September 21, 2023 · 10 min
Halfdays Guide to Travel Destinations for the Outdoor Enthusiast
Hint: Lots of après hiking included.
Planning winter travel is a breeze for the skier or snowboarder. When it comes down to crossing off a new ski resort from the bucket list, planning a girls’ trip is as easy as booking flights, color coordinating the Halfdays fits, and finding the après spot for each afternoon.
While we’re impartial to the fruits of the winter season (boatloads of snow to ski down!), spring and summer bring the opportunity to blaze new trails, visit new states or cities, or hit the highways on a good ol’ fashioned road trip. It also tends to be the easier to get time off and take a vacation (but whose counting PTO in Halfdays world, right?)
Whether you’re looking to lounge by a body of water with plenty of bevs for your vacay, or scoping out West for a place with National Parks and trails to explore – these are our top destinations for the outdoor enthusiast this season.
1. Ouray, Colorado
Halfdays was born in Denver, Colorado, so it felt only right to begin with one of our favorite underrated mountain towns in our home state. Ouray, commonly known as the Switzerland of America and the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Colorado, is a very small mountain town in the southwest region of the state. Tucked into the San Juan Mountains, Ouray sits at just under 8,000 feet above sea level.
Ouray has a rich history dating back to the nineteenth century, when it began as a mining town set against the backdrop of the “Ol’ West.” In the winter, it’s a popular destination for ice climbing, and the town even holds an annual Ice Climbing Festival. However, the warmer months boast panoramic views of the mountains, green hills, wildflowers, and endless trails to explore.
Enjoy the numerous natural hot springs of Ouray. Created by geothermal underground springs, you can take a relaxing dip in Earth’s jacuzzi at Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs, the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, or Twin Peaks Lodge.
There is no shortage of adventure in Ouray: pick from mountain biking scenic cliffside trails, hiking and trail running to flowing waterfalls, or taking a 4WD vehicle tour. Check out Cascade Falls and Box Canyon Falls for waterfall trailheads just minutes from downtown.
Dine at the classic Outlaw Restaurant, or enjoy one of the numerous wineries, distilleries, or breweries that Ouray has to offer. Grab a pint with a view at Ouray Brewery, or go for wine tasting at the Ouray Wine Garden.
2. Sedona, Arizona
The backdrop of our Spring Collection 2023 campaign photoshoot, Sedona gets the gold stamp of approval for accessibility, scenic views, and abundant accommodations. Known for its iconic, vibrant red rocks and contrasting greenery, Sedona’s majestic features match its mystical energy. Sedona is known to contain and emit unique energy vortexes that are the ideal environment for deep meditation, yoga retreats, and an overall relaxing getaways.
From cozy campgrounds under starlit skies to luxurious resorts that blend seamlessly with the natural landscape, you’ll find options for every traveler in Sedona.
Our personal favorite is finding a glamping stay in a Yurt on Airbnb.
Seek solace and tranquility in Sedona's peaceful creeks and rivers. Kayak or paddleboard along the crystal-clear waters, taking in the serene surroundings and reconnecting with nature. Immerse yourself in the healing powers of Sedona's outdoor yoga and meditation sessions, drawing energy from the ancient land.
Pop into a local shop for an aura reading with your girlfriends, or take a day trip over to Grand Canyon National Park.
Discover the local culinary scene, where you can savor farm-to-table delights, indulge in regional wines, and experience the warmth of Southwestern hospitality.
Our personal favorites while shooting our Spring Campaign were Eloté Cafe, with signature mesquite-grilled entrees and Mexican food, and Wildflower, a great midday lunch spot for fresh salads and sandwiches. For a nightcap, try The Hudson, or Vino Di Sedona.
3. Mammoth Lakes, California
Nestled in the breathtaking Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, Mammoth Lakes is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its stunning natural beauty, majestic peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and an abundance of recreational activities, it is a mountain paradise in the spring and summer, and a world-class skiing and snowboarding destination in the winter.
Mammoth Lakes offers a range of spa resorts, hot springs, and wellness retreats where you can unwind and rejuvenate after a day of adventure.
Hiking enthusiasts can explore an extensive network of trails that lead to stunning alpine lakes, majestic waterfalls, and panoramic vistas. The John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Devils Postpile National Monument are among the must-see destinations for outdoor adventurers.
Fishing enthusiasts will will find themselves in paradise, as Mammoth Lakes is home to some of the best trout fishing in the region. The lakes and streams in the area are teeming with rainbow, brown, and golden trout.
Drive into Yosemite National Park for a day trip, only miles away. Discover the awe-inspiring beauty of Yosemite Valley, with its towering granite cliffs, thundering waterfalls, and ancient sequoia groves.
Catch some summer sale deals on ski and snowboard equipment, with lots of locally-owned gear shops around town.
If you’re looking for some water sport action, try paddleboarding and swimming at the stunning Lake Mary, just a 30 minute drive from downtown.
And if you’re still craving some downhill descent adrenaline, you can swap out the skis and snowboard for a mountain bike at Mammoth Resort.
From hearty mountain fare to international delicacies, the cuisine options in Mammoth do not disappoint. Check out Lakanuki for delicious pokè bowls and Hawaiian dishes, and a late night drinking spot. Don't forget to sample some local craft beers at or explore the quaint shops and boutiques for unique souvenirs at the Village. Check out the locals-favorite Black Velvet for a morning latte.
4. Moab, Utah
Situated in the heart of the American Southwest, Moab offers a captivating blend of natural wonders, adrenaline-pumping activities, and awe-inspiring beauty that will leave you spellbound. From its iconic national parks to its exhilarating outdoor adventures, Moab is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences for nature enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, and those seeking a connection with the raw power of the great outdoors.
Located just an 8 hour road trip drive from Denver, our Colorado girlies will love this accessible destination for a long weekend away.
Discover the quiet majesty of Dead Horse Point State Park, where you can hike along the rim of a deep canyon, capturing breathtaking views of the Colorado River winding its way below. Float down the calm waters of the Colorado River on a scenic rafting trip, or take a peaceful stroll along the Moab Rim Trail, immersing yourself in the tranquility of the desert landscape.
Check out the surreal landscapes of Arches National Park, just 20 minutes outside of Moab. You'll witness over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, delicate rock formations, and dramatic canyons.
Venture deeper into the wild and explore Canyonlands National Park, a vast expanse of rugged canyons, towering mesas, and the meeting point of the Green and Colorado Rivers.
For adrenaline junkies, Moab offers an array of heart-pounding activities. Saddle up and go horseback riding through the desert, conquer the challenging mountain biking trails that wind through rocky terrain, or feel the rush of rappelling down sheer cliffs. Off-roading enthusiasts can tackle the famous Slickrock Trail or navigate the exhilarating twists and turns of Hell's Revenge.
Navigate the vibrant downtown area of Moab, where you can find an eclectic mix of charming boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafés.
Savor local cuisine that blends traditional flavors with innovative twists, and discover the warmth of Moab's hospitality as you interact with friendly locals who share a passion for the region's natural wonders.
5. Big Sur, California
If you’re looking for an enchanting coastal escape, discover the wonders of California’s Central Coastline. Big Sur is a nature lover’s paradise with rugged beauty: dramatic cliffsides, pristine beaches, towering redwoods, and panoramic ocean views.
This region stretches for approximately 90 miles along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. If you’re seeking some tranquil R&R with your travel companions, you’ll find that Big Sur is a spiritual and artistic place, home to several renowned retreat centers and a vibrant arts community.
Prepare for the ultimate beachy, ethereal retreat. At the top of our list, Esalen Institute is one of the country’s finest retreat centers: stunning views on a cliffside, relaxing natural hot springs, and a range of workshops to choose from.
If you’re looking to relax on the beach, check out Pfieffer Beach, tucked alongside Highway 1 underneath a familiar looking bridge you might recognize from the opening sequence from the HBO show Big Little Lies.
As a luxurious splurge, check out Ventana Big Sur, a serene resort with world-class amenities, Japanese hot baths, and spa treatments, all surrounded by the beauty of Central Coast charm.
Big Sur is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering an array of activities from hikes to hidden waterfalls, secluded beaches, and wildlife viewing of whales, sea otters, and migratory birds.
For a short hike, check out McWay Falls, a brief trail to the iconic and picturesque 80-foot waterfall trailing into the ocean. Prepare for lots of tourists here, but it’s a sight you can’t miss on a trip to Big Sur.
For longer hiking trails, check out Andrew Molera State Park. Find an extensive network of trails alongside the beach and rolling hills.
There’s plenty of campgrounds to pitch and park at around Big Sur, but make sure to do your research before and make camping reservations, as these are quick to be snagged as the weather warms.
For an unconventional viewing experience, check out Hearst Castle, an opulent mansion with an eclectic and mysterious history, located just south of Big Sur in San Simeon along Highway 1. Take a tour around the mansion’s many grand and elegant rooms, and learn more about its history and heritage to California.
When it comes to wining and dining on this relaxing retreat, you’ll find that the restaurants combine delicious cuisine with stunning views.
Check out Nepenthe, a great spot along the coastline where you can enjoy classic upscale American fare on their outdoor terrace. Big Sur Bakery is our favorite place to grab your morning coffee and pastry, with their patio surrounded by a lush garden and local artist works.
Palm Springs is another one of our favorite California outdoor destinations. A desert oasis just a few hours away from Los Angeles, it holds a vibrant energy, yearround sunshine, and a blend of retro charm and modern luxury. Located at the foot of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains, it’s ideal for a travel getaway for relaxation, outdoor recreation, and a touch of Hollywood glamour.
The city’s iconic palm-lined streets are dotted with impeccably preserved mid-century homes, boutique hotels, and trendy restaurants. With the blue mountains towering over, it will be an easy sell for the girl group chat when it comes to getting your Instagram photos.
Nothing says Palm Springs like a relaxing day spent sunning by the pool, sipping on green juices and champagne, and indulging in the views. The city is renowned for its world-class spas and mineral-rich hot springs.
Escape into tranquility at Moorten Botanic Gardens, a hidden gem in Palm Springs where you can relax and meditate alongside the many species of plants that make their home in this desert oasis.
Check out Indian Canyons for a leisurely stroll through palm groves, flowing water, and shaded pockets.
As Palm Springs is known for poolside relaxation, definitely consider booking your stay at one of the many lovely hotels, B&Bs, or spas, so you can marvel in the luxury of what makes Palm Springs so special and healing.
The nearby San Jacinto Mountains provide a scenic backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, with trails catering to every skill level of your travel group. Take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which offers sweeping views as it ascends into the wilderness of San Jacinto State Park.
Outdoor recreation is the name of the game here, so pack your cute workout sets and Halfdays shorts & cargos! Play a round of pickleball or tennis at one of the many scenic courts lined with palms, or take your pick from one of the many scenic golf courses for 9 or 18 holes.
After a day spent by the pool, golf courses, and pickleball courts, get dressed up for a fine dining experience, as Palm Springs is home to many culinary delights. One of our favorite spots is Workshop Kitchen + Bar, with craft cocktails, an extensive wine list, and locally sourced ingredients. For something lively and tropical, check out Tropicale for Carribbean, Asian and American classics.
For something elegant and classic, check out Spencer’s Restaurant, tucked into the historic Palm Springs Tennis Club. The views from the patio are unreal, and you can act as classy country club residents for the evening.
7. Hood River, Oregon
Nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River is a charming mountain town just outside of Portland. As a haven for nature lovers with stunning landscapes, flowing rivers, and the majestic Mt. Hood towering above, it offers tons of outdoor adventure for a girls’ trip or couple’s retreat.
Hood River is known for its world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding on the Columbia River, with tons of outdoor activities to choose from in the spring and summer, long after the ski resort at Mt. Hood closes for the season.
First, head to Waterfront Park in the heart of the city, where you can take your morning HGW and coffee, or picnic and soak up the views. This is a great viewing spot for watching the world-class kitesurfers!
Take a scenic drive along the beautiful Cascade Range Mountains, and don’t forget to check out our Halfdays Playlists. Check out the Hood River Fruit Loop, a scenic route dotted with orchards, vineyards, and farm stands.
For some top-tier PNW hiking, explore the Timberline Trail that circumnavigates the mountain of Mt. hood, or opt for shorter hikes like the Mirror Lake Trail or the Tamanawas Falls Trail where you can see stunning alpine meadows, pristine lakes, and cascading waterfalls.
Mt. Hood swaps out their ski and snowboard rentals for mountain biking in the spring and summer, where you can ride the Sandy Ridge Trail System, or the Surveyor’s Ridge Trail for epic views of the mountains and surrounding valleys.
White water rafting and kayaking is world-class in Hood River, where you can take a guided tour of the White Salmon River and the Deschutes River. Pick from thrilling white water rapids, or tranquil floats.
If you’re not quite ready to pick up the extreme sport of kite surfing, try Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Columbia River!
If you’re looking to camp over B&B it, try the Lost Lake Campgrounds for stunning views of the mountain reflected in the crystal clear lakes.
Hood River is home to several craft breweries and wineries. Check out pFriem Family Brewers, Full Sail Brewing, and Double Mountain Brewery for a pint or a flight after your day of adventure.
Hood River’s fertile soil makes it an ideal spot for vineyards and wineries. Check out Hood River Vineyards, Cathedral Ridge Winery, and Marchesi Vineyards.
8. Charleston, South Carolina
If your travel bug is telling you to experience a little Southern charm – listen to it! We want to mention some East Coast love, and Charleston, South Carolina is one of our favorite and most underrated destinations for outdoor adventure. As one of the more larger cities on our list, Charleston has a rich American history, dating back to the seventeenth century, and is one of the most architecturally-preserved cities in the country.
Serene, expansive beaches, enchanting marshlands, charming architecture, food, and culture – it’s a travel-must for an exciting girls trip this spring and summer.
If you’re looking for a low-energy type of activity, Charleston has tons of architecture, art, and museum viewing for the history buffs. The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is one of the oldest public gardens in America, where you can wander beautifully manicured gardens, view the iconic marshes and take a picnic. Try a carriage ride through the city to see the rich history, architecture, and hidden alleys.
A vacation wouldn’t be complete without a leisurely beach day, so head to Folly Beach or Isle of Palms to unwind, bask in the sun, and enjoy some bevs with the girls.
One of our top picks for Charleston is booking a sunset cruise, where you can see a complete view of Charleston’s coastline, grab a few unforgettable IG pics, and have a main character moment.
Rent bikes to take a trip around the city for leisurely viewing, or try a kayak or paddleboard through the marshes. Live your best “Where the Crawdads Sing” life on the calm waterways, and immerse yourself in the Southern charm.
For an out-of-the-city adventure, check out Johns Island, where the majestic Angel Oak Tree is one of the oldest live oaks in the world at 400 years old.
Let’s be real – the true reason Charleston made this list is for the adventure après. From Southern BBQ, to lowcountry cuisine, to dozens of iconic breweries, Charleston is the food lovers’ retreat.
First, check out the historic Charleston City Market, where you can traverse the local food vendors offering lowcountry cuisines like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and fried green tomatoes. Check out the restaurants Husk, FIG, and Hominy Grill for other authentic low country food spots.
For mouthwatering BBQ, try Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, or Lewis BBQ for a selection of smoked meats and Southern sides. It wouldn’t be a trip to Charleston without this!
Last, be sure to check out Upper King Street, a district known for great restaurants, pubs, and a big, lively night out.
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