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These Are The 5 Best U.S. States To Visit (And 5 To Avoid) If You Want To Escape The Tourist Crowds This Summer

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The only thing that can dim the excitement of a fun summer getaway is the thought of having to deal with the insane crowds at every beach, attraction, and restaurant – in short, everywhere.

I know that going someplace where everyone else is going, too, can help with the FOMO, but if you’re anything like me and want to avoid the chaotic hordes of tourists at all costs, you’ll have to be a bit more strategic when planning your holidays.

Hiker in Glacier National Park, Montana

Luckily, you won’t have to go into that process blind, since Visa Guide already collected all the data for you and came up with a list of the season’s most and least overtouristed states in the U.S.

Whether you’re looking for a high-energy vacation or a tranquil retreat, the findings can give you some much-needed direction.

But this piece is for the quiet-seekers, so where can you go this summer to get away from the buzz and stress of day-to-day life?

5. South Dakota

Custer State Park, South Dakota

Often overshadowed by its more popular neighbors, South Dakota is actually an underrated gem with lots to offer to just about any traveler.

Are you more into natural views, historical sights, or cultural landmarks? You name it, this midwestern state has it all!

I can’t go on any further without, of course, mentioning Mount Rushmore, which is obviously the state’s most iconic landmark and, might I add, even more impressive-looking in real life.

Don’t forget, though, that the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial is just as impressive and less crowded, so it's definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for the ultimate quiet yet authentic all-American experience.

Other stops to include in your South Dakota itinerary include (but aren’t limited to) Deadwood, the Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, and even small towns like Spearfish and Hot Springs.

4. Nebraska

Aerial view of Dismal River in Nebraska Sandhills

I know Nebraska isn’t the first place that comes to mind when planning a summer vacation, but hear me out.

Why not opt for a change of pace this season and take in the state’s jaw-dropping Sandhills region, marvel at the Niobrara National Scenic River, explore the Oregon Trail, and spend your days on the quaint Omaha Old Market District instead of sweating on a crowded beach surrounded by hundreds of other people?

3. North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

If you’re looking for a state where you can take in all the history and culture without having to miss out on that perfect summer weather we all know and love, I’ve got just the place for you.

Not only is North Dakota a treasure trove of attractions, from Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Sheyenne National Grassland to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Red River Zoo, but most of it also experiences what I’d consider to be the perfect summer weather – warm, and sometimes even hot days followed by milder, cooler nights.

2. Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Known by many as “Big Sky Country,” Montana usually experiences pretty quiet summers despite being home to some truly amazing places.

If you don’t believe me, just see for yourself.

Who wouldn’t love a summer that included hikes to the Glacier National Park, drives through the Beartooth Highway, and fishing trips to the Madison River?

1. Alaska

Passenger cruise in Alaska

As the biggest and most sparsely populated state in the entire country, Alaska might’ve been your top prediction when you read the title, too but that doesn’t mean its status as the most under-visited U.S. state is deserved.

The weather doesn’t exactly scream “summer,” I’ll give you that, but there’s still so much to do and see here that dealing with some cooler temperatures seems like a more-than-reasonable price to pay.

Between Denali National Park, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the natural sights are so breathtaking here that I guarantee you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything all summer.

Which Are The Most Overcrowded U.S. States To Visit Right Now?

Busy street in New York City

OK, so now you know which places to prioritize during the destination-picking process, but an even more important question is – which ones to avoid?

Below, you’ll find the five U.S. states that’ll be most affected by mass tourism this year, and spoiler alert, they’re pretty hard to resist visiting, so do with that information as you will:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Jersey
  3. Florida
  4. Hawaii
  5. New York

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