North American Escapes for Fall and Winter 2020
When you are ready for a change of scenery, Partners Vacations can help.
For this Fall and Winter, we suggest both active adventures and relaxing getaways.
Here are a few of our top picks. We have plenty more.
Contact us to Reinvent your 2020/2021 Vacation Plans.
U. S. Virgin Islands
Pristine Beaches, Crystal Clear Waters
and Tropical Forests
Tempting, white sands, lush forests and turquoise bays define the US Virgin Islands’ long-standing international reputation for offering the utmost in vacation value. Secluded beaches. National Parks. Duty-free shopping. Kayaking. Hiking. Ecological tours. World-class diving. Superb sailing. Tropical forests. Local craftsmen. Fine Dining. Nightlife. You get ALL of this wrapped up in the safety, security, and efficiency of the American flag. Here you will discover the most culturally diverse, ethnically rich and artistically vibrant society in the tropics. No doubt, you will immediately be captured by the zeal of its sun-kissed locals - who are island spiced, friendly and happy. The United States Virgin Islands--St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. Three lively islands -- one gentle people.
St. Thomas is the most developed of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In fact, it is one of the most flourishing islands in the entire Caribbean. With stunning beaches and colorful tropical foliage, St. Thomas has regained its natural beauty after the hurricanes of 2017. From the steep green hills of the central island to the dazzling beaches that ring its shores, hotels, villas, and private residences each are settled on their own piece of paradise. And not only is lively St. Thomas the duty-free shopping capital of the Caribbean, but you'll also find spirited nightspots, good restaurants and luxury resorts around the main city and port, Charlotte Amalie.
A short ferry ride from St. Thomas will land you on the smallest of the three major islands, St. John. With its laid-back, casual ambiance, the pristine island sanctuary of St. John is the most magnificent of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This 19 square mile island is considered the most scenic and unspoiled island, with two-thirds of St. John set aside as the Virgin Islands National Park. St. John is wholesome and outdoorsy—hiking shoes and snorkeling gear are musts. Its coral reefs, volcanic mountains, tropical greenery, gorgeous cove beaches are dramatically breath-taking. Deer, wild pigs and donkeys roam freely on some parts of the island.
The yacht-filled harbor of Cruz Bay hugs a small strip of land between the mountains and the sea in St. John. Once a dusty port, Cruz Bay has blossomed into a charming residential and resort town. Among the mix of elegant malls and tiny wooden houses are classy boutiques, cafes and bars. Travel 30 minutes to the other side of the island and discover the town of Coral Bay. Its offering of art galleries, boutiques, good snorkeling and bars with salty characters compose a fine blend of island experiences.
The Colorado Rockies
Ski Resorts, Charming Towns and Rocky Mountain National Park
Whether a hillside glowing bright yellow with fall aspen leaves or the jagged peaks of the San Juans covered in snow, the scenery steals the show in Colorado. Her flat eastern plains give way to the iconic Rocky Mountains as they become visible on the horizon and eventually envelop your entire view. Colorado’s rugged Rocky Mountain range dominates the western half of the state and is a favorite destination for sightseers, skiers, hikers, backpackers and mountain climbers alike. Yet even though skiing and hiking are undeniably great ways to appreciate the peaks, they are hardly mandatory. Whether you are driving on a Denver freeway or walking the popular and eclectic Pearl Street in Boulder, you will be ogling the alpine scenery. That is what Colorado is all about.
Located 60 miles northwest of Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is a large area that includes magnificent peaks, valleys and nature trails. One of the park's most fascinating features is the tundra that exists above the tree line, but wherever you trek, Rocky Mountain National Park is a hiker's paradise. Outings can range from day hikes to very strenuous multi-day excursions.
No trip is complete without pausing to view the wildlife that live freely within the park. Elk, mule deer, mountain sheep and even some elusive moose linger on the park's west side along the Colorado River. The park can be explored by car, horseback, bicycle, snowshoes and, of course, on foot. Remember, fall is a wonderful season to go, with fewer crowds, golden aspen leaves and huge herds of bugling elk. But the popular winter season draws the most visitors to Colorado for the experience of the best ski resorts in the USA.
Steamboat Springs is nestled in an area of mountains, ranches and farms 115 miles northwest of Denver. It boasts an authentic Western feel and is popular with families. The secret to the town's appeal is its ability to blend world-class downhill ski conditions with small-town warmth and charm. Steamboat is by no means rustic. It has simply foregone the outlet stores, ritzy restaurants and jewelry shops that are found in other ski areas. It also helps that Steamboat is blessed with more than 300 inches of snow a year.
Like many other mountain towns, Steamboat offers lots of off-slope winter activities as well. Hot-air-balloon rides. Snowmobiling. Cross-country skiing. Sleigh rides. Then, when you've had enough cold, there are indoor courts for tennis and natural hot springs to go for an afternoon soak. Families love the easy and fun-filled vibe of Steamboat Springs.
Most visitors flock to Vail during one season, winter...for one thing, snow sports...and with good reason. The largest single-mountain ski resort in North America, with annual snowfall of up to 30 feet of light, dry powder, boasts a whopping 5,317 acres of snowy terrain. With 31 high-speed lifts and 275 days of sunshine each year, it's no wonder Vail is a mecca for downhill skiers and snowboarders. Still, there is more than snow sports in the Bavarian-style alpine village, where horse-drawn carriages meander down pedestrian-friendly streets, and the shopping and dining are world-class.
Whatever your style and whichever mountain town or city setting you choose, Colorado does not disappoint. With the foremost attractions of skiing, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, white-water rafting, hot-air ballooning, Royal Gorge, all-terrain driving, mountain biking, dude ranches, Mesa Verde and Rocky Mountain National Parks, hang gliding, wildflowers, archaeological sites, museums, cultural activities, classical music, jazz, brewpubs, and film and theater festivals, you simply can’t go wrong planning a vacation here. Colorado has a little something for everyone.
Fall Foliage, Covered Bridges
and Sleigh Rides in the Snow
Travelers interested in outdoor recreation, U.S. history, spectacular scenery and the charms of small New England towns will have a great time in Vermont. The state, whose name is French for "green mountain," is home to quaint old villages, twisting rural routes, stone fences and tree-covered mountains. Known for its spectacular scenery, Vermont maintains more than 50 state parks as well as Green Mountain National Forest, which extends nearly two-thirds the length of the state and has hundreds of miles of hiking and biking paths.
Breathtaking Vermont shines most spectacular each autumn. From late September to mid-October, visitors hoping to see fall foliage will find the glorious reds, oranges and golds as close as the nearest rural road. For an even grander view, the chairlifts at most of the state's ski areas offer exceptional views of the color show. Make sure you secure your hotel reservations months in advance: The changing leaves typically draw hefty crowds.
Winter is another popular time to visit Vermont. Several of the state's most outstanding ski areas lie within the National Forest. Although downhill skiing is the state's forte, cross-country skiing is also popular, and there are some 40 ski-touring centers spread throughout the state, making Vermont a winter-sports enthusiast playground.
Vermont's main attractions include downhill and cross-country skiing, mountain biking, fall foliage tours, antiques shops, historic homes and museums, the Green Mountain Railroad, maple syrup, covered bridges, Lake Champlain and country inns. No matter the season, Vermont will take you back in time and allow you a giant breath of fresh air.
Sandy Beaches, Salt Air and Warm Weather
For those who live in northern climates, Florida takes on an almost mythical stature. Long before visiting the state, travelers are regaled with tales of its warm sun, exotic creatures and golden beaches. Once you visit Florida, you might find that these ideas are oversimplified. Golden sand there is, but mangrove thickets, barren coral islands and reedy estuaries are just as common.
In many ways, reality does match the myths. Located in the center of the Sunshine State, Orlando truly stands as the undisputed capital of fun, at least when it comes to theme parks. Along the Southern Atlantic coast, Miami simmers with Caribbean and Latin American flair. Sights such as alligators in the Everglades and rocket launches at the Kennedy Space Center allow you to combine education with vacation.
Head north to St. Augustine or St. Marks to find living proof that the state's historical roots are some of the deepest in the U.S. On the Gulf Coast, a stop in Tampa /St. Petersburg will provide all the comfort and entertainment you would expect from a booming metropolis. But if a booming metropolis is not for you, just a few hours down the highway, on Sanibel Island, you can explore a region of wild Florida that has changed little over the past few centuries.
Nestled on the sun-drenched beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is the crown jewel of Southwest Florida. Known for world class shopping, dining and abundant, challenging golf courses, Naples is also only steps away from island seclusion or the untamed tropical wilderness of The Everglades. Boasting one of the nation's best sandboxes and calmest seas, Naples makes a splash with water lovers and recreationists. Friendly parks beckon sports enthusiasts and picnickers with lovely green spaces and activities that include sailing and windsurfing.
Just to the west of Panama City is Seaside, Florida, a picturesque and uncluttered town with the quaint look of a late Victorian beachfront village. Seaside makes you think you have returned to a simpler time. Think comfortable cottages, porch swings, evening strolls—well, that's the idea.
Seaside, Florida, was created in the early 1990s by Miami developer Robert Davis, who wanted to re-create the seaside of his childhood summer vacations (with the addition of many modern conveniences). The result is a planned community that manages to be a traditional, pedestrian-oriented town without being a museum piece. Its white picket fences were evident in the 1998 movie The Truman Show.
We can't imagine there's a person alive who won't find something to enjoy in Florida. Those who love the sea, the beach and warm weather will get the most out of a Florida vacation. From sun and sand to freshwater and saltwater fishing, tropical wetlands and forests, the Florida Keys, theme parks and lots of fresh seafood, Florida offers a wide variety of both day and night activities to keep you entertained for any length of vacation.
The Great Smoky Mountains
Fall Colors, Holiday Fun, Gatlinburg
The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States and are home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With cascading waterfalls, roaming wildlife and a view that stretches out over 500,000 acres, this is one of the country’s most-visited national parks.
The Smoky Mountains get their name from the bluish haze that has always clung to them. This unique experience makes a walk or drive in the “smoke” new and different from season to season as there is always a new scene for you to find delight. Rocky Mountain National Park is at its prettiest in mid-October, when the fall foliage sparkles with red, gold and orange. The park is also full of animals (bears, deer, wild turkeys and even moose), waterfalls and several historical sites, including the remains of a frontier settlement at Cades Cove.
From brief strolls to multi day backpacking excursions, hiking opportunities abound in the park. One popular excursion is the hike up Mount LeConte. LeConte Lodge, near the summit, offers one of the park's only overnight accommodations other than camping. But for those who would rather drive to a lofty summit, you can take the road to Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the park and in Tennessee. An observation tower provides good views if the peak isn't wrapped in fog.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee sits at the edge of the Smoky Mountains and Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park sits high on Mount Harrison. The preferred way of getting there is aboard the aerial tram that runs from downtown Gatlinburg and will escort you to this highlight of the city. Downtown Gatlinburg is also the site of the prestigious Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, which offers classes in everything from woodworking to painting and sculpture. Galleries and gift shops are open year-round to visitors. If golfing is more your style, you will also be pleased with the scenic and challenging golf courses in the area.
All of these activities make up the overall atmosphere of Gatlinburg year-round, but Winterfest is when this mountain town truly glitters. With two million lights illuminating the town, Gatlinburg transforms into a beautiful, winter wonderland and their neighbors join in the festivities with them. Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are also popular with vacationing families or couples in love, as wedding chapels abound and are open for business during every season. Each of these towns owe their existence, in part, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The highlight of the North Carolina side of the Smokies, nestled firmly between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, is Asheville. With its diverse population, swarms of people are drawn to Asheville's magnificent beauty and hospitable climate. People-watching from one of the city's many outdoor cafes reveals its character. Among the flow of tourists, you'll see plenty of young professionals and hippies, retired couples, street performers and mountain folk alike.
The number of attractions in Asheville is astounding for such a modest city. They are nationally known for the Biltmore Estate, George W. Vanderbilt's palatial home built in the 1890s. Beyond Biltmore you will find seemingly countless restaurants of almost every variety, museums, art galleries, theaters, cozy pubs, breweries, eclectic shops and pristine natural attractions. Nearby Pisgah National Forest is a favorite place for locals to squeeze in a weekend hike or simply relax in the woods.
If you're strolling through downtown on a Friday night, you might happen upon an odd sight. In Pritchard Park, hundreds of people of every description, both young and old, gather to dance to the rhythms of a local drum circle. Strange as it might seem at first, its sights like these that may just entice you to stay in Asheville for good.