There are only a few weeks of summer left! If you haven’t planned your summer vacation yet, it’s time to get moving. Fortunately, late summer is an ideal time to visit many parts of the U.S. And with kids starting to go back to school, the crowds have died down and you can even save money with off-season pricing. Here are 5 great last-minute summer vacation ideas.
Summer vacation ideas – big and small
1. Go to Walt Disney World
Late summer is a great time to visit Walt Disney World. Although many of us view Labor Day as the unofficial end of the season, this year September 22 marks the official end of summer. With school in session, theme parks are typically dead after Labor Day. Take advantage of short lines and cheaper accommodations. If you’re headed to Walt Disney World, the weather will still be warm enough to spend the day poolside, but it’s not sweltering like it is in July and August.
2. Take a Cruise
If you haven’t planned a summer vacation yet, chances are it’s been a busy summer. Whether you’ve had a wedding every weekend or been swamped at work, a cruise is a perfect option if you don’t have time to plan. Once you book your tickets, the only thing left to do is pack and check out the excursion list. If you do book a cruise for late summer or fall, invest in hurricane insurance. It adds a small amount to the cost, but you’ll be thankful if there happens to be a hurricane while you’re supposed to be at sea.
3. Check Out Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital can be surprisingly affordable for travelers and September is a beautiful time to visit. The summer crowds have subsided and Congress is not back in session yet. Book a hotel last-minute using Priceline and take advantage of the plethora of free attractions the city offers, like the Smithsonian Museums, the National Zoo, and the Lincoln Memorial. As summer comes to a close, you’ll find that it still warm during the day, though it may start to cool off at night.
4. Plan a Staycation
Many travelers turn up their nose at the idea of a staycation, but staycations can be a great way to explore your local area. A staycation means that you stay in your local area, but treat it like a vacation. So unplug from your normal life for a few days and explore your surroundings. Whether you’ve recently moved to your town or have lived there for years, chances are you have a bucket list of things you’d like to do. Staycations are great for last-minute vacations because they don’t require a lot of advanced planning. Consider staying at a local hotel to get a real vacation experience. Turn to websites like Groupon to get deals on restaurants and local attractions.
5. Visit the Grand Canyon
Are the outdoors more your style? September is one of the best times to visit the Grand Canyon. With kids back in school, there are fewer tourists on the trails and competing for hotel rooms. The weather is also ideal, it’s not as hot during the day and it hasn’t started to get really cold yet. Also, all of the trails are open — as you start to get closer to winter and snow starts falling, many areas will be closed — making September an ideal time to visit. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art (it runs September 8-November 25 this year).
Here’s even more last minute summer vacation ideas. We recently took a last minute road trip from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois. From there, we journeyed west to Iowa and Nebraska. At the end of the month, we further journeyed to Wyoming. We went fossil hunting, and then to Utah and Arizona. Get in the car and explore America!