Mountains and a beautiful lake with trees in the foreground.

6 Places to Travel During the Off-Season

If you’re retired with a flexible schedule or using up vacation time ahead of retirement, take a budget-friendly approach by planning your trips for less popular times of year. Off-season travel can mean fewer crowds, temperate weather, and lower prices for flights and lodging.

If the six destinations, below, don’t inspire you to plan a trip and you’re not sure about the best way to use your vacation days, check our article about surprising reasons to take your vacation days. Otherwise, read on and pack your bags accordingly!

Breckenridge Colorado – June through Late-August

Breckenridge is part of the Rocky Mountains 10-Mile range, and has a very cold winter season. The area gets an average 300 inches of snow each year, which makes it a highly popular skiing area. In summer and early fall, you’ll find better deals and more choices at mountain resorts or vacation rentals and a lively main street area for shopping and dining out. See Colorado’s rugged wilderness on hiking and biking trails near town, or ride the free BreckConnect mountain gondola and enjoy spectacular landscape views along the way to Peak 8. You may even spot moose and elk grazing on the mountainside below. The ritzier towns of Vail and Aspen are in drivable distance if you wish to tour a wider area.

Québec City, Canada in April, May or June

If you don’t have the budget for an overseas trip but want to experience old world charm, Québec City could be for you! This artsy capital city along the Saint-Lawrence River was the first French-European settlement in Canada and French remains as the national language in this province. Take a springtime walking tour along cobblestone streets to view murals that highlight Québec’s rich history. The outdoor gallery experience continues in the arts district with oversized lampshades suspended from lamp posts that light the way to galleries and museums. Book a sight-seeing boat tour or cruise along the Saint-Lawrence to see Montmorency Falls and a chance of spotting blue or humpback whales.

Dubrovnic, Croatia in October – April

This Mediterranean destination facing the Adriatic Sea has grown in popularity in the past 10-15 years and Dubrovnic is a beautiful place to begin exploring Croatia. Inside of the massive, cliff-side city walls are palaces, cathedrals and Onofrio’s Fountain, a domed well that is part of an ancient aqueduct system, constructed in 1438. Croatia’s signature dishes are influenced by Mediterranean, Slavic and Italian cuisine. Learn (and taste!) authentic, local recipes with a food tour or cooking class. For an easy day trip, take a ferry to the island of Lokrum to visit a botanical garden and see where Austrian royalty once vacationed.

Beaufort, South Carolina in October – April

For a beachy getaway, visit the small town of Beaufort, located on Port Royal, a sea island that is part of South Carolina’s inner coastal region. There are numerous vacation rentals and hotel options and the nearly 13,000 full-time residents means that fresh seafood and a variety of entertainment are always available. The town hosts annual events throughout the year, like the international film festival in February. If you seeking solitude or a more peaceful experience, there are miles of beach, nature paths and wildlife preserves to explore.

Yosemite National Park, California in Late-September – November

National Parks are fun and educational destinations if you’re bringing the whole family along. Yosemite National Park has various lodging and dining options within the park if you do not wish to camp. Peak fall foliage happens in October when natural beauty spots like Yosemite Falls and El Capitan become even more stunning. With ranger talks, touring by car or on foot, accessible nature paths, a bookstore and Ansel Adams Museum within park grounds, there is something for everyone at Yosemite.

Alaska – September – May – early June or late August – mid-September

For the solo traveler, a glacier and wildlife cruise in Alaska during one of the shoulder seasons is a budget-friendly way to meet fellow tourists. In the spring, you may see moose, bear, other wildlife and plants emerging from their winter hibernation. Humpback whales are also typically spotted during this time. In August through April you’ll have a stronger chance for viewing Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights.

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