50 Quick Trips
Cape Ann teems with fishing villages and lighthouses. Gloucester is the center of it all, with artist studios, oceanfront dining, and seven beaches. Manchester-by-the-Sea's Singing Beach is named for the squeaking sound the sand makes underfoot. Fall asleep to lapping waves at Cape Ann's Marina Resort (capeannmarina.com, from $69).
Mackinac banned cars more than 100 years ago—so indulge at the island's 15 fudge shops, then bike it off along the eight-mile coastline. The dining room at the legendary Grand Hotel is the perfect excuse to dress to the nines (grandhotel.com, from $450, with breakfast and dinner).
Hike or bike parts of the 100-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail around the 465 lakes in Brainerd Lakes Area, then stop by Black Bear Lodge & Saloon for a dinner of pan-fried walleye (blackbearlodgemn.com). A sprawling, 80-year-old property, Madden's on Gull Lake offers women's golf clinics throughout the summer; there's also a marina, a croquet course, and a spa (maddens.com, from $125).
When you're not living it up at one of the casino resorts, shop for crafts and artwork in nearby Ocean Springs or book a sunset cruise aboard a schooner (maritimemuseum.org). Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House in Gulfport serves shrimp and grits on a beachside patio (emerils.com). Beau Rivage Resort & Casino is the swankiest resort in Biloxi, with floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms (beaurivage.com, from $129).
Immigrants from Germany's Rhine Valley established wineries in the Missouri River Valley near Hermann. The Hermann Wine Trail, which meanders its way past seven family-owned vineyards, is ideal for an afternoon bike ride (hermannwinetrail.com). Cottages at Hermann Hill Vineyard & Inn are on a bluff with river views (hermannhill.com, from $166).
Ranchers share the sidewalks with professors, artists, and (in winter) ski bums. Grossenbacher Guides leads women's fly-fishing clinics (grossenbacherguides.com). In evenings, the action is in restaurants on Main Street. The Olive Branch Inn, an 1889 Victorian manor, has robes and custom soaps in each room (theolivebranchinn.com, from $100).
Known for the sandhill cranes that pass through the Platte River Valley every spring, Grand Island is also a destination for tourists—only they come for the historic district's boutiques and to reenact pioneering days at the Stuhr living-history museum (stuhrmuseum.org). The two-room Kirschke House kept its 1902 stained-glass details and installed a hot tub in the brick washhouse (kirschkehouse.com, from $85).
Think Vegas casinos, restaurants, and shops—without the hassle and high prices—then add in the Colorado River. For the best views of the riverside casinos, especially the Colorado Belle, which was built to resemble a paddle-wheel boat, ride on a Laughlin River Tours steamboat (laughlinrivertours.com). Opened less than two years ago, Aquarius Casino Resort is the newest, sleekest resort in town (theaquarius.com, from $40).
New Hampshire's White Mountains have stunning peaks and an array of waterfalls. For dinner, head to the 1785 Inn restaurant in North Conway (the1785inn.com). Zeb's General Store sells treats such as chocolate "moose droppings" (zebs.com). The pool at Stonehurst Manor overlooks the mountains, and trails weave through the 33 acres.
Cape May has long been a seaside resort, but instead of roller coasters, there are horse-drawn carriages and sidewalks lit with gas lamps. Afternoon tea and breakfast are included with a night's stay at Victorian Lace Inn (victorianlaceinn.com, from $125).