Top Five Off-Peak Destinations for Spring 2011

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Vermont - Farm scene near Waterbury (Photo: Thinkstock/Stockbyte)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 21, 2011. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: all-inclusive resort, arts and culture, Aruba, Austrian Airlines Group, beach, destination, Drury Inns, Inc., Expedia, festival, guided tour, history, Hyatt, Istanbul, Jaclyn Liechti, KLM, low season, Marriott, Orbitz, Portugal, Radisson, Red Roof Inn, San Antonio, seasonality, shopping, spring, Stowe, Travelocity, Turkish Airlines, Vermont, weather, Westin.

Have you come down with a case of spring fever or the travel bug? If so, then a vacation to an off-peak destination may be just what the doctor ordered. We've searched high and low to find this spring's best getaways that won't break the bank. Our top five picks this year range from sunny beaches to cultural hotspots, and the bargains can't be beat.

Vermont

While spring brings the end of peak ski season and the beginning of "mud season" in Vermont, there are still plenty of outdoor adventures to enjoy. Maple sugar season begins in March, and festivals across the state offer more sweet reasons to visit. For example, the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend kicks spring off March 19 and 20 at sugarhouses throughout Vermont, offering visitors the chance to watch maple syrup being made (and even sample the goods).

Syrup isn't the only thing tempting travelers this spring, as lower prices make the off-season a particularly tantalizing time to visit. I compared peak and off-peak rates at several hotels in Vermont, and found savings of up to $120 per night for weekend stays.

Hotel Off-Peak Rate (Per Night) Peak Rate (Per Night)
The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa $309 $429
Brandmeyer's Mountainside Lodge $139 $145
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa $149 $172
Stowe Mountain Lodge $229 $306

Off-peak rates are based on Thursday through Sunday stays in April; peak travel prices are based on Thursday through Sunday stays in September or October. All rates were found on the respective hotel's websites and do not include taxes or fees.

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Hotel deals are popping up all over. For instance, Rabbit Hill Inn is offering Hot Deals in March and May, granting travelers at least 20 percent off nightly rates that include afternoon tea, pastries, and a candlelit breakfast. Through May 26, guests at Equinox Resort can take advantage of its Economic Antidote and receive a $50 gift certificate to Manchester Designer Outlets, while Brandmeyer's Mountainside Lodge in Weston is offering web value packages through May 31 for two-night stays. Through April 12, guests at Stratton Mountain Resort can save up to 30 percent with its The More You Stay, the More You Save package. And the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa is offering up to 30 percent off room rates and 25 percent off apres-ski spa treatments through March 31. Plus, Vermont travelers can enter to win a $100 gas card through mid-April with the Vermont Fuels Your Vacation promotion from the state's tourism bureau.

Spring packages are also a great way to save. Three Mountain Inn has a Mud Season Special providing guests three nights' accommodations, a three-course breakfast each morning, afternoon snacks, and two dinners starting at $650. Wildflower Inn has a Northern Woods Pedal and Paddle Package, which includes two nights' lodging, daily breakfast, a picnic lunch, half-day canoe or kayak rentals, a Kingdom Trails pass, and a $25 dinner voucher, starting at $375 during low season. At West Mountain Inn, guests receive two nights' accommodations, two five-course dinners, a tour of Ennis Sugarhouse, and a pint of maple syrup as part of the Maple Madness promotion, from March 1 through April 30.

To learn more about travel to Vermont, visit our Vermont Travel Guide.

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