6 Last-Minute Summer Vacation Ideas

Summer camping.

Find last-minute campsites by being flexible on dates and locations.


It may be July, but it’s not too late to book a great summer getaway! From camping to house trades to staycation tours and summer skiing, we’ve picked some of the best last-minute ways to enjoy summer, all while keeping costs in check. 

If you haven’t already, now is the time to sell your textbooks from last term. Not only will you have extra cash to enjoy your vacation, you won’t have to worry about trading in those books when the new school year starts.

It’s all about flexibility and a go-with-the-flow mentality to snag an under the wire, before summer ends escape. No matter where you’re spending summer vacation there is always room for more fun! 

1. Camping

From simply pitching a tent to upping your game by canoe camping or backpacking, camping is a great way to immerse yourself in nature and get away from it all. While prime campsites are most likely booked through the rest of summer, weekdays and off-the-beaten-path campgrounds will give you a better chance for available spots.

2. Houseboat

All throughout the country are hidden lakes and reservoirs where you can rent houseboats. Gather a group of friends and prepare for a few days of fun and sun surrounded by water. Call around to find last-minute cancellations that rental companies are trying to fill.

3. House Trade

As a college student, you most likely have made friends all over the country — possibly even all over the world! A house or room swap is a creative way to see another city and not pay for lodging. While there are companies dedicated to setting up home exchanges, trading with friends or friends’ roommates is an easy way to do it, especially last-minute. 

House swap on vacation.

House swaps are a great way to save money on travel expenses.

4. Bed-and-Breakfast

Not just for mom and dad, bed-and-breakfasts run the gamut from being quaint and old-fashioned to modern and high-tech. Nestled in neighborhoods, cities, and secluded locales, B&Bs are usually converted houses, mansions, castles, even firehouses, that offer home-cooked breakfasts with your stay. Again, weekdays and cancellations will be in your favor here.

5. Amusement Park Tour

If you’re staying put no matter what this summer, create do-it-yourself tours close to home. Round up some friends or family and map out a plan to visit all the amusement parks, water parks, or even taco trucks in the area. You could choose to cram them into one week or spread them out to extend the staycation.

6. Ski Resort

Summer is an incredible time to enjoy ski and snowboard resorts. Many of them turn into an adventurer’s playground with lift-accessed mountain biking, crazy slides, gorgeous resort pools, hiking, zip lining, and more. In some cases there is still snow, so bring your skis and boards! Room rates are significantly lower than during the prime season and you’ll get to enjoy all the amenities, including hotel swimming pools, hot tubs, restaurants, and scenery.

Mountain biking.

In the summer, ski resorts turn into a playground of outdoor adventure.

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