It’s easy to get into a rut when it comes to dreaming up outdoor destinations. We so easily associate the Catskills with summer getaways and Aspen and Vail with winter ski trips. It’s easy to forget how many beautiful places are waiting no matter what time of year you swing a trip and decide to head out. These are five of our favorites to see any time a year– or once each season!
Grand Marais, Minnesota
Lake Superior keeps this corner of Minnesota quite cool in the summers, with highs below 60℉, which is perfect if you’re looking to escape the scorching, humid summers in the Southeast or the unrelenting dry heat of the Southwest. In the spring and summer there is plenty of #lakelife to soak up and adventures to seek out in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, on the Superior Hiking Trail, and near Gitchie Gumi. Stone Harbor features great top-rope cliff climbing and Lake Superior itself is a major fishing destination.
As the weather cools off in fall and eventually gets frigid, you can explore the famous Gunflint Trail, where the Gunflint Mail Run sled dog race takes place each winter. If that’s not enough action, Cook County is also host to the John Beagrease Sled Dog Marathon. If you’re more into human-powered transportation, thick blankets of snow transform thousands of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails near Grand Marais transform into snowmobile and cross-country ski territory. And of course, it wouldn’t be Minnesota without ice fishing.
San Elijo State Beach, California
San Diego is famous for its near-constant sunshine and pleasant weather. It certainly doesn’t disappoint at this SoCal camping destination. Year round you can enjoy beach views and surfing opportunities. San Elijo even has its own taco stand within the campground for when you need to nosh. It’s perhaps not the most outdoorsy of campgrounds, with some beach-front buildup nearby, but that makes it easier to shop, eat out, and make the most of your vacation– and the great weather.
There’s plenty of geocaching, snorkling, scuba diving, beach running, and windsurfing to try, too, if hanging ten isn’t your thing, not to mention ocean fishing and bird watching. Bring your bikes, because the nearby trails are fun. And if you’re RVing you’re in luck with a full array of pull-in spots and hookups.
Cowans Gap State Park, Pennsylvania
The weather in this part of the world is quite mild year-round, which means it’s a great escape no matter which ecosystem you’re fleeing. The Buchanan State Forest has plenty of trails to explore, and a 42 acre lake provides a lot of opportunities for of fun no matter the season. You can go hiking, hunting, and even horseback riding in Cowans Gap year round. During the summer you can rent row boats, kayaks, and paddle boats. In the winter, the lake is great for ice skating and the local trails turn into a cross country skiers paradise.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
There’s nothing quite like the White Mountains. This New England hotspot is a favorite destination for summer hikes, fall leaf peeping, and unique winter pastimes like moose tours. Powderfiends come for the skiing and snowboarding in the winter, while those trails are perfect for mountain bikes in the spring, summer, and autumn. Climbers will appreciate both the crags at Rumney Rocks as well as the bouldering at the aptly-named Boulder Loop. As for accommodations, whether you prefer RV pull-ins, backcountry tent camping, or a good cabin, all can be found in this region. There’s also a lot of family fun to be had, with activities like snow tubing, scenic train tours, and other diversions after you’ve exhausted yourself in the great outdoors.
Possum Kingdom State Park
The Toadies immortalized this state park in a song title, and that’s at the bottom of the list of things about this place that are awesome. Possum Kingdom Lake is enormous, and stays super clear year round. That means that in addition to the usual boating, kayaking, water skiing, and swimming, you can also go snorkling and even cliff jumping. There is also plenty of fishing and enough room that you don’t have to worry much about someone crowding in on your spot. And all of this is just two hours outside of Dallas.
Aside from the water, the gorgeous Palo Pinto Mountains and Brazos River are nearby, affording even more opportunities to explore. Unfortunately, Possum Kingdom was scorched by wildfires in 2011, but has bounced back nicely. Bring your RV, your primitive camping setup, or book one of the air conditioned cabins if you’re visiting at a time of year when the Texas heat is more intense than a relief.
No matter where you go to explore, bring along a case of Boost Oxygen to help you maximize your adventure, whether you’re pushing hard on a mountain biking run, don’t want to get trashed too fast chasing powder, or find yourself at a higher elevation than usual.