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The Grand Canyon made headlines recently for a series of proposed development projects that, while aimed at helping the non-adventurous explore the South Rim, would also threaten its natural beauty. These include a variety of hotels, shops, and a gondola. As the debate continues, one important takeaway for all travelers is that if the Grand Canyon is on your travel list, you should act now — not later — to experience what is probably out nation’s most dramatic landscape in unspoiled form.

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As with other major holidays like Thanksgiving, it hasn’t been easy to find great discounts for the Fourth of July. But if you’re still on the lookout for a last-minute getaway, not all hope is lost. Here are a few ideas for savings next week:

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One of the nation’s first highways, Route 66, will be getting a modern new addition: a $1 million roadside park in Springfield, Missouri, which will commemorate the road’s history. Though portions of the nearly 90-year-old Route 66 are no longer passable, it still stands as an important monument to cross-country travel in the U.S. by car. Featuring replicas of landmarks, old fashioned fueling stations, and a history plaza, the first phase of the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park will be complete in August. In the meantime, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite ways to enjoy what remains of Route 66:

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amtrak-train-empire-builder 2-loco steve - 620There are lots of reasons to take the train: amazing views, no security lines, no need for GPS, and you can even stretch your legs or get a snack. But a big pitfall is that tickets can be pricey. That’s why we’re happy to see these Amtrak deals, which are available right now:

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Peak season doesn’t always mean exorbitant rates – especially with the latest series of Kimpton hotel deals. You do need to be an InTouch member and book by May 31, but the loyalty program is free to join (and includes perks like free WiFi and $10 minibar credit). Some of our favorites:

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JW Marriott GR- Twitter cookie - 620Ready to be let in on a secret? Hotels throughout the country have also perfected certain treats that they don’t publicly advertise, from a manager’s favorite dish to an under-the-radar spa treatment. Here are a few of our favorite hotel secrets from across the U.S. Order one of them on your next trip and step into the inner circle…

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Looking to cool off this summer? We already introduced Europe’s most beautiful public pools last year, but we thought we’d take a look at the aquatic offerings a bit closer to home. Whether you’re looking for a basic soak, a serious workout, or theme park-style entertainment, here are five fantastic (and inexpensive) public pools where you can make a splash.

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Wild DunesYou put in an order weeks ago to make sure mom gets flowers on Mother’s Day.  We even did a roundup of great travel deals, so you can whisk her away on vacation. But what about Dad? The latter holiday, which falls on June 15, tends to get lost in the shuffle between graduation season and the beginning of summer. This year, take advantage of off-season travel deals to take Dad on a trip he’ll never forget. From a beachside resort in the Caribbean, to a golf-themed southern getaway, here are five affordable itineraries you can book right now:

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Kierland_westinkierland_dusk-620While most of the country is craving warmer weather after a particularly rough winter, triple-digit summer heat waves in Phoenix are the other extreme. Of course, that means big savings at the area’s many resorts. Considering the area boasts more than 300 days of sunshine per year and 40 luxury properties, you may never want to leave. And, with these deep discounts, you may never have to… at least until fall.

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OmniBostonLooking for a last-minute getaway? Omni Hotels & Resorts invites you to “Spring into Action” with its 72-hour flash sale. From April 1-4, rooms at the brand’s Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Boston properties will be available for less than $200 per night. Read more

Grand Canyon RailThere are plenty of ways to experience the natural beauty of the Southwest, though none will be as memorable (or as delightfully old-fashioned) as a two-night rail trip through northern central Arizona. There’s a little place there called the Grand Canyon. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

For most of the year, Canyon-bound travelers can choose from five other classes (Coach, First, Observation Dome, Luxury, and Luxury Parlor) aboard the Grand Canyon Railway, but it’s the Pullman class that offers something extra special: a fully-refurbished 1923 Harriman-style coach car with its original flip-seats, working windows, and even live musicians to provide a soundtrack to all the scenery. The only catch is that the Pullman is only available seasonally, from March through October 1. Read more

amaraKnot-busting Chinatown massages in New York City have all our love, but the biting cold of this blustery winter has us dreaming of a little extra pampering. That’s why we’ve focusing on spas with stellar amenities, stunning views, and other extras that make the treatments truly worth the indulgence. Go ahead, dive in… Read more

Grand CanyonA visit to major national parks like Death Valley and the Grand Canyon is guaranteed to be memorable no matter what time of year you go – but rest assured, your experience will vary. Blistering heat, overcrowding, and rim fires are just a few ways summer visits can be compromised. Instead, consider a visit to the U.S.’s most stunning natural wonders during the colder months. Just remember to pack extra layers! Read more

Sedona, Arizona Spiritual VortexesOf Sedona’s 100+ hiking trails, there are four that tend to stand out from the crowd. And it’s not their natural beauty, climate, or level of difficulty that makes them special, but rather, if you can believe it, the energy of their respective locations. Though many of its residents are there for the hiking and extreme beauty of the area, the town also attracts an eclectic group of psychics, fortune-tellers, and soul-seekers who make frequent pilgrimages there to connect with a higher plane.

In 1981, a woman named Page Bryant, a psychic, author and lecturer who made her home in Sedona for 10 years, identified four “vortexes” throughout town, where she felt the metaphysical energy was the strongest. Now, locals roll their eyes at this for a couple reasons. To start, the vortexes are all conveniently located off major highways, drawing concerns that tourism might be the motivation behind their selection. Guides also like to joke is that Bryant was a bit out of shape, so she selected areas that were easily accessible. It’s also tough to tell whether these areas cause visitors to feel good because of their “energy,” or simply because they showcase Sedona’s incredible beauty.

What’s the truth? Well, I guess you’ll have to make a visit and decide for yourself. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of the four individual sites: Read more

Monument Valley GuideTowering from 400 to 1,000 ft tall, a cluster of sandstone buttes in the Colorado Plateau make up what is known as Monument Valley. Colored a beautiful bright red, the valley is made of siltstone, but gets its hue from iron oxide, which is exposed when the siltstone weathers away. The valley is located on the border of Arizona and Utah and forms part of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Navajo Nation’s version of a national park. Perhaps the valley’s most recognizable image is that of its “mittens”, buttes shaped like gloves. Read more

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