The magic behind travel cannot truly be appreciated until one has experienced its wonders firsthand. So why stick to familiar ground when there are so many incredible places out there? The thrill of a new destination is top of mind for travelers this summer, and it doesn't include overcrowded tourist traps or run-of-the-mill vacations.
According to SiteMinder, “many hotels are now starting to differentiate their brand by doing something unique with the way they design, layout, or outfit their property. Travelers are looking increasingly for cool, experiential hotel stays, so anything a hotel can do to provide a novelty factor will be at an advantage.”
And as the demand for unique experiences continues to grow, more and more innovative vacation destinations are providing experiences that are sure to inspire.
The Island With No Bridge
“It's never been more true that travelers are looking for experiences over materials. They are constantly looking for something unique or something that speaks to what they are passionate about,” comments SiteMinder in their recent Travel Trends report.
Escape to a slower pace of life on Daufuskie Island. Something about this place just feels perfect. The quiet atmosphere, where you can hear the waves lap against the shore and birds sing all day long. Daufuskie Island, with its natural beauty and slow-paced lifestyle, is a place that can only be found, not created.
Located in South Carolina, this oceanfront oasis is a magical island escape just off the coast of Savannah and Hilton Head. There are no cars on the island, which is less than 10 square miles and both residents and visitors get around exclusively on golf carts.
There is no hotel on the island, but the Lighthouse, built in 1873 and restored in the 1980s, offers guests a two-bedroom getaway along the longest private beach in the Carolinas. In addition to the 40-foot tower, a luxurious fireplace, and clawfoot bathtub, the 1873 Lighthouse features a rocking chair-lined porch with unmatched views of the ever-blue Calibogue Sound. The waves gently crash right outside its front door while dolphins pop out of the water by the dozens.
Lighthouse rates start at $850/night for two and include golf or equestrian experiences. If you want to enjoy Haig Point in more traditional accommodations, vacation rentals are abundant on sites like VRBO and Airbnb.
There is a reason why Daufuskie Island and Haig Point is known as the island of extraordinary. Low country hospitality is abundant here and it's the perfect place to disconnect from your everyday hustle and bustle. A quick ferry or water taxi takes you across to Hilton Head Island, but to be honest, once you experience the unique charm of Daufuskie, you likely won't want to leave.
The Ultimate Glacier Getaway
According to Luxury Travel Advisor, “people want experiences and bucket list fulfillment.” And what could be more of an experience than a summer getaway to one of the world's most iconic destinations?
The Canadian Rockies sit on many travelers' buckets lists but did you know you can wake up to the extraordinary view of a 10,000-year-old glacier?
The Glacier View Lodge is an experience unlike any other, located in a high alpine zone dominated by the world-famous Columbia Icefield. Guests have the opportunity to travel on a massive Ice Explorer all-terrain vehicle to the Athabasca Glacier, where they can walk on, feel, and drink from the glacier.
The hotel's rooms and suites have been designed to reflect their natural surroundings, focusing on luxury, comfort, and sustainability. The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that provide jaw-dropping panoramas of the Columbia Icefield and the surrounding mountain peaks.
The accommodations at Glacier View Lodge start at CAD 599 per night for two people in a deluxe room. Not only is the hotel stay a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but the 232-kilometer drive from Lake Louise to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway is also rated as one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Indulge at a Luxury Vegan Eco-resort
“Given one of the biggest factors for travelers is to enjoy rare, unique, and wonderful dining experiences, a more authentic experience in their own homes only raises the stakes for accommodation providers,” states SiteMinder.
More than just a place to stay while touring the Northern Coast of California, this luxury vegan eco-resort in Mendocino proudly holds the title of the only fully vegan inn in the country and works tirelessly to reduce its carbon footprint in ways both large and small.
The fabulous Stanford Inn By the Sea overlooks Mendocino Bay and features 49 unique accommodations, a world-renowned Ravens Restaurant, and the Ford House Visitor Centre & Museum devoted to Mendocino's fascinating history.
The Inn's onsite organic herb and vegetable gardens provide much of the produce the chefs use in Ravens' award-winning dishes. They also have their own onsite apiary, beehives where they harvest honey for use in the restaurant and spa treatments.
The rooms at the Inn start at $399 per night, and guests can enjoy this stunning natural setting and all the “tools” needed to explore it, from free use of mountain bikes to redwood outrigger canoes for exploring the Big River.
Not only is the Inn itself an experience, but it's also situated in an ideal location for exploring all that Mendocino and the Northern California Coast have to offer.
High Elevation Experience
Calling all adrenaline junkies! This one is for you. Those who don't fear heights can spend a night suspended from the ridgeline in the Kentucky Wildlands. Follow a 177-step floating staircase up to the top of the mountain to reach this dwelling, featuring a full bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and outdoor patio. Above all else, this rental boasts unbeatable views of Red River Gorge.
The Canopy Crew set out to create what is now one of the most distinctive and daring homes imaginable to make visitors feel more connected with the gorgeous sandstone Gorge is known for. This unique design combines nature and stone, exceptional engineering, and comfort. Nightly rates are approximately $794 per night.
Soak in the view; this is probably the most romantic bedroom in the gorge. Don't forget to head to the rooftop deck, where you can reach up and touch the massive stone shelf from which the bedroom is hanging!
“Young people have always had a sense of adventure and desire to travel. In today's climate, they are a huge consideration for hoteliers. Generations Y and Z live for the opportunity to get away and undertake life-changing or life-enriching experiences,” says SiteMinder.
Let Origin Plan Your Unique Adventure
If you want to plan your own unique adventure but don't know where to start, the travel planning app that has been taking the travel industry by storm is at the forefront of creating the ultimate custom vacation.
Origin's AI-powered app works by taking into consideration the traveler's budget, time frame, and interests. It will then connect the traveler to one of Origin's travel curators to plan a unique trip that is 100% personalized, all done on your smartphone.
You can check out the Inspiration tab on their website for inspiration or just let Origin work its magic and take care of all the details for you.
Americans aren't letting anything interfere with their long-awaited getaway plans this year. And with extraordinary vacations like these, it's no wonder why.
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Featured Image Courtesy of The Glacier View Lodge.
Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous young boys. Casandra is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate.
A Toronto native with Danish roots, she became an avid traveler after her first trip to Europe as a college student. Casandra's goal is to provide an educational experience for her family when she travels. When visiting historic sites like D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, or learning about ranch life at a dude ranch on horseback, it’s always a priority to provide an educational experience and to learn about the culture and history of each destination.
You can follow her adventures at karpiakcaravan or get in touch via her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.