Back to Basics: The Best Rustic Vacation Destinations
Getting back to nature doesn't have to mean roughing it with nothing more than a tent and a fishing line. You can enjoy a rustic vacation and take in the beauty of the great outdoors by simply visiting locales where the footprint of mankind is minimal. Here are a few of the best rustic destinations for your next vacation.
Big Bear, CA
With cabins that offer lake access in the summer and superb skiing during winter months, Big Bear has it all. Set in the California mountains, this gorgeous retreat is a world away from nearby Los Angeles. So if you'd rather see the stars in the sky than the ones that lie underfoot on Hollywood Blvd., Big Bear is the ultimate vacation destination. Fans of Oktoberfest should consider coming in the fall to celebrate the area's legendary festivities, slated to hit their 50th consecutive year in 2020. Pre-purchasing tickets to this popular event is advised.
Glacier National Park, MT
If you want to stay in Many Glacier Hotel or Lake McDonald Lodge, located inside the park, during the popular summer months, you'd better book at least a year in advance. The same goes for booking campsites. If you're not particular about sleeping in the park, try the nearby Isaac Walton Inn instead. The Railway Inn is old-school cool, but think about booking a converted train car or cabin for a whole new experience, then head to the park for hiking, horseback rides, or river rafting tours. Don't forget to check out Glacier Distilling for a taste of Huckleberry Gin or small batch whiskeys.
Park City, UT
Best known as the home of the Sundance Film Festival, there's a lot more to this tiny town than serious film cred. You won't be shocked to find tons of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to horseback riding. You'll also find high-end accommodations, gourmet dining, golfing, and a number of other upgrades that make rustic living surprisingly chic. Avoid the festival in January, when getting a room practically requires a signature in blood. Come any other time to enjoy the many amenities the festival has afforded the town.
Lake Havasu, AZ
Dubbed "Arizona's Playground," Lake Havasu is a haven of hiking, boating, off-roading, shopping, dining, and more, all set against the backdrop of the Mojave Desert. This glittering oasis started as a winter retreat half a century ago, but has since blossomed into a town offering year-round entertainments for active vacationers.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is offers hiking, waterfalls, and wildlife galore, but staying in the park is no easy feat, with only a single lodge, located on a high peak, that you can only get to on foot (camping is also available). Luckily, nearby Gatlinburg offers plenty of lodgings and easy access to the vast beauty of this national treasure, not to mention skiing in the winter.
Blue Ridge, GA
Relaxation is the order of the day in this laid-back locale, which happens to be the trout fishing capital of Georgia. Take a scenic railway tour, hike to a breathtaking waterfall, or go for a horseback ride in the mountains. Wrap up each day with local food and craft beer and let go of the stresses of modern life.