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We all enjoy spending a few days at the beach relaxing or in the mountains skiing each year but many of us wish we could find a destination which is more secluded and certainly less crowded.
If you are looking for a place to spend time without having to worry about the influx of thousands of reveling spring breakers, below are five often over-looked destinations for almost every style of travel.
1. Ojai, Channel Islands, Los Padres National Forest
Ojai is well-known to most Los Angeles residents as a mountain valley oasis away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood. However, it has managed to fly under the radar for the rest of us.
This small town rests at the bottom of snow-capped mountains but is close enough to the coastal breezes to grow palm trees in the valley.
The weather can be cool in the Spring, but the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa provides heated pools, golf courses and proximity to a number of outdoor activities. These include driving to the Piedra Blanca trail in nearby Los Padres National Forest for a day of hiking; exploring the trails around town by bike or on foot past the orange groves; or catching a boat ride across the ocean in nearby Oxnard to visit the U.S. Channel Islands for the day.
For luxury and adventure, Ojai is the place to be.
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2. Paia, Maui, Hawaii
Maui for Spring Break is a popular destination so there are crowds all of the way from Wailea to Ka’anapali. Yet most people only notice the small town of Paia as they drive through on their way to the Road to Hana.
This one-stop light town gets cars passing to and from the Haleakala National Park, but many do not know there is a boutique hotel right on the beach at the Paia Inn in the center of town.
Guestsin Paia get to beat the crowds to see the sunrise over the clouds from the top of the volcano, visit the famed North Shore, or adventure down the Road to Hana.
Enjoy dining on fresh seafood at nearby Mama’s Fish House or have a cold drink at Willie Nelson’s bar, Charley’s.
Keep an eye out. It is not uncommon to see Owen Wilson or Woody Harrelson walking around town as they call Paia home much of the year. If, like them, sunny beaches and laid-back living are your thing, Paia could be home to you in spring break too!
3. Springdale, Brian Head, Utah
Of course, Zion National Park brings crowds all year but the spring is a bit slower paced. Accommodations range from hotels to boutique lodging to camp sites and there is no lack of things to do in the small town of Springdale.
Visitors have access to a variety of restaurants to indulge in while looking up at the towering rock walls in every direction. Families can easily spend a few days in the area – hiking to the top of Angel’s Landing, taking a guided trip down the Narrows or exploring the surrounding mesas by ATV.
Afterwards, head down the road for a few days to the Brian Head Resort to find skiing in an area often overlooked by the crowds headed to busy Colorado.
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4. Palm Springs, Joshua Tree
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There are California residents who flock to the Palm Springs area almost any weekend.
However, searching the vacation rental websites,there are a variety of options for single family, mid-century modern homes which would make Frank Sinatra proud. Many of these homes also have private pools in the backyard to enjoy in the desert heat.
Just over the mountain range lies Joshua Tree where visitors can spend several days exploring the surreal sights of Joshua Tree National Park (an area which is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island).
Other activities include visiting the outdoor art installation of Noah Purifoy, listening to live music over burgers at Pappy and Harriet’s or dining on Mike’s Mess Omelets with locals at the Crossroads Café.
Back in Palm Springs, the aerial tramway will take visitors up to over 8,000 feet above sea level to the top of Mount San Jacinto covered with pine trees and cooler temperatures than the warm desert air just below.
5. White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, Texas
Most travellers will need to fly to and from El Paso to see this remote part of the country.
The first stop White Sands National Monument is much larger than most people think. There are enough dunes for everyone in your party to have their very own for an afternoon of sledding.
Afterwards, spend a few nights in Carlsbad and explore both the natural wonders of the Carlsbad Caverns and the underappreciated Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The park includes trails for scrambling up beautiful white-washed river beds or an all-day climb to the tallest point in Texas.
Upon reaching the peak, hikers can sign a book there which records the names of the few who have conquered the climb. Adding a bit of culture, a few hours down the road lies Marfa, Texas. This art community hidden in West Texas has become the center of the outdoor minimalist movement – including its very own Prada Marfa art exhibit. It also attracts visitors for its clear night skies and a chance to spot the Marfa lights.
For that final Instagram photo of the trip, book a stay at El Cosmicoto sleep in a custom trailer, tepee or tent.