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  • Beartooth mountains, Cooke City, Montana, USA.
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    Cooke City,

    Montana

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    Cooke City is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Park County, Montana, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 75. Prior to 2010, it was part of the Cooke City-Silver Gate CDP. The community sits northeast of Yellowstone National Park on the Beartooth Highway, which leads east to Red Lodge, Montana, on a scenic route climbing to 10,947 feet (3,337 m) in elevation through the Beartooth Mountains and across the Beartooth Plateau. The town's chief industry is tourism, which during the winter includes skiing and snowmobiling. It is named for Jay Cooke, financier of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
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    Road TripsBudget Travel Lists

    6 Secret American Road Trips to Add to Your Bucket List

    The United States is renowned for its plethora of jaw-droppingly beautiful stretches of highway. In fact, for many travelers, the very word "America" conjures images not of bustling cities or world-class museums (though the US offers no shortage of them) but of iconic roads such as California’s Highway 1, the Southeast’s Blue Ridge Parkway, and Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. But what about the lesser-known American drives? The ones that aren’t necessarily jam-packed with road trip enthusiasts but nevertheless offer gorgeous scenery, family-friendly fun, education, and even cultural enlightenment? Here, six outstanding “secret” drives that travelers will love to boast about “discovering.” Big Bend, Texas Big Bend National Park, along the Texas border with Mexico, is often overshadowed by its more famous fellow parks like Yosemite and Grand Canyon. But a road trip through this gorgeous environment, with its limestone cliffs, scenic overlooks, and Rio Grande River, is a unique way to experience the American landscape. As with many US national parks, Big Bend includes small “villages” that can serve as handy milestones in planning a drive. One option is the Panther Junction-to-Rio Grande Village drive, about 21 miles (34km) passing ancient limestone, scenic overlooks, and opportunities for stopping for a short hike at Boquillas Canyon or the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail. Cherokee Hills, Oklahoma This is a lesser-known road trip that provides a healthy dose of cultural education as well. The Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in eastern Oklahoma, runs about 84 miles (135km), so set aside at least two hours for the drive. But the best approach is to make many stops along the way. You’ll see some of the oldest buildings west of the Mississippi River, many predating the state of Oklahoma itself; five small towns; the Cherokee Heritage Center, where visitors learn about the painful history of the Trail of Tears but also about the modern-day initiatives of the Cherokee Nation; and natural wonders including Lake Tenkiller and Natural Falls State Park. Door County, Wisconsin The Door County peninsula, sometimes called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” is a narrow, beautiful stretch of land between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. Its Coastal Byway (Highway 42/57) is a Wisconsin Scenic Byway, covering more than 60 miles (97km) passing through the towns of Sturgeon Bay and Northport. Here, visitors discover the natural beauty and relaxing pace of this prized corner of Wisconsin – including farms known for their fresh cherries, a summer theater festival, and charming communities that hug the lakeshore, offering great food (including house-made ice cream), unique shopping, and forests perfect for easy hikes. Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway Sure, Delaware is one of the smallest states in the US, but it packs plenty of history and natural beauty. The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway, in northern Delaware, takes visitors past sights as diverse as the city of Wilmington and the beautiful countryside. Officially only 12 miles (19km) along the Kennett Pike and Montchanin Road, the byway focuses on the 300-year history of the Brandywine Valley and its role in the industrial revolution and the growth of transportation across the early United States. Consider the byway as your introduction to the larger Brandywine Valley region, which stretches into Pennsylvania and includes an array of important historical homes with great art collections, such as the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library; the Nemours Mansion and Garden; the Brandywine River Museum; and the Delaware Museum of Art. Beartooth Highway, Wyoming & Montana Warning: once you’ve driven the Beartooth Highway, which adjoins Yellowstone National Park and is surrounded by national forests and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, you may be spoiled forever. The highway, a National Scenic Byways All-American Road, is a winding route up into the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains – achieving an elevation over 10,000ft (3,000 meters) at its zenith, it’s the highest highway in the northern Rocky Mountains – with peerless scenic overlooks, glacial lakes, waterfalls, and, before you ascend back down, a high alpine plateau above the treeline. Set aside a few hours to truly enjoy the 67 miles (108km) of highway, and get to know one of the gateway communities such as Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana, or Cody, Wyoming. Mississippi Blues Trail, Mississippi For an immersion in one of America’s original art forms, the blues, head to Clarksdale, Mississippi, gateway to the Mississippi Blues Trail. Although you’ll see the beautiful sights of the legendary Mississippi Delta along the way, the Blues Trail is not primarily a scenic drive but rather a set of interpretive markers and cultural institutions that visitors can navigate to create their own personalized road trip devoted to Mississippi’s incredible musical legacy. The trip’s mileage and time frame are entirely up to you. Highlights include Clarksdale’s Delta Blues Museum (where you’ll learn about local luminaries Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson) and Ground Zero Blues Cafe; Indianola’s B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center and Club Ebony (for blues music and soul food); and Greenwood’s Blues Heritage Gallery and excellent restaurants in the historic downtown district.

    Budget Travel Lists

    7 Easy And Affordable Wellness Retreats And Escapes

    You need a break. You’ve worked hard lately; you’re always connected; and you’re feeling a little burned out. These are seven easy destinations for you and/or your family to unwind, disconnect, and recharge both body and mind. Better yet, none of them will break the bank. And in some cases, some of them are downright cheap. Before booking your next wellness retreat, consider one of these: Bluff Dwellings, Utah You’ve heard of Bears Ears National Monument. Now see it for yourself from the area’s brand-new, gorgeously located, and perfectly arranged resort in Bluff, Utah. At Bluff Dwellings Resort (pictured), you can stay on-site for the pool, spa, and surrounding views, or drive 30 minutes to hike or off-road in the new national monument, river raft the Grand Canyon-like San Juan with family, or take in the timeless Monument Valley in nearby Navajo Nation. Far away from the crowds of the rest of Southern Utah, Bluff Dwellings is a fantastic place to lose yourself during an extended mountain stay. Huntington Surf Inn, California Long revered for its beginner-friendly and expert breaks, Hunting Beach is and will forever be “Surf City, USA.” But whereas Southern California can be notoriously expensive, the Huntington Surf Inn is as affordable as it is accessible to the beach—just a few minutes' walk to both the waves and International Surfing Museum. Award-winning amenities include comfortable and colorful rooms, free wifi, parking, complimentary beach toys, and big screen TVs with premium cable to binge on. From here the perfect wave is within reach. The Fox Den, Montana Welcome to one of the finest rental properties within minutes of Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park and still one of the best places to go off grid. This five-star rated “superhost” Airbnb is located in the woods of Soda Butte Creek with easy access to decks with spectacular views, hot-tub overlooking the creek, and many of Cooke City’s best hiking trails. Feather beds, hardwood floors, and full kitchens make staying in a must, but with so much of the great outdoors nearby, you’ll also want to explore. In addition to hiking, fishing, biking, and snowmobiling, be sure to drive the nearby Beartooth Highway, which is considered one of the most scenic drives in America. Casablanca Resort, Nevada If sunbathing by a fantastic, palm tree-lined pool all day replete with waterfall, kids slide, hot tub, and an immense amount of playing room appeals to you, look no further than Casablanca Resort in Mesquite, Nevada. Better yet, this five-star pool at a three-star hotel ranges from $40–70 per night, depending on the season and weekend. What’s more, there’s a lot of great golf courses and hiking trails nearby if that’s your thing. Make no mistake – the rooms and casino are about as bare bones as they come. But you’d be hard pressed to find a better desert oasis on a budget than here. Ocean Village, Dominican Republic While most tourists flock to the resort-filled Punta Cana, you’ll find a lot more affordability, fewer crowds, and more authentic Dominican adventures, food, and culture in Puerto Plata. On a recent visit to Ocean Village, I swam at the on-site private pool, took several naps on the sundeck hammock, lounged around at the nearby beach resort and infinity pool, and even surfed with locals using Airbnb’s new Experience listings. Beautiful, relaxing, and affordable are all three adjectives that perfectly describe Puerto Plata. The Inn at Thorn Hill, New Hampshire Like Southern California, New England can be prohibitively expensive. That’s not the case at The Inn at Thorn Hill, however; this budget stay is a 2019 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice winner located in the famously beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. "The perfect couple’s getaway,” “One of the 10 most romantic inns in North America,” and “Most amazing B&B ever” have all been used to describe the four-diamond lodge. With loads of free amenities, namely parking, internet, hot tub, spa, fitness center, and breakfast, there’s a lot to love about this beautiful property. Hallmark Resort, Oregon Few places on Earth are more timeless, rejuvenating, and/or romantic than Cannon Beach, Oregon. And few places on Cannon Beach are better than the award-winning but still affordable Hallmark Resort & Spa. As the closest hotel to the iconic and Goonies-famous Haystack Rock, this oceanfront property offers panoramic views of one of the most stunning and deepest beaches on the planet. With a variety of rooms to fit a variety of budgets, you’ll never be more than a few steps away from the sand, homemade lobby cookies, and endless scenery.

    Inspiration

    Book a Great Hotel Deal Right Here at BudgetTravel.com

    Where are you going this fall? At Budget Travel, we’re all about inspiring you to “see more for less” and to discover great new affordable destinations. Now, we’re upping our game: Our new “Book a Hotel” page allows you to book great hotel deals through our partners at Booking.com. I took our new “Book a Hotel” page or a spin, planning some fall travel for me and my family. Some highlights include: Select a Destination and Travel Dates. On the left of the page, type the name of the destination you’re thinking of visiting. The Booking.com database will almost certainly recognize even the most far-flung places (I tried to play “stump the database” with some islands in the South Pacific, and it recognized every place I could think of, including tiny Cooke City, MT, a cool small town with a population under 100). With leaf-peeping season coming soon, I searched for hotels in Bennington, Vermont, one of Budget Travel’s “51 Best Budget Destinations in America.” Get Inspired. Even if you’re not sure where you’re going next, our “Book a Hotel” page can help you make up your mind, with recommended destinations along the right-hand side of the booking tool. The more you use the tool, the better the page will get at making appropriate suggestions for you. In my case, it has already figured out that I’m interested in family-friendly weekend escapes in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Review Available Lodgings. Hit "Search" and a list of available lodgings appears within a second or two, and, using a menu at the top of the listings, you can order the lodgings by price (low to high is what most of us Budget Travelers prefer), or starting with "top picks," which are frequently booked and/or highly recommended properties (an especially good idea the farther your destination is from your cultural or geographical comfort zone). When I searched hotels in Bennington, Vermont, I was pleased to find rates in early October starting as low as $85. Get Picky. Using a menu to the lower left of the hotel listings, you can get a bit choosy, filtering using criteria such as price range, breakfast included, free Wi-Fi, and even kitchen facilities. For my leaf-peeping search, I filtered for breakfast included and free Wi-Fi (because my trip will be in October, I didn’t filter for “swimming pool,” but it’s nice to know I can do that for summer travel): I was psyched that, post-filtering, my $85 deal was still available. Read Customer Reviews (and the Fine Print). Your lodgings list will give preference to properties that have received good reviews, but you can dive into the world of customer reviews if you’re curious about details. As I started to read the (glowing) reviews, the fine print about check-in and check-out, and some additional helpful info about nearby landmarks, I realized that the $85/night hotel in Vermont was actually a property I’d already taken my family to a few years back - and we’d thoroughly enjoyed the place. That was an unexpected, and welcome, confirmation that our new booking tool was steering me in the right direction! Reserve It. Selecting a room and making a reservation takes just a minute or two, and you don’t have to share credit card information or set up an account, just your name and email address. I found the experience inspiring and refreshingly easy. Ready to explore some affordable fall travel ideas? You’ll find a “Book a Hotel” button on the upper-right corner of the BudgetTravel.com homepage. Or just CLICK HERE.

    National Parks

    Yellowstone in Winter

    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -November 13, 2014 - Even for people who have been to Yellowstone National Park many times in summer, a winter trip is like visiting a whole new park. But unlike a summer trip, a winter visit requires more preparation with roads open only to over-the-snow vehicles and just two of the nine lodges open. That is why Xanterra Parks & Resorts' Yellowstone National Park Lodges, the operator of lodging, restaurants and activities in Yellowstone, offers packages designed to showcase the park's winter offerings while minimizing the planning. "A winter visit to Yellowstone can be like visiting another amazing world," said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra in Yellowstone. "While obviously all the natural features enjoyed during summer can be seen in winter, a blanket of snow and winter temperatures seem to transform the park, especially geyser basins, into other-worldly snowscapes.  And the opportunities to view wildlife, especially wolves, is excellent during the winter season." Xanterra offers a lineup of winter-season multi-day packages that help visitors focus on their interests. These packages include "Lodging & Learning" packages in partnership with the Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI), self-guided winter "Getaway Packages" and a guided snowmobile "Adventure Package" as well as lodging and transportation options for those who want to customize their own experiences. The park's winter season begins Dec. 20, 2014 with the opening of Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel opens Dec. 21. The lodges provide the only wintertime accommodations within the park. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will close for the season March 2, 2015, and Old Faithful Snow Lodge will close March 1, 2015. The popular Winter in Wonderland Lodging & Learning package features a comprehensive overview of the winter experience while additional packages focus on specific interests with titles like Yellowstone on Skis, Winter Wolf Discovery, Winter Wildlife Expedition, Old Faithful Winter Expedition and YNot Winter, a package developed to teach participants the basics about winter-season experiences in Yellowstone. Each program includes expert guides, accommodations, in-park transportation, some meals and Xanterra's "Snow Card" good for 10 percent off meals, in-park transportation, tours, ski shop services and most retail items. Introduced last winter, an airport shuttle from Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport provides a convenient and cost-saving option for traveling to/from the park. Package participants receive a special rate of $42 (plus applicable taxes/fees) each way, a savings from the regular rate of $53.50 plus tax each way. Except for the road from Gardiner, Mont. to Cooke City, Mont. via Mammoth Hot Springs, transportation within the park is limited to snowmobiles and enclosed heated snowcoaches during the winter. Snowcoach transportation is available daily to a variety of park locations. Xanterra also offers a wide range of half- and full-day snowcoach, ski and snowshoe tours as well as ski and snowshoe rentals and instruction. Winter packages can be booked by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free 866-GEYSERLAND (866-439-7375) or by submitting the secure online package reservation request form found on the website www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com.

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