From Japan to Spain, visit 10 beautiful destinations around the world during shoulder season – just before the summer madness begins and for best travel deals.
Shoulder season is defined as a travel period between the most popular seasons to travel and not-so-popular seasons to travel. The weather is pleasant, crowds are lesser and expenses are lighter than peak season. For example, summer and Christmas is peak season in Europe – head to the continent in spring and autumn and you’ll find much better travel deals and pretty decent weather. Not to mention, Europe really blossoms in spring and autumn and is bathed in colour. Here are 10 shoulder season travel spots around the world you should visit this spring and early summer.
Honeymoon Island, Florida
Dunedin is a low-key, yet adventurous city that lies on the Florida Gulf Coast. It is well-known for beaches, one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests, and two islands off its coast – Caladesi and Honeymoon Island. Honeymoon Island state park has a four-mile long white sand trail and the scenery is Instagram-worthy. Honeymoon Island offers several outdoors activities like hiking, cycling and paddleboarding. Also, go here for abundant wildlife.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Lofoten is a popular island group and a traditional district in the county of Nordland, Norway, far above the Arctic circle. It is popular for its landscapes and natural attractions. Want to see northern lights? You’ve come to the right place. Kayak between the islands, hiking or just soak in the beauty of nature and the wildlife it shelters. Also, did you know that Lofoten is one of one of the world’s northernmost sites for surfing?
Also, they are highly influenced by the Viking culture, so you can have a chance to learn more about the Vikings by visiting Lofotr Viking Museum. During April to May, Lofoten Islands are technically still experiencing winter but it’s a pretty good time for travel deals to this expensive Scandi country. Between late May and mid-July see the midnight sun, while the northern lights can be seen from September to mid April.
Skoura Oasis, Morocco
Popular for its palm groves and castles, Skoura is a town in the Ouarzazate Province in Drâa-Tafilalet, Morocco. Skoura’s natural wealth thrives because of its two seasonal rivers. When in Skoura, visit the 17th century Amerhidl Kasbah for its impressive size (citadel surrounded by palm trees).
Skoura hot weather is well known, but it tones down a bit during spring. Most travellers would recommend visiting this lovely area between April to October. To continue, some of the best spots to visit in this lovely town is Skoura Cultural Centre and there are several cafes and restaurants if you want to get a quick bite in Skoura too.
Folly Beach, South Carolina
If a laid back and “not-so-crowded” destination is an ideal spot for you then, consider visiting Folly Beach. This lovely beach is located in South Carolina, just south of Charleston. Locals fondly call this beach ‘The Edge of America’. During May, Folly Beach is sunny, not too warm, and it’s fairly quiet too. Furthermore, this beach also offers live music and good food. Paddleboarding and surfing are popular here, while the pier offers great views and walking.
Chobe National Park, Botswana, Africa
Located in Southern Africa, Botswana is a nature lover’s dream destination. From a glimpse of the wildlife to the extreme dry weather, this is the spot to visit between May to September. Botswana is popular for its wildlife watching safaris. One of its most popular sites to visit is the Chobe River where you’ll have a chance to spot beautiful birds, hippos, and elephants.
If you enjoy walking and exploring national parks then, you’ll be thrilled to visit Chobe National Park. Similar to the Chobe River, you will see herds of elephants and antelopes as you explore the beautiful national park. Established in 1968, this big game park spreads out over 11 7 00 sq kms, featuring floodplains, swamps and woodland. The Chobe River forms its northern boundary. There are four distinct geographical areas in the park: the Chobe Riverfront, the Ngwezumba pans, Savuté and Linyanti.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Laos houses some of the most lovely and cultural cities like Luang Prabang. This city is located in north central Laos and its name literally means “Royal Buddha Image.” This city is popular for its Buddhists temples and monasteries.
One of the best times to visit Laos is between April and May. During mid-April, you’ll have the opportunity to watch and celebrate Laos New Year, called Bun Pi Mai or Pi Mai. This exciting celebration lasts for three days but it can extend up to one week. A unique fact about this New Year celebration is that it involves the Laotian people pouring water on monks, elders, and each other as a respectful gesture for purification and renewal.
Arches National Park, Utah
This eye-catching park is famous for being “a red-rock wonderland”. Arches is one of the most beautiful spots to visit in Utah and it has over 2,000 natural stone arches. In addition, it has hundreds of soaring pinnacles and a massive rock that’s balanced on top of other rocks. This is a wonderful spot to visit during April to mid-June because the weather is fairly cool but it’s sunny at the same time. You won’t suffer in the heat when you’re walking around the national park. Also, this national park gives you a reason to go hiking and to get your cardio in for the day. This national park is located north of Moab, Utah and it borders the Colorado River.
Wilmington, North Carolina
Located in the coastal southeastern region of North Carolina, lies the beautiful city of Wilmington. This lovely port city is an amazing spot for family vacations or a casual date night. If you’re searching for a spot to visit during the spring and early summer then you’ll be thrilled to hear that from April to mid-June is the ideal time to visit Wilmington.
It has a scenic riverwalk that winds around Cape Fear River to three colorful island beaches. The Historic District area, which features oaks, brick-lined streets and antebellum homes. where it has a number of galleries, shops, and some great restaurants and bars. In spring, visit for the blooming azaleas during the North Carolina Azalea Festival.
Spain’s northeastern coast has some of the most eye-catching spots in the world. One of those places happens to be Catalonia. Catalonia is a region in Spain that consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleda, and Tarragona. If you enjoy nature and hiking then stop by the Serra del Cadí for the beautiful mountain views. If you’re more of architectural and city life person then Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is a fitting spot to visit. The Gothic Quarter is filled with trendy bars, clubs, Catalan restaurants, and street food vendors. Shoulder season travel deals make this region an attractive spot to visit.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Also known as “the roof of Japan,” is a route that passes through Mount Tateyama in the Japanese Alps. The full route extends from Dentetsu Toyama to Shinano Omachi. This route is only open during springtime and here’s why: during the winter there is an immense amount of snow that falls onto the mountains. Once spring has arrived, the route opens to the public and people are able to travel through the beautiful mountain range. Opens April 15, 2019.
It also aims to be the world’s foremost ecological tourism site with the use of electrical ‘green’ vehicles to keep emissions as low as possible. Visit Shomyo Falls, the tallest waterfall in Japan. During spring, the 500 m Hannoki Falls appear along with the snowmelt.
Make the best of the travel deals shoulder season has to offer!