The thought of a getaway is sometimes the only thing that can get us through a long day mid-winter. Whether you’re looking for a trip to book or are taking a “mental” vacation by imagining one, here are six relatively unique and unknown destinations that will be the trip of a lifetime to cross off your bucket list. It’s time to forget the ‘same-old, same-old’ spots and set your sights to these new getaways.
Between the historic streets of Rome, charm of old-world Venice, and breathtaking scenery of the Amalfi Coast, it can be impossible to narrow your dream Italian getaway to just one location. That being said, if there was one place to beat out all of Italy’s hotspots, it would be Montepulciano. Tucked away in the Italian countryside, about a two hours drive from Rome, Montepulciano is the prized gem of Tuscany, even if it doesn’t even realize it yet. The medieval-hill town is covered with historical churches and cathedrals that look more like Renaissance-era castles, and the scenic rolling hills that surround the city are covered with local, family owned vineyards.
The town’s quaint, cobblestone walkways are filled with boutiques, and better yet, bakeries, gelaterias and restaurants, too. It’s not unusual to walk down the streets and begin drooling at the smells. After grabbing a cone of gelato for breakfast (because you obviously couldn’t resist!), enjoy a scenic afternoon tour of a vineyard and it’s historic cellars, always followed by an exquisite wine tasting. Then, end your absolutely exhausting day with a large plate of fresh, mouthwatering pasta. Now that’s la dolce vita.
Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Estes Park is the basetown of Rocky Mountain National Park and is well worth a visit. While the town is beautiful during any time of year, Estes Park becomes electric in the summer and winter months. With the influx of visitors heading to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes turns into one of the best approachable and relaxed resort towns. There are many quaint and historical sites around Estes Park, not to mention some delicious places to eat. However, the best part of Estes is having Rocky Mountain National Park within an arm’s reach. Start your journey through the park and take one of the many hiking trails, ski in the winter, or have yourself a picnic at one of the base meadows in the summer. No matter how you spend your time outdoors, the views of Rocky Mountain will always be enchanting. Talk about a perfect getaway.
El Nido, Philippines
Located in the providence of Palawan in the Philippines, El Nido is nicknamed “Heaven on Earth”. It’s not hard to see why. With different islands to hop from, all surrounded by varying shades of clear and electric teal water, El Nido is a destination straight from a dream. While El Nido is not widely known, it’s white sand beaches, natural landscape, and handful of lagoons to explore have topped many revered travel lists over the years. Whether you go to El Nido to see the incredible marine life or to soak up the sun, you can expect Philippine hospitality each step of the way. It’s time to get in on this secret before it’s too late!
Any Dude Ranch in Montana
The location is not as specific as the rest of this list, but any dude ranch in Montana is a must. Many dude ranches are scattered throughout the Big Sky State, most of which are clustered near National Parks. Unsure of what a dude ranch is? Think of a resort and quaint bed and breakfast hybrid, meshed with a summer camp. Most dude ranches are situated on a large piece of land between mountains and wildflower fields, and their sprawling compounds include lodging cabins, restaurants, gathering halls, and activity spots.
Boredom is unheard of at dude ranches. With guided fishing, horseback riding, and hiking tours throughout the surrounding National Parks, archery and shooting lessons, pools, and maybe an ATV ride or two, a week barely seems long enough to do all of the activities you can find at a ranch. And don’t worry, if you aren’t the outdoorsy type— most dude ranches have critically acclaimed spas, if not in their facilities, within a stone throw’s away!
PS: We want to stake claim in promoting dude ranches before they were “cool” because in a year or two’s time, they are going to be all the rage. You heard it here first, folks!
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island covers a lot of bases in one go. Whether the purpose of your visit is for a romantic getaway or for a family trip, Newport is an ideal place to spend a long weekend. It also won’t be as big of a purchase, either. Situated on Rhode Island’s coast, Newport was the summer vacation spot for “American Royalty”, such as the Vanderbilts and Astors, back in the gilded age. These wealthy families built beautiful, sprawling mansions along the coast that are so ornate, they give Versailles a serious run for its money. The mansions are open to tour almost year-round and believe us when we tell you to be prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor during your first steps inside one of the 11 “quaint homes”.
Newport is also a great foodie destination. Each season, Newport hosts a restaurant week where most all restaurants participate and serve up their best dishes. If you’re too full to participate however, there is nothing wrong with sitting in an adirondack chair as you sip on a cold drink and take in the nautical view. So, dress in your finest New England garb, take a tour of at least three of the beautiful historic mansions, walk along the oceanside “cliff walk”, and tuck into a fresh lobster roll… or 12. You won’t regret a single thing.
Croatia’s tourism has boomed in the last few years, and we have to think that one really popular HBO show is why. Although Game of Thrones uses many locations in Croatia for filming, the show hasn’t fully yet capitalized on the beauty of Split as it has on the country’s other seaside towns. Split is a charming city however, and is revered for its pristine beaches and unique architecture that features bright pops of orange. Tour the historic streets and alleyways by foot or charter a boat to take you out on the enchanting waters that line the city. However your time is spent in Split, you will feel like an A-List star, no matter what you spend.
Between unique domestic locations to far away destinations, it can be hard to pick where to go next. Regardless, any one of these little-talked-about getaways is well worth the trip. Grab your tickets, book your room, and make sure you’ve packed the essentials. Not sure what those are? We’ve got you covered there, too. Check out our top deals on all things travel on our Getaway Essentials page! Happy travels!