4 Trips to Consider for Holiday Gift-Giving
From outdoor adventures to romantic resorts, discover creative gift ideas for the traveler on your list.
For the globetrotter on your list, gift an unexpected vacation experience, from an epic adventure in Montana to a relaxing wellness-focused getaway in Sedona, Arizona.(Getty Images)
There's no better gift than the opportunity to travel. If you're looking to break away from gifting a cookie-cutter getaway, consider presenting a loved one with an unexpected and meaningful travel experience. From outside-the-box outdoor adventures to romantic getaways to desert escapes where you can reset and recharge, discover four offbeat trip gift ideas that are sure to make the holiday season sparkle for you and yours.
Fly-Fishing in Western Montana
For some of the best trout fishing in the U.S., surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery and close proximity to Glacier National Park, plan a guided fly-fishing adventure to Missoula, Montana, for your favorite angler. Brandon Bannigan, owner of Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop in Missoula, a premier fly-fishing shop and outfitter, says most clients book two- to four-day guided float trips so guests can experience multiple rivers. Each river offers unique landscapes and fishing experiences. From downtown Missoula, you can be on a float boat in 45 minutes, casting your rod on the Bitterroot, Blackfoot or Clark Fork rivers for rainbows, browns, cutbows (a cross between the rainbows and browns) or the native westslope cutthroat trout.
While June and July are the quintessential months for fly-fishing, Bannigan also recommends visiting the end of March through April or in September and October, when the fishing is at its best. Their daytrips include transportation, a relaxing shore lunch and the necessary tackle and flies to make sure your angler catches a few of those beautiful trout.
To round out the trip, stay in downtown Missoula, which boasts a lively college town and an impressive variety of bars and restaurants. A local favorite is Catalyst Café for a hearty breakfast. After a long day of fishing, head to Tamarack Brewing Company for casual bites and brews. To celebrate a special evening, take the short drive to the midtown area and book a chef's table dinner at Rumour Restaurant. The internationally inspired dishes prepared with local ingredients make for a memorable meal.
Watch the Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park, South Dakota
For the thrill-seeker, make plans to attend the 53rd annual buffalo roundup in the Black Hills of western South Dakota in September 2018. Surrounded by grassy rolling hills and golden fall shades, the park beckons to nature and adventure lovers at this time of year. Listen to the excitement and sounds as the ground rumbles beneath your feet and the thundering herd of nearly 1,200 bison is rounded up by cowboys, cowgirls and park crews. The purpose of this historic event is to maintain a healthy herd and balance the numbers of bison with ample foraging in the park. After the roundup, which boasts an attendance of 21,000 visitors each year, head to the corral area to meet the participants, including the bison, and have lunch at the Chuckwagon Cookout.
To amp up the western experience and get close to the bison in their natural habitat, reserve a spot on the Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour at Custer State Park the day before the roundup. Venture off-road in an open-air jeep to within 15-feet of these fascinating creatures and keep your eye out for other wildlife such as pronghorns and elk. If you have time to spare, extend your adventure to include several of America's iconic national treasures. Catch the early morning glow over Mount Rushmore, visit the Crazy Horse Memorial to learn what this imposing monument (in progress) represents to native tribes and travel through the otherworldly moon-like landscape and mixed-grass prairie ecosystem of Badlands National Park. To stay close to the action, plan early to stay at the State Game Lodge or Sylvan Lake Lodge at Custer State Park Resort.
Embrace Relaxation in Mexico's Riviera Maya
For the ultimate romantic escape, make reservations at Grand Velas Riviera Maya. This stunning all-inclusive luxury resort features an adults-only section. Plus, the property features spacious ocean front suites, each with private terraces and some with plunge pools. Located on the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean and bordered by mangroves and forested areas of the Yucatán jungle, the resort's 206 acres include two other all-suite properties that are family-friendly: Ambassador, which features ocean views and Zen Grand, with its thatched walkways attaching sections of the resort and located in a tranquil setting in the Mayan jungle. Travel between the properties to experience their unique ambiance. Try their internationally inspired restaurants and cocktail bars throughout the three distinct properties at the resort as the food and service are outstanding. For exceptional Mexican cuisine with an elegant twist, dine at Frida, named after the famous Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. Don't miss a visit to the 40,000-foot spa to indulge in a revitalizing signature treatment like a couples massage or an 80-minute Organic Kaab Honey Experience.
Relax and Recharge in Sedona, Arizona
Surrounded by Sedona's legendary Red Rocks, Mii Amo, and its sister property, Enchantment Resort, offer an idyllic setting to recharge. If you're looking to give the gift of a spa retreat for your special someone, Mii Amo's personalized all-inclusive journey vacation options focus on what each guest wants to achieve and can be combined with guided workshops or expert-led retreats. Guests can also participate in holistic workshops and wellness-centric activities.
All packages include luxury accommodations, three meals a day at Mii Amo Café, two spa treatments each day, the use of all the fitness facilities and classes and outdoor activities such as mountain biking, tennis and hiking. For a change of scenery, visit Enchantment Resort and lounge by the pool during the day with views of the spectacular Red Rocks. Before heading home, celebrate the culmination of a life changing experience and journey with the final evening's dinner at Che Ah Chi, Enchantment Resort's signature restaurant.
10 Bucket-List Destinations That Don't Cost a Fortune
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About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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