While old standbys are the safe, assured route for a family vacation, there are plenty of lesser-known locations worth exploring. Yes, this can put your family a bit outside their comfort zone and may be even a little challenging to pull off, but it also comes with (typically) fewer tourists and crowds, more authentic cultural experiences and unique travel opportunities and events.
If this sounds more your speed, this list of least-visited destinations may be your new bucket list.
For European Culture
Liechtenstein, a German-speaking European country between Austria and Switzerland, may be lower on travelers’ radars, but boasts the same Medieval architecture, Gothic cathedrals and rich history as any other nation on the continent. Picture The Sound of Music, only with ample Neo-Gothic buildings and even more lush, rolling green hills. Visit incredible sites from the historic Vaduz Castle, royally owned Hofkellerei estate and wine trail to quaint farms, gardens and ski resorts. It’s really the every-man vacation, filled with activity and leisure activities for all ages.
For a Tropical Getaway
If rustic, almost unruly natural beaches are your thing, Dominica is a must. As the least-visited Caribbean country, Dominica is actually a little difficult to get to. The mostly unkempt, but wildly beautiful beaches are a complete escape from reality and are well worth the effort — most travelers who can, get there by way of private jet or chartered ship.
With nearly none of the tourist traffic and commercial shops and restaurants your family would see on a more visited island, you can easily hike along Cabrits National Park with the kids, visit an 18th-century fort without crowds and peacefully take in the views of the massive ocean around you. Visit Morne Trois Pitons National Park’s volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs and rainforests — this place is a nature lover’s dream. Check out local attractions and activities on the tourism site for more information about the least-visited Caribbean island.
Instead of Hawai’i
The South Pacific is a scenic refuge offering beaches beyond compare — only problem, it’s pretty far from most heavily populated destinations. Located in the populace of Oceania countries, Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom with more 170 South Pacific islands, most uninhabited.
With that said, this low-populace place offers some of the most beautiful white beaches, coral reefs and tropical rainforests in the world — quite possibly due to its lack of human interaction.
If Tonga sounds familiar, it may be because a certain flag bearer turned Olympian from the last two Olympic games caused quite a stir in the American media and news outlets. Feel free to pause and refresh your memory.
For African Deserts
Besides being fun to say, Djibouti is an East African country worth your family’s attention. It may not be the most popular locale in Africa, but it’s an interesting one. The Danakil Desert may be incredibly dry and hot, but the reprieve of Lake Abbe, a salt-water lake lining half the country, is a much-needed reprieve and beautiful to boot. Enjoy the breeze from the Red Sea and flamingos roaming the sandy banks.
Dive in for some scuba, snorkeling and swimming, or cover up from the heat to ride camels through the desert. Hike the surprisingly lush foliage of Day Forest National Park, located in the Tadjourah Region of Djibouti, along the Goda Mountains. Day Forest is a primitive oasis bursting with natural beauty — much like most of Djibouti.
Five Tips to Help Minimize Potential Travel Problems
Northwest Florida is a haven for beachgoers seeking the waters of Panama City Beach, Pensacola and Destin. But this region of Florida also has some extensive history, offering family travelers a great way to introduce young ones to Florida’s Spanish and indigenous past.
More than 1,000 miles from Spain’s capital city of Madrid, the seven Canary Islands are also part of Spain. They are the tallest peaks of ancient volcanoes rising out of the Atlantic, not far from the coast of North Africa. Two of these volcanoes, both still active, offer exciting adventures for families traveling to the islands.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
If you think you have to head into the wilderness just to get some hiking time in on your next vacation, rest assured. Cities across the country pride themselves on being great all-around family destinations, and that often includes fun urban hiking opportunities. These cities prove you don’t have to hike to a mountaintop to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. They are home to great parks and walking trails designed for easy walks that let you enjoy the fresh air, and get to know the personality, culture and history of the city you are visiting.