The trick is heading to popular winter destinations in warm-weather months. These four are just as fun - and cheap! - during the summer. And it's not too late to get yourself there. By Lisa Tucker McElroy, REDBOOK.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Don't worry-partying college kids are a thing of the past. Fort Lauderdale is now a beachy haven of summer deals for the rest of us.
From May through September, more than 30 attractions (including Butterfly World and Everglades tours) offer two-for-one deals. You can also flag down the Fort Lauderdale Sun Trolley for a free tour of the city, or join a complimentary paddle-boarding lesson on Saturday mornings at Deerfield Beach, a hidden gem near a walkway lined with shops and restaurants.
Don't miss the opportunity to observe threatened sea turtles nesting on area beaches-more than 150,000 inches-long hatchlings will make their way into the ocean from March to October. Moonlight turtle walks are $8 at the Anne Kolb Nature Center; pre-registration is required.
Fort Lauderdale isn't just known for its great beaches. It's also home to a widespread canal system perfect for boating adventures or sightseeing. You can stay in a one-bedroom apartment (with a kitchen and sofa bed) along one of the canals for around $139 per night; look for the owner-operated Superior Small Lodging hotels.
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History lovers and quaint-town aficionados, this is your trip! You can splurge on a visit to Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello ($24 for adults), or soak up the atmosphere of his hometown on the cheap with a free history tour of the beautiful University of Virginia or a walking tour of downtown ($5 with the local historical society). The university's McCormick Observatory also holds public nights when visitors can see the stars through telescopes usually reserved for astronomers.
Downtown on the pedestrian mall, there's free music on summer Friday nights, and plenty of shops and restaurants you won't find anywhere else. Nearby, grab a Southern dinner at Belmont Bar-B-Que; for $11.50, two can share a bucket (literally) of pulled pork, coleslaw, potatoes, and baked beans.
Since Charlottesville is historic and charming, your lodging should be too. The Boar's Head fits the bill with antique furnishings and a goose pond. The 175-room inn offers summer stays starting at $160 per night (when booking, use the code SUMMER).
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Vieques, Puerto Rico
Want to feel like a world traveler but just can't face posing for a new passport photo? Vieques is a tiny, laid-back island just off Puerto Rico's mainland, with white-sand beaches and wild horses. You won't believe you're still in the United States.
The Malecón, as the oceanfront main drag is known, is full of open-air shops, bars, and restaurants. Street vendors sell delicious pinchos (marinated chicken or pork skewers) for a dollar or two apiece.
Choose a moonless night to book an Island Adventures tour, where you'll kayak and swim in the world's brightest bioluminescent bay. The motion of the boat or your body makes the plankton in the water light up and twinkle. Magical. At $40 per adult, it's the only activity you'll spend serious money on.
You can take a puddle-jumper flight from the main island, but savvy travelers take a $2.25 ferry, and rent a condo in a small guesthouse like Casa de Tortuga, where a two-bedroom, one-bath unit costs about $1,000 per week.
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Winter Park, Colorado
Ski bunnies may think it's off-season in this charming resort town two hours from Denver, but true outdoors-lovers know better.
Hike the low-key Ute Trail through pine tree forests and open spaces with great mountain views, or rent a bike ($23 per day at Epic Mountain Sports) to explore the 6.3-mile Fraser River Trail. For free outdoor entertainment, there are festivals all summer long. In June, you can't go wrong with the fourth annual Winter Park Chocolate Festival; July brings a wine, art, and cheese festival. And on summer Friday nights, catch a free outdoor movie.
You can also pay a worth-it $49 for an Adventure Day Pass at Winter Park Resort; it includes unlimited use of a half-mile-long alpine slide, a climbing wall, a zip line, and more. If you're still up for activities after the sun goes down, stop by the Foundry, a movie theater-bowling alley that serves gourmet pizza ($8 for a pie for two).
Winter Park Resort's lodging starts at $91 per room. You can also spread out at the Vintage Hotel, where a one-bedroom suite with two bathrooms and a kitchenette goes for about $204 per night.
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