Head to one of these secret vacation spots where the world slips away
Sunglow Ranch, Near Willcox, AZ. Twelve casitas dot Sunglow Ranch, 90 miles southeast of Tucson in the Chiricahua Mountains. When you’re not horseback riding or canoeing, dip into the hot tub, try the Southwest-inspired bistro, or hang with the resident astronomer. What you won’t find: Paved roads, light pollution competing with the stars. From $279; 2-night weekend min.; sunglowranch.com
Sakinaw Lake Lodge, Sunshine Coast, B.C. It’s a journey to Sakinaw Lake Lodge (a ferry from Vancouver, a drive, then a small-boat ride), but once you’re there, you’re a world away. The three-room lodge blends seamlessly into the forest, with an outdoor firepit, hot tub, and indoor firesides for relaxing. Adventure seekers will love the canoeing and forest hiking. What you won’t find: Roads, cars, or ferries arriving with tourists. From $236 U.S.; 2-night min.; sakinawlakelodge.com
Borrego Valley Inn, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA. Eighty miles from San Diego, tucked among ocotillo and barrel cactus, is the pueblo-style Borrego Valley Inn, where there are two pools, and many of the 15 rooms have private patios for night-sky viewing, in-room fireplaces, and kitchenettes. What you won’t find: Anything open after 9, more than a streetlight or two—this is a designated Dark Sky community. From $205; 2-night min.; borregovalleyinn.com
Crescent Moon Inn, near St. George, UT. The eight adobe-style units at the Crescent Moon Inn, 125 miles from Vegas in Kayenta, look out over a red rock paradise. More than 80 percent of the area borders wilderness preserve, so expect wildlife sightings along with horseback and mountain biking, sweeping sunsets, and works by local artists in each room. What you won’t find: Signs directing tourists (and that includes at trailheads). $175; thecrescentmooninn.com
Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodget, Fox Island, AK. Completed in 2013, the main lodge sits inside Halibut Cove, looking out onto Resurrection Bay. Kayak tours go around the island shores; humpbacks and sea lions can be seen through the windows in the dining room, which boasts a private chef. From $520; alaskacollection.com.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Vancouver Island, B.C. Deep within British Columbia’s remote wilderness lies a once-in-a-lifetime hideaway. This luxe destination aspires to be among the world’s most ecologically friendly resorts, but the 33 canvas tents are loaded with comfort despite the light footprint. Explore the wilderness that surrounds the resort before coming back to an abode complete with an Oriental rug, heated floors, and an outdoor shower. A 3-night, all-inclusive stay starts at $4,000 U.S.; wildretreat.com.
Westport Hotel, Mendocino Coast, CA. In the last town before Highway 1 turns inland at the Lost Coast, you’ll find the six-room Westport Hotel, an elegant outpost at the edge of the earth. Set on a cliff, the inn offers little to do but sit on the porch and stare out at the Pacific, steam up in the indoor sauna, or kick back at the hotel’s Old Abalone Pub. What you won’t find: Nightlife, any noise aside from ocean waves. From $140; westporthotel.us
WildSpring Guest Habitat, Port Orford, OR. A nearly five-hour drive from Portland, WildSpring Guest Habitat isn’t quite at the back of beyond, but it’s close. Only the hilltop breakfast room and hot tub overlook the Pacific, but the five cozy-but-not-cutesy cabins, shaded by Douglas firs, compensate with more introspective virtues like heated floors and walk-in showers. Should introspection pale, there’s always hiking, surfing, or whale-watching nearby. What you won’t find: Screaming toddlers (13 and up only), neighbors other than deer, Starbucks. From $198; wildspring.com
Sawtooth Hotel, Stanley, ID. Sixty miles from Sun Valley, beneath the Sawtooth Mountains, Old West charm is alive and well at the log cabin–style 1930s Sawtooth Hotel. The nine rooms are basic (some have shared baths), but the king room has a private bath with heated floor. Head out on cross-country skis or chat with locals over wild sockeye salmon in the restaurant. What you won’t find: Paved roads, traffic lights, chain stores. From $65; sawtoothhotel.com
Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ. Raft in or hike 7.5 miles down the South Kaibab Trail to this historic hideout. Set amid the cottonwood trees along the Colorado River on the canyon floor are wood-and-native-stone cabins built in the 1920s. But before you crash for the night, enjoy a steak dinner at the ranch canteen. From $149; grandcanyonlodges.com.
Scottish Lakes High Camp, near Stevens Pass, WA. Hop a snowmobile to whoosh up to Scottish Lakes High Camp, a mountain hideaway two hours from Seattle, where email can’t follow. Nine cabins sit at 5,000 feet on the edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, with 35 miles of nordic trails outside. There are woodstoves and kitchens, snowshoes on loan, a wood-fired cedar sauna and outdoor hot tub, and fireside drinks in the main lodge. What you won’t find: Electricity (BYO flashlights), flush toilets (bathrooms are upscale outhouses), email. From $80/person/night plus $70 transport; scottishlakes.com
Peter Estin Hut, near Eagle, CO. At 11,200 feet, the Peter Estin Hut, one of more than thirty 10th Mountain Division huts scattered between Aspen and Vail, is a two-story log cabin accessible only via a 5-mile trail for skis or snowshoes. Outside? Some of the area’s best backcountry skiing. Inside? A wood-burning oven, kitchen, and beds for 16 friends. What you won’t find: Food (BYO), bathrooms (there’s an outhouse), crowds. $30/person/night; huts.org
Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park, MT. You’ll see mountain goats and sometimes bears around this chalet near Mt. Edwards, including along the 6.7-mile uphill hike from Lake McDonald Lodge. There are no showers or electricity (bring a flashlight), but a stay here includes breakfast, dinner, and a pack lunch for hiking. From $222/person; sperrychalet.com.