5 of the Most Popular Beach Escapes This Summer—And Where To Go To Avoid the Crowds Instead
If you’re escaping to the shore this season, here’s a not-so-surprising news flash: You are most definitely not alone. According to vacation rental management site Vacasa, a whopping 70 percent of Americans planning summer getaways this year have their hearts set on the coast (and on 4th of July weekend, apparently). But while tried-and-true warm-weather destinations are great for those searching for a buzz-worthy scene, others might prefer their vacays with a larger dose of alone time. Luckily, Vacasa rounded up options for both—a list of their most booked summer cities along with their travel expert-approved, under-the-radar counterparts. Here are the beachy faves that made the cut.
Most Booked: Miami
Hidden Gem: Daytona Beach
If you’re craving some Florida sun with a healthy dose of activity, Daytona Beach is a lively escape that’s far from the vibe of a major metropolis. While the beach town just south of Jacksonville has attracted Spring Breakers and racing fans for years, it’s also a mecca for families, surfers, and plain old sun seekers, with 20 miles of wide sandy beaches to explore (by foot, bike, or car).
Most Booked: San Diego
Hidden Gem: San Clemente
If you’re jetting off to SoCal in search of sunshine, sand, and maybe even a romp in the waves, this sleepy surf town just north of San Diego certainly delivers. Compared to its big-city neighbor, San Clemente might lack some of the bustle, but it also sports some serious surf cred—it’s home to notable pros, board shapers, and the long-running Surfer magazine. Its rep as a laid-back paradise translates to its downtown scene, where eclectic boutiques, bars, and cafes provide plenty of post-sunset fun.
Most Booked: Honolulu
Hidden Gem: Princeville, Hawaii
A less-trafficked neighbor of Oahu, the island of Kauai has long been a refuge for celebs looking for a peaceful—and stunningly beautiful—place to set down their vacation home roots. (It’s also famously been a popular filming location for movies like Jurassic Park, The Descendants, and South Pacific.) You, too, can follow in Hollywood’s footsteps (at least for a week) by booking a plane ticket to the island’s Lihue Airport. As one of the most popular tourist destinations on the largely undeveloped island, Princeville boasts spectacular scenery, golf courses, five-star stays, and easy access to Hanalei Bay, often ranked among the best beaches in the world.
Most Booked: New Orleans
Hidden Gem: Savannah, Georgia
History buffs searching for a ‘Gram-worthy Southern town with gorgeous architecture, charming old towns, and water views may be spoiled with options, but the oldest town in Georgia is certainly one for the bucket list. Like NOLA, Savannah is a city best explored on foot, with beautiful cobblestoned streets lined with towering live oaks and antebellum mansions. It’s also equally blessed with a stellar food scene, where local seafood sprinkles every menu and—for all you Mardi Gras fans—"cocktails are served at every meal.”
Most Booked: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Hidden Gem: Tulum, Mexico
Thanks to its blissful beaches and easy non-stop flights to Cancun, Playa del Carmen has transformed into one of the most popular resort towns along the Yucatan peninsula. While it’s neighbor to the south is far from undiscovered—its well-preserved Mayan ruins have tempted travelers for decades—Tulum remains “much less commercialized,” according to Vacasa. Here, you’ll trade in mega-resorts for smaller eco-friendly stays, plus restaurants and stores with a more authentic feel.