1. Outdoor adventures in the Hudson Valley, NY
View from the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park
Photo credit: Dutchess Tourism
Bannerman’s Castle on the Hudson River
Although the Hudson Valley is just a few hours away from Manhattan, it feels like another world. Stretching for 150 miles past the tip of the island along the Hudson River, this area is an outdoor playground. Tackle a ropes course at Catamount Aerial Adventure Park or take in the river views along the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. Kayak along the Hudson River to catch a glimpse of Bannerman’s Castle or hike along the Walkway Over the Hudson, an elevated park that was once the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing, and ice climbing. The area is also home to plenty of music festivals and microbreweries.
2. See and savor in Santa Fe, NM
Wagon Train Sculpture at Museum Hill, Santa Fe
Santa Fe panorama
Located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, Santa Fe offers a perfect mix of art, architecture, food, and a big dose of culture, all in a spectacularly unique setting. America’s second oldest city harks back to a time of cowboys and gunfights, many of which took place at the 17th-century Central Plaza, which has also seen its fair share of bullfighting. The surrounding mountains offer plenty of outdoor options, from hiking and mountain biking to backpacking and skiing. Don’t miss Bonanza Creek Ranch, a Western-style movie set where Cowboys & Aliens was filmed. It’s impossible to go hungry here. Steak, wild game, and seafood are served up with south-of-the-border flavors, and the restaurant scene ranges from food trucks to fine dining. Make sure to end your day with a mescal.
3. Bourbon, boxing, and bats in Louisville, KY
Maker's Mark distillery
The Big Four Bridge
Producing more than 1/3 of the world’s bourbon, Louisville is the bourbon capital of the world! Hit the Kentucky Urban Bourbon Trail dotted with nine historic distilleries including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Wild Turkey then imbibe and indulge at over 20 bars and restaurants serving up drinks and food laced with bourbon, including the Kentucky Derby favorite, Mint Julep, or fried quail with bourbon gravy. But there’s more to do here beyond the bourbon. Pay your respects to the Greatest of All Time at the Muhammad Ali Center, showcasing permanent and rotating exhibits. Baseball lovers can catch a Triple-A Louisville Bats game, or visit the Louisville Slugger Museum. Or pop across the state line via The Big Four Bridge; a former railroad bridge opened to pedestrians in 2013, it spans the Ohio River and links Louisville to Jefferson, Indiana.
4. Golfing getaway in Scottsdale, AZ
Troon North Golf Club Course
Photos credit: Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Grayhawk Golf Club Course
Scottsdale is one of the top golfing destinations in the US for good reason. The area gets about 330 sunny days a year and is packed with nearly 200 courses, including the award-winning Troon North and Grayhawk. But guys will find plenty to do beyond the greens, such as hiking or biking through the 30,000-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Afterward, work out the kinks with a sports massage at one of the area’s top spas. The dining scene is also top notch, while the nightlife ranges from saloon-style joints to cocktail bars and microbreweries. Loving the Old West vibe? Check out the newly opened Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.
5. Surfing and seafood in Kill Devil Hills, NC
Kill Devil Hills surf
Wright Brothers National Memorial
A 90-foot dune in Kill Devil Hills is where the Wright Brothers famously achieved liftoff in 1903. But visitors can achieve a different kind of liftoff here. This small town, which hosts the annual Eastern Surfing Association championship, is one of the hottest surf destinations in the Outer Banks. Grab a board and hit the surf or sign up for a lesson if you’ve never tried to catch a wave.You’ll find lots of other water sports to try here, such as kiteboarding, kayaking, or stand-up paddle boarding. Refuel after a day on the water at one of the many seafood restaurants in town serving up mahi-mahi tacos and grilled shrimp skewers.
6. Ultimate leisure on Lake Travis, TX
If your idea of a perfect getaway involves plenty of space to relax and stretch out, consider this waterfront home on Lake Travis, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Spread out over six acres, this home is packed with every amenity that you and 11 of your best buds could want. With an outdoor saltwater pool and waterfall, Jacuzzi, fire pit, and boat dock with a jet ski lift, plus a spa area, workout room, and cinema indoors, you may be tempted to experience a staycation. No need to worry about too many chefs in the kitchen, either, with two refrigerators, two dishwashers, and three sinks. If you can tear yourself away from the villa, the area offers top-notch fishing, parasailing, and scuba diving.