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    Zac Taylor (born May 10, 1983) is an American football coach and former quarterback who is the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He previously served as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Rams from 2017 to 2018 and Miami Dolphins from 2012 to 2015. From 2005 to 2006, Taylor played college football and was the starting quarterback at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
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    Inspiration

    Explore Nashville’s musical (and non-musical) murals

    Nashville is known as Music City, but the truth is that the city is home to all sorts of artists. There’s no better way to get up close and personal with the artists of Nashville than the beautiful murals that can be found all across the city. Music City is home to dozens of murals featuring everything from Dolly Parton to dragons. Here’s where to find our favorites!Find your wings Lining up to have your photo taken with the giant wings in Nashville’s Gulch neighborhood is a rite of passage for any bachelorette party. Posing for a photo with this iconic Kelsey Montague mural is such a popular activity that it often has a line. It can be found in The Gulch at 302 11th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203I believe in Nashville After floods inundated the city in 2010, “I believe in Nashville” became the city’s slogan for rebuilding. Find variations of this mural (including a Nashville Predators-themed “I believe in SMASHVILLE”) across the city. The original lies in the 12 South neighborhood at 2700 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37204. Find the Smashville version on Broadway at 501 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203. A third variation, this one with the slogan “I believe in East Nashville,” popped up after tornadoes tore through the neighborhood in March 2020. Find it at 919 Gallatin Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206I believe in Nashville. Photo by Laura Brown Dolly Parton Nobody is more popular in Tennessee than “Saint” Dolly Parton, whose many achievements include sending over 1.3 million books each month to children across the USA through her Imagination Library. You can find a flowery mural with her portrait in East Nashville at 1006 Forrest Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206Tomatoes! East Nashville is known for its summer obsession with tomatoes. Every August, this quirky pocket of Nashville has an entire festival for tomatoes, including freshly painted tomatoes on the streets and tomato-themed gardens across town. Find the biggest tomato mural in East Nashville at 701 Porter Road, Nashville, TN 37206It’s gonna be okay Looking for your next inspiring Instagram shot? Look no further than West End, where “It’s gonna be O.K.” by artist Sarah Tate can be found. The exact location is at 3020 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209. Nashville looks good on you! Nashville looks good on everybody (okay, maybe not as much in the middle of a humid August day, but still!) Show off your Nashville glam look in 12 South at 2509 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37204 The Silo What to do with an old, derelict grain silo? Turn it into art, of course! This amazing mural by Guido Van Helten features a realistic portrait of an older man looking towards the sky. It’s best appreciated when viewed in person and can be found in The Nations at 1407 51st Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37209The Silo in the Nations neighborhood of Nashville has transformed an abandoned silo into a noted landmark. Photo by Laura Brown Guitars everywhere Nashville is built on music, which is the lifeblood of the artist community here. See a celebration of the different kinds of music that have roots here with the guitar mural that can be found downtown at 213 3rd Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201The Athens of the South Nashville is known as the Athens of the South, thanks to its many universities and the replica of the Parthenon. The beautiful mural by Beau Stanton of a Greek god pouring out a colorful chalice is an homage to this nickname. Find it downtown at 144 5th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219. Celebrate the legends Pay tribute to the legends of Nashville with a visit to this mural painted on Legend’s Corner on Lower Broadway. The stars depicted change frequently - most recently, Taylor Swift was replaced by Brad Paisley. Can you identify each of the legends on the mural? Find out for yourself at the corner of Broadway and Rep John Lewis Way downtown.The legends mural on Broadway highlight's Nashville's history of producing great musicians. Photo by Laura Brown Spread Love (the Nashville way) Nashville’s artist community is big on love, peace, and inclusion. Nashville also has incredible sunsets. See both married together in the “Spread Love” mural by Anthony Billups, featuring a beautifully painted Nashville skyline at sunset. This mural can be found at 1015 Nelson Merry Street, Nashville, TN 37203. Slay the dragons If you’ve ever needed some motivation to stand up with your sword and slay the dragons that stand in your way, look no further! That’s precisely what this Kim Radford mural is inspiring people to do. Find this mural in East Nashville at 1224 Meridian St, Nashville, TN 37207Little Kurdistan Nashville has the largest Kurdish population in the United States. This gorgeous community mural celebrates the rich and colorful culture of Kurds that have landed in Nashville. You can find the mural (and explore other parts of Kurdish culture) at 364 Elysian Fields Ct.

    National ParksBudget Travel Lists

    The Budget Guide to Zion National Park

    With majestic canyons, sandstone walls, and breathtaking hikes, it’s no wonder this jewel of the National Park Service was named for the promised land. Zion National Park in Southwest Utah is one of the most extraordinary places in the United States (and on earth). It offers adventure surrounded by towering canyons, immense sandstone walls, and amazing hikes that every American must see at least once in their lifetime. Getting There McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is the largest airport near Zion National Park. The St. George Regional Airport is a bit closer at just 50 miles away, but prices are usually between $100 and $200 more for a round-trip ticket. Keep an eye on ticket prices leading up to your purchase, and snag some for St. George if you find a comparable deal. If you’re coming from Las Vegas, rent a car for the 160-mile drive to the park. Then take off toward the mountains on I-15 for desert panoramas that will just begin to prepare you for the jaw-dropping Utah landscape you’re headed for. We recommend completing this drive during daylight. Not only will you want to take in the desert scenery, but there are also some winding roads. For the best gas prices, be sure to fuel up in St. George or Hurricane, UT. It’s also advisable to buy several gallons of water before entering the park in case of emergency. Entering And Navigating The Park Park Entrance At the park entrance, you’ll pay $35 per car, which gives you access to the park for seven days. For $80, you can get the America The Beautiful pass, which grants you access to all national parks in the US. If you plan to go on from Zion to other nearby parks such as Bryce Canyon or Arches, we absolutely recommend this option. Shuttle Buses During most of the pandemic, Zion has been implementing a shuttle ticket system. At the end of May 2021, the park eliminated this system. The shuttle is now open for anyone to ride. The only requirement is that you wear a mask! As of June 2021, the only places the buses are stopping include the visitor center, the lodge, the Grotto, Big Bend, and the Temple of Sinawava. There is often a line to get on a shuttle, and on busy days, you may feel as though you’re standing in line at Walt Disney World. The line is typically worse in the morning as everyone is arriving to the park, but extra-early birds can beat the crowds. Shuttle buses begin running at 6 AM, so get in line around 5:00 AM if you’d like to be one of the first up canyon. The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel The Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel runs between Zion Canyon and the east side of the park. Due to height limitations, this 1.1-mile tunnel cannot accommodate large vehicles in both lanes. Rangers must control the traffic flow so that oversized vehicles can drive down the center of the tunnel. Therefore, vehicles larger than either 11’4” tall or 7’10” wide must pay a $15 tunnel permit fee at the park entrance station. Vehicles larger than 13’1” are completely prohibited. Also note that pedestrians and bicyclists are not allowed in the tunnel at any time. See below for the 2021 tunnel hours of operation (MDT) for large vehicles. August 29 to September 25: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM September 26 to November 6: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Winter hours of operation starting November 7: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Camping: The Ultimate Bargain Dispersed Camping Tent camping is one way you can cut expenses while visiting Zion National Park. You can make camp on most BLM (public) land without a fee; however, this option should only be used by those who are experienced campers. If you want to camp for free, make sure you have a map and give yourself plenty of daylight to find a campsite. The tradeoff with this option is that you’ll have to devote a little more time traveling to and from the park. Campgrounds If you’d prefer a campsite inside the park with more amenities, plan to book your spot early. The Watchman Campground is right by the visitor center and is the busiest campground, often selling out months in advance. Additionally, the South Campground is just a bit further up the road and allows reservations up to 14 days before your trip. For a little more privacy, you can stay at the first come, first served Lava Point Campground, about an hour and twenty minutes from the south entrance of the park. Hotels Are A Short, Beautiful Drive Away Affordable hotels can be found in Hurricane, UT, about a 30-minute drive from the park. Prices can be as low as $60 in the off season, and $70 in the high season. The drive is beautiful; just be sure to budget time to get through the park’s gates. Springdale is the closest town to Zion’s south entrance, but it tends to be a bit pricier. Keep your eyes on hotel prices as you prepare for your trip, and again, snag something if you find a comparable deal. There’s a shuttle that runs between Springdale and the park, so parking doesn’t have to be such a pain if you stay in town.Stock up on food in advance To stay on budget, you’ll want to stock up on food and water at a grocery store (pick up a cooler and ice if you’re packing perishables of course). Stop in either Las Vegas or St. George for these items. There are also several restaurants and small markets just outside the park in Springdale, but these will be more expensive. Hiking: Zion’s Main AttractionThe Narrows is one of the most fun hikes in America. Photo by Laura BrownZion is world-renowned for its hiking. Whether you spend the day wading through a river canyon or scaling the side of a mountain, there is no more rewarding way to soak up Zion’s unreal landscape. Plus, hiking is free! Here are our top recommendations in the park. Pa’rus Trail Section: South side (of the canyon) Level of difficulty: Easy The 3.5-mile Pa’rus Trail is great for bicyclists and for those who want a fairly flat trail that will still give them plenty of stunning views. Additionally, there is only one trail in Zion that pet owners can take their animals, and this is it! Watchman Trail Section: South side (of the canyon) Level of difficulty: Moderate If you’re wanting to do something a little more difficult than the Pa’rus Trail without having to enter the canyon via shuttle, try this trail. In 3.3 miles, it rewards you with great views of the Watchman, the lower canyon, and Springdale. Canyon Overlook Trail Section: East side Level of difficulty: Moderate The Canyon Overlook Trail is a beautiful one to watch either sunrise or sunset from. It’s a short jaunt that clocks in at just one mile round-trip, and it leads you up to spectacular views of lower Zion Canyon. Just be sure to head there a little earlier than your intended hike start time as you may have to park down the road. Parking at the trailhead is very limited. Taylor Creek Trail Section: Kolob Canyons Level of difficulty: Moderate If you’re interested in getting away from the crowds Zion is known for, take an hour drive to the Kolab Canyons section of the park and try the 5-mile Taylor Creek Trail. Emerald Pools + The Kayenta Trail Section: Zion Canyon Level of difficulty: Moderate Connect the Emerald Pools Trails with the Kayenta Trail for one of the easier hikes up canyon. This route is perfect for families or for those who are a little tired from hiking in the morning. There are a few different ways to do this combination depending on which Emerald Pools Trails you take, but the longest way clocks in at just about three miles. The Narrows Section: Zion Canyon Level of difficulty: Strenuous You can hike the Virgin River up to Big Spring (3.6 miles one-way), wading through the water as you stare up at the high walls enclosing you. The trail is listed as strenuous because it involves climbing over some rocks, but there’s little elevation gain. Some choose to rent gear such as walking sticks and water shoes from outfitters in town. If you want to save some money, however, just bring along the trekking poles you’re using to hike with anyways. Note that there’s always a risk of flash floods on this trail. Keep your eye on the flood forecast posted around the park and turn around if you see the following: Deteriorating weather conditions Thunder or a buildup of clouds Sudden changes in water clarity (from clear to muddy) Angel’s Landing Section: Zion Canyon Level of difficulty: Strenuous This is Zion’s most famous hike, which ends with a crawl across the spine of a mountain to a view meant for angels. If you’re afraid of heights, stop on the trail at Scout Lookout, which provides views almost as good as those farther on. This trail is often very crowded – by the end of the effort, you’ll be best friends with the people climbing the trail around you. Bring extra water as the set of steep switchbacks on the trail will have you needing more than you might think. Angel's Landing is more strenuous than you think. Be prepared! Photo by Laura Brown Other Things You Need To Know Closed Hikes Due to rockfall in 2019, a few hikes are closed: Weeping Rock, Hidden Canyon, and Observation Point via the canyon floor. These trails are bound to be closed for another decade or so (if they ever reopen). Cyanobacteria The Virgin River (and any water sources coming from the river) is currently experiencing a toxic cyanobacteria bloom. Even though the park is monitoring it regularly, much is unknown regarding its effects. If you choose to go into the water, avoid getting it in your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or in any open wounds. Additionally, do not let dogs drink from or get into the river as the algae has been found to be fatal to our furry friends. The United States’ national parks are some of our favorite road trip destinations, and we were thrilled to create this budget guide for Zion. For more details about the park, head to the NPS website. If you go to the park and post any photos on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #MyBudgetTravel for a chance to be featured on our page!

    Inspiration

    Socially distant adventures on the Carolina coast

    It’s that time again. It’s been a week since you’ve left the house and it’s enough stir-crazy between your partner or your kids for a lifetime. Even the dog is sick of you. Here are ten things you can do in an expertly planned one day trip on South Carolina coast. Pack the day full, because even though it’s not a week in Cabo, it will make going home feel relaxing enough to mask the crazy. Kayaking at Sunrise in Charleston Plentiful waterways make up the iconic scenery of Charleston. What better way to enjoy what Charleston has to offer while remaining primarily secluded than kayaking at sunrise. Further out of town the top rated company Charleston Outdoor Adventures offers kayaking and paddleboarding to escape the city life. Make online reservations to plan ahead and stay distanced. As always, bring your own sanitizing wipes and sanitizer. ©f11photo/ShutterstockBreakfast Downtown Charleston Many of the restaurants in Charleston vary from dine-in to takeout only or closed all together. This is why we recommend heading downtown. This socially distanced option allows you to pick up whatever you want (we recommend Toast! a charleston breakfast hotspot) because there are several great outdoor picnic spots around. Just pick up your tasty treat and find yours. On a slower day mid week, you could even go to Joe Wiley Waterfront Park to find a picnic spot. This park offers a great look into historic Charleston. Cobblestone streets lead you to a scenic fountain and pier. The walk along the way is beautiful too. South Carolina Aquarium Get out of the heat, even though it’s morning, don’t doubt the East Coast humidity. The one indoor activity on here features the South Carolina Aquarium who takes social distancing very seriously. They believe “as a scientific organization, it is our duty to keep the health and safety of our guests and staff top priority.” Find more information on their FAQ page about safe visiting. The aquarium requires guests to purchase timed entries online to limit the capacity of visitors and to wear a face mask at all times. Beach Picnic in Hilton Head Take the day elsewhere by driving down to Hilton Head. Just two hours away travelers can make it for an afternoon picnic on the beach. On the main beach, many seafood restaurants offer outside seating or takeout. But who wouldn’t want to eat by the waves? All beach access and surrounding recreations restored to normal. For those searching for less crowds, you might have better luck finding a beach access point off of the main. Rent a Bike in Hilton Head Just like the Kayaks, make sure you bring hand sanitizing wipes. Even with sanitizing practices of their own, you can never be too careful. The options for rentals seem almost limitless. All across the island visitors can find beach cruisers. Biking around the beaches or the walk ways amongst the trees is a great way to spend the afternoon. You can do this alone or with a small group (we recommend nothing over six). When you get hot or tired, jump in the ocean. When it comes to getting out of the house, nothing beats a little bit of exercise to boost the seratonin. Golf in Hilton Head But if biking just isn’t your vibe, then try golfing. This is another outdoor, energy boosting activity with lots of walking and enjoyment (but none of the pedaling). Though, this is a little bit of a pricier option. Tee times run around $100 for the surrounding courses. The most expensive course looks out to the ocean. Golden Bear golf clubs hold one of the highest rating clubs in the area. This sport thrives through social distancing. As you know by now, it’s great as long as you bring some hand sanitizing wipes for the clubs and the cart. Sunset in Hilton Head, SC. Photo by Laura BrownWatch the sunset in Hilton HeadHilton Head has a plethora of fantastic places to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset. Our favorites are the Skull Creek Boathouse on the north side of the island, and the Sunset Grill on the Western side. The Sunset Grill is an upscale restaurant nestled in the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort, for the RV enthusiasts. Margs at the Park in Savannah Once you’ve finished the afternoon in Hilton Head, drive on down to Savannah. Another short drive away, Savannah brings in visitors all over the state for the simple fact of open carry alcohol. While bars start to open their doors to guests, the numbers are already growing for tourists. If you are really looking for a way to travel away from the crowds, the best option is to head over to Tequila Town, or any other bar, and grab an open cup margarita. Then find yourself a nice, lonely park bench to enjoy it on. The evenings start to cool down and what better way to cap off a day of fun. ©Sean Pavone/ShutterstockHorse Drawn Carriages in Savannah Traveling historic Savannah is the second best part to the city, so do it in style. You know, it also keeps you several feet above everyone else (probable a six foot distance if you know what I mean). Horse drawn carriages are back in business and taking riders in fewer quantities with more time in between. Beach Under the Stars at Tybee Island Tybee island is a local favorite for anyone in Savannah. The best times to go are for sunrise and the stars. Bring drinks, dessert and a blanket. You’ll find good company among some of the others who come out, but mostly with the crabs. There isn’t much light pollution in Savannah to begin with, but there is hardly any in Tybee. On a clear night, you can see everything and listen to the waves. Enjoy the Road Lastly it’s about enjoying the road trip. These days, just getting out of the house is an adventure, even if you spend most of your time in the car listening to your favorite songs driving from place to place. A trip from Charleston to Hilton Head to Savannah might not seem like a typical day trip, but why not rise to the challenge? Where else can you drive in a day? (P.s. we highly recommend the new Taylor Swift album Folklore for your road trip tunes.)Kylie Ruffino is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

    Inspiration

    Coastal Mississippi provides adventure and variety for the budget traveler

    There is an incredible amount to do, see and experience across Coastal Mississippi: from outdoor activities, such as kayaking, boating, fishing and hiking, to a wide variety of attractions, museums, festivals, world-class gaming, and championship golf courses. When it comes to food, this is the place to be! From quaint coastal seafood spots to fine dining, we’ve got it all. In short, Coastal Mississippi checks all the boxes: great food, great weather, great prices, great people, and a great way of life. With 55 percent of frequent travelers saying they primarily travel to discover new experiences, cultures, lifestyles, food, and places, regularly using terms such as “hidden gem,” “undiscovered,” and “unexpected,” Coastal Mississippi – The Secret Coast is perfectly poised to surprise and delight as a region that offers all the relaxation, adventure and variety that travelers want without the overexposure that they don’t! Ocean Springs Front beach. Credit: Alex North Photography Here is a brief overview of what The Secret Coast has to offer: Outdoor activities. We offer some phenomenal outdoor experiences, such as world-class golfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, birding, fishing, boating our many waterways, Schooner sails, and even a 70-minute shrimping trip, that is an absolutely wonderful excursion for the entire family, and shows you exactly how shrimp and other marine life live and end up on our plates! Have some fun in the sun and explore the barrier islands that sit just miles off Coastal Mississippi. With white-sand beaches and beautiful Gulf waters, the islands are an ideal day trip. While all of the barrier islands offer something unique that is worth exploring, Ship Island is the most accessible to travelers thanks to its ferry service out of Biloxi and Gulfport.Our culinary scene is booming: the Mississippi Coast has a huge variety of gastronomic offerings, from beach seafood shacks serving the freshest Gulf seafood, to fine dining (including two James Beard nominees!) and fusion cuisine. There is something to satisfy every taste bud, and there are plenty of hands-on opportunities to experience the very essence of Coastal Mississippi’s culinary scene.Culture fix at the world-renowned Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (designed by famous architect Frank Gehry!), and discover the beautifully eccentric world of the illustrious Anderson family at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and Shearwater Pottery Workshop and Showroom. Ocean Springs and Bay St. Louis boast wonderfully artsy, walkable downtown areas amongst the ancient live oaks, where you can wander in and out of shops, galleries, bars and restaurants all day long. Festivals held across the Coast throughout the year, showcasing the region’s crafts, artisan-made items, local delicacies, seafood, talented musicians and much more. To get to the moon, you must go through Mississippi first! The INFINITY Science Center is NASA's official visitor center for the Stennis Space Center, and offers a blend of space, Earth science, engineering and technology content, spiced with innovative programming, that leverages expertise from the area's leading-edge research and test operations. This combination guarantees an experience you will not find anywhere else.Coastal Mississippi offers an array of lodging options to cater to any preference, from luxury casino resorts and international hotel brands, to boutique hotels and Coastal bed-and-breakfast inns.For those on a budget, this is the place for you: Forbes and similar outlets have released the states where $100 goes the farthest, and Mississippi topped the list. There are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of free things to do in the area, as well as reasonably priced offerings or ways to save as you explore are around every corner, including the Mississippi Gulf Coast Attraction Pass, priced at $45, valued at $80. Credit: Coastal MississippiRoad Trip Across The Secret Coast Highway 90 runs all the way from West Texas to East Florida, but the most beautiful part is right here in Coastal Mississippi. Scenic Highway 90 takes you right by the Gulf of Mexico and a 26-mile-long beach (view video HERE), all the way from Waveland, MS to Moss Point, MS, across two stunning bay bridges and right past many historic sights worth seeing. On your Highway 90 journey between the Louisiana and Alabama borders, you will pass through several beautiful and unique towns, all offering their own charming personality: Waveland The only city on the Gulf Coast to prohibit commercial buildings on its beachfront, Waveland offers miles of unobstructed beach views of the Gulf of Mexico. Buccaneer State Park offers relaxing, small-town beach camping, a beachfront waterpark, and a host of nature-based activities, such as birding, crabbing, and kayaking. Bay St. Louis Considered “a place apart”, this quaint seaside town was named one of the ‘Coolest Small Towns in America’ by Budget Travel and was also recognized as a top 10 small beach town by Coastal Living Magazine (2010). From friendly folks to historic buildings, this unique city embraces the heritage of our region. Pass Christian View unforgettable historic homes and magnificent oaks during your visit to “The Pass”. The area’s unique way of life is defined as relaxed and resolute, casual and carefree. If you’re aiming to find a friendly and laid-back atmosphere, Pass Christian offers it in large doses. Pick up a one-of-a-kind antique or gift from a range of local retailers or grab a locally-brewed coffee at Cat Island Coffeehouse, with an incredible view of the Mississippi Sound. Long Beach If you’re searching for beautiful scenery and a calm southern getaway, Long Beach is the perfect place for you. Ride through this bicycle-friendly town and rent kites for the little ones while at the public beach. Stop into any of the local eateries to experience an eclectic array of culinary delights – many served up with an incredible view of the Mississippi Sound. Gulfport Offering a plethora of parks and water recreation areas throughout the city, up-close-and-personal adventures with marine life, zip-lining tours through the coastal canopies, and an array of dining and entertainment options, Gulfport has something for everyone. Take a boat excursion out to Ship Island, a fishing charter to some of the best spots, or simply stroll around Gulfport’s beautiful harbor and eclectic downtown area, featuring an ever-evolving public art scene in an old fishmonger’s alley. Coming soon to Gulfport: Mississippi Aquarium! Biloxi Once known as the “Seafood Capital of the World”, Biloxi offers both revival and relaxation in equal measures. Jet-ski in the Gulf of Mexico, take a Shrimping Trip or a sunset sail on a Biloxi Schooner, or relax with your toes in the white sand and enjoy the beautiful views of the Mississippi Sound. Catch a Biloxi Shuckers baseball game and sample some locally-brewed coastal cold ones, or challenge your friends to a game of blackjack and watch a headliner show at one of the casinos. The options are endless. Biloxi Schooner. Credit: Coastal Mississippi. Ocean Springs Known as the City of Discovery by locals and visitors alike, this historic coastal town is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a whole host of experiences. A quaint, Main Street community nestled amongst centuries-old live oaks on the scenic shore of Coastal Mississippi, Ocean Springs boasts a rich history, artistic flair, lush landscape and small-town appeal. Colorful and sophisticated, this community is known for its arts and festivals. It is home to the Ocean Springs Art Association representing more than 300 local artists, the largest annual fine arts festival in the state, Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, and Shearwater Pottery. With over 200 independent shops, galleries, restaurants and nightlife, this community captures southern, small-town charm with its walkability, white sand beaches, and year-round activity. Pascagoula Mississippi’s Flagship City boasts incredible antebellum architecture and a rich 300-year history. Pirate Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Zachary Taylor, and Jimmy Buffett all spent time in Pascagoula and considered it home, a hideaway or a respite throughout the years. Visit La Pointe-Krebs House, circa 1718, in all its rugged splendor with a panoramic view of Krebs Lake. Spend the afternoon at Scranton Nature Center at I.G. Levy Park, featuring a variety of exhibits. Or simply relax with a picnic at Beach Park for the day, overlooking the Mississippi Sound. Moss Point Home to some of the most beautiful and unique natural habitats, Moss Point is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Visit the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, located along the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48, and discover the amazing world of Coastal Mississippi’s abundant native flora and fauna by kayak or on a River, Marsh & Bayou boat tour. Anna Roy is the Public/Media Relations Manager for Coastal Mississippi. This piece was produced for Budget Travel's Rediscover America series.

    Budget Travel Lists

    6 Things To Do in Tulsa, Oklahoma

    If Oklahoma native son Woody Guthrie could write a song about Tulsa today, he would sing about the vibrant creativity, the enterprising entrepreneurs, and the friendly locals, an idealized portrait of the kind of America he immortalized when he sang This Land Is Your Land. From its grand art deco architecture to its trendy cafes, shops, breweries, and bars, Tulsa pulls the rug out from whatever you're expecting from a trip to cowboy territory, particularly this town once known for its place in American history as the end of the Trail of Tears. That's in no small part due to a giant ongoing investment that Tulsa native and public-school alum George Kaiser, the billionaire banker and oilman-turned-philanthropist, is making in the city. (More on that in a second.) Here are a few places to check out and things to do to that bring the city's history and newfound energy together. 1. Gather at the Gathering Place (Shane Bevel) There is really no straightforward way to describe the Gathering Place (gatheringplace.org), which sprawls across 100 acres along the Arkansas River. It's part theme park, part public park, part recreational hub. It embodies a five-acre state-of-the-art playground that feels like something out of a German fairy tale forest, a stylish lodge-like community center with a giant fireplace and free Wi-Fi, plus a skate park, sports courts, nature trails, a labyrinthine “sensory garden” for kids with interactive, multi-sensory features, two desensitization spaces designed to have a calming effect on children with autism, a water play-space with contraptions that spray water seven feet into the air, family-friendly eateries and concession stands, green spaces, and even more. The $465 million Gathering Place was developed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, making it the largest private gift to a public park in U.S. history. 2. Get Your Kicks (Liza Weisstuch) Of the many, many changes that Route 66 has undergone since it was established as one of the nation's original highways in 1926, the most recent ones have included closures of old roadside eateries and while many landmarks remain, others have disappeared over time. It’s in the name of renewal that in May, Mary Beth Babcock erected Buck Atom Space Cowboy Roadside Attraction, a 21-foot fiberglass statue of an animated astronaut, outside her store, Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on 66 (buckatomson66.com). It’s a tribute to an era when these mighty “muffler men” kept watch on the road from Chicago to L.A. Its retro style befits her store, a treasure trove of books, figurines, and sundry gift items that evoke the atomic era. This is just one of the stops on the walk down Tulsa’s stretch of the historic road. Set off from downtown, where it's designated as 11th Street, and you’ll pass a cemetery, established in 1902, the charming modern housewares and furniture shop Jenkins & Co. (jenkinsandcotulsa.com), the iconic Meadow Gold sign, which once tempted travelers with promises of ice cream, then a cluster of stores including Buck Atom's, a used record shop, a vintage clothing spot, and a depot for furniture made with reclaimed materials. Wrap up at Soul City, a vibrant old-school bar with indoor and outdoor stages and live music every night. 3. See Where Art and History Meet (Liza Weisstuch) You can go to the Philbrook Museum to gaze at the Renaissance paintings, works by Rodin, Picasso, and Pueblo artists, and plenty other gorgeous art and ancient artifacts. You can go to wander in the sprawling, meticulously landscaped gardens. Or you could go to get a sense of the way Oklahoma oil moguls lived when Tulsa was the Saudi Arabia of the west. The Philbrook (philbrook.org), located about three miles from downtown, is set in a 72-room Italian Renaissance villa built as the home of Waite Phillips, the magnate who founded Philips Oil. In 1938, Philips and his wife donated the villa to the city as an arts center, and the building itself is as much of an attraction as the works it holds. He clearly spared no expenses in construction--teak floors, marble fireplaces, ornate ceilings, Corinthian columns. His passion for beautiful things also shines through in the downtown buildings that he funded. The Philtower and Philcade, art deco masterpieces, are grandiose office buildings that still anchor the city's skyline. 4. Action! An Iconic 80s Movie Comes Alive (Liza Weisstuch) The house at 731 N. St. Louis Avenue is quite ramshackle and the yard is unkempt. It doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm. Unless, of course, you recognize the home from Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders, the 1983 movie starring a pack of young heartthrobs whose names are now cornerstones of American pop culture: Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon. It's based on the book written in 1967 by Tulsan S.E. Hinton when she was 15. It’s never gone out of print and remains on the reading list in many American public schools. According to Danny Boy O’Connor, founding member of 1990s hip-hop group House of Pain, the house is a national treasure, so when he visited Tulsa and discovered it in disrepair, he bought it and launched a Kickstarter campaign to rescue it from its scheduled date with a wrecking ball. With help from musician Jack White, he raised the money, gut-renovated the place, and painstakingly restored it to match how it looked on screen, down to stains on the wall and grime on the stove. With the support of Ms. Hinton, filled it with costumes and artifacts from the movie, including Coppola's director's chair, many editions of the books and VHS copies, and stills from the film. Tours, which involve meeting downtown for a van that will take you to tour the house and cruise around to a few of the various sites featured in the movie, (theoutsidershouse.com) 5. Dine Around: Mother Road Market Throughout America, food halls have begun to seem like the new shopping mall, not least because every city has one. Tulsa's Mother Road Market (motherroadmarket.com) makes for an exciting visit for a few reasons. First, the premise: It's a nonprofit. The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation operates the market as well as a commercial kitchen with incubator programs that help entrepreneurs launch businesses. Check out the Kitchen 66 stall for pop-ups from the program's emerging food companies. Second, the Nashville hot chicken at Chicken and the Wolf, a local cult favorite that draws fans each day for its signature chicken--just be sure to heed the warnings that accompany the hottest menu items. There are vegan versions, too. (The owners also run a standalone hot chicken restaurant and the funky Lone Wolf Bahn Mi.) There's also an outpost of the much lauded Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, the requisite food hall taco stall (& Tacos), Nice Guys Shrimp Shack, the hard-to-resist Big Dipper Creamery and OK Cookie Monster, globally accented options at Bodhi Bowl, and, perhaps most attention-grabbing of all, Umami Fries, known for its fry options with kimchi or beef toppings. Add to that a sweet little general store with local produce, the full-service Wel Bar, sprawling covered outdoor area in the back with communal tables and a green space for kids to run around, and you can practically make a day of it. 6. Perk Up: Coffee Mania Let it be known: Tulsans love coffee. Coffee shops here, however, go far beyond the standard “third-wave” cafés, the term used to describe places that focus on single-origin beans, fair trade, and meticulous brewing techniques. Like many places around the U.S., coffee drinks at these cafes are made with the same level of craftsmanship as artisanal cocktails. Unlike many places around the U.S., Tulsa has several spots where you can hang out all day drinking top-rate java and stay in your seat when evening arrives and the cocktail menu goes into effect. Cirque Coffee (cirquecoffee.com), for instance, has stools along a long wood counter, cozy couches, colorful murals, and shelves of whiskey, gin, tequila, vodka, and rum on the wall. The sounds of an espresso machine resound through the airy warehouse-chic space all day long. Come evening, the many folks who’ve been typing on their MacBooks fold them up in favor of the beautiful hard-covered cocktail menu, which offers familiar classics and many originals, including, fittingly enough, creative coffee cocktails. (See: The Hotrod, a mix of cold brew coffee, curacao and simple syrup) Hodges Bend (hodges-bend.com), on the other hand, looks has all the trappings of a nouveau-vintage cocktail bar—exposed brick walls, dark wood furniture, pressed-tin ceiling— that also serves terrific coffee and specialty java drinks made with their own blend. Drinks here include classics, a few originals, and a thoughtfully curated wine list. A globally-accented menu ranging from duck confit tacos to veggie bibimbap round out the offerings.

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    Travel News: WorldPride 2019 in NYC, London Is the Best Destination in the World, and the Plane That Flew in the Wrong Direction

    From New York City's biggest LGBTQ celebration ever to London's new position atop TripAdvisor's annual awards, plus the truly bizarre story of a plane that took passengers where they did not expect to go, this week's travel news is all about looking at the world in a new way. WorldPride 2019 in NYC New York City is consistently the leading LGBTQ destination in the U.S. because, well, it’s New York City (as Taylor Swift sings, “It’s been waiting for you”), with a centuries-old tradition of welcoming newcomers of all backgrounds, genders, and ages. In that spirit, NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing organization, has declared 2019 the “Year of Pride,” with the epicenter coming up in June when the city celebrates WorldPride (June 25 to 30) and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising (June 28). “We have declared 2019 the Year of Pride, to not only celebrate WorldPride and Stonewall 50 but to acknowledge the perpetual spirit of New York City’s vibrant LGBTQ community,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “In addition to the iconic events in June, the city is brimming with a yearlong roster of cultural activity.” Events and exhibitions include: “Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50” at the New York Public Library in Bryant Park through July 14, commemorating the riots that broke out at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid; “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now,” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum through January 5, 2020, a retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe’s breathtaking collages and photographs; pride parades in all five NYC boroughs, with the Manhattan parade set for June 30, including the Stonewall Inn on its route; and dozens of other exceptional offerings all over town. To learn more about NYC’s Year of Pride, visit NYCGo.com. London Is the Best Destination in the World Sure, as noted above, we love New York. But congrats to London for topping TripAdvisor’s 2019 Traveler’s Choice Awards as the top-rated destination in the world, unseating last year’s winner, Paris. Based on millions of user ratings and reviews over the past 12 months, the award reflects worldwide enthusiasm for visiting the U.K. capital, largely fueled by the buzz around Harry and Meghan’s 2018 royal wedding. Of course, we recommend London as a destination anytime, with airfares to Europe from the U.S. at a three-year low and a plethora of amazing museums with free admission. Here, TripAdvisor’s top 10 destinations for 2019: London, U.K.Paris, France Rome, Italy Crete, Greece Bali, Indonesia Phuket, Thailand Barcelona, Spain Istanbul, Turkey Marrakech, Morocco Dubai, United Arab Emirates The Plane That Flew the Wrong Way In yesterday’s lively Budget Travel Twitter Chat about affordable U.S. Road Trips, we asked, "What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on a road trip?" One participant admitted to accidentally driving 200 miles in the wrong direction while on vacation. Oops. But as funny-not-funny as that incident may have been, we've got a piece of news that is even weirder: A British Airways flight that was supposed to take passengers to Dusseldorf, Germany, instead flew to Edinburgh, Scotland, due to a mistake in the flight plan filed before takeoff. Um…

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