Amazing Destination Bakeries Worth Traveling For

Perhaps paradoxically, at the same time North Americans have been waging war on carbs and gluten-laden treats, there has also been a growing infatuation with bakeries of all stripes. Of course, not all bakeries are created equal and very few of them are worth traveling far from home for. From traditional European shops to all-American classics, here are 8 world-class bakeries that definitely justify the purchase of the plane ticket, all on their own.

8. Konditori Fågelsången (Uppsala)

A konditori is a Swedish café and meeting spot that usually serves pastries, in line with the Swedish tradition of fika (a social coffee break). The Konditori Fågelsången in Uppsala, while maybe not as trendy as some of the cafes in Stockholm, was established in 1954 and still bakes their pastries, cakes and other sweets in-house. While it isn’t headed by a world-renowned pastry chef or perhaps as innovative as some of the other bakeries mentioned here, Konditori Fågelsången makes traditional treats and makes them well. You’re not going to find a better spot for Swedish treats like kladdkaka or prinsesstårta. If you do find yourself here, a traditional Swedish cinnamon roll (kanelbulle) is always a safe choice. A personal favorite is the wienerbröd, similar to American-style Danishes, but infinitely better.

7. Le Panier (Seattle)

Opened in 1983, this Pike Place establishment is committed to making Normandy-style pastries; the owners still make regular trips to France to ensure they’re on the up-and-up with French baking. Given that Seattle’s a bit closer for West Coasters than France (or even Montreal), visiting Le Panier is the next best solution. Try the tarte aux abricots, a fruit tart with almond pastry cream and sour apricots, or one of the bakery’s own creations, like the Feuilletes: puff pastry with savory fillings like spinach and mushrooms. Macarons, eclairs and friands round out the menu. Le Panier offers seasonal variation on some of their staples too, like their pumpkin macaron, the apple friand and the hazelnut éclair. If you’re in Seattle, skip Starbucks and head over to Le Panier instead.

6. Elizabethan Desserts

Whoopie pies, cupcakes and homemade Twinkies are features on the menu of classic, 1950s-style American treats available at Elizabethan Desserts in El Camino Real, California. The strawberry rhubarb pie is made with a shortbread cookie crust and the peanut butter in the chocolate peanut butter praline crunch cake is made from scratch. Vintage cookie jars and a mint-and-white palette add to the old-timey feel. Consensus is that the must-try entry is the Louis Gooey Butter Cake Bar; Elizabethan Desserts adds a fruit topping to their version and the classic yellow cake batter that serves as the foundation of the dessert is mixed with cream cheese to create a decadent delight for your tastebuds. The creamy vanilla custard filling rounds out the flavor experience.

5. Bäckerei Balzer (Berlin)

Germans are noted for their rich pastries and desserts: Black Forest cake and what we call Danishes (known as “Vienna bread,” after the capital of Austria, in some parts of Europe), as well as German chocolate cakes and bundts are all part of the average North American’s catalogue of sweet treats. Many of these treats emigrated to North America in centuries past, but if you want to taste the authentic, you need to get to Germany. The Bäckeri Balzer in Berlin was established in the 1920s and continues to make traditional German treats to this very day, even as other establishments have given way to trendy cafes and shops. The Bäckerie’s streuselschnecken are famous amongst locals, and you’ll have to arrive early if you want a chance at sampling one; they sell out fast. Apple fritters, bread rolls and buttercake round out the bakery’s offerings.

4. Muddy’s Bake Shop (Memphis)

Muddy’s Bake Shop in East Memphis, Tennessee, has ended up on a few best-of lists, and one trip to the bakery itself makes it clear why. Muddy’s is a homey sort of establishment that hands out mismatched coffee mugs to customers perched on vintage furniture. Make no mistake, though: the bakery does it while serving up serious Southern treats, including decadent cupcakes, pies and toffee bars. The Prozac cake, which is 2 layers of devil’s food cake smothered with smooth chocolate buttercream, and the Frankly Scarlett cupcakes, which are red velvet with cream cheese frosting, are 2 of the best items on the menu. Other treats include banana pudding, butter cookies and the Nancy’s Boy pie, a chess pie with coconut. You can’t miss the Shady Wake pie, a classic pecan pie.

3. Bakery Lorraine (San Antonio)

Texas may not be high on your hit list for places with great bakeries, but it should be: Bakery Lorraine is there and it would be a darn shame to miss a bake shop this good. Open since 2012, the bakery has been hailed as one of the best new bakeries in the whole of the U.S., and the shop had already outgrown its original location by 2013. Owners Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell take a novel approach to both French and American pastries, ranging from Pop-Tarts to kouign-amann. Most popular are their colorful macarons, which come in a plethora of refined flavors, including dark chocolate lavender, chamomile vanilla, earl grey and pumpkin spice. The menu is ever-changing, based on seasonal ingredients and locally sourced products. If you have a chance, try the fig chevre tarts, which are filled with fig jam and vanilla-flavored goat cheese.

2. Maison Christian Faure (Montreal)

If you want French-style baking without traveling all the way to Paris, a trip to Montreal is on your itinerary. The city has probably more than its fair share of bakeries serving up traditional French treats and New World-twists, like the Montreal-style bagel, but Maison Christian Faure is a standout in a place full of exceptional establishments. Chef Faure maintains his own pastry school in the French tradition, which should give you an inkling about the quality of the pastries available in the shop. Everything is accented by a focus on locally sourced ingredients and seasonal Quebec produce. Enjoy an éclair or a traditional mille-feuille without stepping off the North American landmass. The absolute best menu item is Paris Brest with praline cream. Not feeling something sweet? The shop also has a snack menu and a deli.

1. Dominique Ansel Bakery (New York)

Dominique Ansel, creator of the international sensation known as the cronut, is something of a celebrity chef in the Big Apple, and for good reason. His Soho bakery, located at 189 Spring Street in Manhattan, has a wide variety of delicious goodies up for grabs, including mini-meringues, large cakes, macarons and other gifts. The chef creates a signature item every year; past inventions have included the Frozen S’more and the Cookie Shot. His imagination has earned him the title “Willy Wonka of NYC” and his bakery, opened in 2011, has been named the best bakery in the city by various magazines and newspapers. If you’re in the Big Apple, you need to stop by; in fact, you can probably justify traveling to NYC based on a visit to the now-iconic shop alone.

The Top Suggestions for a Girls Getaway Weekend in the USA

There’s nothing more useful in your life then a really, really good friend- especially when you need one. With work and family commitments, that relationship with your BFF is often sacrificed for the sake of time (and sanity) management.  But really, what contributes more to your work/life balance than a good gossip, some great food and a whole lot of laughter? Here are some awesome spots in the U.S. to consider when planning your next girls weekend getaway. The fun factor is high -no matter what your idea of vacation is.

1. Savannah, GA

With its fragrant azaleas, rich history and pedestrian-friendly layout, this southern belle is a great spot to gather your girls and hang out. Dating back to the early 1700s, Savannah’s City Market was the place of commerce in the city for farmers and traders to peddle their wares. Now it is a super collection of boutique shops, eateries and character cafes. Grab an ice cream (a requisite on girl’s weekend) and do some serious shopping in this open air marketplace. Savannah is sometimes referred to as “Hollywood of the South” and has been the site for many movies. Go on a movie tour and see where movies like Forrest Gump and Cape Fear (1962) were shot, among dozens of others.

Forsyth Park Savannah

2. Palm Beach, FL

With dozens of beaches in the area, Palm Beach makes for a great girlfriend getaway. Delray Beach has the sun and the surf, but is also lined with bistros and pubs- and emits a fun, party vibe. If your girl’s weekend includes a trip to the spa, the Eau Spa at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa is a great choice. This full service spa expands out over 42,000 sq. ft. In addition to all of the spa services, this facility offers a “Self- Centered Garden”, located in the heart of the spa. It’s the ultimate chill-out spot, with hanging chairs, fountains, lots of greenery and an elegantly laid back vibe.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

3. Clyde Park, MT

Do you and your gal pals want to connect with your inner cowgirls? Consider a retreat to Big Sky Yoga retreat in Big Sky country. Take your yoga practice to some pretty serene surroundings (like mountain backdrop, against the wide open sky). What is really cool about this yoga retreat is that it’s part yoga and part horseback riding- and gives you a chance to really connect with nature in a way that is uniquely suitable to the surroundings. The tagline is appropriately- Namaste and Yeehaw!

Photo by: Big Sky Yoga Retreats
Photo by: Big Sky Yoga Retreats

4. Las Vegas, NV

When you think about Las Vegas, you probably think about the casinos and the nightlife that doesn’t close. That’s fun too, but there are a lot of spa experiences to be had in Las Vegas as well- perfect for a tranquil girls getaway. Spend the afternoon at the contemporary chic Bathhouse Spa at Delano, using their steam rooms and saunas, completed with spa treatments.  For another spa experience, check out Canyon Ranch at the Venetian. This spa is an “aqua thermal oasis” and uses alternating hot and cold water experiences to relax the muscles and rejuvenate the skin. One highlight is the experiential rain shower- which is a cooling shower. Guests can choose from various streams and intensities:  Caribbean Storm, Tropical Rain or Cool Fog.

pool las vegas

5. Finger Lakes Region, NY

With 120 wineries to choose from in this region, a wine tour through the Finger Lakes region in New York State is perfect for wine-loving ladies on a getaway.  So that you can really savor the wines, consider joining an organized wine tour, or hiring transportation for the day. Some wineries do tours by appointments only, but there are some good ones that allow drop-ins too: Fulkerson Winery, Swedish Hill Winery, and Glenora Wine Cellar.

Vineyard Finger Lakes New York

6. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio’s Riverwalk is the largest urban ecosystem in the U.S. and has 15 miles of sidewalks and paths that wind alongside the San Antonio River. You can explore the river on a boat, or use their bicycle share program with your friends and go for a scenic ride shaded by Cypress trees.  You literally can do whatever appeals to you along the way- shop, dine or tour museums. The Riverwalk grants access to King William Historic District and, 300-year-old Spanish missions as well. It’s a great city to wander and let your mood be your guide. A trip to San Antonio wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Alamo, located nearby.
San Antonio Texas

7. New York, NY

In many ways, New York is perhaps the ultimate destination for a girl’s getaway; it’s hard to beat the shopping, the shows and the dining. While a little priciest, you’re going to want to stay right in Manhattan, so that you can really experience the energy of the city.  Hit all of the tourists spots- like the Empire State Building and Central Park. Get your shopaholic fix on Fifth Ave and visit Saks and Bergdorf Goodman. Don’t forget FAO Schwartz, which is appealing for kids of all ages. In homage to the role of friendship with your ladies, take a Sex and the City tour- and experience memorable moments from the series. Take in a Broadway show. Don your dancing shoes and tour the clubs in the city that never sleeps.

New York

15 Underrated Destinations in North America & Caribbean

Let’s face it, some famous places are so famous, it’s impossible to enjoy them anymore. They have become time consuming forced marches through hordes of tourists that kill the charm or grace of even the greatest destinations. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the most underrated destinations where travelers don’t have to worry about getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of tourist traffic and can take a moment to enjoy the scene. We’ve even likely named a few you’ve never heard of! Although, you better act quick because there are warnings to heed as some of these places are beginning to grow. The New York Times recently noted that the lovely, uncluttered island country of St. Vincent built a $250 million dollar airport with non-stop flights to cities on both sides of the Atlantic. And the largely untouched Yellowstone National Park is even breaking ground and building hotels! On the reverse end of all this construction, a positive trend is emerging, especially among young travelers, it involves an interest in sustainable tourism, away from the destructive environmental footprints of tourist culprits like huge cruise ships. So here is the list of places that deserve more lovin’, respect and interest than they’re getting.

15. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Beautifully set on the banks of the Arkansas River in the foothills of the Ozarks, Tulsa was the Oil Capital of the World after they hit the first gusher in 1901. The subject of many country songs, the old oil capital has now diversified into technology sectors. It has two highly regarded art museums, plus professional opera and ballet companies. Whether by luck or design, Tulsa’s impressive enclave of Art Deco buildings remained intact and oil money went to renovations and additions. They’re building a whole new waterfront with more museums to come including the Route 66 Experience in honor of the city’s legendary status of the birthplace of one of the world’s most famous highways.

Ffooter / Shutterstock.com
Ffooter / Shutterstock.com

14. Saint Kitts Island, Caribbean

­With its neighbor and sidekick Nevis known as the decadent playground of the idle rich, St. Kitts is looking to go up market from its usual cruise ship fare, as well at the price of some of its informality and unspoiled assets. Entrepreneurs with big plans for huge marinas, big name hotel chains and golf course builders are all passing through the new private jet terminal. A development called Kittitian Hill calls itself an innovative exercise in sustainable living with menus ‘foraged’ from land and sea. They claim Irie Fields is the world’s first edible golf course. ‘Instead of the usual shrubs and trees, you’ll find organic crops and trees bursting with fresh fruit. Smart water management and an abundance of crops will all serve to reduce the course’s environmental impact’. Built on a former marijuana farm, Irie is also an island word for being at peace. Obviously named by someone who has never golfed. But intriguing nonetheless.

St. Kitts

13. Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Taos hasn’t rated in the big time ski resort list, but it’s staking its claim. Its underdevelopment has been one of its many charms, but now previously inaccessible expert runs are being opened up, the most notable being Kachina Peak with an elevation of 12,500 feet. Snowmaking capacity has been enhanced. The base village is in the process of upgrades, though cranky traditionalists might call them downgrades. The town itself has maybe 7,000 permanent residents. It is a completely charming place with an artists’ colony and a strong native presence. The simple southwestern food is propelled to great heights by local green chili sauce and access to fresh Pacific seafood not far away. In between skiing seasons, it is a wonderful place for strenuous hiking and sightseeing. The great British author D.H. Lawrence spent some time here in the 1920’s, a testament to the presence of sights and sensibilities that stir the soul. The Times advises ‘visit while it’s still manageable’. Julia Roberts bought a spread here. Consider yourself warned.

Photo by: Kevin Muncie via Flickr
Photo by: Kevin Muncie via Flickr

12. Quebec City, Quebec

They have a brand spanking new arena and a down payment on a National Hockey League franchise to renew their bitter rivalry with Montreal which goes far beyond the ice. So visitors will just have to make do with the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s impeccably preserved 17th century Old Town, gourmet French and Quebecois cooking, alongside some fabulous skiing at Mont Ste Anne and kite-flying on the Plains of Abraham. The Marche de Vieux Port is a foodie flash mob every weekend. Visit Notre Dame de la Victoire, a church built to celebrate an audacious victory over the British in 1642. Have a drink at the bar in the old Chateau Frontenac and enjoy the sumptuous views of the lower St. Lawrence and the Ile d’Orleans. The Winter Carnival is the best and biggest on the continent and the summer music festival is worth a detour as well. The list goes on and on with more enchantment at every turn.

Quebec City

11. The Catskills, New York

As recently as 2012, travel media were writing the Catskill’s obituary. For half of the 20th century, the Catskills were called The Jewish Alps. The Borscht Belt referred to the food, the clientele and a whole genre of comedy. Superstars like Woody Allen, Joan Rivers and Mel Brooks honed their skills at the legendary Grossinger’s Hotel, entertaining the Jewish clientele who flocked to the resort when many others denied them entry. Now the resurrection is underway with chic boutique hotels, snappy restaurants with uber-style—it has decider Vogue Magazine’s blessing of the Phoenicia Diner and Woodstock Way’s luxurious cabins.

The CatSkills, NY

10. San José del Cabo, Mexico

San José is the more mature, refined sibling of Cabo (Cape) San Lucas. The beaches and ocean is the same, just the people on them are perhaps a bit older and a good deal less hung over. It is joining the ever-growing trend to having more environmentally responsible tourism with Flora Farms, a resort with an organic garden in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains. Try the Farm Julep made with fresh watermelon juice. There is also a level of sophistication to engage the mind as well as the liver. Smart boutique hotels, good restaurants and art galleries showcasing Mexico’s best. This place offers a satisfying all-round vacation with a different far more satisfying version of the all inclusive.

San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

9. San Antonio, Texas

There is so much to see and do in America’s seventh-largest city, San Antonio. With over 20 million people visiting every year the tourist economy is booming. People flock to this city not only to remember Battle of the Alamo­, though they do that too, this famed battle site completely overshadows the city’s other UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park with the ruins of four Spanish mission churches dating from the early to mid-nineteenth century. The River Walk is a must and recently grew 500% in length to a full 15 miles. It is celebrated in the country’s musical heart. The legendary blues player Robert Johnson recorded here. It is the “Guitar Town”, home of the great singer-songwriter Steve Earle and Lyle Lovett who sings of his love for his ‘San Antonio Girl”.

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

8. New Orleans, Louisiana

The year of 2015 is a somber milestone for New Orleans. A decade has passed since the devastation of Katrina. There will be memorials in honor of the victims, but also much pride to show how far the city and its people have bounced back. There are extra helpings of gumbo and jazz at the beautiful brand new venue of the People’s Health New Orleans Jazz Market which was built in dedication to the city’s greatest achievement: the creation of jazz. The South Market has got the resto/condo/boutique treatment, but the city’s unmistakable personality endures. In this time of reflection, go a little more native, beyond the cuisine clichés, a little couche-couche for breakfast, or try some comfort food like rice and beans and the aperitif called the official Cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac, named for the cognac that is its base.

Photo by: Bill Staney via Flickr
Photo by: Bill Staney via Flickr

7. Squamish, British Columbia

The city calls itself “where the oceans meet the mountains”. There is no outdoor adventure activity that can’t be found here – mountain biking, kayaking, white water rafting, wind and kite surfing. It is an acclaimed destination for rock-climbing on the 2000 foot Stawamus Chief mountain which towers 600m (almost 2000 ft) above Squamish, as the 2nd tallest hunk of freestanding granite in the world, after the Rock of Gibraltar. But the most recent addition to attract some of the millions who flock to nearby Whistler is the Sea to Sky Gondola that takes visitors up 3000 feet in 10 minutes to a separate network of high alpine trails to hike and snowshoe. The Gondolas website promises “breathtaking views of the mountains and ocean below”. That is a gross understatement. Each year Squamish plays host to one of North America’s largest convocations of bald eagles who hang out in Squamish during the winter.

Stawamus Chief Mountain

6. Campeche, México

Campeche has everything. It’s a UNESCO World heritage Site. Nearby Mayan ruins perhaps 3000 years old and jungle biosphere that is also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Well preserved Spanish colonial architectures from the 17th century on, some of which have been turned into charming hotels. Not to mention the great seafood! Yet it remains relatively well-know bypassed perhaps for Yucatan’s hyper-popular beaches. The ruins of Calakmul, including the imposing five pyramids lie under the forest canopy teeming with monkeys and toucans. The Times seductively promises visitors “can experience a solitude unthinkable at tourist-clogged Maya sites like Chichén Itzá”.

Campeche Mexico

5. Cleveland, Ohio

Wait let me get my glasses. I thought it said Cleveland. It’s actually true! It’s no longer the ‘Mistake by the Lake’. The city has reconnected to the waterfront with the renovation of the warehouse district, The Gordon Square Arts district has a gaggle of spiffed up theaters – the stage kind. Waterfront warehouses are being transformed and the glassy geometric new home to the Museum of Contemporary Art is the height of sophistication. One wouldn’t expect the iconic symbol of Rust Belt decline to have miles of hiking and biking trails, but it does. And don’t forget the Hall of Fame. Go Cavs.

Cleveland Flats

4. Miami, Florida

South Beach has become the ultimate in North American chic. Loads of celebs, designer hotels and elegant restaurants. It is now larger and if at all possible, becoming more chic. They have hired Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas, two of the world’s greatest living architects, both winners of the Pritzker Prize, the Nobel Prize of architecture, so this will be something to see. Designer giant Tommy Hilfiger bought the historic Art Deco gem, the Raleigh Hotel which has been famous since it opened in 1940. Did you hear that? It was the sound of a lot of coin being dropped. When future archaeologists find the ruins, they will think it the Versailles of Florida Panhandle, the center of a society dedicated to above all, conspicuous over consumption.

Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com
Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com

3. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Caribbean

It is everything you could want in a Caribbean getaway. Superlatives like ‘idyllic’ and ‘unspoiled’ are often used. Divers love the coral reefs and Saint Margaret beach is one of the nicest on the planet. There’s not that much to actually do on the tiny country’s 32 islands, unless you’re one of the one per cent who have private islands and hidden mansions. There’s not that much riveting history, architecture of culture really, except for the one that preaches of blissful relaxation in an impossibly beautiful setting. However, they did shell out a quarter of a billion dollars for a new airport with nonstop flights to and from North America and Europe. Might be good to see it before everyone else does.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest National Park in the United States dating back to 1872. A 500 room lodge is being modernized. A few ‘sustainable’ lodges are opening making the home of Old Faithful a more welcome destination to spend more time in. It is staggering to know that most of the world’s geysers are here. Within the confines of the duty to protect and preserve this treasure, the Park Service is partnering with local nonprofits to responsibly open up the venerable park for both accommodation and exploration. There are new hiking and biking trails. You can take your own snowmobile tour for the first time in over a decade. And veteran visitors swear it is even more spectacular in winter.

Yellowstone National Park

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No seriously. It’s a different way to build a city into a popular destination. Sure, there are famous things to see. The Liberty Bell, the Rocky statue on the Library steps.  But there’s not much of the ‘biggest this-’ or ‘oldest that-’. It’s more about creating a very engaging urban space. It’s a very livable, people-friendly functional urban space with European overtones. Which is saying a lot for a city whose previous contributions to American culture were cheese steaks and the most notorious sports fans in the country. There are free yoga classes on the Race Street Pier in the home of hockey’s Broad Street Bullies. Fairmount Park is the largest city park in the United States, bigger even than Central Park, and very runner/rollerblader/cycler friendly. It must be said pockets of shameful poverty remain. But cities in the world without a regrettable blemish are rare. A civilized city to savor.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania

America’s 12 Best Golf Vacations

Golf may have been invented in Scotland but Americans love the sport. The United States accounts for approximately 45 percent of the golf courses in the world. While golf used to be a “rich man’s” sport, today there are courses that fit every budget. With the emergence of players like Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam golf has become popular with people of all ages. Along with the growing popularity of golf, weekend trips and golfing vacations have also become more popular. Couples and groups of friends have found that a golfing vacation is the best way to play some of the best courses and also enjoy a great travel destination at the same time. We have come up with our list of the best golf destinations in America.

12. Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is a resort destination in the desert. The area became popular around 1900 for its hot springs. In the early part of the 1920’s the Hollywood elite would go there to get away from the crowds, but soon hotels and spas began springing up to serve the clientele. Today Palm Springs is still a spa destination but also offers great golfing. Palm Springs has over 100 public and private courses in the area. Courses are available for all levels of players and budgets. One of the best golf packages is at Indian Wells Golf Resort which has 36 holes and is ranked in the top 20 of “courses you can play” in California by Golfweek magazine. When not golfing you can enjoy the hot springs, shopping, hiking, biking or horseback riding. Great for couples looking to go on a trip, or even just a group of friends.

Photo by: Prayitno via Flickr
Photo by: Prayitno via Flickr

11. San Antonio, Texas

Texas has over a thousand golf courses to choose from. San Antonio makes our list not only for the great courses but the surrounding activities. La Cantera Golf Resort is ranked #2 in “Top Resorts in North America” and among the “top 50 Golf Resorts in the US” by Conde Nast traveler. As the site of PGA events, the resort offers great dining, luxurious rooms and is a good home base for exploring the surrounding area. Sights like the famed San Antonio River Walk and of course, The Alamo are both destinations that need to be on your must see list. Located at the gateway to the Texas Hill Country, San Antonio is a great destination for couples, families or that buddy trip.

Photo by: La Cantera
Photo by: La Cantera

10. Savannah, Georgia

Established in 1733, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. Outdoor cafes, gourmet restaurants and River Street along the Savannah River offers visitors a unique experience. The famed 18-hole Savannah Harbor Golf Resort is a Robert Cupp and Sam Snead championship course and is ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the US by Conde Nast Traveler. The Westin offers golf packages from $109 and up. The Westin also has a complimentary water ferry to take you to River Street where you can check out the brew pubs, galleries and great restaurants after a day on the course.

Photo by: Keith Allison
Photo by: Keith Allison

9. Orlando, Florida

Mickey Mouse isn’t the only thing Orlando is known for. Besides the proximity to Disney World, Orlando offers world class golf courses and resorts. Resorts like the Villas of Grand Cypress are close to Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando. The resort offers exceptional golfing and has hosted such tournaments as the LPGA Tour Championship, World Cup of Golf and Greg Norman’s Shark Shoot-out. The club offers 45-holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature designed golf. With all the great nearby attractions, Orlando rates as a great golf destination for everyone.

Golf Course Florida (2)

8. Napa, California

Located in the Napa wine region, the Silverado Resort and Spa is also home to two championship courses designed by PGA Hall of Famer Johnny Miller. The resort offers several golf packages and also has Junior Golf Summer Camps. The resort also has a world class spa with wellness coaches and even a golf swing therapy session with massage and reflexology treatments.  With over 400 wineries in the region a day tour of wine tasting and sightseeing should be on your list of things to do. Host to the PGA Frys.com tournament, the luxury resort is a great getaway for couples looking to relax, golf and spend time in the wine country.

Silverado Resort and Spa, CA
Photo by: Silverado Resort and Spa

7. Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island off the coast of South Carolina is known for beautiful beaches, exceptional restaurants and world class golf. With over 50 courses to choose from on the island it is hard to make a choice, but one place stands out above the rest. The courses at Sea Pines Resort home to the Heron Point Course by Pete Dye, the Ocean Course and the Harbor Town Golf Links which is a favorite among PGA players has to be the best resort on the island. Located on 5,000 acres the resort hosts the annual PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage tournament. Accommodations range from elegant rooms at the Harbor Town Inn to homes and vacation villas. The resort has vacation packages to suit couples groups and families.

Photo by: Sea Pines Resort
Photo by: Sea Pines Resort

6. Monterey, California

Monterey, located on California’s rugged central coast, is the home of the Pebble Beach Golf Resort. Even people that don’t follow or play the sport have heard of Pebble Beach. Over the years the resort has attracted politicians such as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Teddy Roosevelt, golfers like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones and celebrities the likes of Bill Murray, Bing Crosby and Clint Eastwood. With choices of three distinct accommodations, the Lodge, the Inn and a Mediterranean-styled estate, you can relax in style and also experience one of the best known courses in the world. Five courses to include the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links will test your skills and patience.

Pebble Beach Golf Resort, CA

5. White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Don’t be confused that this location is included on our list. White Sulphur Springs is home to The Greenbrier. Since 1778 The Greenbrier Resort has been welcoming guests from all over the world. Listed on the National Historic Register, The Greenbrier has hosted 26 of the nation’s Presidents and has been a favorite of royalty and celebrities. Befitting the status of the Greenbrier be prepared to dress accordingly. Collared shirts and slacks, no denim, are required on the course. With rates ranging from $300 per person and up, this is chance to experience great golf and stay at a historic resort. You never can tell who you might run into.

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

4. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Situated at the base of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs is also home to the US Air Force Academy. Colorado Springs offers visitors great outdoor activities, such as rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, sightseeing and of course golf. The Broadmoor was founded in 1918 and at the time had the highest elevation golf course in the United States at 6,400 ft. The resort has three courses and package rates that include accommodations, course fees and meal credits. The resort also has over 20 restaurants and lounges on the property. If you ever decide to venture away from the resort, the nearby area surrounding Colorado Springs offers a lot of things to see and do.

Golf

3. Tucson, Arizona

Located in the Sonoran Desert, Tucson is also the home of the University of Arizona. Historic old Spanish Missions, Hot Air Balloon rides, horseback riding, handcrafted jewelry and souvenirs are all available. The reason we include this on our list is the Omni Tucson National Resort, a host course for the PGA Tucson Conquistadores Classic and past host of the Chrysler Classic. Ranked by PGA pros as one of the most challenging finishing holes on the tour this course will make for a memorable trip. The Catalina course has hosted over 30 PGA tournaments throughout the years while the Tom Lehman designed Sonoran Course features 2 lakes and over 60 bunkers. After spending time on the course exploring Tucson and all it has to offer makes for a great trip.

Photo by: Tucson Golf Estates
Photo by: Tucson Golf Estates

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

With close to 100 courses in the greater Myrtle Beach area there is no wonder why it is often called “the Golf Capital of the World”. Depending on the time of year a golf vacation package can cost as low as $60 per day which includes lodging and course fees. When you’re not on the golf course you can enjoy the beach, great shopping or book a fishing charter. Myrtle Beach is a great destination for couples, families or friends alike. With courses like TPC Myrtle beach, awarded five stars by Golf Digest and the Dunes, a Robert Trent Jones signature course; Myrtle Beach has to be on your list of destination.

Myrtle Beach Golf Course

1. Pinehurst, North Carolina

While Myrtle Beach is known as the “Golf Capital of the World” Pinehurst is known as the “Cradle of American Golf”. Pinehurst has a population of less than 15,000 and is home to nothing else but Pinehurst. Since the first cottages were built in 1895, Pinehurst has expanded and grown into one of the most recognized golf courses in the world. In the early 1900’s Donald Ross was commissioned to build the first four courses at Pinehurst. Since then it has grown to nine courses total and has hosted more championships than any other course in the United States. Pinehurst has to be on every avid golfer’s bucket list and is a great trip destination.

Pinehurst Golf Course

10 Awesome Aquariums Where You Can Spend the Night With Sharks

Imagine drifting off to sleep while a shark silently stalks above you, or a school of colorful fish dart in and out of coral, all while you are safely tucked into your warm sleeping bag, next to your kids, or a loved one. Aquariums around the world are taking experiences to a new level by offering a variety of overnight experiences. These sleepovers allow guests to explore the aquarium after dark, learn more about the marine life that live there and have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and participate in feedings and cleanings. From Toronto to California to South Africa, here are 10 awesome overnight aquarium experiences.

10. Vancouver Aquarium -Vancouver, BC

Spending a night at the Vancouver Aquarium is like no other in Canada, and offers visitors an exciting opportunity to go behind the scenes in their marine lab. Visitors on one of these sleepovers will have the opportunity to touch local invertebrates including live sea stars, anemones, sea urchins and more. Visitors can choose from different sleepovers including a family night where participants embark in a variety of activities, presentations and tours. They also offer an incredible Valentine’s night sleepover for the romantic couple that wants to create unique memories. A three course plated dinner, a presentation on the sex lives of sea animals and a behind the scenes tour is included with this sleepover. Fall asleep in the Arctic Canada underwater gallery to sights of the majestic beluga whales swimming right in front of your eyes in this awesome Canadian aquarium sleepover experience.

Sergei Bachlakov / Shutterstock.com
Sergei Bachlakov / Shutterstock.com

9. Georgia Aquarium -Atlanta, GA

Sleeping at the aquarium doesn’t have to be just for kids as the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta offers adults-only nights, along with a variety of family themed nights. The family nights are recommended for ages seven and up and include a variety of activities and behind-the-scenes tours, specifically focusing on whales and sharks. The adults-only sleepovers here are hugely popular and for good reason. The behind-the-scenes tours, gallery tours, activities and events that the aquarium plans for adults gives you a once in a lifetime chance to get up close and personal with the marine animals. Dinner, snacks, a 4-D movie and more are all included here. Make sure to spend the next day talking in the dolphin show and exploring the aquarium during daytime hours.

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

8. Maui Ocean Center -Wailuku, HI

The aquarium here is an exciting place to be after dark as the creatures that normally hide during daylight hours make their debut, while others seem to disappear right before your eyes. The sleep with the shark sleepover at the Maui Ocean Center offers a total hands-on experience complete with fun activities, education, crafts and a movie. Watch as the sharks behavior changes from day to night, learn more about the marine animals and even have the chance to help an ocean naturalist feed the turtles and rays. This sleepover program is offered to anyone ages six to 13, accompanied by an adult. When you are all tuckered out from a fun-filled night, curl up in your sleeping bag and watch the Open Ocean show of the mesmerizing Sea Jelly exhibit. This program is one of the most hands-on sleepovers and promises to delight visitors of all ages.

Photo by: Joe Boyd via Flickr
Photo by: Joe Boyd via Flickr

7. Two Oceans Aquarium -Cape Town, South Africa

Not anyone can spend the night at this aquarium, but if you happen to be a member, part of an educational group or want to hold your child’s birthday party here; you will have access to a pretty awesome sleepover aquarium experience. The aquarium closes to the public at 6 pm, which allows sleepover guests plenty of time to explore the aquarium after dark. A kid-friendly dinner, a ton of planned activities, movies and more await guests here. Exhibits include the penguin exhibit, Indian Ocean gallery, touch pools, Atlantic Ocean gallery, predator exhibit and more. Birthday parties are perhaps the most popular sleepovers here, an experience your child will never forget. They happen to be best for children aged eight to 12.

InnaFelker / Shutterstock.com
InnaFelker / Shutterstock.com

6. Aquarium of the Pacific -Long Beach, CA

Grab your sleeping bag and prepare for the ultimate family adventure at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach California. This is one of the best sleepovers if you are looking for the most hands-on activities. Sleepover guests will embark on an awesome scavenger hunt with the whole family as well as have a pizza dinner, guaranteed to make every kid happy. Next up guests are encouraged to pet marine animals such as sharks, sea stars and sea jellies. You can even help participate in a fish feeding. A light snack before bed and the chance to paint your own souvenir t-shirt is also included with this experience. These themed overnights do fill up quickly and are normally offered in the summer, winter and Halloween; all complete with a different theme. These sleepovers also happen to be one of the most budget friendly on our list.

Photo by: Tracie Hall via Flickr
Photo by: Tracie Hall via Flickr

5. Newport Aquarium -Newport, KY

This awesome overnight experience is something not to miss if you are in the Newport Area. First up, children and adults of all ages are welcome although they do recommend children be at least 6 years old. Each group of children must be accompanied by an adult and there will be no shortage of fun activities to keep everyone entertained all night long. Along with backstage animal experiences and encounters, sleepover guests will get guided tours, help with tank feedings and enjoy either a shark or penguin presentation. The sleeping areas include Shark Tunnel (our personal favorite), Jellyfish Gallery or Coral Tunnel. An evening snack and breakfast is included, as is admission to the aquarium the next day. At just $49 per person, this is an amazing price to check out what happens after dark at this ultra cool aquarium.

Photo by: Jeff Kubina via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Jeff Kubina via Wikimedia Commons

4. SeaWorld -San Diego, CA and San Antonio, TX

For any animal lover ages four to 14, with an adult chaperone, a family sleepover at SeaWorld might just be the most unforgettable and exciting night of your life. Your event begins at 5:45 pm where guests will be invited to check in and eat a delicious pasta dinner. Following that are a multitude of animal encounters and fun and educational activities. Bedtime ranges between 10 pm to midnight and sleepover guests are encouraged to explore SeaWorld the entire next day, as admission is included. Kids also love the fact that they get a souvenir SeaWorld sleepover t-shirt to take home. If you happen to take the kids to SeaWorld San Antonio, try to visit during the Christmas season and stay overnight at the South Pole with the penguin encounter. Nothing says Merry Christmas than waking up to these cheerful creatures. Whichever experience you decide to try, you won’t be disappointed at SeaWorld.

Roka / Shutterstock.com
Roka / Shutterstock.com

3. Monterey Bay Aquarium -Monterey Bay, CA

Seashore sleepovers at this aquarium offer animal loves the chance to experience the aquarium after hours, even choosing to sleep next to your favorite exhibit. Check in begins at 6 pm and sleeping areas are first come first serve, which means you best come early to get the sleeping area you want. The doors close at 8 pm to the general public and that is truly when the adventure begins. Special programming throughout the night means you won’t ever be bored and participants can choose to explore the aquarium on their own or participate in one of the many activities. A light evening snack is offered and bedtime is between 10:30 pm and 11 pm. In the morning have a continental breakfast in the café and spend the rest of the day exploring the aquarium by daylight.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

2. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada -Toronto, ON

Let’s talk facts; this aquarium features over 16,000 animals, North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel and more than 100 interactive exhibits, including three touch exhibits featuring horseshoe crabs, sharks and rays. What makes this aquarium even better, which we didn’t think was possible, is there shark sleepovers. Yes we said shark sleepovers. Visitors are invited throughout the year to curl up under the famous shark tank and sleep under the watchful eyes of the scary sharks that swim overhead. Included in this experience is admission to the aquarium in the evening and the next day, a take home activity in the classroom and a late night snack plus breakfast. The aquarium does remain open to the general public until 11 pm on the night of the sleepover but rest assured you will be the only ones that get to experience the overnight in the dangerous lagoon tunnel, packed full of sand tiger sharks, roughtail stingrays and green sea turtles.

mikecphoto / Shutterstock.com
mikecphoto / Shutterstock.com

1. National Aquarium in Baltimore -Baltimore, MD

It is no surprise that this impressive aquarium boasts two awesome sleepovers for anyone over the age of eight. Visitors here can choose to sleepover with the dolphins or the sharks, each offering unique programming. For dolphin lovers the evening begins with a talk from the marine mammal team where you will get to know the dolphins and discover how they learn and play. From there, a kid-friendly dinner is served and you are off to experience the 4-D immersion films, explore the aquarium after dark and discover the behind-the-scenes area with expert guides. Fall asleep in one of the underwater viewing areas and in the morning help wake the dolphins up with an exclusive enrichment session. If you choose to sleep with the sharks, expect much of the same experiences; only substitute the dolphin with the shark. A once in a lifetime opportunity awaits you here at this awesome aquarium.

LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com
LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

Exciting Things to See and Do in San Antonio, Texas

The dynamic city of San Antonio is the seventh most populated city in America and the second most populous in the state of Texas only coming behind its big sister Houston. This popular Texas tourist destination offers a wide variety of sights and activities in every category from arts to history to family fun. Historic landmarks like The Alamo and San Fernando Cathedral give insight into the city’s significant past while the famous River Walk and Botanic Gardens display all the beauty the city has to offer. If you’re thinking of taking a trip to the Lone star state, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of San Antonio and check out some of the great attractions featured here.

10. Majestic Theatre

Built in 1929, this magnificent theater holds all sorts of magic inside its star and cloud plastered dome. Whether there to see a movie, concert or comedic performance the Majestic will make audience members believe they are in a classical Texas theater dating back hundreds of years.

At 2,311 seats the Majestic Theatre is San Antonio’s largest theater as well as its oldest. Not only was the destination designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993, but it’s the home of the San Antonio Orchestra which has been impressing audiences at the venue since 1989. The film The Alamo starring Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton premiered at the Majestic in 2004, a historic setting fit for the epic story that is engraved in Texas’ history. In addition to all its history, the Majestic was also the first theater in the state to be entirely air-conditioned, a feature that if you’re familiar with Texas temperatures couldn’t come soon enough.

Photo by TravelingOtter
Photo by TravelingOtter

9. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

This wondrous piece of history stretches nine miles and contains four important missions from the 18th century. These Spanish frontier missions include: Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada.

Originally established in 1975 as the Mission Parkway, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park holds the outposts held by Catholic religious orders to spread Christianity among the local natives. Each mission shows its age, however the aesthetic appeal is in its recognizable look that most picture when they think of Texan architecture. With iconic bell towers and entrance ways the missions will make excellent photo ops for all visitors. Add in stories of bloodshed, disease, religion and colonization and any history buff will walk away from their visit with all they could have asked for and more. With the fifth mission (the Alamo) not too far from this spot, it should certainly make for a pinpoint on the tourist map.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

8. Tower Life Building

Another officially recognized historic landmark (since 1991), the Tower Life Building provides a panoramic view of San Antonio atop its 30 floors peaking at 403 feet. It opened in 1929 – then named the Smith-Young Tower – and was intended to be part of a development called the Bowen Island Skyscrapers; however this development was never finished.

The current name stems from Tower Life Insurance Company, but the building has seen many names as corporations have come and gone through its existence. The building housed the first Sears in San Antonio, was a local outlet for Hilton Hotels in 1956 and later converted into Granada Apartments in 1966. Although a TV transmission tower was added more than 60 years ago, it was removed in 2010 and replaced with a 100 foot tall flagpole. The building also includes a fallout shelter, beautiful marble walls and a set of elevators that have more than withstood the test of time.

Tower Life Building San Antonio

7. San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Fernando is part of the Roman Catholic Church and located in downtown San Antonio. The structure is one of the oldest active cathedrals in the United States having broken ground in 1738.

In 2003, a three-phase, $15 million project was undertaken involving restoration (of the foundation and structure), replacement (of the cafeteria, counseling rooms, museum, gift ship, reception and television control rooms), and construction (of a community center holding social services, hall, church offices and a residence for priests). The combination of colonial and gothic architecture makes for a unique look highlighted at night time with a magnificent lighting system that illuminates the building causing inner glow and drop shadows for an ominous feel. Inside the cathedral one can find the burial tomb of Davy Crockett, William B. Travis and Jim Bowie all of whom died as heroes at the in defense against Spanish enemies during the famous Battle of the Alamo.

San Fernando Cathedral Texas

6. San Antonio River

The San Antonio River is home to the famous River Walk, one of the leading tourist attractions in the great state of Texas. The 240 mile long river is so famous not only because it flows from downtown San Antonio out to the Gulf of Mexico, but because of the magnificent experience that can be had on the renowned boat rides.

The tourist rides travel through downtown San Antonio and by all sorts of shops, markets, theaters and restaurants. Engulfed in eye-catching foliage, the river takes on a different (yet albeit marvellous) look at night, with illuminated bridges to travel under along with trees and buildings draped in colourful lights make the sight-seeing tourists feel like they are taking a ride through a miniature Las Vegas. Great for friends and family alike, the San Antonio River travels by the aforementioned missions including the Alamo. The River Walk deservingly acts as the primary destination and focal point of the city.

Brandon Seidel / Shutterstock.com
Brandon Seidel / Shutterstock.com

5. Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas offers huge roller coasters, events, entertainment, go karts, “Holiday in the Park” during the winter and a waterpark for the summer months. The Boomerang, Goliath, Poltergeist, Road Runner and Superman rides are just a few of the many thrilling roller coasters which will be joined by the much anticipated Batman ride in 2015.

The Looney Tunes are a frequent attraction at this massive Six Flags which will certainly keep the kids entertained. For the hot Texas summer, take in the massive waterpark which includes the Lone Star Lagoon along with a half-million gallon pool shaped like the great state of Texas! Of course, there’s also a lazy river as well as Paradise Cove, which is a more vacation-style setting. This Six Flags location has special group rates and a Season Dining Pass allowing guests to pay upfront for lunch and dinner for the entire season, because everything is bigger in Texas.

Photo by: Mr.512
Photo by: Mr.512

4. Sea World San Antonio

Sea World aquariums are known worldwide, and Sea World San Antonio (like everything on this list) does not disappoint. An all-encompassing ocean experience can be had here from A to Z. Alligators, belugas, dolphins, penguins, sea lions and sharks will peak the interest of visitors, while coral reef displays provide ocean education.

Not only is there a wide array of animals present, but a theme park as well. Roller coasters and water rides for both kids and adults can be partnered with behind the scenes tours to complete the experience. The Animal Connections Conservation Center can teach everyone a little something, and can serve as a precursor to the always wonderful Beluga Interaction Program. Easily the most rewarding, the beluga interactions are sure to leave a lasting impression with all ages as the intelligent mammals swim up to say hello. Vacation packages are available and there is free entry for one child per each adult pass.

Steven Ringler / Shutterstock.com
Steven Ringler / Shutterstock.com

3. AT&T Center

It took $186 million to build the AT&T Center, now the home of the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), Stars (WNBA), Rampage (AHL) as well as the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. The venue formerly named the SBC Center is a state of the art facility that seats 19,000 at its capacity.

The AT&T Center is an inclusive venue that should impress any sports fan. It’s also certainly used to seeing winning teams as home to the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA franchise that has won 5 championships in the last 15 years including one in 2014. Inside, the Terrace Club Restaurant and bar is available to the higher-priced ticket owners, but is well worth the money. Fresh meats and home-made desserts make the experience a pleasant one. Be sure to try out the “Top Dog”, the AT&T Center’s signature gourmet hot dog served with kettle chips available in only one section on the lower level.

Photo by: Katie Haugland
Photo by: Katie Haugland

2. San Antonio Botanical Garden

This one of a kind Botanical Garden holds a wide range of plants from not only Texas but around the world, and spans over 33 beautiful and breath-taking acres. The garden is broken into four major areas: the WaterSaver Garden/Lane, Display Gardens, Texas Native Trail, and Lucile Halsell Conservatory.

WaterSaver Garden and WaterSaver Lane showcase practical home gardening techniques that are the most water friendly. Drip irrigation and other water techniques along with the best San Antonio soils are showcased. The Formal and Display Gardens include four display areas changed seasonally to present a variety of colours and textures. The 11-acre Texas Native Trail has over 250 species of plant representing three ecosystems. All types of wildlife surround picturesque ponds and woodland settings that are as relaxing as it gets. The focal point however is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory. This large glass tower gives a futuristic feel and the 65-foot structure drives home the value of the botanical garden that is open year round.

Shawn Kashou / Shutterstock.com
Shawn Kashou / Shutterstock.com

1. The Alamo

The fifth and most recognizable of the Spanish Frontier Missions, the Alamo is one of the most notable battles in the history of North America. The historic battle of 1836 began upon the arrival of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and lasted a total of 13 days. Despite the symbolic fight being shrouded in debate, among the struggle was legendary David Crockett, former Tennessee congressman whom the famous raccoon hats are made in honor of.

Everything about the Alamo showcases its rich history, from the incredible ambience to the well-preserved/well-detailed structure. Handle the weapons of the time period during the tour and visit the many shops the ground has to offer in and around the surrounding area. With free admission and a plethora of available parking, the natural beauty that is the Alamo should be the mainstay of any American who finds themselves travelling through San Antonio looking for something to peak their interest.

The Alamo

The Best Cities to Visit in the United States

The Unites States has much to see from beautiful coastlines to majestic mountain ranges. From east to west, north and south, below are ten of the best cities to visit in the U.S.

10. New York City

The Big Apple is a must-see for anyone. From Times Square and Rockefeller center to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Broadway, the city that never sleeps has attractions and excitement 24-7.

Hotels prices range from just over $100 for a two-star hotel to over $200 for a four to five-star hotel in or near Times Square.

CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock.com
CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock.com

9. Orlando, Florida

Home of the Magic Kingdom, Orlando Florida is a great vacation spot. Visit SeaWorld or Universal Studios or one of the many Disney theme parks. Sunny Orlando has lots of fun and exciting adventures for the whole family!

Hotels prices range from under $100 for two and three-star hotel to close to $300 plus for a five-star hotel such as the Ritz Carlton, Orlando.

Orlando Florida

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

Whether you’re a high-stakes gambler, or just looking to take in a show, Las Vegas is a fabulous city with great food, high-end shopping and endless fun and excitement! Visit the MGM Grand to gamble, do some shopping at Caesars Palace Forum Shops, or take in some Cirque de Soleil. Kids love the rides at Circus Circus, or the roller Coaster at New York New York.

Hotels prices range from under $100 for up to a five-star hotel on the strip. Many casinos offer inexpensive rooms and meals to attract players to their casinos.

Las Vegas Nevada

7. Los Angeles, California

Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Bowl and the Walk-of-Fame are just a few of the attractions of California’s most famous city. Take a walk along Venice Beach, have a drink at the Beverly Hills Hotel or stroll the shopping on Rodeo Drive. Want to see where your favorite celebrities live? There are plenty of bus tours to show you who lives underneath the Hollywood sign!

Hotels prices range from under $100 for a two-star hotel to over $200 for a five-star hotel such as The London West Hollywood.

Los Angeles

6. New Orleans, Louisianna

From Bourbon Street to a Mississippi River Cruise, New Orleans has much excitement and fun even after Mardi Gras. Enjoy the Creole cuisine, the Po’ boys and the mint julips. Golf or shop by day and enjoy some jazz by night in the French Quarter. New Orleans has night life and festivals all year long!

Hotels prices range from under $100 for a two-star hotel to over $200 for a five-star hotel such as the Ritz Carlton, New Orleans.

New Orleans Louisiana

5. Denver, Colorado

Even if you don’t ski, Denver has lots to do all year long, from the Botanic Gardens and the Denver Zoo to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Coors Brewery Tour. Visit the U.S. Mint or the Buffalo Bill Museum. Of course, there are always fun snow activities, such as snowmobiling, tubing and ice-skating!

Hotels prices range from under $100 for a two-star hotel to over $300 for a five-star hotel such as the Four Seasons, Denver.

Denver Colorado

4. Anchorage, Alaska

There’s fun for the whole family in beautiful, Anchorage! Visit the country’s largest indoor waterpark, H2Oasis, dig for dinosaur bones at the Alaska Museum of Natural History or visit with a bear at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Scenic day drives, walking tours, fairs and festivals are all fun, outdoor activities to investigate during your visit to Anchorage.

Many hotels and bed and breakfasts can be found for just around $100 per night.

Anchorage Alaska

3. Honolulu, Hawaii

With its white sand beaches, surfing and gorgeous skies, there is much to do in beautiful Honolulu. Take in the sights at the Manoa Falls or hike Diamond Head by day and see the Legends in Concert Waikiki by night. For history/military buffs, visit the Pearl Harbor National Monument or the USS Missouri Memorial. Relax at night with some sunset yoga before attending a luau.

Hotels prices range from under $100 for a two-star hotel to at or around $300 for a five-star hotel such as the Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki.

Honolulu Hawaii

2. San Antonio, Texas

From the beautiful Riverwalk to the Alamo, San Antonio is a mecca of history and nightlife. There’s fun for the whole family, too, with the San Antonio Zoo, Six Flags San Antonio and SeaWorld San Antonio.

Hotels prices range from under $100 for a two-star hotel to just under $200 for a five-star hotel such as the JW Marriott, San Antonio.

San Antonio Tx

1. Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey Pennsylvania, with famous Hershey Park and Chocolate World, is fun for the whole family and chocolate lovers alike! Hershey, PA also boasts Hershey Gardens, the Antique Auto Museum as well as some beautiful golf courses.

Hotels prices range from under $50 for a two-star hotel to over $100 for a three to four-star hotel.

Hershey Pennsylvania
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

The Grestest Quick and Easy US Weekend Escapes

The United States offers weekend adventures that suit any type of temperament. Relaxing after a busy week at work is best handled by a change of scenery and one of the following quick weekend getaways. Many of these weekend vacation spots also offer some adventurous opportunities for active weekend escapes.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas offers a lot more than one-armed bandits and smoky casinos these days, and many weekend visitors just want to experience the amazing buffets (every casino has a legendary buffet) and the headliner shows along the Strip. All the casinos offer terrific hotel packages for a fun weekend stay, and a great way to spend an evening is to catch one of the city’s Broadway-caliber shows.

Las Vegas Nevada
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com

 

2. San Antonio, Texas

A lot of people associate Texas with cowboys, horses, and tumbleweeds, but San Antonio doesn’t offer that sort of picture of Texas. Offering a marvelous balance between old fashioned Texas history and entertaining modernity, one of San Antonio’s best features is its famed River Walk for walking and dining relaxation.

San Antonio Texas

3. Nashville, Tennessee

From emerging music stars to down-home honky-tonk bars, Nashville is a friendly and inexpensive way to experience nightlife and harmonious entertainment. The region also has a strong reputation for specialty beers, and a whole culture of microbreweries has sprung up around the town’s live music venues.

Nashville Tennessee 1

4. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona offers visitors views of amazing red rocks and fascinating geologic formations. Spending a weekend hiking around the miles of trails around this desert southwest town offers hours of scenic beauty and photo opportunities. Kitschy stores selling all sorts of Indian jewelry make for some fun shopping excursions, and the hotel prices tend to be affordable for the budget conscious.

Sedona Arizona

5. Catalina Island, California

Just a few hours away by ferry from the Los Angeles coastline, Catalina is an amazing little island that offers a perfect ocean escape for a few hours or a weekend. The locals drive around in golf carts, and there are as many scenic overlooks on the island as there are boats in the harbor. During the ferry ride to Catalina, boaters pass some of the deepest parts of the ocean near the California coastline.

Catalina Island California

6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Long popular with the locals as a weekend destination, Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts is a charming island that will inspire more than one weekend trip. For adventurous travelers, the Aquinnah Cliffs on the far side of the island are stunning and are definitely worth a look. Another spot not to be missed is the Edgartown Lighthouse, the top of which offers a marvelous view of the bay.

Edgartown Lighthouse

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

Known for an exceptionally artistic and musical populace, New Orleans has been rebuilt in the wake of a devastating hurricane and has retained much of its long-favored charisma. From classy southern music venues, such as the Davenport Lounge, to the raucousness of the French Quarter, New Orleans offers an experience for travelers of any disposition.

New Orleans Louisiana
pisaphotography / Shutterstock.com

8. Savannah, Georgia

The history of the South is alive and well in Savannah, and this beautiful Georgia town is popular for walking tours. A number of centuries-old homes offer tours, such as the Davenport House Museum, where visitors can see the elegance and grace of 19th century southern living.

Savannah Georgia

9. Napa Valley, California

Taking a tour of California’s amazing Napa Valley is a must for anyone who enjoys wine tasting and the amazing Mediterranean-like climate of this picturesque area. There’s no better way to relax than taking a tour of the area’s local wineries. The Napa Valley Wine Train is a tranquil way to take in the sights.

Each of these fantastic locations around the United States offers unique charm and a chance to experience the local history and culture of the region. Whether a relaxing weekend or an adventurous few days are on the menu, these weekend getaways will satisfy any type of traveler.

Napa Valley California

The Most Popular Family Vacation Destinations

Once summer arrives, it’s a great time to take a family vacation. These trips can create memories that will last a lifetime that both you and your children will remember. Whether that time off is a yearly event or a special occasion, here are ten of the most popular family vacation destinations.

1. Orlando, Florida

Great Florida weather combines with Universal Studios, Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando to present one of the best vacation packages anywhere. Add water parks, numerous resort hotels and discounted tickets to create the right list of activities to please your family.

Orlando Florida

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

What will you find in Myrtle Beach? Start with sixty miles of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, historic lighthouses, NASCAR SpeedPark, mini-golf courses, and roller coasters. End at the boardwalk with dozens of friendly resort hotels and you have an ideal location to relax and enjoy.

Myrtle Beach South Carolina

3. Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi

Biloxi-Gulfport provides the perfect combination of recreation and kid happy leisure time. Centered on the Gulf, this resort town showcases sugar-white sand on miles of beaches. When you need a beach break, check out the NASA Stennis Space Center, ocean cruises and miniature golf. A perfect mix of leisure time and activities will entertain every member of the family.

Biloxi-Gulfport Mississippi

4. Arizona

Get spooked in a ghost town, see the London Bridge and travel to the Navajo Reservation to see Monument Valley. Enjoy a day trip to the Grand Canyon or raft the Colorado River. See the O. K. Corral in Tombstone. Pick a dude ranch for your stay and absorb authentic Wild West history. This state delivers a memorable vacation.

Arizona
Vacclav / Shutterstock.com

5. Southern California

San Diego and Los Angeles offer families a busy trip with Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland and the Hollywood Blvd. Step back to other less famous sites with the California Science Center or hit the beaches at Santa Monica and Malibu. This might be more expensive than other venues, but plan ahead and shop for deals.

San Diego Zoo

6. Oahu, Hawaii

Explore Hawaii with boat trips, dolphin shows, surf lessons, Pearl Harbor and sunny beaches. Great together time for the family comes from a visit to the Diamond Head Crater and hiking a tropical rainforest to see Manoa Falls. Include a visit to the Iolani Palace, the Dole Pineapple Plantation and the Waikiki Aquarium. If you want a once in a lifetime vacation, this is your destination.

Diamondhead Crater Oahu Hawaii

7. Nashville, Tennessee

This music city offers water parks, museums, children’s theater and live music. Combine your trip with kid friendly resorts and stellar restaurants. Plan trips to the Adventure Science Center, the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville’s electric atmosphere has something for every family.

Nashville Tennessee

8. Washington, D. C.

Washington, D. C. is an endless list of free attractions steeped in American history. Your favorite museum or monument list should have these favorites: The Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum, National Children’s Museum, Bureau of Engraving & Printing and the Washington Monument. Add great hotels and restaurants and bring your camera.

Washington DC

9. Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

For those families that want a foreign trip, Canada is the place to go. Family-friendly with no language hassle, that’s Vancouver. Stanley Park and Granville Island deserve a visit for their abundance of kid-friendly activities. Make the trip to Grouse Mountain to hike or choose Science World for a fun day exploring. Water activities include kayaking, windsurfing, and rafting. You’ll go home tired but rested.

Grouse Mountain Vancouver
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10. Southern Texas and Matamoros, Mexico

Water activities prevail in South Padre Island. This resort community on the Gulf delivers surfing, snorkeling, parasailing, dolphin watching, beach tanning, and sandcastle building. Across the Rio Grande thirty miles away, pass over into Matamoros, Mexico for unique shops with handmade goods and delicious food served with history and culture. If that isn’t enough, venture back to San Antonio to visit the historic Alamo, Six Flags Over Texas and SeaWorld San Antonio.

Alamo Texas