Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors
Grand Teton National Park Camping & Other Weekend Getaways
Getting away for a weekend vacation can help to rejuvenate you and improve your work product. Convincing a person to go on vacation, of course, is not a difficult sell. The harder decision is about where to go. Which venerable American hotspot is great for relaxing weekend? What works for relaxation may not work for your bachelor party. Here are five spots in the US that can satisfy your need for a weekend of relaxation.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Nestled within the Teton Range is Jackson Hole, an area that includes the host city of Jackson and its surrounding outdoor oasis.
Jackson Hole provides dramatic views of the mountains, the opportunity for hiking on its many hiking trails, and some of the world's best hotels. The Four Seasons there is consistently ranked among the best in the world, and the Snake River Lodge is a more price-effective option for those who still want luxury.
While getting to Jackson Hole can be a bit of a chore, Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is adding more and more direct flights with each passing year.
Grand Teton National Park campgrounds are popular destinations in nearby Grand Teton National Park. The park is open year-round, but peak season runs from late-June through early-September with the following sites available:
- Colter Bay Campground & Colter Bay RV Park - Close to Jackson Lake with nearby activities, this campground is open mid-May through late-September and offers 335 individual campsites (160 tent spots with tent pads), 11 large group sites, and 13 electric-accessible sites. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and bear boxes for food storage (this is bear country) are available for most tent sites. Individual campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and generally fill up by mid-afternoon during peak season (June through August). Group sites are available through advance reservation. There's a dump station on-site and Tent Cabins for rent in nearby Colter Bay Village.
- Jenny Lake Campground - The most popular campground with 49 tent-only sites that generally fill up by mid-morning. It's just a short walk away from Jenny Lake and sits along the Grand Teton National Park bike path. Group camping sites are not available.
- Signal Mountain Campground - Open May through October and adjacent to Signal Mountain Lodge with a marina, camp store, and amenities nearby. There are 81 tent camping sites with 24 electric hookups. Sites are available first-come, first-served only and usually fill by early- to mid-morning during peak season (June through August).
- Lizard Creek Campground - 60 sites available first-come, first-serve only. Generally fills by mid-afternoon during peak season (June through August). Near the shores of Jackson Lake, but a somewhat less developed campsite.
- Gros Ventre Campground - Closest campground to the town of Jackson; near the Gros Ventre River. 300 individual sites available with 5 group sites and 26 electric hookups. Individual campsites available on first-come, first-served basis. Typically fills by early evening during peak season (June through August).
- Headwaters Campground & RV Sites at Flagg Ranch - Located near the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway in between Teton Park and Yellowstone National Park, this is an ideal location if you're visiting both parks. The campground offers 175 sites, 24-hour showers, laundry, and full hook-ups for RVs. Open June through September; reservations can be made in advance through the Grand Teton Lodge Company.
Backcountry camping, which requires a permit, is also an excellent activity and highly recommended. If you're up for a challenge, we especially recommend the Teton Crest Trial.
Some consider Portland to be Boston without the traffic. Portland has everything you need for a summer weekend away. There, you can find some of the country's chillest breweries. You can eat lobster by the pound and enjoy history, too. It's close enough to the beach to satisfy your relaxation needs. More than anything, Portland is just easy. It's a city just small enough to save you headaches in dealing with an overabundance of people.
Some people think Louisville is only a destination around May during the Kentucky Derby. Those people are missing out on the city's opportunities for relaxation. Downtown, developers have turned a series of older buildings into restored hotels. The city has a number of restaurants, and you can tour nearby bourbon distilleries. Perhaps the best thing about Louisville is how easily you can access it by air and land. Given its central location, Louisville is within three hours of pretty much every major American city.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Most people would never expect to find Sin City on a list of relaxing destinations. If you can manage to do Las Vegas the right way, it can be the perfect place for that kind of getaway. Just away from the Strip, you'll find relaxing resorts like Red Rock. A short day trip can take you into the serene scenes at Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon. While most people think of Vegas as strip clubs and slot machines, many come to the city to enjoy world-class hotels and the nature that waits just a day's drive from those glitzy casinos.
Del Mar, California
Forget the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles if Southern California is your preferred destination. Even downtown San Diego can be a chore for would-be travelers. The best place to go in California is Del Mar if you want to recharge. For those who can afford the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, it's the obvious choice to recharge. The European-style grounds create an oasis where the world can hardly bother you. If you're looking for something more affordable, the area has several nice hotels that will give you easy access to the beach and also Torrey Pines State Reserve. Del Mar has some excitement if you have to have it, including a horse racing track that's hosted some of the best races in the world. At its core, though, it's a city where people go to kick back their feet and relax.
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“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
— John Muir