In the Mood for a Laid-Back Escape
From a low-key ski destination to a Hawaiian yurt retreat, we've got the easy-going vacation for you
1. Alta, WY
Skiing like you remember it: Mountains like Grand Targhee are a dying breed: No parking lot hassles, no mile-long schlep to the ticket window, no $20 hamburgers.
Instead, drive right up to the ski lift, put on your boots, and drop into 2,500 acres of steeps, cruisers, and glades. The timbered Teewinot Lodge makes a homey slopeside basecamp. Bonus: Targhee’s 40th anniversary means $40 lift tickets and deep discounts on multi-night stays. From $129; 800/827-4433. –Katie Arnold
2. Near Mendocino, CA
Off the grid on the coast: At Glendeven Inn, just south of Mendocino in Little River, your cell signal obligingly vanishes when you pull in the drive, and there’s not a remote control in sight.
Which means you’ll have all the time in the world to hike along the headlands of surrounding Van Damme State Park, scatter some corn for the inn’s chickens (it’s only fair―you’ll be eating their eggs come morning), and introduce yourself to the resident llamas.
If you just want to hide out in your room―for decor, think Down East meets Sea Ranch―that’s fine too. Your breakfast basket will be delivered to your door, along with a newspaper … which we encourage you to ignore. From $139, including breakfast; 707/937-0083. –Christine Ryan
3. Greer, AZ
A yesteryear lodge in the woods: Along the Little Colorado River in Arizona’s White Mountains, tiny Greer is the kind of community where elk and deer outnumber human residents―the perfect place to hide out.
Greer Lodge’s 11 rooms, all knotty pine and log walls, have luxe touches and fluffy beds that make you want to curl up and get cozy, but they’re blissfully free of TVs and phones.
Pry yourself out of your room to borrow the resort’s complimentary cross-country skis or snowshoes for treks through the snowy meadows and forest. From $89; two-night minimum on weekends; 928/735-7216. –Nora Burba Trulsson
4. Big Island, HI
Hidden Hawaii: Way up at the northern point of the Big Island, past the fancy resorts everyone has heard of, there’s a lush and little-known area of former sugar towns. About a year ago, the Hawaii Island Retreat opened nine rooms in a green valley here.
Now, its just-finished, solar-powered “yurt village” has put the hidden retreat firmly within reach for any budget. Seven sturdy tent bungalows stand next to a saltwater swimming pool, spa, shower house, and organic garden.
The famed beaches of the Kohala Coast are a half-hour away, but what almost no one seems to know (yet) is that there are enough waterfalls, breezy beaches, and seafood joints to keep a person content right here. Yurts from $175; 808/889-6336. –Jeanne Cooper
5. Mammoth Lakes, CA
Warm up in a snowy mountain cabin: Reclaim winter’s quiet at Tamarack Lodge, where charming cabins with fireplaces and patchwork quilts hide out among the trees just outside Mammoth’s resorty core.
By day, share 19 miles of groomed cross-country trails with just a few solitude-loving skiers. By night, return to the 1924 lodge for warm drinks and dessert in front of the massive river-rock fireplace. Lodge rooms from $79, fireplace cabins from $169; 760/934-2442. –Cameron Walker
Next: 5 offbeat adventures