Before Back to School: Last Minute Vacation

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This post originally appeared on Best Western’s’s blog, where I regularly contribute stories. I was compensated for this post but the opinions are mine.

The summer vacation season starts to wind down in a hurry by the beginning of August, but if you’re looking for the best deals of the year, early August through September is quite possibly the optimal time period for awesome bargains and one last trip before school starts back up.

In most parts of the country, August/September is ideal because travel plummets due to back-to-school, and what is super discounted in other parts of the U.S., is even more discounted in the southeast.

Here are some of my top picks for last-minute summer vacation spots before the kids return to school:

  • Miami Beach and Key West: I purposely put these two destinations here because they combine gorgeous, hot and usually very expensive places with an ability for visitors to cool off. In the case of Miami Beach, you can go into the beach waters, and while in Key West, you can get sun with snorkeling, SCUBA or even fishing adventures. Great vacation spots!
  • Yellowstone or Yosemite National Parks: America’s two top national park treasures are obscenely packed during the summer (just ask the poor bison), but not in mid-August. I picked these two parks because they are my favorite, but I would also add that the more remote the national park you visit, the more likely you will score extremely attractive travel discounts.
  • Cruise the Caribbean: If you’re willing to take a calculated risk during hurricane season (June thru November), this is your best time. My wife and I went on a September cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines last year and I would take the same hurricane season travel risk all over again.
  • Take a mini road trips: This year we decided to do a last minute road trip from Miami to Austin. We just wrapped this trip up as I’m writing this blog post, and I can tell you that, overall, we paid 30 percent less and didn’t see any real traffic anywhere. Just be mindful of road construction (and other) delays, as they may impact your children’s return to school.
  • Washington, D.C.: By the tail end of the summer, the Washington Mall empties of the long lines you typically encounter to visit the Smithsonian museums. D.C. is pretty hot in August and I do prefer seeing it in October, but if you really want to visit the Smithsonian museums and other historical landmarks, uninterrupted, and with practically no congestion, this is the second best time of the year.

Wherever you decide to go, make sure to send your summer out with a bang before going back into the business of school and work!

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