I desperately need a vacation, and my husband and I are thinking about going somewhere at the end of April, over my spring break. We originally wanted to go to Ireland and Italy, but went to Japan last year so should save some money this time around. We have enough airline miles that we can pretty much fly anywhere in the continental US for free.
So we're looking for someplace cool to go. I will obviously need something horsey and fun to do at some point, though that doesn't need to be the main focus of the trip, as my husband doesn't ride--or golf; we like to do stuff together, but he'll be fine amusing himself if I go for a couple-hour trail ride or something like that. So probably not a ranch vacation, but with some cool horse opportunity nearby for me--riding on a beach, riding in a vineyard, something that I don't normally get to do.
We're mainly thinking big cities, but with outdoorsy stuff to do nearby--hiking, cool scenery, etc. End of April, so I'd like to go someplace at least tolerably warm, as it's cold and miserable right now in Buffalo.
I've been to the Big Bend area of Texas by myself before, and loved it there, though there's not a whole lot to do as far as entertainment there. I would really like to go to Austin, which seems like an awesome city, but am not sure about hiking, beach, outdoorsy stuff to do or horse stuff around there. Southwest in general could be cool; I've been to NM briefly, but my husband hasn't, and I didn't have much time there anyway.
Another possibility would be somewhere west coast--we've been to LA, but I'd love to see more of the Pacific northwest, like Portland, Washington, northern CA, etc. I do love otters. My husband is also a wine specialist, so I know he'd love to go to some of the wineries and vineyards out there.
We've already been through New England on our honeymoon, and to Hawaii. Husband lived in Tallahassee and kinda hates it, though I wouldn't mind having some time on a beach somewhere.
Any brilliant ideas? I know COTHers are pretty widespread and at least will know good horsey things to do!
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
Portland is a lovely city to visit--very easy to navigate, with a concentrated downtown (home to the largest new/used bookstore in US--Powell's Books...google and enjoy). You could take in a professional soccer game, visit the Oregon Zoo (lots of elephants! and river otters! )
The wine areas are easy to get to from Portland, with many nice vineyards 30-60 minutes scenic drive south and west. Then, you have the Gorge for for hiking, the flowers will just be starting to bloom there. Some late spring skiing would also be an hour's drive away on Mt. Hood. A 1.5 to two-hour drive takes you to the coast, which is amazingly beautiful. If you get to Newport, Oregon, they have an aquarium that has sea otters on display
There is a hunter/jumper show 30 minutes outside of Portland April 28-May 1 as a matter of fact!
Can't really speak to riding opportunities, but there are a LOT of COTH'rs out here who could set up a lesson or a ride, if you connect with them.
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
We've been to Maui, which was awesome, and wouldn't mind going again... but that costs more miles, and we'd like to try someplace new. Thanks for the info on Portland! I hadn't thought of Sedona, either, and that would be very cool--I love the desert.
Seattle is an amazing city. You could fly into Seattle and then rent a car and drive down the coast along the 101. Its got some amazing views.
Outside the town of Florence, OR you can ride horses on the beach.
You also have something like 70 miles of sand dunes on the ocean front. You can rent dune buggies in the town of Florence and explore or they have converted buses that will take you on an adventure.
The Painted Hills area of OR is AMAZING!!
The Willamette Valley along the Willamette River in OR is gorgeous.
The McKenzie Pass and Sisters, OR are neat.
Driving and visiting the Columbia River gorge is neat.
My family and I spent 10 days and covered 1300 miles from Seattle to Florence, OR to Whitefish, MT and back to Seattle this past summer. It was an amazing trip. Lots of traveling in the car, but amazing things to see around every turn.
I have heard that, if you only get to go on one trip of a lifetime, make it Alaska or second best Canada.
Those trips seem to be so amazing that anyone, if they like cities or the wild seem to love them, forget what they thought they wanted in a trip and thoroughly loved their time traveling in those places.
I don't know if you can manage wine tasting and horseback rides there, but maybe the rest of what you experience makes up for it.
Well, I am sitting in SF as I type this, so I am bias but,
San Francisco has great weather in the spring, granted, not hot but clear and sunny. We have a lot to see, museums, amazing scenery, a great walking city. Its also a food mecca, with many types of restaurants, and different ethnic districts.
You can head north across the Golden Gate to the wine country, and horse back ride along the vineyards and wine taste, or your could head southwest of the city (even closer) and horse back ride on the beach in Half Moon Bay (or on Tennessee Walkers in Pescadero!). My hubby and I like to day trip north of SF, to enjoy the wine, and then head over to the coast for fresh oysters and local cheese at one of the road side shacks.
I went to Vancouver BC last spring and really enjoyed it. Much the same to offer as SF but on an even smaller scale. Day trips to the north along the inlets, full of islands and waterfalls was amazing. Not sure about the horse opportunities there though.
The PNW right now is a primordial rain forest, all of the western part of the state anyway. If you like drizzle and sun breaks (that is what we call it when the sun comes out) you will be happy here this time of the year. Things are starting to bloom and I heard the peepers last night, and our birds also sing in the rain, but we don't have the same sort of spring that the East does.
It is, however, glorious here in the summer which starts on July 5th (yes it does) when it is severe clear and low humidity, but can get into the 90's, usually it is not that warm. The weather is typically lovely through September.
Can't think of anything around here in Texas that would fill the bill but perhaps the folks who down in the Austin (don't forget to take in San Antonio) would have some ideas. Think the wildflowers should be in full bloom
around your time frame.
San Francisco sounds like perhaps a good bet for the time of year. The Napa and Sonoma valleys for wine tasting and touring are awesome. And am sure
there are some horses to be found. Took a trail ride in Golden Gate Park about 15 or so years ago. Hard hats provided, English saddles and a guide. Gorgeous! Tried to take a trail ride along Half Moon Bay to the south but my horse started bleeding from the nose about a half mile out so we came back. Neither horse looked in that great a condition (one of those places where the horses stand around all day with their saddles on) and decided to take a rain check but never had the opportunity to go back. This was a place that had
advertising flyers all over SFO and in the guide books. However, you could go without a guide.
Further down the cost is Monterey with a wonderful acquarium and I remember seeing otters from the top of the seaside cliffs.
Another option might be to visit a more land locked area for the wine and riding and then head for a seaside place to soak up the sun for a few days before heading home.
Thanks for the ideas! We actually go to Canada a lot--we're in Buffalo, so can literally walk there. d; We were just in Montreal in January, which is an awesome city, and we need to go back again in the summer.
Pacific Northwest is sounding like we'd better save that for a summer trip... sounds gorgeous, but right now I think I want someplace warm!
I'm definitely leaning toward Arizona or San Francisco now... but continue to welcome ideas!
Sedona is great and the weather should be fabulous by April. It starts warming up now. Unfortunately, you will run out of things to do in about 4 days. Once you get over being awe-struck by the landscape, there isn't much else to do. No wineries.
We love San Diego and surrounding areas. You can usually count on good weather and great beaches.
Las Vegas, anyone? A really fun destination. Casinos, shows, great nightclubs, shopping, Lake Mead, and you can go riding in the desert.
Great wineries around Solvang and Santa Barbara. I LOVE Santa Barbara. Santa Rosa (up North) is a fun town but sort of off the beaten path.
San Francisco won't be warm this time of year (or, frankly, any time). The stables in Golden Gate Park are closed, sadly. But if you want to see the sights and eat at a lot of great restaurants spring is not a bad time to go.
I moved from SF to Oregon. While, unlike SF, we have a real summer here, it is very, very short. We've had a good winter -- much less rain than usual or so they tell me, but in general the winter weather here just plain sucks. I would not recommend a vacation in the PNW anytime but the summer if it's going to be your only trip here.
Dunno about you, but I'm from the east coast and I kind of miss having real seasons at this point. I could use a vacation back home!