Whether you’re celebrating a stellar report card or embracing warmer weather, summer is the perfect time for a fun-filled family vacation. So, if you’re in need of a little inspiration, we’re here to help with our list of 12 summer vacation ideas, tailored to your family’s interests. Relax at the beach, explore a new city, or climb a mountain—these trips are sure to please the whole gang!
Choose from more than 300,000 rentals on FlipKey, and enjoy all the comforts of home during your family summer vacation.
Your family: scours the web for the latest art gallery openings and appreciates art in all its forms.
The destination: Home to one of the world’s 100 most-visited art museums, Grand Rapids is one of the best summer vacation ideas for families that love art. Mornings here are best spent discovering life-size works of art in the city’s renowned sculpture park. Save your afternoons for experiencing the flourishing arts and cultural scene downtown. Pop in and out of art museums (admission ranges from free to $10), or visit a local furniture shop and discover the original artistry that put Grand Rapids on the map.
Your family: lives for days at the beach and looks sun-kissed all summer long.
The destination: Families seeking a trip filled with sun, sand and surf will find Hilton Head to be an idyllic vacation spot. Relax on a wide, windswept beach or recruit other families for a game of volleyball on the sand. From oceanfront homes, steps from the water, to cozy apartments in the heart of town, your family will love the convenience (and affordability!) of having an entire rental all to yourself. In Hilton Head, family fun goes hand in hand with sun-dappled days and golden beaches.
Your family: are enthusiastic gig-goers who love a good sing-along.
The destination: There’s no better place for music-loving families than Nashville. Nicknamed Music City, you’ll find everything from up-and-coming artists and mainstream music-makers to museums and landmarks that tell the history of the music industry here. Dance your way down Lower Broadway, world-famous for its non-stop live entertainment and countless honky-tonks, or take the family to a show at the renowned Grand Old Opry. For a toe-tapping good time on your summer family vacation this summer, Nashville is the obvious choice.
Your family: love theater productions, movies, educational programming, you name it—your family enjoys it all!
The destination: Often overlooked when it comes to summer vacation ideas for families, Omaha offers fun for all ages. Set aside time to explore the cobblestone streets of the Old Market—Omaha’s historic entertainment district—where you can enjoy captivating events or simply be entertained by people watching. Other entertainment options include catching a performance at the community playhouse or splash around at one of Omaha’s water parks. If you’re stumped in terms of summer family vacation ideas, we urge you to consider this hidden gem!
Your family: cheers for their home team, no matter the sport and turns everything into a competition.
The destination: As far as summer vacation ideas for families that love sport goes, Dallas is hard to beat. Here, you’ll find several professional sports teams and loads of attractions to bring out your competitive side. Cheer on the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, challenge each other to a round of golf, or explore the city via a running tour. When you’re not touring Cowboys Stadium or playing at one of the many parks, make yourself at home on the front porch of your Dallas vacation rental.
Your family: makes it a priority to learn something new about every place you visit.
The destination: For families that love to soak up the culture during their stay, Savannah is ideal. From centuries-old antebellum mansions to hauntingly beautiful cemeteries, stroll through the city and you’re sure to uncover the local culture and history. Savannah is known for embracing its cultural roots, displaying art and historic exhibits at the city’s 30+ museums. Linger at Forsyth Park, imagining all the famous people to have stood there before you, or enjoy some Savannah home cooking at one of the many award-winning restaurants.
Your family: can’t say no to anything that gets the adrenaline pumping and would jump out of a plane for fun.
The destination: Known for its fiery red rock canyons, countless nature trails and abundance of wildlife, Sedona is a vacation paradise for adventure-seeking travelers. It’s situated right in the middle of the Arizona desert and is one of our favorite summer vacation ideas for families looking for more daring experiences. Whether it’s whooshing down a mountain on a bicycle or turning a casual hike into an outdoor adventure, there’s no limit to the potential for thrills in Sedona.
Your family: believes that no plan is the best plan and always goes with the flow.
The destination: Toss your itinerary out the window and lose track of time in Hampton. It’s hard to beat this destination if you’re simply looking to relax and spend time together as a family during your summer vacation. Hit the beach for a blissful day in the sun or roam around one of the local parks. In addition to its leisure activities, Hampton is hailed as a leader in the pursuit of aeronautics and space exploration. Combine relaxation and education by touring local specialty museums dedicated to the city’s contributions to science.
Your family: finds it impossible to sit still and is always on the move.
The destination: You can do it all in Boulder. Trek through pine forests, stroll across fields of wildflowers, climb to snow-capped peaks of majestic mountains and still make it back to your vacation rental by dinnertime. The city is filled with opportunities for outdoor recreation and the surrounding 30,000 acres of pristine land beg to be explored. Whether your family is in peak physical condition or simply choosing to explore the outdoors, Boulder is ideal for travelers who don’t want to slow down on vacation.
Your family: will travel for food and can’t say no to dinner at the hottest new restaurant.
The destination: Delicious eats and one-of-a-kind microbreweries are all within reach in Portland. While this family summer vacation destination has long been revered for its fresh-off-the-boat seafood, today, its restaurant scene is famous for all types of cuisine. Head downtown where restaurants dot the cobblestone streets, or stroll along the coastline until you stumble upon a hole-in-the-wall seafood shack. Prefer to earn your meal? Experience what life is like for a lobsterman in Maine, hauling in traps and bringing home your fresh catch to cook for dinner at your vacation rental. Don’t forget to bring your appetite when you visit Portland!
Your family: loves the outdoors and any chance to be surrounded by nature.
The destination: Clarksville has everything a nature enthusiast craves from beautiful state parks, grand lakes and sprawling farms to lush vineyards. Families will love this summer vacation spot because children can play carefree outside while adults sneak a nap under the shade of an old oak tree. Wake up in your cabin to the sound of birds chirping, or rent a lake house and and be lulled to sleep by the soothing sound of water rippling outside your window. Walk, swim, float, or fish on vacation in Clarksville—the possibilities are endless!
Your family: is about to book your first summer vacation as a family, planning your itinerary around nap time, or course.
The destination: Its proximity to Disneyland makes Anaheim a top choice when it comes to vacation ideas for families with young children. The city’s beloved theme park boasts fun with Mickey and Minnie for the little ones and thrilling rides for the adults. Or trade your Mickey ears for a baseball cap and catch a game at Angel Stadium. Cheap tickets and kid-friendly foods (hello, helmet sundae!) make it an excellent evening activity for the young and young-at-heart. We bet your kids will be begging to move to Anaheim after visiting this popular, family-friendly city.
Tacking on an extra day to the weekend can make a world of difference after a long week in the office. And what better way to take advantage of some much-needed time off than to book a quick trip?
Whether you prefer lazy days at the beach or a history-filled excursion, we’ve highlighted seven of the best destinations for an affordable long weekend getaway along the Eastern Seaboard. Each place offers a variety of vacation rentals to choose from and endless East Coast appeal—all for less than $500!
“If one is looking for a step into the past of Lowcountry South Carolina, it is right here.”—FlipKey Traveler
Situated on Port Royal Island, in the heart of South Carolina’s Sea Islands, Beaufort is an idyllic choice for an affordable long weekend getaway. It’s the second oldest city in the state, with gorgeous antebellum mansions, centuries-old oak trees, and period architecture epitomizing its historic charm. When you’re not strolling down Main Street, or browsing at one of the local art galleries (Beaufort has close to 20!), retreat to the comfort of your rental. No matter where you stay, you’ll never be more than minutes from the waterfront!
“We couldn’t have asked for a better trip. Ocean was gorgeous, soft sand, more shells than I could ever imagine and plenty to do.”—FlipKey Traveler
Panama City is so much more than just a spring break destination. With year-round sunshine and a slew of family-friendly activities, it’s a wonderful place to visit—even for a few days. Book an oceanfront home and roll out of bed onto the beach each morning, or choose a high-rise condo and enjoy loads of amenities at your fingertips. When you’re not chilling at your rental, take advantage of the abundant water-sports around St. Andrews Bay. Water-skiing, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing are always popular.
“I can honestly say that I don’t remember ever staying in a place that was so beautiful and peaceful—something we all treasure in our hectic lives, even for just a little while.”—FlipKey Traveler
Climb aboard a ferry from Boston and cruise across the bay to the tip of Cape Cod. You’ll dock just down the road from your final destination: Wellfleet. This town is situated on a narrow strip of land hugged by the sea on both sides. It’s renowned for its stunning seashore, world-famous oysters, and eclectic culture. Make the most of your long weekend here by exploring the area via bicycle or hopping from art gallery to art gallery on Main Street. Not in a rush? Let time stand still as you watch fishing boats, trawlers, and yachts come and go out of Wellfleet Harbor.
“The sound is peaceful, and we loved watching the wildlife—we even saw a river otter swim by early one morning. A really great trip to Emeriald Isle as always!”—FlipKey Traveler
A slice of paradise along North Carolina’s coast, Emerald Isle boasts 29 miles of blissful beachscape and outdoor activities galore. The best part about this destination, though? You can stay steps from the beach, without breaking the bank! Even if you don’t choose an oceanfront home, it’s easy to find a wooden boardwalk that will lead you through the swaying dunes and down to the ocean. Whether you’re swimming in the Atlantic Ocean or flying kites along the water’s edge, the whole family will be happy on vacation in Emerald Isle.
“Couldn’t have asked for a better place for our 20th Girls’ Weekend. A great time in Ogunquit, Maine!”—FlipKey Traveler
Ogunquit is the picture of New England charm: boats bobbing in the harbor, luscious seafood fresh off the boat, and quaint cottages right near the beach. The town’s name even translates to mean “beautiful place by the sea.” It features over three miles of sandy beaches and coastline, making it the ultimate place to relax and unwind after a busy week. From sunbathing and strolling, to sailing and deep sea fishing, there’s plenty to do in Ogunquit!
“Family members explored the quaint seaport and enjoyed fine seafood restaurants. Plum Island’s beaches and natural areas were explored by others.”—FlipKey Traveler
Get your dose of the beach in Newburyport, a charming East Coast town just 35 miles north of Boston. It sits along the water, where the Merrimack River and Atlantic Ocean meet, and features a vibrant town center with local restaurants and shops. During your stay, slip into routine grabbing coffee on your way out to Plum Island each morning. Use your afternoons to discover the area’s rich maritime history or to laze about on your rental’s back deck. Newburyport is an affordable long weekend getaway spot you don’t want to miss this summer.
“Perfect in every way!! I loved taking my coffee outside every morning and looking at the water. Fenwick is such a wonderful place to vacay.”—FlipKey Traveler
If you enjoy the beach, you’ll love Fenwick Island! Tucked along the Delaware-Maryland border, this affordable long weekend getaway spot is a coastal gem offering picturesque state parks, family-friendly amusements and more. Decide between a round of putt-putt, a boat ride through the bay, or a lazy day at the beach—you can’t go wrong, no matter what you decide! If you tire of the laid-back beach vibes, the excitement of Ocean City, Maryland is just down the road.
Planning a trip to the Monterey Jazz Festival this year? We’ve got you covered!
Debuting in 1958, the Monterey Jazz Festival is one of the longest-running jazz festivals in the world. Featuring famous and soon-to-be-famous artists, musicians like Louis Armstrong, Herbie Hancock, and B.B. King all played here. But live music is just the beginning! Activities like movement workshops for kids, student jam sessions, and even tai chi workshops take place throughout the day.
From sipping rare wines to exploring the gorgeous coastline, we’ve uncovered some of the must-dos in the area. Consider booking one of the many vacation rentals near Monterey County Fairgrounds on FlipKey so you can check everything off our list.
Where to Find Monterey Jazz Festival Vacation Rentals
Monterey is the place to be in September each year when the Monterey Jazz Festival rolls into town. Reserve a nearby vacation rental in advance so you can have the weekend’s festivities at your fingertips. Whether you find a place within walking distance to the festival, or choose a beachfront bungalow on Monterey Bay, renting a home for the event is sure to be less expensive than booking multiple (and costly!) hotel rooms for you and your group.
If you’re searching for more budget-friendly options, the neighboring city of San Jose is also a popular place to find rentals. You can make it to the show in under an hour and enjoy more space for less money.
Where to Eat During Monterey Jazz Festival
Alvarado Street Brewery
Monterey County is a foodie paradise with a bounty of local agriculture, viticulture, and sustainable seafood. Visitors can explore this Mecca via fork and knife, and also tour farm and field to experience the roots of Monterey County. Here are some of our favorites:
Cantinetta Luca | Dolores Street between Ocean and Seventh, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921
Where to Drink During Monterey Jazz Festival
Folktale Winery & Vineyard
Monterey County was named as one of 2013’s “Top Ten Wine Travel Destinations” in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and for good reason. The cold, deep waters of Monterey Bay bring fog and moderate temperatures to the area throughout the growing season, and infuse every drop of Monterey County’s wine with an impressive style, flavor, and structure. There are plenty of options in the area, so head to one of these top Monterey wine bars and tasting rooms to sip a flawless vintage:
When you’re not recovering from jazz fest activities in the comfort of your vacation rental, there’s lots to see and do in Monterey. Tour the historic homes of Monterey State Park or take the kids for an afternoon of play at the Youth Museum. Have a need for speed after all that smooth jazz? Feel the thrill of a live race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. We recommend checking out the following attractions during your trip:
With Instagram fast approaching 1 billion active users according to a recent study, the photo app has quickly become a source for unending travel inspiration. From pictures of unspoiled tropical beach destinations to videos of bustling city streets (and everything in between!), we are #obsessed.
But now it’s your turn to get behind the camera! We’ve searched the globe and hand-picked 10 of the most luxurious rentals ready to grace your Instagram feed. Whether your idea of paradise is sitting by an infinity pool in Thailand or gazing out over the Los Angeles skyline from around a fire pit, the photogenic vacation homes on our list will not disappoint. They’re sure to kick-start your vacation planning and give you some serious wanderlust (you’ve been warned!). Happy browsing!
Perched at the highest point of Beverly Hills, this open-concept home offers panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline, surrounding mountains, and Pacific Ocean. Whether you plant yourself by the pool or near the fire pit here, make sure to snap a sunset photo to share. In addition to its stunning setting, visitors will enjoy luxurious amenities such as a home theater, spa-like bathroom, and a swanky outdoor patio. Although a vacation at this place runs $2,500 per night, you can’t put a price tag on amazing.
Look familiar? You may have seen Villa Rak Tawan on our Instagram feed where it’s currently inspiring travelers from around the world. The insanely beautiful villa offers an indulgent escape where luxurious spa treatments and meals prepared by a private chef are the norm. When you’re not lounging by the infinity pool, take in the view of Surin Beach from your bedroom’s private balcony.
For the ultimate mountain getaway, plan a stay at the Moonlight Summit Chalet in Big Sky’s high-end Moonlight Basin community. Inside the home you’ll find exposed timbers, vaulted ceilings, and massive picture windows that face Montana’s jaw-dropping landscape. But that’s not all! Six spacious bedrooms, a family-friendly game room, and several fireplaces make this rental extra inviting. Whether you’re unwinding in the sun-drenched living room or soaking in the hot tub, this place is #vacationgoals.
Between the tree-lined garden, saltwater pool, and picture-perfect gazebo, you may be tempted to stay at this Tuscan farmhouse forever. Situated in the Italian countryside, Villa Emma offers seven bedrooms spread out over two spacious floors of living space—plenty of room for you and 14 of your friends! Spend time here lounging under the shade of an olive tree or head to the nearby village to catch a performance at the Theatre of Silence, a famed open-air amphitheater five minutes down the road.
If you think renting an entire castle is out of your budget, think again. When you split the $605 nightly rate between 15 guests, Chateau de la Paix becomes uber-affordable. Amenities here include a game room, heated pool, on-site gym, and more. There’s even the option to splurge on a private chef or daily housekeeping, so you can truly relax during your stay. With eight bedrooms and two additional cottages available to rent on the property, the more, the merrier at Chateau de la Paix!
Ditch your worries at the door when you arrive at Villa Mia. With four outdoor terraces overlooking the ocean, a heart-shaped hot tub that fits sixteen people, and a large palapa bar, this rental is sure to put you at ease. For the more active travelers in your group, Villa Mia also boasts an on-site squash court and a place to slip kayaks into the water for an adventure at sea.
Dali Hale Estate is nestled along the bluffs of Kilauea overlooking Kauai’s spectacular North Shore coastline. In addition to the lush tropical setting, the 6,000 square foot plantation-style home features floor-to-ceiling windows, a gourmet kitchen, and a wraparound lanai perfect for watching the sunset. Dine al fresco under the gazebo; play some tennis; take a bubble bath on the balcony (yes, really!)—the possibilities are endless here!
Tree Villa offers unobstructed views of some of Camps Bay’s most famous attractions: Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, and Camps Bay Beach. When you’re not taking in the panoramic views, head indoors where the villa’s airy rooms and modern furnishings are equally Insta-worthy. Sink into one of the plush couches near the living room fireplace or cozy around the kitchen island as your group makes dinner. There’s something amazing to discover in every room!
Boasting sweeping bay views, this contemporary masterpiece known as Villa Venetia sits along the water’s edge in Miami Beach. Here, luxurious indoor spaces blend seamlessly with outdoor living areas, and modern amenities make for a once-in-a-lifetime stay. Need a break from lounging on the rooftop terrace or swimming in the pool? Catch a boat from your private dock and head to nearby beaches.
We bet you’ll rack up the likes on photos of this astounding Grecian villa! It’s located in a quiet corner of Santorini and features several floors of immaculate living space. Walk through the home and you’ll see colorful paintings and elegant furnishings that bring the whitewashed walls to life, while arched ceilings will draw your eyes upward. As you reach the back of the villa, have your camera ready—the volcano views and sparkling sea will take your breath away.
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer. The first chance to head to the beach, spend time with family, and work on your base tan.
On FlipKey, we have over 170,000 vacation rentals available in the USA for MDW. No matter where you choose to celebrate our military heroes, consider booking a rental which has the space, privacy, and amenities you’re used to at home.
To help with your decision-making process, we’ve picked 10 top destinations that are not only generating interest, but that all have a median nightly rate under $100 (2BR) over the long weekend. Here’s to your best Memorial Day yet!
Rich in history, Lewes, DE is known as ‘The First Town In the First State”, and is one of Delaware’s top summer destinations for MDW and beyond. Situated where the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay converge, visitors flock to Lewes for the Maritime Festival on Sunday (featuring historical reenactments and ship tours) and the traditional Memorial Day parade on Monday.
Grab your hiking gear and your fishing pole and head to Washington, Utah for the long weekend. Located next to the beautiful Zion National Park and Snow Canyon State Park, southwestern Utah is an outdoorsy-type’s dream.
All the sandy beaches, palm trees and flawless weather of Clearwater and Tampa, but none of the crowds. Seminole is an affordable alternative to some of the other major west Florida locales. The Memorial Day Sunset Ceremony in nearby Largo, featuring a color guard demonstration and live military music, is well-worth a visit.
A family-oriented alternative to nearby Atlantic City, Stone Harbor has resisted the development of high-rise buildings and large tourist numbers common in many other beach towns. Stone Harbor has a full slate of events for MDW including a touch football tournament right on the beach. Game on!
Adventure in West Virginia starts in Fayetteville, a town right in the heart of the New River Gorge. Kayaking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and the world’s best rock climbing are all outside your door. And speaking of the great outdoors, park movie showings and a spring trail run both top the Memorial Day weekend activities. When you’re feeling hungry from all the action, don’t miss out on a meal at Cathedral Cafe, a turn-of-the-century converted church with towering stained-glass windows.
Bordered by the cities of Sarasota and Venice, Nokomis is justifiably known for its beautiful seashore. Visitors to Nokomis enjoy friendly small-town living and a relaxed, beach-town atmosphere. Don’t leave after the long weekend without stopping at Nokomis Groves, a farm where families can fill a self-picked bag of oranges and try a cone of fruit-infused soft serve ice cream.
Southport is located on the North Carolina coast, where the Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean. This small, 2.2 square mile village is a stunning combination of historic residences, lush coastal landscaping, and miles of water in every direction. Take cover during MDW, though. Southport’s annual Memorial Day observance, Days of Remembrance, features a firing of the Historical Society’s cannon “Thor.”
Yucca Valley is the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park, an incredible desert setting with rock formations and undiscovered trails that beg to be explored. Try not to spend all your time out in the park, though, because within the town limits there are plenty of fun activities for your holiday weekend. Known locally as the “Grubstake Events”, sign up for horseshoe tournament, a round of golf, and even a tug-of-war.
With more than 300 acres of parks and 100 acres of undeveloped open space, Greenwood Village is a smart alternative to staying in downtown Denver. The trail system provides 40 miles of scenic walking and biking areas. Prefer a slower pace to your weekend? Check out the public art exhibits at Samson Park, or see a concert at The Curtis Arts & Humanities Center.
South of Las Vegas and west of Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, Henderson comes alive over Memorial Day weekend. Golf any of eight championship courses or explore the Botanical Cactus Garden, the world’s largest cactus collection. Henderson lets you come up close and personal with wildlife, too. Take your binoculars to the Bird Viewing Preserve or spend the day among the big cats at the Lion Habitat Ranch.
As summer approaches, there’s one thing on everyone’s mind: a fantastic vacation.
But this year, skip the tried-and-true beach destinations and head to the Southern hemisphere for a cold-weather escape. Here, winter lasts from June to September, so you can get your fix of the outdoors, without breaking a sweat.
From the mountains of Australia to the ice fields of South America, we’ve highlighted six cool rentals, perfect for beating the heat. They offer breathtaking views, soothing hot tubs, and wood-burning fireplaces, while allowing you to enjoy winter at its best. Choose a place from our list and chill out on vacation this summer.
Don’t let the lack of snow in photos of this magical home fool you. It’s located at the edge of Lake Nahuel Hapi, just a short drive from the snow-covered slopes of Cerro Catedral. After a day skiing, warm up by the fire or use the indoor parrilla (grill) to barbecue a hearty homemade meal. This beautiful lake home combines rustic charm with modern conveniences, which makes for a memorable stay.
The Eastern is perfect for vacationers looking to experience winter in the Southern hemisphere. It’s situated at the foothills of Mt. Kosciuszko and boasts panoramic views of the Australian Alps. Amenities like heated floors, ski storage, and luxurious linens make this sleek rental extra special. Past visitors have said it’s “beautiful, down to the smallest touches,” and we’re sure you’ll agree!
Planning to spend your vacation skiing? Then book this rustic mountain loft and have the slopes at your doorstep. It offers ample space to relax, while its warm ambiance is inviting after a busy day outdoors. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the house provide glimpses of the surrounding woods and the enormous fireplace in the living room is the ideal place to take it all in. The perfect end to the day? Everyone gathered around the large family table, glass of wine in hand.
Disconnect from the day-to-day at Isla Macias Retreat. Built of native wood, this private home sits on the shores of Chile’s General Carrera Lake and sleeps up to 10 guests. It’s near some of the region’s most impressive attractions, including the Marble Caves, the Exploradores Glacier, and the San Rafael Lagoon. Whether you’re gawking at the magnificent landscape or dodging falling chunks of ice at nearby glaciers, you won’t soon forget a visit to Puerto Rio Tranquilo!
Fox Glacier has everything you need for a cold-weather escape: heli-hiking, glacier tours, ice climbing… you name it! Bundle up and experience all of the outdoor activities the region has to offer, then make your way home to the Church at Fox. Recently restored and fully-stocked, guests describe this unique church-turned-vacation rental as “absolutely stunning” and having the “wow factor.” It’s the perfect rural retreat in New Zealand’s Westland National Park.
Exposed wood beams, a natural stone fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling windows allow visitors to co-exist with nature at Villa Trafu. It’s located in Nahual Huapi National Park and offers all the comforts of home after a day of outdoor adventures. Plan a trip here during the winter to truly escape the stresses of everyday life. This part of Patagonia is sparsely populated during the winter months, so you can enjoy the area’s natural beauty all to yourself!
Alpine Vista is the perfect base for a cozy winter getaway. In this luxury Queenstown home, you’ll wake up to stunning views of snow-capped mountains. And before heading to bed, you’ll love settling in around the fireplace for a quiet night at home. No matter what room you’re in, massive picture windows bring nature indoors, creating a peaceful place to relax.
The tax deadline has come and gone and now you’re eagerly waiting for that refund to hit your bank account… and probably daydreaming about where to spend it. While you might feel obligated to save that money (the average tax refund is $3,120 according to the IRS), you’ve worked hard this year and there’s no reason not to spoil yourself!
To inspire you, we looked at the median weekly rate for a 2-bedroom rental in the US this summer. What we found were 10 surprisingly affordable places your tax refund will cover. Here they are, along with our favorite free attraction in each city.
Just 22 miles off the coast of California and easy to reach by sea or air, Catalina Island is the picture-perfect place to spend your tax refund. Cruise along in your golf cart to explore the coast and feel the refreshing sea breeze whip through your hair. Packed your swimsuit? Reserve a cabana at Descanso Beach Club or dive into the Gulf of Santa Catalina to snorkel alongside schools of colorful fish. Book a rental in the hills and wake up to ocean views each morning—you’ll feel a million miles away from the mainland!
Beautiful brownstones, succulent seafood, avid sports fans, and centuries-old history: in a word, Boston. Discover the story of America’s founding at every turn while visiting this classic New England city. The 2.5-mile Freedom Trail can’t be missed, while a peaceful swan boat ride through the Public Garden is the pinnacle of a sunny summer day in the city. Check out exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts, browse trendy shops on Newbury Street, or take a tour of Fenway Park. No matter what you do, Boston will quickly work its way into your heart.
In Charleston, you’ll indulge in gourmet food, admire swoon-worthy antebellum mansions, embrace the meaning of Southern hospitality, and so much more. Head to Fort Sumter to see where the first shot of the Civil War was fired, or keep things light with a stroll past Rainbow Row down to the waterfront. The Charleston City Market combines history and shopping, while King Street offers a plethora of restaurants and bars, perfect for an evening jaunt. On your way out of town, stop to walk across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge—the amazing views and photo-ops make the 5-mile walk well worth it!
Washington, DC may be known for its high-profile diplomats and government agencies, but it’s more than just a hub for US politics. It’s made up of many neighborhoods, each with its own personality and appeal. If history is what excites you, spend an afternoon at the National Mall marveling at the city’s most iconic landmarks. Tour world-class art museums or get a taste of DC’s buzzing social scene in Dupont Circle. Stay in a modern apartment near M Street to be close to nightlife or opt for a place downtown and discover the history of our nation’s capital—all within walking distance.
From city parks draped in Spanish moss to celebrated museums, haunting sites and five-star dining, Savannah will tick all the boxes on your vacation checklist. Wander through the Historic District where period architecture will transport you back in time; take five under the shade of a massive oak tree in Forsyth Park; or tour the famed Bonaventure Cemetery (if you dare!). At the end of the day, retreat to the comfort of your Victorian home’s veranda allowing yourself to be seduced by Savannah’s Southern charm.
Whether you dance your way down Bourbon Street, feast on mouthwatering Creole dishes, or experience the city’s supernatural side, New Orleans always shows visitors a good time. Want to be in the center of it all? Saunter down the streets of the French Quarter known for its high-energy, vibrant nightlife and rich history—the soulful grooves of jazz music are inescapable here! Prefer something more laid-back? No problem. Tour The National WWII Museum, followed by a cup of cafe au lait and a beignet at Cafe du Monde.
Meander the San Antonio’s River Walk, following the scent of spicy chili wafting in the air. Lined by bars, restaurants, public art and nature, the 2.5-mile stretch along the river showcases the best of the city. Of course, you can’t forget a visit to The Alamo either! The former mission has long been a symbol of San Antonio’s storied past and is an absolute must for all visitors. Other popular attractions include the spectacular Natural Bridge Caverns, the Majestic Theatre, and the tranquil San Antonio Botanical Garden.
Marco Island’s sprawling beaches, colorful sunsets, and tropical drinks will have you in vacation mode in no time. Choose an oceanfront rental and roll out of bed onto the beach each morning. Whether you’re walking the sugary sands of Marco Island or taking flight on a parasailing adventure, the beauty of this destination never dulls. Looking for more ways to enjoy island time? Retreat to the spa or book a tee time at the local country club.
Hidden away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, vacationers have described a visit to Lake Lure as “luxuriously lazy” and “a treat.” That’s because a day here consists of casting your fishing line into the lake as your toes dangle off the dock, cruising along the shore via pontoon boat, and reveling in the beauty of your surroundings. Need another reason to love Lake Lure? You won’t have to spend your entire tax refund to stay here.
With its proximity to Disney World—only 20 minutes away!—and its affordable median weekly rate, Davenport is an obvious choice for families looking to make the most of their tax refund. When you’re not at the theme parks, play catch at the park, take a dip in the pool (most Davenport homes have one!) or eat out at one of the many local restaurants. For less than $650/week, get on your family’s good side and book a stay in Davenport ASAP.
Struggling with summer FOMO? Fear not, because we’re letting you in on a pretty big secret: 2017’s most popular summer vacation spots.
We’ve included the list of our top 20 US summer vacation destinations for 2017, ranked by total bookings (stay dates between June 1 and August 31, 2017). Some are by the beach, some are full of history, and others offer one heck of a party.
Take a cue from your fellow travelers and book a rental on FlipKey in one of our top US summer vacation destinations for 2017.
A blend of historical sites and family-friendly attractions make Williamsburg, Virginia a popular spot for FlipKey travelers this summer. Colonial era re-enactments offer a glimpse into times gone by, while major theme park Busch Gardens offers plenty of fun.
The country music capital of the world lives up to its reputation by day and by night. From the historic music venues to the world-class BBQ joints and never-ending nightlife, it’s no surprise Nashville appears on our list. Fans will be flocking to Nashville in June for the annual Country Music Awards, too.
North Myrtle Beach hugs the South Carolina coast at the northern end of its famous Grand Strand strip. Property bookings are high in this specific section (Myrtle Beach proper ranks on our list at #5) thanks to miles of clean, uncrowded beachfront and thousands of available rentals to suit any need.
Southern hospitality, beautiful terrain, and a lively, upbeat charm make Pigeon Forge a top summer destination. This Tennessee town stands as a gateway to 500,000 acres of Appalachian wilderness. If hiking over 800 miles of mountain trails and camping in dense ancient forests isn’t your thing, head over to Dollywood Amusement Park for a different sort of thrill.
A great family beach vacation spot, Orange Beach, Alabama, offers miles of pristine sand, dolphin-sighting cruises, championship golf courses, fishing charters and nature hikes. Kids love coming face-to-face with gators at nearby Alligator Alley or take a trip to the arcade at Adventure Island.
South Lake Tahoe is full of seriously jaw-dropping scenery. Popular in all four seasons, this area has endless activities for the outdoorsy type. Enjoy paddle boarding and kayaking on the lake, then hike or bike to the Mount Tallac summit. FlipKey has amazing properties circling this massive lake.
What else needs to be said about a summer trip to Sin City? Pool parties by day make way for the twinkling casino lights and electronic soundtrack of the slot machines at night. For an extra treat, see David Copperfield or Britney Spears in concert, two of the Las Vegas’ most famous resident entertainers.
Near Pigeon Forge (#17 on our list), Gatlinburg sits alongside Smoky Mountain National Park. Miles of trails complete with stunning views, unique attractions, and a friendly, atmosphere make Gatlinburg a popular summertime destination for all ages. If you’re looking for an authentic log cabin escape in Tennessee, FlipKey has hundreds of options, no matter what you’re looking for.
There’s plenty to see and do in Hilton Head, including six distinct marina shopping and dining villages. Get outdoors at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, which offers a close-up look at a swamp without having to get dirty (thanks to raised boardwalks!). Sports enthusiasts keep coming back due to the world-class golf courses and pristine bike trails. And with views this pretty, who can blame them?
The breathtaking white beaches and clear waters are just a few of the many luxuries at the Gulf Shores. Set sail on a chartered sunset dolphin dinner cruise, or jump into the Gulf and see the ocean like never before while snorkeling aboard a glass-bottom catamaran. Bring your fishing pole, too. The Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championships are held annually between June 1st and August 4th.
Destin is a world-class beach and fishing resort community located in the Florida panhandle. A classic Florida beach destination, Destin welcomes millions of families every year for summer vacation. Looking for an oceanfront rental in Destin? FlipKey has a property for every budget and taste.
A beach party, an iconic boardwalk, and thousands of available rentals combine to make Ocean City one of the top US summer vacation destinations in 2017. Stroll the three-mile Boardwalk along the seafront while sampling salt water taffy and other old-fashioned treats. Here, the summer season explodes with special concerts, beach bonfires, and kids activities.
Port Aransas has become a fishing, beach, and resort destination, with summer populations swelling to 60,000. Come to Port Aransas for the warm Gulf waters, and stay for the incredible bird watching. The Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center has several viewing scopes, including one at the top of an observation tower for sweeping vistas of whooping cranes and other rare birds.
Situated at the tip of Texas, South Padre Island is known for its pristine coastlines. With 24 miles of uninterrupted beaches, it’s a firm favorite among summer travelers who like to hit the beach and be outdoors. Go horseback riding on the beach, swim in the clear, turquoise waters, or go birdwatching from one of the boardwalks along the coast.
A wealth of cultural and historic institutions, paired with more than 30 miles of beaches make Galveston an ideal vacation destination. If you go, don’t forget your walking shoes. With several historic homes and mansions, plus14 museums and 20 art galleries, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Families will enjoy the many child-friendly attractions, including Moody Gardens, with its replica of a tropical rain forest.
After its stint as a spring break hot spot in March, Myrtle Beach transforms into the ultimate family getaway for summertime. Bring the kids to the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk for a spin on the SkyWheel, classic carnival games, and sugary treats. Another must-see attraction is Broadway at the Beach — a shopping, dining, and entertainment venue in the heart of Myrtle Beach. For those who prefer sand and sea, try your hand at parasailing or jet skiing. Hey, you only live once, right?
Here begins a run of Disney-related popular destinations. Davenport ranks at #4, with the theme parks being the major reason families flock here every summer. Just 35 miles south of Orlando, Davenport offers easy access to the parks in a more affordable setting. Take advantage of the area’s other family theme parks, including Universal Studios and Busch Gardens.
The theme park capital of the world, Orlando is home to Walt Disney World, Discovery Cove, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Universal Studios. Impressive, huh? For a less adrenaline-pumping afternoon, enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens, or enjoy a seaweed scrub at a luxury day spa.
Just a quick drive south of Orlando, Kissimmee, Florida is a popular place for families looking to experience the magic of Walt Disney World. Seeking more solitude? Retreat to the headwaters of the Everglades, where you’ll discover an ecosystem alive with birds, alligators, and exotic flora.
Ranking at #1 on our list of top US summer vacation destinations in 2017 is Panama City Beach, FL. With its trademark white sand and warm Gulf waters, our top summer hot spot attracts everyone from spring breakers to retirees, singles to families. As a result, Panama City offers a range of activities for all ages and interests. From deep sea fishing excursions to a day out on Shell Island, there’s something for all tastes here which is why so many FlipKey travelers are heading to PCB this summer.
Love hiking and being in nature, but hate the idea of “roughing it”? We’ve got you. Today, we’re highlighting eight of our most popular one-bedroom forest cabin rentals. Hikers, climbers, birdwatchers, honeymooners, solo travelers and weary city dwellers have all booked relaxing stays at these properties. So next time you head off to the woods, leave the tent at home and book a stay at a forest cabin rental on FlipKey.
“My stay here was a gift, and I did not know the destination until I arrived. Absolutely enchanting.” – FlipKey review
$337 per night
At Forest House, guests sleep in the canopy of the native Madrone trees on Orcas Island. The unique, round design was custom-built using only natural materials found in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, the deck space and clear glass windows allow visitors to enjoy the panoramic forest and ocean views (for some serious Instagram opportunities)! Ready to explore? Nearby Moran State Park has over 35 miles of trails for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and more.
“Unique experience, one of the coolest places I’ve stayed!” – FlipKey review
$150 per night
The solitude of nature combined with the luxuries of home are found at Art Cabin, one of our most popular Pennsylvania rentals. Surrounded by custom sculptures and a man-made pond, this forest rental offers high-end conveniences like a sauna and a bathroom with heated floors to cut through those frigid mountain mornings.
“Cozy, relaxing getaway in the middle of it all!” – FlipKey review
$130 per night
Nestled in an ideal location (between cabin rental meccas Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge), the Lover’s Lookout property has welcomed dozens of FlipKey guests already this year. This rental is perfect for couples or small families looking to explore the Smoky Mountains. Start your day with coffee on the porch while you take in the panoramic mountain views, then end your day in the same space with a soak in the hot tub.
“One of the best vacations I’ve ever had.” – FlipKey review
$125 per night
Our Jungle Fever rental is another Smoky Mountains gem, located in picturesque Pigeon Forge. Decorated with an African jungle theme, this cabin displays artwork, sculptures, and unique decor that will make you feel a long way from Tennessee.
“Cozy cabin in a winter wonderland!” – FlipKey review
$160 per night
This adorably named forest cabin is located just outside Sugarloaf Mountain in southern California. Guests love the cathedral ceilings and windows that look upon the surrounding pines (and we can see why!). The paneled walls and knotty pine staircase also add just the right amount of woodsy mountain feel.
If you’ve ever dreamt of small woodland creatures waking you, dressing you, and helping you start another beautiful day like Snow White, The Enchanted Cottage might be as close as you’ll get. For starters, there’s a four-tiered water garden complete with a koi pond to sooth you as you sit on the large front porch, surrounded by wildflowers, peonies, and hydrangeas. Nestled near the Virginia-North Carolina border, The Enchanted Cottage is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, New River State Park, and all that Southwest Virginia has to offer.
“In a word, Pinewood Cabin is perfect!” – FlipKey Review
$137 per night
Marsh Hollow is a 34-acre private retreat offering woods to explore, a shallow creek to splash through, and near 10,000 acres of adventures in Hocking Hills State Park. The owners take great care in adding personal touches for your stay like chopped wood for your campfire and personalized robes. If you’re visiting in the winter, a cheery wood stove will warm your stay.
“Doesn’t get any better than this…” – FlipKey review
$145 per night
Serene mountain views surround this popular Smoky Mountain rental. Bearly Naked is great for honeymoons, anniversaries or for that much-needed cabin getaway you’ve been dreaming of. From the heart-shaped jacuzzi tub to the custom billiards table, you can’t beat the privacy and luxury that this vacation rental offers.
After weeks of anticipation and thousands of entries, the winner of TripAdvisor Rental’s ‘Eye Spy a Home in the Sky’ contest was announced today – Beatriz P. of Zaragoza, Spain!
Beatriz won a once-in-a-lifetime experience, being the first person to ever stay aboard the famed Coca-Cola London Eye overnight. After nearly two decades—and over 60 million visitors—Beatriz will be the first to wake up above London as the sun rises over the Thames. She could not be more thrilled at the opportunity. “I’ll be turning 41 in two days and this is the best birthday present ever!” said, Beatriz.
Image provided by Wayfair
The Coca-Cola London Eye capsule will be furnished by Wayfair, one of the largest online destinations for the home. Inspired by a five-star rain forest getaway, this enchanting glasshouse combines natural elements with urban style. Lush green foliage, trailing fairy lights, and tropical touches abound, while a posh bed, luxury linens, and boutique chic décor bring a whole new meaning to sleeping under the stars. It’s like a secret rooftop garden—only this one has views of one of the world’s iconic cities from every angle.
The overnight stay will take place on May 17. Beatriz is bringing her teenage son along as her guest. She says, “He is the love of my life and the best company that I can have there. Also, he will really enjoy the trip.”
Surrounded by a panorama of the city’s most famous landmarks, this sky-high sleepover promises a night like no other.
Afterwards, Beatriz and her son will spend three additional nights at a London rental. She has not been to London before and is looking forward to visiting the whole city, the British Museum and Madame Tussauds. In Zaragoza, Beatriz works as a stylist and is looking forward to going on this adventure with her son.
Stay tuned to our blog as we’ll have a full recap of her stay aboard the Coca-Cola London Eye next month – and follow along on social media using the hashtag #SkyHighStay!
London Eye Experiences
Missed out on the #SkyHighStay? Not to worry, TripAdvisor provides VIP London Eye experiences for travelers every day. Get the royal treatment by booking the “Skip the Line” package on TripAdvisor—you’ll bypass the queue with priority boarding for your rotation in a shared capsule—or the “Champagne Experience” for a special toast while you take in the view.
Travelers looking to take it to the next level can even book a private capsule on TripAdvisor. Capsules fit up to 24 guests, making it perfect for an event or special occasion.
No matter where you’re heading, experience the best your destination has to offer—in addition to rentals, you can book thousands of tours and attractions on TripAdvisor.
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 240,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.