Everyone's idea of a dream destination is different. For some, it's the sweeping vista of a mountain range. For others, it's being pampered with massages and dips in heated pools before retreating to a sumptuously appointed room. For still more, it's a day behind the trigger making clays explode. But what if you could have all of the above? More and more luxury destinations are offering shooting-sports training and facilities right alongside the more traditional horseback rides and cooking classes. Here are five such spectacular resorts, located in different areas around America. Which one are you putting on your must-do list?
1. Gateway Canyons Colorado Resort & Spa (pictured above) Located in western Colorado, near the Colorado National Monument, Gateway Canyons Colorado Resort & Spa offers the discriminating guest a choice of three different styles of lodging: "Casitas" suites, rooms at the "Kiva" lodge or rooms at the "Kayenta" lodge. All are recently renovated and architecturally congruent with the gorgeous Uncompaghre Plateau surroundings, and feature all the amenities you expect from a luxury resort. There are five different restaurants, hiking, biking, horseback riding and, best of all, shooting instruction! The resort offers classes in pistol, shotgun and modern sporting rifles at Red Cliffs Shooting Sports Range. Click here to explore the resort Conde Nast readers chose as the third best in the country (#1 in Colorado!).
2. Ozark Mountain Resort: Big Cedar Lodge Ranked the best resort in the Midwest by Travel & Leisure, the Ozark Mountain Resort is located 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri in, you guessed it, the Ozark Mountains. The facilities include private log cabins, cottages or more traditional lodge-style rooms. There's a spa offering massages, facials, nail styling and more, three top-notch restaurants located at "Top of the Rock," which boasts views of Table Rock Lake, and a fitness center. The newest addition to Big Cedar Lodge's attractions, however, is the Bass Pro Shops' Outdoor Academy. The Academy offers training in all of the shotgun sports, including trap, skeet, sporting clays and others; shotguns, safety equipment, ammunition and clay targets are all part of the package. Click here to learn more!
3. The Resort at Paws Up Located in Western Montana's Big Sky country, the Resort at Paws Up is on a working 37,000-acre ranch. You and your family will have a choice of taking in the magnificent views from a luxury ranch house, or from luxury...tents? Yes, luxury tents! They've got multiple bedrooms with en-suite full-service bathrooms including slate showers. Some of the luxury ranch houses come with a luxury tent, so the kids can stay outdoors. There are trail rides, wilderness workshops, fly fishing...and sporting clays! (They also offer archery instruction.) If you've got family members who aren't into outdoor activities, there's also a fitness cabin and a full-service spa, as well as two fine dining establishments. Click here to learn more.
4. The Omni Homestead Resort Situated in Hot Springs, Virginia, this is the oldest resort on our list. It's hosted 23 U.S. Presidents, including Thomas Jefferson. It boasts two 18-hole golf courses, two actual hot mineral springs, a spa with massage and salon services, and...a shooting club. They offer group and private lessons in skeet, sporting clays, trap and five-stand, with firearms, ammunition, vests and eye/ear protection available for use. There's also a kids' club with babysitting services and child-friendly adventures, so there's plenty to do for everyone. Click here to learn more.
5. Seven Springs Mountain Resort Nestled in the mountains of Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, this sprawling resort has a wide array of lodging options including hotel rooms, chalets, condos and cottages. A four-season resort, Seven Springs boasts terrific skiing as well as warmer-weather activities like horseback riding, biking and hiking. The resort is within easy distance of three of Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous architectural achievements, and there are packages available that include tickets to them. There are eight separate restaurants so there's sure to be something for every palate, as well as a full-service spa, indoor pool, bowling, miniature golf and game rooms. The Mike Mohr-designed sporting clays courses, however, are what really stands out: The facility is rated as the best for sporting clays in the country. Click here to plan your luxury vacation!