• Top 10 Affordable, Up-and-Coming Destinations to Visit this Summer

    Top 10 Affordable, Up-and-Coming Destinations to Visit this Summer

    HomeToGo.com / BT Editor

  • Puerto Vallarta 4-night oceanview escape, reg. $1229 - $699

    Puerto Vallarta 4-night oceanview escape, reg. $1229 - $699

    Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

  • Spend an Epic Memorial Day Weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida

    Spend an Epic Memorial Day Weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida

    Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Idyllic Fiji cruise w/meals & excursions, reg. $3399 - $999

    Idyllic Fiji cruise w/meals & excursions, reg. $3399 - $999

    Blue Lagoon Cruises - Nadi, Fiji

  • This Rocky Mountain City is the Perfect Environmentally-Conscious Destination

    This Rocky Mountain City is the Perfect Environmentally-Conscious Destination

    Visit Denver

  • Spend a 5-star week in Thailand (for 2), reg. $693 - $399

    Spend a 5-star week in Thailand (for 2), reg. $693 - $399

    Kalima Resort and Villas Khao Lak - Phuket, Thailand

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    Whisk Away with Flavor

    • Take a Tour Through American History Along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

      Take a Tour Through American History Along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

      August 2, 2007 was a historic day in America. On that day, the bitter partisanship that pretty much defines American politics was cast aside to pass a bill that declared bourbon to be our “National Spirit” and established September as National Bourbon Heritage Month. And here’s the best part: They passed the bill unanimously. Yes, unanimously. As further evidence of bourbon’s importance to American heritage as well as the nation’s economy, this isn’t the first time Congress passed a law involving the industry. In 1967, it passed a bill to define bourbon as a whiskey that must be distilled from at least 51% corn and aged in a new charred American white oak barrel and just as Champagne can only be made in the region of the same name in France and Iberico ham can only come from Spain and Portugal, bourbon must be made in the USA. Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash Which brings us to today. The bourbon industry is exploding—there were over 11.4 million barrels aging in Kentucky in 2021, which works out to 2.4 barrels for every citizen of the state. So-called “whiskey pilgrims,” from millennial enthusiasts to seasoned aficionados, have been flocking to Kentucky to visit bourbon distilleries and see how the spirit is made. But even before bourbon growth took off, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association established in 1880, a trade organization, founded the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999. (Bourbon production increased 571% since then, from 455,078 barrels in 1999 to 2.6 million in 2021). The KBT is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to head to the source and see craftsmanship in action. And the best part: the guidance the KBT provides is completely free. Each distillery offers tours that show the many steps of whiskey-making, from fermenting to distilling to barreling to bottling and, of course, what would a tour be without a lesson in tasting. The distilleries charge a minimal admission fee. It’s worth it. Just go to the site and download the map. It shows the number of miles between distilleries, which ranges between eight and 70, and lot of other helpful logistical details. There are 46 distilleries on the trail. The KDAhas created The Bourbon Trail™ Passport & Field Guide for you to take from stop to stop. Get it stamped at each distillery and you can earn rewards. Among the stops is the iconic Maker’s Mark Distillery, a National Historic Landmark. It’s set up with the house of its founders replicated to period detail. You can watch workers dip the bottles in the red wax Maker’s is known for and even try it for yourself in the gift shop. Courtesy of Jim Beam The massive Jim Beam Distillery is a mighty sight to behold, what with 10.7 million (9 liter) cases sold in 2020 . This is indeed the slickest stop on the tour. The company is in its seventh generation of Beams and old-school heritage looms large in its mythology, yet it’s all presented with all kinds of digital bells and whistles. The visitor center is a veritable multi-story museum, with interactive educational elements. They also offer an interactive multi-sensory tour and a decanter museum that would make an antiques collector swoon. Prepare to spend a lot of time here. Heaven Hill, the oldest family-run distillery, offers the Bourbon Heritage Center, a museum of bourbon, past to present. You are welcomed onto the Heaven Hill campus by several rickhouses, filled with up to 52,000 barrels each. The newest rickhouse on site features a bird’s eye view into the resting barrels with a glass window corner spanning the seven floors. The exterior of the updated visitor center showcases a replica of how the distillery looked in 1935, an authentic, vintage barrel truck representative of what the Shapira brothers may have driven in the 1940s and an updated sign celebrating the new name. Wild Turkey and Four Roses have both invested vast sums in the last few years to open stunning visitor centers at their historic distilleries, each one a shrine to American heritage. With all the tourist pouring into (sorry, no pun intended) the state, they need someplace to eat and drink after a day of touring. Louisville has become quite an urban destination. Inventive restaurants are opening at a rapid clip, and meantime, some of the longstanding institutions banded together to form the Urban Bourbon Trail, a guide to some of the most incredible bourbon bars in Louisville, which basically means the most incredible bourbon bars in the world. Presented by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/

    • The 7 Best Whiskey Bars in The US

      The 7 Best Whiskey Bars in The US

      Once upon a time, whiskey was the currency of cowboys and grandfathers. Then the story changed. Over the past two decades, Scotch, bourbon and Irish whiskey have become some of the fastest growing spirits in the world. In the United States, it has become increasingly easy to find bars specializing in uisce beatha. (That’s Gaelic for “water of life” and the source of the word “whiskey”). Most feature bartenders who work in a sommelier-like capacity to answer questions and offer suggestions that best suit your preferences. Here are some of the best spots to slake your whiskey thirst. And curiosity. Brandy Library: New York, New York There’s a casual elegance that pervades the Brandy Library, which opened in 2004, earning it the badge of first whiskey bar in New York. (As legend has it, owner Flavien Desoblin christened it “Brandy Library” instead of “Whiskey Library” because when he opened the place, whiskey wasn’t a fraction as cool as it is now and he worried it might turn people away.) Brandy Library, in the posh Tribeca neighborhood, is a full-immersion experience. Shelves line several walls in the sepia-toned, living-room-like bar. Add to that copper lighting fixtures inspired by liquor stills and a gorgeous leather-bound menu arranged by region, and you have a Mecca-level destination worth a pilgrimage. Silver Dollar: Louisville, Kentucky The Silver Dollar is located in the heart of Bourbon Country © Liza Weisstuch There are many reasons to visit the Silver Dollar. Architecture junkies will be intrigued by how this 1890 fire house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was transformed into one of Louisville’s hippest hangouts. (Yes, the fire pole is still standing.) Music-lovers will appreciate how it stands as a tribute the Bakersfield Sound, the classic country music style credited to Buck Owens, who, in the 1950s, infused Nashville’s popular swinging country with the strumming Mexican conjunto music he discovered in his local California bars. The fact that bartenders play country music on vinyl only elevates the vintage vibe. Similarly, the southern regional cuisine on the menu has a spicy Mexican accent. And then, of course, there is the American whiskey, which is in no shortage here in the bourbon capital of the world. Jack Rose Dining Saloon: Washington, DC Inside the Jack Rose © Greg Powers The Jack Rose is less whisky bar and more whisky kingdom, of sorts, offering a range of environments for imbibing in Washington, DC’s, vibrant Adam’s Morgan neighborhood. The main bar and dining room is a handsome dark-wood-and-leather affair lightened with soaring ceilings, tall windows, and a marble bar. Those high ceilings are necessary to house the nearly 2700 brands of whiskey, many of which are accessible to the bartenders only by ladder. Not sure what you like? No pressure, you can buy anything as a half-ounce pour here so go on and experiment. Upstairs is a seasonal tiki bar as well as an open-air terrace with a bar of its own featuring a barbecue pit area equipped with heat lamps so you can chill out in the winter. Speaking of barbecue, food here leans southern and hearty, with fried green tomatoes and cornmeal fried oysters playing leading roles on the menu. Seven Grand: Los Angeles, California The hunting-lodge stylings of Seven Grand in LA © Liza Weisstuch If there’s one thing you should know about Seven Grand, it’s that its whiskey menu is 44 pages long. Yes, 44 pages. You could say that this antique-y, dimly lit hunting-lodge-chic bar, which opened in 2007, is the antithesis of Los Angeles, where so many bars and restaurants are airy and light. Or you could argue that Seven Grand is quintessentially LA, what with its transportive movie-set-like ambiance, complete with details like mounted deer heads and vintage furniture. Regardless, it claims the biggest whiskey collection in the West, making it an attraction for aficionados and the whisky-curious. The whiskey list does soar to super-premium heights, but the vibe here is very down-to-earth. (See: pool tables, live music.) And for those in-the-know, there’s Jackelope, an intimate Japanese-style whiskey bar tucked away in the back. Fiori D’Italia: Anchorage, Alaska When an earthquake struck Anchorage, Alaska, in 2018, many of whiskey bottles from the collection of more than 400 at Fiori d’Italia hit the ground and shattered. Building the collection had been an ongoing pursuit for the young bar manager Ylli Ferati, whose family owns and runs the discreetly tucked-away Italian restaurant. But thanks to his perseverance and vast industry connections, he was able to rebuild the biggest whiskey selection in Alaska. The restaurant, which is owned and run by Ylli’s parents, immigrants from Macedonia, is decidedly old-school Italian, and while they do indeed have a wine list, Ylli encourages exploring whiskey pairings with the food, a fine way to understand the spirit’s universal appeal. Multnomah Whiskey Library: Portland, Oregon The massive collection in the Multnomah Whiskey Library lines the shelves on the wall © Dina Avila There is a good chance that you’ll stop in your tracks the first time you walk into the Multnomah Whiskey Library in downtown Portland, Oregon, and behold its grandeur. True to its name, it’s set up as like a library reading room, complete with long tables and desktop-style lamps. But don’t expect quiet contemplation here. After all, its shelves are not packed with books, but with about 2,000 bottles of whiskey, plus a healthy assortment of rum, tequila and cognac. If cocktails are your preference, you’re in for a treat: the service here involves a dedicated bartender who takes the order at your table and makes the cocktail tableside. While not a speakeasy, its entrance is a tad discreet, so stay on the lookout for the “Whisky Library” sign. And pro tip: It’s a spacious place and very popular, so arrive early to get your name on the list. Delilah’s: Chicago, Illinois For many years, the term “whiskey bar” conjured up images of high-end fusty affairs. The recent bourbon boom has made brown water a more democratic drink, but before bourbon became a hipster spirit, there was Delilah’s, which stood out – and continues to gather fans – for the way it uniquely captures whiskey’s freewheeling, rock’n’roll soul. This Chicago hangout has a dive-y vibe, complete with weathered banquettes, Christmas lights, and live rock bands. You’ll find as much pretension here as you might in your local CVS. Yet the global whiskey selection is world-class and the bartenders can each provide a thorough whiskey education. Presented by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/

    • Bardstown, Kentucky - Bourbon Capital of the World®

      Bardstown, Kentucky - Bourbon Capital of the World®

      The smell is the first thing you'll notice: vanilla, some caramel. That's the scent of bourbon in the air. Workers at nearby distilleries call the fumes "the angel's share"--a fitting term, considering that this town about 40 miles south of Louisville is home to both whiskey people and monks. The area once claimed more than 20 distilleries. Only two (Barton and Heaven Hill) remained in 2006 but Bardstown has rebounded and now boasts over 11 distilleries, the most (bourbon) in any city! Their title as the Bourbon Capital of the World makes Bardstown a must-visit for bourbon enthusiasts. With friendly locals and a relaxed, small-town atmosphere, Bardstown warmly welcomes tourists, offering an authentic experience where you can savor the town's beauty, explore its rich history, and, of course, indulge in the finest bourbon-making heritage the region has to offer. Things to Do: Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History -The museum displays a 50 year collection of rare artifacts and documents concerning the American whiskey industry dating from pre-Colonial days to post-Prohibition years. The museum includes exhibits on President Washington, Abraham Lincoln, authentic moonshine stills, antique bottles and jugs, medicinal whiskey bottles, unique advertising art, novelty whiskey containers, and much more. Heaven Hill Distillery - Courtesy of Visit Bardstown Bourbon Trail - Bardstown is an Official Gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and a must-book stop for all of the rest. Nowhere in Kentucky—or the world for that matter—can you find as many bourbon distilleries in such proximity. No matter what direction you’re headed, you’ll experience scenic drives of rolling hills and rickhouses amongst bourbon’s greatest brands. Explore the trail options, including group tours and discounts, or discover a curated experience with a Bourbon Trail guide. Federal Hill Plantation House - which showcases 19th-century Southern aristocratic life. The mansion, in My Old Kentucky Home State Park, was home to the prominent Rowan family. Guides in antebellum costumes spin yarns about how composer Stephen Foster had such a fine stay in 1852 that he immortalized the place by writing "My Old Kentucky Home," now the state song. Six days a week in summer, locals gather in the park's amphitheater to immortalize him, too, in Stephen Foster--The Musical. Where to Stay: Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn - Courtesy of Visit Bardstown Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn - Bourbon Manor is a Bourbon-Lover’s Paradise – where Bourbon is celebrated every day of the year. Offering 10 spacious, antique-appointed and spirit-themed B&B guest rooms this award-winning, historic bed and breakfast is an ideal, centrally-located lodging option for Bourbon Country tours and excursions. Be sure to make time to indulge in their award-winning, full country “gourmet” breakfast that includes some fabulous breakfast desserts infused with Bourbon! Abbey of Gethsemani - In 1848, a group of monks from France settled in nearby hills and founded the Abbey of Gethsemani, the nation's oldest--and most incongruously located--Trappist monastery. The brothers host spiritual retreats; guests come for at least two days and donate whatever they can. "And if you can't pay this year, send us what you can, or pay us next year," says Brother Thaddeus Jailer's Inn - If lodging with the pious doesn't appeal, why not sleep with the ghosts of sinners? The Jailer's Inn has nine guest rooms in a former jail. A full breakfast with French toast and fresh strawberries is served in the courtyard, the former location of the gallows. To learn more about Bardstown be sure to visit their site. Presented by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/

    • 6 VRBO Escapes Inspired by the New Bird Dog Whiskeys

      6 VRBO Escapes Inspired by the New Bird Dog Whiskeys

      If your favorite whiskey flavor were a vacation home, where would you go? Transport yourself to the very places your taste buds dream of. Dive into the vacation realm inspired by Bird Dog Whiskey's new innovative flavors. These aren’t just destinations; they’re sensory adventures. Pack Bird Dog Whiskey's newest flavor releases and match the mood of these magnificent, unique, and exceptionally rated vacation homes from VRBO – from the rich aromas of pumpkin spice to the surprising undertones of mesquite brown sugar. Your escapade just got a whole lot zestier. 1. Pair with Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice: Book on VRBO: Elegant Cabin in Perfect Location! Private but close to Everything! Gatlinburg, TN Source: VRBO - The large open area floor plan makes the cabin feel even bigger than it is! Enjoy the falling leaves of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This beautifully maintained log cabin is a stone's throw away from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Adorned with cathedral ceilings, it features a luxurious upstairs primary suite with a jetted tub. Outside, a covered deck boasts a new hot tub and stunning natural views, while a front porch offers seasonal mountain vistas from comfortable rocking chairs. Whether for a romantic escape or a family getaway, its location and charm make it an ideal vacation choice. Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice 2. Pair with Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar: Book on VRBO: Desert Reverie at Mesquite Cabin - Twentynine Palms, California Source: VRBO - The private stone hot tub at Mesquite Cabin Step into this sanctuary amidst the Mojave Desert, perfectly positioned by Joshua Tree National Park. The Mesquite Cabin is a green retreat, where eco-friendly meets luxurious relaxation. Indulge in a heavenly soak in its stone tub, filled with mineral-rich hot springs, under the vast, starlit sky. Nature’s elegance, with a sustainable touch. Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar 3. Pair with Bird Dog S'mores: Book on VRBO: Modern Luxury Waterfront on Lake Norman - Mooresville, NC Modern Luxury Waterfront on Lake Norman - Resort Style This lavish 4000+ sq ft home offers 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, an expansive bunk room, and a modern chef's kitchen tailored for entertainment. Relish in the 1,300 sq ft covered outdoor space, boasting an outdoor kitchen, built-in bar for 10, and breathtaking Lake Norman views. The primary suite is a haven with a Nordictrack treadmill, opulent bath, sauna, and stone tub. Enjoy multiple scenic outdoor sitting areas and a two-story dock in a prime location, just a short boat ride to the main channel. Set on an acre, this wooded property ensures privacy while being near dining, shopping, and outdoor activities. Experience North Carolina's premier Lake Norman for an unforgettable vacation. Bird Dog S'mores 4. Pair with Bird Dog Black Espresso: Book on VRBO: Island Mornings at the Hawaiian Surf Cottage - Haiku-Pauwela, Hawaii Source: VRBO - Featured in HAWAII Magazine: "Favorite place to stay in Hawaii" Experience Maui's genuine heartbeat at this cozy surf retreat, shadowed by the imposing Haleakala. Awake with the North Shore's early risers, surf the morning waves, and revel in the tropical ambiance. Perfect for couples celebrating their honeymoon or anniversary! Enjoy the outdoor shower, semi-private yard with a surfboard fence and murals and outdoor covered area for relaxing. Private and quiet cottage in a wonderful location for exploring the North Shore, Road to Hana and Haleakala. And for those caffeine aficionados, a charming local café beckons just around the corner. Bird Dog Black Espresso 5. Pair with Bird Dog Candy Cane: Book on VRBO: Fantasy Fulfilled at Candy Crush Castle - Davenport, Florida Source: VRBO- One of the fun themed bedrooms at Candy Crush Castle Embark on a whimsical journey at this enchanting Florida villa. With rooms straight out of fairy tales and a plethora of games, this "castle" is the epitome of playful luxury. Whether you're navigating through the Candy Factory bedroom or gaming in the Hideout, delight is at every corner. And when the evening grows quiet, the grown-ups can savor a hushed moment of relaxation. Bird Dog Candy Cane 6. Pair with Bird Dog Gingerbread: Book on VRBO: Victorian Elegance at The Gingerbread House, Savannah, Georgia Source: VRBO - A street view of the Gingerbread House Step into a bygone era at Savannah’s iconic Gingerbread House, radiating the charm of the Black Forest's architectural wonder. This historic beauty offers an enticing blend of vintage appeal and modern comforts. After exploring the vibrant streets of Savannah, retreat to the tranquil courtyard, and warm yourself by the fire pit with a heartening drink. Bird Dog Gingerbread There you have it – six destinations, six experiences, all enhanced with a touch of Bird Dog Whiskey. So why wait? Let flavors guide your next journey. Cheers to spirited adventures! Sponsored by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/

    • Add Some Extra Flavor to These Classic Seasonal Activities

      Add Some Extra Flavor to These Classic Seasonal Activities

      Don't let the stress and busy-ness of the holidays take over this year. Wind down from all the excitement with the perfect drink from Bird Dog's seasonally-inspired whiskeys. The flavors below encapsulate the holidays and perfectly complement a number of classic fall and winter activities. These drinks are sure to add a festive touch to group gatherings and fun-filled days, so stock your bar at home and book those holiday plans now! Pumpkin Spice - Fall Festivals and Spooky Nights A spooky fall display with candles and pumpkins by Freestocks - Unplash Pumpkin spice-flavored items have a cult-like following, the fervor of which peaks in October just in time for Halloween events and fall festivals. Pumpkins abound—on doorsteps, outside grocery stores, and all over any variety of fall events. However, the extra kick of a pumpkin-spiced whiskey comes in handy when attempting to calm the nerves (before or after) a haunted house or extra spooky Halloween-themed activity. If you're interested in scary thrills, head to St. Augustine, Florida for the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum. Built in 1798, this house has seen its fair share of occupants. To celebrate Halloween, the Museum is offering Mortality and Mourning: A Century of Death, a family-friendly tour revealing how St. Augustinians in the 1800s practiced medicine and mourned. Tours are offered twice nightly on Friday and Saturday evenings, through Saturday, October 28. Additionally, The Colonial Quarter hosts the Halloween Spooktacular, presented by the St. Augustine Swashbucklers. Adventure through haunted grounds Friday, October 27th through Sunday, October 29th. Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice Candy Cane - Holiday Performances Ballet dancers backstage by Kazuo Ota - Unsplash As fall fades, peppermint-infused treats begin to make their way in anticipation of the Christmas season. Shows such as The Nutcracker are traditionally family favorites and performances of the classic ballet are typically available in most major cities. In addition to professional theatre, though, December is also the peak season for school holiday programs. Whether you're celebrating a festive night out in town, or recovering from a long night (or nights) of a packed family schedule, a festive candy cane-infused bourbon is a great addition to the evening. In Jacksonville, Florida, the performing arts lineup is packed for the holiday season. The theaters of Jacksonville get into the holiday spirit through the end of the year with performances of heart-warming classics and cheery seasonal programming. The Jacksonville Symphony will perform the First Coast Nutcracker in December with prized dancers and magical set pieces at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts. Alhambra Theatre & Dining puts on Miracle on 34th Street from mid-November until Christmas Eve. In early December, the Ritz Theater & Museum will host the Jacksonville Christmas Spectacular, three humorous and fun stories in one show featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars DrumLine as a musical guest. Bird Dog Candy Cane S'mores - Outdoor Adventures A roaring campfire in the mountains by Courtnie Tosana - Unsplash S'mores top the list of outdoor campfire treats. If you've got a plan to enjoy the fall colors and changing of the seasons with camping, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, be sure to bring along a celebratory beverage like Bird Dog S'mores Flavored Whiskey (no campfire required!). A drink like this is especially useful if you need to wind down from a thrilling day of climbing, rafting, mountain biking, or other more extreme activities. Ride the rapids in a thrilling white water rafting trip in East Tennessee: The Ocoee River, renowned for its Olympic course, ranks among the top whitewater rivers in the US. Its 11-mile stretch transforms into a thrilling whitewater adventure, drawing over 300,000 paddlers annually. Nestled within the Bald and Unaka Mountains, the Nolichucky River boasts a nine-mile gorge, offering a wild and thrilling setting. Considered a challenging Class III or IV river, guided trips are available for adventurers aged 12 and above. The Upper Pigeon River, surrounded by the stunning Great Smoky Mountains, provides Class III rapids and a range of outfitter-guided excursions. For a more relaxed experience, the Lower Pigeon River offers gentle rapids, swimming spots, and scenic views, making it ideal for families and leisurely float trips. Designated as a State Scenic River, the Hiwassee River features predominantly Class I and II rapids, with some sections reaching Class III during water releases. Outfitters offer self-guided rafting, guided fishing, and accommodation options, making it a versatile destination for a variety of outdoor activities. Bird Dog S'mores Mesquite Brown Sugar - Light Displays and Natural Beauty Las Noches de Las Luminarias - Courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden The earthy notes of mesquite and sweet warmth of brown sugar combine to make the perfect flavor profile for a night exploring the many tree lighting ceremonies, and beautifully-illuminated outdoor spaces this time of year. Stroll through decoratively lit city parks and twinkly trees with a drink in hand, or pour a nightcap after a magical evening out. In Phoenix, Arizona, visitors can enjoy hundreds of hand-lit luminarias around the Desert Botanical Garden as live performances and entertainment, and festive snacks complete a picture-perfect evening at Las Noches de Las Luminarias. Celebrate the Mexican holiday tradition of La Posada (December 17th) with singing processions, traditional Mexican food and beverage, as well as a piñata breaking experience for children. Nearby, Old Town Scottsdale hosts Scottsdazzle, a signature holiday spectacular with an annual Sing-Along & Tree Lighting Ceremony (this year's is November 25th). Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar Espresso - Holiday Shopping and City Tours Nutcrackers on display in a store window by Dare Artworks - Unsplash Holiday shopping doesn't have to be rough. Seasonal markets can be a great way to support local vendors and craftsmen, while exploring new places. Plan a night out to a big city to enjoy the markets and holiday light installations. An espresso-flavored drink matches the tone of a bustling retail atmosphere, without giving the over-stimulating punch of an actual coffee. Head to San Francisco for a fun shopping experience. Visit The Park Market at Crane Cove with local makers, live music, food and drink vendors, and family-friendly activities to one of the city's newer parks. The Trick or Treat Market on October 28 will include Halloween activities and crafts, while the series ends on November 19 with a Holiday Mercantile. Explore more of the city with a unique tour, powered by augmented-reality and Paper Tree - The Origami Store. Visitors scan a QR code at Paper Tree to begin an immersive origami adventure on their smartphones. As they stroll along Japantown's Buchanan Street, colorful red and white envelopes appear to “float in the air.” The user's proximity triggers an envelope to open, revealing a larger-than-life origami diorama. Using their smartphone, visitors can walk around the origami figures and inspect them from all angles to see the intricate folds made to create each piece. A pop-up display also shows the artist's name and which origami papers from Paper Tree were used in the work. A flock of gold origami cranes flutters across the sky once all the dioramas are revealed. Bird Dog Black Espresso Gingerbread - Make-Believe and Magic Warm drink and gingerbread by Flotsam - Shutterstock No matter what you celebrate, the holiday season has a special kind of magic to it. The end-of-the-year celebrations inspire acts of kindness, magical decor, and whimsical stories. The spirit of gift-giving and thankfulness can soften even the most scrooge-y of people. Holiday vacations from work and school—whether spent relaxing at home, with family, or at a fun destination—often center around festive meals and treats. Adding a gingerbread-flavored cocktail make a festive addition to big get togethers with friends and family. For a truly magical experience, take the family to a winter wonderland like the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee which features kids activities, magical decor, ice skating, and light displays every November and December. Or, step back into a storybook with a trip on one of the many polar express train rides across the country. One of the best can be found in Durango, Colorado aboard the vintage steam train. The Polar Express Train Ride takes visitors on a narrow-gauge rail through the Rocky Mountains for an immersive re-creation of the classic holiday story. Enjoy hot cocoa and treats on the way to the "North Pole," where visitors will enjoy a light show and the train picks up Santa Claus himself. On the return trip to Durango, Santa will visit each coach and hand out the first gift of Christmas to each passenger. Bird Dog Gingerbread Sponsored by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/


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    10 Best Amusement Parks in America

    There are hundreds of amusement parks in America to choose from, which is why we narrowed our list down to ten of the best. From Universal Orlando Resort in Florida to Disneyland in California; discover ten incredible amusement parks in the USA. 10. Disneyland Resort, California Consisting of two iconic theme parks, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort in California is an enchanting destination that captivates visitors of all ages. From classic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain to immersive worlds like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s something for everyone. The attention to detail, beloved characters, and fantastic shows make it a dream for Disney fans and anyone seeking some nostalgic fun. 9. LEGOLAND California, California Legoland California Courtesy of legoland.com LEGOLAND is an extraordinary theme park where imagination and inspiration meet through life-sized LEGO figures, thrilling attractions, and interactive activities. Explore the worlds of LEGO Star Wars or Miniland USA, where you can see the Las Vegas Strip and the skyline of New York City entirely made of LEGO bricks! With over 60 attractions and shows, as well as a water park, it’s the perfect place to spend a few days – just over an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. 8. Six Flags Magic Mountain, California Six Flags Magic Mountain in California boasts some impressive records. It holds the world record for the most roller coasters in one park, with over 19 heart-pounding attractions to choose from. Visitors flock to the park for rides like Wonder Woman Flight of Courage and X2. With its renowned reputation for extreme thrills, Six Flags Magic Mountain is a haven for roller-coaster enthusiasts. The continuous innovation and new additions make it a must-see. 7. Universal Studios Hollywood, California Get swept away by the stars of Hollywood at Universal Studios, another fascinating amusement park that transports you to new worlds. Some favorites include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can immerse yourself in Hogwarts. And of course we have to mention Fast & Furious-Supercharged, where you can go on an exciting chase with the iconic cast, at speeds of over 118mph! Don’t miss the new SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™ as well; a colorful themed area featuring the high-tech attraction Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge. 6. Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey About an hour and a half drive from New York City, lies another top-notch Six Flags amusement park: Great Adventure. Along with tons of great rides for all ages – including the iconic Kingda Ka roller coaster – the park offers lovely shopping areas. It also has a fantastic safari adventure, featuring 1200 animals and overnight camping in the safari park. If you visit during the summer, don’t miss out on the refreshing water slides and attractions at Hurricane Harbor. 5. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida Bush Gardens by Viaval Tours / Shutterstock.com Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has an intriguing history as both an amusement park and a zoo. It’s inspired by the African continent and offers a blend of thrilling attractions and encounters with exotic animals. Some top attractions include the heart-pounding and brand-new Serengeti Flyer and the lightning-fast Cheetah Hunt. In the Serengeti Safari and Jungala, you can get up close to fascinating animals. With its thrilling rides, immersive animal experiences and captivating shows, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a must for animal lovers and thrill-seekers. 4. Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Texas Six Flags Fiesta Texas, located in San Antonio, Texas, was originally an abandoned limestone quarry, before it was transformed into the exciting amusement park we know today. The unique setting and thrilling attractions make it a must-see. The park offers a variety of rides, including epic roller coasters like Iron Rattler and Superman: Krypton Coaster. Dubbed the ‘Thrill Capital of the World,’ you can expect some of the best roller coasters in the country, including a fantastic water park to cool off in! 3. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Florida Disney magic is all around in the land of Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Magic Kingdom is a fantastic amusement park that will enchant everyone. With exciting and interactive rides for kids of all ages (including big kids like yourself), spend your days meeting Cinderella, Ariel and the family of The Incredibles, or exploring the amazing alien world of Avatar in the Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Speed enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the TRON coaster, opening in the spring of 2023. 2. Knott’s Berry Farm, California Knott’s Berry Farm in California literally began as a berry farm in the 1920s and has since become a famous amusement park. It attracts visitors seeking excitement with historic charm. The park has nearly 50 attractions, offering something for everyone. Roller coaster enthusiasts will get a thrill from GhostRider and HangTime, while families will enjoy the kid-friendly adventures in Camp Snoopy. Don’t miss the immersive experience of Ghost Town, either. With its rich heritage, diverse attractions and thrilling experiences, Knott’s Berry Farm promises an unforgettable adventure. 1. Universal Orlando Resort, Florida Universal Orlando by Craig Russell / Shutterstock.com The Universal Orlando Resort consists of three amusement parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and the water park Universal’s Volcano Bay. Immerse yourself in the magical and exotic worlds of iconic films like Despicable Me, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park. Visit the Goblins at Gringotts Bank, make like the young wizards and witches by shopping for your wand in Diagon Alley or get up close and personal with a T-Rex on the thrilling Jurassic Park River Adventure water ride! Starting from summer 2023, you can also experience the delightful world of the Minions in Illumination’s Minion Land. With so much to discover, the kids won’t want to leave…and neither will you. For more information visit Musement.


    Best States for Camping

    Few things are more relaxing than a night under the stars while camping with your favorite folks. Which states offer the best spots for a rustic retreat? To kick off the start of camping season, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best States for Camping in America. They compared the 50 states based on 25 metrics, such as campsite access, acreage, and trails. They also considered safety, supplies, camper satisfaction, and affordability. They then grouped those factors into five categories: Access, Quality, Supplies, Safety, and Affordability, and ranked each state accordingly. Map out your camping bucket list with the rankings below. West Coast adventures Joshua Tree - courtesy of morethanjustparks.com California hikes to first place for the second year in a row, while Washington state trails just behind at No. 2. Both states scored high in Access, Quality, and Supplies, but the Golden State gives campers the most space for a night off the beaten path. Stay safe if you camp in these two states: They lack phone coverage and have high rates of park deaths. California holds the record for the most park deaths between 2010 and 2020 at 300 — 151 more than the next state, Arizona. Always check the weather before venturing out, and bring enough water to last your journey. However, with 7.2 million first-time campers hitting the trails in 2022, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make camping reservations. It might be hard to book a site at Yosemite, but have no fear — The Golden State is full of top-tier camping destinations. From seaside escapes at Channel Islands National Park to waterfalls and redwoods at Big Basin Redwoods State Park to the sand dunes in Joshua Tree, California has a mega variety of environments to roam. Camp near meadows of wildflowers and an active stratovolcano at Mount Rainier National Park. Explore valleys, waterfalls, and more than 300 glaciers at North Cascades National Park. Another icon, Olympic National Park, offers abundant wilderness, with diverse landscapes including temperate rainforests, breathtaking coastlines, and icy mountains. Many beautiful camping opportunities exist in Oregon (No. 21). Unfortunately, the Beaver State lags behind its Pacific Coast neighbors at No. 49 in Affordability and with the third-worst average consumer rating for campgrounds. Wide-open spaces Mountains in Big Bend National Park - courtesy of nps.gov Texas (No. 3) is a big state full of diverse camping opportunities. The Lone Star State claims the second-highest number of campgrounds, campsites, and camping supply stores. There’s plenty of room to roam with a high total acreage of campgrounds (No. 4) and state and national parks (No. 6). Cowpokes and campers can sleep comfortably under starry skies, with abundant sites with access to water (No. 2) and toilet facilities (No. 4). Sleep under the stars at Big Bend National Park, which is a designated International Dark Sky Park. Camp on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore, or float around the Texas Hill Country at Guadalupe River State Park. Trailing behind Bison in the Yellowstone River, Wyoming - courtesy of nps.gov America is full of bountiful camping opportunities, with unique spots in every state. Less populated states like West Virginia (No. 41), Wyoming (No. 42), Rhode Island (No. 49), Delaware (No. 44), and South Dakota (No. 45) land at the bottom alongside North Dakota in last place. These states aren’t necessarily bad for camping. In fact, with lower populations, you might even have less competition and a better chance of scoring a peaceful campsite. Their low rankings are due to a lack of camping locations, attractions, amenities, and supplies compared with the more populated, higher-ranking states. Wyoming stands out with the third-highest total campground, state, and national park acreage. Delaware has the biggest share of highly rated campgrounds, while North Dakota boasts the best average consumer rating of campgrounds and Safety record. Elevated experiences Camping in the Adirondacks - courtesy of visitadirondacks.com Many mountainous states climb to the top, offering breathtaking views for hikers and campers alike. From the Adirondacks and Catskills in New York (No. 5) to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado (No. 6) to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee (No. 12), many supreme camping states are home to iconic hiking destinations. Additionally, nine out of the 14 states that encompass the Appalachian Trail landed in the top half of our ranking. New York, Colorado, and Tennessee provide ample campgrounds, trails, and campsite activities to keep visitors busy. The wilderness and fresh air in Upstate New York have attracted campers for ages. Roll out your sleeping bag on a mountain in the Adirondacks or Catskills. You can also rent a cabin and go kayaking on the Finger Lakes or along two of the Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario. Seaside scenery Bahia Honda State Park, Florida - courtesy of supersimplesaltylife.com Some of the best states for camping also reel in sublime opportunities for fishing. Oceanside states like Florida (No. 4) and North Carolina (No. 9) bob at the top along with Michigan (No. 7) and Minnesota (No. 10). Florida floats to No. 1 in the Supplies rank, thanks to the highest number of RV rental offers. North Carolina, Michigan, and Florida each have top camping Access overall, with The Sunshine State landing at No. 2 in that category. Minnesota is also among the most affordable states for camping and swims to No. 2 in Safety. Wake up with a fresh sea breeze when you camp at Bahia Honda State Park. Ocala is more than a destination for campers who also love horses. Canoe, bike, or hike through the stunning Ocala National Forest. — To see more details and the full rankings, visit Lawn Love.

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    Explore the Outdoors on these Adventurous Summer Trips

    There are so many ways to spend summer vacation, but nothing beats an outdoor adventure this time of year. If you're looking for inspiration on where to go this year, here are four great vacation ideas to get the whole family outside and active. Adventure in the Rockies Bear Lake Trailhead in Estes Park, Colorado by Peter Pryharski - Unsplash Two of Colorado’s most treasured family vacation destinations – YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center and YMCA of the Rockies - Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby – recently announced summer season details including a new Aerial Challenge Course experiences and a Summer Olympics Passport program. Both the Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch rest on either side of Rocky Mountain National Park and feature numerous daily activities including pickleball, archery lessons, craft centers, miniature golf, roller skating, swimming, rock climbing with skilled instructors, hikes to waterfalls, the guest-favorite summer tubing hill at Snow Mountain Ranch and much more. Most on-site activities are included with a stay at the resort, in either a cozy cabin or an affordable hotel-style lodge room. Guests can challenge themselves by navigating the brand-new Aerial Challenge Courses at both Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch. The new adventure courses, towering 35 feet above the ground in the canopy of a Ponderosa Forest, feature a suspended aerial experience with swaying bridges, tightropes and more. The roughly 1.75-hour experience includes 30 minutes of instruction with a guide and is great for groups of up to 15 people. The course was created by Bonsai Design, a Colorado-based, woman-owned company which has designed courses all over the world. The Estes Park Center course opened for its first full season on April 15; and the Snow Mountain Ranch course is slated to open in June. To celebrate the upcoming Summer Olympic Games Paris 2024, YMCA of the Rockies has created a Summer Olympics Passport to Fun Program. Both properties offer a robust list of activities included with a stay – many of which are also Olympic sports – so guests can try their hand at a number of sports they will see during the Paris games. From June 15 – August 15, guests can pick up an Olympic passport from the Programs Building, travel around each property and collect stamps for all of the Olympic-themed activities, including archery, basketball, climbing, (mini-)golf, table tennis, swimming, tennis, volleyball, roller skating and more. Rocky Mountain National Park is part of the National Park Service’s “pilot reservation system,” requiring timed entry permits for visitors. However, because of YMCA of the Rockies’ prime location and exclusive access, guests at the Estes Park Center have access to dozens of hike-in, hike-out trails – and even guided hikes – accessible with a park entrance pass. Additionally, in a nod to nostalgic summer camp-like experiences, both properties offer a variety of summer activities such as daily educational sessions; naturalist workshops focused on birding, geology, plants, wildflowers, and the history of Rocky Mountain National Park; as well as a weekly schedule of organized classic games and activities for guests including kickball, capture the flag, human Hungry Hungry Hippo, dodgeball and much more. Accommodations range from affordable hotel-style lodge rooms with common areas perfect for groups traveling together, to pet-friendly, multi-bedroom private cabins featuring wrap-around porches, full kitchens, and a variety of sleeping options. Snow Mountain Ranch is also home to a “Yurt Village” and campground in the summer months. Most lodge rooms and cabins do not have televisions, providing a truly unplugged experience. Day Camps will be available at both properties for children ages 3 -17, Monday through Friday from early June through mid-August. Guests may register for one day, several days or a week at a time. Day camp rates start at $50/day at Estes Park Center and $140/week at Snow Mountain Ranch. For a full list of activities, reservations, events and more, go to www.ymcarockies.org. Bike across Tennessee A bike on a path in Nashville by Christin Hume - Unsplash The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) is inviting cyclists to experience Tennessee on 52 new curated road cycling routes that wind their way through the state's picturesque landscapes. The new program, Bike Tennessee, launched today at BikeTN.com and allows cyclists to engage with the routes using the app Ride with GPS. “From our music to our makers, Tennessee is a state full of storytellers and our beauty is unmatched,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, TDTD. “As travelers increasingly seek sustainable and authentic experiences, we invite them to explore our scenic routes and discover the charm of our small towns. We are pleased to partner with Ride with GPS and showcase the hidden gems and breathtaking landscapes that define our state.” Tennessee has been named an Ambassador for popular cycling app Ride with GPS, making all 52 routes easily accessible across the platform. Each Bike Tennessee route was meticulously mapped, ensuring cyclists have access to detailed navigation and route information. Ride descriptions provide valuable information about the terrain, waypoints and hidden gems along the way, as well as modifications to tailor each ride to the individual. The routes were created in collaboration with professional cycling guide Shannon Burke of Velo View Bike Tours, who brings more than a decade of experience leading cycling tours. Routes were selected with safety and scenery in mind, with 1,739 miles of routes mapped and 53 Tennessee counties included in the Bike Tennessee program. They offer seasoned cyclists mostly rural, low-traffic experiences in some of Tennessee's most scenic and historic landscapes, including 14 routes in Tennessee State Parks. “Tennessee has all the right ingredients to be one of the premier cycling destinations in the country—low-traffic backroads, welcoming communities and stunning scenery,” said Shannon Burke. “It's an amazing place to ride!” The outdoor recreation economy generates $11.9 billion for Tennessee, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Bike Tennessee aims to leverage the growing cycling community to increase visitation and economic impact throughout Tennessee. Cyclists can learn more about Bike Tennessee and explore the available road cycling routes by visiting www.BikeTN.com. Join the conversation on social media using hashtag #BikeTN. Hike—and help sustain—trails in Wisconsin Volunteers clean a trail - courtesy of Destination Madison As travelers look for more meaningful ways to engage with the places they travel to, Destination Madison unveiled a new “voluntourism” portal to connect visitors with volunteer opportunities in Madison and Dane County. The portal especially highlights the sustainability and outdoor offerings Madison is known for. Instead of simply hiking one of Madison many trails, visitors can volunteer to help maintain them. They can enjoy shopping at the Dane County Farmers Market, as seen on this season of Bravo's “Top Chef”, and can also give back to the community by volunteering at a food pantry. After kayaking in the shadow of the Wisconsin State Capitol, they can join a shoreline cleaning crew to ensure the beauty of Madison's lakes. Sustainability has long been both a local value and tradition, with Madison being home to the founder of America's National Parks, John Muir, environmental pioneer Aldo Leopold, and conservation icon Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day. The area features five lakes (which transform into frozen playgrounds in the winter), 200+ miles of bike paths and 299 public parks with many programs in place to preserve and protect these vital natural resources and spaces. Destination Madison emphasizes our community's sustainable efforts and is excited to share these opportunities with visitors. For more information, visit visitmadison.com. Explore history in St. Augustine, Florida Explore history in St. Augustine, Florida - courtesy of Florida's Historic Coast With 42 miles of pristine beaches, fathoms of deep blue water, and trails for days, Florida's Historic Coast makes it easy to enjoy nature's bounty. Get wild at Marineland Dolphin Adventure, explore the GTM Research Reserve, and get outside with these exciting adventures. Enjoy a long weekend at the beach at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, or get some fish on at the St. Augustine Kingfish Mayhem tournament, May 30-June 1. With a city that's 459 years old, Florida's Historic Coast has got it going on when it comes to history. Visitors can live it each day by walking the battlements at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument or seeing a real blacksmith in action at the Colonial Quarter. Experience a live musket firing demonstration at Fort Mose Historic State Park on the first Saturday on each month. Traveling to Florida's Historic Coast in May is more affordable, thanks to exclusive lodging offers for summer 2024, from three-star resorts to romantic bungalow escapes. Use the convenient trip planner to create your perfect itinerary.


    Fun RV Campgrounds to Visit This Summer

    It's the quintessential way to travel across the States in the summertime: the RV. Pack up the kids and pets and plot out your roadtrip for the 2024 season. The campgrounds below are the perfect spot to park and explore for a few days (or longer) with new amenities, family-friendly activities, and beautiful scenery. Spacious Skies Minute Man (Littleton, Massachusetts) Spacious Skies Minute Man in Littleton has been named one of the top 10 campgrounds in the U.S. by USA Today in a Reader’s Choice contest. Located 33 miles from the heart of Boston, Spacious Skies Minute Man is the only campground on the list on the East Coast. Others top campgrounds are in Indiana, California, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas. Nominations for the contest were made by a panel of top travel journalists with an expertise in RV travel. “Spacious Skies Minute Man is a destination where guests can experience the very best of RV adventures, and our staff there works incredibly hard to make sure that everyone who stays here feels welcome,” said Ali Rasmussen, co-founder of Spacious Skies Campgrounds. “This campground is a terrific choice for vacationers who want a mix of adventures, from peaceful play in the countryside to metropolitan fun in downtown Boston. You truly can do it all here.” Situated among tall shade trees, the campground features 93 RV sites with full hookups, seven rustic cabins, a camp store, accessible sites and facilities, swimming pool, dog park, WiFi, sport courts and a recreation hall. Public transportation to Boston is a short drive away. Attractions close to the campground include Kimbal Farm, an 85-year-old attraction known for its ice cream and confections; Nashoba Paddler, providing canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards; Doe Orchards with pick-your-own apples as well as various fruits and Christmas trees and Metro Rock Littleton featuring rock climbing for all ages and abilities. Members of the Spacious Skies Loyalty Program, called “Cosmic Campers” can save up to 12 percent on all RV sites, cabins and other accommodations. The cost to join the Loyalty Program is $31.90, a reflection of the company’s founding date of March 19, 2021. Registration for the loyalty program can be completed online. Some restrictions apply. While the Loyalty Program discount cannot be combined with other discounts, the discount with the greatest savings is rewarded, providing campers with the best possible deal on their stay. Jellystone Park (Warrens, Wisconsin) A retro camper parked in a field by Lance Anderson - Unsplash Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Warrens, one of Wisconsin’s most beloved family camping and RV resorts, has been given an extreme makeover just in time for summer vacations. Owner Great Escapes RV Resorts began revamping the destination after buying it in 2021. The popular Camp-Resort is less than three hours from nearby cities including Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Madison. “Anyone who hasn’t been to the Warrens Jellystone Park in a few years will hardly recognize it,” said General Manager Travis Walsh. “We’re about to open two new large, resort-style pools, including one that is zero entry, luxury glamping cabins and new amenities. We also have updated the RV sites.” Over the winter 66 new glamping cabins were installed to replace older ones. A Wibit floating obstacle course was recently added, as were AquaBanas that float in the lake and feature canopies, comfortable seating, tables, coolers and even Bluetooth speakers. The new amenities complement the resort’s lazy river, six lane water slide, splash pad and wave pool. The bath houses, café, activities center and camp store have been remodeled. The dog park has been renovated, and pickleball has been added, as well as a new playground area. “This really is the next generation of family outdoor vacations,” Walsh said. “The focus is on fun and entertainment with all the comforts of home, whether you are staying in your own RV or one of our new, fully equipped glamping cabins.” Of course, Jellystone Park’s namesake, Yogi Bear, is still in residence, entertaining kids and stealing pic-a-nic baskets. All the activities that have made the Warrens Jellystone Park such a popular destination are still available, including character interactions, hayrides, outdoor movies, train rides, sports, arts and crafts, mini golf, themed celebrations and more. Visit www.jellystonewarrens.com for information on special events, to check availability and make reservations. Jellystone Park Warrens is offering a number of special promotions, making camping, glamping and RVing an even more affordable alternative to other types of vacations. Visit https://www.jellystonewarrens.com/deals for details. Day passes are available for local residents and visitors to the area. Great Escapes RV Resort (Bryan-College Station, Texas) Heading west in an RV by Megan Barber - Unsplash Less than a three-hour drive from Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Great Escapes RV Resorts Bryan-College Station is offering families even more exciting ways to vacation this summer. The Brazos Valley’s newest luxury camping, glamping and RV destination opened in 2022. It now boasts more than 80 acres of family oriented attractions, activities and accommodations. A second resort-style pool was recently completed. Other amenities include a fitness center, a private events center, a sand volleyball court and a sports court with basketball, pickleball and tennis. More glamping cabins, premium pull-through RV sites, laundry facilities and bath houses also were added. Along with the two pools, Great Escapes Bryan-College Station features a lake with a Wibit floating water obstacle course, making it the perfect outdoors destination for families wanting a respite from life, school and, of course, the Texas heat. When it is time to take a break from the sun, kids can head to the Hangout for games, including pool, table shuffleboard and ping pong. Early this summer the resort will debut a new food truck court and a live entertainment pavilion that will host professional music acts and guests eager to show off their karaoke talents. Gem mining and a new dog park also will be completed soon. “Great Escapes has created an all-new resort from the ground up with everything families have been wanting in an outdoor vacation,” said General Manager Craig Sanford. “The focus is on fun and entertainment with all the comforts of home, whether you are staying in your own RV or one of our new, spacious, fully equipped glamping cabins. This really is the next generation of family travel.” The resort’s luxury cabins boast private bathrooms, air conditioning, fully equipped kitchens and Wi-Fi. Each sleeps at least four people, with larger ones comfortable for eight guests. Linens are provided. Memory making is non-stop with popular activities including Wet’N’ Wild Hayrides, interactions with Biscuit, the resort’s costumed canine mascot, and themed celebrations, such as Christmas in July. Later this year families will enjoy a second jumping pillow, human foosball, gaga ball, horseshoes and movies. Visit www.greatescapesbcs.com for information on special events, to check availability and make reservations. Great Escapes Bryan-College Station is offering a number of special promotions, making camping, glamping and RVing an even more affordable alternative to other types of vacations. Day passes are available for Brazos Valley residents and visitors to the area. Rio Guadalupe RV Resort (New Braunfels, Texas) Rio Guadalupe Resort, a premier RV park and campground nestled along the Guadalupe River in the heart of Texas Hill Country, is thrilled to announce a series of significant improvements and additions to enhance the guest experience. Over the past 12 months, the resort has undergone extensive renovations and introduced new amenities to solidify the new braunfels rv park as a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families seeking a memorable getaway. As part of its exciting upgrade, the resort has added six new premier RV sites which will accommodate monthly stay guests year round. Each site offers a picnic table and grill along with plenty of ample land to enhance the guest’s longer stay. These spacious sites provide the perfect setting for those looking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding area while enjoying the comfort and convenience of modern amenities. Rio Guadalupe Resort has also constructed a new entrance and exit to streamline traffic flow for resort guests along with the tubing and fishing customers. This improvement ensures a smooth and efficient check-in process, allowing guests to begin their vacation without any unnecessary delays. To further help guests relax, the pool area has undergone an extensive renovation, featuring fresh furnishings and a large TV with a comfortable sitting area. Guests can now unwind by the pool while enjoying their favorite shows or simply soaking up the sun. The resort has also made significant improvements to its dog park, ensuring that four-legged family members have a safe and enjoyable space to play and socialize. The front office and store have been revamped to provide a more welcoming and efficient experience for guests. Whether checking in, purchasing essentials, or seeking information about local attractions, the friendly staff is ready to assist. Additionally, to enhance accessibility for guests staying in the cabins, a new road has been constructed. This allows cabin guests to easily navigate the resort and access all the amenities without any inconvenience. Several cabins have also undergone renovations to provide an even more comfortable and memorable stay. To ensure that guests of all ages have a fantastic time, Rio Guadalupe Resort has appointed a new Activities Director. This dedicated team member is focused on organizing weekly events, activities, such as Guadalupe River tubing and live music, creating a vibrant and engaging atmosphere throughout the resort. Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted to learn about the opening of Rio Anglers, the resort’s new full-service fly fishing business. Guests can now enjoy an all-inclusive experience of nightly stays, meals, drinks, guided fishing trips and wader rentals, all a few steps from the front door of your cabin or RV site. This new service makes it easier than ever to catch rainbow trout in the Guadalupe River without ever having to get in the car during your stay. . Last but not least, the resort has welcomed two new office pets, Theo and Gus, who have quickly become beloved members of the Rio Guadalupe Resort family. These friendly companions are always ready to greet guests with a wagging tail and a warm smile, adding an extra touch of warmth and personality to the resort experience. Mission Bay RV Resort (San Diego, California) An RV sits along the coastline by Kojiro Inui - Unsplash Campland on the Bay and Mission Bay RV Resort, the iconic resort campgrounds nestled in San Diego’s Mission Bay, are thrilled to announce the summer return of family-friendly activities and the Campland Rocks live entertainment series beginning Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, 2024. The 147 newly added campsites at Mission Bay RV Resort offer beachfront RV and tent accommodations on Mission Bay, along with resort-style amenities. “With our two beautiful waterfront locations in Mission Bay, we offer unique experiences tailored to different kinds of camping preferences," said Jacob Gelfand, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Terra Vista Management. “Campland provides vibrant and family-friendly entertainment, while Mission Bay RV Resort offers peaceful surroundings and spacious, new campsites. Camp overnight to enjoy all of our activities and amenities or just come for a day to enjoy the public beaches, the Campland Cantina and our watercraft rentals.” Guests can dive into the Campland Activities & Events calendar, offering a diverse range of entertaining activities for guests of all ages. Kids will love the arts and crafts sessions, bubble soccer, pickleball, dodgeball and ping pong tournaments, capture the flag and other games. Adults will enjoy bingo, bean bag and horseshoe tournaments. For those looking to relax and stay centered, Campland offers complimentary yoga classes held on the Central Park lawn every Monday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. For the full calendar of events, visit Campland.com/activities-events. The Campland Rocks live entertainment series returns this summer to the Central Park Stage every weekend at 7 p.m. through the end of September. Starting May 24, sway to smooth yacht rock tunes with Band Overboard. On May 25, enjoy country music by Branded, followed by electrifying rock music with Black Rock Candy on May 26. Bring your blankets and camping chairs to the Central Park Stage for exclusive performances under the stars, only for Campland and Mission Bay RV Resort guests. For more information, visit Campland.com/campland-rocks-schedule/. Located just steps away from the Central Park Stage, the Campland Cantina offers delicious daily specials guaranteed to please the whole family, including pizza, tacos, burgers and fresh salads. Adult beverages including craft cocktails, beer and wine are also available. Every morning, guests can enjoy made-to-order breakfast burritos, pancakes and delicious breakfast sides. Dine on the patio while enjoying views of the bay or take your meal to-go. Then, after a day of fun in the sun, cool off with a trip to the Ice Cream Parlor and enjoy a variety of ice cream flavors, toppings, shakes and sundaes. Additionally, Campland Cantina’s happy hour promotion runs Monday-Friday from 4-6 p.m., featuring $2 off lite bites and $1 off cocktails, draft beers and wine. Indulge in Taco Tuesday through May 28 every Tuesday starting at 4 p.m. until sold out, where you can savor TJ Street Style Tacos with your choice of carne asada, pollo asada, carnitas or pescado frito, available at two for $7. Make the most of the premium bayfront location with watersports rentals at Campland Marina. Choose from pedal boats, kayaks and pontoon boats for a leisurely excursion, or opt for more thrilling experiences on ski boats, wave runners and stand-up paddleboards from Adventure Water Sports. Guests can also explore the beauty of Mission Bay on two wheels with beach cruiser rentals from Campland Marina. Cruise along 12 miles of scenic trails on bikes, or navigate the parks in style with golf cart and surrey cart rentals. For more information, visit campland.com/bike-cart-rentals. Additional Campland amenities include a convenience market, coffee counter, fitness center, sports court, dog park, playground, game room, skate park, two heated pools and spas for ultimate relaxation. For those seeking a tranquil and peaceful camping experience, Mission Bay RV Resort offers 147 spacious, new campsites nestled in the serene Northeast corner of De Anza Cove. With full hookups, restrooms and showers available, along with the newly renovated pool and clubhouse, guests can indulge in a relaxing camping getaway surrounded by stunning views of Mission Bay. Positioned steps away from the sports court, which offers basketball and pickleball, as well as the pool and spa, these spacious sites are ideal for campers seeking the perfect balance of relaxation and recreation. Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the proximity to the Mission Bay Public Golf Course and Practice Center just across the street. Additionally, all of Campland’s activities and amenities are accessible to guests at Mission Bay RV Resort, just a short stroll or bike ride away over the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge. Lakeside Casino & RV Park (Pahrump, Nevada) Situated at the gateway to Death Valley National Park and just an hour outside of Las Vegas, the smalltown of Pahrump is packed with big outdoor thrills, casino gaming and luxury RV resorts to chill and recharge between adventures. Roadtrippers can take a break from the road at Pahrump’s premier RV resort, Lakeside Casino & RV Park featuring top notch amenities such as a swimming pool, hot tub and a seven-acre lake for lazy days of kayaking, pedal boating or fishing for largemouth bass and bluegill which are all stocked. A Good Sam 10/10*/10 rated RV Park, Lakeside has 159 large sites all including full-service hook-ups with 30 and 50-amp electrical service and a concrete patio. 24-hour gaming fun can be found just steps away at the resort’s casino offers 170 slots and video poker machines, in addition to a bingo room and multiple dining options. For those looking for a little less chill and more adrenaline-fueled thrills, the Pahrump Valley is a dream for hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers and off-roaders of all skill levels. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder Pahrump is Nevada’s number one destination for RV adventuring.


    Top 10 Affordable, Up-and-Coming Destinations to Visit this Summer

    HomeToGo, the SaaS-enabled marketplace with the world’s largest selection of vacation rentals, recently released its 2024 Summer Travel Forecast, revealing the vacation preferences and plans of U.S. travelers for the warmer months. According to HomeToGo’s 2024 Summer Travel survey, 76% of Americans have summer trips planned, and 50% indicate that they will go on more vacations in comparison to last year. With summer 2024 shaping up to be a bumper season, discover where, why and how Americans will be traveling in the full report. Beach retreats are the top priority for the majority of U.S. travelers, with 70% of Americans planning to visit coastal locations this summer. This is followed by city breaks (58%), national park and wilderness area retreats (56%), mountain escapes (50%), and visits to rural towns and communities (42%). HomeToGo’s traveler demand data reflects these preferences: beach destinations rank as eight of the 10 most in-demand U.S. locations for summer 2024, with major cities taking all 10 spots in the list of the top-searched international destinations. Cost remains the key element in the location selection process for American travelers, with almost one-third (32%) stating that price is the most important factor in their choice of vacation destination, overtaking activities and experiences (25%) and weather (19%). Using exclusive search and accommodation price insights, HomeToGo has pinpointed a selection of up-and-coming U.S. destinations in which travelers can still find great value during summer 2024. #10 Allatoona Lake, Georgia Median price per night: $175. This lakeside destination is a mere 45 minutes from Atlanta. Head to Allatoona Lake to enjoy outdoor adventure. Explore Georgia suggests camping at the McCaskey Creek Campground, hiking through Red Top Mountain State Park, fishing small and large mount bass at the Stamp Creek area, and swimming at the secluded Bartow Beach in Gatewood Park. #9 Grayling, Michigan Grayling, Michigan - courtesy of Hemsworth / HomeToGo.com Median price per night: $120. This scenic getaway in the heart of Michigan offers an abundance of outdoor recreational activities and more. Try kayaking on the AuSable River, spend the day golfing at Forest Dunes or The Patriot golf courses, or go fly fishing on world-famous trout streams. At the end of the day, relax and unwind at one of several craft breweries in the area. #8 Roanoke, Virginia Median price per night: $166. Ronoake is located in the heart of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, with easy access to several hiking trails, the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, and Smith Mountain Lake, which offers a variety of boating, paddling, and other activities. Most notably, this destination is the "Mountain Biking Capital" of the US East Coast. Both downtown Roanoke and nearby Salem also feature a variety of great antique stores and farmers markets. #7 Port Washington, Wisconsin Port Washington, Wisconsin - courtesy of Hemsworth / HomeToGo.com Median price per night: $183. Visitors will find a "touch of New England" in this Wisconsin town along the shores of Lake Michigan. This charming town is filled with historic storefronts and features a lovely art deco lighthouse at the end of its half mile-long pier. History lovers will appreciate the tours at the 1860 Light Station Museum and the Pebble House Visitor Center for more info about the area. #6 Johnson City, Tennessee Johnson City, Tennessee - courtesy of Hemsworth / HomeToGo.com Median price per night: $197. Explore the mountains and Appalachian history with a trip to this eastern Tennessee town. Nearby is the state's oldest town, Jonesborough, where visitors can browse historic sites, as well as the general store and antique store. #5 Lake Worth, Florida Lake Worth, Florida - courtesy of Hemsworth / HomeToGo.com Median price per night: $177. This Florida beach town features a new fishing pier, art galleries, antique stores, and more unique shopping and fun events. For a scenic game of golf, head to the Lake Worth Municipal Gold Course on the Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Worth Lagoon. #4 Bay City, Michigan Median price per night: $186. This waterfront getaway has easy access to Lake Huron. Enjoy sailing trips and shopping at Bay City Antiques, as well as visiting brewpubs, boutiques, restaurants, and the downtown riverwalk. #3 Mountain View, Arkansas Mountain View, Arkansas - courtesy of Hemsworth / HomeToGo.com Median price per night: $193. Music lovers will appreciate this Arkansas town, home to the Arkansas Folk Festival (founded in the early 1960s) and the Ozark Folk Center State Park (established in 1973). Musicians join locals and play music late into the night hours outside around the town square, generally from mid-April through late November. In addition to outdoor recreation, visitors won't want to miss out on visiting the state's largest craft cooperative, the Arkansas Craft Guild, which has a gallery in the downtown area. #2 North Cascades National Park, Washington North Cascades National Park - courtesy of Hemsworth / HomeToGo.com Median price per night: $173. Less than three hours from Seattle, North Cascades is a breathtaking alpine landscape with jagged peaks crowned by more than 300 glaciers. Enjoy camping, hiking, and boating in the beautiful wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. #1 Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio - courtesy of Hemsworth / HomeToGo.com Median price per night: $135. Maumee Bay State Park's landscape is a unique environment created by the convergence of the land and Lake Erie; it is a particularly excellent place to bird watch, as more than 300 bird species have been observed here. The park features a resort lodge, cabins, and campground for a variety of options when choosing accommodations. As for activities, families will love the inland lake, boardwalk trail, Storybrook Trail, golf course, archery range, nature center, and two sand beaches.


    Spend an Epic Memorial Day Weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida

    With 23 miles of pristine beaches and a long list of activities and attractions, the Daytona Beach area has plenty of things for visitors to experience and explore during the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. Often called home of the world's most famous beaches, Daytona Beach, Florida, continues to delight and surprise visitors with its diverse and growing array of attractions. Encompassing Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Shores, Ponce Inlet, Holly Hill and South Daytona, the destination has long been known for its iconic beaches and auto racing history. Today a slate of exciting new attractions, upscale lodging, a vibrant arts scene and an amazing collection of parks, preserves and outdoor activities are all part of Daytona Beach's year-round appeal. This year's Memorial Day weekend also has special events for those looking to take a quick holiday trip to kickoff summer.Start with a day at the beach Lifeguard stand on Daytona Beach by Natalie Grainger - Unsplash Any visit to the Daytona Beach area must include a beach day. Visitors can spend the day relaxing or playing on the area's 23 miles of world-famous beaches where they will discover loads of family-friendly activities such as swimming, biking, fishing, surfing, parasailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, jet skis, boats and more. Beyond the beach, visitors will find even more to do. Enjoy summer concerts at the BandshellOceanside bandshell in Daytona - courtesy of Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau On Sunday, May 26, at 6 p.m., the oceanfront Daytona Beach Bandshell will host Freestyle by the Beach Summer Throwback Jam. Some of the biggest freestyle artists from the 1980s and 1990s, including Lisa Lisa, Rob Base, Lisette Melenzez, TKA and more, will perform. Tickets start at $40. The summer concert series at the Daytona Beach Bandshell kicks off on Saturday, May 25 with Rushour and Kiss American, Rush and Kiss Tributes. The free concert begins at 7:15 p.m. and fireworks over the ocean will follow at 9:45 p.m. From May through September, the Daytona Beach Bandshell will be hosting live summer concerts every Friday and Saturday night. The concerts at the historic coquina amphitheater are free to the public and reserved VIP tickets are also available. Fireworks will be launched from the Pier every Saturday night following the concert. Arrive early and enjoy the Ocean Walk Shoppes or stroll the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier. Catch a ball game The Minor League team Daytona Tortugas, the Class A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, are home at historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark throughout the Memorial Day Weekend. The Tortugas face off against Fort Myers on May 24 through May 26 and Jupiter on Monday, May 27. Witness America's favorite pastime at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the site where ground-breaking African American baseball player Jackie Robinson played in the first integrated Major League Baseball spring training game in 1946. Arrive early and enjoy a stroll through the Riverfront Esplanade or dine at one of the local restaurants located along nearby Beach Street. Visit a State Park for freeA turtle on the beach by Taylor Henley - Unsplash Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has waived admission for all visitors to Florida State Parks for Memorial Day weekend. This includes May 24-27, 2024. Tomoka State Park located in Ormond Beach is popular for outdoor activities such as canoeing, boating, fishing and protects a variety of wildlife habitats and endangered species, such as the West Indian manatee, and is a bird watcher's paradise with over 160 species sighted. Located in West Volusia is Blue Spring State Park in Orange City and De Leon Springs State Park, both known for swimming, canoeing and kayaking, boat tours and hiking trails. Don't miss these special Memorial Day events Fireworks in Daytona by Patrick Konior - Unsplash There are numerous veteran memorials and museums in the destination where visitors can pay their respects and honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day such as the Veterans Memorial at Riverfront Esplanade and the Veterans Museum & Education Center, both located in Daytona Beach, and the Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens. In addition, there are several special events planned throughout the community including a Memorial Day Remembrance Service at Rockefeller Gardens adjacent to The Casements in Ormond Beach on Monday, May 27 at 9 a.m. This solemn event honors the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The service will include patriotic music, guest speakers, a wreath-laying ceremony, and a moment of silence to reflect and remember.