Say good-bye to the staycation. Here’s where to go now, and how to get there
1 of 8Photo by Jack Journey
The new road trip
The trend: Teardrop trailers are popping up everywhere as a downsized (and more stylish) alternative to RVs. We’ve even found new and vintage models on eBay for as little as $1,000.
Our favorite find: A rental by Vacations-in-a-Can. We picked up the trailer above in Penngrove, California. You can also have one delivered to a local park.
Why we love it: It comes fully loaded (mattress, linens, pots, utensils, and more), so you do a lot less packing. Rentals are just $175 for two nights―a fraction of an RV’s cost. Plus it uses less gas.
Insider tip: Extras like espresso makers and solar shower fixtures are available for $5 to $10 each.
Buy one: Customize your own, starting at $7,250 for the 4- by 8-foot design.
2 of 8Photo by Martin Tessler
Why it’s hot: Vancouver and Whistler have spent millions spiffing up for the Games, so this year’s spotlight is on Canada. Here’s where you’ll find us:
Skiing: We’re all about Whistler Blackcomb. (Duh.) But for a smaller scene, we head for Red Mountain, in the brick-lined mountain town of Rossland, with tree skiing and a new ice-skating rink at the mountain’s base.
Hiking: The unsung Yoho National Park of Canada, next door to Banff National Park, for 833-foot Takakkaw Falls, uncrowded hiking trails, and the teeny “town” of Field, home to Truffle Pigs Bistro ($$$; closed Tue; 250/343-6303) and rustic-luxe Cathedral Mountain Lodge (May 21– Oct 1; from $186 U.S.).
Dining: You can eat well on the cheap in Vancouver―try the smoked-ham-and-cheddar Belgian waffles at Pâtisserie Lebeau ($; closed Sun–Mon; 604/731-3528). And check out Kintaro Ramen ($; closed Mon; 604/682-7568), a hole-in-the-wall noodle joint.
Drinking: We love the Okanagan Valley for its natural beauty and the sheer number of varietals. Try the Cab Franc at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery (closed Jan) and the fabulous guest suites with private decks, fireplaces, and vineyard views (from $167 U.S.).
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The next big wine country: Southern Oregon
Why we love it: Exciting wines, no crowds, and inexpensive tasting fees.
The inside scoop: Head to the smallest, newest wine region here―Applegate Valley (part of the larger Rogue Valley)― to get your palate calibrated. Abacela, Troon, and Schmidt Family Vineyards are setting the bar high.
Why we love it: It’s like you live on vacation! More rooms mean you can include more people and split the cost; full kitchens let you eat in; and you can choose amenities like Wi-Fi, washer/dryers, dishwashers, and swimming pools.
New to try: The Portland-based service Second Porch helps you track down rentals through your Facebook connections.
Look what we found: On vrbo.com, we discovered a Palm Springs three-bedroom/two-bath pad (pictured here) that sleeps six for $335 a night in January high season, with an outdoor barbecue and firepit, bocce ball court, full kitchen, hot tub, and pool.
More hot spots Try San Diego; Santa Barbara; Breckenridge, Colorado; Park City, Utah; and the North Shore on Oahu, Hawaii.
5 of 8Photo by Harley Soltes
Why we love it: We’d rather make cheese ourselves than watch someone else make it on Food Network.
Our favorite farm:Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts, in Rice, Washington (85 miles from Spokane). LoraLea and Rick Misterly, makers of prized farmstead goat cheeses, teach you what it takes to get food from ground to table, on the pine-scented slopes above Lake Roosevelt. You’ll milk a goat, make cheese, tend beets, butcher meat, and forage for elderflowers. Classes begin Apr 23; visit website for schedule and fees.
Why we love it: Forget the ritzy resorts and overpriced continental breakfasts. Find the right campground, and even top-dollar destinations are within reach.
One beach, two ways: A room at the Four Seasons at Manele Bay in Lanai, Hawaii could set you back $450 or more a night.
But camping at Hulopo‘e Beach Park, which happens to be the same beach the Four Seasons uses―and the only legal campground on the island―is $35 per night (reservations required; 808/565-3319). It’s on a protected cove ideal for snorkeling, tidepooling, and sleeping by the waves.
7 of 8Photo by Bettman/Corbis Images
Why we love it: It costs next to nothing to escape the resort crowds and explore the quiet backcountry (rentals run $10 to $15). And we’re not the only ones: Snowshoeing is one of the fastest-growing winter sports.
The benefits: One hour of snowshoeing can burn about 600 calories (more than running at the same pace), and there’s little chance of injury, thanks to the low impact.
Best new gear: The super-sleek Elektra 10 Series by Atlas ($200), a good all-terrain beginners’ option that’s designed specifically for women.
Try it here:Crater Lake National Park is a snowshoer’s paradise. Take a ranger-led walk―on snowshoes―weekends through April. The tours are free, and so is borrowing snowshoes.
Plan a trip: Check snowshoemag.com for trail recommendations, tips for first-timers, and lists of snowshoe clubs.
8 of 8Photo by Dave Lauridsen
Plan a national park tour
Why we love it: Because the three-day weekend just isn’t enough. And for about $20 per park, your money goes a long way: fresh air, protected land, and sublime landscapes included.
Our favorite route: The “Tour de Southwest” in northern Arizona and southern Utah, with four national parks, two national monuments, and a tribal park within 600 miles.
Fly into Phoenix, head northeast to the Petrified Forest, then north to Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley, west to the Grand Canyon, then north again to Grand Staircase–Escalante, Bryce, and Zion. You can fly home from Las Vegas or loop back to your Phoenix starting point.