Many people know that some of the best skiing in the United States is in Park City, Utah. What they may not realize is that the slopes are never less crowded than during the Sundance Film Festival.
While tens of thousands of people crowded Main Street, six of us rented a condo a few miles away in Deer Valley that was mere steps away from the Deer Valley Resort.
We zipped down the heavy powder of Empire, Lady Morgan and Flagstaff Mountain for five solid days, usually in relative solitude.
There was never a wait for a ski lift and the silence of the mountains was truly breathtaking. After a day of peaceful skiing, it was a bit of a surprise to encounter all the hustle and bustle of Main Street for dinner.
But we were able to enjoy great BBQ at Bandit’s Bar & Grill, good Thai food at Bangkok Thai and wonderful craft beer and comfort food at the Wasatch Brewery.
After dinner, it was a quick drive back to our condo where we relaxed in our outdoor hot tub before a welcome night’s sleep and an early morning trip back to the slopes. It was simply the best ski vacation I ever had. - By Josh from Los Angeles
Unusual Vacation Ideas #2: One of the most fun vacations I took involved a fair amount of (rewarding) work. I enjoy recreational shooting (pistol & rifle) so I booked a vacation with some of my Frontier Airlines frequent flyer miles out to Las Vegas, NV.
Now, Vegas is not an unusual vacation destination but my plans were a little unusual. I was to attend a 4-day defensive handgun course at Front Sight firearms training facility. The facility is actually closer to Pahrump, so I stayed in the Saddle West casino and hotel – one of the places recommended in Front Sight’s material.
Pahrump is a fun little town off the beaten path. They have a few casinos and it provides a more exploratory feel than the big buildings and bright lights of the Vegas Strip. I found the hotel staff to be especially friendly and they seem to have a good connection with the Front Sight students (for example, they provide reasonably priced boxed lunches (for purchase) so students have one less thing to worry about).
I was able to purchase ammunition at the local WalMart (cheaper than buying at Front Sight), but there’s no guarantee that they will have it in stock! The handgun course makes for some long days of training (and they are very experienced in their training) but I still had some evening time to wander around Pahrump.
Food options ranged anywhere from inexpensive fast food to unique local Mexican options to hotel food. Saddle west caters to Front Sight students by providing free breakfast buffet coupons for each night stayed (and it’s a pretty good breakfast selection!) and lunches were boxed so I really only had to worry about finding suppers.
I enjoyed myself so much (and learned enough in the course) that I ended up heading back to do the same thing a year later and hope to make this type of event a regular occurrence (Front Sight offers much more than just the defensive handgun course). Pahrump, NV provides a more relaxed and still interesting South West atmosphere and Saddle West is a great hotel for Front Sight students.
Anyone looking to do a vacation off the beaten path and pick up some handgun skills would do good to look into the combination of Front Sight and Saddle West! (A little extra piece of advice for anyone looking into this is to search around for “Front Sight Certificates” which can allow a first-time student to take a course at a substantial discount!) - By Mike from Missouri
Unusual Vacation Ideas #3: Our unusual vacation destination is Reykjavik, Iceland. In the spring 2006 I traveled there with my husband. We'd always wanted to go to Iceland, as we're both very interested in Viking culture.
Around Christmas we stumbled upon a great deal for tickets to Reykjavik (actually Keflavik, which is a tiny town that plays host to the international airport near Reykjavik - it's only about 45 minutes to the capital city by bus.)
So, it's the beginning of June, quite early in the morning and we just got to the city and checked into our hotel, a lovely little place in the center of the city, and started walking around the downtown area. Reykjavik is quite a charming little city. Most of the houses are only a few stories high and so the city spreads out over a fairly large stretch of land, instead of shooting skywards.
It feels like a village, but it seems to look at itself as a bustling metropolis. There are loads of bars and restaurants and cafes and shops of every kind imaginable.
We spent the first day just strolling around and relaxing, but the next day we had booked a bus trip to go see some of Iceland's famous nature wonders. It was a day trip that took us to a waterfall, a geyser and the site of the old parliament, where it was situated in the days of yore when Iceland was just being settled.
It was an amazing trip, plenty of time to soak up the beauty of each place and take countless photos. The tour guide was well educated about the things we were seeing and seemed to enjoy his job. Two days later we went to the Blue lagoon, of which Icelanders are justifiably proud.
It's a geothermal wonder, milky white water surrounded by ragged lava, but built into a world class spa. Worth every penny - and believe me, it was a bit on the pricey side. Overall our journey to Iceland was just simply amazing! We loved every minute of it, and are planning to go again as soon as we can. - By Margaret from London
Unusual Vacation Ideas #4: We were looking for an unusual vacation destination. We selected Hong Kong because I had always wanted to visit a city in the east and was told that it would be very different than my home country. It would also be friendly and easy to navigate. We chose Hong Kong over Bejing as it was a closer stop on our way to China to adopt a baby girl.
I booked a room at the highest rated hotel in the city. When we arrived we had been upgraded to a 2,000 sq ft suite overlooking the harbor. It was elegant and beyond our wildest dreams. It had one of the best bathtubs I have ever soaked in. We hired a private car to give us a day long tour of the city one day and the next we wandered around on our own.
Visiting the open air markets was thrilling. Standing at the stop of Victoria Peak was life changing. Hong Kong was exciting and so different than my home country, yet I never felt frightened or unsafe. The people were so friendly and helpful.
We were only there for two days before we traveled on to our final destination of Guangzhou China but I still think about my time there very frequently. I have to say that of all the countries and cities I have been to, I found Hong Kong to be the most thrilling and unusual vacation destination and I dream about going back. -By Daphne from Beverly Hills CA
Unusual Vacation Ideas #5: High in the desert of Western New Mexico in the American Southwest is one of the world’s most unusual vacation destinations: a mile-long piece of "land art" called Lightning Field.
The 400 stainless steel, 20 foot high poles are set in a precise grid, designed to attract lighting strikes while you walk through them! A small cabin with three bedrooms is adjacent to the ‘sculpture’ and for $250 per person per night (May through October), you and up to five other people are left alone for 24 hours to wander through the one mile by one kilometer grid.
This piece of experiential art, by American sculptor Walter De Maria, was commissioned in 1977, and is maintained, at great expense, by the Dia Art Foundation, which arranges the visit.
They will drive you on the 45 minute trip from Quemado, New Mexico (three hours away from Albuquerque), to the secret location of the field. Because the whole thing is a copyrighted sculpture, photography is not permitted, but you can purchase official photos from Dia. - By David from New York