Whether you are planning a vacation getaway for the whole clan, looking to treat loved ones on a one-off trip, or fancy a few vacation days before the end of the year, there are plenty of destinations to consider including the world is opening up again cautiously. These excursions – near or far; on sand or snow – are ideal for living with family and friends.
Deep in the mountains of the Alaska Range, nestled between the glaciers and dizzying peaks of Denali National Park, sits the 2,000 square foot Sheldon Cabin. This remote getaway – accessible only by helicopter – combines privacy with extreme winter action, accommodating up to 10 adventurers for a minimum of three nights. Guests can participate in glacier explorations, unique aerial tours, ski touring, and snowshoe hikes. At an elevation of 6,000 feet, the chic eco-conscious property has no light pollution, so its night sky is just as spectacular (and so much the better for viewing the Northern Lights). sheldonchalet.com
Welcome on the beach
Designed for all ages, dude ranches aim to create special memories (think: s’mores and tales around a roaring campfire). Not sure which one is right for you and your family? With nearly 100 local members across the country, the Dude Ranchers’ Association can help you find the perfect place to vacation in the Old West, including the Golden State. Purchased in 2018 by a partnership of local families, the charming Greenhorn Ranch in the Lost Sierra, north of Tahoe, celebrates the great outdoors of northern California with fishing, clay pigeon shooting, mountain biking and mountain biking. gold panning. Further south in the Santa Ynez Valley is the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, where wranglers happily guide guests on foot and on horseback through scenic canyons and valleys with abundant wildlife. With over 10,000 acres and countless trails, adventures in Alisal can suit all skill levels and interests. duderanch.org
Islands for the ages
Nothing dazzles like the sight of the rare blue-footed booby while crossing the Galapagos Islands. Oakland-based tour operator International Nature & Cultural Adventures offers eight-day cruise through the archipelago aboard the luxury yacht Integrity which takes you to iconic sites, allowing for maximum exploration time and revealing hidden islands and rare endemic wildlife. The new exclusive use program means your party (four to 10) can have the whole ship for you. The east-west and west-east routes depart on December 17 and 31, respectively. integritygalapagos.com
Love over the water
Do you feel particularly grateful to this person in your life? Say “Yes” (or “I want it, again”) in a simple but elegant wedding ceremony, barefoot on the beach, then head straight for the honeymoon in a beautiful on-site overwater bungalow. Starting this fall, the St. Regis Bora Bora invites lovebirds to tie the knot in a two-party wedding in French Polynesia – a micro-wedding for the two of you, with a planner and photographer for the big day. Pristine turquoise waters and romantic Polynesian traditions have long drawn couples to this sultry tropical paradise. marriot.com
Shop. Drinks. Repeat.
Now that Britain is reopening its doors to American travelers, a quick girls’ getaway to London is calling. Completely devoid of suffocation or pretension, the Rosewood London exudes playful, contemporary sophistication. Besides offering truly delicious cocktails, the hotel’s eccentric Scarfes Bar is full of over 1,000 old books, fun caricatures and, most importantly, plenty of personal space. Book your girls for a relaxing massage at the hotel’s first spa after exploring the cobbled streets of London’s famous shopping paradise, Covent Garden, just minutes away. rosewoodhotels.com
The intact ice is nice
Now is the time to get out there and explore Canada’s world-class glaciers and secluded ice caps. TCS World Travel has partnered with Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler to offer the unforgettable private seven-day winter getaway to Whistler. Hit the slopes of the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort or get off the grid with private outings, including an adventure hike in these glaciers and ice caps. Travel by snowmobile, snowmobile, or buggy through a vivid blue maze of natural ice caves and enjoy a gourmet mountain-top lunch before returning to the hotel to warm up by a fire pit. tcsworldtravel.com
With a prestigious heritage dating back to 1882, Leo Trippi offers luxury ski vacations to the world’s most spectacular destinations. Developed this season, the outfit’s Heli-Ski Safari is a serious skier’s dream – adventure, with plenty of powder, spans Switzerland, Italy and France, with stays at iconic resorts. Accompanied by an expert guide, the 10-day itinerary puts the region’s highest peaks within the reach of groups of eight. leotrippi.com
If you love whale watching, now is the time to visit South Africa. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, an exclusive nationally selected property on the coast of De Hoop Nature Reserve, is offering savings of up to 35% through early January. Explore the reserve on walks in the nearby tidal pools and caves, and discover more than 1,500 species of plants and flowers. You might spot southern right whales migrating from Antarctica to give birth, less common Bryde’s whales, and even migrating humpback whales, right from one of the seven off-grid ocean-view suites. (For those traveling with an entourage, inquire about the exclusive use of the lodge.) natural.selection.travel