Nearby Holiday Escapes
Quick Getaways for Family Fun
You don’t have to travel across the country to have a great vacation and make family memories. These close-to-home regional getaways offer something for everyone, from adrenaline-packed adventure to relaxation and family fun. They’re perfect for shorter school holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, spring or fall break, or even Thanksgiving.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is synonymous with year-round outdoor adventure. In winter, ski or snowboard the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain or Grand Targhee Resort on the western side of the Tetons. Take a ski or snowboard lesson or test your mettle on one of the terrain parks. Or opt for a slower pace, using snowshoes and cross-country skis to explore the trails of Grand Teton National Park and beyond, or take a sleigh ride at the National Elk Refuge. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for winter wildlife, from wolves to foxes and moose.
When the weather’s warmer, consider camping, hiking, biking, fishing or white-water rafting. Numerous local outfitters offer trips on the famous Snake River, including flatwater floats and whitewater adventures through the rapids of Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna. Jackson is also the place for Wild West adventures, like horseback riding or attending a chuckwagon cookout
Sun Valley, Idaho
Whether you’d rather spend your holiday enjoying outdoor adventures or strolling boutiques, Sun Valley, Idaho, has a bit of something for everyone.
In winter, go skiing or snowboarding at Sun Valley Resort and explore the extensive network of Nordic trails for skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. Summer brings opportunities for hiking, biking, golfing, horseback riding, golfing, fly fishing and year-round ice skating. In any season, stroll among the art galleries or relax at a spa in this scenic destination.
Idaho’s capital city is home to many museums and other attractions. Spend some time at the Boise Art Museum and take in a variety of rotating exhibits featuring everything from abstract works to sculptural pieces.
The World Center for Birds of Prey offers a variety of programs, including live bird presentations, as well as falconry talks. Kids can explore the Discovery Room complete with costumes and hands-on exhibits, and everyone will enjoy the quarter-mile trail where you just might spy a wild raptor.
Zoo Boise is another favorite place to see animals. This zoo boasts 100 species of critters, with more than 300 animals. Attend a presentation, sign up to feed the giraffes or try your hand at feeding mealworms to a sloth bear. During the summer, ride a solar-powered boat around the lagoon while learning about conservation.
Plant lovers will enjoy strolling the Idaho Botanical Garden with its rose garden, English garden, Idaho native plant garden, meditation garden, children’s adventure garden and many others.
Heber City, Utah
Hop on the Heber Valley Railroad for a day of family fun. Take in the sights on one of the railroad’s scenic tours, or sign up for a seasonal special-event train, from a Halloween-themed Addams Family musical train to the holiday favorite North Pole Express.
Head to Wasatch Mountain State Park for camping, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Ride a horse, snowmobile or ATV, or play a few rounds of golf.
Deer Creek State Park is focused on water-based recreation including kayaking, fishing, lakeside camping and kiteboarding lessons. Rentals, ranging from kayaks to fishing boats to wave runners, are available. When conditions permit, try ziplining. Zipline Utah offers a 3,900-foot zip line as well as shorter, easier options. Age, weight and health restrictions apply.
Red rock adventure awaits in Moab where visitors hike, bike, camp and explore. Moab is next to two national parks — Arches and Canyonlands — and a wealth of Bureau of Land Management land. Both national parks offer ranger programs and interpretive talks. Rafting is a popular activity, and several outfitters are available to take your family for a float.
Spend time wandering through the quirky town and check out the famous Back of Beyond bookstore before stopping for a meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants. Venture out to view some local red rock-inspired art before the end of your stay.
And finally, a safe bet year-round is a stay at one of Ruby’s Inn’s three properties (www.rubysinn.com) just outside hoodoo-laden Bryce National Park.