15 Vacation Ideas That Don’t Involve the Beach

15 Vacation Ideas That Don’t Involve the Beach
Written by Oana Schneider

A lot of people absolutely adore being near the ocean, while others cannot be bothered with sand in their swimsuits or dealing with the crowd by the beach. Others might have already had their fill of the beach life last summer so they are looking for new vacation ideas. Whichever of these two categories you fall under, the good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to a beach vacation that will give you as grand a time.

15 Alternatives to a Beach Vacation

What are the best alternatives to a beach vacation? Take a look at the following list:

1. A city getaway

If you live far or outside New York City, how about planning a city getaway? If you’re from a nearby state, you can plan a weekend getaway to the Big Apple. If you have to fly in or drive far, make plans to visit the city for an entire week. The city that never sleeps definitely would have something to offer you that does not include sand on your private parts, and you will get plenty of culture to boot.

By planning ahead, you can stay at luxurious yet still affordable accommodations like the Kimberly Hotel where they offer things like the Shakespeare in the Park Package. You can try out restaurants, watch plays, visit museums, go on picnics at the park or simply watch the city go by. You definitely will not be lacking for things to do, see and experience in New York City.    

2. A trip to Las Vegas

For an all-out adult fun, plan a trip to Las Vegas. Marvel at the wonder of nature as you visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area. There’s also the man-made wonder which is Hoover Dam. You can visit the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio, the Mob Museum, the Artifact Exhibition of the Titanic, and plenty of other museums in the area. Of course, you can always hit the casinos but if you do not have a flair for card games, the Sin City will not disappoint when it comes to the variety of things that you can do.

3. A camping trip for the whole family

If you want to save money while enjoying a vacation that does not involve the beach, plan a camping trip for the whole family. Check out the nearby campsites in your area and stay for a night or two. Make sure to think of plenty of games for the kids, as well as other bonding activities for the whole family. You can also teach them about the environment and appreciate the beauty that nature has to offer.

4. The ultimate road trip vacation

For groups of friends who are looking for an alternative to a beach vacation, hop in your car and go on a road trip. The long drive will definitely refresh your spirit and the adventures you will have along the way will be worth any hassle that you might encounter. To have a frugal road trip, download apps like GasBuddy which allows you to compare the prices of gas in nearby gas stations. Even a few cents off will give you huge savings along the way, especially if you are filling up the tank.

5. A backpacking or hiking adventure

If you cannot afford backpacking your way through Europe just yet, go on the ultimate hiking adventure in the US. The Grand Canyon National Park has 15 official trails which lead to the canyon, while the Yosemite National Park has more than a dozen trails. Aside from amazing vistas and plenty of physical exercise, you can meet plenty of other hikers and backpackers along the way for a real vacation to remember.

15 Vacation Ideas That Don’t Involve the Beach

6. A quaint escape from the city

If you live in a busy city and you would like to escape for a bit, head over to quaint destinations like Middleburg, Virginia. The city is just half an hour away from the Dulles International Airport and you can book a room at the Salamander Resort & Spa, or any of the beautiful hotels in the area.

The Salamander Resort has programs where guests can practice being an equestrian, a golfer, or a tennis player. A swimming pool, and 340 acres of farmland in an 18th century village is the setting that you will enjoy at the Salamander Resort. Naturally, you can consider other accommodations which are a lot less luxurious if you are looking for something more affordable. The point is to consider taking a vacation in a place which can serve as your ultimate escape from the busy city life.

7. A summer festival vacation

Aside from Coachella, there are plenty of other music festivals in the US which are held almost year-round. You can check out the High Sierra Music Festival in California, the Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass music festival in Colorado, the New Orleans’ Essence Music Festival, the North Coast Music Festival in Illinois, and a host of others.

To save money on tickets, purchase them in advance. If you are planning to stay for the entire three-day or week-long festival, purchase multi-day tickets and if you’re bringing friends, ask about group discounts. While you’re there, extend your stay for a day or two to check out the local sights.

8. A ranch adventure

How about taking a vacation at a ranch? If you’re game for some adrenaline rush, head over to Moab, Utah and book rooms at places like the Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa. They have log cabins and guests can go mountain biking at exciting rails, go tubing down the Colorado River or go hiking at the Arches National Park. Both nature lovers and those who love the good things in life would have a blast staying at this resort. For the frugal traveller, there are other ranches which rent out rooms for tourists to experience what it’s like to live in a ranch or a farm.

9. A small cruise vacation

An amazing small cruise vacation that should definitely be included in your bucket list is in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. An overnight cruise is available where 70 guests can climb aboard a three-masted sailboat, and jump off ice cold waters. The natural beauty of the surroundings as the sailboat leisurely cruises the waters will definitely take your breath away.

15 Vacation Ideas That Don’t Involve the Beach

10. A pamper-myself vacation

What better way is there to spend your vacation than by pampering yourself? Go online and look for hotels which offer full spa packages, or visit an actual spa resort. Reward yourself from all those months of working by indulging in massages, body scrubs, facials, and similar treatments that will help you relax, and make you feel younger and more beautiful.

11. A please-your-palate tour

Try a bag of authentic beignet in New Orleans as well as a sampling of other Creole cuisine; or go on a street food tasting adventure in Austin, Texas. Food is such a huge part of what makes a place unique and if you’re a certified foodie, you should definitely consider taking a vacation at the food capitals of the city or state that you decide to visit.

12. An experience of the Wild West

A non-profit organization in the northeastern part of Montana has been working overtime to restore the great plains, and it is a thrilling location that will give you the ultimate Wild West experience. You can sleep under the stars at the Buffalo Camp, or appreciate the grazing bison and other wildlife by going on a mountain biking safari somewhere in the area. You can also paddle the Missouri River, or check out the tepees at the Kestrel Camp to experience what the land has to offer.

13. Go exploring the river

If you have the budget for it, go on a vacation to what is dubbed as the best river trip in the world, at Fiji’s Upper Navua River Gorge. There are 18 miles of river gorge that you can explore. While you’re at it, try out other outdoor activities like going on a kayak tour at Middle Navua, or go snorkelling at the Beqa Lagoon’s coral gardens.

14. A wine tasting adventure

If you want to go on a wine tasting adventure while still being frugal, you can save almost half on travel expenses in Delaware. Book a flight or plan a road trip during the shoulder season, where the state offers tax-free shopping for visitors. Of course, your other option would be none other than to go on a wine tasting tour in the vineyards of Napa in California.

15. A trip to an exotic destination

Finally, there are many exotic destinations that you can visit which do not involve dealing with the sand on the beach at all. You can lounge inside a tent at the Aliya Resort & Spa in Sri Lanka, be amazed at the Himalayan Mountains in India, go on a barrier reef expedition in Belize, check out the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, or go to some unheard-of destination in other parts of the world.

As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives that you can consider for a beach vacation. With these destinations, you can have the ultimate fun with friends or family, for a leisurely time that you are not bound to forget anytime soon.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois and was part of our team as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget and has a degree in Communications.


  • There are lots of people for whom a beach holiday really isn’t ideal, and I know that they will have got a lot from reading this. I actually like city breaks, particularly in places that have a lot of history, as it means that you are just able to lose yourself in information and knowledge – which is something I always like to do whenever I can! So those types of breaks will always appeal to me more than beach breaks. I also like to go to places where I am able to do plenty of walking, too, if at all possible.

  • I have always wanted to visit Montana, so #12 experiencing the Wild West sounds amazing to me! I love to be outdoors and my latest hobby is photography, so I would love to visit some new places with beautiful scenery and wildlife! The Sorrel River Ranch also sounds like it would be right up my alley. I’d love to stay in a log cabin, go out hiking and just enjoy nature! Thank you for the vacation ideas!

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