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Grand Canyon too crowded? Five alternatives to summer vacation hot spots.

Tourists destinations like Rome and the Caribbean can get crowded during tourist season, but with these five options you can enjoy a scenic, memorable vacation without following the pack. 

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    A view from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. A train through Copper Canyon in Mexico is a good option for vacationers who want that Grand Canyon feel, without the crowds.
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I love a good trip to Rome, but frankly, the city is chock-full of tourists like myself in the summertime. And sometimes I just want to check out a good Roman ruin without everyone's grandparents blocking my Instagram shot. So where are the best places to go where no one else goes?

1.  North Africa for Roman ruins

North Africa has been through some turmoil in the past few years, but there are still many counties in the region that are very safe to travel to. Unfortunately, the perfectly preserved ruins in Tripoli, Libya are currently a no-go (as recently as 2011, the Disney Cruise Line had the city as a port), but Tunisia has Carthage, which is a great, historic city.

2.  Montreal for French everything

The entire Provence of Quebec in Canada has French as the official language, and many of the sights, tastes, and sounds you'll experience on the streets of Montreal will have you convinced you're in France. Montreal is a city that celebrates its French heritage, with its Vieux-Montreal neighborhood featuring plenty of buildings dating to the 1600s. The city's northern location means summertime is probably the best time to travel here.

3.  San Andres, Colombia (instead of the Caribbean)

The island of San Andres is located closer to Nicaragua than mainland Colombia, and it's the premier getaway for Colombians looking for some Caribbean sun. While Cartagena sees plenty of American tourists coming off of cruise ships, San Andres is generally only domestic tourists from Colombia. White sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, and plenty of fish dishes await you, instead of another over-run cruise ship port in the West Indies.

4.  Copper Canyon, Mexico (instead of the Grand Canyon)

Hop aboard a train and travel through Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico. This beautiful natural landmark is actually deeper than the Grand Canyon, and attracts a lot fewer tourists!  This area is also generally safe and accommodating for tourists.  Buy a first class ticket to travel in comfort!

5.  Niue for a Fiji vibe

Niue was once one of the world's richest countries because of its phosphorous deposits, and is now served only once a week by a flight from New Zealand. Here, amazing South Pacific views await travelers who make the journey, and unlike Fiji, it isn't rife with expensive over-water bungalows to bankrupt your bank account!

Where are you favorite travel destinations that are off the beaten path? 

This article first appeared in Brad's Deals. 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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