Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras 2024
This year, Mardi Gras falls on February 13, 2024—but you can catch parades, festivals, and celebrations starting weeks before the big day and, in some locations, the party even keeps going through the spring.
Parade down coastal Mississippi
Coastal Mississippi kicks off the 2024 Mardi Gras season with a stellar lineup of parades, balls, and specialty events beginning in January and ending on 'Fat Tuesday' February 13. Much loved Mardi Gras traditions, including colorful parades featuring costumed revelers, colorful beads, king cakes, and the vibrant rhythms of Zydeco music filling the air welcome Mardi Gras aficionados and new enthusiasts to enjoy unforgettable experiences and manageable gatherings in a family friendly atmosphere.
Known for its picturesque beaches, coastal charm, and lively atmosphere, the 62-mile coastline of Coastal Mississippi will host dozens of events across the tri-county region, including its oldest parade, the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's Annual Mardi Gras Parade on Fat Tuesday, as well as the Children's Walking Parade, and the unique Jeep-a-Gras featuring hundreds of Jeeps parading down the coast. Travelers can celebrate from sun-up to sundown with family-friendly experiences, coronation balls, several spectacular parades, festive waterfront celebrations, live music, and, of course, world-renowned Gulf-to-table Coastal Mississippi cuisine. Find a full list of 2024 Carnival events here.
"Visitors to Coastal Mississippi can expect a rich tapestry of cultural experiences throughout our destination during the 2024 Mardi Gras celebration," said Judy Young, CEO of Coastal Mississippi Tourism. "With so many unique events spread across our 62-miles of shoreline, we hope all who come to celebrate this season of merriment with us will appreciate the vibrant energy and atmosphere of unity and celebration that only Coastal Mississippi can create."
Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras brings together locals and visitors annually for a fun and festive season of rich cultural heritage mixed with local characters and, of course, southern charm. Set against a backdrop of stunning beachfront sunsets, mild winter days, and coastal beauty, travelers are sure to find unique and unforgettable experiences for revelers of all ages. To start planning your 2024 Mardi Gras Vacation, visit CoastalMississippi.com.
Party at the theme parks in Orlando, Florida
Universal Orlando Resort invites guests to “laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll) from February 3rd through April 7th during Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval. This year’s festivities present a vibrant Mardi Gras party like no other, featuring an expansive menu of sweet, savory, and spicy dishes inspired by New Orleans favorites and iconic Carnaval flavors from around the globe, a dazzling Mardi Gras parade featuring all-new, incredibly detailed floats inspired by elements, and - on select nights - live concerts by top names in music like DJ Khaled, Ava Max, Luis Fonsi and more. And guests can enjoy all of the fun as part of regular theme park admission to Universal Studios Florida.
- Watch a spectacular Mardi Gras concert lineup – This year’s spectacular concert series will feature ten live performances by some of the most popular names across all genres of music – including GRAMMY-winning artist DJ Khaled, the artist behind the mega-hit, “Sweet but Psycho” – Ava Max, and five-time Latin GRAMMY-winning artist Luis Fonsi. Performances will take place on select nights following the Mardi Gras parade at the Music Plaza stage, located in front of the thrilling Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.
- Catch the New Elements Parade Theme – This year’s Mardi Gras parade theme will bring the elements to life in six new, beautifully designed parade floats inspired by Earth, wind, fire, water, the sun and the moon. The new collection of element floats will join Universal’s traditional lineup of New Orleans-inspired floats to create this year’s parade – complete with high-energy music, dozens of performers donning elaborate costumes and tons of beads.
- Taste the International Flavors of Carnaval – Mardi Gras guests can savor the mouthwatering flavors of global Carnaval celebrations from New Orleans to Spain to China and beyond with an expansive menu featuring more than 60 tasting-sized items. While venturing throughout the parkwide celebration, guests will find kiosks featuring delicious culinary delicacies inspired by various locations from around the globe – including the classic Fried Green Tomato Po’boy and fan-favorite fluffy Beignets from New Orleans, Chicken Schnitzel from Germany, Chilaquiles Verdes from Mexico and so much more. The best way to experience the flavors of Mardi Gras is with the specialty Universal Orlando Resort Food and Beverage Card, which allows guests to taste and save more by paying $65 for a $75 card. Annual and Seasonal Passholders also receive special savings with the purchase of an exclusive $150 card for only $120. The Universal Orlando Resort Food and Beverage Card will be available for purchase at Mardi Gras food and beverage locations throughout Universal Studios Florida.
The best way to experience Universal Mardi Gras is with a stay at one of Universal’s eight incredible hotels, where guests can enjoy exclusive benefits including Early Park Admission and complimentary transportation to the theme parks. Universal Orlando hotels will offer exclusive Mardi Gras food and beverages this season, such as theCrawfish and Andouille Sausage Egg Roll at Islands Dining Room in Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Mardi Gras Empanadas at Amatista Cookhouse in Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Jambalaya at Beach Break Cafe in Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites and more.
Access to Universal Mardi Gras is included with regular theme park admission to Universal Studios Florida. Guests can now take advantage of these incredible offers to experience Mardi Gras and all that Universal Orlando’s theme parks have to offer:
- Florida and Georgia residents get two days free with the purchase of a 2-Park, 1-Day ticket – allowing them three days of access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure (click here to learn more).
- U.S., Canada and Latin America residents can enjoy two free days of admission to Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure with the purchase of a 2-Park, 2-Day ticket – giving them four days of theme park thrills (click here to learn more).
- Become a Universal Orlando Passholder and get three months free on any 2-Park or 3-Park Annual or Seasonal Pass. Universal Annual and Seasonal Passholders also receive exclusive event perks, including a complimentary Mardi Gras-themed magnet, access to a special viewing area to enjoy the Mardi Gras parade, food and beverage discounts up to 15% off, special merchandise and more. Click here to learn more.
Plus, Universal Orlando Passholders and Florida residents can save 40% on rooms at all Universal Orlando hotels during select dates this Mardi Gras season. For more information about Universal Mardi Gras and additional offerings, like the Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/MardiGras.
Head to the beach in Pensacola, Florida
The iconic Mardi Gras celebrations will return to Pensacola with some of the destination's largest vibrantly decorated floats and family-friendly festivals, featuring live music, food, drinks, and free public access. As a city with deep Creole and French roots, it's no wonder Pensacola was the stomping grounds for one of the first Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S.
Visitors can enjoy special events such as the Mardi Gras Mambo featuring Flo Rida on January 26, 2024, the Pensacola Pawdi Gras on January 28, 2024, the Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Parade on February 9, 2024, the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade on Feb. 10, 2024, and the Krewe of Wrecks Beach Parade on February 11, 2024.
Celebrate big in New Orleans, Louisiana
Of course, there's nothing like a classic: New Orleans is the quintessential destination for Mardi Gras. If you haven't yet booked a trip, take some sage advice from mardigrasneworleans.com: "Okay, so it's January, and you decide you want to visit New Orleans on Fat Tuesday. Should you even try? Yes! It is worth it, but just be prepared to spend a lot of time on the phone. Keep calling. Hotels have cancellations, and there are waiting lists. If you are persistent, you just may find a place somewhere."
If you're willing to make the effort, visitors may still be about to book Mardi Gras packages and find hotel vacancies at BestNewOrleansHotels.com. Additionally, if you have some flexibility on travel dates, its important to know that the festivals begin well before Fat Tuesday—this is often when hotels will have the most availability, and you won't miss out on any of the fun (plus, you'll beat the crowds!). Be sure to book dining out, too; reservations fill up fast along parade routes.
For a full list of parades and schedules, visit mardigrasneworleans.com..
Romantic Stays to Book with Your Valentine This Year
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan a romantic getaway for two. Each of the accommodations below feature charming details and luxurious amenities—perfect for the couples that simply want to stay in and enjoy each other's company. For those that want to get out in explore, these places are also each surrounded by beautiful scenery and located near top attractions. Waimea Plantation Cottages - Kauai, Hawaii A view from the porch of a cottage at Waimea Plantation Cottages - courtesy of Waimea Plantation Cottages Resort Established in 1884 as a dairy and then a working sugar cane plantation, Waimea Plantation Cottages was reborn as a resort in 1984. Each of the 59 cottages has a unique floor plan with comfortable Hawaii-style furnishings. Most of the historic cottages carry a nameplate next to the front doorframe with the surname of a plantation worker who once called the cottage home. The 43-acre property is landscaped with tropical plants, trees, and expansive green lawn areas providing a sense of serenity and quiet. Walking along the beach guests are treated to spectacular sunsets with the island of Niihau in the background. Nestled on the shores of West Kauai, the resort also recently announced 2024 as their 40th Anniversary as a historic resort. “As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Waimea Plantation Cottages Resort, we are pleased to share our Anniversary Celebration Sale with new and returning guests,” said Gregg Enright, general manager at Waimea Plantation Cottages. “Known for spectacular sunsets and starry nights, Waimea Plantation Cottages offers an ideal location for a couple's getaway, a family vacation, or to celebrate special occasions.” An oceanside hammock - courtesy of Waimea Plantation Cottages Resort Guests booking cottages with the 40th Anniversary Celebration Special will enjoy 20% off Best Available Rates. Upon check-in, guests will be treated to a complimentary selection of Kauai Cookies, shell leis, one bottle of water per person, and complimentary coffee and tea. Beyond the anniversary sale, guests can enjoy the oceanfront pool, a 2-mile-long black sand walking beach, and an on-property restaurant serving American and BBQ fare. Beachside hammocks, three propane grilling stations, free parking, complimentary current movie DVD rentals, and a free guest laundry facility round out the experience. The resort offers 59 one- to five-bedroom cottages, built between the 1880s and 1930s, across 43 acres of oceanfront grounds. Lovingly refreshed to harmonize contemporary comfort with the simplicity of the plantation era, each cottage features a fully equipped kitchen and a private lanai. Nearby the awe-inspiring Waimea Canyon, known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," Koke'e State Park, the breathtaking Napali coastline, and Kekaha Beach, one of Hawaii's longest white-sand beaches, are some of Kauai's most loved attractions. For those seeking local charm, Waimea Town and nearby Hanapepe Town offer eclectic boutiques and eateries. For more information on Waimea Plantation Cottages or to book reservations, please visit www.waimeaplantationcottages.com or call 800-619-6199. Villa Dulce - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Villa Dulce in Cabo San Lucas - courtesy of Cabo Platinum The newest addition to Cabo Platinum's portfolio, "Villa Dulce," is peacefully situated in the prestigious Pedregal community of Cabo San Lucas. This unique villa embodies a serene escape, providing a distinctive experience for those seeking solace in one of Mexico's highly-regarded destinations. Paying homage to the region's natural allure, boasting 4 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, and room for 8 guests, this exclusive property features expansive glass windows that integrate panoramic vistas into its interior décor. Open-concept living spaces showcase elegant furnishings and meticulous attention to detail. Security is ensured within the gated community, providing 24/7 surveillance and access to a quiet beach on the Pacific side. Within Villa Dulce, the four bedrooms provide guests with practical amenities such as individual thermostats, flat-screen TVs, and full private bathrooms. These features ensure a comfortable and functional retreat for each guest. The kitchen is equipped with Brazilian granite countertops, emphasizing the villa's commitment to quality while blending into the overall design. Founded in 1975, Pedregal is often likened to the "Beverly Hills" of the region. Perched on a mountain overlooking downtown Cabo and the IGY Marina, this community offers not just homes but a lifestyle. Basic amenities, featuring pickleball and tennis courts, enhance daily life. It's architectural grandeur, sense of community, and commitment to natural harmony define Pedregal as a timeless and prestigious destination. More than just a vacation rental provider, Cabo Platinum goes the extra mile to connect visitors with the pulse of Cabo San Lucas. Their concierge services extend to crafting bespoke itineraries, arranging exclusive yacht charters, and securing reservations at the city's finest restaurants, offering a seamless blend of opulence and local immersion. Villa Dulce beckons travelers not just to a luxurious retreat but to an experience that encapsulates the true spirit of Cabo San Lucas. It's a tranquil escape, a commitment to quality, and a collaborative venture that extends beyond the villa's walls, enriching the fabric of the local community. In partnership with Cabo Platinum, Villa Dulce stands as a testament to the fusion of modern luxury and authentic local engagement. Lily Hall - Pensacola, Florida Enjoy pristine beaches in and around Pensacola, Florida - courtesy of Visit Pensacola Pensacola, Florida continues to see a boom in boutique accommodations and adaptive reuse, like the recently-opened Lily Hall, a 15-room boutique lodging house breathing new life into the bones that once housed the historic Old Mount Olive Baptist Church and includes Brother Fox (Lily Hall's signature restaurant) and its attached speakeasy, Sister Hen. Pensacola's first-ever speakeasy will have a password-protected entrance that leads guests into an intimate candlelit setting offering inventive cocktails with innovative presentations. Fitting only about two dozen guests, the patrons of Brother Fox will get skip-the-line priority for Sister Hen via a secret passageway inside the restaurant. Inspired by the finer hospitality of the 1920s-1940s era, the prohibition-style hideaway will feature a dress code and even “house rules.” For another local option, there's also The Oyster Bay Boutique Hotel—the first hotel in Pensacola to focus on sustainability and wellness and cater to adults-only clientele. Oyster Bay's goal is to create rich experiences that focus on local authenticity, modest luxury, and natural design. The accommodations are sumptuous, and the service is personalized at the eight-room property. Pensacola is the perfect destination for re-centering, recalibrating, and relaxing with purpose. Lovelock offers several options to practice mindfulness and prioritize mental health with massage therapy, energy, sound and spirit classes, nutrition counseling, and even hypnosis. Those looking to test the waters can take part in one of several classes or workshops offered while others can partake in the six-week courses to take a deeper dive into their practice of choice. There's also the Aqua Spa at Beach Club, which has created an environment where health and well-being are elevated to an art form, and the rediscovery of balance is the primary goal. Guests can rejuvenate with a selection of treatments, including the Sea Breeze Anti-Pollution Facial and Sea Foam Body Wrap. And for those looking for more natural relaxation, Pensacola and Perdido Key boast unmatched natural beauty ideal for reconnecting with one's self and nature, not just with pristine sugar-white beaches, and glittering waters but with nature trails like the paths within the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Perdido Key State Park, Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park and more.
One of the best-kept ski secrets in upstate New York is that the Adirondack Mountains have a handful of hidden gem ski resorts ideal for novice to expert skiers, including two ski areas that offer skiing free of charge. Nestled into historic mountain towns with a distinct Adirondack feel, all of these under-the-radar ski areas offer visitors the opportunity to ski, snowboard or snow tube on uncrowded slopes with the spectacular scenery for which the Adirondacks are renowned. Many of these fun, smaller hills also offer ski schools, snowmobile trails, snowshoeing or Nordic skiing. And adding to the appeal of these charming ski areas, many offer extremely affordable ski experiences that make snow sports more approachable for all. Some ski passes start as low as $15, in addition to ski areas that welcome guests free of charge. Beat the crowds at these slopes Winter in the Adirondack Mountains by Susan Jones - Unsplash Among the variety of ski areas in the Adirondacks, visitors from novice to expert can find everything from destination resorts to community ski hills. And while many are familiar with larger ski resorts like Whiteface and Gore mountains, there are ski areas to explore. Below are some of the less-explored ski areas, with tips on accommodations and local eats: McCauley Mountain (Old Forge): A charming resort near the Adirondack wilderness. Get a great night’s sleep at the Adirondack Lodge Old Forge, stop by Keyes’ Pancake House for breakfast and Tony Harper’s Pizza and Clam Shack for lunch/dinner.Mt. Pisgah Recreation Center (Saranac Lake): A welcoming community ski hill with night skiing and tubing, with half-day weekend ski passes available for $15. Kick off your boots at Traverse Lodge or Hotel Saranac, and enjoy dinner at nearby Bitters & Bones.Oak Mountain (Speculator): A hidden treasure with varied terrain since 1948. Check out Lake Pleasant Lodge or Cedarhurst Motor Lodge for accommodations. And grab a bite at Logan’s Bar & Grill or Lemon Tree Brewery.Titus Mountain (Malone): A family-friendly ski gem a short drive from Plattsburgh, Lake Placid, Watertown and Northern Vermont, with terrain for all levels. Check out the rustic cabins at Deer Valley Trails (and stay for dinner) and stop by The Pines Tap & Table for evening revelry. Elevating the affordability and fun of skiing in the Adirondack region, three of these hidden gem ski resorts participate in the “SKI NY Passport Program”, which offers free skiing for third and fourth graders (from any state or country) with an adult purchase. McCauley Mountain, Oak Mountain and Titus Mountain participate in the program. Find free skiing for all experience levels A skier navigates deep snow by Johannes Andersson - Unsplash In addition to the large and medium-sized ski resorts in the Adirondacks, there are two additional ski areas that offer free skiing – which is a rare treat for newbie and experienced skiers alike. Newcomb Ski Slope is an ultra-local and community-owned ski hill which offers free skiing. For the last 50 years, the town of Newcomb has owned and operated this two-run ski slope, where generations of residents have learned to ski. The hill also boasts a trail through the adjacent woods along its 200 vertical feet. At this low-elevation summit, skiers are treated to a view of the snowy High Peaks.Indian Lake Ski Hill also offers skiing free of charge, with the local feel and charm of a community-owned establishment. The recreation area comprises a small hill, two ski trails, a t-bar lift and even ice skating. Use the money you saved on the slopes to book a weekend getaway: The Adirondack region in upstate New York is just a few hours' drive from the New York metro area and Boston, making for abundant transportation options. The expansive region also is within a day’s drive for 25% of the entire North American population.
Say Goodbye to Winter Blues at These Destinations
Some destinations truly shine during the winter months, yet at the same time, tourism can slow down in a post-holiday, pre-Spring break lull during the months of January, February, and March. Catch perfect weather and great deals with a trip to the locations below. Wine and dine in the Santa Ynez Valley, California Relax in Santa Ynez Valley this winter - courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and William James Barely two hours from Los Angeles and a scenic four-hour drive from San Francisco, the Santa Ynez Valley is home to six distinct towns each with its own culture, vibe, and menu of experiences. Blanketed with fruitful farms and vineyards, the California Central Coast wine region's temperate weather allows for year-round activities of all sorts, spread throughout the historical communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang. Destination dining and world-class wines await, accompanied by lodging at every level, all painted into atmospheric backdrops that colorfully mesh Old World and Old West. Visit more than 100 wineries, feast on chef-driven cuisine, and enjoy festive events and design details from Victorian-era to mid-century to modern Danish. “One of this region's great secrets is that the winter months are a prime time for a visit to the Santa Ynez Valley. And it's not just the mild, sunny weather that makes a winter visit so attractive,” says Shelby Sim, President and CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “The return of the Midweek Membership Club and Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks offer two once-a-year opportunities to come and savor the best restaurants and lodging that we have to offer at a price that fits most budgets.” Midweek is the new weekend, and no destination is more appealing for a midweek trip this winter and early spring than the Santa Ynez Valley thanks to the Midweek Membership Club. Anyone who books an eligible consecutive two-night, Sunday-Thursday Midweek Membership Club stay at a qualifying lodging property — from Jan. 7 through April 4 — receives a $100 prepaid gift card upon check-in. That gift card can then be used for wine tastings, dining, shopping, activities, and other experiences during their time in the valley. With only 100 Midweek Membership Club packages available, the popular late winter and early spring promotion is expected to sell out quickly. Here's how the Midweek Membership Club works: Through April 4, or until all 100 Midweek Membership Club packages are sold, visitors must book at least one two-night consecutive stay, Sunday through Thursday between Jan. 7 and April 4. The stay must be booked directly with one of the Santa Ynez Valley's qualified lodging properties. Any booking made before the promotion start date will not qualify.Once booked, forward the original confirmation email to email@example.com at least 48 hours before the check-in date. Late entries will not be accepted.Receive your $100 gift card at check-in at your qualified hotel, and use your gift card like cash to pay for wine tastings, meals, shopping, activities, and more throughout the valley.One $100 gift card may be redeemed per reservation.For more information, complete rules and regulations, and a complete list of qualified lodging properties, or to plan and book your Midweek Membership Club visit to the Santa Ynez Valley, visit visitsyv.com/midweek/. Now in its 14th year, Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks has long added a particularly tasty reason to experience the region's creative culinary culture. Santa Ynez Valley's annual festival of flavor will be no exception this year. From Jan. 21-Feb. 3, 2024, Restaurant Weeks will showcase the region's culinary bounty — and being that this is the Santa Ynez Valley, the perfect wine pairings — with a variety of special three-course prix fixe price menus. More than two dozen restaurants will participate this year, each offering curated, chef-driven, three-course menus at prices of $30, $40, or $50, plus tax and gratuity. More than two dozen of the region's wineries and tasting rooms will also participate at various levels, offering two-for-one tastings, special tasting flights, and discounts on bottle purchases. Those who partake in Restaurant Weeks will get a taste of why the Santa Ynez Valley's reputation as a culinary-driven destination continues to grow. Its imaginative chefs, deep agricultural roots, collaborative culinary culture, and cuisine that ranges from contemporary, innovative farm-to-table fare to traditional Scandinavian feasts, will be on full display. MICHELIN-rated gems such as Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos, Bell's Los Alamos, Coast Range, and peasants FEAST in Solvang will be on this year's Restaurant Weeks menu. But with long-standing wine country favorites such as Hitching Post 2 in Buellton, Pico in Los Alamos, Los Olivos Wine Merchant Café, splashed with newer experiences like Vega Vineyard & Farm and Whiskey 'N Rye, there is so much more to explore. For the latest updates on Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks, including menus and participating restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms, visit www.DineSYV.com or follow Visit the Santa Ynez Valley on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Take in the sunshine in Daytona Beach, Florida A turtle on Daytona Beach, Florida by Taylor Henley - Unsplash While it's cold elsewhere in the country, the Daytona Beach area enjoys mild temperatures during the winter months making it an attractive destination to visit. Winter can be a wonderful time to plan a vacation to Daytona Beach. Weather in Daytona Beach, while excellent throughout the year, can be superb in the winter. The bright blue skies and sunshine are ideal for getting outdoors and exploring everything that the destination has to offer. Daytime temperatures are mild, with an average high of 73 degrees Fahrenheit in December, 68 in January and 73 in February. Evenings can get cool enough for a sweater or even a jacket, but still comfortable. Winter is also a great time to find special deals on accommodations in the Daytona Beach area. With everything from hotel rooms to oceanfront cottages and resorts, and from bed & breakfasts to condo hotels to campgrounds and RV parks — there's a place to stay for every visitor's taste and budget. Daytona Beach is full of outdoor adventures to explore. From the 23 miles of pristine, iconic white sand beaches to 70 miles of hiking and biking trails, and for the adventure-seeking visitors, there's plenty of fun on the water with fishing, boating, paddle boarding and kayaking. In addition, hit the links with nearly 20 golf courses to choose from including the 36-hole LPGA International or try a new sport such as pickleball at Pictona at Holly Hill, one of the top pickleball facilities in the United States with 49 courts. Additionally, the area is a rich tapestry of arts, culture and heritage. At the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS), view the special exhibit World War II: Stories from the American Experience, which runs through Jan. 21, 2024 or enjoy the other galleries that feature art to industry to prehistory. The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, also on the MOAS campus, is home to the largest collection of Florida-based art in the world. Other great museums and galleries to visit include the Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens and Halifax Historical Museum. Check out the Daytona Beach Area Arts Mapfor details and directions and the Daytona Beach Mural Trail for the public artwork offerings. Outdoor dining is a great option throughout the winter in Daytona Beach. The destination is home to an abundance of waterfront restaurants that serve up fresh seafood and picturesque views. Great dining options abound for every type of taste bud. The Daytona Beach Ale Trail highlights local craft beers and artisan spirits in a diverse string of establishments owned and operated by people who are passionate about their brews. Enjoy incredible seafood in Mendocino County, California A fishing boat off Mendocino, California by Carlos Wolters - Unsplash With 90 miles of prime Pacific turf and a crackin’ crab season around the corner, Mendocino County is the stop for enthusiasts who enjoy delving into the delicacies of the sea. This January 26 through February 4, 2024 the annual Seafood & Sips Mendocino offers an inside look at the region’s ocean bounty with a local slant. Belly up for a round-up of epicurean adventures from family-style cioppino feeds to the signature Crab Cake Cook-Off paired with a cache of wines from Mendocino County’s top 12 AVAs. Back by popular demand, Hopland’s Sparking Wine & Oyster Celebration will pop all the corks as will a bevy of regional hotel properties offering package deals to round out a winter visit. The season never tasted so good! Signature events include: Sparkling Wine & Oyster Celebration - The classic pairing of oysters and champagne is as old as Aphrodite but today’s enthusiasts (and scientists) are citing new reasons why the two pair so well: the punch of umami, which can be found in both. This dynamic duo will be front and center at the second annual Mendocino Sparkling Wine & Oyster Celebration tucked deep inside the caves of Saracina Vineyards. As one of the nation’s key sparkling wines destinations with 25+ producers, Mendocino’s top-flight bubbles will be on tap all day, every way paired with live entertainment and freshly-shucked oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company. Saturday, January 27, 2024; 1:00 p.m., to 4:00 p.m.; Hopland, Calif., www.destinationhopland.com.Crab Cake Cook-Off & Wine Tasting Competition - Who knew Mr. Dungeness could debut in so many formats as regional chefs craft their version of the best crab cake to grace a plate! The annual crustacean competition is set in downtown Fort Bragg in the big tent where the afternoon kicks off with a local wine competition followed by a mix of regional chefs vying for the top toque. Guests can dive into a variety of inspired cakes and seafood delicacies in addition to a live and silent auction culminating in a final judging by a triad of media. The event benefits Mendocino Coast Clinics. Saturday, February 3, 2024; 11:00 a.m., to 3:00 p.m.; Fort Bragg, Calif., www.crabwinefestival.org.Cioppino Dinner - Who doesn’t love bibs … or giant pots brimming with fragrant seafood, local Dungeness crab and a variety of shellfish in a piquant tomato base? Pull up a chair for the annual family-style Cioppino Dinner set at a new location at Little River Inn. Wines, microbrews, crackers and crab enthusiasts unite in this true celebration of the season benefiting MendoParks. Score a spring hotel escape package or juice for the wine cellar at the live auction or belly up for a repeat performance, paired with a stash of crusty, fragrant warm bread and dessert. Friday, February 2, 2024; 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.; Little River, Calif., www.littleriverinn.com/events.County Wide Seafood Feasts - During the festival, chefs from Ukiah to Elk will roll out an enticing line-up of chowders, savory seafood soups, sushi, uni and oysters served every which way. From traditional fish stew at the new Good Bones Kitchen to a seafood tower for two at Left Coast Seafood Restaurant, the options for savoring the region’s stars of the sea are endless. Vue Kitchen in Gualala is another top option offering a sinful pasta pescatore with clams, tiger prawns and seasonal seafood simmered in a spicy vodka marinara sauce. A great way to savor the flavors right off the boat is a stroll through Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor where Princess Seafood, Noyo Fish Company and Sea Pal Cove feature sustainably wild-caught finds in a true working harbor setting. Wrap the day with a traditional crabbing cruise, harbor boat tour or visit to the nearby International Sea Glass Museum. From at 25 percent discount at the ocean-front Heritage House Resort & Spa to the new Crabbing Adventure Package at Little River Inn, complete with a charter boat and haul-in experience, the options for lodging deals abound. Some top finds include Mendocino village’s new Nicholson House, a sleek nine-guestroom state-of-the-art hideaway (15 percent off), the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek (20 percent off) and Elk Cove Inn & Spa ($100 food and beverage credit). Step things up a notch at the vintage-style stay at Andiron Seaside Inn and Cabins, arrival includes a complimentary cannabis cocktail in the alfresco redwood bar. Restrictions and black out periods apply. Relax at a new resort on the Gulf Coast of Florida The new Sunseeker Resort on the Gulf Coast of Florida - Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor The highly anticipated Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor is now open as they welcomed their first guests on December 15, 2023. The independently flagged property features 785 well-appointed guest rooms including 189 top-tier luxury Sunsuites™ and is the first completely new-build resort with more than 750 rooms to open in Southwest Florida in over thirteen years. The resort features 60,000 square feet of meeting and conference space, 20 dining options and bars, two expansive pools, and retail outlets situated along a scenic harborside promenade. A state-of-the-art fitness center and spa are located on the third floor of the resort's main tower. In addition to its prime waterfront location, Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor features a world class 18-hole golf course, Aileron Golf Club, exclusive to members and hotel guests. Guests staying at Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor are able to pick from a signature list of guestrooms and suites. The resort's accommodations range from coastal-inspired premium rooms to the luxurious Sunsuites™, which include lavish one-to-three bedroom layouts ranging from 875 to 1,700 square feet. Each includes a chef-level kitchen with Sub-Zero/Wolf stainless steel appliances, an entertaining area and private spacious outdoor balcony. Guests also have access to special services including a separate check-in experience and private lounge access that offers amenities such as complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, small bites throughout the day and a pre-arrival concierge. The new resort is now an activity center in Charlotte Harbor, offering visitors a portal to some of the finest amenities on the Gulf Coast. These include: A state-of-the-art 7,100-square-foot fitness center and a full-service spa and salon as well as two pools including a 21,000-square-foot adults-only rooftop retreat and 117,000-square-foot ground-level experience (the largest pool in Southwest Florida).The convention area also includes innovative technology and features two waterfront ballrooms fully equipped with best-in-class A/V systems. Accompanying the two clear-span ballrooms are two executive boardrooms, 12 meeting rooms, and an ideation suite with three separate breakout rooms. Guests also have access to an exclusive (and resort guest only) 18-hole golf experience, Aileron. The golf course is home to high-end practice facilities with Totracer Range technology and additional culinary offerings. The course was recently rated highly by the FSGA (course 74.1 | slope 134) which competes with some of the best courses in the state. In addition to event spaces, fitness areas and lifestyle offerings, Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor introduces an unforgettable dining collection and innovative beverage program to Southwest Florida's Gulf Coast. Guests are able to experience a first-of-its-kind lineup of seven stand-alone restaurants, eleven bars and lounges, two poolside offerings and a 25,000-square-foot food hall experience. The eleven bar and lounge areas on the property feature a robust wine program with a selection of internationally acclaimed fine wines, modern cocktails, local beer and tropical libations. The resort is located just ten minutes from Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), where guests can enjoy convenient access to and from their flights.
Hit a Home Run with These Fun, Sports-themed Vacations
Plan a trip this year for the dedicated sports fan in your life at one of the destinations below. While it's simple (and fun) to add in a local sports event to a vacation itinerary wherever you travel, these places below offer a fuller experience for those who want to cater an entire trip around an especially-beloved activity. Whether it's baseball or beach soccer, there's something for everyone. Head to "baseball paradise" in Arizona The 2024 Cactus League Spring Training season marks the 70th anniversary of the league's operation, and there is no better way to celebrate than in the Scottsdale sunshine. Starting February 22 and running through March 26, catch the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, and the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Arizona is also home to 12 other Major League Baseball teams' spring training fields, all within a 15-45-minute drive of Scottsdale. After the ninth inning, unwind with more than 70 hotels, and 50 resort and day spas in the greater Scottsdale area. Read on for an expert guide to Spring Training in Scottsdale. Hit it out of the park with Mountain Shadow Resort Scottsdale's Ballpark Package. Enjoy 25% off an entire stay as well as a Home Run Welcome Amenity and a daily $50 food and drink credit (valid for stays between Feb. 22-March 28). Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows' Seventh Inning Stay package comes with a bucket of local beer and koozies; perfect for pre-game libations or post-game celebrations. Complete the trip by sunbathing by one of three pools or dine at Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen (valid for stays between Feb. 18-March 28). Finally, there's also the Royal Palms Resort & Spa, less than a 10-minute drive from Scottsdale Stadium; this resort is offering spring savings for a stay in the sprawling splendor of this Mediterranean-style resort with its Royal Retreat package. Relax at Alvadora Spa and savor the seasonal delights of T. Cook's (valid through April 13). A day of Giants baseball puts you right in the heart of the post-game fun, as Scottsdale Stadium is within walking distance of Old Town's and Scottsdale Waterfront's best bars, restaurants, and nightlife. Hall of fame-worthy and family-friendly favorites for burgers, brats, finger-licking-good fried chicken, and pizza include Daily Dose Old Town Bar & Grill, Brat Haus, Belle's Nashville Kitchen, and Craft 64. Visitors who present a Spring Training game ticket the same day of the ballgame at The Herb Box Old Town receive a 10% discount. Kick it up a notch – with no need to change out of jerseys and caps – at Wasted Grain, Social Tap, and Rusty Spur Saloon There's also plenty other things to see and do while in town. Make the artsy play and browse the working studios of 100 renowned and emerging artists from across the country during the Celebration of Fine Art (through March 24). Throw on a cowboy hat and mosey over to Rodeo Scottsdale in “The West's Most Western Town.” Also known as the Parada Del Sol Rodeo, the event features bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and more (March 7-10). With over 330 days of sunshine, Scottsdale is an ideal spot for outdoor activities including kayaking on the Lower Salt River, golfing at one of the 200 golf courses in the area, soaring to new heights in a hot air balloon or lounging poolside. Finally, travelers can hit a double play on savings with a list of 12 Fabulously Free things to do and round out a trip itinerary at ExperienceScottsdale.com. Celebrate the Super Bowl in Las Vegas Las Vegas, the Official Host City of Super Bowl LVIII, has launched a petition on Change.org urging football fans to encourage excessive celebration during the city's first foray into hosting the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 11, 2024. The petition was accompanied by a music video featuring former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Grammy-nominated artist Tobe Nwigwe. The petition is a nod to the fact that while professional sports often restrict excessive celebrations, they are always encouraged in Las Vegas. “Whether you are on the Strip, in the stadiums, or just here for a good time, Las Vegas will forever be the home of excessive celebration,” reads the petition in part.“Las Vegas is built for celebration,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “People come to Vegas because they know that the excitement surrounding the game is just as important as the game itself. Whether they travel to watch the game in person or at a viewing party, fans know they will be surrounded by energy that is simply unmatched anywhere else in the world. As we prepare to welcome the Super Bowl for the first time, we are determined to show the world that when it comes to celebration, Las Vegas is in a category of one.”Las Vegas is also partnering with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel to spread the word. The former Las Vegas local is supporting the destination's initiative, including a special appearance by Johnson on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night on ABC. While attending the Super Bowl is a big ticket item, Vegas fortunately has many affordable hotels, dining options, and flights that can make a trip like this a little more feasible. Plus, even if you're not at the live game, there's sure to be some great parties and after-parties wherever you choose to watch the big event. Tee off in Florida The Hills Course in Daytona Beach - courtesy of Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Florida is an ideal destination year-round, and golf fans will appreciate the opportunities to both participate in and watch events in the Sunshine State. St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches are home to one-of-a-kind events that can't be found anywhere else. Tickets are on sale now for the internationally-lauded The Players® Championship at TPC Sawgrass taking place this year from March 12 to March 17. Then, head south to Daytona Beach to find some of the best courses around. One of Daytona Beach's premier layouts, the Hills Course at LPGA International has reopened to rave reviews following a comprehensive greens renovation project. The acclaimed Arthur Hills design closed in April for a five-month project that restored the course's greens to their original size and USGA specifications, an effort that netted an additional 26,600 square feet of putting surface. Prior to the installation of the new TifEagle bermudagrass greens, the Hills Course had 65,340 square feet of putting surface, a number that jumped to 92,000 square feet. LPGA International, a 36-hole property, previously installed TifEagle on the Jones Course, making the decision to install the ultradwarf bermuda that is ideally suited for Daytona Beach's climate on Hills Course an easy one. The new putting surfaces, which are in pristine condition as the area looks forward to its peak winter and spring seasons, will attract much of the attention, but the Hills Course enjoyed other significant upgrades during the project. A ballstriker's design, the Hills Course challenges players with fairways lined by beautiful magnolia trees and native pines. The 4.5-star layout stretches to 6,954 yards and features five sets of tees, providing a fair challenge for players of all skill levels. LPGA International is also home to the highly touted Jones Course and helps anchor the Daytona Beach golf scene. Daytona Beach is home to nearly 20 courses and is an easy drive from multiple PGA Tour stops, making it an ideal destination for golfers in search of good times on and off the course. With multiple package options, which allow groups the opportunity to bundle golf and accommodations, and the lure of the World's Most Famous Beach, Daytona Beach is a fast-emerging golf destination. See surfing and beachside sports in California Surfing in Oceanside - courtesy of Visit Oceanside As if you needed another excuse to plan a beach vacation... Head to Oceanside, California for a slew of surf championships scheduled this year. In January, it's the WSL World Junior Championships. Beginning 2024, the best 20 and under surfers on the planet will compete in Oceanside from January 9-14. Later in the year, the world's largest women's surf, lifestyle and music festival returns to Oceanside each September—and it's free to attend. Attendees can watch world-class surfing competitions with more than 100 top female pros as they compete to qualify for the Women's Championship Tour. At the Super Girl Pro Festival Village, there are experiences for all ages, including autograph signings, giveaways, contests, celebrity speakers, skateboarding, live music, dance, competitions and more. There are also female-led vendors selling food, drink and souvenirs. Budding surfers can get top tips and advice for free through the mentorship program when they register in advance. Additionally, each September, the US Open Adaptive Surfing Champs showcases the remarkable talent of para surfers. With nearly 100 athletes representing 17 countries participating, the event has firmly established itself as a leader in promoting inclusivity, athleticism, and excellence within the adaptive surfing community. Finally, don't miss out on one of the more unique sports events in town: the Beach Soccer Championships in May. Beach soccer is one of the fastest growing pro sports in the world and every summer, O'side is its homebase. This very popular sand soccer festival features nearly 300 youth, adult amateur and adult pro women's and men's beach soccer as well as vendors, the BeSoCha Cantina and lots more! The sun-soaked bleachers are open to the public—so bring the kids!