A Lighthouse Hideaway
If you need a quiet place to restore your soul but also yearn to be a windblown romantic heroine, get thee to a lighthouse. Yes, they are available for vacation rentals or lodging in at least 13 states, and no, you will not be responsible for keeping ships from crashing into the rocks, which would hardly be conducive to inner peace. Some have surprisingly luxe accommodations—multiple bedrooms, full baths, furnished kitchens—meaning all you have to provide is the handsome sea captain. Find a directory of properties at uslhs.org/fun/lighthouse-accommodations.

Illustration: Penelope Dullaghan

Cinematic Pandemonium
If Alamo Drafthouse were a person, we would marry it. The movie theater chain has more than two dozen U.S. locations (with more on the way), where waiters ferry unexpectedly good food and extravagant milkshakes to each seat. But the major draw is the kooky programming: In addition to first-run flicks, Alamo shows long-forgotten gems (Rhinestone, The Legend of Billie Jean), offers custom scratch-and-sniff cards (the ones at Elf smelled of maple syrup and bubblegum), and hosts in-theater dance parties and quote-along screenings. At an Austin showing of Jaws held on a lake, viewers floated on inner tubes; during particularly tense moments, scuba-diving staffers grabbed unsuspecting ankles. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies...

Photo: Quan Yuan/Getty Images

Volunteering at a National Park
Thanks to proposed budget cuts and an increasingly unpredictable future, the National Park Service (NPS) needs our help. You were already planning to prune the azaleas, so why not work up an altruistic sweat while you’re at it? Sign up to lend a hand at one of 417 areas nationwide and the NPS will happily put you to work weeding or spotting invasive plants. Visit volunteer.gov to find out where to wield your clippers.

Photo: Brian Doben

Far-Out Sweet Treats
The rich, mind-bending flavors at Portland, Oregon, ice creamery Salt & Straw (Arbequina Olive Oil, anyone?) bring dessert fans close to tears of pleasure. Thankfully, its Pints Club ($195) lets you skip the shop's hour-plus lines: You'll receive five seasonal containers a month for three months. Pricey, yes, but your tongue will thank you. The 2017 offerings include offbeat goodies like Spent Brewer's Malts & Candied Bacon S'mores, Meyer Lemon Buttermilk with Blueberries and Aquabeet, a beet sorbet infused with Scandinavian-style liquor. Chills meet thrills.

Photo: Alamy

O, Canada
Journey abroad without crossing an ocean! A few incredible reasons to head north of the border:

The Magdalen Islands
A little piece of coastal France in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that French speakers call Îles de la Madeleine.
What you'll find: Quebecois who parle français in a unique Acadian dialect, red cliffs and white sand beaches, fishing villages, sea kayaking and kitesurfing, artisan galleries, French-influenced local music, and all the cheese you can eat.

Saskatchewan prairies
A wide-open breathing space known as Land of the Living Skies for its ever-changing cloud formations and surreal sunsets.
What you'll find: the Big Muddy Badlands, a roughly 68-square-mile expanse of buttes, cliffs, and caves, which made convenient hiding places for Wild West outlaws who'd crossed the nearby Montana border; the town of Moose Jaw, where you can explore the subterranean hideouts of Al Capone; and Mountie photo ops at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre.

Great Bear Rainforest
One of the world’s largest unspoiled temperate rainforests, stretching along the Pacific coast in British Columbia.
What you'll find: wildlife galore, including the rare white Kermode bear (a.k.a. spirit bear); whale watching; and salmon snorkeling, an experience that will spawn cocktail party conversation for years to come.

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