10 Greatest Escapes in America

Get away without going far away. These amazing destinations are fun, beautiful, and just a few hours from home.

By Charles Runnette


Chetek, WisconsinDream Retreat
Chetek, Wisconsin

Sometimes real luxury isn't breakfast delivered to your door each morning, fireside massages, Egyptian cotton towels, and goose down duvets. Sometimes it's all that and getting to take a vacation without the kids—yours or anyone else's, for that matter.

The deluxe, out-of-the-way, couples-only Canoe Bay lodge is a slice of serenity on 280 forested acres in northwestern Wisconsin. With just 38 guests at a time, it can seem so quiet, you may think it's just you two.

Although there are numerous things to do—kayaking, canoeing, hiking, fishing, swimming—proprietors Dan and Lisa Dobrowolski find that most couples spend their time relaxing alone on their private decks. The big activity: heading to the lodge for the fabulous five-course chef's menu (which might include pan-roasted free-range chicken in a sage sauce with buttermilk potatoes, or wild rice?dusted Wisconsin rainbow trout in a cranberry beurre blanc) and choosing a bottle from the award-winning wine list. Rooms, $325 to $875 per night, double occupancy; canoebay.com. No children; no smoking indoors or outdoors.