The Five Best Summer Lodges for Not Quite Roughing It

Nature served on a silver platter

May 25, 2016 9:00 am

Think of your typical summer vacation.

There’s probably a beach, a pool, a comfortable hotel; maybe a blended drink with a toothpick umbrella. Sounds pretty good.

But this summer, why not pay homage to summer trips of yesteryear? You know, the ones with a ramshackle cabin, a campfire and a lake that seemed to perfectly capture the magic of summer.

Except now, you’re calling the shots, so trade that cabin in for a lodge — one that specializes in bringing summer to life and allows you to get in touch with nature without getting your hands too dirty.

Should there also be helicopters, naturalist guides and spa sessions, then so be it.

The Lake Lodge: The Point
Saranac Lake, NY

Bet you never thought you’d wear a tux in the woods. Back in the day, New York’s monied elite roughed it in the woods by building “great camps” or  elaborate log cabin compounds set along the Adirondack’s lake shores. Today, one such camp, built in 1933 for William Rockefeller (John D.’s nephew) is home to The Point, an 11-room lodge where nature is still served on a silver platter. During the day, waterskiing, tennis, fishing and hiking will keep you occupied. Come evening, it’s all about the sunset cocktail cruise followed by the twice-weekly black-tie dinner.

The Glamping Lodge: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
Vancouver Island, BC

In the world of glamping, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort—a summer-only retreat integrated into the coastal wilds of Vancouver Island—is the benchmark. After arriving via seaplane and settling into your plush, safari-style tent, it’s on to activities like horseback riding, ocean kayaking and heli-hiking. Back at the resort, there’ll be gourmet meals to eat and riverside hot tubs to soak in. To take take your stay to the next level, book a night at Cloud Camp, a private, mountaintop tented camp accessibly only by helicopter.

The Southern-Style Lodge: The Lodge at Little St. Simons Island
Little St. Simons Island, GA

For an atypical summer lodge escape, try this 11,000-acre private island off the coast of Georgia. The island’s riverfront, ponds and marshes offer opportunities to fish, canoe and kayak in settings that epitomize classic, southern coastal living. Then there are the seven miles of untouched beaches, perfect for biking and the naturalist guides who’ll give you the lowdown on all of it. While rooms and cottages are available by the night, the entire island can be rented out for exclusive use by bigger groups.

The Mountain Lodge: Dunton Hot Springs
Dolores, CO

Tucked in a valley outside of Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs is a mining ghost town turned luxury retreat that presents the absolute best of Colorado summers. In the surrounding San Juan Mountains (part of the Rockies), go mountain biking, rock climbing, fly fishing or river rafting. Then, soothe aching muscles in Dunton’s hot springs, which can be accessed in several ways, be it at the source, in the restored 19th century bathhouse or pumped directly into Well House Cabin’s tub. Should further relaxation be required, grab a massage at the spa or a whisky at the town saloon.

The Wine Country Lodge: Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
Solvang, CA

Just 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara, set among the Santa Ynez Valley’s 75+ vineyards, you’ll find Alisal. For your on-site enjoyment, Alisal’s 10,000 acres feature 50 miles of horseback riding trails, roaming cattle, a lake for fishing and two 18-hole golf courses. For off-property adventures, pick up one of Alisal’s bikes and chat with guest services about the best route for your skill level, or join a group cycling tour — this is dream cycling country. And did we mention the area’s 75+ vineyards?


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