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25 great winter travel deals for 2022
With Covid-19 vaccinations on the rise and people continuing to wear masks, practice social distancing and show proof of vaccination as needed, folks are venturing out again as safely as possible. A recent study by TripIt showed flight bookings are up 320% compared to last year, while the numbers increased by 404% for car rentals, 271% for lodging and 182% for vacation rentals. Whether you’re seeking seasonal winter sports, a sunny beach escape or a city staycation closer to home, there are plenty of wintertime deals to be had. Here’s a look at some of our favorite travel packages around the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, all available this winter for under $265 a night. Massachusetts Fresh mountain air and lakeside views await at this member-favorite B&B The Black Swan Inn in the Berkshires (Lee, MA). Budget Travel Members get nightly rates from $105. New Hampshire New Hampshire Escape - $179. When we say The Inn at Thorn Hill in Jackson, NH is a member favorite, we're not kidding: 100% of members who stayed here loved their experience, citing the inn's outstanding service, great food and romantic setting. Now, you can nab a room for just $179 per night for dates into spring. New York Winter warriors who love cross-country and alpine skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and tobogganing should head to High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, about a 4.5-hour drive from New York City. The resort’s two-night Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe package, from $203 a night, offers breakfast, admission to the Cascade Ski Center and complimentary snowshoe rentals when you book and stay by March 31, 2022. Washington, DC in winter. Photo by tomwachs, iStock. Washington, D.C. Kimpton George Hotel’s packages include overnight accommodations at this chic Capitol Hill boutique, plus little extras like nightly valet parking or daily breakfast for two. Rates start at $263 a night. Nearby, Kimpton Hotel Monaco’s Park and Play package, available from $263 a night, throws in perks like complimentary overnight parking and a $25 daily dining credit to use at its onsite restaurant, Dirty Habit. North Carolina Skyline Lodge, a recently-renovated boutique property in Highlands, located about two hours from Asheville, is offering rates from $170 a night this winter. Escape the crowds at this mountaintop resort during the week and score a bottle of sparkling wine with the Wine Down Weekdays package, with rates from $207 a night. South Carolina Just 30 minutes from Charleston, Wild Dunes Resort, a Destination by Hyatt property in Isle of Palms, is a wonderful place to spend time with the family or your beloved on a romantic getaway by the beach. With rates from $161 all winter long, you’ll have access to a swanky spa, tennis courts and two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, as well as a variety of menu options from nine onsite restaurants and bars. Georgia Georgia Wine Country: 2-Night Retreat incl. Vino - $299. Waking up to sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Days spent hiking and sampling local vino. Kicking back fireside on a crisp night. All things in store for those who can nab 2 nights (or longer) at this charming North Georgia lodge with this deal for travel into spring. Miami Beach lifeguard station. Photo by JC Ruiz, iStock Florida Planning a Miami escape or staycation? Head to the Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach, where the Park + Play package, from $146 a night, lets you spend the night in luxe accommodations and receive complimentary valet parking. Texas In Dallas, the Kimpton Pittman Hotel’s family package gives guests late 4 p.m. check-out, a create-your-own s’mores kit and directions for an epic mural scavenger hunt through the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Rates start at $203 a night. Illinois Save 30% when you book four or more nights at the Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown this winter and use promo code Save30. Rates start at $143 a night for four nights and you must book and stay by March 31, 2022. Colorado Now through March 2022, save on a luxurious stay at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, with rates from $259 a night as part of its Winter Spectacular package. Just 40 minutes from Denver, Hotel Boulderado’s Winter Wanderlust, lets you stay two nights and get one free, with rooms from $139 a night when you book three or more nights now through April 2022. If you’d rather stay in the heart of Downtown Denver, head to The Curtis, where several staycation deals are available. Park and stay packages start at $139 a night, while another deal gives you 15% off stays of at least three nights and 50% off parking, with rates from $109 a night. If your favorite fur baby is tagging along, the Shaggy & Scooby Doo Pet Package includes waived pet fees (saving you $25–$100 a night depending on pet type) and plenty of pet treats. California Save up to 15% on a stay at the Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo when you book directly through the hotel’s website — nightly rates start at $101 all year long. Make the most of a winter getaway to sunny San Diego with a stay at this 4-star Westin, located less than a mile from The Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and the waterfront. Lock in discounted rates and a daily credit and stay any day of the week through March. Portland in Winter. Credit: 321photography, iStock Oregon While Portland’s Hotel Zags is offering several deals, our favorite is the Escape Your In-laws package, which gives you a bucket of beers and a $10 credit to use at the onsite restaurant. Rates start at $99 a night now through March 31, 2022. The Bidwell Marriott Portland is offering a special Night on the Town package, which includes complimentary valet parking, two free drinks at High Horse and two MAX light rail passes to use to check out the city during your stay. Use promo code XYO to score rooms from $199 a night when you book and stay by March 31, 2022. Plan a romantic weekend getaway with the Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center’s Romance in the City of Roses package, available from $229 a night. You’ll get your choice of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir or locally sourced craft beer, as well as chocolates, Albina City nuts, romantic rose petals for your room and the chance to sleep in with 12 p.m. check-out. Washington Head outdoors this season and hit the hiking and biking trails at Suncadia Resort, located about 90 minutes from Seattle. Rates start at $225 a night in January for World of Hyatt loyalty program members (it’s free to sign up for an account). Mexico. Photo by Laura Brown, Budget Travel Mexico and the Caribbean If you’re planning to travel internationally, remember to stay on top of testing requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers returning to the U.S. Perched on Medano Beach (one of the area’s few swimmable beaches) and just minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, the 5-star Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Spa earns rave reviews for its spacious suites, exceptional service and superior food. For a limited time book a 3-night stay for $555. Rate gets a Deluxe Studio with a king or two queen beds, kitchenette and balcony overlooking the lush gardens. From now until January 17, 2022, you can save up to 64% at Karisma Hotels & Resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, including brands like Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts, Azul Beach Resorts, Margaritaville Island Reserve Resorts and El Dorado Spa Resorts, among others. Rates for all-inclusive stays through January 4, 2023, start at $151 per person per night depending on your dates and desired resort. Save on a stay at the chic Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, where rates start at $159 a night and include breakfast for two and welcome cocktails. For a real treat, book the Rejuvenation package, which, for $235 a night, throws in dinner for two at onsite restaurant Rojo, two complimentary rum punch cocktails at Cabana and a 50% discount on one treatment at the Zen Spa. In the Bahamas, Atlantis Paradise Island is celebrating winter with an epic January sale now through January 24, 2022. Bookings made for stays by February 28, 2023, reflect savings up to 30% at The Coral, 25% at The Royal and 20% at The Reef. During the sale, guests can also score an extra $20 per $100 of purchased Experience Credits, while guests booking rooms at The Cove will receive a $100 daily resort credit to use toward dining and other attractions. Discounted nightly rates at Atlantis Paradise Island begin at $172.
Visit the 6 most stunning Japanese gardens in America
Those of us dreaming of traveling to Japan will have to practice the art of patience, as the country has currently barred leisure tourism from 152 nations including America. Fortunately, we can still experience the beauty of Japanese culture, architecture, and spirituality at authentic gardens located throughout the United States. America has over 200 public Japanese gardens, which are designed to evoke the feeling of an untouched mystical landscape. Many include traditional structures like a tatami-floored tea pavilion, and natural features such as koi fish ponds. In response to the pandemic, most gardens require guests to wear masks, and offer limited numbers of timed tickets per day. Spring gives us a short window to admire cherry blossom trees at a Japanese garden. Visitors can take part in hanami, the age-old tradition of picnicking under the pink flowers. In the age of COVID-19, the concept of “mono no aware”—a wistful recognition of impermanence, as represented by the falling blossoms—hits especially close to home. Spend time outdoors at America’s most spectacular Japanese gardens, and get immersed in the elegant culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. 1. Japanese Hill-and-Pond at Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn, New York Brooklyn’s 52-acre Botanic Garden is famous for its visually striking Japanese Hill-and-Pond. Designed by Takeo Shiota, the Japanese garden debuted in 1915, making it one of the oldest in America. Look for a dramatic red Shinto torii perched over the 1.5 acre pond, which was modeled after Japan’s famous Miyajima Gate. The surrounding hillside gardens are carefully arranged shizen-style to highlight natural formations. A winding path turns to reveal a five-tiered waterfall, blanked by ferns that hang “just so” for a serene effect. With details such as a curving wood bridge and a tiny Shinto shrine, every vista feels like a scene from an ancient painting. Between March and May, the Cherry Esplanade explodes into color with double rows of blossoming trees. Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden houses 27 species that bud at different times, covering the “Cherry Walk” with petals ranging from white to dark pink. Open Tuesdays-Sundays (except holidays), 990 Washington Ave, 718/623-7200, bbg.org, admission $18. 2. Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon After World War II, many American cities founded Japanese gardens as a way of rebuilding cultural understanding. In 1967, Portland transformed the former Washington Park Zoo into a green space based on Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist philosophies. Today, their Japanese Garden is considered one of most impressive in the nation. Most gardens adhere to one traditional landscaping style, but Portland’s designers decided to showcase five historical forms over 5.5 acres. The Sand and Stone Garden features swirls of gravel and minimalist boulders, which encourage the Zen contemplation of emptiness. In contrast, Kashintei Tea House sits in an otherworldly grove, prefaced by a mossy path of irregular stepping stones. The showcase extends to the present with Kengo Kuma’s LEED-certified Cultural Village, a blend of contemporary steel and glass with ancient aesthetics. Open Thursdays-Mondays, 611 SW Kingston Ave, 503/223-1321, japanesegarden.org, admission $18.95. 3. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida South Florida has a surprising century-old connection with Japan. In the early 1900s, a group of Japanese farmers established an agricultural colony named Yamato in what is now Boca Raton. They introduced innovative crops and farming methods to stimulate the local economy, but the project failed to take off and was abandoned by the 1920s. In 1977, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens opened to honor this local heritage. The villa has a permanent exhibit about Yamato Colony, with thousands of artifacts such as teacups and textiles. The surrounding 16 acre garden is known for its elegant strolling paths marked by stone lanterns and basins. Admire the collections of tropical plants, and don’t be surprised to see turtles, iguanas, and alligators basking in the central lake. Morikami specializes in bonsai exhibitions and classes: anyone can learn how to trim and grow a tree in the tiniest of planters. On Saturdays, witness an intricate Japanese tea ceremony at Seishin-an teahouse. Visitors can also stop by Cornell Cafe to enjoy a bento lunch on the open-air terrace. Open Tuesdays-Sundays (except holidays), 4000 Morikami Park Rd, 561/495-0233, morikami.org, admission $15. 4. Shofuso Japanese House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Since opening its doors in 1958, Shofuso’s careful attention to authenticity has reflected Philadelphia’s post-war friendship with Japan. The garden’s centerpiece is a magnificent 17th century-style house surrounded by weeping cherry trees. Designed in the shoin-style, the fully-functional home sits under a long peaked roof balanced on wood posts. Step inside rooms with tatami mats and sliding white shoji screens. In 2007, artist Hiroshi Senju installed twenty waterfall murals on mulberry paper, creating a permanent exhibit that flows with the living space. Shofuso House overlooks a koi pond and an acre of photogenic gardens. Pause to feed the fish, and contemplate the sound of a three-tiered waterfall. Look for a towering stone statue of the Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo, nestled by a wall of bamboo. (In the winter, the deity wears a bright red hat and bib for protection.) Open Wednesdays-Sundays, Lansdowne Dr & Horticultural Dr, 215/878-5097, japanphilly.org/shofuso, admission $12. 5. Seattle Japanese Garden, Seattle, Washington Seattle’s Japanese Garden was inspired by the “stroll gardens” of the Edo era. In the 17th century, Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate and samurai. The daimyo, or feudal lords, built winding paths around their castles that let guests discover scenic views at every turn. Since 1960, Seattle residents have enjoyed exploring the meandering paths around the Japanese Garden’s pond. Each bend reveals dazzling details such as a zigzagging wood bridge, or a simple teahouse from Tokyo. Landscape designer Juki Iida seeded a variety of plants native both to Japan and the Pacific Northwest. He also travelled to the Cascade Mountains and brought back 500 granite boulders, which he arranged around the waterfall. The effect is natural and harmonious, revealing vistas bit by bit as you journey along the path. Open Tuesdays-Sundays, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E., 206/684-4725, seattlejapanesegarden.org, admission $8. 6. The Cherry Blossom Grove, Washington, DC In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City, Japan, gifted 2000 cherry blossom trees to Washington as a symbol of the growing friendship between the countries. The trees were planted around the tidal basin on the National Mall, and fill the monuments with a saturated pink every spring at peak bloom. Washington, DC, holds the annual cherry blossom festival every spring (though it is cancelled this year due to COVID), which brinngs people from near and far to see the beautiful trees. Open year-round. The National Mall, DC. Free to visit. -- La Carmina is an award-winning journalist who writes the alternative travel blog La Carmina. (http://www.lacarmina.com/blog)
24 safe budget getaways for spring
According to a recent study by vacation rental search engine HomeToGo, bookings are up by 46% compared to last year, with travelers opting to stay within 257 miles of home. Hotels and campgrounds are getting in on the action, with Hilton offering up to 20% off rates at certain properties and free night deals at Sun RV Resorts in Arizona, California and Texas when you book by March 7 and travel by March 31. If remote cabins or unique camping experiences are more your style, check Vacation Renter and RVC Outdoor Destinations for more off-the-beaten-path ideas. If you’re willing to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow health and safety protocols, spring might be a good time to venture out, especially with hotels and destinations doing all they can to keep employees and visitors safe. Here are 24 socially distanced trips you can drive to this spring, all under $200 a night. New York Save on a Finger Lakes stay at 1795 Acorn Inn, located near Canandaigua Lake about five hours from NYC. Mention the Winter Weekend Package to unlock nightly rates from $130, daily breakfast and a free third night when you book a two-night stay Thursday through Sunday by April 25. Pennsylvania Choose from cabins, cottages, yurts, bungalows, villas, RV and tent campsites and a 52-room lodge at Lake Raystown Resort, about 3.5 hours from Philadelphia or 2.5 hours from Pittsburgh. Bike or hike the 400-acre property’s scenic trails, visit the WildRiver Waterpark or Proud Mary Showboat and dine by the water at the Marina Café. Nightly rates start at $139 for bungalows and villas, $124 for cottages, $94 for cabins, $89 for lodge accommodations and $30 for tent campsites. Washington, D.C. The Cherry Blossom package at The Ven at Embassy Row includes a cherry blossom themed amenity, hand-painted postcards designed by a local artist, a commemorative lapel pin and a $15 rideshare app credit, with rates from $154 a night when you book and stay through April 30. Virginia Head to Southwest Virginia for fewer crowds and beautiful natural surroundings roughly 2.5 hours from Charlotte or six hours from DC. Bring your bike and take on the 35-mile Virginia Creeper trail, hike to the highest point in the state at Mount Rogers or see the wild ponies in Grayson Highland State Park. At The Sessions Hotel in Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum package includes breakfast for two and admission to the museum, from $194 a night. Nearby, rates at The Bristol Hotel, which makes its home in a restored 1925 landmark building, start at $139 a night. Near Shenandoah National Park in Northern Virginia, the Vacationing on the Clock package at Massanutten Resort comes with two complimentary cups of coffee, nightly rates from $195 and your choice of lift tickets or waterpark passes when you book and stay at least two nights Thursday through Sunday in a one-bedroom condo by March 7. South Carolina Visit Myrtle Beach, home to more than 60 miles of Atlantic beaches and 50 mini-golf courses. Stop by the LW Paul Living History Farm, stroll through Brookgreen Gardens or treat yourself to a private kayak tour with Black River Outdoors to enjoy the area from the water. Stay at Island Vista, where each room has a balcony overlooking the beach (from $87) or Hotel BLUE, home to South Carolina’s first swim-up pool bar (from $75). About 30 minutes from Charleston, Wild Dunes Resort, a Hyatt property in Island of Palms, offers plenty of outdoor space, tennis courts, a fancy 36-hole championship golf course and opportunities to fish or try stand-up paddleboarding. Rates start at $160 a night this spring. History buffs will love the Olde English District, located about an hour’s drive from Charlotte or Columbia, where you can learn about the area’s African American heritage and Revolutionary War history at a living history site, enjoy the great outdoors at Goodale State Park or get a bird’s eye view by sailplane with Bermuda High Soaring. Nightly rates at the charming East Main Guest House Bed and Breakfast in Rock Hill start at $129. Florida Celebrate Tampa’s Cuban heritage with a staycation at Hotel Haya, located on 7th Avenue in the heart of Ybor City. The Grab & Go Breakfast package, available from $174 a night, includes a homemade guava pastelito, a can of traditional con leche and fresh fruit. Between Pensacola and Panama City Beach, Hotel Effie Sandestin’s location within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and proximity to Silver Sands Premium Outlets make it a great base for those in need of a round of golf or a shopping spree, with rates from $189 a night. In the Florida Keys, you’ll save 20% on weeknight vacation rentals or motel stays of at least two nights at Pelican RV Resort & Marina in Marathon (from $165) or Riptide RV Resort & Marina in Key Largo (from $150) when you book by April 30 and stay Sunday through Thursday by May 31. Mississippi Calling all Elvis fans: Whether you’re heading to Tupelo as part of a larger road trip from Memphis or Nashville or just enjoying the city’s history, music and foodie scene in its own right, there’s a lot to see here. Tour the King’s birthplace by bike, take a scenic drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway and camp lakeside at nearby Tombigbee State Park, with cabins from $60 a night and fully equipped vacation cottages from $75 a night. Texas Try a Texas Hill Country getaway or day trip this spring to see the wildflower bloom in March and April, enjoy Barbecue Month celebrations in May or spend time wandering charming towns like Fredericksburg, which celebrates its 175th birthday this year. Aviation enthusiasts will love the Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg, a quirky hotel built to resemble a 1940s WWII hangar (rooms from $149), while an hour away in Dripping Springs, Lucky Arrow Retreat offers luxury yurts and cabins (from $159–$199) next door to the Bell Springs Winery and Brewing Company. Families near Dallas can enjoy early access to the Hilton Anatole’s new JadeWaters waterpark, which will be open to hotel guests on weekends from April 30 to May 31 before opening fully on Memorial Day weekend. Packages offer a $50 daily credit or complimentary breakfast, from $169 a night. About 90 minutes from Dallas in East Texas, the Deer Lake Cabins Ranch Resort in Mount Vernon offers more than 800 acres of trails and lakes so you can really get back to nature. Spend your days hiking, fishing, feeding farm animals, horseback riding or cruising around on a UTV, and your nights at a cowboy cookout or on a hayride, with cottages from $189 a night. Ohio The Mohicans Treehouse Resort & Wedding Venue, roughly 90 minutes from Cleveland or Columbus, is offering discounts through March 16 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday treehouse stays. Use promo code BUDGET2021 to unlock $200 nightly rates for the Moonlight, White Oak, Little Red, Old Pine and The Nest treehouses and $250 rates for the Tin Shed, Silver Bullet, The View and El Castillo. In Columbus, check out the Chihuly collection at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, wander the historic German Village district, take on the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country at Scioto Audubon Metropark and get some air along the 253-mile Scioto Mile. Springtime rates at Moxy Columbus Short North start at $91 a night, while the Work Anywhere Stay Pass package includes early 6 a.m. check-in, late 6 p.m. check-out, complimentary Wi-Fi and a $10 food and beverage credit. Illinois Those seeking a pet-friendly staycation should check out the Radisson Blu Chicago’s VIPup package, which includes a doggie bed, as well as a welcome toy, portable food and water bowls, gourmet treats, a food and drink mat and a waste bag dispenser, with rates from $149 a night. Wisconsin There’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had in Door County, just 45 minutes from Green Bay and two hours from Milwaukee. History buffs should head to the Heritage Village living history museum in Sturgeon Bay, which will be reopening in May, as well as the Door County Maritime Museum to learn about the area’s shipbuilding past. Stay at Eagle Harbor Inn, a charming bed and breakfast in Ephraim, with rates from $98 a night. Nearby, the Fox Cities area offers many outdoor attractions — head to High Cliff State Park near Lake Winnebago to hike one of the park’s seven historic trails or try your hand at making maple syrup in Bubolz Nature Preserve. Stay in Appleton and book the CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa’s Winter Warmer package — you’ll get complimentary hot chocolate, two handcrafted stoneware coffee mugs, two mini bottles of Dr. McGillicuddy’s liqueur and a $50 credit toward dining or spa treatments, from $174 through March 31 — or the Girls’ Night on the Town package, which includes a bottle of wine and a $20 minibar credit (from $150). South Dakota The Badlands and Black Hills are full of scenic outdoor spaces worthy of a road trip, like Badlands National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, just to name a few. Visit Custer State Park to see the buffalo roam, then stay onsite at Custer State Park Resort, where you can save 20% and receive a $20 credit on two-night stays (or save 25% and receive a $25 credit) when you stay between April 26 and May 22 and mention the Stay and Save This Spring package. Rates for lodge and cabin rooms start at $140 a night. Colorado Those booking two weekend stays in Arrowhead, Bearclaw or Foxtail cabins at the River Run Resort in Granby will get one free weekend stay when they book and travel by March 28. Two-weekend packages start at $520 (which breaks down to $130 a night) and come with six free bowling games, plus you can add extra nights for 20% less if you want to stay longer. Back in Denver, The Curtis has a great package for groups who want to enjoy a safe getaway together. The Choose Your Adventure package lets up to 24 guests take over an entire floor — that’s 12 guest rooms at double occupancy — from $2,000 a night, which breaks down to about $166 per room or $83 per person. You’ll also get to book your choice of socially distanced adventures, like laser tag, a silent disco or murder mystery game night, among others. Washington For an epic outdoor escape with a luxury resort twist, head 90 minutes from Seattle to Suncadia Resort, a Hyatt property situated among more than 6,000 acres of beautiful mountain scenery in Cle Elum. Spend some time hiking or biking more than 40 miles of trails in Wenatchee Washington National Forest or trying your hand at archery or axe throwing, among other activities, with rates from $171 a night.
This content is sponsored by Before you leave, make sure you check health and safety regulations in any area you are traveling to, as well as the weather conditions. Mountain roads in particular are subject to closures due to snow. Prior to setting off on any road trip, make sure your car is ready for the journey. You could save 15 percent or more on car insurance by switching to GEICO. Going-to-the-sun road - Glacier National Park, Montana Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park in Montana is almost 50 miles carved into the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It is the only road that traverses the park, providing access to Logan Pass at the Continental Divide. This alpine road is so winding it takes up to ten weeks for snow plows to clear them each year, so the best time to visit is later in the summer and early autumn. We recommend lodging on the Western edge of the park in Kalispell, where there is also an airport. Shenandoah National Park © Laura Brown / Budget Travel Skyline Drive - Shenandoah National Park - Virginia Skyline Drive is a 105-mile mountain road that runs the length of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, starting in Front Royal, about an hour west of Washington, DC. There are 75 overlooks, providing amazing views of the Shenandoah Valley and the Piedmont. It is especially beautiful in the summer and autumn. Drivers should plan to spend a full day doing Skyline Drive, and we highly recommend you make time to watch an evening sunset from a west-facing overlook. King's Canyon National Park © Laura Brown / Budget Travel King's Canyon Scenic Byway - California State Route 180 This state road has the benefit of going through two National Parks in short order. The first is the General Grant Grove of Giant Sequoias in Sequoia National Park. The road continues for another 50-miles through the Western Sierra to King’s Canyon National Park, an underrated gem in the National Park system. The nearest major city to King’s Canyon is Fresno, California. Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rob Hainer / Shutterstock Cades Cove Loop, Great Smoky Mountain National Park The 11-mile Cades Cove Loop is deep into Great Smoky Mountain National Park and it makes for a perfect leisure drive. Spend 2-3 hours exploring an early 1800s European settlement and appreciate the fresh air and beauty of the mountains. Make sure you plan a picnic and stop at Cable Mill, which also has restrooms. For accommodations, we recommend nearby Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The nearest airport is in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Overseas Highway © Laura Brown / Budget Travel The Overseas Highway: Miami to Key West The 110-mile Overseas Highway drives, well, overseas – connecting Miami to Key West through all the Keys. Drivers will feel the salt air and sunshine on their face and find plenty of charming nooks to explore along the way. There are beaches with public parking and unique local art gardens. At the end, arrive in beautiful Key West. North Cascades National Park © Checubus / Shutterstock North Cascades Scenic Byway, Washington The North Cascades Scenic Byway in Northern Washington is the most mountainous and hair-raising road traversing that park. You will see turquoise blue glacier water and sprawling mountain peaks. Make sure to stop for a photo at the Washington Pass Overlook. Eat, explore and stay at one of the 1920s towns along the way, and spend some time in the outdoorsy Methow Valley. Like most mountain passes, this is closed in the winter due to snow. North Cascades is relatively far away from society, the nearest airport is Seattle. Beartooth Highway © Laura Brown / Budget Travel Beartooth Highway - Southwest Montana This 68-mile mountain pass crosses from the town of Red Lodge, through Southwest Montana, and into the Northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It crosses through the beautiful Beartooth Mountains, one of the most remote regions of the United States, and one of the most ecologically diverse. The Beartooth Highway offers some incredible vistas as it climbs up the mountains. The nearest major airport is in Billings, Montana. Monument Valley © francesco ricca iacomino / Getty Images US Rt 163 - Monument Valley, Utah US Rt 163 is the 64-mile highway running from Arizona through the Navajo Nation in Southern Utah, showing off the dramatic and beautiful landscapes of Utah in Monument Valley. The red rocks and cliffs are one of the most iconic scenes in America, and the wide-open space makes the drive feel uncrowded. Plan at least two hours to make this drive and take time to stop for photography. Sunsets are particularly spectacular. The nearest major airport to Monument Valley is in Flagstaff, Arizona. The coastline surrounding Acadia National Park © Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock Park Loop Road - Acadia National Park, Maine The 27-mile Park Loop Road is the primary road around Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. It offers scenic ocean vistas where the rocks hit the water, and the forest changes colors with the seasons. Make sure to plan extra time to stop for hiking and photography. For inexpensive accommodations, we recommend staying in nearby Bangor, Maine. Rocky Mountain National Park © Ronda Kimbrow Photography / Getty Images Trail Ridge Road - Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado The Trail Ridge Road is a 48-mile long mountain route, nicknamed the ‘Highway to the Sky.’ The highway starts in Estes Park in the East and goes to Grand Lake in the West. It climbs up more than 4,000 feet to above the tree line in Rocky Mountain National Park. Considered the highest elevation paved road in Colorado, it features plenty of hairpin turns. Plan at least half a day to fully appreciate this trip. The nearest major airport is in Denver. SPONSORED BY Carefully crafted collaboratively between Budget Travel, GEICO, and Lonely Planet. All parties provided research and curated content to produce this story. We disclose when information isn’t ours.Sponsored by GEICO
How the largest hotel chains are giving back amid a pandemic
All around the world, hotels and travel companies have been doing what they can to help communities affected by the pandemic and show appreciation for essential workers and healthcare staff working to make a difference in the fight against Covid-19. From familiar hotel brands and B&Bs to wineries and corporate travel companies, here’s a look at some of the ways they’ve helped support small businesses and keep hope alive this year. Hyatt Hyatt has been pretty busy this year, with roughly 60 properties worldwide helping small businesses stay afloat with a new initiative called Hyatt Loves Local. Here in the U.S., Hyatt Regency Atlanta offered complimentary use of its kitchen and lobby spaces to support Anna Bell’s Mac & Cheese, while Andaz West Hollywood let local business Barcode Barbershop take over its rooftop for two months of outdoor haircuts and styling treatments. Other Hyatt hotels, like Motif Seattle and Grand Hyatt Vail, helped community businesses open onsite pop-ups—a mobile coffee cart for Monorail Espresso in Seattle and a pop-up shop for women’s clothing boutique Wild Heart in Vail—while Gild Hall in New York City arranged for BACH Fitness to host socially distant yoga and pilates classes so the company could stay open. Hyatt is also offering a special Friends & Family rate as a way to show appreciation for healthcare workers when they book with promo code THANKYOU on stays now through September 12, 2021. World of Hyatt loyalty program members can also donate Hyatt points toward free stays for healthcare staff and other frontline workers. Hilton Hilton’s approach has been a little different, with many individual properties offering ways to give back in addition to larger-scale corporate efforts made earlier this year, like donating one million rooms to medical professionals, partnering with World Central Kitchen and other worldwide endeavors. Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino is donating $25 per night to one of two local charities when you book a Give Back Aruba package, while a portion of Forest Therapy spa treatments at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead will go to Trees Atlanta, which supports the conservation and creation of green spaces around the city. In Colorado, The Curtis is donating $5 from every Don’t Eat Yellow Snow package to the Ronald McDonald House of Denver. Just in time for Christmas, three hotels—Conrad New York Downtown, Conrad Washington, D.C. and Conrad Dublin—are partnering with local children’s hospitals to host a “Hotline to the North Pole,” on December 23 and 24, a video conference link letting little ones chat with Santa Claus. Members of Hilton’s loyalty program can aso redeem Hilton Honors points for donations to several charities and nonprofit organizations by linking their account with partner site, PointWorthy. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG Hotels & Resorts) Besides allowing IHG Rewards Club members to donate their IHG points to charitable causes like the American Red Cross, Goodwill and The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, IHG has been doing its part to recognize the efforts of essential workers around the world, awarding complimentary stays to those who deserve it most. One essential worker in the U.K., for instance, was given a surprise trip to the Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon after missing her 26th wedding anniversary because the healthcare facility where she worked made her stay there for 12 weeks. Marriott As a way to show appreciation for the brave men and women working on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19, Marriott is offering special rates for Community Caregivers—healthcare workers, first responders and their families—at participating properties within the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. To get the discount, qualified essential workers can book stays by March 31, 2021, and must show valid identification from your medical, government, military or relief organization when they check in. The Copper Door B&B and Rosie’s Pop-Up in Miami While Jamila Ross and Akino West, owners of The Copper Door B&B in Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood, have been forced to make some adjustments this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic—the B&B’s legendary communal breakfast has since evolved into Rosie’s, a pop-up restaurant where guests can save 20%—they’re still paying it forward. The two hospitality entrepreneurs made headlines earlier this year when they cooked and delivered weekly meals to volunteers at the local World Central Kitchen outpost, Red Rooster, and it’s something they’ve continued to do ever since. Today, The Copper Door B&B is operating at 50% capacity with Covid-safe measures in place while Rosie’s remains open for brunch, serving up Soul Food classics like shrimp & grits and chicken & waffles as well as Italian-inspired dishes like Southern-style polenta and lemon ricotta pancakes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. TripActions Corporate travel and expense management company TripActions found yet another meaningful way to give back to its local community this year. When students in San Francisco neighborhoods hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly found themselves having to attend school from home, many of them without the proper equipment or Wi-Fi access, TripActions’ Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Shaka Senghor led the company’s efforts to donate more than 100 laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots and other technology through its partnerships with Hack the Hood, Climb Hire and Burton High School. The donations helped ensure students enrolled in tech training programs would have what they needed to continue their studies, including mentorship opportunities, while students at Burton High School were given the option to have monthly care packages with snacks sent to their homes. Kendall-Jackson Wines Earlier this fall, Sonoma County based winery Kendall-Jackson partnered with United Way Worldwide to create the Grocery Worker’s Relief Fund in an effort to provide up to $250 in cash cards and other pandemic-related emergency assistance via United Way’s 211 crisis services to essential workers currently employed by supermarkets and retail stores with grocery departments. So far, Kendall-Jackson has pledged $200,000 for the first year, committing to $2 million in support through August 2030.
Rediscover the San Juan Islands: Adventure-seekers will love this Northwest destination.
The journey starts with either a ferry or a floatplane—there are no bridges to the San Juans Islands. Leave stress behind as you board in Anacortes and set sail on the marine segment of the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. You can relax, you’re on island time now. The San Juan archipelago in Washington State is nestled between three great cities for visitors – Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and Victoria B.C., surrounded by the Salish Sea. Of the 172 named islands in the San Juans, three of them – Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan – have accommodations, attractions, and amenities for visitors. The archipelago is blessed with a temperate marine climate and life in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains means an average of 247 days with sunshine annually and about half the rainfall of the Seattle area. San Juan County has more than 400 miles of shoreline punctuated by rocks, bluffs and beaches. The arts, historic preservation and environmental stewardship flourish in the Islands. San Juan County is considered an “Arts Hot Spot” by the Washington State Arts Commission for the number of artists and galleries in the islands. It is also the first county in the USA to be designated a voluntary “Leave No Trace” area. Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, the archipelago’s only incorporated town, was named a Destination of Distinction by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. No matter your style of vacation, you’re bound to find it in the San Juan Islands. For nature enthusiasts, there’s world-class wildlife watching including orcas, humpback whales, bald eagles, Steller sea lions, and red foxes. And there’s a variety of ways to see it: along a network of waterfront hiking trails, from shoreline parks, from tour boats and private vessels. For adventure seekers, beautiful landscapes and a calm inland sea make the San Juans a prime sea kayaking spot. Paddle your own kayak or set out with one of the many knowledgeable kayaking outfitters on San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez Island for three-hour to three-day tours. For foodies, find quality local products, and experience the sense of community shared by island chefs, growers, winemakers, distillers, brewers, and other agricultural artisans. Some local farms even offer stays for guests who want to get up close and personal to the islands’ bounty. If art’s your thing, you’ll find a gem in the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, with three to four first class exhibitions a year. The San Juan Islands Sculpture Park at 20-acres is one of the largest outdoor sculpture parks in the Pacific Northwest. Humpback calf 'Slate' breaching by Jeff FriedmanFind variety, beauty, serenity ... day after amazing day. As we navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we are following the guidelines set by the Washington State Department of Health and Governor Inslee’s office. San Juan County is currently in a modified Phase 2 of Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan. Accommodations are open at 100%, and restaurants vary between curbside pickup, delivery, and limited indoor and outdoor seating. Face coverings are required to enter all businesses and public spaces. Editor's Note: we are working with local tourism boards to highlight destinations that are ready for tourists. Given the ever-evolving situation on COVID-19, please make sure you check the tourism website for the most up-to-date planning information. From Nature to Nurture the San Juan Islands provide inspiration for the senses (www.visitsanjuans.com).
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Bellevue ( BEL-vyoo) is a city in the Eastside region of King County, Washington, United States, located across Lake Washington from Seattle. It is the third-largest city in the Seattle metropolitan area and has variously been characterized as an edge city, a suburb, boomburb, or satellite city. Its population was 122,363 at the 2010 census and 148,164 in a 2019 census estimate. The city's name is derived from the French term belle vue ("beautiful view").Bellevue is home to some of the world's largest technology companies. Prior to 2008, its downtown area underwent rapid change with many high-rise projects being constructed, and was relatively unaffected by the economic downturn. Downtown Bellevue is currently the second-largest city center in Washington state, with 1,300 businesses, 45,000 employees, and 10,200 residents. In a 2018 estimate, the city's median household income was among the top five cities in the state of Washington. In 2008, Bellevue was number one in CNNMoney's list of the best places to live and launch a business, and in 2010 was again ranked as the fourth-best place to live in America. In 2014, Bellevue was ranked as the second-best place to live by USA Today.More than 145 companies have been located in Bellevue; companies currently headquartered there include PACCAR Inc, T-Mobile, and Valve. Technology company Amazon was founded in Bellevue by Jeff Bezos.
Kirkland is a city in King County, Washington, United States. A suburb east of Seattle, its population was 92,175 in the 2020 U.S. census which made it the sixth largest city in the county and the twelfth largest in the state. The city's downtown waterfront has restaurants, art galleries, a performing arts center, public parks, beaches, and a collection of public art, primarily bronze sculptures. Kirkland was the original home of the Seattle Seahawks; the NFL team's headquarters and training facility were located at the Lake Washington Shipyard (now Carillon Point) along Lake Washington for their first ten seasons (1976–85), then at nearby Northwest University through 2007. Warehouse chain Costco previously had its headquarters in Kirkland. While Costco is now headquartered in Issaquah, the city is the namesake of its "Kirkland Signature" store brand.
Bainbridge Island is a city and island in Kitsap County, Washington, United States, located in Puget Sound. The population was 23,025 at the 2010 census and an estimated 25,298 in 2019, making Bainbridge Island the second largest city in Kitsap County. The island is separated from the Kitsap Peninsula by Port Orchard, with Bremerton lying to the southwest. Bainbridge Island is connected to Seattle via the Washington State Ferries system and to Poulsbo and the Suquamish Indian Reservation by State Route 305, which uses the Agate Pass Bridge.
Burien ( BEWR-ee-ən) is a suburban city in King County, Washington, United States, located south of Seattle on Puget Sound. As of the 2010 Census, Burien's population was 33,313, which is a 49.7% increase since incorporation in 1993. An annexation in 2010 increased the city's population significantly, and as of 2019 the population was an estimated 51,500.