Fall is the perfect time to schedule a last-minute trip. Here are five of our favorite off-the-beaten-path spots that are totally worth using your PTO. Treat yourself to the great outdoors without standing shoulder to shoulder with everyone else.
1) La Push, Washington
Sixty miles west of Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state is the small village of La Push. An end-of-the-road place with a rejuvenating vibe and surf-worthy waves, it's also home to the Quileute Tribe. Rugged sea stacks greet you as you enter this coastal town. Spend time taking in the awe-inspiring coastline and experiencing this laid-back town that is epically the Pacific Northwest. Plan ahead and score your beachfront campsite or cabin for a night, but book early, spots fill up fast.
2) Explore Great Basin National Park in Nevada
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Great Basin National Park is closer to the state of Utah than it is to Reno or Las Vegas. Maybe this is why Great Basin National Park saw over 150,000 visitors in 2018 – Yosemite National Park gets more than 4 million visitors a year and Grand Canyon National Park over 6 million visits. This makes Great Basin spectacularly awesome. Schedule your days with Instagram-worthy adventures, including a tour of Lehman Caves, one of the largest limestone caves in the U.S. Stand on the summit of Wheeler Peak, the second-highest peak in Nevada at 13,065 feet, or simply turn off your headlamp and watch the evening sky. But seriously, the heart of this national park is solitude.
3) Discover Wyoming's Devils Tower National Monument
Although well-known – the 1977 movie classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” featured it as a plot element – Devils Tower is super remote and that makes it interesting. The butte-like, columned formation rises more than 1,200 feet above the Black Hills in Northeast Wyoming. Reserve a camp spot, break out your climbing gear or hiking shoes, and explore. Climbing routes that scale the Tower lean harder – between 5.7 and 5.13 – with the oldest routes (Durrance and Wiessner) being more popular. Alternatively, hike the Joyner Ridge Trail for spectacular, in-your-face views.
4) Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is cool, small, and home to 26 craft breweries. We could probably stop there, but this town is all that and so much more. To really take it all in, reserve a room downtown and then dive in to what makes Asheville uniquely Asheville, like the Blue Ridge Mountains, chill festivals, and Bellyak-ing, a sport invented here.
5) Wander Wisely in Utah's Canyonlands National Park
If colorful arches and desert mesas are your thing, then Canyonlands National Park is your park. Escape the crowds and feel free to roam big. Experience the ruggedness of a maze of canyons, and the Green and Colorado Rivers that put this national park on the map as well as the legacy of those who were here before us as you hike past one faded petroglyph after another.
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