When most people plan vacation or a quick getaway, they build out the itinerary of their stay based on location, location, location. They point their finger at a map saying, “Let’s go to (fill in the blank) and now here are the things we can do while we are there.” Instead, think of an activity that you enjoy, or that excites you, or challenges you, or is relaxing, and build a vacation around that.
Spa, golf, horseback riding, hiking and fishing are five activities that can get most people to just pack a back and go. Close enough to drive to, but far enough to feel like vacation. These aren’t necessarily the grandest locales for each said activity, but regionally, these places top most lists.
If there was ever peace on earth, many would agree it’s found at the spa. Typically spa vacations are meant to be relaxing and stress-free. Guests spend most of their time at the resort or hotel for massages and other soothing activities, rather than in the bustle of sightseeing and touring. Many spa getaways are now themed, meaning you might choose a series of spa-events centered on detox, yoga, cleansing, mediation or weight loss.
Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort in Lenox, MA, offers spa vacations focused on health, medical education and relaxation. Stay packages are designed around three, seven, 28 or more days and can include massage therapies, body scrubs and facials in addition to recreational activities like swimming, hiking, skiing, kayaking and tennis, while dining on meals made with fresh, organic and available local ingredients. Canyon Ranch is approximately a four-hour drive from Long Island.
The Copperhood Retreat and Spa
The Copperhood Retreat and Spa in Shandaken, just a two-hour ride into the Catskills from Long Island, offers relaxation and rejuvenation in addition to programs designed to help break food and substance addictions in two- to 21-day programs which include detox, fasting and raw food therapy, paired with outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing and more.
The Lodge at Woodloch
The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, PA, is a destination spa resort nestled in upper PA, offering three- to seven-day preplanned vacations, in addition to customizable stays. Enjoy relaxation and rejuvenation through workshops like painting, cooking, wine tasting or take higher-activity classes like yoga, aqua fitness, kickboxing, golf or tennis. Head northwest from Long Island to Hawley for an approximate three-and-a-half hour ride.
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How about a round-a golf? Relaxing for some, golf can take your mind off the worries of the world while put all of your concentration toward that little white ball and the perfection of your swing. Check out some of these regional favorites:
The Sagamore Resort
The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, an Adirondack gem on an island in Lake George dates back to 1883. Golfers enjoy their game on the resort’s well-preserved 18-hole course.
Crystal Springs Resort
Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ, is just about an hour’s drive from Long Island. There are golfing packages for the entire family here, including grass putting courses and nine-hole challenges.
Omni Mount Washington Resort
Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH, is a little more than a seven-hour ride from Manhattan.
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Saddle up and move ‘em out. Horseback riding is an enjoyable activity, whether you’re a newbie or an old hand. There are dozens of ranches within driving distance to center your next vacation around. Most ranch resorts are family-friendly and cater to all skill levels and interests, whether you want to learn a new hobby, or get some exercise, or commune with nature. Here are some suggestions for a regional getaway that will satisfy your quota of an equestrian-filled vacation for both English and Western riders, ranging from historic resorts to ranches.
Rocking Horse Ranch Resort
Rocking Horse Ranch Resort is in the heart of the Hudson Valley and offers a year-round escape for families who love the outdoors. There are many horse adventures to choose from, including trail riding, horse drawn wagon rides and sleigh rides. These activities, as well as other forms of entertainment, are available as part of an all-inclusive vacation package. The ranch is about a two-hour drive from Long Island.
Ravens Run Riding Resort
Ravens Run is located in a picturesque setting along the Blue Mountain Range in Lenhartsville, PA. The 40-acre farm has beautiful indoor stalls, lush pastures and a large riding arena for riders of all experience levels. The resort is about three-and-a-half hours from Long Island.
Also check out:
- Red Buffalo Ranch in Collegeville, PA
- Adventure Horse Riding in NYS in Westernville, NY
- Franconia Inn on White Mountain in Franconia, NH
- Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, VT
- Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm, Fayston, VT
- Shangrila Guest Ranch about an hour from Raleigh, NC in South Boston, VA
- B&B Guest Ranch & Spa in Fly Creek, NY, located just outside of Cooperstown
- Marriott Ranch, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Virginia
There are so many choices when it comes to hiking, literally thousands, just in upstate New York alone. You can be so distracted by some of the state’s natural outdoor beauty, making this a great getaway activity for someone who really loves to hike, as well as someone who doesn’t like hiking very much. You’ll forget that you are actually hiking.
Hike Cascade Mountain in Lake Placid, a little less than a five-mile hike, has views of the Adirondack’s Great Range, with a 4,098-foot peak.
Ausable Adventure Trail
Ausable Adventure Trail in Keeseville is home to a five-mile hiking trail above Ausable Chasm, “the Grand Canyon of the East.”
Overlook Mountain in Woodstock hosts a 4.6-mile hike and has been rated by many as a “great hike for people who don’t like hiking” although plan this hike early because it can get crowded on good days.
Constitution Marsh Trail
Constitution Marsh Trail in Garrison is approximately a two-mile hike, great for bird watchers, featuring views of the Hudson River, the Highlands and West Point Academy.
Also check out:
• Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail in the Finger Lakes
• Good Luck Lake and Cliffs Trail in the Adirondacks
• Devil’s Hole State Park in Niagara Falls
• Breakneck Ridge Trail in Beacon
• Anthony’s Nose in Peekskill
• Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca
Fishing is another great activity that you don’t even need to leave the state for. New York is home to some of the country’s best fishing, thanks to its vast rivers, lakes and streams. Go at it alone, take a chartered tour or guided trip. Plenty of bait and tackle shops offer lessons and advice about fishing its local waters. Check local regulations for fishing license and daily catch limits.
Here’s a sampling of some of the state’s popular hot spots:
• Hudson River
• Delaware River
• Mohawk River
• Lake Champlain
• Finger Lakes
• Lake Ontario
• Lake Erie
• Salmon River
• Niagara River