visit a brewery or winery for some delicious cooling libations and sink your teeth into New Mexican cuisine, a unique fusion of Spanish, Native American, and Spanish ingredients and styles.
Where will your summer adventures take you?