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What could be more fun than a daytrip through Area 51? Or a road trip through Dracula’s hometown? On the eve of the season’s spookiest holiday, we’re looking back on our recent travel stories that made us go “Aah!” (or, at the very least, contained awesome photos of electric guitar-playing skeletons and UFOs). Now, grab your passport – and a flashlight – and read on! Read more
The summer of 1947, a ranch foreman in New Mexico discovered some peculiar wreckage in a field. The Airforce initially reported the existence of a “flying disk”. Extraterrestrial “experts” claim that aliens and UFOs from this crash and others have been housed in Area 51, a military base in Nevada. The military quickly changed its story and said the wreckage was a weather balloon. It also denied the existence of Area 51, but just this year the CIA admitted that Area 51 really exists. If you’re not a believer, all the more reason to visit the many extraterrestrial sites in the regions to see if you can be convinced – or, at least, take some campy pictures with aliens to show your friends. Read on for some great (and cheap) roadside attractions for your next long drive through the desert.
UPDATE: Five national parks in Utah have re-opened, though the government shutdown remains in effect. CNN reports that since October is one of the busiest months for visitors exploring Utah’s stunning canyons, deserts, and million-year-old rock formations, the state has decided to fund the re-opening of five national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion), plus three other sites (Natural Bridges, Cedar Breaks national monuments, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area) with its own money. The sites are scheduled to re-open fully on Saturday October 12 for at least the next 10 days, with plans to continue funding the parks if the shutdown drags on further.
Of the many facets of day-to-day life that will be directly affected by a government shutdown (healthcare, IRS, the military) that begins today, travel and tourism concerns are relatively low on the list. However, for travelers who booked their trip months ago – not to mention tourism offices who rely on those visitors actually showing up – the closures can seriously upset your plans. Though flight and hotel bookings (and, thankfully, public transportation) remain unaffected, some itineraries (especially to destinations in the Western U.S.) will have to be re-arranged entirely.
Of the thousands of worthy sightseeing spots in the U.S., 401 of them are national parks. These include everything from preserves like Florida’s Big Cypress Swamp to monuments like the Statue of Liberty to the massive, hugely popular Yellowstone National Park, which receives over 3.5 million visitors per year. A full database of sites can be found here. Below, we’ve compiled five of the most-visited national park sites, coupled with alternative sites you can visit instead. Read more
As the weather cools down in much of North America, a soothing soak in the hot springs is the perfect thing to usher in the new season. The U.S. offers a number of hot spring experiences, from hiking out to a secluded, forested spot, to booking a room at a high-end resort. Hot springs are often touted for their healing properties, attracting those seeking stress relief, healthier skin, and immune system stimulation – just in case you needed an excuse. Here are four of our favorite hot spring experiences in the U.S.
Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
At Riverbend Hot Spring in the city of Truth or Consequences guests are housed in private, fully renovated mobile homes. The resort is also known for their attentive staff, who will hand-deliver morning coffee to the hot springs as you watch the sun rise over the Turtleback Mountains and the Rio Grande. Unlimited access to public springs are available for all overnight guests, and walk-in guest-passes are also available and include access to the pool area, deck, patio, and sauna. Rooms cost between $70–$150 per night and a guest pass is $10. Read more
The Los Angeles River’s concrete-paved waterways play pivotal roles in many unforgettable movies (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Grease, The Italian Job, Gone in 60 Seconds, to name a few). What you may not know, though, is that it’s “banks” have been closed since the 1930s due to multiple floods – the river is actually considered an Army Corps of Engineers flood control channel. But this week, Californians were eager to grab their paddles and kayak on the newly free waters. But the summer fun isn’t just for them. You, too, can head to one of these scenic rivers across the U.S. for a day trip of lazy tubing, boating, or thrilling white-water rafting. Read more
Chile lovers travel to Santa Fe, looking for spicy dishes that will ignite their taste buds, but the city’s culinary scene offers more than heat. Nationally-acclaimed restaurants, inspired by Native American, Spanish, and Mexican cuisine, line the historic plaza. Ethnic restaurants, ranging from Thai to sushi, sit between art galleries, and, restaurants owned by the same family for several generations dot New Mexico’s capital. While it’s hard to single out just a few restaurants, these are the ones the locals will recommend. Read more
Many come to Santa Fe for the mouthwatering New Mexican cuisine, Southwestern art scene, or rich Native American and Latino culture. But with such wide-open spaces surrounding the city, it’d be a shame to visit without getting in a little outdoor adventure as well. Read more
Food trails are about more than just, well, food – they provide a unique opportunity to explore a region through a specific culinary item or dish. Because trails are usually a loose collection of food-themed destinations rather than a Point-A-to-Point-B route, you can plan a vacation around them or incorporate them into existing travel plans. These six mouthwatering food trails will tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your sense of adventure. Read more
The southwest sun is probably reason enough to look forward to an escape to Albuquerque, but there’s plenty more to enjoy in New Mexico’s largest city than warmth. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into Burque (as the locals say), we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings. Read more
Last week, President Obama designated five new national monuments. The White House noted that the monuments “help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, as well as protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans.” Read on to find out where they are and what they commemorate. Read more
For a last-minute July getaway, stay in New Mexico’s largest city for $130 per night. This rate from the Hotel Parq Central – ranked by TripAdvisor.com users as Albuquerque’s number one hotel – reduces current rates by 30 percent and is available throughout July, including weekends.
Nightly rates includes round-trip transportation from the airport, on-site parking, continental breakfast, and free WiFi (a total savings of $56).
Stay in either Traditional King Room or Traditional Single Room accommodations. Each room is furnished with either a king bed or a double bed, flat screen cable TV, a mini-fridge, and modern bath amenities. For $20 more per night and more square-footage, stay in either a Traditional Double Room or a Deluxe King Room. Pet-friendly rooms are also available.
The Hotel Parq Central is situated in a historic neighborhood on the edge of downtown Albuquerque, close to the city’s Rail Runner and train stations. The recently-restored Italiante structure was originally constructed by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1926. Today the hotel provides contemporary amenities such as an outdoor garden dining terrace, a complimentary coffee and tea bar on each floor, a jetted hot tub, a business center, a fitness center, and rooftop yoga with skyline and mountain views. A nearby park offers jogging trails and dog walks. Read more
When it comes to summertime fun, not every town is satisfied with state fairs and carnivals. These intrepid communities celebrate quirky bits of history and time-honored traditions that make simple petting zoos seem boring. While some of these festivals might look bizarre at first glance, they serve the same purpose as the more run-of-the-mill gatherings: Get a bunch of people together to have fun. Read more
Valentine’s Day is a popular time for hotels to offer packages with champagne and romance concierges (you know, to help your hopeless partner plan a romantic evening out), but it’s not as easy to find packages that include spa treatments and massages. Luckily, we’ve done the searching for you, and we’ve found some great budget options as well as some luxurious extravagances. For both a romantic and relaxing February 14 (or thereabouts), try out these hotels and spas, from East Coast to West.
The Budget Picks:
The Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sunsets on the beach are already dreamy, but the Westin Beach Resort & Spa is taking the swoon factor a few steps further with its “Rekindle Romance” package. It starts at only $319/night and is available for stays from February 10-15. What do you get? The package includes breakfast in bed, a visit to Shula’s on the Beach (for dinner, the Chef’s Tasting Menu, and wine!), champagne and strawberry turndown, and the Heavenly Healing couple’s spa treatment at the Heavenly Spa.
Visit colorful Santa Fe this fall and winter with your best friend or significant other and save. The Inn on the Alameda, nestled in the heart of the city, is offering a Best Friends Package – only $83 per night, per person, for two nights. This means you’ll save up to 30% off seasonal rates, and you’ll also get a lavish breakfast each morning, a complimentary wine-and-cheese reception each afternoon, two 50-minute massages, and a gift-certificate to be used at the nearby Kakawa Chocolate House. Plus, all guests receive complimentary WiFi and complimentary parking.
The Inn on the Alameda is an urban oasis located conveniently in the heart of downtown. The Inn’s colorful gardens, adobe walls, peaceful patios and friendly staff will put every visitor at ease. Guests will also enjoy soaking up the culture and welcome spirit of Santa Fe, an eclectic amalgam of Native America, Old Spain, and the Wild West. It boasts distinctive art with its 200-plus galleries, fantastic regional cuisine and boutique shopping.
THE VALUE: Save up to 30% off seasonal rates, plus receive daily breakfast, two massages, and more.
THE CATCH: This deal does not apply during select dates surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
THE DETAILS: Visit their website to learn more. Call 888-984-2121 to book with the Inn on the Alameda, or email them about the Best Friends Package at email@example.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: See our New Mexico Travel Guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has offered a $10,000 bounty on the head of William H. Bonney, or “Billy the Kid,” New Mexico’s most famous historical criminal. The reward is equivalent to the $500 dollar reward offered for Billy the Kid in 1881 (adjusted for inflation), when Governor Lew Wallace worked so desperately to capture him.
The Kid is long dead, of course, but the New Mexico Tourism Department has offered the end reward as a part of its “Catch the Kid” summer travel promotion, an interactive game taking place through September with a website and smartphone app. Participants create their own profiles on the promotion website and then keep record of each Kid-related location they visit by uploading a picture of themselves beside the Tourism Department’s newly erected clue posters.
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