US Vacation - Lounging about in the Water
November 19, 2019 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for vacation spot/resort recommendations in the US/Canada, ideally closer to the West Coast rather than the East Coast. I would like to lounge about in the water tranquilly in the shade -- help me find my next vacation!

Snowflake criteria:
- Shade is important! - A lot of classic vacation spots are pools underneath a bright bright sun
- More adults only vs. kids friendly
- Hydrotherapy / thermal cycles / mineral baths / hot springs / ocean / lake -- all sounds awesome
- More serene, rather than party
- In beautiful environments - in a shady forest, looking over a river/ocean etc. etc.
- More "resort" rather than "hike to this naturally occurring hot spring and jump in"
- Massage/spa options are nice
- OK if part of a relaxing hotel, esp. if it also offers more private bathing options
- Not terribly far from the airport - lets say <2 hours drive
- With good dining / or near good dining - extra points to diversity of interesting foods
- Ideally, also not too far from a cute city/town where I can wander into local coffee and gelato shops etc. Ideally, this place has a "sense of place" -- i.e., some kind of authenticity and localness -- vs. a resort in a resorty place

We're based in Bay Area and are looking to plan a trip in May. Would prefer not to track all the way to the East Coast, but staying within CA feels... too close and not as special. Ideally, I would consider some interesting international trips, but with the political / international environment, are deciding to stay closer to home.

Thank you!
posted by ellerhodes to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Ojo Caliente outside of Santa Fe, NM would be great for you.
posted by alygator at 10:00 PM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you considered Mexico?

I recommend the Club Med Ixtapa. It’s easy to get to from the west coast, it might be cheaper in May, the food was legit good, it has activity clubs for the kids. Nice beaches, kayaking, sailing, trapeze, cooking classes... I liked it a lot. It’ll be hot in May, though (which was when I visited). It has no authenticity/localness, and you can go into town but we didn’t. You can also take overpriced trips to archaeological sites, which I recommend (but if you go through the resort they’ll be pricy). What you get at all-inclusive resorts is definitely vacation, not travel to interesting foreign places—but I recommend it.

I also had a nice time staying in Manzanillo, which is *super* expat community, but was very pleasant. No Spanish required. But I stayed at a friend’s mom’s snowbirding condo, so no recommendations for where to stay.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:05 PM on November 19, 2019

It’s a bit different, but Doe Bay Resort in Orcas Island, Washington State, might be of interest. It hits most of your criteria - it’s a small, rustic resort in the gorgeous scenery of the San Juan Islands, known for its hot tubs and saunas with views of the sea and forest. Within the resort there is a cafe, spa, organic vegetable garden and waterfront yoga classes. Lots of other cute places to visit in the San Juans. However, it is more like a 3 hour journey from the airport, mostly because you have to catch a ferry to take you across to the islands. Also, if you are looking for shade as a contrast to strong sun, that’s not the offer here. But everyone I know who’s been says it’s magical.
posted by Concordia at 11:49 PM on November 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

Doe Bay/Orcas is a great idea. The restaurant is excellent and I think there are private bathing options. It is surrounded by forest, but it is pretty rustic. With Seattle traffic it can be a three hour drive from the airport to the ferry plus about an hour ferry ride (my favorite part of the trip, actually). Doe Bay is a half hour from the ferry landing. Orcas Island is small and quaint. Great little main town (Eastsound) with coffee options and fantastic bakeries. It is generally not rainy like Seattle, but you will definitely not experience tropical hot sun.
posted by gryphonlover at 1:48 AM on November 20, 2019

You can take Kenmore Air from Boeing Field and fly directly to Orcas.
posted by jgirl at 8:00 PM on November 23, 2019

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