A year ago, all spring vacation plans were likely canceled. Mine were. I was supposed to be camping in Joshua Tree National Park in mid-April, and I remember the National Park Service email like yesterday: “We wanted you to know this place is closed. Your reservation has been canceled and refunds have been issued. “It was the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so much was unknown. Now, a year and a lot of chaos later, spring travel doesn’t look like 2019, but with the right precautions, there can be some form of interruption in the milling process. Here are some ideas for a well-deserved, budget-friendly spring trip to celebrate the fact that you’ve got through a year neither of us could have predicted.
Find healing in the desert
(Photo: Courtesy TinyCamp Sedona)
If there is a Restoration vortex anywhere on this planet, it is in Sedona, thanks to its plethora of wellness and meditation retreats, energy healers, and an actual vortex map showing places considered to be the recovery epicentres. Whether you believe in such a thing or not, exploring a red rock desert is just comforting, especially when the temperatures are in the 70s (rather than the 100s which averages the region in summer) . There’s rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking through canyons, and yoga with epic views. The 300-square-foot tiny homes at TinyCamp Sedona (starting at $ 276) have names like Flow, Breathe, and Renew, and come with a star grid deck and yoga mats.
Hit the open road
(Photo: Courtesy Moterra Campervan)
Pick up a fully-fledged Moterra campervan (starting at $ 339) at one of the company’s five hubs: Jackson, Wyoming; Las Vegas, Nevada; San Francisco, California; Whitefish, Montana; or Salt Lake City, Utah. These luxury Sprinter vans have perks like a French press for making coffee, camping chairs, and marshmallow skewers a variety of bedrooms. Not sure where to go? Moterra also plans your road trip with custom itineraries, pre-booked campsites, and scenic routes.
Ride the trails
(Photo: Joshua Moore / iStock)
Brevard, North Carolina
The Pisgah National Forest is a paradise for mountain bikers. On the bike farm you will find dozens of hiking trails, a bike shop with beer, a hub and pisgah tavern, as well as guided mountain bike and skills workshops for all levels on the bike farm. Pitch a tent at the Davidson River Campground (from $ 34) for access to hiking trails from the camp, or book one of 15 architect-designed cabins (from $ 150) in Pilot Cove, a 124-acre lot that borders the forest Flow Trail and future campsites under development.
Start your ski season
(Photo: Courtesy of Snowbasin Resort)
Yes, it is still winter in some places. The Snowbasin Resort, less than an hour north of Salt Lake City, will remain open until April 11th. Buy your next season pass now (starting at $ 899) and ski for free this spring. Otherwise, day passes start at $ 139 (pre-purchase online). Enjoy zero-lift lines, powder in the late season and, new this year, ski-up windows where you can order a slice of pizza or a breakfast burrito on the go. Stay at Compass Rose Lodge (from $ 199) and you’ll be minutes from skiing at Snowbasin and nearby Powder Mountain.
Learn something new
(Photo: paulacobleigh / iStock)
Floras Lake, Oregon
The kitesurfing season starts in the spring on the southern coast of Oregon. There’s no better place to get in on the action than Floras Lake Kite and Windsurf, a family-run kitesurfing school in one of the windiest places in the country. The school is open April through September on a freshwater lake outside the city of Bandon, a 4.5-hour drive from Portland and a seven-hour drive from Seattle. Camp at neighboring Boice Cope Park (from $ 20) or book this four bedroom home (from $ 425) on the property. You can rent windsurfing or kiteboarding equipment, sign up for a lesson, and rent paddleboards and kayaks.
Jump into a pool
(Photo: Courtesy of the Wesley Hotel)
Palm Springs, California
Sure, there’s plenty to do in Palm Springs – hiking trails and desert views at Joshua Tree National Park or Mount San Jacinto State Park are about an hour away – but we won’t judge if you fancy just one Deck chair to sit next to the swimming pool. The Wesley Hotel (starting at $ 147) has ten modern mid-century pool suites. Get $ 100 off your first stay when you sign up for the newsletter. Enjoy breakfast in a private garden, then grab a rental cruiser bike to roll into town.
Relax on the beach
(Photo: ehabaref / iStock)
On the west side of Maui is now a former sugar plantation, Camp Olowalu (from USD 24), with 35 beach tent sites, plus van campsites, canvas bungalows with private outdoor showers, and A-frame cabins with kitchenettes. Located ten minutes from Lahaina, this location offers gentle surf breaks, some of the largest banyan trees in the world, and guided sea kayaking through a protected reef. Be sure to find out about Hawaii’s current travel restrictions and policies.