Four Off-the-Beaten-Path Summer Trips

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Do you travel in summer? Alan and I usually avoid it, preferring the less-crowded shoulder seasons of spring and fall.

But what if you don’t have a choice? Are you a boomer who’s still in the workforce? Or maybe you’d like to travel on a multigenerational trip when the grandkids are out of school.

We may be nearing the end of summer but these off-the-beaten-path summer trips will help you avoid the last-minute travel rush. Or save the ideas for next year.

Rafting on the Salmon River on an Historical Tour in Idaho

Rafting boats filled with people on the Salmon River
Rafting on Idaho’s Salmon River

Rafting on the main channel of the Salmon River travels through a portion of the two million acres of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. This is truly off the-beaten-path travel. To avoid the hassles of a do-it-yourself rafting trip, sign up for a journey with Salmon River Rafting Company.

Along the way, you’ll visit abandoned mines, old homesteads and Native American pictographs. And rather than camp, you’ll stay in rustic lodges like River of No Return Lodge, Whitewater Ranch, China Bar Lodge, Mackay Bar Ranch and Shep Ranch.

Although we haven’t traveled with Wayne Johnson and crew, Alan and I met them on a visit to Mackay Bar Ranch. Wayne was leading a group of boomer travelers who were having the time of their lives rafting on the river while exploring historic sites. After enjoying a glass of wine with the group, we’re adding this river journey to our to-do list.

Discover Beaches and History in Southern Italy

Stone ruins of a monastery on an island in Italy
Discovering Italian history in the Tremiti Islands

First off, I don’t recommend traveling to Italy during the summer unless you truly enjoy crowds and heat. But if your itchy travel feet are insisting upon a trip, consider the Adriatic coast of Southern Italy from Rodi Garganico to Gallipoli.

You won’t totally escape the crowds as this area of Italy is popular with locals and Europeans. And make sure your journey hugs the Adriatic coast for cooling sea breezes.

This journey is about slowing down, enjoying authentic Italian meals and exploring the region’s history. I recommend walking one of the nature trails in Gargano National Park, taking the ferry to Tremiti Islands, spending a day in Peschi—don’t confuse the white-washed houses for the Greek Islands—staying a few days in Trani and enjoying the seaside town of Gallipoli.

Explore Southeastern Alaska on an Adventure Cruise

People in red jackets standing in a raft photographing an iceberg.
Floating with icebergs in LeConte Bay

Want to take the grandkids on an adventure that they’ll never forget? Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage with Un-Cruise Adventures is one of our favorite off-the-beaten-path summer trips.

This is an Alaska cruise with plenty of things to do and see but without the crowds. Wake up in quiet Alaska coves, watch whales cavorting in Frederick Sound, walk on glaciers and discover the cultural heritage of the Tlingits.

Un-Cruise Adventures offers a cruise for every pocketbook, from budget to luxury. Wilderness class ships—Explorer, Discoverer and Adventurer, with 60 to 76 guests—start at $3,000 per person while the Safari class ships—Quest and Explorer, with 22 to 36 guests—are more of a luxury option at $8,000 per person.


Winston-Salem for Gardeners and Foodies

A costumed guide explains colonial plantings in a Winston-Salem park.
Touring the gardens at Bethabara City Park.

While summer crowds head for North Carolina beaches, turn your thoughts inland to Winston-Salem, home to Wake Forest University, tobacco tycoons, Moravian history and the best food you’ve ever tasted.

Spend a day exploring Old Salem, a Moravian settlement that’s similar to Colonial Williamsburg but on a more intimate scale. Gardeners will enjoy the authentic vegetable and flower gardens, learning about the seed saving program and watching craft demonstrations. A chicken pot pie meal at The Tavern in Old Salem is a must.

A morning walk through the historic grounds at Bethabara City Park is another gardener’s delight. Take it slow, touring the church and walking the nature trails while learning more about the Moravian culture.

For good eating, don’t miss the restaurants in the Arts District of downtown Winston-Salem. Sunday brunch at Sweet Potatoes is worth the line. For dinner, the Spring House wows with inventive twists on regional favorites. Need an Italian fix? You’ll find it on a visit to Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery.

Scratch those itchy travel feet!

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