Long-haul travel is slowly but surely opening back up to us. It’s great news, but we like to think that the best part of traveling during summer isn’t that two-week trip you planned for a year, but the smaller, closer-to-home trips that allow you to turn weekend breaks into mini vacations, from Memorial Day through September. A host of new and easy-to-reach resorts and retreats across the U.S. are giving us plenty of reason to be anywhere but home all summer long, whether it’s to kayak in North Carolina or sit by a pool in Palm Springs. Here, a few favorites to book now.
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Mar Vista Farms + Cottages, California
Where it’s located: A gorgeous, three-hour drive north of San Francisco; the last half of the ride is on coast-hugging, windy Highway 1 with some seriously dramatic views of the Pacific.
Why we’re excited: This cluster of 12 recently refreshed historic Scandavian-style fishing cottages are exactly where we want to be this summer. The sweet one- and two-bedroom standalones now have plush down bedding and updated kitchens (in addition to the existing ocean views and fireplaces). There’s also new programming, including outdoor yoga sessions and gardening classes. The setting—nine acres of meadow, gardens, and stands of evergreens, with views of the nearby Pacific—is about as serene as it gets. And it’s the perfect jumping off base for day trips to the village of Mendocino and the Anderson Valley wine region, as well as a good stopping point if you’re heading further north to Redwood National and State Parks.
Book now: From $215 per night, expedia.com
Crystal Sky Camp, Washington
Where it’s located: This collaboration between Under Canvas and the ski resort Crystal Mountain is an easy and scenic 70-mile drive southwest from the Seattle Airport. The camp is set in Campbell Basin in Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest and looks up at Crystal Mountain’s iconic King, Queen, and Throne peaks and out at nearby Mt. Rainier.
Why we’re excited: The combination of legitimate wilderness and enough creature comforts feels especially spot on for right now. Adding to the adventure factor, you reach the campsite with its 20 safari-inspired canvas tents (6,000 feet above sea level) via chairlift. There’s fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, yoga, horseback riding, but also hot showers, Wi-Fi, king-size beds, and a full bar at the Campbell Basin Lodge to come back to after a day of adventuring. Seems like the best of both worlds.
Book now: Available for group buyouts; undercanvas.com
Hutton Brickyards, New York
Where it’s located: In the southern Hudson Valley, the retreat stretches along 73 acres of riverfront in the region hub of Kingston, right off a tree-shrouded stretch of the Empire State Trail.
Why we’re excited: Kingston has played second fiddle to Hudson for the last decade, with the majority of hipper openings happening in the latter. But with its beautiful river views and scores of abandoned buildings from its industrial past, the town has been getting redeveloped—with Hutton Brickyards, on the grounds of an old brick factory, being the largest opening yet. Riverfront cabins are made from raw pine and look out onto the area foliage. Grab a cocktail and stroll amongst the cabins and waterside spa and saunas to get a feel for the place then spend your stay immersing yourself in one of the retreat’s yoga experiences, the nearby hiking trails, or simply resetting inside that timber spa. The one thing that’s not optional, however, is at least one dinner at the Pavilion, where former Balthazar chef Dan Silverman does trout and shisito peppers over an open flame.
Book now: Rooms from $275; skylark.com
Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley, California
Where it’s located: The resort is about an hour and a half drive north from both San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International (if you’re already on the West Coast, Alaska Airlines and others fly into the Charles S. Schultz Sonoma County Airport, which is only 20 miles from the property). The healing mecca of Calistoga, with its mineral pools and cute downtown, is about a five-minute drive from the property.
Why we’re excited: It’s true that NorCal’s premier wine country has a number of truly fabulous places to stay, but when the Four Seasons opens later this summer it will be the only spot that sits on an active winery, with 7.4-acres of hand-farmed organic vines and a tasting room overseen by world-class winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. And it’s also the only Napa resort with a dedicated kids club. Both are interesting tidbits on their own, but together, this means that your wine weekend can also be a family trip. We also like that the resort’s spa taps into its surroundings—taking a cue from nearby Calistoga, mineral-rich mud is incorporated into treatments, as are grape seed extracts and olive oil harvested onsite. The resort is a perfect homebase for exploring Napa and nearby Sonoma—there are charming towns and more vineyards to hit in every direction.
Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection, New Mexico
Where it’s located: A quick five-mile drive from downtown Santa Fe, the newest from Auberge is set on 317 piñon-and-juniper-studded acres that back into the Santa Fe National Forest.
Why we’re excited: Auberge has a knack for creating luxury retreats that feel perfectly of place and Bishop’s Lodge is sticking to that successful script. The lodge has been a part of Santa Fe history since the late 1860s when Archbishop Lamy acquired the land and built a spiritual retreat, including the historic chapel that’s still standing. Now, the Santa Fe landmark has been totally reimagined, but its heritage shines through with stucco walls and exposed ceiling beams, Navajo-inspired rugs, and kiva fireplaces. We’re especially into the 12-bedroom bunkhouse (seems ideal for a family reunion or major birthday bash) and love the nature-culture mashup: there are miles of trails for horseback riding and hiking but you’re minutes from Santa Fe’s art galleries and excellent museums.
Book now: Rooms from $589; expedia.com
Inness, New York
Where it’s located: Just north of New York’s Minnewaska State Park, Inness has access to the forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains that make this Catskills retreat feel like a grown-up summer camp.
Why we’re excited: For those who’ve always dreamed of owning a cabin upstate, Inness is the kind of place to lets you pretend you do, for however long you and the family want to stay. Forty simple guest rooms are spread out across the wild grounds, west of the Hudson River, in both standalone cabins and a restored farmhouse. From there, this stretch of the Catskills with its creeks and hiking trails is yours to discover. The at-home feel is extended to the fabulous all-day restaurant, where seasonal Hudson valley ingredients are cooked over open flame or on the grill, and it’s all outfitted with cozy rugs and roaring fires.
Book now: Rooms from $305; inness.co
The Cloudveil, Wyoming
Where it’s located: This Autograph Collection newbie is located right on the main square in the heart of Jackson, meaning you are walking distance from the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and all the other drinking holes after a day in Yellowstone.
Why we’re excited: The area has never been more popular with the outdoorsy (and aspirational outdoorsy) crew, and this opening makes staying in a comfortable yet nature-adjacent spot easier than ever. Opting for the town of Jackson, as opposed to staying in Teton Village at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, has its perks, too. You are an easy 20-minutes drive from the hiking, biking, and climbing of the resort and marvelously scenic and short drives from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, but being the only hotel right on the square of Jackson gives you direct access to the town’s boutiques and galleries. The rooms, too, never let you forget where you are, going heavy on timbers and art work that nods to the natural glory outside. It’s also nice to know that, in an area known for its big ticket resorts, Cloudveil comes in at a little more accessible price point.
Book now: Rooms from $839; expedia.com
High Hampton Resort, North Carolina
Where it’s located: In the pine-dense mountains of western North Carolina, this historic retreat is about an hour and a half south of Asheville or three hours from Charlotte.
Why we’re excited: Anything the Beals family, of Blackberry Farm fame, touches is exciting to us. Though you should not come here expecting the same brand of mountaintop sophistication shared by its two older siblings in the Great Smokies. That’s because High Hampton Resort has a long established relationship with this stretch of Appalachia, as a retreat dating back a century. Sandy Beal and her partners wanted to honor that, keeping much of the spirit of the old place intact, including the bark covering the old inn. But what you will find is that same type of relaxed, southern mountain fun, including family kayaking expeditions, croquet on the lawns and animal interactions; here, that means with their miniature donkeys, Ed and Fred.
Book now: Rooms from $995, three-night minimum; highhampton.com
The Colony Palms, California
Where It’s Located: It’s in the Upper Design District neighborhood of Palm Springs, which means you’re an easy walk from good coffee, retro diners, and great vintage shopping. You’re also about a two-hour (and change) drive from both the Los Angeles and San Diego airports and a five-minute Uber ride from the Palm Springs airport.
Why We’re Excited: Visions of an adults-only trip where we float in a swimming pool (when we aren’t day drinking in a chaise lounge) have kept us sane during the last year. This totally redone hotel ticks this lazy weekend getaway box while delivering a satisfying dose of midcentury desert glamour. Designer and hotelier Steve Herman (who turned the legendary but rundown L’Horizon into one of the chicest hotels in town a few years back) is behind The Colony Palm’s new act. From the green-and-white-striped pool umbrellas and cabanas to the banana leaf wallpaper and Deco-inspired restaurant and bar, it’s an Old Hollywood oasis in an easy-to-reach destination where the sun is literally almost always shining.
Book now: Rooms from $280; expedia.com
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