Throughout our series of traveling across the country, we’ve gone through multiple locations racing against the clock to fit in as much as possible in a limited amount of time.
But as the year winds down and temperatures drop, sometimes the nicest vacation can be just finding some charming mountain getaways to relax and slow down for a little while.
While a relaxing 24-hour vacation may sound kind of counterproductive, there certainly is a sense of peace that comes in looking up at a majestic mountain range covering the horizon.
With these two mountain destinations, you can get some rest and relaxation while taking in some beautiful scenery in just a day’s time.
Fly to: Denver, Colorado – 6 p.m.
Drive to: Winter Park, Colorado (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Possible activities: Lake Granby, Skiing at Winter Park Resort, Rocky Mountain National Park
Drive and fly out of: Denver, Colorado – 6 p.m.
A neat local scene, one of the most popular ski resorts in the state and just a short trek away from Rocky Mountain National Park make Winter Park a fun year-round destination.
Inside the town, you can find a variety of prime local eateries plus live entertainment, art galleries and even museums and historical tours. A visit to the National Park will be worth the ticket alone with breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountainside towering over the landscape. With over 415 square miles covering the area, you have plenty of room to sit back and wind down without a care in the world.
On your way back from the park, you can make a pit stop at Colorado’s third largest body of water, Lake Granby. The lake adds in fishing to its equally amazing sights and brings you one last bit of R&R before your trip back home.
Fly to: Knoxville, Tennessee – 6 p.m.
Drive to: Gatlinburg, Tennessee (1 hour, 5 minutes)
Possible activities: Smoky Mountain National Park, Gatlinburg Skylift, Horseback Riding
Drive and fly out of: Knoxville, Tennessee – 6 p.m.
Just an hour drive from Knoxville and mere minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, has everything you need for a mountain getaway vacation you’ll never forget.
Within the Smoky Mountains, you can take a drive through one of the area’s most popular sites at Cades Cove. The 11-mile loop provides views of black bears, breathtaking caverns and waterfalls and even a 6,645-foot observational lookout over the park.
Back in town, you can experience more incredible sights through the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. The local chairlift takes you up as high as 1,800 feet over the town, giving you a full panoramic view of the Smoky Mountains.
But there is more to Gatlinburg than just scenery. Several attractions fill the area to bring fun for all ages, including horseback riding and multiple venues from the historically famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. For the thrill-seekers, Gatlinburg can take you soaring through the skies and mountains through zip-lining tours and the world’s first-ever Mountain Glider.
Whether your path takes you to the Rocky or Smoky Mountains, both destinations will have you wanting to come back for more!