When the sky’s been gray for weeks, the furnace can’t keep up with the chill and you’re tired of de-icing the driveway, getting away to somewhere warm for even a week can be the secret to maintaining your mental health.

Or, if like me, you’re lucky enough to live where it doesn’t snow, you’ve likely been rained in for weeks and are desperate to travel to a destination where you can bask in the warmth of sunshine or appreciate the drama of snow draping the tree branches with lace. And if it’s a dog-friendly getaway you’re after, all you want is someplace where you won’t have to do a major wipe-down after every damp and gloomy walk.

Here are 15 spring getaways that meet all these criteria and more, whether your ideal vacation involves sinking your toes in the sand, seeking out spring wildflowers, tipping back a beer on a lakeside dock or testing your mettle with a boundary-pushing adventure.

Monterey, California

Lovers Point Beach in Monterey, California. ALEX WALKER/GETTY IMAGES

Sheltered within the horseshoe curve of Monterey Bay, this former center of the fishing industry has grown into a marine science destination of international stature.

Numerous exhibits and events celebrate the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can witness the antics of playful sea otters, circling sharks and chirping penguins diving into their pool. Highlights include the jellyfish tank, where the mysterious, transparent creatures seem to dance through the water, the Rocky Shores touch pool and timed events such as sea otter feedings, which you won’t want to miss.

Monterey is also celebrating the 65th anniversary of the weekend-long Artichoke Festival held in nearby Castroville, the “Artichoke Center of the World,” from June 8 to 9. Another must-see attraction is Cannery Row, made famous in the novel by John Steinbeck, which in addition to shops and cafes features a stretch of shorefront where you’re likely to see sea lions, otters and possibly a whale spouting in the distance.

If hunting for lost treasure, fighting skeleton pirates and ducking a mighty kraken, all of this in the dark, sounds like your dream, you’ll love Monterey’s new Treasure Hunt: The Ride, an immersive, interactive attraction on Cannery Row that opened in 2023 and reenacts the escapades of captain Hippolyte Bouchard, who attacked Monterey in 1818.

Related: 8 best theme parks in California for thrill-seekers and families

Speaking of whales, possible sightings at various times during the spring include humpbacks, grays, blues and even orcas. The best way to see them is on a boat tour such as those offered by Discovery Whale Watch, which puts a marine biologist or naturalist on board to locate marine life and explain what you’re seeing.

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If certain locations in Monterey look familiar, it’s because the town and surrounds provided the setting for the hit TV miniseries “Big Little Lies,” which featured the iconic Bixby Bridge in the opening sequence. It’s only half an hour from Monterey to the bridge, the first stop on the classic cliff-hugging Big Sur road trip.

While U.S. Highway 1 remains closed beyond Gamboa Point due to landslides and rockfalls, you can still visit many of Big Sur’s most famous sites, including McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Nepenthe and Partington Cove.

Where to stay

You’ll find the full resort experience at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course, which spans 22 private acres just outside the town center on the edge of the Del Monte Golf Course. Take advantage of two outdoor pools, three on-site restaurants and the cushy Spa Adeline. Rates start from $266 or 23,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

For a posher and more intimate experience, choose one of the three local boutique hotels in the Four Sisters collection: Green Gables Inn and Gosby House Inn in Pacific Grove, adjacent to Monterey, and Coachman’s Inn in neighboring Carmel. Rooms at all three start in the range of $200 to $250 per night and include a full breakfast.

Related: TPG’s 16 favorite hotels in California for every type of traveler

Lake City, Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida

Historic St. Augustine, Florida. MICHAEL WARREN/GETTY IMAGES

Once you know that Lake City, Florida’s Springlands, an hour east of Jacksonville, features more than 900 freshwater springs and 350 miles of rivers, you’ll wonder why this watery fantasia isn’t better known.

In stark contrast to the spring break throngs overwhelming many of Florida‘s more famous destinations, you’ll be thrilled at the peace to be found as you hike in the area’s thick pine forests, delve into its aquatic caves, trek to waterfalls and explore its nine state parks.

Related: The best state park in every US state

Lake City calls itself the “Springs Capital of the World,” and you won’t disagree when you see Ichetucknee Springs State Park, where people tube and kayak through waterways populated by otters, soft-shell turtles, wild turkeys, wood ducks and the striking long-billed limpkins.

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park, named after a well-known cave diver and underwater photographer, protects one of the most extensive underwater cave systems in the continental U.S., where more than 33,000 feet of caves have been documented since the mid-1950s.

It’s worth the two-hour drive to St. Augustine to tour a real-life fort, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, built by Spanish colonists in the 17th century, and you’ll want to add a tour of Villa Zorayda, built to resemble a mini-Alhambra complete with Moorish-influenced tilework.

If you’re thinking of visiting later in the spring, time your visit to experience Jacksonville’s celebration of Juneteenth on June 17, a high-spirited celebration that kicks off with a Freedom Walk and continues with the Melanin Market, which brings together more than 150 Black-owned businesses and features music, food trucks, craft booths and pop-up boutiques. The Jazz Discovery Series at James Weldon Johnson Park draws big-name musicians.

Where to stay

Convenient to Ichetucknee Springs, the Home2Suites by Hilton Lake City has a large pool enclosed in a sunny patio area, offers pet-friendly rooms and includes breakfast, making it a great home base from which to explore the area. And Hilton’s Home2Suites are pet-friendly, welcoming dogs of any size. Rates start from $203 per night with a Hilton Honors discount or 83,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve and San Luis Valley, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park. PATRICK LIENIN/GETTY IMAGES

Who knew that the largest sand dunes in the world are not along the coast but rather deep in the interior of the U.S.? Left behind when massive Lake Alamosa receded some 440,000 years ago, the sand was sculpted by high desert winds into peaks as high as 750 feet, all of which are open for climbing.

But not just climbing — the big fun in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is sandboarding, an extreme sport similar to snowboarding that turns adults into kids the instant they stand at the top of a slope, board in hands.

Sandboarding is not for the faint of heart, given the speeds at which boarders whizz down the steep inclines — and the frequency with which they wipe out. But it’s just as much fun to climb the dunes and gaze out across the enormous expanse of sand as it gradates from gold to pink in the changing light.

And yes, there’s actually a beach here, too, created by Medano Creek, which emerges mysteriously from the base of the dunes when fed by spring runoff. In warm weather, Medano Beach, as locals call it, resembles any other beach scene, with colorful umbrellas dotting the sand and hardy swimmers splashing and tubing in the rippling waves created by the current.

Related: 5 national parks to visit before your kids leave the house

There’s no question the weather in the San Luis Valley is iffy in the spring — snow can fall as late as April given the park’s elevation, which ranges from 7,520 to 13,604 feet, but the warm sun typically melts the snow off the dunes within a day. Medano Creek reaches peak flow in April, but the sun isn’t strong enough for most swimmers until May.

You’ll find plenty more to explore among the dramatic landscapes of southern Colorado, including four public hot springs surrounding the town of Alamosa, which range in vibe from family-friendly Splashland to romantic Joyful Journey.

You’ll also want to make the trek to Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge to witness the sandhill crane migration that takes place from March through early April and, if possible, attend the annual Monte Vista Crane Festival held from March 8 to 10.

The tiny historic town of Del Norte, recently discovered by mountain bikers, now has several Denver-style cafes and eateries.

Where to stay

Retro-cool Mellow Moon Lodge in Del Norte has free bikes on-site for guests, welcomes dogs and wows with its midcentury modern decor. Rooms start at $130 per night. Families like the Holiday Inn Express in Alamosa for the pool, hot tub and included breakfast. Rooms start at $104 or 22,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

The Finger Lakes, New York


What can’t you do in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where eleven different lakes offer seemingly endless possibilities for hiking, biking, boating, swimming and kicking back in the ubiquitous Adirondack chairs that adorn every porch and dock?

Base your stay in Seneca Lake, the largest and best known of the group, and take advantage of the year-round rides available at Painted Bar Stables. Seabreeze Amusement Park thrills kids and relaxes parents with its old-fashioned carnival atmosphere.

Visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls to learn about the history of the suffrage movement and women’s roles in abolition and other social movements.

Related: The 10 best road trips to take with your family this summer

For some big-city fun in nearby Rochester, wander the Neighborhood of the Arts with its many museums and galleries before relaxing in 150-acre Highland Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame.

At the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, you’ll continue your suffrage journey by sitting in the rooms where the pioneering women’s rights leader strategized with other heroines of the movement and lived until her death in 1906.

The Rochester Lilac Festival, held annually in May, celebrates a collection of more than 12,000 lilacs in full bloom (America’s largest collection). The largest living history museum in New York, Genesee Country Village & Museum, immerses visitors in 19th-century life with costumed guides demonstrating barrel-making, ceramics, blacksmithing and more. Going further than most such attractions, the museum includes play, giving kids the chance to try stilt-walking, hoop-rolling and other old-fashioned games.

Where to stay

Fronting directly on the lake with a high-touch spa, an elegant cocktail lounge and a heated lakefront pool and hot tub, Lake House at Canandaigua surprises with a host of luxurious amenities at an affordable price. A member of the I Prefer Hotel Rewards loyalty program, rooms start from $225 per night.

Tucson, Arizona


An hour’s drive from the Mexico border, Tucson is the perfect place to savor the Southwest’s colorful cultural mashup, and this extends to Tucson’s extraordinary cuisine, which earned the city a place on the world food map with its designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. And, indeed, the Arizona Star newspaper has mapped out a taco tour listing 25 different taco restaurants and food trucks clustered in five sections of the city.

Many people visit Tucson to explore Saguaro National Park, which spreads out in two segments on the east and west sides of Tucson. It’s certainly one of the Southwest’s top spots for bloom scouting.

But there’s much to see in the city itself, including Mission San Xavier del Bac, a Spanish Catholic mission dating to 1699, as well as the Pima Air & Space Museum and the Titan Missile Museum. Tucson is famous for hosting the biggest gem and geology event in the world, so it’s no wonder that the city just inaugurated the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum.

In 2023, Saguaro National Park was certified as an official Urban Night Sky Place, only the second national park to receive this designation, which recognizes sites that use planning and design to support an authentic nighttime experience despite being in settings with high levels of ambient light.

Related: Dreaming of outer space? Here are 8 tips for enjoying the night sky from Earth

Adult spring breakers will appreciate Tucson’s new four-day Agave Heritage Festival, the first festival in honor of the desert native, which has grown in this region for more than 1,000 years. The festival, which takes place April 18 to 21, honors community, culture and conservation through tastings, culinary events, educational seminars and more.

Getting to Tucson is also quite easy — currently there are nonstop flights to and from Atlanta; Chicago; Denver; Dallas; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City; San Diego; Phoenix; San Francisco; and Seattle.

Where to stay

You can have the full luxury resort vacation just half an hour from downtown at the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, which is well worth the drive for its three pools, acres of hiking trails and the Life in Balance Spa. Rooms start at $150 or 32,500 World of Hyatt points per night.

Maui, Hawaii


Spring is whale watching season in Maui, and what amazing whale watching it is. While the devastating fires on Aug. 8 destroyed much of the historic whaling town of Lahaina and its busy harbor, rebuilding is well underway, and you can support the region by visiting nearby Kaanapali, one of the best spots to catch the migrating humpbacks that give birth in Hawaii’s warmer waters before departing for their summer home in Alaska.

Closer marine life encounters require joining a boat trip, and, luckily, there are plenty to choose from. Ask whether there’s a naturalist on board, and some boats even feature hydrophones that amplify the eerie sound of whale song.

Of course, you’ve come to Maui to go to the beach, and Maui’s varied topography means you’ll find every kind, from swathes of white sand to secluded rocky coves; Wailea, Kaanapali and Napili Bay are all perennial crowd-pleasers.

You’ll find some of Maui’s best food outside the resorts at the Kahului food trucks favored by locals and in the chef-centered establishments that line Main Street in the surf town of Paia.

Take a day to drive the Road to Hana, which snakes along the sheer cliffs on the island’s west side and will have you stopping at every turn to photograph waterfalls and dramatic ocean views.

On the way, stop at the Kahanu Garden, a National Tropical Botanical Garden, where you’ll find one of the island’s largest forests of native Hala. Many visit the park to see the National Historic Landmark Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a massive lava rock shrine thought to be the largest ancient human-made structure in Polynesia.

Where to stay

Put your vacation funds to work supporting Maui’s recovery by staying at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, which sustained significant damage and just reopened in February 2024. Situated at Pu’u Keka’a (Black Rock) with 23 acres of spectacular oceanfront, the property is supporting local recovery with the Return to Maui package, available through April 30, which includes daily breakfast for two, a $100 resort credit and a $100 donation to Maui Imua — Aloha for Sheraton Maui Relief Fund, which goes directly to Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa associates and their families who were affected by the wildfires. Rooms start at $607 or 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: The 18 best hotels in Maui, from luxury stays to family-friendly resorts

Corpus Christi, Texas


With 150 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline and nine beaches, there’s far more to Corpus Christi than Padre Island National Seashore, though the wild dune-studded coastline of this barrier island is a must, especially in May when sea turtles begin to hatch.

Mustang Island State Park is almost as popular. One thing that sets Corpus Christi’s coast apart from other coastal destinations is that camping is allowed right on the beach, including primitive campsites on both Padre and Mustang islands.

You can saddle up right on the sand at Horses on the Beach and you can also drive right onto the sand at many beaches (as well as build bonfires), so things can get a bit rowdy at the height of spring break, to the delight of some visitors and the irritation of others. Horace Caldwell Pier in Port Aransas on Mustang Island is a favored base for fishing and water sports.

When you can drag yourself away from the beach, head to the Texas State Aquarium, the fourth largest in the U.S. It pushes boundaries with in-the-water experiences like Snorkel with the Sharks. There’s also the USS Lexington Museum, which has the unusual feature of escape rooms on board.

Where to stay

Step straight onto the sand from the DoubleTree by Hilton Corpus Christi Beachfront, where rooms start at $131 or 33,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Fort Myers, Florida


There’s water everywhere in Fort Myers, with more than 100 barrier and coastal islands and all the exciting wildlife you’d expect given its location on the Gulf of Mexico and rich topography of mangroves, lagoons and sheltered Gulf Shore beaches.

And, of course, there’s sun, too, and plenty of it thanks to the Gulf Coast’s tropical climate, which makes it easy to spend entire days swimming, hunting for shells and just plain lounging at popular beaches like Lighthouse and Tarpon Bay on Sanibel Island, Bonita Beach on Little Hickory Island and Boca Grande Beach on Gasparilla Island. Many visitors also set sail on guided tours or private boat charters to North Captiva, Caya Costa and Cabbage Key.

To see eagles and gopher tortoises, venture into one of the area’s 47 nature preserves, among them Six Mile Cypress Slough, with its wetlands boardwalk, and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where 51 types of reptiles and amphibians, 32 mammal species and more than 245 species of birds, including the rare roseate spoonbill, roam 7,600 acres of mangroves.

Or, visit the Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs, which shelters rescued, rehabilitated and non-releasable animals from alligators and pythons to vivid flamingos, macaws and Chinese golden pheasants. Manatee fans can view the friendly and absurdly photogenic mammals from the boardwalk or even kayak and paddleboard among them in Manatee Park, where they take shelter in the warmer waters during February, March and sometimes into April.

Car and history lovers will gawk at the antique cars and futuristic inventions of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford housed in their former winter estates, which also feature a 20-acre botanical garden designed by Edison himself that’s a riot of color in the spring.

Known as the City of Palms, Fort Myers is located inland on the Caloosahatchee River, and the downtown River District celebrates its historic charm with boutiques, restaurants and cafes housed in 19th-century colonial-style buildings.

Fort Myers is easy to get to, with Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) served by United Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and more.

Fort Myers is also reachable from Miami International Airport (MIA) or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), both within a two-hour drive. You can also feel good that your travel dollars are helping a region that was hard hit by Hurricane Ian in September 2022 but has made a remarkable recovery thanks to hard work and a tourism industry eager to welcome back visitors.

Where to stay

Just say waterslides, lazy river and boat rides to the kids and you’ll have the family on board for a stay at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, which also appeals to adults with two additional pools, one adults-only, and access to a semi-private island accessed by a 15-minute ferry trip with departures every hour. It’s also dog-friendly, allowing up to two dogs. The resort is now a Category 5 property, with rooms starting at $911 or 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Related: 12 best all-inclusive resorts in Florida

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina


Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park turns technicolor in spring when wildflowers like trillium blanket the forest floors while valleys burst out in a fiery bouquet of orange, yellow and purple.

Try Porters Creek for trillium and the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail to see expanses of flowers spread across the valley. The park celebrates its bounty of bloom May 1 to 5 with the five-day Wildflower Pilgrimage.

If you’re a country music fan or visiting this area with kids in tow, you’ll want to hit up Dollywood, located on the Tennessee side of the park in Pigeon Forge. The country music-themed attraction features a theater with regular concerts and rides like the Lighting Rod roller coaster, the Dollywood Express locomotive and the newest addition, the Big Bear Mountain roller coaster.

In true Dolly spirit, daypasses are ridiculously reasonable, and if you stay in one of the park’s hotels, you receive discounts and perks like TimeSaver skip-the-line passes.

Related: My ‘9 to 5’ sent me to sleep in Dolly Parton’s $10,000 tour bus suite — here’s what it was like

If you base your stay in Asheville, North Carolina, or tack on a few days in this up-and-coming hub of art, beer and nature-related activities, you might want to hike part of the nearly 1,200-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which runs directly through town. A popular stretch climbs all or part of Mount Mitchell, while serious adventurers notch their belts with the 18-mile Shut-in Trail that follows a historic bridle trail from the Biltmore House to George Vanderbilt’s hunting lodge near the summit of Mount Pisgah.

Where to stay

Dollywood’s Heartsong Lodge & Resort manages to combine classy with rustic, a hard blend to carry off. And it does a great job catering to families with suites and double rooms. Rooms start from $144 a night; use your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to earn miles during your stay.

Greater Palm Springs, California

Wildflower superbloom in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. KEVIN KEY SLWORKING/GETTY IMAGES

The spring bloom in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts and Coachella Valley is deservedly world-famous, with carpets of poppies, lupine and desert sunflowers contrasting photogenically with cholla cactus, fan palms and other desert favorites.

See them in the Mission Creek Preserve, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Randall Henderson Trail in the San Bernardino National Forest, or get farther out into rugged canyon country with a guided Jeep tour. And, of course, you’ll want to visit Joshua Tree National Park, entering via the west entrance closer to Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs or the less crowded South Entrance near Coachella.

Related: The best US national parks you should visit at least once (or twice)

And you don’t even have to give up the beach by choosing the desert; The Palm Springs Surf Club, opened on Jan. 1, 2024, features the ultimate modern wave pool designed by professional surfers to provide an authentic wave riding experience for those at all levels. Beginners will appreciate that it features two distinct breaks: The first of two breaks, the outer reef is designed for intermediate to advanced surfers, while beginners can hone their skills at the reform section as well as take advantage of surf lessons on offer.

Newly reopened in March after a top-to-bottom renovation, the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert features a wealth of interactive, hands-on exhibits designed especially for children under 8, including those with learning challenges.

Anyone who appreciates soaking in a natural mineral pool will be excited to hear that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has now opened the long-awaited Spa at Séc-he, founded in the 19th century but closed for decades. Private mineral baths, mud wraps, quartz beds, float therapy and traditional herbal treatments are among the offerings, which are based on the Cahuillas’ deep traditions of healing.

Where to stay

Location is a main draw of the Courtyard Palm Desert, which shortens the drive to Joshua Tree thanks to its setting on the north side of the valley. Families consider this hotel particularly kid-friendly, and dogs are welcome, too. Rates start at $227 or 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, and there are no resort fees.

Those with richer blood might choose The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage tucked into rose-colored hills 500 feet above the Coachella Valley. It has views from almost any room. Rooms start at $900 and up per night or can be booked with 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points during the offseason or up to 70,000 points on peak dates, though an extra $40 resort fee applies for all stays, including award nights.

Related: Best hotels in Palm Springs that are an oasis in the desert

The Catskills, New York

Rip Van Winkle Bridge in the Catskills. HALBERGMAN/GETTY IMAGES

Soar over the peaks and valleys on the Scenic Skyride on the Kaatskill Flyer at Hunter Mountain, which glides 3,200 feet above sea level to the summit. Among the region’s top family attractions is the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston, run by a railroad heritage organization dedicated to preserving the rail corridor for recreational use. Hop on board The Bunny Express, which features an Easter egg hunt.

Related: Why the Catskills continues to be one of the hottest destinations for travelers

Explore the mountains and valleys on horseback at Bailiwick Animal Park & Riding Stables, or indulge your appreciation for animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, home to more than 200 horses, sheep, pigs and chickens all rescued and well cared for. Public tours, which must be booked in advance, reopen April 1 and continue every weekend through November.

Where to stay

You’ll find an authentic Catskills lodge experience at The Chatwal Lodge, which occupies 100 lakeside acres in the southern Catskills. Rooms start at $1,100 a night and are not part of a loyalty program, but you can benefit from the points accrued on your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Pismo Beach, California

Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California. HARRI JARVELAINEN PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

Imagine a long fishing pier, a boardwalk, saltwater taffy and fish and chips stands steps from the sand and you’ve got Pismo Beach, a classic California beach town on the Central Coast. Surfing, dune riding, wine tasting, kayaking and golf, it’s all here, and you won’t be fighting off the crowds to partake.

Surrounded by the Pismo Preserve, there are more than 900 acres of coastal hills frequented by hawks, owls, peregrine falcons and other wildlife. Paddleboarding is popular on either side of the historic pier, and kayakers head for the craggy cove at Shell Beach.

Related: California dreaming? 10 cool towns to visit in the Golden State

Follow the Pacific Coast Wine Trail, which links seven local tasting rooms strung along U.S. Highway 1. Also on U.S. Highway 1 is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, as well as that epitome of over-the-top old Hollywood grandeur, Hearst Castle.

Where to stay

With its long languid pool deck positioned directly above the beach, Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach, an Autograph Collection property, is exactly the hotel you’ll want to stay at for a classic beach vacation, yet it’s surprisingly affordable for a full-service California on-the-sand resort. Rooms start at $344 or 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Moab, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah. SPORTSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

There’s no American road trip more memorable than that through Utah’s ‘Mighty Five’ red rock national parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef. And Moab, located between Arches and Canyonlands, offers the chance to explore both, as well as Dead Horse Point State Park, which many consider on par with the state’s sublime national parks.

One of the top mountain biking destinations in the country, Moab lures riders with hundreds of miles of slickrock trails, among them the beloved Moab Brand Trails. While riding on slickrock is a challenge prized by experienced riders, Moab has plenty of beginner-friendly bike trails as well, and bike rentals are plentiful. Moab is also where you’ll embark on one of the river rafting adventures that ply the Green and Colorado rivers.

Where to stay

You’ll find all the basics, including a spacious pool and extras like bike storage and electric vehicle charging, at the Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn in the heart of Moab. Rooms start at $109 or 27,000 Best Western Rewards points per night.

For the true Moab experience, stay at the luxurious Red Cliffs Lodge, which is home to the Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage, offers horseback rides on-site and features live music four nights a week in the hotel bar. Rooms start from $187 per night, while cabins start from $417 a night. AAA and military discounts are available.

Related: The best places to stay near Zion National Park

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