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This post was edited by Cicci at 2012-3-21 10:15|
Avoid the drunken crowds while storming the Washington Coast, getting down in the Grand Canyon and skiing for cheap in Montana
By Jordan Rane; source from: cnngo.com
Head to the wide blue yonder for an alternative Spring Break.
Ah … Spring Break.
Weeks of vacation marked by -- depending on who you ask -- increasingly tame (read: lame) behavior or significant safety threats.
Either way, one thing is for sure -- there are crowds to be avoided.
These seven alternative spring break destinations are for the discriminating reveler who prefer offbeat -- but still awesome -- canyon, mountain, beach or storm.
Step off the beaten path.
Most of the five million annual visitors to Grand Canyon National Park come to gape into its perspective-busting, 1,800-meter-deep, 446-kilometer-long, 29-kilometer-wide abyss during the summer, without venturing more than 100 steps below the steaming canyon’s rim.
Another option: losing the gawker crowds and making that once-in-a-lifetime descent to the bottom of the world’s most famous hole in the ground.
When not to do it: winter when it’s frigid and wet; May through September -- the inner gorge’s “danger months” -- when scorching temperatures inside the canyon enter the triple digits.
That leaves a couple of short, temperate hiking windows including early spring, a great time to beat all those summer Grand Canyon Village throngs at the top and that spiking thermometer down below.
Permits are required for overnighting in the canyon. If you don’t have one for this spring (permits were all issued months ago), showing up at the park’s Backcountry Information Center and getting waitlisted will usually score you one within a couple of days. And, hey, it’s Spring Break. You have all week.
For more detailed directions, you can refer to this trip planner, courtesy of the National Park Service.
More information available at www.nps.gov/grca
Grand Canyon Shuttle Service; between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon as well as between the North and South rims; +1 888 215 3105; www.grandcanyonshuttles.com
Bridger Bowl, Montana
Bridger Bowl has great powder and is relatively unknown.
As much as all those monolithic ski resorts down in Colorado and Utah would like to lay claim to having the best snow, the sweetest runs and the warmest Bailey’s ‘n' hot chocolate, may we direct your attention to Bridger Bowl -- a far lesser-known local powder haven hiding in Montana’s picturesque Gallatin National Forest -- just 26 kilometers north of Bozeman?
Bridger Bowl may not have a fancy gondola, a fleet of high-speed quads, a record-breaking vertical or even the in-state name recognition of nearby resorts like Big Sky and Moonlight Basin.
What this easily-accessible nonprofit ski area and 2012 NCAA Skiing Championship site does have is some of the best spring skiing for the money anywhere -- starting with (this is not a typo) a $69 Ski & Lodge “Domestic Bliss Ski Package.”
Take that, Vail.
15795 Bridger Canyon Road, Bozeman, Mont.; +1 800 223 9609; bridgerbowl.com
Southern California's favorite "island"
Hotel del Coronado has hosted some of the most famous names in the world.
Somewhere along every sweet patch of U.S. shoreline is a little beach community claiming to be “the most revived seaside resort town in America.”
Our vote for that badge is Coronado. The Victorian-era “island” hideaway (technically, a peninsula) on the far side of a boomerang-shaped bridge linked to downtown San Diego offers one of the quickest steel-girder connected transitions from urban grit to pure coastal charm on this side of the Pacific.
Coronado’s trifecta: a flawless, Mediterranean climate; a lively main drag along Orange Avenue, with rows of resuscitated shops, cafés and theaters and a gleaming shoreline that got the nod from beach aficionado Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman as last year’s second nicest strip of sand in the country.
Never mind a recent U.S. News and World Report listing Coronado as one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. You’re just visiting. Preferably in a seaside home rental (plentiful here) or at the Hotel del Coronado, a beachfront landmark that’s hosted presidents, movie stars, sheiks and numerous discriminating alternative Spring Break revelers over the last century.
Hotel del Coronado; 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, Calif.;+1 800 468 3533; www.hoteldel.com
The Olympic Peninsula
The best storm watching on the Washington Coast.
March and early April is still off-season in the Pacific Northwest. Unless you’re a storm watcher, that is. Then the wave-battered, rain-hammered, wind-pelted coast of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula smokes Cancun any day of the week.
For front-row seats to one of the most enchantingly torrential edges of the world, book a rustic log cabin or ocean-facing room at Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch Lodge and ask about any “storm-watching specials.”
Perched above a vast beach piled with wave-tossed conifer logs, the historic property has been dubbed one of the “10 Best Places to Storm Watch” by Seattle Magazine and various other publications which honor this singular springtime diversion.
Kalaloch Lodge; 157151 U.S. 101, Forks, Wash.; +1 866 525 2562; www.olympicnationalparks.com/accommodations/kalaloch-lodge.aspx