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You 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:
For photos of Hilton Head, and the Endless Summer villa (pictured, and mentioned below), visit our slideshow.
When you ask the locals about things to do in Hilton Head, the South Carolina island community that’s overhung with Spanish moss and filled with quiet gated communities, you’ll get an honest answer: not much. And that’s what’s good about it. While other beach destinations boast of their noisy nightlife, amusement parks, and crowded boardwalks, Hilton Head offers a different kind of vacation. That is – a purely relaxing one. Visitors wile away the summer months golfing, soaking up the sun, biking on tree-shaded paths, and enjoying the island’s casual restaurants.
Don’t get us wrong. We love a 7-night sail through the Caribbean as much as the next cruiser. But sometimes, we seafarers like our sightseeing to feel a little less… epic. No problem here: from Norfolk, VA to San Diego Bay, the U.S. is full of sparkling inlets, coves, and harbors just begging to be experienced aboard a full- or half-day cruise. Plus, these short itineraries tend to be an affordable way to see a lot with a little time. Here are some of our favorites: Read more
We’ve got something to lift your spirits today: As we move into spring break season, resorts throughout the Caribbean and eastern Mexico are likely to be either booked solid, or selling at a premium. Come April and early May, however, we’ll start to see those prices go down. For an early spring getaway, plan on kicking back on a remote island in South Carolina, St. Croix, or enjoying a stay at one of New Orleans’ most historic hotels. Read more
We may be in the thick of winter and holiday chaos, but it’s not too early to start planning a sunny escape. Marriott is running a “Holiday Getaway Event” promotion that offers discounted rates plus resort credit to use toward dining, the spa, on-property retail stores, golf, and more. So give yourself a well-earned holiday after the holidays and unwind in the spa or on the golf course at these warm weather destination resorts.
For reservations, visit www.marriott.com/resortholidaygetaway and enter the promotional code P91. A minimum two-night stay is required, and the offer is valid for up to $200 in resort credit. Per-night and per-person rates of resort credit can vary, so check the individual property for details. The promotion is available at 14 different properties across Florida and South Carolina. It’s available through December 26 for travel until January 31, 2014.
Here are seven of the best deals that are part of this offer… Read more
Charming Charleston, South Carolina, has received lots of accolades, including “Top U.S. City” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for the past three years, but this southern belle hasn’t traditionally been known as a low-cost destination.
All that changed when budget carrier JetBlue started offering twice-daily nonstop service from New York City and daily flights from Boston earlier this year. And with a new limited-time getaway package, which includes half-priced airfare for travelers booking an air-and-hotel combo package, visiting Charleston has become even more affordable. Read more
While October might not scream “beach season,” many parts of the U.S. are still enjoying weather that calls for shorts and a lounge chair. Sure, you can go to Florida or Southern California pretty much year-round for sun and sand, but what about beach destinations that get cooler as fall sets in? For now, many of them are still prime for a late-season visit, with great deals, fewer crowds, and comfortable temperatures. Okay, so you might not get a sunburn (Who wants that, anyway?), but you’ll still find plenty to do in these seven locales: Read more
Finding time to take a longer vacation during the fall is tough. There are few national holidays that warrant time off and chances are you already took a few days during the summer for some R&R. But just because fall is setting in and there’s little time to relax, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have time to get away for a weekend. These five quick two-day escapes are all within driving-distance from major cities across the U.S. Plus, we’ve priced them out for you so all you have to think about is Which weekend am I getting out of Dodge?
From San Francisco…
To Half Moon Bay: Round-trip gas will put you out only about $8, so this trip is definitely economical – plus unlike many parts of California, the 29-mile-long one-way trip will just take you 50 minutes in traffic. When you’re in Half Moon Bay, get out and enjoy the breathtaking scenery and the cute little town. Hotels such as the three-star Half Moon Bay Lodge won’t break the bank and offer easy access to nearby coastal walks, kayaking, and surfing at the legendary Maverick’s (October weekend rates start at $207). Two miles up the coast, the Mill Rose Inn Bed and Breakfast ($230) is set within lush gardens and holds a four AAA Diamond rating.
The total: Two nights at the Half Moon Bay Lodge plus round-trip gas = $421
One of the best ways to get to know a place is through its public green spaces. Next time you’re traveling, pack a picnic and enjoy. Here are our picks for the best places to picnic in the U.S. this summer. Read more
Director Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” – starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire – brings to life the lavish, decadent Jazz Age. Although those days are long gone, you can still step into Jay Gatsby’s world with these seven destinations and experiences. Read more
Making sure the kids (and adults) are entertained while on a summer road trip can really make or break your vacation. The new book What’s Great About . . . I-95 by road trip expert Barbara Barnes offers a fun and educational way to pass the time while cruising down one of the U.S.’s most-traveled stretches of highway.
“It really does make [the ride] go faster,” says Barnes of the book. “It keeps the driver alert, and it makes the drive more fun.”
With sections broken down by state and points of interest designated by mile marker, Barnes maps out all 1,925 miles of I-95 from Houlton, Maine to Miami. The book highlights sights to look out for from the highway (like the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia) while providing little-known facts about notable people and places (The first woman to run for president? Victoria Woodhull, in 1872).
Now that you’ve got the car ride entertainment covered, we asked Barnes for her advice on planning the rest of your vacation. Here are five tips for the perfect I-95 road trip:
Hilton Head, one of South Carolina’s most popular Sea Islands, recently welcomed the renowned Omni Hotels & Resorts brand to its coastline. To celebrate its recent re-branding, the AAA four-diamond Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort is offering nightly stays as low as $152 per night – 45 percent off pricing later in the season. Travel March 17-21 or March 23-29. For just $27 more per night, stay April 21-May 18. Another great perk, stay two to three nights and receive $100 in resort credit; stay four or more nights, and receive $200 in resort credit.
The Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort offers a slew of amenities such as mini-kitchens, private balconies, an on-site spa, a fitness center, a kids club, two bars, and two restaurants. The resort’s best feature, by far, is its pristine location. Set upon a miles-long Atlantic coast beach, the resort provides direct beach access with beach-side pools and volleyball. When you’re ready for a break from the sand, explore the resort’s five miles of biking paths, have a go at a tennis match on one of the resort’s 23 clay courts, or practice your swing at three championship 18 hole golf courses. Read more
With an eye toward summer, ShermansTravel.com’s Top 10 Family Beaches roundup rightly includes South Carolina’s tranquil Hilton Head and good-naturedly takes a pass on the state’s Myrtle Beach, which in summer is about as untranquil as untranquil gets.
Myrtle Beach likewise gets that its June through August peak season and serenity don’t go together. That’s why the area begins to lure families in May, last year debuting its 1.2-mile boardwalk during the month-long MayFest, which yielded free concerts and deals and promises more of the same next month.
Almost as fast as you can say sesquicentennial, April 12 will be here. The date will mark 150 years since Confederate soldiers fired on Union ones at Fort Sumpter in Charleston, South Carolina, effectively beginning the Civil War. And even if you don’t have Civil War buffs in your midst, there is something about this anniversary and the pageantry surrounding it that could translate to a nice learning vacation this spring.
Many celebrations will be planned around battlefields, and “they’re all over the east,” observes Lonely Planet U.S. travel editor Robert Reid, and “battlefields from Charleston to Bull’s Run are planning particularly ambitious events.”
The clock is quickly ticking, but all you lovebird procrastinators (or maybe you’re just spontaneous) still have 19 days to book a last-minute Valentine’s Day getaway. The big day falls on a Monday this year, making it perfect for a long weekend. My inbox has been flooded with possibilities – from great deals to extravagant splurges. Here are 14 packages worth perusing:
1. Cities Across North America: The “Magnifique Romance” package at Sofitel (www.sofitel.com) – which includes accommodations, chocolates, flowers, champagne, and room-service breakfast – is available throughout North America (Montreal, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago-Water Tower, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles) with rates starting at $140/night if booked by February 13.
2. Riviera Maya: Ceiba Del Mar Beach Spa and Resort, located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast just south of Cancun (shown above at left; courtesy of Ceiba Del Mar Beach Spa and Resort), has a four-night “Romance Experience” package that includes accommodation in an oceanview suite, a champagne cocktail welcome, a private candlelight dinner for two with a bottle of wine, and a 50-minute couples massage, from $1,440 for four nights.
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