From lesser-known golf spots to Bandon, don't rush your Oregon Trail trek
It would take settlers five to six months to make their way west on the Oregon Trail in the 19th century.
We're not saying any group has that kind of vacation time for their golf trip these days, but those settlers had the right idea. When you book your Bandon Dunes Resort vacation in southwest Oregon, take the scenic route to get there - the more detours the better.
We're not saying skip Bandon. In fact, Bandon Dunes' seemingly centuries old links should anchor your Oregon golf trip. And most locals even agree: If they've got the time and the dough, they head to Bandon more than once a year.
But the links courses of Bandon Dunes hardly serve as a microcosm or Oregon. In fact, Oregon's topography reinvents itself more than Madonna.
Driving down the state's western region from Portland to Bandon will pass you through scenic forest, the snow-capped Cascade mountains, high desert and the Pacific coastline. It's like your own little worldly golf trip all along a stretch of about 200 miles.
One minute, you're on a snowy road that was cleared yesterday, then two left turns later, you're golfing in 60-degree sunshine that hasn't seen snow all winter.
Since Bandon's nightlife doesn't consist of a whole lot more than late-night poker and billiards in the Bunker Bar, tour Portland for a couple days before or after your days in Bandon, where the most local breweries (nearly 30) of any American city await you - not to mention golf at Pumpkin Ridge or a slew of other scenic, woodland gems like classic Eastmoreland.
Eugene, home to the closest semi-major airport to Bandon, has loads of pretty, value-laden gems like Tokatee under the Sisters Mounains and Diamond Woods - all under $50 on peak season weekends.
But perhaps the perfect complement to Bandon Dunes is dry, sunny high desert in Bend, an emerging ski town at the base of Mt. Bachelor. It's become a favorite getaway for celebs and early retirees, not to mention a hotbed of celebrity chefs and their trendy restaurants. Golf has boomed in recent years and is now full of nationally recognized gems like Pronghorn's Nicklaus and Fazio courses, Sunriver Resort's Crosswater and newcomer Tetherow, which, upon its opening this July, may be the best course in the state, outside of Bandon.
So load up the covered wagon and be sure to hit more than just Bandon when you head to Oregon.
Beyond your old, tired golf vacation: Alabama Gulf Shores brings design thrills, beach parties and more
You'd find distinctive white sugar sand beaches in the Alabama Gulf Shores along with everything else you need in a golf destination. That's the thing about the Alabama Gulf Shores: it's not one of those haphazardly clobbered together want-to-be poser golf destinations, Chris Baldwin writes.
The Baskin-Robbins of Phoenix meeting space? For business travel, Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak tries to come close
When it comes to meeting space, Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak is like Baskin-Robbins - there's a different flavor or setting for every group. In addition to some 48,00 square feet of meeting space, the resort also has meeting-planning specialists who handle groups. And one of the best things about using Squaw Peak as your conference base might just be the amenities a vacationing guest enjoys, too.
In Niagara Falls, "falls view" is a marketing term that deserves a spot right alongside "Tastes Great, Less Filling" or "Just Do It." Every hotel claims to have one - only, it's really not that big of a deal. Often literally. Avoid the falls-view hype and use the money you save to play the area's high-end golf options like The Rees Jones Course at Grand Niagara.