Canyon Bathing, Wine Tasting, and Everything in Between: All the Spring Break Destinations You Need to Bookmark Now
Looking for a magical wine tasting experience? A different kind of spa getaway? Somewhere off the beaten path? We’ve got ideas.
We’re with you—it’s time to get out of the house. You’ve been stuck at home for a long time. So, it’s understandable if you’re searching for ways to travel beyond four familiar walls. Wine tasting, hiking, bicycling, bar-hopping—anything. Spring break just so happens to be the perfect time to do just that.
Here at Sunset, we look forward to travel for just about any reason, so we are wanderlusting right along with you. Whether it’s checking another national park off our bucket lists, finding that great neighborhood boutique fulls of anything and everything we need (read: want) for our homes, or canyon bathing—yes, you read that right, canyon bathing—we’re ready to get out there again this spring.
We gathered up a few of the destinations across the West that we’ve been dreaming about visiting—whether a trip is going to last a week or the itinerary simply calls for an overnight visit. Below, you’ll find a few classics, some unexpected towns, and a bunch of activity options for every type of traveler. Wine tasting with friends? Check. Whale watching with the family? Check. Book stores and beer spas alike for the solo traveler? Check, check, check.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore this vast and varied landscape that we call home.
For even more inspiration, check out our latest travel coverage from across the West.
National Parks, From Denali to Glacier Bay
What to do: It’s tough to choose among the state’s treasured public lands, but we recommend Denali National Park & Preserve and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. Denali claims the tallest peak in North America—”the Mountain.” Hikers can go off-trail in this park, but make sure you heed local warnings (and wildlife). Glacier Bay is an epic spot to see humpback whales.
For travelers who want… to get a little more off the beaten path.
Where to stay: Castle Hot Springs. For those who can afford an escape to such an oasis, a getaway can quite literally be whatever you need. Spa treatments can be traditional, such as a tourmaline clay wrap in a creekside cabana, or totally touchless—like via ferrata climbs and meditative hikes meant to target stress and fatigue.
For travelers who want… to soak up the sun (and mineral waters).
What to do: It’s Napa, so not to be obvious, but go wine tasting. Our staff and local insiders suggest Hoopes Vineyard, Heitz Cellar, Ashes & Diamonds, Mayacamas, Clos du Val, Brand Napa Valley, and more.
Where to stay: There are plenty of new hotels opening in California wine country. Don’t miss North Block Hotel’s new restaurant, designed by the renowned Erin Martin, where ceramic flowers by sculptor Owen Mann trail along the dark walls and oversize white herons by artist Michael Duté fly around the dining room.
For travelers who want… good sips.
What to do: There’s incredible food in this sleepy California town, like at the newly opened Rory’s Place, Izakaya Full Moon, or vegan Mexican restaurant Farmer and the Cook. Ojai Valley Brewery’s taproom and beer garden is also a great outdoor space to spend an afternoon. Book lovers: You’ll need to schedule in a stop at Bart’s Books, the open-air bookstore of your reader dreams.
Where to stay: Capri Hotel, complete with pool and palm trees, is set for relaxation, and the motor lodge just got a reboot that ups the ante on its ’70s vibes.
For travelers who want… small town charm.
What to do: Christine Soto, the owner of Dead or Alive Bar + Shop, recently shared with us her top picks around her hometown. She highly recommends Bar Cecil, the city’s hottest restaurant right now, along with a hike at Whitewater Preserve, drinks at Las Palmas and Truss & Twine, and a shopping break at Thick as Thieves.
Where to stay: If you’re planning an adults-only getaway, Sparrows Lodge is the place for you. For a relaxing respite, opt for Fleur Noire Hôtel or Two Bunch Palms, a nearby mineral hot springs resort and spa.
For travelers who want… to beat that dry desert heat (before it gets too hot).
What to do: Try out a new way to soak at The Beer Spa, which offers herbal baths—and a taproom, if you prefer your hops in a glass.
Where to stay: Head over to Chez Maggy at the newly opened Thompson Hotel for chef Ludo Lefebvre’s good eats and a luxury stay.
For travelers who want… a different kind of spa getaway.
What to do: If Hawaii is on your bucket list, now is the time to go. As of March 26, domestic travelers no longer need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or take a COVID-19 test before visiting the islands. Be sure to stop by Top Chef veteran Sheldon Simeon‘s Tin Roof for some incredible food before a farm visit at Maui Kuʻia Estate Chocolate and some fantastic coffee along the way.
Where to stay: The newly renovated Hotel Lahaina is perfectly situated in the whaling town of Lahaina. Kā’anapali Beach Hotel also recently had a major renovation, which includes the debut of waterfront restaurant Huihui.
For travelers who want… a taste of island life.
What to do: Take your forest bathing to the next level at The Green O, a new retreat within Paws Up Resort. While the accommodations are secluded, you’ll have access to spring experiences such as horseback riding, fly fishing, biking, hiking, and more.
Where to stay: At The Green O, a 23-foot-high Tree Haus boasts floor-to-ceiling views of the sprawling woodlands, sure to relax your mind as you settle into bed or take a long, relaxing soak in your private outdoor hot tub.
For travelers who want… sweet serenity.
What to do: Ride a bike amid the lavender fields at Los Poblanos, or grab a lavender cocktail at the inn’s onsite restaurant Campo.
For travelers who want… to experience one of America’s most outstanding inns.
What to do: Sip a glass of sparkling wine on a hill above rows of grapevines farmed by the team behind Analemma Wines, a biodynamic and Demeter-certified winery where cows munch on cold melon rinds and cherry orchards blossom. Pigs, cows, chickens, and geese roam the vines at Hiyu, a world-class winery inspired by the philosophies of Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, who believed in farming without tillage or fertilizer.
Where to stay: Executive chef Mark DeResta’s cuisine at Riverside restaurant—not to mention the patio perched on the banks of the river—will make you rethink everything you knew about Best Western hotel dining.
For travelers who want… a magical wine-tasting experience just an hour east of Portland.
What to do: Winemaker Fiona Mak recently shared with us her favorite spots in the valley. At Hoquetus Wine Co., Robert Gomez creates “expressive and delicious” wines, Mak says. Kelsey Albro Itämeri opened Itä Wines after becoming “obsessed with the uniqueness of the landscape,” she says. Grab a street taco at Agapa’s Mexican Cravings or find food truck called Where There’s Food… Eat It. “You can order ahi tuna tacos, black truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, and a mixed plate with pulled pork, andouille sausage, and brisket all in one place,” Mak says.
Where to stay: The Inn at Abeja offers “a sense of peace and tranquility after a long day of wine tasting,” Mak says. “Their property is large and meticulously landscaped for maximum enjoyment and relaxation, inside and out. You can relax in your own en-suite room in the large farmhouse if you’re here with a group, or one of their beautiful bungalows as a couple’s getaway.”
For travelers who want… to experience an up-and-coming wine region before the tourists get there.