Are you looking for a vacation destination away from the long lines at the amusement park, the overcrowded restaurants, and the pitter-patter of little feet from the hotel room above? Away from the hordes that pounce on many of our nation’s most popular destinations the minute the temperatures warm up? Luckily, the United States has plenty of beautiful and quiet vacation destinations where you can relax, recharge and enjoy uninterrupted solitude. Here are seven such vacation destinations.
The Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers unmatched levels of beauty and seclusion. Along with excellent fishing, kayaking, and hiking, the park also has many sections easily accessed by car. Finding solitude is never a challenge in this national park. Area vacation cabins make the Smoky Mountains a great place to get away from the world as well. Pigeon Forge rental cabins come with everything you’ll need to hunker down in a home away from home. All cabins feature free WiFi, gourmet kitchens, and multiple TVs. Most have Jacuzzis or heart-shaped tubs, large porches with swings, and game rooms for the kids. And then there are the stunning views of the beguiling Smoky Mountains.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
If you thought only Scandinavia had fjords, learn about Alaska. At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska, almost 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park. Christened as a national park in 1980, Kenai Fjords boasts lush forests, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. For an up-close and personal look at sea lions, otters, Beluga and Humpback whales, as well as breathtaking views of the park, book a half or full-day wildlife cruise. If you’re not big on hiking, Exit Glacier is accessible by car. It has many short trails with scenic payoffs, a nature center, and spectacular views throughout.
Mauna Kea Beach, Hawaii
Also known as Kauna’oa Bay, the half-mile long, palm tree-lined Mauna Kea Beach has some of the whitest sand in Hawaii. Its gentle slope and secluded location make it perfect for relaxing with a good book, sunbathing, or building sandcastles. Calm waters and two coral reefs also make Kauna’oa Bay ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and body surfing. At night, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel draws Manta Rays to the shore with floodlights. Take a swim with the aquatic creatures or enjoy the show from the beach.
Sedona, Arizona, offers a unique blend of stunning natural beauty, spiritual retreats, and eclectic shops and galleries. Sedona’s desert location makes it the perfect spot for a secluded weekend or week’s long vacation. Enjoy a desert stone massage during the day, and then take a self-guided tour of the Verde Valley Wine Trail in the evening. End your day with a sunset you will never forget from Airport Mesa Overlook. Attend a service or just take in the spectacular views from the Chapel of the Holy Cross – a Roman Catholic church built right into the red rocks.
With no large hotels lining the beach, just colorful cottages sprinkled about, the charming little town of Seaside, Florida, offers peaceful seclusion with an Old World unhurried pace. Situated on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Seaside’s powder-white sand and emerald-green water earned it the title of “Best Beach on Earth for Families” by Travel + Leisure magazine. Park the car and put on your flip flops, Seaside’s downtown, cottages, beach and boardwalk are all within easy walking distance of each other.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Kiawah Island’s perfectly preserved maritime forests, ten miles of beaches, and numerous marshes make it the perfect place to tune out the world for a while. If you do need something to do, Kiawah Island has several world-class golf courses, great shopping, and a wide range of dining options. Other popular activities include hiking, biking, and typical water sports. Along with several resort hotels, Kiawah Island rental properties include everything from vacation villas to waterfront homes, condominiums, and cottages. With beautiful historic Charleston, just a short drive away, you will never run out of things to do or ways to relax on a Kiawah Island vacation.
You probably know Kennebunkport as the town where the Bush family makes its summer home. Surprisingly, even with all of the notoriety, as well as the occasional Secret Service agent popping into town for ice cream, Kennebunkport has managed to retain its small-town charm. The quaint little coastal hamlet features several beaches, cliff-side summer homes, and miles and miles of rugged shoreline. Seafood restaurants, bed and breakfasts and souvenir shops line the cobblestone streets of the Dock Square area – Kennebunkport’s downtown. Shops and galleries primarily sell works from local artists that depict the area’s natural beauty. The ocean waters stay cool even through the summer months, so the beaches never get too crowded, and maintain an unspoiled feel, as well. And if you like a lobster dinner, Kennebunkport is your place.