Living by the beach / ocean, I often find myself craving an escape to the mountains. As a skier, I always try to hit the slopes in the winter, but the mountain towns and resorts in the summertime are SO lovely – plenty of fresh air, open spaces, ample hiking and lots of outdoorsy activities. Here are some ideas for mountain getaways close to home for summer 2020 – all ideal for a socially distant vacation.
1 – COLORADO – Ski towns, like Vail, Breckenridge, Telluride have plenty of resorts to choose from and make for great summer destinations. One of my favorite Colorado mountain towns is Aspen, and I was fortunate enough to visit there last September. The weather was perfect with warm days and cool nights. Plus, aside from the ample hiking and nature, the town of Aspen has a ton to offer, with local shops, parks and great restaurants. My top picks to stay in Aspen are The Little Nell, part of Relais & Chateaux, and Hotel Jerome, part of Auberge Resorts. Both are intimate boutique hotels, well-located in the center of town for easy access to everything. With many of the larger events and conferences that typically happen in Aspen cancelled for 2020, this is a great time to visit sans crowds.
For a more remote vacation, check out Dunton Hot Springs, a Relais & Chateaux resort several hours from Denver, consisting of little cabins in an abandoned mining town. For families, I love Gateway Canyons Resort which has plenty of activities onsite to please the whole crew.
2 – WYOMING – Wyoming is one of my favorite states! I think it perfectly combines the casual atmosphere of the west with the luxury of fine resorts, plus jaw-dropping nature and extreme adventure activities. My husband and I actually got engaged in Jackson Hole and it truly is the place to be in Wyoming; and in my opinion, one of the best towns in the country. There are a number of resorts here due to the ski mountain, but also the proximity to Grand Teton National Park. In Jackson, “Amanjunkies” must stay at Amangani for ultraluxe accommodations and a stellar view. For those who’d rather be right in the center of town, boutique Hotel Jackson is the perfect blend of modern and rustic, with cozy mountain-style yet tech-forward rooms and a jacuzzi on the roof; or try the historic Wort Hotel, dating to 1941.
Over in Teton Village (at the base of the ski mountain), you can opt for a more conventional resort atmosphere at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole, or go for apartment-style accommodations with a stay at newcomer Caldera House – a very small boutique resort with two and four bedroom apartments – perfect for multiple couples or a family. Jackson Hole is a fabulous base for your vacation, but National Park lovers may also opt to start or end with a few days in Grand Teton or even up in Yellowstone on the Wyoming-side. Overall, Wyoming has had very low numbers of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and the national parks and wide open expanses make this an easy place for socially distanced travels.
3 – MONTANA – Montana is perfect for a family or multi-generational ranch-style summer escape. There are several top resorts to choose from, each with slightly different things on offer, but all with plenty of activities and no need to venture far from the property once you arrive. The Resort at Paws Up has a mix of accommodations, from multi-room cabins to glamping tents (this resort invented glamping!),which make this property my #1 pick for a family vacation in Montana! Rates are steep but are all inclusive of meals, accommodations and transfers. Plus their nearby Island Lodge at Salmon Lake is a great complement to the mountain vibe. Horse lovers and fishing enthusiasts will love the true dude ranch feel of Ranch at Rock Creek in Big Sky Country. And couples looking for a kid-free escape should head to Triple Creek Ranch, an adults-only Relais & Chateaux property.
If your’e visiting Yellowstone, you should also consider Sage Lodge which is the nicest luxe resort within easy driving distance to the park. All of these hotels have standalone accommodation options meaning you don’t have to worry about elevators or passing other guests in shared hallways.
4 – UTAH – Salt Lake City is an airline hub on the west coast, so aside from great nature and resorts to explore, the state of Utah is really easy to get to from most other US cities. For extra ease, fly into SLC and head to nearby Park City, just 40 minutes away. Either enjoy the many resorts in this ski town, including the newly opened Waldorf Astoria Park City, or head outside to Auberge Resort’s The Lodge at Blue Sky. The latter just opened in 2019 and similar to many of the other hotels we’ve discussed so far, offers plenty of activities on-site and great socially distanced accommodation options. The former is taking plenty of safety measures including requiring reservations at the pool – so you’re guaranteed a spot and no waiting required. Driving west to the adventure capital of Moab, you’ll be able to go whitewater rafting, jeeping, canyoneering, and hiking in Arches National Park. Those looking for a true nature escape, should try glamping at Under Canvas Moab, while those looking for a bit more luxurious accommodations, should check out the cabins at Sorrel River Ranch. Although if you have enough time I’d recommend combining the two!
And if you’re really looking to get off the grid and splurge a bit, look no further than Amangiri, near the famed slot canyons of Utah. Their much-hyped Camp Sarika (a brand new tented retreat) opens this week – each canvas-topped pavilion with their very own plunge pool!
Please contact me if you’d like to brainstorm a US getaway this summer!