Shermanstravel Blog

Weekend Getaways

maine lobster festival - rockland - flickr-manray3 - 620

Not just for summer, food festivals provide a year-round way for hungry travelers to sample a mouthwatering variety of dishes — without shelling out for a ton of meals out on the town. We’ve rounded up a few tasty celebrations and events across the U.S., from classic to quirky. The next time you want a taste of the local dining scene on a trip, here’s where to tempt your taste buds:

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The movies we watch, the toys we play with, the fun foods we eat — these elements of every day life and entertainment define every society’s culture. To celebrate the American way of life this summer, take a day trip to one of these seven pop culture museums worth the drive.

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Hampton_Jitney - Adam E. Moreira - 620 2Crowded and exclusive, the Hamptons — the beach destination of choice for many in the New York City area in summer — aren’t exactly a cheap getaway. If you’re planning to head out to this ever-glamorous hotspot, whether you live in the NYC area or just want to get a taste of the Hamptons while you’re passing through, getting there  can be a challenge. Here, six ways to get to the Hamptons — and what it’ll cost you.

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Southwest Southwest Airlines have been a major player in the U.S. market over the past few decades, but today it takes its first step into the big, wide world. As of July 1, Southwest has begun service to Aruba and Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando. In the coming months flights to the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic from other gateways will follow.

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SunsetKeyOne of Florida’s most exclusive islands lies just 500 yards off Key West, yet most visitors only catch a glimpse of it while watching the sunset from Mallory Square.

The 27-acre Sunset Key is privately held by residents lucky enough to own multi-million dollar homes there, but the rest of us can get a taste, even if just for a few hours. There are only three ways you can board the free shuttle boat to the island from Key West (from the marina in front of the Westin Key West Resort). You can spend the night at one of the Westin’s Sunset Key cottages, have a reservation at their restaurant, or book a service at their spa. Read more

flickr.com/claudiaregina_ccJust because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning a winter getaway. We’ve already laid out some good reasons for visiting Iceland in the winter, but here is an offer from Icelandair that might seal the deal. Read more

oakland - lake merritt - michele ursino - 620

Finally, Oakland is getting the attention it deserves from travelers and media alike as one of the country’s coolest cities, having been skipped over for years for sister city San Francisco. But as Oakland enters the spotlight, it remains an extremely affordable destination for culture, food, and other entertainment. These budget activities will make any cost-conscious traveler wonder why you took so long to discover Oak Town:

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It’s no surprise that vacation rentals have stolen the hearts of savvy travelers everywhere. Great savings, extra amenities, even the chance to get some local advice…what’s not to love? The fact that HomeAway has hit one million listings — making its inventory almost twice the size of other similar companies — just comes to show how this once-alternative means of accommodation is going mainstream. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up five affordable rentals that you can book this summer and beyond, for a taste of something different:

1. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: $80/night
For the design enthusiast, this Costa Rican rental delivers on one-of-a-kind digs with a futuristic, geodesic design. Sleeping four to five with two bedrooms spread over two floors, this villa is less than a five-minute walk to Santa Teresa Beah and the area’s shops and cafes. We recommend getting out early to beat the heat, then settling in for an afternoon siesta if the rain hits. And, don’t worry, the AC units are well-equipped to keep you cool. 4-night minimum.

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Metropolitan by COMO

Miami might be steamy right now but, with this bumper list of new hotels, now is the time to enjoy off-season and introductory rates at the newly opened properties– or to start planning a trip around those that will be opening later this year and next.

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breakaway - norwegian cruise line - 620If you’re headed to New York City on your next getaway, why not get out on the water? Manhattan is an island, after all, and the city offers a wealth of boat tours and packages that will give you breathtaking views of the skyline and the harbor. Here are three of our favorites.

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MetropolitanbyCOMOSure, most travelers book a trip to Miami Beach with a single plan in mind — drink all day, party all night. But everyone needs to cool off and chill out at some point. Even Miami, which we rate as one of the world’s party capitals, has plenty of options for relaxing, refreshing, and (maybe) replenishing your body in preparation for another night out. Here’s how:

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moradabayLast month we introduced you to some of the Florida Keys’ local characters and their tips for visiting the area. If you follow their suggestions for ghost tours, paddleboarding, making new friends in local bars, and more, you’ll likely work up an appetite. Here are some of the best place across the Keys to fill up on brunch, seafood, and, of course, Key lime pie. Read more

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Cyber Monday is too long to have to wait for snagging great hotel deals, so we are pleased to see that a group of hotels have put together their own promotion and are calling it CyberSummer. On June 21, starting at midnight, 21 hotels and resorts in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean will be offering online deals, including four-diamond resorts for $99 a night, five-star hotels offering 50 percent savings, and free nights. Featured hotels include Casa Palopó in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (pictured above); the JW Marriott, Cusco, Peru, and the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort in Florida. Read more

la jolla - san diego - flickr-thenorse

The reasons for hitting up San Diego for a relaxing summer weekend are countless. For starters, from June through August, the weather peaks in the 70s with lows in the 50s on average. And whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, shopping, or great dining, it’s all readily accessible and set against a beautiful Southern California backdrop to boot. What’s more, if you don’t feel like flying or driving, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner can you get there from anywhere between San Diego and San Luis Obispo.

Here, we’ve rounded up three of our favorite neighborhoods in the city with affordable options for what to do and where to eat. Depending on how much time you have and how ambitious you are, feel free to pick and choose — or add them all to your itinerary this season.

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Wyndham Vacation RentalsVacation rental properties have been a complete game changer for travelers looking for homey, affordable places to stay. They’re a great way to save money, especially for families and larger groups, and they offer all the amenities of home. You can often cook your own meals and wash your laundry at no extra charge.

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