Time to take an epic stoner summer vacation

by DGO Staff

Tired of sitting indoors and griping about the gas prices?

Grab a bowl and head on out to one of these killer locales instead

This was supposed to be the summer of freedom. Now that the pandemic is mostly under control, we’re free to travel to and from wherever we want, within reason. Only problem is that gas prices are out of control — which is putting a damper on travel across the board. It’s more expensive to fly, equally expensive to drive, and inflation has caused the price of everything from hotels to Airbnbs to skyrocket. In other words, lots of people are broke.

The good news, though, is that inflation hasn’t caused weed prices to shoot up to the roof — not yet, anyway. And while we’re grateful for that little bit of relief during this dark timeline, there’s more good news to share! In addition to weed, there are also tons of different des-tinations worth visiting in the good ol’ continental United States. If you combine the two — weed and travel — well, it could be a recipe for an all right summer trip, dontcha think?

You do think. You really do.

So, if you’re looking for a good way to spend a few weeks this summer but don’t want to bust the bank any more than you have to, you may want to grab an ounce of your favorite bud and head to these fan-freaking-tastic spots across the nation.

Cause what could be better than getting super-duper-stoned off the beautiful coast of Maine or on a trol-ley tour in one of America’s hidden city gems? Not much, that’s what. Not much at all.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, located on Maine’s Atlantic coast, is at least partially situated off the mainland — and it offers killer views of the ocean that truly can’t be beat. Acadia is also the home of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak on the North Atlantic coast. There are two ways to reach the summit: a memorable hike or by car on a steep, narrow road. Either way, you’ll want to reach that peak with some weed.

If you’re looking for a serene spot to blaze up, Jordan Pond has your name on it. It’s reachable by the challenging Jordan Pond Shore Road following the rocky coast or the easy Jordan Pond Nature trail through the evergreens. And, if you get the hardcore munchies, there is a restaurant nearby.

And while Sand Beach doesn’t attract many beachgoers thanks to the sharp shells scattered on the sand, along with temperatures that are too chilly for a dip, this spot has an amazing perk: magnificent views from the beach and the top of the Great Head Trail.

Plus, Acadia has an added bonus: The Island Explorer Shuttle makes numerous stops in the park. It’s basically perfect for our outdoorsy stoner friends.

Catskills Mountains, New York State

Decades ago, this mountain range was dotted with numerous resort hotels, which honestly sounds a little abysmal, right? Right. But these days, many of those hotels are no longer open, and the Catskills still have much to offer if you’re looking for a . It’s an in-demand summer location, full of bungalow colonies, sleepaway camps, and other tourist-driven spots, and there are a few different reasons that the tree-covered slopes attract crowds.

For starters, the pleasant drive through the area allows visitors to take in the beautiful scenery, enjoy the cool-er summer days and fresh country air. You can feast your eyes on the rivers and lakes like the Neversink Reservoir, check out charming small towns, and spot white-tailed deer, foxes, chip-munks, groundhogs, and more critters that call the mountains home.

And if hiking is your thing, the mountains boast a variety of trails ideal for every skill level.

Whether you come for the day, an overnight getaway, or a longer vacation, the mountains are guaranteed to leave you refreshed — and if you throw in a few ounces of weed, it’s sheer perfection.

Stone Mountain Park and other spots near Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta is a major metropolis — and it’s also the city that the world’s busiest airport calls home. Fun facts for you this hot summer. What a win.

But Atlanta offers way more than just the world’s busiest airport, whether you’re a city lover or prefer the great outdoors.

For starters, the Peachtree Trolley, providing 90-minute narrated tours, is a perfect way to see the best of Atlanta — and you can get completely and totally blazed before you go since you won’t be behind the wheel.

And that’s not all. Another major draw is the Atlanta Glass Treehouse, which is an architectural wonder. Constructed primarily of recycled glass and steel, the dwelling has two floors — and both are available for rent on Airbnb.
Plus, the surrounding hardwood trees hide this amazing structure, making it all but invisible from the street. What awe-someplace to hang the heck out at this bland stoner summer, eh?
Nature aficionados-slash-stoners will love Scenic Highway 197 thanks to its breathtaking scenery, including a trout-filled river and three lovely lakes. Smoke a spliff (or a lot) of weed involved.

Taylors Falls, Minnesota

An hour’s drive north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul’s metropolitan area is basically a portal into another world. Taylors Falls, with a population of about 1,000 residents, is on the shore of the beautiful St. Croix River — and it’s a great stoner escape.

That’s especially true if you’re the kind of stoner who likes to hang out in the great outdoors because this area is a nature lover’s dream. The river is perfect for kayaking and canoeing, and if you enjoy hiking, Interstate State Park is made just for you. There are cliffs that beckon rock climbers and geological features waiting for people to explore them.  Above the river, tree-covered bluffs — like the entire region — are amazing at the height of summer’s full foliage.

From May to October, you can treat yourself with the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours, sober or otherwise. Excursions have given visitors an amazing experience since 1906, and present-day guided tours embark seven days a week.

Hop on this boat tour and you’ll see one-of-a-kind rock formations. like the impressive Old Man of the Dalles and the biggest glacial kettles (aka pot-holes) in the world. Do it while stoned and, well, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

When people think of the Black Hills, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial often comes to mind. While this icon is an incomparable feat of artistry and engineering, the national forest is so much more — and it’s a way more thrilling destination for our 420-loving friends.

The mountain range seems to appear out of nowhere as you drive through the more arid western part of the state.

And don’t forget to make a stop at the awesome Badlands National Park and feast your eyes on the multi-hued rock formations and grassy prairie that is home to bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, bison and black-footed ferrets.

What we’re obsessed with in the Black Hills National Forest is that there is absolutely no shortage of beautiful scenery in the mountains. Take a ride along the Needles Highway, a narrow roadway — heads up that some one-lane tunnels will require drivers to honk before entering — and you’ll encounter incredible views, awesome spires, and drop-offs.

You won’t find a more peaceful place than picturesque Sylvan Lake. And then there’s Custer State Park, where you can see wild bison, and tame donkeys approach vehicles hoping for a snack. Pro tip: Be ready to comply with their request.

If you happen to make a stop in that direction during September, there’s
a not-to-be-missed event: the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival. To maintain a healthy, strong herd, cowboys and cowgirls round up and drive more than 1,200 bison for sorting, testing, vaccinating, and branding; about 500 animals are set aside for sale. It’s epic in any scenario, but it’s even more fascinating if you’re stoned.

If you happen to stop by there, be sure to visit the vendors who sell quality arts and crafts–including numerous products made in South Dakota. Continuous Native American and Western entertainment takes place in the big top.

DGO 2022.07 July Page 15 Image 0001Jackson Hole, Wyoming

While many think of Jackson Hole as a winter destination, the area is delightful in every season. In the spring, temperatures can reach the upper 60s on a balmy day — but be prepared for chilly weather and spring rains.

Now that the snow has melted and the weather is warmer, though, it’s a perfect time for hiking with some of the devil’s lettuce. And you don’t need to stray far from Jackson Hole to find it. Goodwin Lake is a 2 ½ mile trek to a scenic mountain lake and Hidden Falls is an easy 2-mile hike from Jenny Lake to awesome waterfalls. Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest feature numerous trails catering to every type of hiker, including those who like to imbibe. And if seeing wildlife is your thing, you may be treated to sightings of moose, bald eagles, bison, and pronghorn.

In addition to hiking, there’s tons to do outside in the clear mountain air: horseback riding, whitewater rafting, camping, and exploring the deservedly famous Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Guided wildlife tours are an ideal way to view the landscape and animals who call the region home. The National Museum of Art, another must-see, is unique among art museums. Its massive collection endeavors to enhance people’s relationship with the natural world through its research, exhibits, educational programs and publications.

The museum is situated on a butte with a view of the National Elk Refuge — a great place to witness the sight and bugling of males as they vie for mates.

Ouray, Colorado

This charming town — just a couple hours drive from our charming little town — is called the Switzerland of America for good reason. With craggy peaks all around, people might feel like they’ve landed in the Alps. But it’s the Alps with a couple of killer dispensaries right down the road, so it’s like a better Alps in a way. Or in multiple ways.

Anyway, as you may well know from experience, Ouray has no shortage of natural wonders — and, if you’re local, you don’t have to drive very far to take advantage of them. That’s a massive bonus.

If you don’t mind a bumpy ride, try taking a drive on Cutler Creek Road; you’ll be rewarded by gorgeous scenery. Then there’s Highway 62, with the Sneffels Range creating a backdrop for real functioning ranches.

You won’t want to miss Ridgway State Park, either, with its picture-wor-thy scenery, 140 kinds of native and migrating animals including moose, a variety of birds, bobcats, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions.

For a spectacular show, check out the sunset from either the Visitor Center Overlook or the Elk River Campground.

Texas Hill Country

While we perhaps aren’t the biggest fans of Texas, this particular area offers too much to leave it off the list: charming towns, awesome scenery, and plenty to do.

If you’re feeling brave enough to sneakety sneak some weed into the Lone Star State, you can get blazed and then check out Wimberley, a lovely little town that’s big on natural beauty and must-see attractions.

If you’re a nature lover, Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole Regional Park will delight you, and a scenery-rich drive to Devil’s Backbone is a must. Old Baldy Mountain provides a panoramic view that will wow you. The Edwards Plateau is a spot where visitors can observe migrating birds.

In the town itself, you’ll find Wimber-ley Glass Works where people can buy hand-blown glass creations, the Wild West Store where you can acquire a pair of cowboy boots, the Wimberley Valley Winery, and fascinating shops, art galleries, and opportunities to attend performing arts events.

The hometown of President Lyndon Johnson, Johnson City is known as the “Crossroads of the Texas Hill Country.” Visit the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park and the Sauer-Beckman Living History Farm to take a look back in time and tour the “Texas White House.”

Swim in the pristine waters of Pedernales Falls State Park and unwind with an adult beverage at the Pecan Street Brewing and Garrison Brothers Distillery. For a unique experience, head to the Exotic Resort Zoo to observe over 500 wild animals and 80 species spread across 137 acres of lakes, creeks, and forest.

And in Texas Hill Country’s heart, seven lovely lakes form a chain at Marble Falls. The hills covered with wildflowers is worth the (free) price of admission.

DGO 2022.07 July Page 16 Image 0001Boise, Idaho

Idaho isn’t only potatoes! It’s also for potatoes and weed — and traveling! No matter what interests you, Boise is sure to have it.

The city may be land-locked, but it has the next best thing to a beach:

Quinn’s Pond. There’s tons of sand, and there’s swimming, kayaking, paddling on a rented stand-up board, and more water activities — which are a great way to waste away a stoned day or six while you’re on a summer trip. Bring along a picnic lunch and enjoy the experience. If you’re into beautiful sights, be there at sunrise and sunset.

Or, check out the Boise Depot, which is a lovely old Spanish-style structure. It’s only open Sundays and Mondays, but even when it’s closed, the depot is worth the visit for the beautiful gardens with roses of every color and shape imaginable, ponds, streams, and an impressive view of downtown Boise.

The City of Trees has an abundance of parks, and a lot of them are definitely worth checking out if you’re out and about while blazed. For starters, check out Camel’s Back Park: its lookout provides an unparalleled view of the Treasure Valley and Boise’s skyline. Or, head downtown on the first Thursday of each month when the area comes alive with art, shopping, music, and exhibits by area artists.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State

This national park is the jewel of Washington State — which is weed-le-gal, so you don’t even have to smuggle bus your buds. The area is absolutely and totally wild, with Mount Rainier National Park surrounding the 14,441-foot stratovolcano, which rises suddenly from the landscape.

Home to the tallest peak in the Cascade Range, the park features waterfalls like the multi-stream horse-tail Narada Falls and the two-tiered Christine Falls with a bridge traversing the lower drop, valleys, meadows, and 91,00 acres of old-growth trees. The volcano itself features 25 glaciers on its slopes and a frequent cloud cover that dumps tremendous amounts of snow and rain.

Camping enthusiasts will love the choices of spots in the park. If you prefer indoor lodging, the National Park Inn is usually open the whole year. The Longmire General Store adjacent to the inn sells groceries, gifts, and firewood during the summer.

But that ain’t it.

There are tons of trails, lodging, gift shops, and eateries that close when the cold weather comes. Mount Rainier
is delightful in every season. You can feast your eyes on the summer wild-flowers while blazing away in one of the world’s most fantastic backdrops. Joshua Tree National Park, California Nestled in the beautiful Coachella Valley, Joshua Tree may be a more mainstream haunt, but it’s an excellent place to visit with a few edibles tucked in the old pocket.

The iconic trees, which are really a variety of cactus, dot a landscape, which features amazing red rock formations. If you’re feeling adventurous, or perhaps a little stoned, you’ll want to scale the rocks.

And, there’s a good chance you will be visited by some of the critters that reside here — which makes it an even more alluring destination for the outdoorsy stoner. There’s another perk, too: the beautiful park’s temperatures are noticeably cooler than those on the valley floor.

If you can, plan your visit for — or return — late in the day for an awesome sunset, but be aware that everyone has the same idea. So, you’ll need to arrive early for a good parking place and an ideal spot for viewing.

Camping-slash-weed enthusiasts may also find this national park to offer an incredible experience. The area’s clear skies, unhampered by city lights, are perfect for stargazing — and star-blazing — so stop sweating the gas prices and start making plans to head out.

You truly won’t regret it.

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