10 Underrated Summer Destinations You Can Travel by Car


Published on: May 14, 2019 Last updated: February 10, 2021

Summer Destinations Near Manila | Moneymax

Listen up, weekend warriors: If you’re planning something different for your road trips this year (and avoid the crowded touristy places), you have a lot of wonderful summer destinations near Manila to choose from. Considerations include your budget, interests, and how far you’re willing to go.

Here are some awesome summer destinations in the Philippines you should visit for a quick weekend getaway:

1. Republ1c Wakepark (Calamba, Laguna)

Summer Destinations Near Manila - Republic Wakepark

Photo from Republ1c Wakepark Official Facebook page

If you and your friends want to take on an X-Games style adventure without flying all the way to Boracay, wakeboarding at Nuvali is for you. This is perfect for those days when you just want to get out and try something new. There’s also a fairly robust selection of activities for all ages and interests.

Wakeboard rental is free at the beginners’ area, but the rental for 8 hours (and that’s run all you want!) is PHP 1,500 per person.

Republ1c Wakepark location: West Diversity Boulevard, Nuvali, Calamba, Laguna (via Mamplasan Southbound Exit, Sta. Rosa Exit/Eton Exit, or Silangan Exit)

2. Sabang Beach and Charlie’s Point (Baler, Aurora)

Baler is one of the most popular surf spots in the country. Because it’s just five to seven hours away from Manila (via NLEX Balintawak and SCTEX La Paz Exit), most surfers travel in groups and rent a van to minimize expenses.

Sabang Beach has a soft and shallow ocean bed, gray sandy shoreline, and waves coming from the Pacific Ocean, which makes it a perfect spot for surfing beginners. If you’re an experienced surfer, you can rent a banca going to Charlie’s Point that breaks both left and right. The destination boasts a sandy floor for those who want to wade around.

Baler is also host to a lot of natural wonders, such as the Millennium Tree and Ditumabo Falls where the water is so cold you’ll have goosebumps in seconds.

3. Pacific Recreation Kamp (Real, Quezon)

Get your adrenaline pumping in one of the cheapest summer destinations near Manila (only around 3 hours away): the Pacific Recreation Kamp, also known as The PaRK, at Tignoan Beach in the laidback town of Real. Ideal for beginning surfers and campers, this surfing resort have surfboard rentals and surfing instructors.

Entrance fee is just PHP 50 for a day trip and PHP 70 for an overnight stay. You can also rent a picnic hut (good for 10 people) for as low as PHP 500. Tent rental costs PHP 500 per night for two to three persons.

Pacific Recreation Kamp location: Hwy 601, Km 115, Brgy. Tignoan, Real, Quezon (via Marilaque Highway or East Manila Highway)

Read more: Best Car Apps for Drivers and Car Enthusiasts

4. Seven Lakes of San Pablo (San Pablo, Laguna)

Summer Destinations Near Manila - Seven Lakes of San Pablo

Photo by diosa marie aguila via Wikimedia Commons

The city of San Pablo in Laguna is famous for its seven crater lakes[1], namely Bunot, Calibato, Mohicap, Palakpakin, Pandin, Sampaloc, and Yambo. These enchanting lakes are located in San Pablo Volcanic Field located between Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Makiling.

Just a 2-hour drive from Manila (via SLEX Calamba Exit), the Seven Lakes of San Pablo is one of the must-visit summer destinations for people who love nature and adventure. You can go sightseeing, biking, swimming, rafting, trekking, and more. Take Insta-worthy shots as well!

5. Liwliwa Beach (San Felipe, Zambales)

There’s a hidden gem in Zambales that’s accessible from Manila for 3 to 4 hours (via NLEX and SCTEX): the captivating beach in Liwliwa. It’s got waves powerful enough for surfing. When the water is tranquil, you can either swim or just take a long walk and marvel in the stunning sunrise or sunset. Don’t forget to try the silog meal at Ate Fely’s and delicious shakes at Mommy Phoebe’s.

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6. Katungkulan Beach Resort (Ternate, Cavite)

Traveled to Tagaytay a gazillion times already? Time to explore other exciting summer destinations in Cavite!

In just 2 to 3 hours, you can get to Katungkulan Beach Resort, formerly called Boracay de Cavite because of its fine white sand. Because it’s inside a military base, the resort implements quite many restrictions (no bonfire, no littering, no overnight stay, etc.).

Still, it’s worth a visit. Rates are cheap— the entrance fee is PHP 100, and cottage rental fee starts at PHP 350.

There are also nearby tourist attractions for your side trips, such as the Maragondon Church and Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit.

Katungkulan Beach Resort location: General Gregorio Lim Marine Base, Sitio Calumpang, Sapang 1, Ternate, Cavite (via CAVITEX)

Read more: Stunning White Sand Beaches in the Philippines That Aren’t Boracay

7. Beach Resorts in Isla Verde, Batangas

Summer Destinations Near Manila - Isla Verde

Photo by @nicko.stark from Discover Batangas Facebook page

When it comes to Batangas beaches, what easily come to mind are crowded resorts. Well, that’s the case for the more popular beach destinations like Anilao, Nasugbu, and Laiya.

But there are lesser-known beach resorts in Batangas that are worth visiting. Many of them can be found in Isla Verde (also called Verde Island), a secluded island known for its diverse marine life[2]. The island is perfect for exploring the depths of the sea through diving or snorkeling.

Read more: 12 Cheap Batangas Beach Resorts for Your Summer Getaways

8. Treasure Mountain (Tanay, Rizal)

Summer Destinations Near Manila - Treasure Mountain

Photo from Treasure Mountain Facebook page

You don’t have to go to the popular—and often crowded—sites such as Mt. Pulag and Kiltepan Viewpoint in Sagada for scenic mountaintop views.

Why travel far when you can drive for just an hour or two to enjoy a scenic view of the sea of clouds minus the difficult trek at Treasure Mountain in Rizal? For hikers, the trail isn’t so steep. But you can still access the viewpoints by car without having to trek.

Treasure Mountain location: Sitio Maysawa, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal (via Marcos Highway or Sampaloc Road)

9. Hilltop View Deck (Norzagaray, Bulacan)

Summer Destinations Near Manila - Hilltop View Deck Norzagaray

Instagram photo by @jeric_del_rosario

As a tourist destination, Bulacan is famous for its historical sites, old churches, and crispy chicharon. But unknown to many travelers, the province near Manila is also home to some stunning natural wonders.

The “Baguio of Bulacan,” locally known as Hilltop, is among the little-known summer destinations in Norzagaray. No need to drive for 6 hours to Baguio, as you can drive for just a few hours from Manila to Barangay San Lorenzo, Norzagaray via NLEX. Revel in the chilly weather and cool, fresh air with a picturesque view of the Sierra Madre mountain range, Angat Dam, and Ipo Dam.

Drive a bit further to get to the Bitbit Bridge where you can take a short trail to Bitbit River. You can go for a quick, refreshing swim in the river before driving back home.

Alternatively, explore the Angat Rainforest and Eco Park located just across the Bitbit Bridge.

10. Governor’s Rapids (Maddela, Quirino)

Summer Destinations Near Manila - Governor's Rapids

Photo from Governor’s Rapids Facebook page

Governor’s Rapids, which forms part of the Cagayan River, is being developed by the Quirino provincial government as one of its primary tourist attractions.

Because of its crystal-clear waters and towering limestone formations, Governor’s Rapids is comparable to El Nido and Coron in Palawan, as well as Halong Bay in Vietnam.

Activities include swimming, kayaking, boating, and river tubing, which is the most recommended way to enjoy the rapids. For the adventure junkies, the place is also great for white water rafting and cliff jumping.

Governor’s Rapids is one of the cheap summer destinations in Luzon, with an entrance fee of PHP 10 and boat ride/river tubing fee of PHP 80 per person. It’s a long seven-hour drive via NLEX and SCTEX, but it will be surely worth it.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s more to road trips in the Philippines than the go-to summer destinations like Baguio, Tagaytay, and Subic. Our country has so many natural wonders to offer. Plenty of marvelous places await tourists who crave new experiences and adventures with their loved ones. Consider these underrated summer destinations when you plan your next road trip!

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Written By:

Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with over 15 years of combined experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she's crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.