If you find yourself going back to the same vacation destination year after year, perhaps it’s time to infuse something different into your travel itinerary. Here are three outdoorsy adventures that make great escapes for families, friends or couples. Get outside and explore nature in a whole new way with these three great vacation options.
By Melonee Hurt
This summer, the popular lifestyle brand began hosting its first Life is Good Vacations to Montana where travel partners, Montana-based Austin Adventures, show people the time of their lives in the scenic backcountry of Yellowstone National Park and Paradise Valley.
There are multiple reasons we love this trip, the main one being that all of the planning has been done for you. It would take months of research and planning to execute a week-long trip across the backcountry of Montana with this much activity. With these Life is Good trips, everything has been taken care of, from the travel and lodging to meals and excursions. And there’s even a little something extra thrown in for your soul.
“We wanted to give families the space to get outside and connect on a deeper level,” says Life is Good Partnership Manager Taylor Capuano. “Life is Good has always celebrated the simple beauty of the outdoors through the art and message on our product. These vacations give families a chance to experience unforgettable moments and true, unplugged connection.”
Taylor says it’s important to Life is Good to inspire openness in children and provide them with a safe environment where they feel comfortable trying new things that they might not experience in their day-to-day life like mountain biking, hiking or ziplining, which can set them up to be open to adventures in their futures.
Kasey Austin Morrissey, Vice President of Operations for Austin Adventures, says the greatest reason a family should take one of these trips is to get outside of their comfort zone. “Having an itinerary in front of you helps the families choose the same things and do them together as a family,” Kasey says. “For example, we are going ziplining on this trip, so everyone is going ziplining even though it’s something maybe Mom wouldn’t have opted to do on her own.”
Other activities include horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing and whitewater rafting. In addition to all activities being researched, vetted and arranged, all of the little details are taken care of as well, including meals, luggage transportation between destinations and the intangibles, like some breathtaking views and special moments along the way.
“We are based in Montana, so this is our backyard. We are showing you the local side of Montana. You’d be hard-pressed to find out how to do this on your own. We’ve picked what we believe is the cream of the crop of the activities.”
Other Life is Good vacations happening this year include trips to Alberta, Canada; Costa Rica and Utah. For more information on each trip and booking details, click here.
By Chris Chamberlain
In a state known for open spaces, people casually refer to a thousand-acre ranch as a “small farm.” Even in this environment, The Resort at Paws Up is pretty darned impressive. This luxury resort covers 37,000 acres in the heart of the Blackfoot Valley, about 35 minutes northeast of Missoula, MT. Fortunately, accommodations include airport transfer from Missoula and all transportation around the expansive resort.
Paws Up is a working ranch, with all the outdoorsy activities that you could ever want from a luxury resort. Horseback ride through wilderness sanctuaries, or experience the extra horsepower of an ATV tour, fly fish for trout in sparkling streams, try your hand at shooting sporting clays, or shoot for birdies at a nearby championship golf course. Appropriate for families or adults traveling without the kids, there are plenty of other activities available at The Resort at Paws Up, including boating, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, paintball, rafting, rappelling, swimming and more.
If that’s still not enough for you, Paws Up recently purchased an entire island to create the Island Lodge at Salmon Lake, a private retreat nestled among the pines just a 15-minute drive from the main resort. Guests can visit for a day, or just a three-hour excursion to enjoy the benefits of having their own private island retreat with amenities like paddleboarding, jet skiing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, sailing, fishing, kayaking, paddleboats, swimming, a floating trampoline and sunset pontoon boat tours. Keeping with Paws Up’s commitment to luxury and hospitality, the Lodge comes staffed with activity guides, a talented chef and an island butler.
That attitude toward casual, rustic luxury is apparent in just about every aspect of the resort’s accommodations. Guests can pick from luxury log or stone homes ranging from 1-4 bedrooms with full kitchens and all the amenities you expect from a fine resort including internet access, flat-screen televisions with satellite programming, hot tubs, robes and slippers. If you prefer to “rough it,” Paws Up-style, you can instead choose to stay in one of their luxury tents. Bragging that they are “North America’s premier glamping (glamour camping) destination,” these tents are truly spectacular accommodations.
Situated in the woods or along rivers, the luxury tents are grouped together in camps showcasing stunning views. Tents with one and two bedrooms feature air conditioning and en suite bathrooms, and all the tents in a camp share a common dining pavilion to enjoy meals prepared by the camp chef, and a camp butler prepares a roaring fire complete to cook s’mores.
As great as the culinary program at Paws Up is, the staff chefs aren’t the only talented cooks performing for guests at the resort. Paws Up hosts special culinary weekend events throughout the year, and later this year when the air gets a little crisper in Big Sky Country, notable Nashville chef Julia Sullivan of Henrietta Red will make her way to Paws Up to take part in their Montana Master Chefs event on September 27-30, 2018. Learn more about this popular foodie event at the event website.
The Resort at Paws Up is located at 40060 Paws Up Road, Greenough, MT 59823. Learn more at pawsup.com.
By Melonee Hurt
Perhaps nothing is more American than a working ranch, and there are multiple options for lay folk to experience a dude ranch — start your search at the Dude Ranchers Association homepage. We particularly found Tanque Verde to be a great choice, especially for families, due to their breadth of children’s activities, which include fishing, mountain biking, swimming, tennis and dancing, as well as a full kids’ day camp as well as kid-centered activities that parents are welcome to attend.
But the real beauty of this historic working ranch are the modern touches that have been added for Mom and Dad. If the words “dude ranch” instantly conjure up images of teepees and dusty cans of beans for dinner, think again. This dude ranch has a spa, tennis courts and a full range of cuisine options ranging from a cowboy barbecue to private chefs table options.
Not super comfortable with your horseback riding skills? Not to worry. The ranch offers walking rides as well as private lessons and horsemanship fundamentals training. But if you consider yourself a bit of a horseman, there are also mountain adventure rides and even a Sunrise Ride through the Sonoran Desert or a Sunset Ride & Cowboy Cookout that sounds especially wonderful.
The Ranch is currently offering its “Celebrating 150 Years” package that runs through August and includes deluxe lodging, breakfast and an a la carte menu of activities so that you can customize your stay to accommodate your family based on whether you’d rather do yoga together or take Jeep rides through the mountains. This package starts at $150 per night based on double occupancy, but extra kiddos are only $15 per night, per child.
The ranch is easily accessible from the Tucson International Airport, and free airport transportation is available for anyone staying four or more nights on an all-inclusive rate plan. If you stay less than four nights or on other rate plans, transfers are available for a fee of $55 per trip.
Tanque Verde Dude Ranch is located at 14301 East Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85748. Learn more at tanqueverderanch.com.
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