The Red Rock Ranch in Kelly, Wyoming
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De-stress and disconnect Old West–style at the Red Rock Ranch, a dude ranch surrounded by red cliffs and dotted with log cabins, just outside Grand Teton National Park (from $2,280 for a six-night stay for guests age 13 and older and from $925 for guests ages 2 through 12, theredrockranch.com). Counselors will lead your kids on horseback along scenic mountain routes, where they might see bald eagles and elk. If you want to sneak some cardio in while the kids are away, grab a guide and request a strenuous hike; your trek can be can personalized to guarantee that your heart rate gets cranking. Make a pit stop at Blue Miner Lake, an awe-inspiring aquamarine lake, framed by wide-open land and a skyline of snowy peaks. Back at the ranch, nightfall brings live music from local artists, square dancing, and traditional western barbecue. You'll also score a date night: Once a week, the staff hosts a kids' cookout by the river, while you enjoy a gourmet meal, complete with wine and a campfire under the starlit Wyoming sky. (And if relaxation is your first priority, try one of these destinations instead.)
Photo: Courtesy of the Red Rock Ranch
The Sebastian Vail in Vail, Colorado
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The mountains are the main attraction here. Stay at the cozy Sebastian, located right in the middle of Vail Village, at the base of the town's namesake peak (rooms from $325 a night, thesebastianvail.com). While the kids are busy with the complimentary craft projects offered by the hotel, hike Berrypicker, a challenging 3.2-mile trail up Vail Mountain. You'll get a killer workout and amazing views of Gore Range, including cascading streams and lush fields covered in columbines, Colorado's state flower. Enjoy a glass of wine at the restaurant at the top, then descend in a gondola.
Also take advantage of Epic Discovery, a first-of-its-kind program from Vail Resorts and in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and Nature Conservancy that's designed to help kids and adults explore the Vail outdoors this summer. Swoosh down 3,400 vertical feet on a new alpine coaster, go on the guided Game Creek Canopy Tour via zip-lines and aerial bridges to get a one-of-a-kind view of the surrounding mountains. Or book Paragon Guides' Take a Llama to Lunch hike ($250 for up to two people, plus an additional $89 per person; paragonguides.com). Llamas do the heavy lifting of the lunch items, so you and your little ones are free to venture deep into Vail's beautiful back country. (Related: seven other reasons a summer ski resort vaca is genius.)
Photo: The Sebastian Vail
Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon
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At the foot of the snowcapped Cascade Mountains sits a biking paradise—3,300 acres of wilderness crisscrossed with cycling trails. Sunriver Resort (rooms from $190 a night, sunriver-resort.com) boasts more than 40 miles of on-site paths. When you arrive, grab a set of wheels from the property's Bike Barn (rentals from $10 an hour). Take them for a ride on the down- hill/waterfall excursion, a family-friendly six-mile tour along a smooth, winding forest trail that passes six pristine waterfalls and two natural waterslides. Then cool off on a two-hour guided tubing trip down the crystal clear Deschutes River.
Sunriver Resort also hosts half- or full-day kids' programs ($50 and $70), featuring biking, tennis, and caving. Use the free time to explore the areas' more technical trails or relax in a private cabana poolside. Later, refuel over a beer brewed in the nearby town of Bend while the kids whip up homemade pizza at the Sunriver's Kids Night Out ($55 per child). Or spend the evening together listening to live music outdoors as part of the resort's Summer Concert Series.
Photo: Sunriver Resort
The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock, VT
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Considered one of the most charming towns in the United States, Woodstock really comes alive in warm weather. The lush Green Mountains serve as the backdrop to covered bridges, quaint country stores, and the majestic white Woodstock Inn & Resort (rooms from $290 a night, woodstockinn.com). After checking in, walk or bike to nearby Billings Farm & Museum, a working dairy farm ($14 for adults, from $4 for children; billingsfarm.org). Sign your kids up for the five-day Junior Farm Vet Camp, where they'll learn to care for the farm animals (about $390). You can also spend a couple of hours touring the two-and-a-half-acre organic Kelly Way Gardens, where the inn's chefs source the produce that will later make an appearance on your dinner plate. To work up your appetite for the farm-to-table feast, play tennis or take a dip in the saltwater pool.
Photo: The Woodstock Inn & Resort
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa in Sanibel Island, Florida
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The one-mile stretch of white- sand beach is the star at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa (rooms from $199 a night, sundialresort.com). Scour it for shells of all sizes: Sanibel Island has some of the best shelling in North America.
Or hit the water on one of the property's complimentary paddleboards. The resort also offers the Sanibel Sea School (from $55 for a half day, sanibelseaschool.org), where your kids will learn about the diverse local ocean life.
Another must: exploring the nearby J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Paddle through the refuge's famous red mangroves on a guided kayak tour ($30 for 90 minutes, tarponbayexplorers.com). Then head back to the Sundial for dinner at one of its four restaurants. (Paddleboarding isn't the only way to stay in shape while on a beach vaca.)
Photo: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa