PLAY The beach at Glenn Otto Park eases into a bend in the Sandy River. Swim for the sandbar, then cool off under evergreens. (503) 665-5175.
STAY The amenities at the television-free McMenamins Edgefield resort include a working winery, distillery, and brewery, and a heated outdoor soaking pool full of salt water. (800) 669-8610, mcmenamins.com.
EAT Call ahead for a table at Tad’s Chicken ’n Dumplins, where $14.50 buys the restaurant’s namesake entrée along with salad, green beans, and bread. (503) 666-5337, tadschicdump.com.
Cottage Grove, Ore.
PLAY Families flock to the warm shallows of Baker Bay on Dorena Reservoir and picnic around the swimming hole at Wildwood Falls east of town. dorenalake.com.
STAY Verbena blooms in pink and purple clusters at the 14-acre Village Green Resort & Gardens. (800) 966-6490, villagegreenresortandgardens.com.
EAT At Big Stuff Barbecue, share a smoky, Texas-style rib sampler (beef, pork, and two sides) for $11.50. (541) 942-3999, bigstuffbarbecue.com.
PLAY After visiting Payette Lake’s bustling lakeshore, try the 100-degree swimming pool in the tranquil meadow at Burgdorf Hot Springs ($5). (208) 636-3036.
STAY Opposite a sandy public beach, Hotel McCall offers a sheltered open-air pool, cookies and milk,and a 400-DVD library. (866) 800-1183, hotelmccall.com.
EAT Veggie nut burgers with mushrooms, cheese, and onions ($6) and extra-thick huckleberry shakes ($4.50) are trademarks at My Father’s Place. (208) 634-4401.
Nevada City, Calif.
PLAY Highway 49’s many turnouts lead to the Yuba River’s pools. Find sandy stretches under Bridgeport Bridge at South Yuba River State Park. (530) 432-2546, parks.ca.gov.
STAY Victorian amenities from claw-foot tubs to minichandeliers sparkle at the Holbrooke Hotel, where Mark Twain once slept. (800) 933-7077, holbrooke.com.
EAT On the shaded patio at Diegos Restaurant, enjoy such Latin treats as chilled melon soup ($5) and 10 tapas dishes for $12 or less. (530) 477-1460, diegosrestaurant.com.
PLAY Mountain vistas and public beaches ring popular Pineview Reservoir, whose placid inlets warm up past 70 degrees by July. (866) 867-8824.
STAY At the Atomic Chalet Bed & Breakfast, a short walk from the water, enjoy granola-and-yogurt breakfasts and marble baths. (801) 745-0538, atomicchalet.com.
EAT Mosey into the Shooting Star Saloon—Utah’s oldest bar—and sink your teeth into a double-decker, sausage-topped Star Burger ($7). (801) 745-2002.
Great Falls, Mont.
PLAY Outside town, relax on the Belt Creek sandbar at Sluice Boxes State Park or follow a rough trail to gin-clear pools. (406) 454-5840, fwp.mt.gov/parks.
STAY Mermaids frolic behind the glass wall of the O’Haire Motor Inn’s indoor pool in the renowned Sip-n-Dip Lounge. (800) 332-9819, ohairemotorinn.com.
EAT Try the BLT ($7) at the Black Diamond Bar and Supper Club in nearby Belt during weekends-only lunch. (406) 277-4118.
PLAY An eight-mile squiggle of turquoise water alongside Highway 83, Swan Lake is best enjoyed from the southeast shore. (406) 837-7500, visitmt.com.
STAY Set on a slope, Swan Lake Guest Cabins sport porch swings facing the lake and Crane Mountain sunsets. (888) 837-1557, swanlakeguestcabins.com.
EAT Hot blueberry-raspberry sauce tops French toast and five types of waffles (all of them under $10) at the Echo Lake Cafe. (406) 837-4252, echolakecafe.com.
Photography by Erik Isakson/Tetra Images/Corbis
This article was first published in July 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.