(Tribune News Service) -- It’s never too late to plan a last-minute family getaway. Here are five ideas to consider:
1. Sample sports at Sand Valley Resort, Rome, Wisconsin
Set among tumbling prehistoric sand dunes, Sand Valley Resort is a year-round retreat offering an expansive menu of outdoor adventures paired with farm-to-table culinary experiences. Three distinct award-winning golf courses serve as the centerpiece of the resort, including a family-friendly 17-hole, par-3 Coore & Crenshaw design. Additional outdoor activities include hiking, fat-tire biking, bocce ball, bird watching, fishing, yoga, tennis on grass courts and star-gazing. Once the temperatures drop, plan for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice skating and sledding. Get cozy in luxurious (and dog-friendly) cottages complete with full kitchens and a screened porch or check in to guestrooms at the Lodge where you’ll be just steps from the first tee at Mammoth Dunes.
2. Bike through Bears Ears, Utah
Explore the 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument via a five-day mountain bike tour. During the 80-mile adventure, riders will travel through a broad expanse of red rock, juniper forests and high plateau, while learning about early human and Native American history. The trip gets underway at Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding, Utah, a 19th-century Mormon settlement, and climbs high into the Abajo Mountains. Highlights include an array of archaeological sites and ruins including The Notch, Duck Lake, Sego Flat, Reef of Rocks, Maverick Point Overlook, The Causeway and Jackson Ridge. Wildlife is abundant and views atop the Abajo Mountains extend for 75 miles in all directions. Additional family-focused biking tours are also possible.
3. Adventure with experts
If planning a family adventure is not in your wheelhouse, leave the details to the pros at the Montage and Pendry Hotels and Resorts. Through a new partnership with Adventure IO, a proprietary mobile platform offering exclusive adventure experiences led by professional athletes and local experts, guests can tap into well-curated opportunities that will provide long-lasting memories. Options include taking flight above water on an electric hydrofoil, learning to navigate the waves of the Pacific Ocean with one of the world’s best skim boarders and surfers, backcountry hiking, snowmobiling, heli-skiing, off-roading and fly fishing — all with notable ambassadors and experts in their respective fields.
4. Hike Santa Barbara, California
Home to the most national parks in the country, scenic coastlines, and endless deserts and mountain ranges, California has long been considered a top destination for families seeking outdoor adventure. While the more remote regions may be compelling, easier to access options abound. For example, Santa Barbara, known for its beautiful beaches, also offers scores of walking, biking and hiking trails. Consider Seven Falls, a 2.5-mile round-trip hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall and natural swimming hole. For a more challenging endeavor, La Cumbre Peak is 10 miles round trip and the stunning ridge — Santa Barbara’s highest peak at 3,995 feet — offers panoramic views of the coast. Extreme adventurers can test out their rock-climbing skills at Cathedral Park, which entails a 4-mile round-trip hike and 3,000-foot elevation gain. Later, enjoy sea breezes and a magnificent Pacific sunset.
5. Turn back time at Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky
All “adventurers, learners, makers and doers” are encouraged to visit this 3,000-acre site, the largest National Historic Landmark in Kentucky and home to the country's largest private collection of original 19th-century buildings (including 34 original Shaker structures). The whole family will want to beeline to the farm to meet four-legged friends, and to walk the garden while collecting sustainability and organic gardening tips from the farmers. Be sure to access the 40 miles of family-friendly trails, where bird observation blinds and Shaker mill sites provide added interest. Ask about self-guided and professionally led tours, wagon rides and riverboat excursions. Overnight lodging is available.
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