Shermans Travel » Blog » Weekend Getaways
Palm Springs has long been on southern Californians’ radar as a quick, hassle-free getaway, with well-documented visits from Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Audrey Hepburn in the 50s and 60s lending the place a splashy, old Hollywood allure. Even now, its appeal remains intact, with a recent outcrop of new hotels catering to fun-loving crowds from LA, New York, and other party capitals.
What we most love about Palm Springs, however, isn’t its scenery or its cool-kid status, but the way it manages to appeal to such a wide range of travelers. Whether you’re showing up to play golf, go to a pool party, browse contemporary art, tour mid-century modernist houses, ride the aerial tram, or just sit by the pool and doze, Palm Springs is ready to receive you with open arms. Read more
The cold, snowy months of the U.S. winter feel a lot brighter when you hit the ski slopes. But traveling to the best resorts at the height of the season also means you’ll have to contend with crowded slopes and high prices.
If you want to miss those crowds, and don’t mind not actually getting to ski, consider visiting during shoulder season (from now until around mid-to-late-November) when there are still lots of activities on offer, but the resorts will be quieter and the prices lower.
At the extreme northern edge of Minnesota, there are a series of bays – Buffalo Bay, Muskeg Bay, and Fourmile Bay – which together constitute over 65,000 miles of shoreline, and provide one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. On a map, everything north of these bodies of water would appear to be Canadian territory, but look more closely and you’ll see there is actually a small piece of Minnesota awkwardly wedged between Manitoba and Ontario. The Northwest Angle, as it’s known, is the northernmost point in the contiguous 48 states – not to mention one of the coldest places to visit in America during the winter.
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
We have already detailed the good reasons to book into a brand new hotel, but how about up-and-coming neighborhoods? Areas that, until recently, didn’t offer much in the way of quality lodging options? It’s in these emerging neighborhoods that you will find some of the city’s newest and hippest hotels — and, most likely, a good deal.
(Note: All rates quoted are for late October weeknights)
For all the negative implications of fall (cooler weather, shorter days, less sunshine), the season isn’t without its charms. After all, what other time of year can you travel with manageable weather and great bargains on flights and hotels? So instead of dwelling on how you can’t wear short shorts or sip an iced latte in October, let’s embrace fall. Whether you’re interested in watching the leaves blow around a beautiful state park, or enjoying your first-ever slice of grape pie, or taking full advantage of all the fall deals being offered right now, here’s your guide to a fun-filled, money-saving, get-in-your-car-and-go fall. Read more
As any midwesterner will tell you, Kentucky is an incredibly beautiful place to visit in the fall; then again, the same could be said for Tennessee and Missouri. If you’re trying to figure out which one to visit on an upcoming road trip, you’ll be glad to hear it’s possible to visit all three within a matter of minutes.
At the far southwestern edge of the Bluegrass State, the Kentucky Bend is one of the oddest state borders in the United States. It’s a rare example of an exclave, or a piece of land isolated from the rest of its borders and surrounded by foreign soil. Considering there are only a handful of exclaves in the U.S. (Ellis Island, interestingly, is one of them), this geographical oddity, located roughly equidistant between St Louis, Evansville, and Nashville, is a must-see stop on any tour through this part of the country.
As the weather cools down in much of North America, a soothing soak in the hot springs is the perfect thing to usher in the new season. The U.S. offers a number of hot spring experiences, from hiking out to a secluded, forested spot, to booking a room at a high-end resort. Hot springs are often touted for their healing properties, attracting those seeking stress relief, healthier skin, and immune system stimulation – just in case you needed an excuse. Here are four of our favorite hot spring experiences in the U.S.
Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
At Riverbend Hot Spring in the city of Truth or Consequences guests are housed in private, fully renovated mobile homes. The resort is also known for their attentive staff, who will hand-deliver morning coffee to the hot springs as you watch the sun rise over the Turtleback Mountains and the Rio Grande. Unlimited access to public springs are available for all overnight guests, and walk-in guest-passes are also available and include access to the pool area, deck, patio, and sauna. Rooms cost between $70–$150 per night and a guest pass is $10. Read more
Nine months out of the year, Caribbean islands are a postcard-ready panorama of blue skies, swaying palm trees, and cocktail-sipping, hammock-lounging bliss. But from September to November (as in, right now), they are associated with another thing: hurricanes. As we speak, reports are showing that the season’s first tropical storms are already forming.
But for those willing to roll the dice, hurricane season can also yield up some incredible bargains. Flights, cruises, and hotels often go for a fraction of their peak season rates, at a time when most travelers are too spooked by the thought of having their trip washed, blown, or flooded down the drain.
And if you’re worried about showing up to a ghost town, rest assured: of the 25 million tourists who visited the Caribbean in 2012, roughly a fifth of them were brave enough to travel between September and November, the peak of hurricane season.
To give you a head start, we logged onto Expedia and CheapCaribbean and chose some hotel-and-flight packages for a range of dates in late October and mid-November. All packages are priced per-person, based on double occupancy, with flights from Miami. Other departure cities are usually available for more.
Clearly, none of the following destinations can provide guarantees on anything weather-related (otherwise they wouldn’t be offering the deals in the first place!). But with prices this low, you can afford to have your trip cancelled and still have extra cash lying around to re-book the whole thing from scratch. Now, get out those bathing suits! Read more
New Orleans is a city of many passions: music, the arts, fine food, cocktails, and parties galore. But it’s also a city of oysters (they even have an Oyster Festival). The love for bivalves runs deep in these parts, and this city is teeming with options.The gulf varieties are big but mild – perfect for slurping in the raw, deeply fried, or dressed in butter to be chargrilled. Here are my favorites from a recent trip to New Orleans: Read more
Iran doesn’t have the best reputation for welcoming foreign tourists, yet signs point to that changing – slowly. From 2004 to 2010 tourism to the country grew by 12.7 percent, and while most of these visits were for reasons of religious pilgrimage, a good number made the trip to see Iran’s ancient sites, to hike and ski in the Alborz mountains, and to paraglide (like these unlucky Slovak tourists who have just been released after charges of spying).
The case of the Slovak paragliders suggests that Iran still has a way to go if it wants to shake off foreign travelers’ negative perceptions of its touristic potential, but a brand new private train service may help. Read more
We’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer. But in just under a month, we’ll be entering into one of our favorite times of the year: fall harvest. Whether it’s apples, pumpkins, cranberries, grapes, or otherwise, we can’t wait to start stuffing our faces with delicious treats homegrown in upstate New York’s ubiquitous farms, orchards, and wineries. Here are a few fun, family-friendly, food-filled festivals to get you in the spirit of the season. And don’t worry about overdoing it on the desserts – after all, the next bikini season won’t be for another nine months. Read more
Nerd alert: I’m kind of obsessed with roller coasters. The first time I went to Darien Lake, an amusement park near my hometown in upstate New York, and saw the Viper run it’s looping course, I was hooked. I could tell you all sorts of details on the speeds, heights, and design aspects of various coasters (as roller coaster enthusiasts call them) across the country…but I’ll spare you those boring statistics.
Instead, I’ve put together a list of the top attractions (there are a few non-coasters in the mix, too) slated to open next year. While most major parks close for the cold winter months, construction crews get to work building the next adrenaline-pumping thrill rides that keep millions of park patrons coming back for more. Here’s what you have to look forward to in 2014:
1. Banshee, Kings Island (Ohio):
Come May, Kings Island, a sprawling amusement park near Cincinnati, will be home to the world’s longest inverted coaster, Banshee (pictured above). Inverted coasters feature trains with seats hanging below the track, allowing riders’ legs to dangle freely in the air. Riders will be flipped upside-down seven times on what the park calls it’s first “female themed” ride. Read more
If you’ve been following FX’s current cross-border crime drama, The Bridge, you might not know that the show is actually a remake of a joint Swedish/Danish series based on a border in the Øresund Region. The region, which encompasses the Danish capital, Copenhagen, and Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, is truly binational. Many residents commute back and forth across the five-mile Øresund Bridge that connects the two cities for work or play. Tourism boards tout the area as a “two nation vacation,” highlighting the ease of crossing between the two countries – you don’t even need a passport, though you do have to change currencies.
If you’re in Copenhagen with a day (or a few) to spare, we have some tips for what to do in Malmö, the city on the other side of the bridge. Read more
Summer is winding down and kids are heading back to school, which means that prime beach destinations like Florida are quickly clearing out and entering their low season. Normally, a destination’s slow-down time signals less-than-prime weather conditions, but Florida in the fall is ideal. While it’s technically still hurricane season, in many spots, you’ll still find warm waters and beautiful days with weather that can soar up into the 90s. Add to that the fact that many hotels offer discounts of 40 to 50 percent off their peak season rates, and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect fall getaway. Here are some of the reasons you should visit during Florida’s bargain season. Read more
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