Let's go away for a while, you and I, to a strange and distant land
April 20, 2014 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Mr. Jeoc and I want to take a vacation this summer, but we're running out of time to make plans and are stumped on where to go. I will tell you about us and the places we've enjoyed, and perhaps you can tell us where we should plan to go.

We're a couple in our late 30s, traveling without a child or pets. We live in North Carolina, and want to stay in the US. We'd like to travel over the 4th of July weekend (to maximize my time off). This will give us a total of 5 days. In general, we do not enjoy places that are very touristy, and a place where we could nab a vacation rental rather than a hotel room is preferred.

Places we've been that we liked:
Oahu - pretty touristy, but our resort was not at Waikiki. We enjoyed visiting the Shinto temple, offroading out to the far northwest tip of the island, and bumming around the North Shore watching surfers and eating fish tacos and shave ice.

Park City, UT (in the summer) - The weather was stunning and the town is pretty and walkable. We enjoyed riding the chairlifts, running in the local park, and visiting the local brewpub (AND finding the Banksy on the way back from the brewpub).

Estes Park, Co (also in the summer) - When we lived in Denver, this was a favorite weekend or daytrip. Nice little town right next to an amazing national park.

Places we've been that we would not visit again:
Myrtle Beach - WAY too touristy for us. We just had no idea what we were getting into.

Between grad school and an all-consuming job, I have been basically working nonstop for the past three years and we want to take a few days to relax and reconnect. We looked at renting a cabin near Lake Tahoe, but we had a hard time finding something in our timeframe, and it's a day's worth of travel each way anyway. I think given the amount of time I can take off, closer is better, but we're not opposed to flying. We've looked at the Asheville/Black Mountains area and feel pretty meh about it.

So - where should we go?
posted by jeoc to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hatteras Island (NC) and Isle of Palms (SC) were some of my favorite getaway spots when I lived in North Carolina. I haven't been to either in years, but I expect they haven't become too touristy for your tastes, although the 4th of July weekend would be pushing it in any location. Bryson City (home of the wonderful Nantahala Village) would be another good choice.
posted by DrGail at 5:05 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The NC beaches are lovely but I would be worried about the crowded tourist factor on fourth of July weekend. You might have trouble finding available lodging, too.

If you're just wanting relaxation and don't feel like dealing with Asheville (which, having returned from there just hours ago, I understand) - what about renting a cabin in the mountains closer to the Tennessee border? My husband and I honeymooned near Townsend, TN, which is on the other side of Smoky Mountains National Park. We had a cabin in the hills with both an indoor AND an outdoor hot tub! Stunning views, silence, et cetera. It was lovely.

Further afield, you could do a lot worse than flying into Burlington, Vermont and road tripping around northern Vermont and New Hampshire for a few days. It's absolutely gorgeous and there are countless weird little attractions in that part of the country (Ben & Jerry's factory, chocolate shops, Great Vermont Corn Maze & Petting Zoo), and Montreal is an easy 90 minute drive from Burlington as well, if you wanted to do a fun little day trip.
posted by something something at 5:49 PM on April 20, 2014

We're roadtripping to Austin! I'm sure it's quite touristy* at that point in the season but otherwise it sounds like a fit for you. Do you do heat? If you drive you can explore outside the city. Oh, and with so many students gone for the summer you might be able to rent a house! I'm most excited about the music, the food, and this alleged "vibe" I hear so much about. :) We are driving so that hopefully we can find some cool stuff along the way (there's a 6-year-old involved.)

*I live in New Orleans, and it gets touristy here in the summer, but a lot of students and locals leave, so there is a sort of sleepy quietness in parts of town. The suffocating heat helps with that too.
posted by polly_dactyl at 6:30 PM on April 20, 2014

Maine. There are touristy parts of Maine and there are preppy parts of Maine but there are also super real insanely beautiful isolated parts of coastal Maine in the summer.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:33 AM on April 21, 2014

I was in Annapolis MD for 4th of July many years ago, and it was lovely. No beaches per se, but the Chesapeake is nice, there's great food, super walkable, and lots of historic spaces to explore that probably won't be too mobbed as Baltimore is nearby and that's more of a tourist destination. There's sailing all summer. Looks to be plenty of rooms on AirBNB for under $100/night.
posted by juniperesque at 5:31 AM on April 21, 2014

I'll recommend my go-to vacation destination: Puerto Rico. Still in the US, but so different. You can find accomodations like vacation condos or resorts. There are different places on the island, some less touristy than others.

Gorgeous beaches, rain forests, old forts, all sorts of yummy food. USAirways has direct flights from Charlotte. (Although holiday weekends aren't cheap.)

Another option is Miami. The south part of Miami Beach is rather touristy, but there's lots to see and do in Miami proper. I like the Hyatt House Miami Airport. We had a 1 bedroom apartment with a fully stocked kitchen. They serve a hot breakfast every morning, and dinners in the evening, so that will help with expenses. Flights are a bit less expensive, so there's that.

If this is interesting, MeMail me and I'll give you a list of cool stuff to do in Miami.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:21 AM on April 21, 2014

My husband is a big fan of Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. It's not a big commercial vacation destination, but there is lots of hiking and swimming and restaurants. Plus - sea turtles!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:41 AM on April 21, 2014

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