With its iconic painted deserts and vast, seemingly endless roads, Arizona is the ultimate off-the-beaten-path destination. But visit the Grand Canyon state during the off-season, when all the visitors have gone home, and it’s a special kind of quiet.
If you really want to see Alaska, you need wheels.
Most visitors come to the Last Frontier on a cruise ship or a plane. A motorcoach picks them up at the airport and delivers them to a hotel, to an airstrip or a national park, and they only see a small sliver of this state.
It’s a beautiful sliver, to be sure — but too small considering Alaska’s vast size.
Blink and you’ll miss Buellton, Calif., a tiny town a two-hour drive north of Los Angeles. And maybe that’s just fine with Buellton, one of those undiscovered destinations where everyone expects you to stay a few exits south, in touristy Santa Barbara, or just keep driving through to nearby Hearst Castle.
For days, the Humpback whales had been taunting us from the bay as if they knew what we wanted. Every now and then they’d breach the surface or send a spout of water high into the mist, as if to say, “Catch us — if you can.” The rare sea otters teased us, too, playfully popping their heads above the surface near the Monterey Bay Aquarium.