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7 Off The Beaten Path Vacations

Tybee Island, Georgia
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It's one thing to enjoy a vacation, but have you ventured away from popular tourist destinations to explore smaller, remote locations? Whether you're looking for an exciting adventure or a relaxing getaway, choosing a vacation destination that's off-the-beaten path takes your vacation to a whole new level. To start planning your trip, check out these seven offbeat destinations.

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1. Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island, a small barrier island off the Georgia coast, has been a vacation destination for Savannah residents for decades, but for others it's the perfect place for a kitschy beach trip. The island's restaurants, hotels, and shops haven't changed much since the 1950s, which is part of Tybee Island's charm. When you aren't whiling away your days on the beach or perusing gift shops, there are plenty of water sports to keep you busy, including:

2. Mississippi River

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Did you know that you can tour various cities by taking a cruise ship down the Mississippi River? As you make your way down the Mighty Mississippi, the ship makes stops for day trips so you can explore places, such as:

If you aren't looking for a cruise-like experience, plan a road trip down the Great River Road Scenic Byway. It spans approximately 3,000 miles and winds its way through 10 states. Just be sure to take a short paddle-boat cruise in a small town along the way.

3. Loudonville, Ohio

Loudonville, a small town in north-central Ohio has an abundance of camp sites that come alive during the summer months. Canoeing and kayaking are both extremely popular, but you can also spend the day horseback riding, golfing, boating, and fishing.

Before you head home, spend a day or two in Ohio Amish Country to experience the simpler things in life, and visit the old Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield — the prison has been shut down for decades, but was made famous when it was used to film "The Shawshank Redemption" in 1994.

4. Olympic National Park

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Washington's Olympic National Park spans almost one-million acres of land along Washington's Olympic Peninsula. It includes 16 campsites and plenty of outdoor activities. However, the scenery that makes it stand out from similar destinations. Throughout the park, you'll find views of beaches, glaciers, mountains, and a rain forest. But, don't miss Mount Olympus while you're there. For the best Mount Olympus views, enter the park at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, and take the 1.6-mile hike up Hurricane Hill. According to Lee Abbamonte, you see 360-degree views of Mount Olympus at the top of Hurricane Hill, but some of the best views of the mountain are from the forest trail below.1

5. Austin, Texas

Even though Austin is Texas' state capitol, the city has managed to retain a small-town feel. Frommer's attributes some of the city's charm to the friendliness of the locals, so don't be surprised when a stranger strikes up a conversation.2 While you're in Austin, make time to shop, eat, and enjoy the city's vibrant nightlife, but don't forget to stop by the Congress Avenue Bridge. Millions of bats live below the bridge, and when they take flight each evening it's an amazing sight.

The outskirts of Austin also offers a lot. Spend the day at one of the area's ranches, such as Circle C Ranch or Maverick Horseback Riding, where you can learn to ride a horse or take a guided tour on horseback. Other nearby activities include:

6. Deadwood, South Dakota

Allianz - Devils Tower

Deadwood, South Dakota, isn't one of the area's top tourist destinations, but it is home to museums, historic sites, and casinos, Deadwood provides you with access to Yellowstone National Park, the Black Hills, The Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Devils Tower. But, you get a taste of the Wild West when you're in town. Deadwood is home to Mount Moriah Cemetery, where Wild Bill Hickok and Martha "Calamity Jane" Canary were laid to rest; the Adams Museum; and Historic Deadwood, where you can watch shootouts on Main Street and reenactments of Wild Bill Hickok's murder.

7. Kelleys Island, Ohio

Only a short ferry-boat ride from Sandusky, Kelleys Island is best seen by golf cart or bicycle, both of which can be rented upon arrival. While you're there, tour the island's glacial grooves, relax on the sandy beach at Kelleys Island State Park, or go hiking along several of the State Park and Nature Preserve Trails. Sea kayaking, SCUBA diving, and fishing are also popular island sports. From Kelleys Island, you can island hop between Pelee, Put-in-Bay, and Middle Bass Island to see what Lake Erie's other islands have to offer. If you plan to visit Pelee Island while you're island hopping, make sure you bring your passport, because the island is considered part of Canada.

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