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It’s summertime, and for many that means that big family vacations are just around the corner. And if you’ve done some traveling with kids, whether yours or not, you know the extra head count can add up. Thankfully, there are tons of travel perks for families this season, from cruises to Broadway shows to theme parks. Here, some higher-ticket items that makes traveling with the kids a much easier — and even free.
If Andrew W.K.’s hits “Party Hard” and “Party Party Party” are any indication, the rock star definitely knows how to have a good time. In true festive fashion, he recently served as Stoli Vodka’s Resident Professor of the Party, celebrating 35 years of nightlife at The Pyramid Club in Manhattan on October 28. During an exclusive interview, Andrew tipped his party hat to us by sharing his top 10 places to throw it down in America.
See below for Andrew’s top picks, and check out the ScenesbyStoli website to nominate your favorite bars and nightlife destinations if they didn’t make his list!
With summer rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about weekend getaways – those holiday weekends, after all, tend to creep up sooner than you think. While hiking a beautiful national park is always an option, adrenaline seekers might be craving something a littler more, shall we say, stomach-turning? Each year, a collective 290 million people visit America’s 400+ amusement parks, a clear testament to Americans’ love of fast rides; planning the right time to go, however, can be tricky. Below, we help you strategize how best to time your visit. 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
Take a last-minute trip the old-fashioned way this summer. Round-trip Amtrak fares are as little as $41, saving you 25 percent on current rates. Visit Chicago in full bloom, hit the Big Apple, explore the Big Easy, and more with this great sale. Travel is valid Mondays through Thursdays, and Saturdays, for one to two weeks after purchase. 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
Winter has its grasp on mainland America (we know, Hawaii — you’re managing just fine), but there are a few places left to fly to should you find yourself longing for milder temperatures. A favorite when it comes to wintery conventions is Tampa, Florida, which is the latest city on our list of places to enjoy while visiting for business. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of The Big Guava, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
The Tampa Convention Center may be on the water, but it’s not terribly close to much else. That said, there’s a spot called L’Eden that’s just a few blocks away, and it’s worth heading to for a couple of reasons. For one, you’ll stroll through downtown Tampa’s River Arts District, which is a lively, beautiful section of town. After staring at grey walls and long concourses all day, such a thing is a sight for sore eyes. Moreover, the eatery itself is excellent, boasting an array of French options as well as more traditional American fare. It’s only been around since 2007, but it’s well on its way to becoming a staple in the Convention area.
As temperatures drop and skies darken earlier each night, it’s easy to fantasize of warm nights on a secluded beach with a Technicolor sunset on the horizon, a fruity drink beading condensation close by. But an aspect that doesn’t typically make it into the reverie is the joy of flying to your destination in one shot, without layovers or transfers. For fliers of Southwest Airlines, the trip from fantasy to reality has become a bit more streamlined.
The airline has begun offering nonstop flights to Key West, Fla., the southernmost stop on the continental U.S. route. The news is welcome for passengers who prefer spending the entirety of their expedition in one seat. Fliers to the Keys typically touch down in South Florida to switch to a smaller plane for the journey’s final push. These “puddle jumper” flights are provided by most major airlines, with only a handful giving direct flights.
Last spring, we picked the Top 10 Cities for Cycling, those U.S. locales where bike lanes, cycler safety, and easy access to two-wheeled transportation all rank high for residents and visitors alike. Four of those cities – Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and St. Petersburg, Florida – were set to launch ambitious bike share programs this summer. Unfortunately, the start dates have passed for each of those places, and we’re still waiting on those cycle rentals. So what happened, and when can you expect to see bike shares in your city?
Treat yourself to a luxurious getaway without breaking the bank this summer. With rates as low as $134 a night, the 4-Diamond Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Florida, invites travelers to experience the resort’s luxurious facilities at a 25 percent discount on current rates. Arrive on the following dates and stay for three nights or more, including weekends:
- July 15, 22- 26, 29-31
- August 1, 5-8, 14-16, 19-22
Other dates through September 30 are available from as little as $15 more a night.
The luxurious Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club is located close to Clearwater, an area known for its warm weather and pleasant breezes. The elegant resort boasts a private 72-slip marina, an 18-hole private golf course, a 12-court tennis complex, a 5,000 square-foot fitness center, and more. In addition, five restaurants, and a salon and day spa create the perfect getaway destination. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property is situated on the water in downtown St. Petersburg overlooking the Tampa Bay. All 347 guestrooms were recently updated and offer luxurious amenities such as premium bedding and flat screen TVs.
St. Petersburg attracts visitors with its beautiful beaches as well as the Salvador Dali Museum, Fort De Soto Park, and the St. Petersburg Pier. Or, rent a bike and discover more of the city, which was voted one of the Top 10 Cities for Cycling by ShermansTravel.
To book this offer, call 800-228-9290 or use rate code ZZ1 when making reservations online at www.vinoyrenaissanceresort.com.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.
Some hotels are merely a place to rest your head at night, but others hold fascinating tales of wartime refuges, remarkable wildlife, valuable art, and ghostly spirits that refuse to let go. Sign up to be amazed and maybe learn a thing or two on these exceptional hotel tours.
Until recently, most people had forgotten there was an air raid shelter underneath the Hotel Metropole in Hanoi, Vietnam. When staff discovered it during some routine work on the pool area, however, the hotel decided to excavate the bunker and restore it to its original state. Now, hotel guests can participate in nightly tours that highlight the shelter’s famous past residents – including Joan Baez, who recorded “Where Are You Now My Son” there in 1972 – and Hotel Metropole’s role during the Vietnam War.
An in-house historian leads groups through the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Florida, each Wednesday through Saturday to reveal such nuggets as the unlikely origins of the hotel and President Calvin Coolidge’s preference to dine with the hotel staff during his visits. The tour costs $5 for guests, $10 for non-guests; alternatively, book the tour and a three-course lunch at Marchand’s Bar & Grill for $25.
In life, being in the right place at the right time is often due to serendipity, but in travel, it almost always results from good planning. To avoid crowds and inflated prices, venture out between high and low seasons when the weather is fine, destinations are still welcoming travelers, and you can explore a locale at your own pace. We call this magical intersection of time and space the Sweet Spot and make it a point to round up the best of them for you each season. We’ve covered the 20 best places to travel for value this summer and grouped them by region – follow the links to the right to discover this season’s Sweet Spots.
We’ve all read the doom and gloom surveys: Americans are less likely to travel this summer because of the high price of gas, the state of the economy, or maybe because Venus is in retrograde (can’t be too careful with your horoscope). It seems hotels have read these surveys, too, and have devised ways to entice you to stay by footing part of your gas bill or even doling out cold hard cash.
Perhaps the most generous offer comes from InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), which will give you a $75 prepaid MasterCard for every stay of two consecutive weekend nights (Friday-Sunday) through September 3. You will have to wait 6-8 weeks to receive the gift card, but the deal applies to all IHG brands, from InterContinental to Holiday Inn.
If having a hotel bartender craft the perfect medium-dry vodka martini doesn’t completely satisfy your James Bond fantasy, be advised that something very 007-ish is debuting this month at the TradeWinds Island Grand resort on St. Pete Beach: Water-propelled jet pack rides, by way of a contraption called a JetLev.
After being schooled for ten minutes at the TradeWinds JetLev Flight Center and signing – you guessed it – a release form acknowledging that operating the jet pack is a hazardous activity, you’ll head behind the resort, strap on a life jacket, and get harnessed into the pack.
How does a water-propelled jet pack work? According to TradeWinds, the JetLev “is powered by a custom-designed 225 horsepower engine,” which creates “600-800 gallons per minute of thrust,” propelling the pilot (you) to a height of up to 30 feet at speeds up to 30 mph. You’ll be trained to control the JetLev, but a flight instructor will stand by to work the pack’s throttle remotely, if need be. And a flight assistant, riding a wave runner alongside, will act as your wingman.
As I have not yet piloted a JetLev, I can’t describe the sensation. But the people in this video seem pretty excited about it. Read more
Even better – until March 12, the flights to their three new destinations are on sale. One-way tickets begin at $99 to Tampa, $109 to Sarasota, and $119 to Fort Myers for travel between June 11 and July 31, 2012 (with blackout dates around the Fourth of July holiday, June 29-July 9).
The new LaGuardia to Tampa routes will be twice daily; Fort Myers and Sarasota are daily flights. JetBlue is also adding two more daily flights to Orlando and one daily flight each to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and West Palm Beach. That’s 16 round-trip flights to Florida from LaGuardia this summer. Read more
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