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Last year saw the summer of road trips, but 2021 is witnessing the summer of the workation. Americans are heading out for extended stays in record numbers. According to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, 24 percent of all stays booked this year are for 28 days or longer. Remote workers are heading to places that are big on work-life balance and light on traffic and crowds.
Among the top-searched areas are Destin, Florida; Angel Fire, New Mexico; and West Yellowstone, Montana — which is known for its access not only to Yellowstone National Park but also the pristine waters of Hebgen Lake. If you’re looking to get away for a remote work staycation this summer, these three trending destinations offer outdoor adventure, plenty of dining and cafes, and, via Airbnb, all the comforts of home. It’s time for a summer remote work staycation heavy on the adventure.
Nowhere in the mainland United States makes you feel like you’re on a tropical island quite like Destin. The city is a peninsula located between the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay and is lined with dunes, boardwalks, and mellow swimming spots. While you could stay in a high-end beach resort and dine at tourist-friendly chains like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. while doing your remote work, your dollars go much further at local cafes and your workspace remains far more private in an Airbnb.
When you’re not working, the first thing to check out is the beach, of course. The Gulf of Mexico doesn’t produce Pacific-sized surf breaks, but the waves at Crystal Beach are ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers. Destin Beach is a great chill-out post and, along with the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, is the town’s place to “see and be seen.” Also, check out Henderson Beach State Park, the only true wildlife habitat in Destin and a unique place to hike across sandy dunes. Post up at Cafe Destin or Capriccio Cafe to work, eat at The Back Porch and the variety of seafood spots lining Destin Harbor, and, if you’re up late, sticking it out until last call at Lucky’s Rotten Apple generally provides some sloppy banter worth a late-night text to an old college buddy.
Best Airbnbs in Destin, Florida
Condo with private beach, free golf
This condo in a private community is perfect for secluding yourself during work hours, and having walkable access to amenities after you shut the laptop. The community has access to five pools, three hot tubs, a free nine-hole, par-three golf course, and a private beach. The host guarantees strong Wi-Fi and the apartment itself has enough space to lounge, cook, and experiment with different nap locations to optimize the sounds of the coast and the ocean breeze.
Four guests, one bedroom
Price: $161 per night
Beachside condo with hot tub, pool, and cozy workspace
This bright unit is making studio apartments fashionable again. It’s a quick stroll to the beach, and a short bike ride leads to a variety of cafes and dining. For those seeking a cozy and comfy place for your remote work vacation, this Destin apartment delivers fast Wi-Fi and lounge space and is just removed from the bustle of Highway 98, meaning it’s nice and quiet but still close to everything you need.
Four guests, studio
Price: $151 per night
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Angel Fire is the understated champion of northern New Mexico’s mountain destinations. Here you can experience southwest mountain culture at its finest with plenty of hiking and biking trails, lake and river access, and cantinas to swap trail stories after your adventure. It’s also just a short drive to Taos and 90 minutes further to the arts and culinary scenes of Sante Fe, adding some cultural highlights to your summer working vacation.
Angel Fire Resort operates a mountain bike park, zip line, and hiking trails from mid-May through October. Other popular trails in the area are open year-round when conditions permit, including the Oeste Vista Trail, accessible from the heart of the Angel Fire village. Golf is also available at the resort village. But an increasing draw to Angel Fire is the South Boundary Trail, New Mexico’s only “Epic Trail,” as certified by the International Mountain Biking Association. It runs 22 miles between Angel Fire and Taos; you can schedule a shuttle to pick you up on the other end. Riders and hikers of all abilities enjoy the Greenbelt Trails, a connected system of loops and out-and-backs that run adjacent to the village.
Grab a cuppa and tuck into your laptop at Just Joe Coffee and The Bump coffee, and conclude the day with apres at Enchanted Circle Brewing Company. The Peruvian-inspired Makuna Grill is the town’s best option for date night.
Best Airbnbs in Angel Fire
Condo at mountain’s base with fast Wi-Fi, fireplace, easy trail access
Most of Angel Fire’s Airbnb listings are clustered around the base area, touting “ski-in, ski-out” capabilities, which in summer means easy access to the bike park, hiking, and solitude. This Angel Fire Airbnb makes the list for its guaranteed-good Wi-Fi, and for the fact that there’s nothing more relaxing than starting a fire after a day of exploring the mountains.
Four guests, one bedroom
Price: $116 per night
Mountain view condo with high-speed Wi-Fi, trail access
Another purveyor of reliable Wi-Fi is this condo, which also has mountain views and an electric fireplace. From here, the resort is walkable (or bikeable), and a pedal down to the heart of town puts you among dining, cafes, and Angel Fire’s limited shopping amenities. The space is comfortable for four guests, with one private bedroom.
Four guests, one bedroom
Price: $141 per night
West Yellowstone, Montana
Yellowstone National Park is the darling of the American summer road trip, and West Yellowstone is the best access point for those wishing to avoid the crowds, and long drive, coming from Jackson. The town itself is charming, with unparalleled outdoor access to everything from hiking to SUPing beyond park boundaries and elk, moose, bison, and geysers (among everything else) within the park.
Of course, the primary reason to stay in West Yellowstone is to have a base to work and sleep, while spending the rest of your time savoring the stunning wilderness. From that perspective, there’s so much to see and do that planning a remote work staycation in this tiny little town is overwhelming. Book a stay near what you like to do outdoors. Hikers and cyclists with their own vehicle should book an Airbnb in town and plan to spend non-work hours exploring the park, as well as Targhee Creek and Buttermilk west of town. A weekend camping excursion up to Hebgen Lake puts you near several more trailheads to explore that are too for a day trip.
Boaters, anglers, and SUPers should plan to spend time at Henry’s Lake State Park (see Airbnb listing below), as well as at Hebgen Lake. Inside the park, Yellowstone Lake is a trout anglers’ dream destination. The Book Peddler & Coffee Cafe is a must-do for java and a laptop session, or just to browse the bookshelves over a pastry. And a surprising but true piece of trivia about West Yellowstone — this town can cook (and eat). Try the burgers at the Slippery Otter Pub and western cuisine at the Outpost Restaurant.
Best Airbnbs in West Yellowstone
Two-bedroom apartment with hot tub and pool access, one block from park
The thing about mountain rentals is that they’re often more rustic than chic, and while that’s great for an urban family seeking a slice of ruggedness for a few days, it’s not so great when you’re there for a while and need to work — and live — much as you do at home. This apartment solves that issue without sacrificing any of the ease of access you’d expect from a mountain town Airbnb. The Wi-Fi is fast, the amenities include a pool and hot tub, a game room, and bikeable access to the park — and when it’s time to focus, sleep, or relax, the apartment is well-trimmed and modern.
Note — this apartment complex has multiple units available via Airbnb. See full listings here.
Six guests, two bedrooms
Price: $220 per night
Large group Airbnb A-frame cabin in Idaho Falls
This townhome is the best large-group Airbnb in West Yellowstone. It sleeps eight, has good Wi-Fi, and includes plenty of space for the gear that a group needs to be both productive and adventurous. This is the spot for on-water activities, though it’s only 15 minutes from Yellowstone and the amenities of downtown West Yellowstone. A-frame cabins are the epitome of the mountain lifestyle — and you’ll be living it here, with the bonus that this property actually has availability throughout the summer.
Eight guests, three bedrooms
Price: $440 per night