Roughing It, Gently

  • Share
  • Read Later

Yes, there is a summer vacation for the disorganized and broke. Most of this summer's hostel visitors have come and gone already, so August is a great month to walk in (though a family who wants a private room should call ahead). More than 115 hostels dot the U.S., according to Hostelling International Prices vary by season but are generally less than $20 a night for adults and $10 for children. While not luxe, hostels are not just for backpackers, as these resorts demonstrate. --By Desa Philadelphia


--The Mississippi Headwaters hostel, built entirely of logs, is in Itasca State Park, just by the first trickle of the river

--Private rooms (four to six beds) cost $40 a night

To do: Swimming, canoeing, biking, hiking and nature activities sponsored by Parks Department


--The old Rockies mining town is the wildflower capital of Colorado

--Private rooms rent for $65 a night in summer, $75 in winter. A private apartment for six is $180

To do: If extreme mountain biking or extreme skiing is too much, there are hiking, rafting, fishing and horseback riding


--Point Montara lighthouse and its turn-of-the-century buildings are 25 miles from San Francisco

--Private rooms cost $48 a night

To do: The area is popular among surfers and windsurfers, but there are also bike trails, a marine reserve and, between November and April, whale watching


The Eagle Watch hostel, open mid-May to mid-September, sits above the Ninilchik River

--There are 20 beds, no more than four to a room. Private rooms are $35

To do: The hostel has free gear for fishing and clam digging. Its motto is "The view is our TV"