By the time August rolls around, you’re already wondering how you’ll spend those last few sweet days of summer (whether or not you’ve already maxed out those vacation days). Our friends at HomeAway ranked the top 5 destinations bursting with vacation rentals perfect for a last-minute long weekend. Chances are if you stay off the beaten path, watch for cancellations and book soon, you can still savor the end of summer’s long days and nights from your own piece of (rented) paradise.
Why we like it: Just 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find this vintage beach town of Hollywood, FL. Stroll along the Broadwalk, a wide 2.5-mile brick-paved promenade lined with restaurants, parks and shops or take the trolley from historic downtown to the beach to check out the weekly farmers market.
Under $200 digs: Check out this charming 4-bedroom house with BBQ and private pool just minutes from the beach. Starting at $190 per night.
Dauphin Island, AL
Why we like it: Families are in for a marine science treat on Dauphin Island (reached by a 45-minute ferry ride across Mobile Bay). There’s no shortage of things to do here: observe freshwater tanks of alligators and turtles at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium, stroll along the boardwalk, or reserve a spot on one of the Sea Lab’s 2.5-hour coastal tours of either the area’s salt marshes or dunes.
Under $200 digs: Consider this recently renovated 2-bed, 2-bath beachfront pad. Starting at $165 per night.
Why we like it: Moab is none other than a red-rock wonderland, carved over hundreds of millions of years by the Colorado River. Journey through desert plateaus, deep canyons and gentle arches in this stretch of southeastern Utah.
Under $200 digs: Trade a hotel room for twice the space in this downtown Moab flat just off Main Street. Starting at $176 per night.
Cape San Blas, FL
Why we like it: Jutting out from the eastern side of the panhandle, Cape San Blas — bound on 3 sides by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joe Bay — is home to 10 miles of uninterrupted white-sand beaches and crystalline waters that reach bathtub temps in the summer (a cozy 84 degrees).
Under $200 digs: Check into this secluded, coastal cottage that sleeps 7 – and don’t forget to bring your boat! Starting at $177 per night.
Bryson City, NC
Why we like it: Travel west on the Nantahala Scenic Byway to Bryson City to escape into North Carolina’s backcountry. Experience the Great Smoky Mountains National park’s abundant wildlife, unspoiled views and world-class whitewater rafting spot Nantahala River Gorge.
Under $200 digs: Try “glamping” in a yurt. These traditional Mongolian tents boast kitchens, walk-in showers, flat-screen TVs and more. Starting at $165 per night.
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