U.S.

Lots to Love in Lompoc

For wine-lovers like me, Lompoc’s stellar location – at the base of the award-winning Santa Rita Hills wine region – makes it a perfect base of operations for wine tasting. I arrived on a recent weekend, checked into the year-old Hilton Garden Inn Lompoc – a wine-country chic new-build and home to one of the area’s newest farm-to-table gourmet restaurants …

Continue reading  

California Travel ‘Begins’ in Sacramento

The city that settled between the Sacramento and American rivers. was founded in 1849, and the historical reminders of Sacramento are everywhere, from Sutter’s Fort to Old Sacramento. The city is well known as California’s state capitol, but did you know that it is also the “Tree Capital of the World?” Fall in the Capitol Sacramento has more trees per …

Continue reading  

Uncover the Secrets of Death Valley

This coming March 3-8, join an elite group of desert lovers for five days of fascinating nature exploration and inspiring geological and historical information about Death Valley National Park on tours guided by a former Death Valley park ranger. From visits to Badwater Salt Flats at 282 feet below sea level to stunning panoramic vistas of the park from 11,049 …

Continue reading  

Harvest the ‘Secret Season’ in Sonoma

It’s that time of the year in Sonoma when harvest season is about done and the number of visitors filling tasting rooms has become more intimate. Locals call this relaxing period the “secret season” because they know it is the perfect time to enjoy everything Sonoma Valley has to offer without the crowds—from idyllic weather to grape leaves hued in …

Continue reading  

SoCal’s Favorite Holiday Traditions

Maybe this is the year to discover some new enchanted traditions—from feasting on thousands of twinkling lights and ocean-view ice skating to relishing the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread. Winter Wonderland in Riverside The Festival of Lights in downtown Riverside began in 1993 as a celebration of the Mission Inn’s grand $55-million restoration and soon became an annual “gift” to …

Continue reading  

Treat Yourself to a ‘Luxpedition’

Who says you can’t combine luxury with adventure? Or perhaps your idea of luxury is taking a vacation while your holiday shopping is being done for you. And, we all want to take a flight without all the hassle of navigating security and walking down long corridors to your terminal. It’s time for your next vacation to really “be” a …

Continue reading  

Want to Spot Stars?—Head to Corsicana, Texas

The rural city of Corsicana, population 25,000 and about 45 minutes south of Dallas, is ready for its Hollywood close-up. Warning Shot, a movie filmed on location in Corsicana with an all-star cast opened mid-September and is keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. Inspired by true events, the movie features David Spade, Tammy Blanchard, Guillermo Diaz and Dwight …

Continue reading  

See Chicago in 3 Days!

Smart Destinations’ Go Chicago Card allows entry into all of the attractions listed in this suggested 3-day Chicago itinerary that allows you to do it all with one single pass. Buy one ticket instead of several to save money and make this  whirlwind tour in the Windy City easy to do! DAY 1 Stop #1: Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Chicago …

Continue reading  

Trick or Treat Travels? Head to Oregon!

CandyStore.com’s “Most Popular Halloween Candy by State Interactive Map” is a result of an 11- year (2007-2017) study of exclusive sales data to determine the #1 best-selling Halloween candy in each state, as well as the runners up, in pounds of candy sold. The candy experts also offer some interesting facts surrounding this candy-centric holiday: 179 million Americans celebrate Halloween …

Continue reading  

Underwater Pumpkin Carving in the Keys

Divers can compete to wow judges with jolly jack-o-lanterns during the anticipated “2018 Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest” on Saturday, Oct. 14 in the idyllic waters off Key Largo. Strapped with dive knives as tools and creative ideas in their heads, crafty carvers are to descend 30 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, tasked with transforming …

Continue reading  

Top Paranormal Stays in the West

Travel takes on a particularly scary meaning if you opt to stay the night in the very room where apparitions have been spotted or unexpected voices and sounds interrupt your sleep. If you aren’t brave enough to “sleep” with a ghostly presence, it is still entertaining to read about the lore that grows with each present-day sighting in these legendary …

Continue reading  

Enjoy ‘Breakfast with a View’ at California Inns

Each of these 10 California B&Bs gifts guests with a spectacular “breakfast with a view”—whether its wave-crashing action, wildlife spotting or panoramic vistas of a city skyline. Seven Gables Inn, Pacific Grove Every room of the opulent Seven Gables Inn in Pacific Grove—including its oceanfront dining room—offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.  The dining room overlooks Lover’s Point, with …

Continue reading  

‘Mine’ Autumn in these Top West Spots

You can “mine” your autumnal treasure in these former gold mining destinations, brimming over in mountain-high natural beauty and recreation. Just remember to pack a warm jacket and don’t forget your camera! Lake Arrowhead Gold You may not know that Southern California’s largest gold mining boom was located close by in Holcomb Valley, about an hour from Lake Arrowhead in …

Continue reading  

Yosemite’s Back & Fall Perfect

Tenaya Lodge, recent winner of Sunset Magazine’s 2018 Travel Awards for Best Park Classic hotel, has all the makings for an ideal fall getaway. Just minutes from the newly renovated Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Tenaya’s fall season includes everything from tours of Yosemite that make a stop at the giant trees to off-roading through fall colors in the back …

Continue reading  

Cheers to California’s Wine Month!

The state’s 14th official “Wine Month” happening right now is that time of the year when juicy ripe grapes hang heavy on the vines, basking in golden fall sunshine, and the air is filled with fruity aromas that signal harvest time. The crush that ensues is a dizzying process of picking and harvesting, selecting, pressing and fermentation until a finished …

Continue reading  

5 Fun & Funky Fall Stays in Mesa Verde Country

You’ll need lots of time to take in the fall beauty and fun of Mesa Verde Country, near the entrance to glorious Mesa Verde National Park. The nearby towns of Cortez, Dolores and Mancos provide an array of accommodations, dining and outdoor recreation. Named the “Number One Historic Monument in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler and one of the …

Continue reading  

Dinos ‘Invade’ World’s Largest Children’s Museum

Children’s museums are magical places where imagination and education go hand in hand, but it is difficult to find one that surpasses The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Founded in 1925, the museum has moved location and expanded several times since. Nearly 500,000 square feet in size, the current museum is also home to an additional 7.5-acre health and fitness experience …

Continue reading  

Romance on the Rails in Scenic California

To take the entire scenic route, rail-riders on the Coast Starlight board in Los Angeles and travel, mostly by a coastal route, all the way to Seattle. Nothing sells this railroading trip more than the views. People often look at a vacation as reaching a destination. With this journey, the vacation begins the moment the train pulls out of the …

Continue reading  

Discover the ‘Faraway Land’ of Nantucket

Once on the island, you’ll find remnants of Nantucket’s storied past everywhere—from the native Wampanoag peoples, the island’s original inhabitants, to early European settlements and the island’s dominance in whaling during the mid-18th century. In the downtown district, chic boutiques and art galleries line cobblestone streets while upscale restaurants occupy historic structures. Nantucket has one of the largest concentrations of …

Continue reading  

Balloons & Beyond in Albuquerque this Fall

The nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is not only one of the most photographed events world wide, it is also the world’s largest celebration of the colorful sport. With autumn one of the most enjoyable times of the year to be in New Mexico, cool mornings and mild warm days with gentle winds combine with the drop-dead gorgeous scenery to …

Continue reading  

Discover the ‘Artistic’ Side of Vegas

If you didn’t realize you’d been meandering past and around some notable works of art on recent trips to “Sin City,” don’t feel badly.  Most visitors, as well as most locals, aren’t aware of these hidden works of art scattered throughout the city, from stunning Picasso paintings and larger-than-life contemporary sculptures to perspective-changing works of light. Although some of the …

Continue reading  

Track the Northern Lights in Fairbanks

One of the best places on earth to experience the northern lights is Fairbanks, Alaska, ideally situated under the “Auroral Oval.” Add to that Fairbanks’ low precipitation and distance from coastal areas insure consistently clear nights. Explore Fairbanks has unveiled the Aurora and Midnight Sun Tracker to help you know when and where to be to view both the aurora …

Continue reading  

Insider’s Guide to San Diego’s Live Music Scene

Since the CRSSD music festival and KAABOO Del Mar debuted in San Diego in 2015, both festivals have become mainstays of the local music-lovers’ scene, as well as the growing international music festival industry. Each year the festivals have enjoyed rising crowds and reputations, bolstered in part by the impeccable vibes of world-class musical talent in two top locations: San …

Continue reading  

Discover the Perfect End of Summer in Carson Valley

Snuggled between the grand rise of the Sierra and the treasured beauty of the Pine Nut Mountains, Carson Valley is considered by many to be Nevada’s most scenic valley. Made up of the towns of Gardnerville, Genoa, Minden and Topaz Lake, the destination just 12 miles east of South Lake Tahoe is reached by U.S. Highway 395 or State Routes …

Continue reading  

Jump on the new ‘Young Hollywood’ Celebrity Tour

Today, when people refer to Hollywood as the heart of movie-making and celebrity sightings, they are no longer referring to Hollywood itself, but rather Tinsel town in general where the business of making magic extends to several surrounding cities.  But, you’d have a hard time convincing tourists of that reality who arrive from all over the world to find cinematic …

Continue reading  

Visit the Cinematic Old West in Lone Pine

Every Columbus Day weekend Lone Pine, in the towering shadow of nearby Mt. Whitney, hosts one of the world’s most unique film festivals—the Lone Pine Film Festival, which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.  The 29th annual celebration of western screenings, stars and memorabilia will be held this October 4-8.  The otherwise quiet town, normally a welcome …

Continue reading  

Eat your Way through San Diego’s Newest Bistros

San Diego has become renown for its cutting-edge bistros and variety of creative cuisines. So, no wonder that new exciting choices are springing up—some here for the feasting now and others on the near horizon. Take a look, then take a trip to savor the flavors a la San Diego. Mangia! The highly anticipated Little Italy Food Hall opened in …

Continue reading  

Find Historical Bounty in New Mexico’s ‘Secret’ National Park

Pecos National Historical Park is a historic find that’s been “on the move” and destined for greatness for decades. First established as a state monument in 1935, the park about 20 miles from Santa Fe became Pecos National Monument in 1965. It was significantly enlarged and earned national park status in 1990 with two sites within the park, the Pecos …

Continue reading  

Travel the Margarita Trail in Santa Fe (If You Dare!)

Situated in the foothills of the scenic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it is easy to see why Santa Fe’s natural beauty has been an inspiration to artistically creative souls since its inception.  Founded by Spanish Governor Don Pedro de Peralta, Santa Fe stands as the oldest continuous capital in the United States—and at 7,260 feet above sea level, it is …

Continue reading  

Explore the Land Between the Sea and the Bay

Just a short jaunt from San Francisco, Silicon Valley is blessed with thirty miles of San Francisco bay-fronting bliss, as well as twice that amount of Pacific Ocean frontage along iconic Highway One. No wonder many CEO’s have opted to locate their headquarters in the valley with incredible scenic beauty. In addition to dazzling water vistas, the area boasts endless …

Continue reading  

Visit a National Park this Summer—at San Francisco’s Golden Gate!

San Francisco’s Presidio is a perfect summer vacation equation. The national park offers free public programs and events, a public golf course, the world-class Inn at the Presidio as well as the new Lodge at the Presidio and the Presidio Officers’ Club, San Francisco’s most historic building. A wide range of recreation, wellness, and dining options are also provided by …

Continue reading  

Take a Yosemite Adventure with your Eyes, Not the Car

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park recently reopened following three years of restoration to save the lives of the trees. Along with the unveiling comes a new hassle-free option for traveling to the grove that’s filled with some of the largest trees on earth if you are headed from various Southern California locations.(Photo courtesy of Yosemite …

Continue reading  

Get Laid-Back Beach Life in Hermosa Beach

For your summer stay in Hermosa, make it a truly authentic beach experience by choosing a hotel that feels like your own beach cottage. The Beach House Hermosa Beach is a boutique hotel touching the sand between the busier towns of Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. Dining, nightlife and beachy boutiques are within strolling distance from the hotel on Pier …

Continue reading  

Big Bear Adventure So Cool, It’s Hot

Some of us have come to love Big Bear in Southern California as an alpine-shrouded “fortress” that delivers a refreshing break from the heat each summer. But with all the adventure sandwiched into the lower temps, you can also count on Big Bear as your destination for summer thrills that will take you from cool to high-octane “hot” in no …

Continue reading  

Take Two Days on the Austin Craft Beer Trail

Day 1 Sleep in (you’ll need the rest), then start your first day by having lunch at one of these popular brew pubs. Consider the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. for a little live music, along with crave-worthy pizza and craft beers. From dunkels to double IPAs, it’s hard to go wrong at ABGB. Relax on the patio at East Austin’s 10 …

Continue reading  

Make the ‘Journey’ to Pechanga

The Pechanga Resort and Casino, which has been a staple of the Inland Empire region of SoCal in Temecula since it was built in 2002 – and added the acclaimed Journey at Pechanga Golf Course in 2008 – has now doubled in size with a recently-completed $300 million expansion to 1,090 rooms and suites, added a 4.5-acre pool complex, two …

Continue reading  

E.T. Come Home—to Nevada’s ET Highway

Extraterrestrials, welcome to Nevada. Or should we say, welcome back? Since your last visit to Area 51, the state has missed you! In fact, you could say the entire country has missed you, which is why the Defense Department spent $22 million on a program to find out if aliens do exist. To help curious “earthlings” navigate the state’s extraterrestrial …

Continue reading  

Make it a ‘Texan-Size’ Mile of Margaritas in Dallas

The Margarita Mile launched in mid-May—just in time for the warmer temps that definitely demand a frozen treat. Think of it as the new wine tasting—and this one lasts a “Texas” mile, which means a mile is not going to do it. There are 17 stops on the Dallas Margarita Mile, from the original Mariano’s in North Dallas to Beto …

Continue reading  

Grab your Hat and Head to the Races!

Del Mar, which translates “by the sea,” lies just twenty minutes north of San Diego and is cradled by lagoons at both ends. Long a haven for celebrities with an affinity for horse racing, you can eye their upscale estates tucked within ocean-view canyons.  A quaint village of shops, notable eateries and art galleries add 1880’s historical charm to the …

Continue reading  

Spirits Spun from Wine on Central Coast ‘Distillery Trail’

Those in search of wineries tucked away down winding country roads and over the rolling hills of Paso Robles, not far from San Luis Obispo, are likely to stumble upon a new form of tasting and touring—the Distillery Trail. And to visitors’ delight, many of these distilleries operate out of existing wineries, so you get two experiences in one—if you …

Continue reading  

Oceanside is Ready for Its ‘Animal Kingdom’ Close-Up

Oceanside may be straddling more than three miles of northern San Diego’s summer-perfect coastline, but you have to admit that it is the less glitzy counterpart to nearby beach-going communities—a casual, grittier throwback to California’s authentic beach spirit. For this reason, Oceanside has been “starring” in films as early as John Wayne’s 1949 “Sands of Iwo Jima.” However, it was …

Continue reading  

Find Hidden Treasures Along San Diego’s North Coast

I’m not sure if I have ever encountered a resort with its own signature scent, but the sweet-smelling kai jasmine aroma that permeates the common areas of the Park Hyatt Aviara is only one of the many sensory experiences awaiting its guests. Finding the hilltop resort is only part of the discovery that awaits. Winding upward past impressive estates leads …

Continue reading  

Love Jurassic Park? Find Deals to Tour the Iconic Filming Sites

By Alanna Smith, Editor at TravelPirates Allerton Garden, Kauai Part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Allerton Garden is home to massive Moreton Bay fig trees. They were featured in the franchise’s first film, when Dr. Alan Grant and his young companions find a very important dinosaur nest. The garden is open for guided tours, but don’t expect to find …

Continue reading  

Be Inspired by a Summer of Art ‘Magic’ in Laguna Beach

Eighty-five years ago, the United States was embroiled in the emotional turmoil of the Great Depression.  Even so, artists arriving in Laguna Beach were so inspired by Laguna Beach’s seductively winding coastline, the rambling hills and the vibrant and ever-changing ocean that a group of those artists banded together to find a way to raise spirits and, they hoped, sell …

Continue reading  

Don’t Miss These! Top 10 New Attractions in Orlando this Summer

BE PART OF MOVIE MAGIC Universal Studios Florida will put visitors right in the middle of the action with the new Fast & Furious- Supercharged ride, based on the popular film franchise, where an after-race party turns into a high-speed race to escape a criminal cartel. Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens Toy Story Land on June 30, featuring two new attractions, along with new dining and merchandise …

Continue reading  

Sonoma Strong. Sonoma Irresistible.

There are so many ways to explore Sonoma County. Embark on an iconic California road trip along dramatic Highway 1 for spontaneous explorations along more than 50 miles of sparkling Pacific coastline that forms Sonoma County’s western border. While farm-to-fork is considered a new trend, in Sonoma County it’s just called eating. Discover the destination’s rich culinary reputation in a …

Continue reading  

Take a ‘Swim Trek’ in Arizona’s Wild Desert

SwimTrek, known for open water swimming trips all over the world, returns to America’s southwest with a tour set in the stunning Salt River Lakes of Arizona. The unique week-long tour package offers lake swims alongside the iconic cliffs and canyons of Arizona’s Tonto National Forrest that offers a different perspective of the beauty–from the water. The River Canyons trip …

Continue reading  

Arizona Adventure is Calling

Visit abandoned mines in Superior Superior Tour Company, now operating out of Superior Arizona, provides guided off-road Jeep tours (under permit of the Tonto National Forest) to various locations in and around Superior. Tours include scenic, abandoned and historical mine sites, graveyards, night tours and custom packages starting at $45/per person. Superior Tour Company also offers a guided in-town scenic and informative golf …

Continue reading  

7 Reasons to CHILL in Greater Palm Springs

By Jan Maguire     Photos courtesy of Visit Greater Palm Springs   1. Surf’s Up!  Family-friendly thrills abound at Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs, a 16-acre water park where you can surf the FlowRider, careen down waterslides, and cool off with a super soak in Kahuna’s Beach House. If you’re feeling flush, rent a private cabana for the whole group …

Continue reading  

SHHH! It’s a Secret Escape to ‘Lake Life’

Although San Marcos’ history goes back to when the Spaniards settled in the fertile valley in 1797, the young city has only been incorporated for scarcely 50 years.  Known more as a residential community, it is situated surprisingly close to all the action—just 35 miles from downtown San Diego in the northern part of the county and bordered by Escondido, …

Continue reading  

Indulge the Senses in Ojai with Pixies & Lavender

It is probably redundant to say the word “hidden” in describing the idyllic berg of Ojai. The town that is found on a winding road leading inland off the 101, on the outskirts of Ventura, CA is fairly well secreted in general. But, within the citrus-dripping artist community there are bountiful hidden finds awaiting the springtime visitor. Highway 33 meanders …

Continue reading  

Top Ten Ways to Get Your ‘Rush’ in San Diego

1. Paragliding With nearly 100 years of flying history, Torrey Pines Gliderport , located north of the village of La Jolla, is America’s most popular coastal soaring site. Adventure seekers can take a tandem paragliding or hang gliding flight with professional, experienced instructors and enjoy a ride that is both thrilling and relaxing, as you soar off dramatic 300-foot cliffs …

Continue reading  

Top 10 Ways to Find your ‘Malibu Mindset’

Dramatic change is not what Malibu is about. That is exactly why the stars dwell there, despite the fires and floods that go in tandem with the area’s abundance of wild natural beauty. Still, big changes or not, new things are happening and others just keep getting better with each visit. Here are ten ways to see the hidden charms …

Continue reading  

Join Hopalong, Roy and Autry for ‘Concert in the Rocks.’ Live western history amid the Alabama Hills near Death Valley.

You may not know the Alabama Hills by name, but when you see the distinctive rock formations of the heavily mined hills, you may very well recognize them from hundreds of movies, television shows and commercials—old west and more contemporary.  Not far from Death Valley on Highway 395 is small town of Lone Pine, tempting with its own rugged brand …

Continue reading  

Love Coachella? Make it a ‘Month of Music’!

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, “Coachella,” and its country western counterpart, Stagecoach Country Music Festival, have come to dominate the music scene locally, nationally and internationally since Coachella’s inception nearly 20 years ago.  Recently named Billboard’s Top Festival of the Year, with box office revenue exceeding the $100 million mark, Coachella has earned its status as one of …

Continue reading  

Celebrate ‘Year of the Dog’–with your Dog in SoCal’s OC

Art, Fashion and Yappy Hour Just how often do annual celebrations, shopping and happy hours converge with your favorite four-footed friend? Hardly ever, so it’s time to celebrate in style in Costa Mesa—the home of shopping Mecca South Coast Plaza and one of the most dog-friendly hotels in the west, The Westin South Coast Plaza, which is situated a pedestrian …

Continue reading  

Top 10 Instagrammable Spots in San Diego

1. Cabrillo National Monument Perched high on the tip of Point Loma peninsula, Cabrillo National Monument provides Instagrammers spectacular images of the downtown skyline, Coronado, San Diego Bay and its many scenic marinas. You can even spy Tijuana on a clear day! (Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona, sandiego.org)   2. Chicano Park San Diego’s rich Hispanic heritage, culture and character visually …

Continue reading  

Take an ‘Oscar-Worthy’ Trip through Monterey County

FOR BEST ACTRESS, THE WINNER IS CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA & CARMEL VALLEY Joan Fontaine won the Best Actress Award for her role in Suspicion in 1941. Scenes for the movie were shot along the dramatic coastline between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur, standing in for the English coast. Carmel’s quaint architecture and shop-lined Ocean Avenue have also appeared in some Hollywood favorites including …

Continue reading  

‘Super Bloom’ Time in the West? Who Cares.

Death Valley ‘alive’ Last spring did not produce another “super bloom” of wildflowers in Death Valley National Park, but even so, the hottest and driest place in North America had its share of wildflower brilliance to be discovered. That once in a decade occurrence brought visitors from all over the globe to witness the brilliant display of life that inhabited …

Continue reading  

Tour San Diego’s 100 Neighborhoods like a Local

Barrio Logan Located south of downtown San Diego, Barrio Logan is a Mexican-American neighborhood established by refugees back in the early 20th century during the Mexican Revolution and stands rooted in civic movement. Throughout time, numerous rezoning projects slowly transformed this bayfront community into an industrial zone. However, in the 1970s when the construction of a California Highway Patrol Station …

Continue reading  

California’s Top Sand Dunes

The Coastal Sand Dunes Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes These dunes on California’s scenic central coast are the second largest in the state, spreading from Santa Barbara County to Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County. At Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park  in the hidden town of Guadalupe near Santa Maria, a paved road leads to the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. Far less …

Continue reading  

Top Starry Skies in the West

  Borrego Springs after Dark The small community of Borrego Springs is aptly designated one of only two International Dark Sky Communities in the world. “USA Today” rated Borrego as one of the top ten stargazing locations in the nation. The quiet of the area combined with the dark, star-filled sky make Borrego Springs a top choice for relaxation, especially …

Continue reading  

11 ‘Secret’ Orlando Theme Park Experiences

Think you know everything about Orlando theme parks? Maybe not. Orlando is without doubt one of the most visited destinations in the country, but there is always something new to discover within its top theme park experiences. Here are 11 off-the-beaten-path ways to have fun from Disney World and Universal to Sea World! Find more surprises at Visit Orlando. 1. …

Continue reading  

‘Moon-Seekers’ Head to Hawaii

We have full moons, harvest moons, blood moons and blue moons, however, your favorite moon might best be found—not in the sky–but in a tropical, ocean-front destination. For this kind of moon-seeker, Marriott’s prestigious Hawaii Resort Collection has rolled out a half dozen “moon” packages sure to elate any moonchild.  Hawaii-goers can choose their ultimate moon escape for any special …

Continue reading  

Spring Training in Arizona a ‘Homerun’

Roasted peanuts washed down with ice cold beers coupled with the sounds of cracking bats and snapping mitts means just one thing in spring in Arizona: Spring Training. More than 1.9 million baseball fans headed to the greater Phoenix area last year to get an advance peek at their favorite teams. This year, take advantage of some very special resort …

Continue reading  

More Aulani this Winter, More Family Magic

  Stepping into the voluminous resort lobby brimming over in Hawaiian legend and art is all it takes to realize that Aulani is unlike any other Disney property you have visited. The resort, a perfect marriage of Disney pixie dust and Hawaiian lore, is a haven of beauty and magic for families and couples alike. And, for a limited time this …

Continue reading  

Five Shining Stars: The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs likes to call itself the “heart of the American West,” and with good cause. It claims an old west history that is visible today in sprawling cattle ranches, pioneer museums, Gold Rush-era architecture and saddle-in-the-seat adventures from rodeos to horseback riding and mine exploring. And a gold nugget that combines the best of the western heritage just keeps …

Continue reading  

Your SoCal ‘Tiki’ Getaway Just a Hula Away

Wouldn’t a Polynesian escape be great about now? Visualize yourself sipping exotic rum drinks while sarong-clad dancers sway to the beat of drums. Flower leis, Tiki torches and white- sand beaches are all part of a “South Pacific state of mind.” If time and budget makes a trip to the islands impossible, don’t worry.  It can easily be your summer …

Continue reading  

Lottery to ‘Holy Grail of Stays’ at Grand Canyon

 Phantom Ranch, the legendary and only accommodations located below the rim of the Grand Canyon, can only be reached by mule, by hiking, or by rafting the Colorado River. That’s the easy part. The challenge has always been getting one of the 92 bunks in the cabin, because reservations are made up to five years in advance. Referred to as the …

Continue reading  

Bucket List ‘Must’: Mitchell Caverns off Route 66

The Providence Mountains nestled within the state-run recreation area, in a region otherwise surrounded by National Preserve land, is its own unique desert destination, distinguished by a range of mountains that bring cooler air and a botanic garden of cacti and pinyon. The bright red rhyolite in the higher elevations is home to Bighorn sheep and pinyon pines. Edgar Peak …

Continue reading  

Board your ‘Fantasy Flight’ on the Pan Am Experience

If you long for the nostalgic days of flying when passengers dressed up, wined and dined and enjoyed plenty of personal service, then now you can take a “fantasy flight” to relive a romantic era when flying was one of the best parts of your vacation. Before the long security lines, cramped seats and packaged food, airline travel was an …

Continue reading  

Hooray for Hollywood!

In the golden days of glitz and movie-dom glamour, hopeful starlets arrived by the busload to find fame in Hollywood where red-carpet excitement filled the nights, and dreams of stardom could come true while sipping a soda at the corner drugstore. Today, when people refer to Hollywood as the heart of movie-making and celebrity sightings, they are no longer referring …

Continue reading  

Explore ‘Hidden’ La Jolla

  La Jolla’s nickname, the Jeweled City, says it all. It sparkles like a multifaceted gem, from its seven miles of curving beachfront with glittering surf to its hillside estates and bistro- and boutique-filled Village. People come to explore nature at wondrous Torrey Pines State Reserve and play golf on fabled Torrey Pines Golf Course nearby. Visitors marvel at undersea …

Continue reading  

Be One of the First to Stay at LEGOLAND CASTLE

The nice thing about travel is that it can be a total immersion into another world—even when it is a fantasy world made entirely (almost) of LEGOS. In the Southern California coastal town of Carlsbad, enter an entire world of everything “Lego” at LEGOLAND and the new LEGOLAND CASTLE HOTEL, taking its first guests this spring.  As the nation’s first …

Continue reading  

7 Hidden Gems in the Nation’s Largest Urban Cultural Park

  With sprawling grounds and so many venues to explore, some of the park’s most interesting features go largely unnoticed by visitors. Look a little harder and enjoy these 7 unique experiences on your next visit to Balboa Park.   A Free Rembrandt: You can’t really take home an original Rembrandt for free, but it doesn’t cost a cent to …

Continue reading  

Corral the Romance of the Old West in Scottsdale

Scottsdale, founded as a farming town in the late 1800s, was coined the “The West’s Most Western Town” in the 1950s. Today, the city is a sprawling mecca of luxury with shopping, fine dining, resorts and myriad golf course communities which might make it seem fairly removed from its Old West moniker. However, if you look a little harder, you’ll …

Continue reading  

Get Way Above it All

Sometimes you just have to acquire a new perspective. And, there is no better way than getting above it all—really above it all.  Never underestimate the power of seeing the world unfold below you—with nothing but stars and sunshine above you. It is a lofty point of view that promises to take you away from all the stress and dizziness …

Continue reading  

Enjoy the Perfect Season on Catalina

    Those who make Catalina Island home know the secret: the off-season is one of the best times to visit. No crowds, untouched sandy escapes, clear skies and a mild Mediterranean climate.  Picture the French Riviera under a starry night with lights from the Casino dancing on the sea and little bistros sprinkled along tiled walking arcades. No traffic …

Continue reading  

Time for a SoCal ‘Dogcation’

A four-star luxury resort pampers guests with chef-created room service menus, plush 300-thread count sheets, soothing massages and—chew toys?  A recent statistic reveals that more than 30 million Americans travel with their pets. Judging by the number of creative pet perks being offered by the luxury resort industry, a high number of these pet-toting travelers are looking for top-notch personal …

Continue reading  

California’s Top Fairytale Castles

As Valentine’s Day approaches, romance takes center stage. For some people, romance comes in the form of candy and roses. But just ask any “princess” what really defines romance and her answer would be a hilltop castle to share with her Prince Charming. Even though we tend to associate fairytale castles with medieval Europe, California has its own share of …

Continue reading  

Explore SoCal’s Galapagos

A journey to the Galapagos Islands should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. However, if that trip is a little too far or expensive this year, you can achieve your own “Galapagos”-style adventure just a few hours from Los Angeles following the 101. A dozen miles off Southern California’s Pacific coastline near Ventura is a sparkling ribbon of rocks …

Continue reading  

Check off your “Bucket List”: Whale Watching

Travel surveys reveal that Whale Watching is consistently listed in the Top Ten Travel Bucket List. People arrive from all over the world for this uniquely West Coast phenomenon that can only be experienced a few months of the year—late winter through spring. Choose from a long list of whale watching experiences—from guaranteed whale sightings to journeying to the whales …

Continue reading  

Discover Treasure in Santa Fe

When Forrest Fenn hid a treasure chest filled with a million dollars’ worth of gold nuggets and precious jewels, he knew exactly what he was doing. In the last several years since the chest was hidden and the first clues emerged, thousands of people have searched high and low amid the beauty of Santa Fe, looking for the treasure. What …

Continue reading  

Time to Get Fit in Style at Rancho La Puerta

If you haven’t kept your New Year’s resolution to be healthy and fit, here is your solution all wrapped up in a week of splendor. And it is waiting for you just over the San Diego border at Rancho La Puerta, a 3,000-acre healthy-living paradise with flowering meadows, landscaped gardens and breathtaking vistas all nestled at the foot of Mount …

Continue reading  

Watch the Sun Rise on SoCal’s Serene Coast

Steep, rocky cliffs that rise then fall to meet with the foamy surf give the 26-square-mile Palos Verdes Peninsula a wild NorCal coastal vibe. This unique enclave, once home to what many consider Southern California’s first theme park, is nestled on a secluded and exclusive part of the state’s enviable coastline. The fact that it is populated by more million-dollar …

Continue reading  

Hop on Mesa’s Foodie Trail

Long before there was a Food Network, there was a “food network” in almost any area of the country you can imagine—even in largely urban areas that aren’t lined with lush groves and farmer’s fields. South Carolina has a “Sweet Tea Trail,” Oregon has its “Cheese Trail” and New Mexico has its “Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail”—one of my personal favorite …

Continue reading  

‘Recharge’ in Mendocino County

Dramatic, rocky cliffs that rise steeply above the swirling surf below welcome you to Mendocino County on California’s northern coast. Starkly beautiful, the coastal and inland area are filled with charming villages and unequalled natural landmarks—from the stately redwoods and trails lined with pygmy cypress to rolling hills draped in vineyards. This low-key paradise awaits with some of the state’s …

Continue reading  

Find More than Poppies in Lancaster

It seems there’s lots more sprouting in the high-desert city of Lancaster than its signature orange poppies. Nestled in the Antelope Valley known for its aviation history, Lancaster is making its own history these days as a progressive California city that also offers a weekend getaway full of surprises. Poised on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the region possesses …

Continue reading  

Top SoCal Hot Springs Getaways

When Southern California takes on a chill, our fair-weather “bones” aren’t always easy to warm. One sure way to seek both warmth and healing comfort is to submerge your body in the hot mineral water that naturally blesses the area. By the mid-1800s, the world was extolling the virtues of “taking the waters” or soaking in natural mineral hot water …

Continue reading  

Discover Intrigue in ‘Secret’ San Diego

Some secrets are just worth spilling—especially when they are tied up in adventure, fun and anything but the expected. If you think you know everything about San Diego and area, consider this an opportunity to add a few more favorites to your favorite region. For those who seek intrigue, pleasant surprises, let’s-not-tell finds and off-the-beaten-path treasures, this is just for …

Continue reading  

3 ‘New’ Reasons to Visit the Mojave Now

1. Tour Mitchell Caverns California’s equivalent to the Carlsbad Caverns has been closed to the public for nearly seven years. In November, the Mitchell Caverns re-opened for public tours. As the only limestone caves in the California State Park system (and only one of two you can enter), the natural attraction offers fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations going back to …

Continue reading