Forget the beach—nature lovers know that the best way to experience the great outdoors in the summer is to spend some quality time in the mountains. If your idea of summer bliss involves hiking, biking, and swimming, these gorgeous resorts should be just the ticket. And if exotic scenery is a must, you’ll be happy to know that great mountain escapes can be found in tropical locales, too.
The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park, California
Nestled deep amongst the pine trees, cliffs, and canyons of Yosemite is the 123-room Ahwahnee Hotel. The impressive stone and wood structure, built in 1927, is considered a National Historic Landmark. Rooms with views of the Half Dome and El Captain summits are filled with wood and rich tapestries of Native American design. Highlights here include the Great Lounge with 24-foot-high ceilings and a large stone fireplace along with the light-flooded dining room. This hotel is on the expensive side — and parking is limited — but the prime location and views are worth the price tag. Read More »
York Harbor on Maine's coast is a wonderful place to explore
America’s Eastern region is a diverse area filled with just about every type of terrain an active traveler could want: Mountains, marshes, lakes, cliffs, forests, and so much more. We took a trip down the coast, and then headed inland, to some top spots in the East for getting active — from the tip of Maine, to the Florida Keys. Take a look at what we found along the way!
What’s better than crawling into a soft, warm bed after a long day of skiing? Well, very few things, but an après-ski spa session may just top it! It’s not only that during a treatment your muscles can finally relax after so many hours of tension, but spa treatments also allow your mind to float away into a whole other dimension in which checking your work email or stressing over what to make for dinner is not even a dot in the horizon. With a wide array of world-class treatments, gorgeous facilities, and unique, tranquil vibes, these spas are your best bet for some après-ski pampering.
The full-service spa also offers salon services.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a five-pearl, full-service resort in the mountains above Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort. Along with luxe rooms, fine dining, and ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes, the Ritz-Carlton offers many other recreational activities — including multiple outdoor pools and whirlpools that are open year-round. However, one of the best features of the hotel is its huge spa, complete with a wonderful fitness center with mountain views, and an outstanding treatment menu that ranges from organic mani-pedis to stone massages.
- Our favorite spa treatment: The hotel’s Signature Package includes a 50-minute organic massage, a 50-minute organic facial, and a 50-minute organic manicure and pedicure.
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Akin to that elusive “nineteenth hole” in golf, après-ski scenes are more about socializing than sporting. Groups gather after the last run of the day to drink, dance, and relive any hairpin turns they might have experienced on the slopes. We’ve traveled to North America’s premier ski locales and every time, after a blustery day on the mountains, nothing has warmed us up faster than a hot toddy by the fire in some of our favorite hotel bars. Featuring cozy ambiances, stunning views, and custom drinks, these hot spots are just the ticket for a solid après-ski social hour.
The Granary offers phenomenal views and cuisine in Jackson Hole.
This après-ski gem in Jackson Hole offers delicious, locally-sourced cuisine. Cocktails are tasty and the views…well, the views pretty much speak for themselves. With The Granary set in a wildlife refuge more than 700 feet above the Jackson Valley, it’s no wonder that the views are the most stunning of the Tetons in the area. Read More »
Most aquatic creatures have their preferences when it comes to taking to the waters. When we venture into to the great outdoors for an active vacation, we always have a tough time deciding whether to kick it lakeside, or trek to the ocean. Yes, the salty ocean air is be refreshing, but it’s also pretty darn calming by the lake shore. So which would you choose? Take a look at the waterfront options below and then enter your answer in the comments section.
Option 1: Lake Placid Getaway
Many travelers prefer the calming waters of a lakeside retreat.
The secluded High Peaks Resort on Lake Mirror in Lake Placid is the perfect lakeside vacation, with the lush natural surroundings of the Adirondacks and great recreational activities offered on-site such as kayaking and paddle boating. Read More »
Lake Tahoe, California
It’s true that the ocean is awesome — but reaching it can be a trek for many travelers. And even for those who live close to the beach, there comes a point in the summer when you get sick of sand getting stuck between your toes. That’s why we’ve compiled some of our favorite spots for freshwater fun; these beautiful lakes and rivers are an active traveler’s dream, offering activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, nearby hiking, and more. Check out our trip options suited to a range of tastes — whether you prefer picnicking on Tahoe’s shores or cave tubing along the Macal River in Belize.
The Best Road Trips is a weekly summer series highlighting our favorite getaways from major cities all over the United States.
Home to about 8 million folks — and tons of our readers, the Big Apple is a behemoth destination to explore itself. But should you be longing to escape the crowded streets, know you’re in similar company; New York’s residents seemingly flock town every Friday. Plus, there are so many great vacation spots just a few hours away by car (and what seems like a million ZipCar locations should you not have your own ride). So get your bags packed, slather on some sunscreen and hop in the whip — we’ve got some miles to cover.
Road Trip #1: New York City to Montauk, NY
Life's a beach in the tony Hamptons.
- Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 48 minutes
- Distance Covered: 119 miles
- Take This Trip If: You love a good scene — the otherwise-sleepy town is crawling with celebs during the summer.
The grounds at the Montauk Yacht Club.
One of the Panoramic View's amazing pool views.
Originally famous for both its surfing and fishing, Montauk, Long Island’s easternmost tip, is considered part of The Hamptons and has plenty to offer a variety of tourists, including six national state parks. Always in the background is the ubitiquous Montauk Lighthouse, New York’s oldest and the fourth in the national overall. Aside from its rich history and scenic landscape, Montauk also offers visitors sleek shopping at vintage stores like Screaming Mimi’s and incredible local eats like lunch at Dureyea’s Lobster Deck, where the lobster rolls, naturally, are second to none. Splurge on a stay at the Panoramic View, a sprawling resort tucked away off Old Mountak Highway in which every single guest room boasts gorgeous Atlantic Ocean vistas. And should you get too much sun (or sand) on the beach, check out the pool’s cabana for some shaded R&R. Savvy folks should opt for the Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marinas; even though it’s off the ocean, it has lovely little villas that are perfect for a couple’s getaway. A free shuttle into town makes the inflated prices a bit more worthwhile.
- Top Driving Tip: Most directions will tell you to take the Long Island Expressway, but skip the always-clogged I-495 and take the Grand Central Parkway/Northern State Parkway instead; it’ll save you precious minutes you’ll need when Montauk Highway becomes one lane in South Hampton.
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You were always a good kid — especially around Christmas time — so Santa rewarded you with gifts from your wish list: the coveted doll, the electric train, the drum set, you name it! But what of those items you asked for that didn’t make it under the tree? Your parents had promised that Santa wanted to give you your own private island, but it couldn’t fit down the chimney…but Santa is magical, right? It just didn’t add up…
Is there no pony in any of those presents? Don't worry, we have something so much better.
But you’re an adult now and you’re over it…or maybe not. If you fall into the latter group, let us first say – no judgement here. We’re still holding a grudge against Father Christmas for never delivering ”a diamond the size of my face”; that is definitely no wider than a chimney chute! More importantly, let us say that there’s still hope for you to get your wish — in fact, the cooler, “grown-up” version of your wish. Santa may have denied you a tea set, but a measly plastic set can’t beat afternoon tea served in the birthplace of the tradition itself. And sure, a BB gun would have been fun, but biathlon training combines your love of dangerous weapons with skiing — how did you not think of this sooner?! Check out our list below of the ultimate grown-up Christmas wish list.
Palm Court at the Langham Hotel London
On Your Kiddie Wish List: A tea set
On Your Grown-Up Wish List: Afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel London
Santa must have been pretty stingy that year if he didn’t bring you a tea set (unless, of course, you asked for one like this). But at least his stinginess gives you all the more reason to make your adult tea experience as luxurious and over-the-top as possible. How about a hop over the pond to start? Then you can head to the Langham Hotel, a 5-pearl hotel that exudes an air of exclusivity with a top-notch spa, an excellent West End location, and an in-house butler whose sole job is to supply guests with classical literature to read during their stay. But best of all, the Langham’s Palm Court is noted as the birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition, dating back to when the hotel first opened in 1865 and the Palm Court began serving tea to London’s elite. So treat yourself to a lavish high tea experience with the Wonderland Afternoon Tea menu, complete with your choice of tea (selected with the assistance of a tea sommelier) and a sampling of finger sandwiches and pastries. So much better to have waited all of these years for the real thing.
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Everyone promised that you would have skiing down in no time, right? Instead, you got stuck on the “Magic Carpet” and could barely manage the “pizza” while ski-clad tots were gracefully whizzing past you. Trust us, we’ve been there. But after many failed attempts at tricky ski maneuvers like getting off the ski-lift without face planting, we’ve learned a new trick: how to find the coolest non-skiing activities in ski towns. In fact, ski towns have a lot more to offer than just the slopes — we promise! So for those of you who got roped into a ski-centric vacation, check out our favorite non-skier activities in nine ski destinations below.
The Arrabelle at Vail Square, a RockResort
Ice-skate: If you’d rather not hit the slopes, ice-skating is a great way to still get outdoors and get your heart rate pumping. There is an ice-skating rink right out the front door of The Arrabelle in Vail Square, with views of the slopes, the village, and the massive Christmas tree.
The Sebastian - Vail
Go on a Dogsled Tour: While your friends are out enjoying the fresh powder on the slopes, you can be too — but in the comfort of a horse, er, dog-drawn sleigh. Winterhawk Dogsled Adventures runs daily tours in Alaskan husky-drawn sleds; the basic tour explores the expansive grounds of the historic 4 Eagle Ranch, while adventure tours run across more remote terrain at a higher altitude. The concierge at The Sebastian can arrange a tour for you, even ahead of your stay.
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