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Trip Tips

You asked, we answered. Where to spa in Sedona, bike in the Berkshires, and more…

Q: Three of my girlfriends and I are turning 30 this year, and we want to spend a long weekend at a spa retreat. We're considering Sedona, Ariz. Any suggestions on where to stay and what to do? Jennifer Wolff, St. Louis, Mo.

A: Amara Hotel, Restaurant & Spa is a great base for exploring the area (928/282-4828, amararesort.com, doubles from $155, massages from $130). Spa therapists cater to groups, offering in-room massages for an extra $50. The 100-room bamboo-accented boutique hotel is set on 22 acres along Oak Creek, just a short drive from the four-mile-long Courthouse Butte Loop walking trail in Coconino National Forest (www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino, parking $5). Nearby at Elote Cafe, every seat takes in a view of the area's distinctive red rocks; the restaurant's most popular appetizer is, unsurprisingly, the elote—roasted corn with chile, lime, mayo, and cotija cheese (928/203-0105, elotecafe.com, elote $6.50).

Q: My sister and I and two friends are headed to Honolulu. What should we do besides lie on the beach? Rita Chandler, Helena, Mont.

A: Oahu may be best-known for its world-class beaches, but there's far more to the island, like the 50 hiking trails described in Stuart M. Ball Jr.'s The Hiker's Guide to Oahu (University of Hawaii Press, $20). And you'll be guaranteed a good meal if you follow in the footsteps of locals. Hawaiians love Giovanni's Shrimp Truck in Haleiwa, on the island's North Shore, for simple plates of shrimp with garlic, hot sauce, or lemon and butter (808/293-1839, shrimp plate $13). Less than a mile away, Aoki's Shave Ice serves unexpected flavors like li hing mui, a dried, salty plum (808/637-7017, aokishaveice.com, from $2). Stay at the 247-room surfer-themed Aqua Waikiki Wave hotel, just one block from prime Waikiki Beach (808/922-1262, aquaresorts.com, doubles from $99).

Q: My girlfriend and I want to celebrate entering our 30s by taking a bike tour. Maybe something in the Northeast? Julie Heintz, Calumet City, Ill.

A: Fall is a perfect time to visit New England, and a top tour is Easy Rider Tours' Autumn in the Berkshires. You choose the distance—from 102 to 228 miles—on a five-night ride through western Massachusetts (800/488-8332, easyridertours.com, $2,250). The company will pick you up at the Boston airport, and bikes, guides, hotel stays, most meals, and luggage transport are included. You'll view the foliage at your own pace during the day and join riders each evening at historic inns like the 19-room, 184-year-old Rookwood Inn in Lenox (800/223-9750, rookwoodinn.com).

Q: I'd like to spend my 50th birthday with five friends in Key West, Fla. How can we find the best house rental? Carolyn Heyman, Chicago, Ill.

A: Renting is definitely the way to go so you can cook and relax together. Vacation Rentals by Owner lists more than 300 properties in Key West, and most include pictures to give a sense of the vibe. Our top pick: a three-bedroom home with a private pool and an open-plan kitchen and dining area in the Casa Marina Resort for $440 a night (vrbo.com, six-night minimum).

 
Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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