“Where shall we go for our summer vacation?” When those of us willing to travel a fair distance are asked that familiar question, the answer is usually a number of familiar destinations: Hawaii or Las Vegas, Orlando or New Orleans, Cancun or San Francisco.

The question should perhaps be rephrased: “Where should we go for our summer vacation?” And our answers to that question should consist of destinations that are not currently among the most popular. Here are some of them: 

  • A Mediterranean cruise: So bad has been the falloff in this once popular activity, resulting from a fear of terrorism in some of the countries ringing that famous sea (Egypt, Turkey, etc.), that most Mediterranean cruises are only lightly booked at this moment, and the cruise lines are more than eager to bargain. None of them go any more to either Egypt or Turkey, and the cruise is more than acceptably safe. You will have a fine time.
  • The new, remarkable museums of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.: Both of these cities have erupted with sensational museums—the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the nation’s capital, the Museum of the American Revolution in Philly—that they alone justify a return visit to two familiar towns. The exhibits at both museums are so brilliant as to have a major impact on your thinking. For a mind-blowing experience, give thought this summer to visiting one of them (which will take some doing in the case of Washington, D.C., so popular and jam-packed is the African American museum).
  • London or Paris: Scattered terrorist attacks have so badly reduced tourism to both cities that you will enjoy uncrowded conditions in many of their key attractions. Keep in mind that the chances of your being affected here by terrorism are no more than the chance of being hit by lightning—now is the time for a visit to these two great capitals.
  • Montreal: This year marks the 350th anniversary of this great center of French Canadian culture in our midst, and that city will be celebrating with almost constant festivals occurring on nearly every day of the year. For young Americans in particular, a visit here will provide an edifying glimpse into a great foreign culture, and a delightful contact with French Canadian lifestyles, cuisine, theater, and more.,  

These are just a few of the unique travel opportunities available to the American who strays just a few feet off the beaten track this summer.

Pictured above: Place Jean-Paul Riopelle in Montreal