What could be better for Dad - and for you, if you're a Dad! - than a genuine getaway from the daily routine of working, paying bills, meetings, trying to squeeze a lot of life into a little free time, etc., etc., etc.? Well, if you're looking for a getaway that'll take you away in more ways than one, take a look at my five top Father's Day Getaways In America!
#5 - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - If you're football fanatic, head for Green Bay, home of the 13-time NFL Champion Green Bay Packers. Green Bay is the smallest city in America with a major-league team, and the Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major-league sports team in America. On the Lambeau Field Champions Tour, you can go up to the Hall of Fame, where you'll see four Super Bowl trophies. Across the street is Badger State Brewing Company, an award-winning micro-brewery. Also in the "Stadium District" is Tundra Lodge Resort & Conference Center, with a lobby boasting hand-hewn logs and a 45-foot stone fireplace. This is a true Northwoods lodge, with first-class dining and amenities and very cool water park for fun with the kids. And in addition to great breweries, Green Bay - called "Titletown USA" - has a lively waterfront district, unique shopping, and interesting restaurants (with great cheeses!).
#4 - VAZQUEZ CREEK INN, WINTER PARK, COLORADO - Located in the mountain village of Winter Park, and sitting (as you might guess!) on a creek, Vasquez Creek Inn is a quintessential European-style alpine inn in the middle of the American West. And it's a fascinating combination of German Gemutlichkeit and Western "howdies." Previously known as Gasthaus (guesthouse) Eichler, a long-time, family-owned inn and classic German restaurant, the building was bought a few years ago by new owners who, thankfully, not only preserved the old ambience but also enhanced it. Vasquez Creek Inn offers 15 European-style rooms with private oversized baths and a good dose of creature comforts, including luxurious bedding, granite-and-tile bathrooms and nature-based bath amenities. There's a private hot tub overlooking the Creek. And million-dollar backdrops everywhere you look.
#3 - GULF SHORES/ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA - On the beautiful beaches of these two towns on the Gulf of Mexico, you can kick back along 32 miles of pristine white-sand beach, or kick up with eco-recreation, water sports, golf or charter fishing. Try a round of golf at one of eight championship courses in the area, designed by folks like Arnold Palmer and Jerry Pate. Just north of Gulf Shores is Cotton Creek at Craft Farms, with tree-lined fairways and dog legs that penalize stray shots and hooks. If Dad would prefer another kind of hook, Alabama's Gulf Coast is nirvana for fishermen. There's a large charter fleet here, and there's also good fishing from the shore and from piers. Local restaurants like Shipp's Harbour Grill and Fisher's Dockside will gladly cook your catch. If you're the adventurous type, try para-sailing or zip-lining. And for a great family favorite, head out for a dolphin cruise. Among the great places to stay here are the award-winning Courtyard by Marriott and the luxurious Cypress Point condominiums.
#2 - GREAT ALASKA BEAR CAMP, LAKE CLARK NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE, PORT ALSWORTH, ALASKA - How about a Father's Day getaway that's really away? A company called Great Alaska Adventures offers a unique one. Great Alaska Bear Camp is a remote outpost at the entrance of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. It's accessible only by bush plane or boat. And it brings the concept of glamping to new "highs"...because everywhere you look are stunning mountain peaks. What is "glamping," you ask? Well, it's simply luxury camping, in tents with wooden floors, solid doors, propane heat and light, writing desks, clothing space, and bathrooms. Other than glamping guests and staff, the only other residents of the camp are some 70 brown bears that call the shores of Chinitna Bay home. And you'll be able to see them up-close-and-personal, either on foot with a guide, in a special viewing vehicle, or from a camouflaged platform. You'll even be able to see them cavorting around the lodge - which is secured by a bear-proof fence. Next-door are four million acres of wilderness bordering magnificent Cook Inlet. For a Father's Day you'll never forget, head, as the old song goes, "North To Alaska!"
#1 - GRAND LAKE LODGE, GRAND LAKE, COLORADO - The historic Grand Lake Lodge sits at Rocky Mountain National Park, filled with the grandeur of Mother Nature at her best, as well as rarely-viewed wildlife such as bighorn sheep. The lodge itself is an Old West mountain lodge at its most authentic, with wooden tables and furniture and Western artifacts and antiques and wooden floors. You'll eat, greet, shop, and relax in the main lodge. But you'll sleep in your own authentic wooden cabin (with modern amenities). There's also a pool with a view. The lodge is often called "Colorado's Favorite Front Porch...and it's not hard to see why. The views from here are spectacular, with the glaciated peaks of the National Park on several sides, and the quaint town of Grand Lake on the other. The town has wood-plank sidewalks, interesting craft shops (and several fantastic ice cream shops!), an old bookstore, historic buildings and, believe it or not, one of the finest community theaters in Colorado. It sits - appropriately - at the foot of Grand Lake, an alpine lake (Colorado's largest natural one) that stays frozen as late as Memorial Day. The lodge is open seasonally from late-May until early-October, and the bed and breakfast package includes two nights' lodging and a gen-u-ine mountain breakfast. And the views come with the room, at no charge!
These are my Top 5 Father's Day getaways. What are yours?