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May 14, 2013


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What about somewhere in the Northeast (Boston, Portland)? It's warm in the summer, the crowds aren't much, and you can do a lot for $3k.

Las Vegas is great fun, the entertainment is localized in one area, variety of shows and sure to rekindle relationships.

Or try Caravan tours and train across Western USA. Beautiful views all around.

If you prefer to stay on foot then hit up Yellowstone and Lake Tahoe. Hit up a resort and do fine dining overlooking the landscape.

Unplugged, nice dining, pleasant weather, decent scenery, sunsets... sounds like a midweek trip to a nice room in the Grand Hotel to me. Spend the money on accommodations and food, not getting there. Go somewhere where being together is the focus of the activities (bike ride, sunset cruise, stroll through town or down the beach, sitting on the porch holding hands), not where the focus is rushing to exhaustion to see or do everything.

Fly to Vegas and rent a car. Drive to some of the National Parks, like Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and Bryce. Book your hotels well in advance, now is a good time to start the process.

Doesn't sound like you've had a trip in the mountains! We love to get away from everything and go stay in a well-appointed mountain "cabin." Hiking can be light, just pick the right trail, and there's usually a waterfall nearby. It's cooler at elevation, so even in the summer it can be very pleasant. I often get a bar or two of cell service, so I could make a call in an emergency, but am otherwise generally unavailable ;) The base of mountains is often good for growing grapes, so we usually stop at a couple vineyards on the way.

My parents recently went to Glacier National Park (they are 60), and absolutely loved it. Fantastic view, can make it as simple or as luxurious as you want, and a lot to do. Denver is a great launching point as well. There are a lot of things to do in Seattle as well. What about Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver?

Have you considered Quebec City? It's not USA, but close enough. You can be very relaxed, just exploring the old town, taking a river boat, seeing the falls, etc. Fine dining options are not bad either. You can easily spend 3-4 days there for $3K even if you splurge on an expensive hotel (like the Chateau Frontenac)

I'm thinking north because of the heat/humidity issue, and trying to come up with places that aren't mobbed in summer.

To minimize travel costs, how about a resort or B&B in northern Wisconsin, Michigan, or Minnesota? There are lots of nice places up there, either on the Great Lakes or the inland lakes.

If you want to get farther away from home, maybe east to the Berkshires, Catskills, or maritime Canada? Alternatively, west to Oregon, British Columbia, or northern California? Mountains or coast, take your pick.

@Ivy Awesome idea! Quebec City is beautiful.

Mackinac Island?

Try Taos, NM. Sunsets, dining, good weather and lots of activities.

You and your wife should both sign up for a credit card with the airline you plan to use. You will most likely earn enough points just for signing up to cover the cost of both of your round trip flights. I travel about once or twice a year and have not paid for a flight in the past 5 years just from using this method.

Are you into wine? Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley are absolutely gorgeous, with great food. For that amount of money, you could do a long weekend in Napa/Sonoma, complete with great food and amazing wine tasting, plus maybe some hiking in the excellent parks (Jack London State Park, etc.) nearby.

My wife and I enjoy our time in Michigan's UP. Marquette and Copper Harbor are two of our favorite places there and neither place would break the budget you have set. We have used to find vacation rentals to stay at with good success.

Summertime in Maine is awesome. I go every summer.

The Weather is 80 degrees with no humidity and the seafood is world class. The lifestyle is slow and relatively inexpensive as well.

Brian's idea for airfare was right on. Get yourself a southwest creditcard. They run promotions that will get you two roundtrip flights free if you spend a couple grand over 3 months. Boom-- there is your airfare.

Maine has miles and miles of sleepy beaches and romantic B&B's for you and your wife to rekindle and reminise.

I would fly to Portland-- rent a car and drive up the coast.

For $3000 you will stay first class. Book early though--- things sell out fast and that is their high season.

Good luck.

I recommend the North Shore of Lake Superior, for example Grand Marais, Minnesota. Beautiful, perfect weather, swimming, fishing, lots of strolls/hikes, excellent restaurants and accomodations.

Groupon travel discounts! You can get AMAZING deals there. :) To all kinds of places!

Somebody mentioned Taos, NM...I would suggest Sedona, AZ along the same lines. Good food, fancy atmosphere, lots of activities (wine tasting and off-road Jeep tours, for example).

Personally I would do a road trip up/down the California coast camping in some places (Refugio near Santa Barbara, Big Sur south of SF, redwood forest) and staying hotels in other places.

I'd vote for Vegas if they haven't been. Tons of stuff to do there. You don't have to be gamblers to enjoy it either. Its warm. Relatively cheap flights and 4-5 star hotels. They could renew their vows in a vegas chapel. Side trips to the Grand Canyon and other spots. Several amusement rides. Shopping. etc.

Could also do Disneyland & CA Adventure in CA. Not as big as Disney world but still a fun time.

Vegas does get awfully hot in the summer so that may nix it for you. But it is a dry heat so its really not too bad.

I don't know how "get up and see things" you are, but a city you might want to check out would be Washington DC. Most of the sights are free (YAY!) and the public transportation is fantastic - the subway is clean and well laid out.

A few years back I took a trip there from the Michigan area - and we actually drove it, and stopped overnight in Pittsburgh on the way out. Got a hotel out in the suburbs where it was actually cost effective, and took the subway into downtown to see the sights. It also gave us the ability to drive out of the city and explore what's there too (the vineyards, etc). The nice thing about it was that there is no real "planned" activities... you can hit a museum a day if you wanted, or go faster than that. There is free stuff to see all over the city. Great dining too - that might be where I'd spend more of my money. I don't know how crowded it is in the summer (I went there in early June last year and that coincided with the end of the school year so the place was SWAMPED with classes of kids on end of school trips... wouldn't do that again!) but it was still worth it. Just make sure you bring a really good pair of walking shoes!!

Summertime is perfect for visiting the Pacific Northwest. An outline of a trip: Fly to Portland, OR and spend a couple of days. Drive to Gold Beach, OR, one of my favorite places, and spend a day or two. Drive--slowly--north on coastal highway 101. The entire Oregon coast is spectacular. Make your way to Port Angeles, WA. Take the Coho ferry to Victoria BC on Vancouver Island. Spend a day or two in Victoria. If you want more natural beauty, tour around Vancouver Island a bit. If you want more city, take BC Ferries to Vancouver on the BC mainland. Then drive through Washington--you might like a day or two in Seattle--and on to Portland for your return flight.

If this is too much driving, either 1) cut out the Vancouver Island part, or 2) just go directly to Vancouver Island, beginning with Victoria BC. You'll love it.

As someone who live on the shores of Lake Superior, it's great to see some many suggestions about visiting it for a vacation. How about a circle tour of Superior -- it'll take you about a week if you take your time, will certainly fit the bill in terms of your criteria, and if haven't been "up north" before, you and your wife would probably love it. If it's an option, go in July or August -- less bugs, and more sunshine. Also, I would recommend going counter-clockwise from the Sault, and hitting Cananda first as there is a lot more to do/see in MN, Wis, and da UP imo.

For that amount, you could likely get a week at a luxury all-inclusive resort in Mexico depending on the dates. The Adults Only properties tend to have deals during the summer. I loved the Quebec idea. Other suggestions:
- Charleston, South Carolina - great food
- Lake Tahoe - great food, great scenery
- the San Diego Area has a lot of great options

If you have never been to Washington D.C. there is so much that is worth seeing there and in many of the surrounding areas. We particularly enjoyed Colonial Williamsburg and Gettysburg as well as Monticello, Mt. Vernon, all of the Smithsonian museums, and visiting the White House.

Sedona is jaw-droppingly gorgeous but will be quite hot in the summertime. If going West Coast, go up to Vancouver. Low-key city, good restaurants, plenty of scenery, and it won't be so warm. You could stay at the Granville Island Hotel.

But still easier would be all the Michigan destinations already suggested. Have you seen the Tahquamenon Falls?

Summertime trip without heat/humidity? Washington DC is great, but it is really hot and humid in the summertime. I like the Quebec City idea and would throw in Montreal or Toronto in the mix. The weather will be nice in the summertime and these cities often have great festivals e.g. dance, comedy, etc. I like the Pacific Northwest ideas (Portland, Seattle, Vancouver), too, because the weather will be nice, it could be really low-key and not crazy crowded, but you could probably eat really well and enjoy nature.

I think others have really covered it. The wife and I went to Bar Harbor (ME) for a weekend and it was very nice if you end up going east, you could spend some time between there and Boston, which is great if you are a history buff.

I agree that Vegas isn't just for gamblers. The hotels are sights to see in themselves. And you can use it as a base to go to the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, etc.

As a few other people have mentioned....The mountains. Try Yosemite or Lake Tahoe in CA. Or any National Park for that matter. A word of caution though, if you go to Yosemite in the summer, you will need lodging reservations way in advance if you plan to stay right in the valley. It's really crowded there in the summer. However, if you stay outside of the valley it's a bit easier, try Wawona or Tuolumne Meadows. Lots of beautiful scenery there. Mountains, Big Trees, Waterfalls etc. Yosemite Valley can get pretty hot in the summer also, but Tuolumne Meadows is cooler.


Only one answer for this: Sedona, Arizona.

Just throwing out areas to consider looking at.

Rent a boat and cruise the Erie Canal or parts of the Mississippi or other large river.

Maine and Nova Scotia. While you might be done with cruises it doesn't sound like you've gone up the East coast yet and that could be done with some driving and bed and breakfasts in a number of seaside towns if you don't want to take a cruise.

If you like Colonial history, Williamsburg and Jamestown in VA are nice (but will be warm in early summer and really hot later). Additionally you can take a few days and stay overnight to Charolettesville and visit Jefferson's and Madison's estates (Montecello and Montpelliar if I recall correctly).

Chautauqua (Lake and town) in New York State has some really interesting things going on over the summer, and temps are usually mild until later in July.

In addition you're only a few hours away from Niagara falls and Niagara County wine country and they produce some nice products as well.

I'm not a fan of crowds, but it's summer, you're going to hit them almost anyplace you go unless you really head for the wilderness IMHO.


How about Gatlinburg, TN or Asheville, NC? It would be easier to get to from Michigan, but might get the right weather for the summer. Gatlinburg can feel a crowded in the summer even though it is in the middle of nowhere and is probably more touristy than it sounds like you are interested in, so maybe Asheville makes more sense.

Since "summer" here is referring to when his wife is available, I do not think it should automatically rule out places around Washington or so forth. It really depends on when school lets out. Virginia is still pretty mild at the end of May.

I go to Maine every Summer and love it. No crowds if you go North of Portland. Lots of beautiful scenery and seafood along the coast. There's whiteater rafting, moose watching, Acadia national park, outdoor festivals, Puffin watching, etc.
For our next vacation, I'm thinking of a dude ranch because I want to do a trail ride and campout under the stars.

What about Olympic National Park and the Olympic peninsula? The weather is temperate year-round, and there is plenty to see & do, along with the option to relax and enjoy the view. We stayed on Lake Crescent with family, and I'd love to spend a night at Lake Crescent Lodge--they have separate cabins and rooms in the main lodge. We had dinner there one evening at sunset. The view was gorgeous, and the food was excellent.
We drove to the Pacific Ocean one day and another day we played in the tidal pools during low tide at Crescent Bay on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We saw sea anemones, several kinds of starfish and other sea life. We also saw 2 bald eagles in a tree on the point at Salt Creek Park.
There is lots of hiking (at all ability levels) available throughout the park and you can see glaciers in some areas. There are also hot springs at Elhwa Valley.
On a previous trip, we went to Neah Bay, on an easy hike along a beautiful trail to see the Cape Flattery light house. It's part of the Makah reservation.
We love the Olympic Peninsula and hope to return soon to visit family and see parts of the park that we haven't seen on other trips.
A good tip for all vacations you consider: check out photos on Google images to see which places/attractions may appeal to you. Sometimes the photos available there can give you a better perspective than the marketing & promotional photos.

Go out West and rent a house boat for the week on Lake Powell or Lake Mead. Cruise the lake, enjoy the scenery.

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