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Florida

Flickr Coast Guard News2

National wildlife refuges — protected lands managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service — offer many of the same recreational opportunities as national parks at a fraction of the cost. Some are even free, unless you plan to hunt, fish, or camp. We love these (mostly) gratis activities for experiencing the wilderness in a whole new way:

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chocolate - christine dayao

For some, Chocolate Day is every day, but one chocoholic went the extra mile and declared October 28 as National Chocolate Day. Here are just four of the sweetest places to celebrate:

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Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant’s annual Karma Rewards Sale is back! This means the boutique hotel group is offering its lowest rates of the year — starting as low as $99 at some properties — along with double stay credit. To take advantage of the special rates, you’ll have to become a Karma Rewards member, but joining is free.

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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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KaskadesSuiteMiami

Opening on December 1, Gale Suites at Kaskades will be an all-suite newly restored wing of Miami’s retro-luxe Gale South Beach, which itself opened just two years ago. Read more

DIStop

For decades, race fans have flocked to the Daytona International Speedway to watch history being made, from moments of speedster glory as well as tragedy — most notably the passing of legendary driver Dale Earnhardt in 2001. (Since his untimely death in 2001 after crashing in the Daytona 500, he’s been immortalized with a statue that stands proudly at the front of the Speedway’s Visitors Center.) Even for the biggest racing fans, though, attending an event has largely been a day-trip affair, thanks to a lack of on-site lodging (although there are plenty of hotels and entertainment options just minutes away from the Speedway).

That’s all about to change in the next year or two. Two major projects, slated to be completed by 2016, will transform the Speedway into its very own multi-day destination with much more beyond the nearly mile-long stadium.

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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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If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you know that vacations to the “most magical place on Earth” aren’t exactly cheap. Sticker shock can be a common result of tallying up prices for  basics like hotel rooms, park tickets, and dining — and that’s before adding in extras like tours and special events.

But if you think that there are never savings to be had when it comes to Disney vacations, we’re letting you in on a secret: You’re just looking at the wrong times. During the low season, not only do hotel rates drop, but Disney itself releases special offers for is biggest fans. Promotions include room-only discounts, packages, and even a free dining plan — over which guests unsurprisingly go completely bonkers. And that’s not to mention significantly shorter wait times for attractions. As you might guess, this is definitely the time of the year that we recommend visiting.

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Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort Florida 2

It’s no secret that hotel room rates are rising – prices shot up five percent in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. The good news is that there are still a few tried-and-true ways to lower the costs.

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Even though vodka originated in Europe, we love it so much here in the States that we’ve dedicated an entire day to celebrating it. Yep, October 4 is National Vodka Day. Here are four places where you can honor the popular spirit.

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disney world - fireworks - jd baskin

Watching the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom is perhaps one of the most popular experiences at Walt Disney World. What’s not so magical? The hoard of crowds during the show and the mad crush to exit the theme park after. If you’re done with all the rides, we suggest saving your sanity by enjoying the show at these locations outside of the parks.

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Flickr Henry Mestre

It looks like our fascination with drones is here to stay. We’ve already talked about ways to armchair travel with drones, and a new sharing platform called Dronestagram has since joined the scene. But what’s really caught our attention today is the recent drone-related patent application that the Walt Disney Company has filed.

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There’s something about entering a big top tent, smelling fresh popcorn, and watching acrobats fly through the air that appeals to the child in all of us, no matter our actual age. In Sarasota, Florida — known as the Circus Capital of the World — the unique thrills of “The Greatest Show on Earth” can be enjoyed every day, not just when the circus trains roll into town. Put yourself in center ring with these interactive destinations.

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Disney Cinderella Castle at ChristmasTo say that Disney World in Orlando, Florida pulls out all the stops for the holidays is an understatement. Starting in September, the Magic Kingdom is decked out in fall and Halloween décor. The entire resort, including the parks and hotels, later makes the transition to Christmas decorations in November through the first couple days of the New Year. Wreaths, lights, garland — you name it, they’ve got it.

The holiday festivities alone are enough to draw in thousands of visitors during the last few months of the year. Here’s what you should know when traveling there during this season.

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sfo terminal 3

Airport terminals around the globe are stepping things up a notch with high-tech designs, indoor art museums, and speedier ways through passport control. Here are seven new(ish) airport terminals we love flying in and out of:

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