1. Adventure Travel
If your mom is the sort who can't wait to tackle a new experience, then we've got just the thing to get her adrenaline
going. Some of these are "push-the-envelope" adventures, while others are just plain fun and outdoorsy.
Mike Thiel enjoyed a six-day wilderness river-rafting journey on the Middle Fork of Idaho's Salmon River, and he says the
trip had a number of happy moms traveling along. Maybe the ladies were so satisfied because the outfitter, Far & Away Adventures, is known for its luxurious style, gourmet meals, and fun and friendly staff.
Riding, Roping, and Fishing:
Release your mom's inner cowgirl with a Montana ranch getaway that will introduce her to trout fishing, cattle roundups,
and maybe a sweet-faced steed named Sundance. She'll be immersed in the beauty of Big Sky Country while enjoying trail
rides, spa treatments, and dining under the stars-and she'll come home having found her smile (a la Billy Crystal in City Slickers). Hideaways recommends:
The Resort at Paws Up
, Triple Creek Ranch, and The Ranch at Rock Creek.
If a dog is man's best friend, then a horse may just be your mom's best buddy. Treat her to all the horseback riding she
wants-English or Western-with an equestrian-focused vacation that will hone her skills in the saddle. Hideaways recommends: Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona, for its
20,000 acres worth of Western-saddle fun for greenhorns and experienced wranglers alike; and
Casa de Campo
in the Dominican Republic which, in addition to golf, beaches, gourmet dining, and a full spa, has a fabulous Equestrian
Center offering lessons in English- or Western-style riding, plus regular polo matches.
Is your mom part fish? Then give her the gift of swimming, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and playing mermaid at a
beachfront resort with ocean views and water sports galore. Hideaways recommends:
Tamarind Beach Resort & Yacht Club
on Canouan Island in The Grenadines, and
Bitter End Yacht Club
in the British Virgin Islands.
Give Mom the gift of bragging rights! After all, she may have a few over-the-top travel experiences on her bucket list, and
you could be just the person to help her cross one off. Hideaways recommends: Canadian Mountain Holidays, which offers heli-skiing in winter, heli-hiking in summer, and "Bodacious
Women-Only Trips"; and
, offering adventure travel to the Polar Regions that includes hot-air ballooning at the North Pole and camping out under
the stars in Antarctica.
2. Nature-Lover Retreats
If your mom is eco-conscious and a fan of the great outdoors, she'll appreciate the back-to-nature beauty of a lush,
secluded hideaway where green initiatives and sustainable tourism are part of the package.
Green and Gorgeous:
Lush rain forest and outdoor activities that focus on leaving nothing but footprints are the order of the day at
eco-resorts that put the environment a close second after their guests. Hideaways recommends:
Lapa Rios Ecolodge
in Costa Rica, with its rich rain forest setting and full schedule of eco-adventures;
, where a waterfall hike will leave Mom breathless in a good way; and Aqua Expeditions, for an
eco-friendly Amazon River cruise.
Private Island Bliss:
What could be more relaxing than arriving by boat at a private island retreat where there are no interruptions from
television, computers, or cell phones? Hideaways recommends:
in the British Virgin Islands, where it could be just your mom, a few other savvy guests, and some geckos and ghost crabs.
3. Spa-and-Wellness Getaways
Ahhhh, spaaa. It's a classic Mom retreat, and she will thank you in her heart with every masterful massage and
fantastic facial she receives.
On the High Seas:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
, which has the distinction of offering Mom the world-famous Canyon Ranch SpaClub® as she sails the globe. She can
indulge in therapeutic bodywork, aromatherapy, and an array of signature treatments that will put the "ahhh" back in her
life as she cruises from port to port.
Health & Wellness:
A high-level spa and wellness experience in the tradition of a European health retreat, like that at
Grand Hotel Lienz
in southern Austria, where the benefits of the Medical Center's check-ups, targeted therapies, and even traditional Chinese
medicine are at your mother's fingertips; and the Leg School and Wellness Center of Italy's
, famous for treating celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow (she even has a suite named for her).
An urban spa location that offers your mom all the big-city fun of shopping, dining, and sightseeing along with her
Corinthia Hotel London
is home to that city's largest spa, a marble-lined enclave bathed in natural light and spread out over four floors. She'll
enjoy the ESPA Life with its vitality pool, glass sauna, spa lounge, and personalized massage and holistic treatments.
4. Beach Bumming
Sometimes all it takes to make Mom happy is a good book, a comfy chaise, and an endless stretch of powder-soft sand.
Treat her to a guilt-free, feel-good, beach-slug vacation on one of these paradise Caribbean islands.
With more than 30 white-sand beaches to choose from, your mom will be in beach-bum heaven. Hideaways recommends:
, with its own gorgeous crescent beach on a deserted stretch of Caribbean waterfront.
The Dominican Republic:
Tell mom to bring her sunglasses, because she could be blinded by the dazzling white beaches of this popular water-based
vacation destination. Hideaways recommends:
Sivory Punta Cana
, where your mom can walk for miles on deserted beach in either direction with just the sound of the waves to keep her
Known as the "Spice Island" for its heady scents of nutmeg and clove coming from roadside trees, Grenada also has about 45
beautiful, often-empty beaches to explore. Hideaways recommends:
Spice Island Beach Resort
, with its toes-in-the-sand suites that open right onto a stretch of exquisite white sand.
Turks & Caicos:
Could you find a more vibrant turquoise sea rolling onto a more powder-white beach? Hideaways recommends:
The Meridian Club
, where a two-mile-long talcum-soft beach is just a precursor to the barefoot elegance of the rest of the resort; and
, overlooking what is continually ranked as one of the world's ten best beaches.
5. Gardening Delights
If your mom has two green thumbs and a love for all things that grow (except weeds), she'll enjoy traveling to one of
these outstanding urban botanical gardens. The bonus is that she'll also be able to enjoy each city's great shopping
and dining spots-when she isn't stopping to smell the roses.
Jardin Botanique de Montréal:
Located in the bustling city of Montréal, this is the largest urban botanical garden in all of Canada. Its 190 acres
have themed gardens (Japanese, Chinese, Alpine), ten exhibition greenhouses that are open all year, and a fascinating
Insectarium that's home to more than 160,000 specimens of living and naturalized insects-including an active anthill and
honeybee hive! Hideaways recommends: Hotel Gault, for a luxury boutique
experience in the heart of Old Montréal.
San Francisco Botanical Garden:
This 55-acre urban oasis is located inside San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It showcases more than 5,000 unique varieties
of plants from around the world, and houses a series of quiet ponds and winding walking paths. Hideaways recommends: The Argonaut, a chic boutique Kimpton hotel with a
nautical theme, located at Fisherman's Wharf.
Le Jardin des Plantes:
Spread along Paris' delightful Left Bank, this is the largest botanical garden in France, with Mexican and Australian
hothouses, a massive rose garden, and the Art Deco-style winter garden housed in a magnificent glasshouse. Hideaways recommends:
, a stylish and playful retreat with true Parisian personality and flamboyance.
"Hideaways has a penchant for personalized travel planning and can tailor an escape to suit your mom's interests,"
says Mike. "Get her started with a Hideaways Travel Certificate of $500 or more, good toward any travel that turns
your mom on."