Great Winter Escapes
Coastal Living vacations to enjoy in any temperature
Winter visitors to tiny Lanai find both lush landscapes andluxury accommodations. Book a guide and head out in afour-wheel-drive to Garden of the Gods, a mysterious display ofrocks and boulders in all shapes and sizes. For more adventure,follow the Munro Trail, a 12-mile drive through rain forests tomountain summits. After a long day on Lanai's unpaved terrain, youcan indulge in a spa treatment at the Lodge at Koele or the ManeleBay Hotel, both Four Seasons Resorts with spectacular Pacificviews. Call 808/565-4000 or fourseasons.com/lanai.
While cold weather might limit long afternoons outside, therolling dunes near this Cape Cod town do offer breathtaking views.For a guided tour, try Art's Dune Tours, a company in businesssince 1946. Back in the village, spend a few nights atProvincetown's Crowne Pointe Historic Inn and Spa. Everythingyou'll want to see is within walking distance, though you may notwant to leave the cozy warmth of your room's fireplace;877/276-9631 or crownepointe.com forreservations.
Take advantage of mild year-round weather to experienceAlabama's Gulf Coast. For views of Mobile's growing skyline, take acruise around Mobile Bay aboard the schooner Joshua. Then stroll through historic districts beforespending the night at the 19th-century Malaga Inn. Make sure to trythe pecan waffles at Spot of Tea. You might even run into acelebrity or two; 251/443-9463 for Joshua; 251/438-4701 for reservations at Malaga.
Grand Marais, Minnesota
Frigid temperatures and icy terrain may not seem like typicalvacation fare, but for an adventure-filled holiday, northernMinnesota offers the perfect destination. Where else can you guidea dog team along the North Shore of Lake Superior? Let ArleighJorgenson Sled Dog Adventures set you up for a half-day or full dayof mushing through wooded paths. For a similar―but lessexhausting―experience, ride along with a veteran musher. Hotchocolate and cider await upon your return; 800/884-5463 or dogmushing.com.
Ranguana Cay, Belize
It's easy to pretend you're on a deserted island on RanguanaCay, a 2-acre speck of land 18 miles off the coast of CentralAmerica. The island's accommodations are few―just a couple ofshacks amid coconut trees―but the crystal-clear water andcomfy hammocks leave you no reason to complain. And if you wantmore activity, you can explore the world's second-largest reef;800/565-9757 or robertsgrove.com.
What better way to battle the winter blues than to cruisedown a mountain? For a slope experience like no other, Camden SnowBowl offers views of the Atlantic as you schuss and carve throughthe runs on 1,300-foot-tall Ragged Mountain. And if skiing isn'tyour thing, the toboggan shoot provides the same adrenaline rushwith significantly less work. After a day on the slopes, take the20-minute drive to Camden Harbor for dinner and shopping. Save thisvacation for after Christmas since the slopes don't open untilmid-December; 207/236-3438 or visit camdensnowbowl.com.
Olympic Peninsula, Washington
The Pacific Northwest is famous for its winter storms, andthe Olympic Peninsula may be the best place to watch them. Guestsof Kalaloch Lodge, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, cancatch views of crashing waves on jagged rocks below, from thesafety of their room. Since most visitors come during the summer,you'll have the seven surrounding beaches mostly to yourself. Eachhas its own unique landscape, and each deserves attention, even ifyou just spend an afternoon walking along the shore. Once you'veworked up an appetite, enjoy Northwestern-style seafood at thelodge restaurant; call 866/525-2562 or visitkalaloch.com.