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The Top 7 Least Crowded Summer Escapes
Spring Break may be just around the corner but we've all got our eyes on the prize, summer vacation! Every year a great debate ensues about where to off venture to during those blissful summer months, and most importantly, how to avoid boisterous crowds, because let's face it, who wants to be on vacation with everyone else! So unless your idea of a good time includes packing yourself onto Miami beach like a sun-worshiping sardine, or waiting in the blistering Parisian heat for six hours to view the Eiffel Tower, your summer itinerary needs a complete revamp. Skip out on the ordinary this summer and seek out the extraordinary with seven of the least crowded and most unlikely vacation spots on earth.
Covering an area three times the size of Texas, with a modest population of 58,000 people, Greenland is slowly becoming a destination favorite with isolation seekers. Visitors can't help but be awestruck by hauntingly beautiful frozen backdrops, meandering ice rivers, calving glaciers, and the contradiction of lush green meadows and sparse tundra. There is little here in the way of roads, so to really get a feel for this vast Danish island, you'll have to do it from a bird's eye view, or in one of the few excursion ships that takes you to the islands most desolate inlets.
Why spend your summer on some random beach, dreaming your life away when you you could be following migratory reindeer herds past glassy alpine lakes, taking in the splendor of the snowcapped mountains and staggering desert scenery or wandering around ancient statues and burial mounds. Mongolia is still one of the least crowded places on earth with a population of three million on an area of land that rivals the size of Alaska.
Africa is on everyone's bucket list, however, few experiences on earth make you feel more insignificant than watching a herd of majestic desert oryx frolic amidst larger than life, 5 million year old sand dunes. Spend a few weeks listening to whispering winds unfurl around you in Sossusvlei, explore the desolation of the rugged Skeleton Coast or soar above it all on a spectacular hot air balloon ride. It doesn't matter where you go in this exquisite country, you'll be hard pressed to find much that constitutes a crowd.
Rugged volcanic dreamscapes, sprawling glaciers and a plethora of medicinal hot springs await you in this hauntingly beautiful Nordic of the planet. Despite being the same size of the state of Kentucky, Iceland is home to a modest population of 300,000 people. Outdoor enthusiasts, spa goers, photographers and nature lovers alike will instantly fall in love with Iceland's unique charm. Once hailed as one of the most expensive destinations on earth, since the Recession in 2008, tourists have benefited from Iceland's fragile economy. And in spite of its isolated geographic location, it's surprisingly easy to get to here. London, New York and Seattle all boast direct flights to the cosmopolitan capital of Reykjavik, so now that we've eliminated all the excuses, make Iceland your next summer getaway!
You may be scratching your head with this one. Summer..in the Caribbean..really? Yes, really! Think about what a New York feels like in the dead of August. Even the smallest of errands becomes a schlepping expedition, and there's nothing worse than dodging in and out of air conditioning all day long. On top of that, because most Canadians and Europeans are also on summer vacation, you're dealing with crowds in every major tourist city across the nation, which this is why the Caribbean should be your first choice. The summer months in Aruba promise empty beaches, cheap resort rates and cooler temperatures. So if warm, azure horizons, cool tropical breezes, smiling faces, and Caribbean cuisine sound enticing, skip the Hamptons, leave the crowds behind and hop a plane to friendly Aruba.
Zion National Park
America boasts some of the most unique, most breathtaking and most affordable selection of national parks in the world, so if you're short on cash, but long on time, consider taking a stay-cation to explore your exquisite back yard! Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Zion National Park's ancient monoliths, slot canyons, natural arches and endless species of animals, and if you've never had the privilege of visiting this world famous park, throw it on your summer bucket list. The summer months are certainly not the off-season, quite the opposite actually, but in early June and the dead of August experience a quiet window and affordable accommodation rates, so keep this option in mind if you're looking for some adventure.
The Mayan Riviera
You may have escaped here during those unforgivably cold winter months, when all you needed was a week in the sun. The only problem is, you also probably had to deal with boisterous crowds, beaches teeming with chatty, overly intoxicated young adults, and long buffet lines. How about a redo? Spend a week in paradise without the crowds, and enjoy all the treasures the Mayan Riviera has to offer. Wander ancient Mayan pyramids, explore underwater museums, horseback ride on the beach, all without the annoyance of having to wait in line for it all.