A Contrarian’s Summer Travel Options

Call me contrarian, but I often find myself planning trips when others don’t want to go.  Instead of visiting destinations during the crowded high season, I try to hit them when they actually need travelers.  Of course, given the realities of the typical work or school schedule, it can be hard to time an off-peak trip.  But for those who seek it out, lower prices and a less hectic experience is their reward.  So as the masses rush to the beach this summer, I’ll be whizzing by them in the opposite lane on my way to the mountains – they’re this week’s theme for #WhereToGoWednesday.

Maybe it’s the fact that it was 102 degrees in Phoenix today, but I couldn’t help but play around on the TripTuner sliders and daydream about escaping my puddle of sweat. Just the act of moving the slider all the way from Bikini to Parka made my office feel ten degrees cooler. Moving the next one from Beach to Mountain had me envisioning snow-capped peaks and lush wildflowers instead of the sizzling heat waves I could see through my window. Here were two of my top matches:

kaitlin-muro-jg9bzbL1Lv4-unsplash vail

photo: Kaitlin Muro

Vail, Colorado
Vail is known as a prime winter destination, with 5,300 hundred acres of skiing and boarding terrain and a sophisticated infrastructure of hotels, restaurants, and shopping to support all that schussing. It used to be that ski mountains put all of their eggs into the winter basket, but recently resorts have started catering to summer crowds as well to help that infrastructure make it through the rest of the year. Vail is no exception.

The list of summer activities is extensive and continues to grow. Having visited the area in both winter and summer, I can truly say that I am partial to the summer options. A well-developed system of hiking and biking trails could keep you busy for days… you can even take your bike up the mountain on the gondola so you only have to ride downhill. Rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, golf, tennis, and fishing are just a partial list of the sports to be enjoyed in the area. Kids will love the climbing wall, rebound trampoline, and the slackline park, while mom and dad (and their wallets) enjoy free community yoga, the free summer concert series, and a wide array of performing arts and cultural events.


Park City photo by Wickenden

Park City, Utah 
Park City makes the society pages and pop-culture blogs each January when it is home to the Sundance Film Festival. The same hotels and restaurants that host Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks are available to the rest of us in the summer at a fraction of the price. The summer lineup reads like a star-studded ensemble cast: zip lines, alpine slides and coasters, climbing walls, mountain biking, miniature golf, and ski lift rides are all activities available at the resort.

While the options for outdoor fun in the area are plentiful – golf, tennis, hiking just to name a few – that doesn’t mean you have to be active. Sitting on a patio enjoying the cool temperatures, browsing the many galleries and boutiques, or taking the funicular ride up to have a drink at the St. Regis Bar are equally valid outings in my book.

Ahhhh.  Playing around on TripTuner has made me feel cooler already…even if today’s getaway was only in my mind. Want to find new places for your own contrarian getaway without the masses?  Just tune it!

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