Americans let over 429 million paid vacation days go to waste per year on average, according to a recent report conducted by Oxford Economics. While many Americans gripe that we should have nationally mandated paid vacation time like the majority of other developed countries do, until we can really make work life balance a priority, it seems unlikely to happen.
For now, what you can do is make it a priority in your own life. Here are a few dreamy escapes worth skipping a week of work for.
Atlin Lake, British Columbia
From Vancouver and Victoria Island to Whistler, British Columbia has plenty to offer visitors. But if you’re looking for an escape that’s a bit more provincial and off the beaten path, make the trek to northwestern BC to Atlin Lake to explore the Canadian province’s largest natural lake. This picturesque destination is often called the Switzerland of the North, with its lake surrounded by towering snow-capped mountain ranges and massive ice fields. With world-class fishing, boating, hiking, snowshoeing and glacier hiking, it’s truly an outdoors woman’s paradise. Though do be sure to come prepared with all of the necessary licenses and gear, like a fishing or boating license if you plan to go out on the water.
Sanibel Island, Florida
This quiet island off the Gulf Coast of Florida from Fort Myers is a stunning jewel among a state more commonly associated with Walt Disney World and retirement. Touted as the shelling capital of the world, the array of seashells you’ll find on the shores here will evoke a childlike wonder of all that lies under the sea. Spend your days strolling the area’s beaches or enjoying the calm and warm turquoise Gulf waters as thoughts of work emails drift far away and your biggest decision is where to go for dinner. With activities like snorkeling, sunset cruises, biking and bird watching, there’s plenty to do here. Explore the neighboring Captiva and Marco Islands for the day or head into Fort Myers for some variety from the outdoor attractions.
San Luis Obispo, California
Equal parts sleepy coastal paradise and college town, San Luis Obispo, known affectionately as SLO. It’s the perfect home base for a vacation exploring the central coast of California. While SLO has plenty to offer visitors with quaint shops and restaurants and the local landmark hotel, the Madonna Inn, there are also a number of world-class attractions within a two-hour drive. Spend the day at the nearby Avila Beach or step back in time with a visit to the idyllic town of Cayucos. Hike along the bluffs of the Pacific in Montana de Oro State Park or tour William Randolph Hearst’s eponymous mansion, Hearst Castle in nearby San Simeon. Wine lovers will enjoy exploring the vineyards in Paso Robles and Santa Margarita, just a quick jaunt north on the 101. Head north on Highway 1 to Big Sur and enjoy heartbreakingly beautiful vistas of the Pacific on what’s arguably one of the most scenic drives in the U.S.