If you’re thinking about a vacation closer to home, any advice you receive may sound like a broken record. Go to Montauk—for the beaches. Go to New Orleans—the food’s to die for (as is the jazz). Go to Vegas—what happens there, stays there. We won’t blame you if this repetitive information blast has given you an impression that America is the Beautiful is quite small.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Look between the cracks and you’ll see that our country is big. Really big. For every well-groomed resort you read about in a travel mag, there’s an unsung artsy, foodie haven. For every over-documented vista you see on Instagram, there’s an au naturaldestination out there, yours for the photo-taking.
Couer d’Alene, Idaho
Tucked away in northern Idaho, Couer d’Alene—known as CDA by the locals—is a haven for recreational pursuits. Within the city limits, you can swim, boat, fish, and kayak, or explore dedicated bike routes. Mere miles away, you can hit the slopes at two resorts, Silver Mountain and Schweitzer, which boast nearly 170 trails between them.
And if you’re a golfer, CDA is a must-visit destination: the 14th hole at the Couer d’Alene Resort Golf Course is the world’s only floating green—and the course itself consistently earns accolades from golf publications year after year after year.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
In the late 19th century, when cars were nascent technology, the township of Mackinac Island banned them outright. To this day, that ban still exists; other than the occasional service car or emergency vehicle, you won’t see a single automobile. As such, Mackinac Island is a quaint, peaceful oasis. Methods for getting around town vary by the season. During warmer weather, bicycles rule the road. But in the winter, the bikes get tucked away—and the snowmobiles come out. So plan your trips accordingly.