Beyond the Beach: Sand-free summer vacation spots

While many folks can’t wait to get their toes in the sand each summer, the beach is not the ideal vacation experience for everyone. Some may prefer the mountains or a trip to a lake, while others may yearn for amusement parks or an urban escape. When the beach is not your bag, check out these three destinations that pack a sweet punch when it comes to summer fun.

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Gatlinburg, Tennessee: As the Gateway to the Smokies, Gatlinburg is a little town with a lot to offer. Hundreds of hiking trails wind through the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest, and several companies offer boat excursions on the Pigeon River. The town of Gatlinburg has plenty of shopping and entertainment, and nearby Dollywood is a must for family summer fun. Buy crafts from generations of local artisans in Gatlinburg’s Arts & Crafts loop and enjoy local barbecue and southern comfort food in one of the town’s many restaurants. Read more about Gatlinburg.

463577697-webTahoe, California & Nevada: A popular destination for skiers and snowboarders, Tahoe has plenty to offer in the summer months. The whole family can enjoy the outdoors with hiking, biking and plenty of lake activities. Enjoy a round of golf on a championship course, or bring the kids for a day of mini golf and arcade games at one of the entertainment complexes in the area. When you’re not enjoying the summer sun outdoors, casinos, spas and plenty of shopping will round out your Tahoe experience.

177508634-webWisconsin Dells, Wisconsin: While it’s about as far from the coast as you can get, visitors to the Waterpark Capital of the World can always make a splash in one of the area’s many outdoor and indoor waterparks. See the natural beauty of the Dells with a boat tour of the Upper or Lower Dells, catch live entertainment with a variety of shows or check out one of the many family-friendly museums or attractions in the area. All of the options for fun plus the cool Midwestern nights make Wisconsin Dells a refreshing summer vacation destination.

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