Photos show what 9 popular destinations look like during the peak and off-season

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesConey Island in New York City sees a huge dip in attendance in the winter months.
  • Sometimes the difference between popular destinations in the summer versus the off-season can be stark.
  • Iceland sees a huge dip in tourists in the winter months and Bali’s beaches are virtually empty during the off-season.
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Tourism levels vary greatly from season to season, and photos show just how big the difference is.

While there are a few cons to travelling during the off-season, the biggest difference is the number of people that you’ll be surrounded by on your trip, which is why some people actually prefer travelling during shoulder or off-season.

Here are some popular destinations that experience wildly different amounts of tourists based on the time of year you visit.


Coney Island in New York City is packed throughout the summer months.

Eric Thayer/Getty ImagesConey Island is a favourite summer destination amongst locals.

Around 6 million people gather on Coney Island’s shores during the summer months before winter strikes. And they’re often there rain or shine.


In the winter, it gets hardly any visitors.

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesIn the winter, people try to avoid going near the water where temperatures are lower.

When it’s cold out, Coney Island doesn’t see many tourists at all. In fact, its beaches and amusement park, a main draw, are closed September through May.


Venice, Italy, is a super popular destination in the summer.

Marco Secchi/Getty ImagesVenice, Italy, is often crowded.

Venice, Italy, sees so many tourists annually that they have tried to ban cruise ships and restrict visitor numbers.

The city gets 30 million visitors each year, most of which come between the months of June and August.


In the winter, it almost looks like a different place.

ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty ImagesVenice in the winter is an entirely different experience.

Venice is a magical experience in the cold months, as long as you’re prepared for the weather. While the temperature ranges from the low 30s to the mid-40s, the wind chill coming off the many canals the temperature can feel like it’s in the low 20s.

Visitors should also be aware of Venice’s high-water season, which usually lasts from autumn through early spring. The city has recently been experiencing its most severe flooding in 50 years, with water levels reaching just a little over 4 feet.


Iceland sees a big spike in tourists when the weather is warmer.

Sophie-Claire HoellerIceland is a hit for tourists in the warmer months.

Iceland has a population of only about 332,000, but sees around 1.8 million tourists a year – most of which choose to visit during the warmer, lighter summer months.


But popular areas in Iceland see a huge drop in visitors once winter arrives.

Edwin Verin/ShutterstockThe Blue Lagoon is almost empty.

Iceland, aptly named, gets cold. Thanks to its extreme weather conditions it sees fewer tourists in the winter, though many claim that travelling to Iceland in the winter makes for a more unique experience. That is, if you can get on board with the fact that Iceland has very little daylight in the winter, and in December especially. The shortest day in December sees a maximum of five hours of light, total.

In 2017, only 17.6% of tourists travelled to Iceland in the autumn, and33.3% braved the cold in the winter months.


The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.

John Moore/Getty ImagesSummer is the time when everyone goes to see the Grand Canyon.

Not only are July and August the hottest months in the Grand Canyon, they’re also the rainiest and most crowded, seeing more than 1.5 million recreational visitors for July and August 2018.


Once winter hits, however, its crowds largely clear out.

Wild Horizons/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesThe views of the Grand Canyon can be beautiful in the winter, but the hike can get dangerous.

Because the Grand Canyon sees fewer tourists in the winter, oftentimes accommodations and restaurants will be closed down during those off-season months.

The numbers of visitors in the winter months of 2018 dropped to 250,000 and below, from the millions of visitors it reached in the summer.


Moscow, Russia, has high numbers of tourists in the summer months, along with lots of events in big cities.

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty ImagesLonger days and hotter temperatures bring many people to Moscow in the summertime.

June and July are the most popular months for tourism in Russia. In the course of a year, Moscow has seen upwards of 17 million tourists, most of which come during the warm season. Numbers only seem to be growing annually.


Anyone who visits Moscow in the colder months needs to come prepared for the weather.

ShutterstockRussia sees freezing temperatures in the winter.

Only a small number of brave souls are willing to venture to Russia in the cold months, where temperatures often hover below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Last December, Moscow only got 6 minutes of sunlight – total.


Alaska is a very popular place to visit when the weather is nice.

AP/Michael DinneenThe summer months are the most popular time to visit Alaska.

Although the summers are rainier in Alaska, most people visit from May to September. Nearly two million people visited Alaska in the summer of 2017 alone, between the months of May and September.


But few people dare visit Alaska during the winter.

Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty ImagesAlaska has long, dark winters.

Once winter hits, much of Alaska goes dark, especially in the Northern areas. For example, the northernmost town of Barrow doesn’t see the sun for 67 days full days during the winter.

Whereas summer visitor counts to Alaska reach the millions, the numbers often drop to less than 300,000 in the winter.


December to April are the most popular months to visit the Dominican Republic.

ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP via Getty ImagesIt is typically cooler and less humid during the peak months in the Caribbean.

Tourists often come to the Caribbean to escape winter. The Dominican Republic has over six million visitors every year, and it’s most crowded during holidays like Christmas and New Years.


In the off-season, tourism levels in the Dominican Republic drop.

DeAgostini/Getty ImagesThe summer months are the least popular times to visit the Caribbean.

The Caribbean’s hurricane months, which typically last from June to November, see the fewest tourists.


Santorini, Greece, is packed throughout the summer.

Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty ImagesSantorini is one of the most popular cities to visit in Greece.

The exorbitant number of tourists in Santorini, Greece, has become a cause of concern for the Greek National Tourism Organisation, which worries that the city is overcrowded. They have already limited the number of cruise ship passengers who are allowed to visit.

Santorini saw over two million travellers in 2018– which is in stark contrast to the estimated 25,000 permanent residents it’s home to.


The winter months see far fewer people.

Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty ImagesVisiting Greece in the winter can be much less overwhelming.

Santorini has a much fewer crowds in the winter months, which makes it a great time to see popular tourist attractions in peace. During these months, the temperatures can drop to the high 40s in degrees Fahrenheit.


Most tourists like to visit Bali during the dry season.

Agung Parameswara/Getty ImagesThe summer months in Bali are known as the dry season.

Millions of people flock to Bali during the dry season, between May and September, when there are fewer chances for monsoons. In fact, the Badung Regency Tourism Office announced that 2018 exceeded their goals, with a 10.1% increase in the number of tourists passing through the airport. In 2018, 6,511,610 people travelled to Bali.


The wet season will be cheaper and emptier, but also, well, wet.

Paula Bronstein/Getty ImagesMost of the activities enjoyed in Bali are outdoors, so visitors don’t want to take the risk during the wet season.

Visitor levels drop in Bali during the rainy season from November to March. Bali gets into the double digits in terms of rainy days during each of these months, so it’s often advised to visit Bali during the shoulder season, when there’s both less rain and people.

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