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Spring breakers have been invading South Padre, a small island along the Texas gulf coast, with their beer-guzzling antics for years. But families, too, make good use of the island’s beaches and the Schlitterbahn Water Park. Really, though, most vacationers in the laid-back resort town are just looking for some R&R and an icy margarita. In our mini-guide below, we’ll help you avoid the spring break din (think 50,000-watt sound systems) in favor of a quieter, crowd-free slice of island life. Read more
Chances are, you’ve heard of that little landmark called the Alamo in San Antonio, the city that’s also home to the beautiful five-mile Riverwalk. Here are some affordable ways to enjoy the city’s history, nature, and cuisine, right in time for the April Fiesta – a celebration that feels a lot like a slightly less debauched Mardi Gras.
The great American road trip has captured travelers’ imaginations for decades. For your next jaunt, give the bland chain motels a miss and pick one of these unique hotels to rest up while you are on the road.
For West Coast Road Trippers:
The Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo CAThe iconic bright pink sign of the Madonna Inn beckons roadtrippers toward a slice of Americana that befits its Highway 101 location. The bright color scheme extends into this 50-year-old hotel and through many of the 110 individually themed guestrooms. Rooms on offer include the “Caveman” room, “Swiss Chalet,” “Country Gentleman,” and “Love Nest.” Rates start at $189.
Is it possible to do Mardi Gras on a budget? Adding up the cost of hotel rooms, frequent beer stops, bead attire, and indulgent, post-boozing meals, a simple trip to New Orleans can easily exceed several thousand dollars. Yet, that same festive spirit can be found in small-town carnival celebrations like the ones we’ve listed below – twice the fun, for half the price. Read more
A century ago, hotels were simply places to sleep during your travels. Maybe there was a fancy bar in the lobby, or a nice pool. These days, an increased focus on younger travelers seeking unique cultural experiences means hotel public spaces are doubling as live music venues, social media nerve centers, and, in some cases, contemporary art galleries. The following properties give you extra bang for your buck by including some free visual stimulus built into the cost of your stay: Read more
Like a beautiful beach, margaritas come in all shapes and sizes. Some are poured like a martini, some are rimmed with a spicy-salt mixture. And some forsake the traditional ingredient, tequila, altogether in favor of more experimental spirits. This National Margarita Day (yes, that’s a holiday that exists, and where would we be without it?), which happens on February 21, we’re not looking to get tipsy on just any old cookie-cutter cocktail. We want to be wowed by some of the most inventive margaritas out there. Without further ado, here are 9 infusions guaranteed to wow your taste buds and satisfy your sense of adventure at the same time… Read more
Who needs five star resorts, marble bathtubs, and caviar dinners? Sure, those perks are nice, but for travelers seeking a quick, easy getaway that won’t leave them in the financial lurch, there are better ways to go about it. Rather than overindulge, focus instead on fun, practical activities that are unique to the destination, whether that means hiking in a state park or snagging $9 seats to a symphony orchestra. To get you started, here are ten US cities perfect for budget travelers, plus tips on what to do when you get there: Read more
From small mechanical issues to ill-timed blizzards, few of us have traveled in the past few years without running into some sort of mishap at the airport. Granted, running an airline is no easy chore, but the frustration felt when flights don’t take off as planned can seem all too real. During such moments, a sleek airport lounge can provide an oasis of luxury and calm in which to bide your time. But what about when things don’t go awry? How often do you need to visit an airport lounge to justify the cost of membership? And what tricks are there – if any – to gaining access without paying? Read more
You may know them as the handsome twins from HGTV’s Property Brothers, Buying & Selling and Brother vs. Brother. In addition to being real estate pros, these guys also happen to be world travelers, luggage experts, and dog lovers. See how brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott deal with life on the road.
When you think of Texas, funky beach towns probably aren’t the first things that come to mind; it’s more likely that you’ll think of cowboys and barbecue. But with 300 miles of coastline, “Texas” and “beach” are a great match (and Texas has a quite a few beach surprises up its sleeve). Galveston, which is actually an island, has an offbeat, oceanside vibe, making it the perfect place to change the way you think about southern beach towns. And when it comes to exploring the island, you can see the best of it without spending a fortune.
From a pier with a Ferris wheel, to incredible gumbo, an awesome Mardi Gras scene, and a beachfront strip with enough unusual bars and restaurants to quench anyone’s thirst, the town has a lot to offer. It’s also full of gorgeous Victorian architecture that was meticulously preserved after the devastating Great Storm of 1900, and there are enough museums and history tours to keep any culture buff busy for weeks. Plus, with summer humidity on its way out, it’s easier than ever to save money and enjoy all the eccentricity that makes Galveston feel worlds away from the nearest mainland super-city, Houston. Here are my top choices for getting to know the culture of Galveston, for less. Read more
Not long ago, New York’s Central Park Zoo said a sad farewell to one of its own: Gus the polar bear. He was a fixture at the zoo for more than 25 years and had some…well, problems. Sure, he was neurotic (like a true Manhattanite), but he was beloved by many. (It’s reported that nearly 20 million people visited him during his time at the zoo.) On a happier note, we can’t help but think about the new baby animals that draw visitors to zoos across the country each year. And let’s face it, no matter how young or old we are, it’s hard not to ‘ooh and ahh’ over a cute baby cheetah (or elephant, or snow leopard). If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, here are some new furry friends that have recently arrived at America’s zoos…
It doesn’t get much cuter than these adorable kittens. At the Memphis Zoo, a male leopard was born in July, and while he doesn’t have a name yet, the public will have a hand in picking it from seven choices. Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo also welcomed a male cub in June, and he’s set to make his public debut this month when he turns three months old. Poaching and other factors have lead the species to be listed as endangered and only about 3,500 to 7,000 exist in the wild.
When to go: While you can’t see the Memphis cub just yet (the zoo is reconfiguring the cage so there are no spaces in the caging where he could slip out), stay tuned for updates on their Facebook page. In Chicago, you’ll be able to see the newborn by the end of next week. Read more
Texas Hill Country: a place known for its up-and-coming wine region, and most importantly, its barbecue. But it might be time to add something else to that list: its incredible swimming holes. When we first came across Hamilton Pool Preserve, we were impressed, but after finding this gem, Jacob’s Well, we’re convinced that overheated Texans have the best places to cool off in summer. Read more
Forget mediocre fireworks displays and blasé barbecues. In these five unusually patriotic cities, Fourth of July festivities provide non-stop entertainment. From ax-throwing competitions in an Oregon timber town, to an annual “Pasties for Patriots” burlesque show in Austin, these places celebrate American independence like none other.
1. St. Pete Beach, FL: In this Tampa-area town, the local TradeWinds Resort dyes nearly 1,000 towels red, white, and blue to create a giant mosaic of the Betsy Ross flag on its beach. A small handful of the resort’s younger guests get in on the action, standing in place as the 13 stars on the original flag. Read more
San Antonio should be on every foodie’s bucket list. Home to the infamous Alamo, the city also boasts one of three American campuses of The Culinary Institute of America, this one focusing on Latin American flavors. Graduates hone their skills in local restaurants and influence the dining scene with innovative dishes and flavors. Of course, you’ll still find satisfying comfort food and local cuisine in San Antonio, too. Here are five restaurants not to be missed: Read more
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