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.
Halloween is right around the corner, which means its time to start making plans for spooky and scary stops for having fun with the family this fall. New York’s Cayuga County is always a fun visit for family travelers, but if you plan on being in the area this October, you will definitely want to explore its haunted history with some choice spots along New York’s Haunted History Trail. This curated list of haunted and spooky stops throughout New York features incredible locations showcasing the perfect combination of the state’s beautiful charm and fascinating history.
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.
The next two seasons see Franklin, Tennessee, come alive with festive events, fun pop-ups and colorful lights. Family travelers planning a trip to Tennessee this fall or winter must make time for Franklin, a city just south of Nashville with plenty of history and festivities awaiting.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Mysterious glowing seas? Yes, actually! Through October, Florida’s Space Coast waters within Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and Indian River Lagoon glow with blue-green bioluminescence — a phenomenon resulting from the presence of comb jellies and dinoflagellates (tiny, single-celled marine plankton that exist in some freshwater locations).