It is usually this time of year that I start to feel a little cagey. The sun doesn’t shine as much and the days are shorter than normal. Plus, add to that Valentine’s Day makes me feel like taking my beautiful wife for a quick getaway. That is why we decided to pull together some awesome getaway ideas. Some of these ideas you could do right away while others would be great for this summer. We are breaking it down into three categories: staycations, nearby weekenders and dream vacations.
Staycation officially means staying within one’s own country for your vacation, however, the modern meaning has morphed into something different. For a staycation, one would stay within one’s own city or a neighboring city. It can be quite fun to get away from the everyday norm and have a room that you don’t have to clean yourself as well as enjoying some amenities that would not otherwise be available.
A staycation can be as simple as the Ogden Hampton Inn which starts at about $149 a night and has an indoor swimming pool (great in the winter) and is within walking distance from the theaters, restaurants and is just around the corner from Historic 25th Street with shopping and and an eclectic selection of restaurants and art galleries.
Melissa and I enjoy a simple trip to Logan about every other year. It is just far enough away and different enough that we feel like we are out of our comfort zone and yet it is less than an hour away. Plus the bang for the buck is great. Room rates range from $75 a night for decent to $150 a night for pretty great. We love exploring up in the canyons when it is warmer and we enjoy going to the growing restaurant selection when it isn’t as warm. We also love spending time fishing on the Logan River.
One could go a little farther away to increase the feeling of getting away but without too much of an investment in travel time. The Provo Residence Inn is my sister’s favorite because she can take her family and get an adjoining room so they can all stay together. It is about $200 a night for both rooms and has a pool, sports court and fitness center.
Or you could go for traditional and classy at the Grand America Hotel. It is said to be the perfect blend of comfort and elegance. Of course you will pay more for this experience at about $330-$500 a night.
If you want to travel a bit farther we enjoyed a trip to Midway with our family a couple of years ago. My parents organized a couples getaway that was a ton of fun. Hotel Zermatt Utah for one room is $169 a night or you could rent one of their villas and it sleeps up to six for only $319. With great access to the Park City winter wonderland, activities abound including but not limited to tubing, skiing or snowboarding, cross-country skiing and touring ice castles.
One of the most scenic places I have ever been to is Lake Louise in Alberta Canada. Not recommended for a winter trip but in the summer — WOW! Driving from Calgary north toward Banff are thick wooded forests and incredibly beautiful sparking turquoise rivers flowing alongside the highway. When you pull into the Lake Louise recreation area, prepare yourself for the most beautiful lake you have ever seen. The color of the water seems the impossible color of a painting yet there it is in front of you. Fed by a glacier, the lake is a bright, crystal clear turquoise. When I walked around the lake, we had to scurry back to the lodge area while rangers cleared out a bear who had wandered down to the lake. The Chateau Lake Louise is right on the lake. It is quite expensive; however, you can stay within an hour in Banff and there are many options in Banff for restaurants and shopping. I highly recommend adding this one to your bucket list, although I will say to skip the little off-the-path Chinese restaurant I stopped by on the way back to Calgary… I needed a real bucket after that meal.
New York City
One of my best friends recently told me about a trip he took with his wife to New York City. They ate at a place called Magnolias and had some Banaba Cream Pudding that is worth the trip, all by itself (sounds amazing). They stayed near Times Square and wandered all through the city and Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Chinatown, Little Italy and even took in some broadway plays. They had a blast. This one is on our list for sure.
One of our favorite anniversary trips was to San Diego, California and Coronado Island. Hotel Del Coronado ranges from $319 to $500 a night. It is one of those places that seems too good to be true when you are there. We spent our days checking out great shopping spots and hanging out on the beach. At night we tried out some amazing restaurants including Miguel’s Cocina which has the most amazing cheese sauce which I don’t remember its name but I can taste it right now…yum! We also love taking the family to Southern California and visiting the beaches!
A friend of mine owns carolyncruiseandtravel.com and she says her favorite place to go is Fiji. In her words, “Fiji truly has the happiest, most genuine people I’ve ever met.” I say go for the people stay for the destination. Although Fiji has palm-lined beaches and coral reefs like many other parts of the South Pacific, it’s often the people of the islands, rather than the scenery, that make it memorable. A Fiji vacation promises a lot of enjoyable possibilities: exquisite scuba diving, lovely natural surroundings and an appealing range of places to stay—from secluded, eye-poppingly expensive resorts to pleasant guesthouses on the beach to simple accommodations with local villagers.” Carolyn is awesome and if you are planning a big trip, she is a great resource because she is free. She gets a commission from the resorts and airlines so you don’t have to pay a dime extra and you get first class service.
My second favorite vacation was a trip we took to Honolulu. For a relaxing vacation with all the niceties of home, Hawaii is great. Our room looked out over Honolulu beach. We had a great time picking up essentials for about triple their normal cost at convenient ABC stores, but the best parts were simply relaxing on the beach and attempting to learn how to surf (wow that is tiring). We also loved Humana Bay. We snorkeled and saw amazing fish and I even saw a sea turtle which is one of my favorite memories. We also saw a beached whale…(Not really but if you remember Melissa’s embarrassing moment from last year about getting beached on her pregnant belly on the coral, that was on this trip).
It is said that the snorkeling here is some of the best in the world. If you have ever seen coral reefs that are gray in color that is from people stepping on it. It kills the coral and it turns grey. In Roatan, the color of the coral is actually coral– it is incredible and so gorgeous. It is exactly what you would imagine when thinking of the bright beautiful colors under the water. My sister said she could have stayed under water for hours and hours just taking in the colors and tropical fish.
Rome, Italy is by far my favorite “Go and See” dream vacation. We were in a near constant state of awe as we witnessed amazing Roman architecture and art. The Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Sistine Chapel, The Roman Forum, the Vatican Museums, The statue of David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and so much more; we didn’t stop for seven days and I wish we had seven more. It was amazing. We loved many of the restaurants, but our favorite was just stopping by the street vendors to have some authentic Italian pizza and gelato. Amazing!