Spring Stay and Play Golf Destinations
Spring is that happy time of year full of hope as birds sing, flowers bloom and golf comes into full swing. If you’re ready to break out of hibernation, consider these fresh stay and play destinations.
Florida – The state epitomizes Spring Break for friends and family. In Daytona Beach hear engines roar while playing LPGA International’s 36 holes. The impressive Daytona International Speedway tours are pretty cool even for non-racing fans. If you prefer the roar of ocean waves book a spot on the beach where you can comb it, bike or drive on it with your own car. Be sure to time this when it is not high tide! Just north, stay and play at the palatial Hammock Beach Resort.
Florida boasts 663 miles of beaches up and down the east and west coast and 1481 golf courses. Tour the World Golf Hall of Fame or Kennedy Space Center and perhaps watch a rocket launch.
Consult Spring Training schedules for baseball team sites and golf proximities. The Phillies practice in Clear Water near Innisbrook, the Mets in Port St. Lucie near the PGA Village, Red Socks in Fort Myers. Several teams play in the Orlando area, famous for kiddie and adult amusement at Disney, Universal, many other attractions and nightclubs. Detour to Winter Park for Morse Museum’s stunning display of Tiffany Studios and board the Scenic Boat Tour’s pontoon for mansion histories on 3 lakes connected by narrow canals. Play “I spy” exotic birds, manatees, gators and bears statewide.
Savannah – What a charming seaside city for spring boarding to the Golden Isles. Golfers will love island hopping between Brunswick, Jekyll Island, St Simons and Sea Island with endless miles of glistening shorelines, wildlife habitats, exquisite resorts and activities. Take a sunset stroll along the beach, paddleboard through salt marshes, discover bodacious BBQ and fresh seafood. Stay at intimate B & B’s or The Westin Jekyll Island with beachfront amenities including several golf courses, sea turtle habitat center, tennis, hiking and biking and marine programs. All the islands reflect the history and time honored traditions of southern living along Georgia’s Atlantic coast.
Mountain Lakes of South Carolina – This region is for true outdoor lovers. White water raft on rivers like the Chattanooga (think Deliverance movie and yes, that banjo player still lives there!) for combined serenity and adrenaline rush. Oconee County is named for the native word meaning ”land beside the water,” an understatement. Boat or float on Lake Jocasse, Hartwell or Keowee and bike or hike to over 250 waterfalls. Trails range from easy to difficult. Decisions are assisted by a waterfalls app. Tee it up on public courses or check out Cliffs Living, a golf community with seven courses running to the top of Glassy Mountain for panoramic 50-mile views through vineyards and along a sparkling lake, beside a river and through protected woodlands.
Outer Banks (OBX) – Out is in for 2018. Active lifestyles take flight where the Wright Brothers first flew. Visit their museum or several golf courses that embrace the salty Atlantic air and inner bays like Nags Head Golf Links, Currituck Club, Sea Scape and Kilmarlic. Dune buggy and jeep rentals are popular for driving on miles of flat beaches. Take a tour of the wild horse preserve or enjoy the fabulous beaches, trails, shops and seaside restaurants. Rent from Airbnb, VRBO or Home Away sites or check in to Sanderling Resort in Duck, N.C, the only full service resort in the OBX.
California – In Southern Cal you can surf, sail and watch the whales on excursions from San Diego to Los Angeles. Seek the stars in Hollywood or Palm Springs. In Northern Cal, hop the trolley in San Francisco to the wharf for a crab roll or relive the history of Alcatraz. Wine around the state from Napa to Monterey, charming Carmel, Sonoma, Paso Robles and even down to Temecula. Play the Heaven to Hell challenge from Mammoth, the highest course in the state to Death Valley, the lowest course in the world.
Arizona – The blooming desert hosts the Cactus League Spring Training for 15 baseball teams within a 47-mile radius. Around 300 golf courses and 800 miles of hiking trails avail. Scale South Mountain in Phoenix for hieroglyphics, ascend Camelback Mountain for a city view, Sedona for a day in the red rocks’ vortex or behold the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel trail.
Pick from a plethora of fine resorts with refreshing pools and posh spas like Willow Stream at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess or The Golden Door at The Wigwam Resort in Goodyear.
For an authentic “Old West” dude ranch experience, cowboy/girl up at White Stallion Ranch adjoining the Saguaro National Park in Tucson near many mountain resort or municipal golf courses. West of Phoenix, saddle up at Rancho de Los Caballeros in Wickenburg to shoot, ride and golf on premise as well as the Big and Li’l Wick courses at Wickenburg Ranch and Social Club, a new community with a view of Vulture Peak.
Casinos mix with golf and concerts at WeKoPa or Talking Stick where Top Golf next door extends golf into the night.
Costa Rica – This favorite getaway among ex-pats, expounds affordable pura vida. From beaches to volcanoes and coffee plantations, monkeys entertain at unexpected moments. Visit Manuel Antonio National Park to zipline the rain forest spotting toucans and sloths. Popular golf resorts are JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort, Los Suenos Marriott, The Westin Golf Resort at Playa Conchal and Peninsula Papagayo at Four Seasons.
Islands of Loreto – In Baja, Mexico this is the Cabo of yesteryear with no negative travel advisory and all positive beauty as desert mountains dramatically meet the Sea of Cortez on the new Danzante Bay Course. Reachable by Alaska Airlines out of LAX and worth the arrangements to stay at the all inclusive Villa del Palmar, guests can snorkel, fish and shuttle to the quaint seaside town with the oldest mission in Baja. Consider an unlimited golf and fishing package.
Bermuda – Freshly painted for the 2017 America’s Cup, Bermuda is a colorful and stylish paradise rich with history, culture, beaches and superb golf courses. Turtle Hill, Mid Ocean, Tuckers Point and Port Royal are filled with ocean scenery and exotic green foliage intertwined with bright blooms. Scooter, bus, taxi or ferry to St George, a designated UNESCO site where Sir George Somers and his men landed in 1609 or to The Royal Naval Dockyard where the Bermuda National Museum preserves the old fort intact. A Dolphin Quest delivers interactive family entertainment. Shop in the Clock Tower Mall and blow by the Glass Studio.
Barbados – This small tropical island is big on beauty with championship golf courses. Sandy Lane, Apes Hill and Royal Westmorland are ranked in the top ten in the Caribbean. The festive Barbados’ Sugar & Rum event runs from February 1 – April 1, 2018 but they will never run out of rum if you arrive later. Colorful landscape, culture and beaches make Barbados “The Island Beyond.”