March 21 2009 by Karla Henriquez
We all travel for different reasons and even the reasons why we're traveling change all the time. Sometimes we travel because we want a change of scenery. Other times we travel because we feel compelled to see something of note, like a famous building, a rock formation, or a piece of art. Some of us want to know how other people live - what do they eat? Where do they gather? What are their traditions?
In today's environment, travel can also be a healthy form of escape from gloomy economic forecasts. And it doesn't have to be a huge financial endeavor. Staying relatively close to home (within a day's drive) can still provide the escape of travel, without the time and budget constraints. But where can you find these close to home escapes? It largely depends on where you live. Which leads me to my question: What destinations close to your home (within a day's drive) make great travel escapes?
I'll lead by describing a few close spots that I've discovered. Then I want you to add some of your own. I'm hoping we end up with a great list for people from all over.
Please contribute! How else will we know what to do the next time we're in (insert the name of your city/town here).
From Salt Lake City, Utah or Las Vegas, Nevada: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This is where I hiked my first slot canyon and fell in love with the barren but imposing landscape of Southern Utah.
From Tucson, Arizona: Okay, I'm cheating because we actually started the drive in Phoenix, so it wasn't that close to us ... but I'll never forget my trip to San Carlos, Mexico because I wiped tears from my eyes when it was time to check out of our rooms. We'd had the beach to ourselves and the most amazing Mexican dishes are served up poolside - the flour tortillas in this region melt in your mouth.
From New Canaan, Connecticut: the Maine coast in early October is just a few hours away. The leaves have turned, there are whales to see, the lobster and crab are scrumptious, and lighthouses really are as romantic as you thought they'd be!
From Asuncion, Paraguay: I spent a weekend on a friend's family ranch near Encarnacion. Life in Paraguay moves at a slow pace anyway, but on the ranch, while sitting in the quincho sipping terere, it was hard to remember that there was a modern world somewhere beyond the fences.
From Buenos Aires, Argentina: A few hours south of Buenos Aires, is Peninsula Valdez, home to Orca whales, penguins, elephant seals, and the Southern Right Whale. Nearby Punto Tombo is inhabited by penguins! Another bonus: The sunsets in the Patagonia region of Argentina are beyond description.
Readers, please take it from here! How close to home have you stayed to find something previously "undiscovered."