Relax with yoga at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort. Photography: Doug Merriam/Courtesy Sunrise Springs

To honor the magazine’s 24th anniversary issue, we’re including two dozen worthwhile road-warrior options from around the West. You might want to go ahead and open up that calendar.

FILL UP ON KANSAS’ SMOKED MEATS

You could spend an entire vacation touring Kansas City’s barbecue circuit, but if you want to dig into the best on arrival, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is the local favorite. Don’t let the gas station exterior deter you, nor the signature dish. Joe’s burnt ends are incomparably flavorful and tender. If you’re hungry for more while in town, also try Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue and Q39. joeskc.com

RELAX AND RIDE IN CALIFORNIA

Horse people and wine lovers rejoice: The brand-new Murieta Inn & Spa capitalizes on close proximity to both the Murieta Equestrian Center, which attracts 150,000 people annually for horse shows and other equestrian events, and the adjacent Amador County wine region, which boasts rich history and rich reds. Nestled between the rolling hills of Rancho Murieta and the panoramic Sierra Nevadas about 25 miles outside of Sacramento, California, the Murieta Inn riffs on classic Spanish hacienda style in public spaces and beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites. The property also boasts a full-service spa and salon at The Cupola and fine dining at The Gate. themurietainn.com

SIT IN THE STANDS AT A WYOMING INSTITUTION

Celebrate the holidays early on the Cowboy Christmas rodeo circuit and catch a performance at Cheyenne Frontier Days, where all the big names in rodeo compete for their chance to visit Las Vegas later in the year. cfdrodeo.com

Photography: Courtesy City of Sturges

GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN’ IN STURGIS

Take a scenic road trip through the Black Hills for the 77th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Kicking off August 4, the 10-day affair in Sturgis, South Dakota, includes a hill climb along the historic Black Hills Run, motocross races, and stunt riders, as well as festivities such as a street food competition and tattoo contest. sturgismotorcyclerally.com

PRETEND YOU’RE A WESTERN STAR

When it comes to celebrating the Old West, California’s hidden gems reveal the state’s western heritage in unique ways. Pioneertown, located on Route 62 in the town of Yucca Valley, began as a live-in Wild West motion-picture set built in the 1940s. The set, most known for the film The Cisco Kid, stands today as a popular tourist attraction with much of its original charm intact, including an old saloon, a bank, and the town jail. visitcalifornia.com

HAVE SUMMER ADVENTURES AND SINGALONGS IN NORTH DAKOTA

Head to Medora, North Dakota, this summer for a worthwhile twofer. Spend your day hiking and exploring in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year but still retains its awe-inspiring beauty. And when it gets dark, head into town to revisit history via the nightly Medora Musical, which celebrates the legacy of the 26th president (and park namesake). nps.gov/thro, medora.com

Photography: Steve Rawls/Courtesy Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau

SLOW DOWN AND SIP IN FREDERICKSBURG

The Texas Hill Country is home to beautiful state parks and relaxing sulphur springs, but some of the most alluring options are in and around the quaint town of Fredericksburg. The epicenter of the area’s wine region, it’s home to more than 45 wineries and vineyards, most of which offer visitors the opportunity to tour their property and sample their wares. visitfredericksburgtx.com

EXPLORE NATIVE HERITAGE IN UTAH

Unlike any other, Frontier Homestead State Park & Museum is a living history destination that re-creates what life was like for early Cedar City, Utah, colonists brought to the area by Brigham Young. Recently opened as a new addition to the park, the Native Heritage Exhibit takes you back in time even further, replicating the Native vegetation, wickiup huts, and village mounds of southwestern Utah pre-Euro-American settlement. frontierhomestead.org

EMBARK ON AN OKLAHOMA ADVENTURE

Canoe and trout-fish while staying in five-star air-conditioned cabins or primitive hike-in spots at Oklahoma’s Beavers Bend State Park on scenic Broken Bow Lake. beavers-bend.com

GO TO A GHOST TOWN IN MONTANA

Feel the spirit of the Old West with a trip to Garnet Ghost Town — a painstakingly preserved historic town named after the semiprecious stone mined in the area. garnetghosttown.org

EAT MODERN IN ARIZONA

Tucson, Arizona, is the first U.S. metropolis to be designated a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO. Joining a list of globally acclaimed culinary capitals, the city was given the honor in part because of its 4,000 years of agricultural history — as vibrant today as it was millennia ago. Enjoy Tucson’s signature Sonoran hot dog, fine dining integrating local crops once cultivated by the original indigenous settlers, and many offerings on the city’s official 23 Miles of Mexican Food map. visittucson.org

HIT THE SLOPES IN NEW MEXICO

With hundreds of inches of snow every year and trails for all experience levels, Northern New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley maintains its natural splendor and doesn’t allow much to get in the way of its premier activity. The typical season lasts from December to April. skitaos.com

BATHE IN A FOREST IN ARKANSAS

Forest bathing isn’t about shedding clothes and taking a dip among the trees. It’s about stripping off stress, stopping the striving, and relaxing mind and spirit by walking in a forest awash in the curative effects of nature. A great state to experience this sensory reboot is Arkansas, more than half of which — 18 million acres — is forestland. With three national forests and dozens of state and local parks full of leafy trails, you’re all set for some wonderful woodland wandering. Arkansas Tourism especially recommends the Ozark Highlands Trail, Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, Louisiana Purchase Baseline Trail, and Wattensaw Bayou Water Trail. Earthy smells, dappled light, tweeting birds, leaves underfoot, and green all around — you remember how good this used to make you feel, right? arkansas.com

GO PHEASANT HUNTING IN SOUTH DAKOTA

There is no better place for a bird hunter to get away in the fall than South Dakota, deemed the Pheasant Capital of the World. With the exception of designated wildlife refuges and parks, the state is an open hunting ground for pheasant (as well as a plethora of other waterfowl and small game birds) from mid-October through early January with plenty of luxury lodges and outfitter groups to accommodate you. gfp.sd.gov/hunting

SEEK WELLNESS, PET CHICKENS IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO

In the high desert of Santa Fe County, New Mexico, rests a 90,000-square-foot spa retreat that you might never want to leave. Sunrise Springs is not only beautifully manicured for maximum reflection and relaxation with quiet casitas and walking trails, it’s highlighted by outdoor pools and heated soaking tubs. You can also de-stress by petting puppies and Silkie (sometimes silly) chickens. sunrisesprings.ojospa.com/resort

GO FULL-TOURIST IN MISSOURI

Spend a day stepping back in time at Silver Dollar City, an 1880s theme park complete with roller coasters and rides for the whole family. Then head into nearby Branson, Missouri, for a show. silverdollarcity.com/theme-park, explorebranson.com

REVISIT HISTORY IN NEVADA

Tour the preserved and reconstructed adobe buildings from the 1855 missionary settlement that birthed the City of Lights at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort. Or check out artifacts from the Pueblo Grande de Nevada archaeological sites and prehistoric Pueblo Indian ruins saved during construction of the Hoover Dam at the Lost City Museum. nvdtca.org/lostcitymuseum, parks.nv.gov/parks/old-las-vegas-mormon-fort

SHOP ’N’ SNOWSHOE IN COLORADO

If you’re in Winter Park, Colorado, for its namesake season, consider the humble snowshoe as a practical and enjoyable way to go for a walk, preferably in fresh powder, at 9,000 feet. Winter Park Resort offers rentals and guided snowshoe tours and a one-time lift pass (reserve ahead: 888.221.1806), and Rocky Mountain National Park gives free ranger-led snowshoe tours for beginners and intermediates (bring your own snowshoes and poles and reserve in advance: 970.627.3471). You’ll find trail systems in Arapaho National Forest and at Granby Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies — Snow Mountain Ranch’s Nordic Center, Grand Lake Nordic Center, and Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa. If you’ve got the gear and the gumption, you might try tromping the Fraser River Trail to the Cozens Ranch Museum. The first homestead of the Fraser Valley, the old Cozens Ranch is now a fascinating museum showcasing pioneer life in the late 1800s. If you’re persuaded that webbed walking is for you, keep right on stepping to the boutiques and shops of Winter Park, where you can pick up anything from a pair of snowshoes, outdoor equipment, and apparel to art, jewelry, and other unique items. playwinterpark.com

BECOME A “COOKIE”

Perfect the skills of outdoor and Dutch oven cooking at Camp Cook School in the Montana Rocky Mountains, where you can learn backcountry techniques. campcookschool.com

RENEW AND RECHARGE IN IDAHO

Take a dip (or a tour of dips) into Idaho’s treasured hot springs. With 130 usable hot springs — more than any other state in the country — there’s sure to be one just right for you, whether in the expansive Lava Hot Springs, managed by the state, or the remote getaway of Burgdorf Hot Springs in McCall. idahohotsprings.com

HIT THE WINE TRAIL IN NEBRASKA

The Cornhusker State is home to 25 wineries that have been quietly racking up awards at regional and international competitions. Among its lauded wine producers is James Arthur Vineyards. Near Lincoln, the vineyard, which is noted for its hearty white Edelweiss and Vignoles grapes, is one of eight stops on the Southeast Nebraska Winery Trail. senewinetrail.org

ENJOY THE VIEW AND THE SOUNDS IN WASHINGTON STATE

Gape at awe-inspiring views of the Columbia River while listening to a marquee concert or attending a music festival at Gorge Amphitheatre in the punnily named city of George, Washington. georgeamphitheatre.com

HOST A LADIES’ RANCH WEEKEND IN ARIZONA

The authentically Western town of Wickenburg, Arizona, has options for devoted C&I readers of all ages. If you happen to be looking for an immersive but relaxing ranch experience for a cowgirls’ trip, check out Rancho de los Caballeros. Its Giddy-Up Gals experience is built on desert cookouts, stocked casitas, spa treatments, hikes, and guided trail rides. ranchodeloscaballeros.com

Photography: April Pizana/Courtesy Junk Gypsy

GO TREASURE HUNTING IN CENTRAL TEXAS

Need an iron bed, tribal rug, one-of-a-kind armoire, unique jewelry, piece of high-end decorative art, or shabby-chic anything? Have we got the collector’s paradise for you. Every fall and spring between Austin and Houston, the countryside turns out with more treasures than wildflowers when the small Central Texas communities of Round Top and Warrenton — and seemingly everything around and in between — swell with an antiquing phenomenon that attracts more than 2,000 vendors and 100,000 far-flung visitors.

The ever-growing Antique Week, with editions in late September/early October and late March/early April, began as the Round Top Antiques Fair almost 50 years ago. Now transformed into a shopping mecca filling barns, tents, fields, warehouses, and malls with antiques, Americana, collectibles, and square miles more, Antique Week is a misnomer: The sensory overload of fun and shopping actually lasts about three weeks twice a year.

You need comfy shoes, a water bottle, an itinerary, and a gypsy’s love of wandering to really take it all in. Speaking of, the Junk Gypsies set up shop in Round Top in 1998, and their Junk Gypsy World Headquarters store and new Wander Inn hotel (opening this summer) in Round Top are musts. Perennial favorite Marburger Farm Antique Show is 43 packed acres of things you want (with “marburitas” at Bingo Hall afterward). New on our list is Market Hill by Paul Michael — 130,000 square feet of indoor air-conditioned shops and outdoor covered breezeways complete with an on-site restaurant, tons of free parking, and loading and unloading areas for that cypress paneling and those custom barn doors you just bought.

Make sure to hit The Compound, where “fine antiques and uniques” imported from 15 different countries rule the day — and maybe your wallet. Zapp Hall in Warrenton (the site of the memorable Junk-O-Rama Prom) boasts Junk Gypsy items, a satellite location of Royer’s Round Top Café for yums that run from famous pies to beef tenderloin to the locally famous shrimp BLT, The Bubble Lounge for champagne, and the Zapp Hall Beer Garden for brews and live music.

If you’re looking for the show where the dealers shop, the Old Depot’s the place where several dozen veteran vendors offer an eclectic mix worthy of the big truck(s) you’ll wish you’d rented; also on the grounds are the Stone Cellar Pub & Pizzeria (offering wine, craft beers, pizza, and live music in a refurbished 1861 train depot moved from nearby LaGrange), The Stone Cellar Annex Café, and the historic Round Top Dance Hall. When you finally decide to call it a day, you might do so at your own “indoor glampsite” at the Lone Star Glamp Inn in Warrenton and kick up your poor, tired feet in one of seven restored vintage “glampers” (or the 16-foot bell tent) parked inside for maximum AC and Wi-Fi accommodation comfort. roundtop.com, roundtop.org


Find more great travel content, including our super-size guide to the wonders of Oregon, in the July 2017 issue of Cowboys & Indians, on sale June 6. 

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