Where to Go for the Best Off-Season Travel

Traveling during the off-season is in. And no wonder: Off-season travelers are rewarded with shorter lines, lighter crowds and lower prices--as well as activities that didn't exist several years ago. As crowds swell in major destinations during the high season, "these places are getting creative, beefing up experiences and transportation options to attract visitors during the low season," says Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo, a deal-finding website. Tour operators such as Globus and Insight Vacations offer programs dedicated to fall, winter and spring travel; travelers can typically save 20% to 40% compared with peak-season itineraries to European and other hot spots.

But no one wants to spend a vacation indoors, even if the price is right. Because not all off-season getaways are created equal, we found five ideas for summer, fall and winter trips that deliver good value and great experiences--and often better weather than you might expect.

Hit the Slopes Without the Snow

Ski resorts are fast becoming hubs of year-round activity, especially for avid hikers and bikers. But the mountains can suit anyone seeking a tranquil vacation. "You can find almost anything you want in a mountain town," says Evan Reece, CEO of , an online seller of lift tickets. "Activities can be as simple as riding the chairlift to the top of the mountain and hiking around, or as varied as attending music festivals or zip-lining." Nearby rivers and lakes beckon those who want to fish, boat or swim, and night owls can join an astronomer

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