Photo Credit: Tord Sollie

For many people, there’s no better or more relaxing way to enjoy a vacation than hitting the links. Golfing is definitely one of America’s favorite pastimes, and virtually every major vacation resort area boasts at least a handful of decent golf courses. Some places, like Scottsdale, Arizona, seem to revolve almost entirely around golf; others, like Gulf Shores, Alabama, tend to include topnotch golfing options as an added bonus to their other primary attractions. Whatever the case may be, if you would like to include a bit of golfing during your next vacation, you should have no problem doing so.

Finding a vacation spot that includes a decent selection of golf courses isn’t terribly difficult. Even areas that experience relatively harsh winters tend to have at least a few nice golf courses. For instance, southern coastal Maine may get a lot of snow during the winter – but the locals take full advantage of the summer months, hitting area golf courses in droves. Austin may have a thriving cultural scene – and a lot of heat – but that doesn’t stop it from having its own fine selection of golf courses.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, the United States is studded with a huge number of topnotch golf courses. Whether you’re a relative amateur or a very experienced and skilled golfer, you should be able to find a course that suits your needs no matter where you travel in the country. Still, if you’d like to make golf one of the cornerstones of your vacation, it helps to know where to go; look to the following places for inspiration:

Sea Scape Golf Links – Outer Banks, North Carolina

While North Carolina’s Outer Banks offer a dizzying array of options for those who want to splash and plan in the sand and the surf, there are also a large number of premier places to get in a rousing game of golf. The Sea Scape Golf Links in Kitty Hawk, for instance, combines amazing scenery with some truly out of this world golfing. Its 18-hole championship golf course will keep beginners and experts alike sufficiently busy, and the maritime forest and windswept dunes provide a stunning backdrop to all of the fun.

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club – Scottsdale, Arizona

With its convenient location in Fountain Hills – just at the edge of Scottsdale – the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club routinely wins accolades for being one of the very best golf courses in the Phoenix area. Those who are looking for a topnotch desert golfing experience should look no further than this impeccably run club. Its 7,225 yard layout provides plenty of room for everyone who visits, and the 21,000 square foot clubhouse keeps participants happy and well stocked. Unbeatable views of nearby mountains put the icing on the cake of this stellar golfing opportunity.

Cotton Creek at Craft Farms – Gulf Shores, Alabama

While the kids spend the afternoon playing in the crashing surf at a nearby beach or state park, golfers in the group should head over to the Cotton Creek at Craft Farms for some phenomenal golfing opportunities. Designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer, Cotton Creek is exceptional in every conceivable way. Surrounded by a scenic array of Southern Hardwoods and softly undulating hills, Cotton Creek is as beautiful as it is exciting. The lakeside Cotton Creek clubhouse will keep golfers happy when taking much-deserved breaks, and there’s even a top-rated Marriott hotel on the premises for those who truly do want to immerse themselves in the sport 24/7.

Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club – San Diego, California

When vacationing in the San Diego area, golfers have a vast array of options in terms of where to enjoy their favorite pastime. With its excellent year-round weather, San Diego is a natural place to engage in a round of golf. If you’re going to be in the area, make it a point to stop in at the 18-hole championship golf course at the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club. In addition to amazing panoramic views and a superb course, the country club boasts a sophisticated and refined, 20,000 square foot clubhouse where golfers can get off of their feet for a few minutes amid like-minded people. If you’re serious about golf, you can’t do better than Carmel Mountain Ranch.

Santa Fe Country Club – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Spending time outdoors is imperative when you’re vacationing in breathtakingly beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico. What better way to enjoy a pristine day than out on the golf course? Happily, the Santa Fe Country Club is very conveniently located and is one of the best golf courses in the entire region. The club’s par-72, championship golf course is sure to keep players of all skill levels as happy as clams. At 7,000-feet elevation, the Santa Fe Country Club provides a one of a kind environment for serious golfers to enjoy their sport.

Hell’s Point Golf Club – Virginia Beach, Virginia

Not all golf courses are designed by true professionals, but the course at Hell’s Point Golf Club in Virginia Beach was. Indeed, this 18-hole championship golf course was designed by famous golf course architect Rees Jones. Located in the picturesque Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, this course offers golfers the opportunity to enjoy their favorite sport amid some of the most exceptional countryside in this part of Virginia. When you grow tired of the beach, hit the links at the Hell’s Point Golf Course for a real treat.

Things to Consider

The beautiful thing about planning a golf vacation is that it can be incorporated into virtually any other kind of trip. In other words, there’s no need for golfers to travel alone to far-flung destinations in order to enjoy the sport. Virtually every major vacation destination has a decent number of golf courses for players to enjoy, so you don’t have to make special accommodations. The main thing to keep in mind is weather; be sure to research what the best time of year to golf is for any destination that you’re interested in. Otherwise, head out there and have some fun!