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Best (Maybe Unexpected) Places to Visit in Spring & Summer

Find adventure and beauty this spring and summer at one of these picturesque cities – without the tourist traps.

By Kevin Litwin on March 29, 2019

Santa Barbara CA
Santa Barbara / iStock Photo/csfotoimages

With spring in full bloom and summer just around the corner, the itch to get out and explore and find adventure is strong. These splendid seven cities are ideal springtime and summer destinations, with vivid attractions and activities to experience and reminisce about later – without all the tourists.


Portland, ME

It’s Maine, a state that gets its fair share of winter snow and harsh weather. But the springtime months highlight the beauty that Portland really has to offer, such as sailing along the Atlantic Ocean (pictured above), abundant lighthouses, an award-winning Arts District, microbreweries and more than 230 restaurants ranging from classic French cookery to authentic Vietnamese standards. Be sure to visit the historic Old Port neighborhood along Portland Harbor – what a view!

Santa Barbara CA
Santa Barbara / iStock Photo/csfotoimages

Santa Barbara, CA

Nicknamed the “American Riviera†thanks to its beaches, the Santa Ynez Mountains, great weather and popular resort and tourist destinations, Santa Barbara is a springtime vacation hotspot along the Pacific Ocean. There are plenty of top independent restaurants, wineries, citywide festivals and walkability options, and being home to the University of California – Santa Barbara means there are numerous entertainment choices and nighttime venues.

Colorado Springs CO
Colorado Springs, CO / iStock Photo/RondaKimbrow

Colorado Springs, CO

One of the favorite springtime tourism activities in all of America is driving the 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway en route to the famous mountaintop in Colorado Springs. Also in this beautiful city is Garden of the Gods, known for its stunning red-rock formations and 15 miles of inspiring hiking trails. Tourists can also visit the circa 1903 Glen Eyrie Castle that offers 17 guest rooms for overnight stays.

Bellevue, WA

French for “beautiful view,†Bellevue is across Lake Washington from Seattle and has the dazzling Cascade Mountains as part of its backdrop. Tourists have shopping choices like Bellevue Square and three major malls, and popular gathering spots include Downtown Park and the Bellevue Botanical Garden. This upscale city hosts several festivals, including Wintergrass that ranks among the best bluegrass festivals in the U.S.

Sarasota, FL

Beaches and resorts on the Gulf of Mexico are what Sarasota is all about, a city with outdoor adventure activities like fishing, kayaking and sailing. Sarasota has white-sand beaches and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, and other attractions include fine dining cuisine choices along with cultural amenities like impressive art galleries and museums. A convenient travel luxury in-and-out of the city is Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.


Franklin, TN

Ranked among the Top 10 Best Downtowns in America by Livability.com, Franklin is an upscale city in Middle Tennessee just outside Nashville, and its historic downtown district hosts a popular Main Street Festival each April. Multiple shopping choices include a 1 million-square-foot CoolSprings Galleria, and you might see some celebrities at music venues like Whiskey Room Live, Puckett’s Boat House and Franklin Theatre.

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Hatteras Island, NC

Serene beaches, deep-sea fishing and surfing are just some of the attractions on Hatteras Island, an Outer Banks/Atlantic Ocean vacation spot famous for great restaurants and gorgeous sunsets. Impressive lighthouses, long sandy beaches and oceanfront cottages provide the ideal setting for families looking for a relaxing holiday, and be sure to take a 45-minute ride aboard the Ocracoke-Hatteras Ferry to view incredible local sights of nature.

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