Shermanstravel Blog

Beach

Isla Saona

Tourists flock to Punta Cana for snow white beaches, aquamarine waters, and never-ending rum drinks, but outside the resorts, you can immerse yourself in Dominican culture or experience the country’s tropical wonders. Here are five day trips from Punta Cana that you won’t want to miss — and that will get you back in time for some Latin dancing back at the resort.

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The Resort at Longboat Key Club

In what has become an annual highly anticipated sale, dozens of hotels and resorts have gotten into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday game, offering deals that must be booked either the day after Thanksgiving (November 28 this year) or the following Monday (December 1) for varying days of travel.

We’ve got the scoop on so many great travel deals for this year’s sales that we’re trying something different. Instead of one big, overwhelming list, we’re sharing themed roundups for easier vacation planning. First up is the Beach edition — whether you yearn for bustling Waikiki Beach in Hawaii or Florida’s quiet Gulf Coast side, you’ll find up to 50 percent discounts next week.

Mark your calendars, then check back in the coming days for our Urban, International, and Adventure editions.

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Dreams Punta Cana Resort

If you’re yearning to flee the coop this winter for a little heat, Apple Vacations wants to help you out. Its Winter Super Sale kicks into effect for select packages in various sunny locales — shaving close to $300 off busy season prices from booking air and hotel separately. The sale encompasses three-, five-, or seven-night trips between December 18, 2014 and April 30, 2015.

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Waikiki View

When you dream of a Hawaiian vacation, is it a quiet, remote location or a bustling city that you see in your mind? Many people may want to get away from the big city, but there are plenty of reasons to plant yourself in Honolulu, despite the crowds. Here’s our pick of Honolulu highlights that will allow you to avoid the standard tourist scene.

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Georgia Coast - Caroline Eubanks

Georgia’s coast, between Savannah and the Florida state line, is dotted with barrier islands small and large, boasting luxury resorts as well as natural wilderness equipped with campgrounds. This is a part of the world where you won’t find the large tourist crowds that make Florida so popular. Here, four islands — accessible by small roads or boat — that feel almost tourist-free.

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Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach

The legendary Palm Beach area in Florida can be pricey. After all, it’s where millionaires and billionaires come to see and be seen. But you don’t need a checking account with seven figures to get a taste of the luxury they enjoy.

Setting up a home base at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is a great way to be close to the action and the jet set crowd — but still feel at ease and skip the traffic and congestion of the most populated spots. The luxurious all-suite condominium property is located on an oceanfront of Riviera Beach, just a short drive away from Palm Beach. One- and two-bedroom digs start at just $250 for two to four guests, making the AAA four-diamond resort affordable for couples, families, reunions, and even girlfriend getaways — especially if you crave more space than a standard hotel room offers, you’ll feel right at home. Here’s why we loved it during a recent stay, and why we think you will too:

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620x400_TortugaBay1In the last year of his life, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta worked on one of his passion projects — a hotel he helped develop in his native Dominican Republic called Tortuga Bay. Originally opened in 2006, and part of a larger Punta Cana resort, the 13 oceanfront villas offer guests airy open spaces, incredible views of the sea, and impeccable service. De la Renta oversaw a redesign of the villas just this year, and they reopened to the public three weeks ago. We found rates for about $580 per night with a three-night minimum stay for the smaller units in December, but most go for $905 and $1,030, plus tax. If you’re considering a visit — or just need a Hump Day mental vacation — here’s a look at the redesigned rooms, which stand in tribute to the late designer…

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Brazil-620x400

Get your fill of surf and sand on the island of Florianópolis in southern Brazil, with a relaxing day at one of its over 40 beaches. You’ll see why navigating the extensive and complicated bus system is worth it to reach the far and spectacular corners of Santa Catarina’s capital. Click here for a look at some of the highlights.

Temecula Creek Inn Restaurant via TCI

Travelers love California for its amazing wine and golf offerings, but there are even more reasons to visit some of the state’s lesser known cities. About an hour outside of San Diego, Temecula appeals with a laid-back artisan culture and a focus on the natural landscape. A rental car is really all you need to explore — and here are five reasons why you should.

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cruise fix

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on luxury sales, a great idea for crowd-funding your next vacation, holiday itineraries, and more. 

Now here’s a great idea for newlywed travelers: Rather than asking for home appliances, why not have friends and family contribute to your post-nuptial trip? Princess CruisesHoneymoon Wishes Registry allows others to chip in for everything from cruise fare and shore excursions to specialty dining and drinks by the pool to relaxing spa treatments. All gifts are applied as an onboard credit to the couple’s stateroom account to use during their honeymoon cruise, and the bride and groom can create an accompanying website to share wedding details and personal photos.

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michigan island resized

As Michigan’s supremely serene and car-free getaway, Mackinac Island is characterized by the ubiquitous clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages and a history rich enough to excite any U.S. travel nerd. The island, which is accessed via ferry during the warmer months and snowmobile during the coldest months, offers so much in its relatively small 3.8 square miles of space, including a former military fort and several well-known hotels (you may have heard of The Grand Hotel, which was the setting of the film Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve). It also features too many fudge shops to count and a biking/walking circumference (Lake Shore Boulevard) that offers idyllic views of lighthouses and the often moody Haldimand Bay.

If you have just a weekend to spend on Mackinac, there are plenty of ways to get maximum mileage of this car-free getaway, and to experience the island as the Islanders do. Here are a few suggestions.

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Daytona Beach2

After shedding an unfortunate reputation for being a go-to destination for raucous spring breakers in the ‘90s and early 2000s, Daytona Beach has become a year-round destination for couples and families. And it’s more than just sand and strip malls — there’s visiting the Museum of Arts and Sciences, working on your swing at the many mini golf courses, tackling a zipline course, and getting suited up like a professional racecar driver during the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Daytona International Speedway.

As guests of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, we recently got the chance to taste the destination’s revival for ourselves. Here are the highlights of what we found:

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dessert - christine wei - 2

The last thing you want to think about on vacation is how to eat well. But overindulging while away can mean extra work to get back in shape when you return home.

The good news? There are lots of little things you can do to minimize the damage and take advantage of your destination’s local fare at the same time. Registered dietician Cheryl Forberg — who’s the nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and a brand nutritionist for Omni Hotels and Resorts — offers specific tips for different types of escapes.

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Florida - Fort Lauerdale - W Hotel - Pool Deck - 620x400

Looking for an excuse to get away? With this offer from the AAA 4-Diamond W Fort Lauderdale, you won’t need one. The chic oceanfront property is beckoning guests to pay South Florida a visit this season with its Any Occasion Celebration offer, which starts at $270 per night. That saves you 25 percent compared with rates over the busy winter and spring seasons.

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NantucketHotel

It’s just about time to pack up the beach gear and wave goodbye to this year’s summer season. But before you do so, a collection of Nantucket properties beckons travelers to the island for one last time with an enticing last-minute deal.

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