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Nothing against Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, but some national parks can get crowded, especially during the summer. Instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists at scenic vistas this summer, head over to these often overlooked national parks.
Things are heating up across the U.S. – and more specifically in New York City. And JetBlue is taking notice: Not only did they just release another amazing one-way flight sale, they also announced they’ll be offering promo codes from today until Saturday, July 20 that will save you 90 percent on round-trip fares from NYC (EWR, LGA, and JFK airports)! Believe it folks, things are going to get hot this week – check out some of the amazing deals going on right now! Read more
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Vacation rentals often cost less per night compared to hotels. Of course, that statement isn’t always true – sometimes they can cost more, and it also depends on where you’re looking to vacation. Something else you might not know: July is National Vacation Rental Month, which means some companies are providing incentives for choosing them over more traditional lodging options. Wyndham Vacation Rentals is offering rates at 35 percent off their vacation condos and 25 percent off their vacation homes in many popular resort destinations across the country. And the best part of this deal? The offer is valid for prime summer travel, on select dates from July 1–September 3.
A great option for families or groups of friends, vacation rentals often provide all the comforts of home – lots of space, cooking areas, numerous rooms, and more – while saving you money. Stay four nights or more to secure the below sample offers and more: Read more
Just because you don’t yet have vacation plans as the first day of summer approaches doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Get in on a hot hotel deal with CyberSummer, a one-day only sale that begins at midnight EDT on the summer solstice – this Friday, June 21! Travelers will be able to find exclusive online deals, including four-diamond resort stays from $99/night, five-star hotels offering 50 percent savings, free nights, and more. Want examples? Here are a few, just to whet your vacation appetite. Read more
Summer is the perfect time to pop the top on an ice cold beer. But, not just any beer will do. Warm weather lends itself to lighter, crisper brews, and these nine offerings fit the bill as some of the best summer beers. Enjoy at home, or better yet, include a brewery tour on your summer vacation itinerary. Read more
Travel to dozens of U.S. cities and Caribbean destinations this summer with JetBlue’s two-day summer sale. With fares* as low as $46, you can unwind on the beach with direct flights to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Aruba and Bermuda, Montego Bay and St. Croix. Or, visit major domestic cities like New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and so many more. These low fares can only be booked directly through JetBlue, and are not available on other sites. Read more
You might have been waiting all summer for that perfect sunny day, but in the U.S., those rays have turned into a scorcher. With America currently experiencing the hottest summer on record, some of us are wishing for a cooler front. What better time, then, to dream about the Southern Hemisphere, which is going through its winter months? While it may not be easy to book a last minute getaway to these destinations, just lusting over them will hopefully cool you down.
Angel Falls – Venezuela
Venezuela is mostly tropical due to its location just north of the equator, but thanks to its varied geography, pockets of microclimates exist. One such area is the Guiana Highlands, a southern region of the country characterized by imposing plateaus and vast upland plains. From June to early September, the average temperature hits 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 35 degree at night, making this the best time to visit the Angel Falls in Canaima National Park. Renowned as the world’s highest waterfall at 3,212 feet, winter’s torrential rains causes the rapids to swell to their full glory. However, if storm clouds shroud your view, Canaima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a destination in itself, with impressive geological formations and lush greenery.
Sitting less than 25 miles north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale has made a name for itself with an intricate canal system, miles of white sand beaches, and a booming nightlife. Right now, the Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale and Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel are offering extended summer specials for ShermansTravel.com readers, allowing guests to relax on the sandy shoreline without breaking the bank. Now through October 15, rates start at $105 per night at the Sheraton, a 45 percent savings, and $115 per night at the Westin, a 60 percent savings. Both resorts are also offering valet parking for $10, a $15 nightly discount.
With little seasonal variation, you can count on a sunny, carefree vacation in Fort Lauderdale. Both resorts have undergone extensive renovations and now feature beachfront access, exquisite dining options, and a palm-lined pool deck. At the Westin, take advantage of the new Heavenly Spa by Westin, where they offer an extensive menu of revitalizing treatments, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, and comfortable locker rooms. The new nautical design of the Sheraton is inviting for families, with on-site dining options including the iconic Wreck Bar showcasing porthole views into a swimming pool, where guests may witness a mermaid sighting.
Summer is a time for pool parties, beach bashes, and backyard barbecues. What do all three of those have in common (other than awesome alliteration)? Beer. Hot sunny days and muggy summer nights are perfect for a cold one. But what happens when you’re also holding a hamburger, a hot dog, a wiffle ball bat, a water gun, an ice cream cone, and a tube of sunscreen in your sweaty hands? Where do you keep your beer (or your backup beer in case your current can or bottle finds itself tragically empty)? You can’t be expected to trudge all the way back to the cooler or refrigerator to procure another beverage. You really shouldn’t be overexerting yourself in the heat! Thankfully, SkyMall knows that you need to have another beer ready at a moment’s notice (and that carrying one in a holster is just plain gauche). If you’re going to party at the SkyMall Tuesday headquarters this summer, you better be packing heat cold. Keep your legs cool and your beer handy in a handsome pair of Beer Can Shorts.
There’s something about the beach that simply makes people act differently. Seemingly normal, well-adjusted adults suddenly lose all sense of right and wrong. There’s a social contract to which we all adhere the vast majority of the time. It’s what keeps us from yelling obscenities on the bus and wiping our hands on other people at BBQ restaurants. At the beach, however, that social contract is shredded, set ablaze, and cast into the ocean as ashes. People rationalize just about any behavior at the beach. That’s why I wrote The Definitive Guide to Going to the Beach. Because, when you’ve seen some of the things that I’ve seen at the beach, you realize that people need help.
Here are some examples of actual human behavior that I have witnessed at the beach:
If a Mediterranean, Adriatic, or Baltic cruise is on your 2012 travel wish list, check out the $1,776 July 4th sale fares now being offered by Windstar Cruises (must be booked by July 6). Windstar, which operates three tall-masted luxury ships – 312-passenger Wind Surf and 148-passenger Wind Star (shown at left in Greece) and Wind Spirit – has lowered fares on 20 European voyages sailing from mid-July to mid-November (with some fall voyages priced as low as $1,476 and December Caribbean voyages priced from $976).
I have cruised around Europe extensively and have sailed on both Wind Star and Wind Surf. If, like me, you prefer smaller ships to the behemoths, you’ll enjoy the intimate ambiance, wonderful service, superb cuisine, and easy camaraderie that these ships offer. Here are few of my recommendations for itineraries among those on sale until July 6:
Ninety-eight percent of Lanai, Hawaii‘s sixth largest island, may just have been bought by Oracle boss Larry Ellison, but Hotel Lanai is offering you a chance to experience his private domain with summer rates starting from $99 per night.
Built in 1923 as a retreat for executives of the island’s former Dole plantations, Hotel Lanai’s 11 guestrooms hearken back to that era with wicker chairs, ceiling fans, and hardwood floors set amid lush palm trees. Adding to its tropical character are Hawaiian quilts, furnishings, and artwork by local artists that adorn each room. Guests can also enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout their stay, and a complimentary breakfast served daily in the lobby from 6:30am to 9:30am.
If you venture out, Lanai has a host of activities on hand, like kayaking off its North Shore, hiking the Munro trail to the island’s highest point, or golfing at one of Lanai’s two breathtaking courses. And when the hunger pangs hit, tuck into baby back ribs, meatloaf, and other hearty American fare at the Lanai City Grille at Hotel Lanai, voted a 2012 Neighborhood Gem by reviewers on OpenTable.com.
To book, visit www.HotelLanai.com and submit a reservation enquiry. The hotel requires a 50 percent deposit at the time of booking, and children under eight stay for free if no additional beds are required.
Perhaps the worst thing about a trip to the beach is sharing that trip with hundreds (if not thousands) of other people. A day at the beach should be a serene, relaxing experience. Hearing other people’s radios and conversations, dodging their frisbees, and avoiding the sand that they kick up turns a pleasant day by the shore into a nightmare. That’s why it’s best to avoid the popular, mainstream, famous beaches for lesser-known plots of sand that provide more privacy with just as much sun and fun. Finding those underrated beach destinations isn’t always easy. If you’re visiting a new city, you might only know the popular beach spots listed in guidebooks or made famous on television.
That’s why we want your help. ShermansTravel readers are spread out across the world and have traveled the globe. We want to know your favorite underrated, unknown, and better beaches. Where should we go in Sydney if we want to avoid the hordes at Bondi? Where can we go in Miami to relax on a blanket rather than be part of the scene on South Beach? What’s a peaceful alternative in Los Angeles to the wacky world that is Venice Beach?
Tell us about your favorite lesser-known but totally awesome beaches in the comments below. Share them on Twitter with the hashtag #betterbeaches (and include @ShermansTravel in your tweets). Post them on our Facebook page. No matter where they are in the world, we want to know! We’ll compile the best suggestions and include them in a future blog post.
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With Memorial Day already in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to turn our focus to backyard grilling. Barbecues are a summer staple (if not a completely suitable replacement for real BBQ). While you might think that you can just grab some hot dogs, hamburgers, and lighter fluid and create a memorable event, it’s important to realize that preparation is the key to a successful barbecue. We don’t grill much at SkyMall Tuesday headquarters because the New York City government frowns upon using charcoal inside of apartment building. That said, we’re well-versed in the tools of the trade and know what it takes to put together a backyard feast worth its weight in flank steak. If you’re going to man (or woman, as it is 2012) the grill for your friends and family, turn to SkyMall and don the Grill Sergeant BBQ Apron.
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