Shermanstravel Blog

Weekend Getaways

Lehigh Scenic Rail from Facebook 3

Lehigh Scenic Rail/Facebook

A long-standing destination for its copious mountain snow, the Poconos’ summer brings its A-game, too, with an array of warm-weather activities. From choice bike riding trails to a mountain coaster, there’s always something new to explore in the region. Here’s what should go on your summertime travel agenda this year.

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santa cruz island - channel islands national park in california

Flickr/David Wan

The Channel Islands are a chain of five islands 25 miles off the coast of California, most dramatically visible from the shores of the central coast. Preserved collectively as a National Park, the islands are ripe outdoor recreation like hiking, kayaking, and camping. While it’s possible to stay on all five islands, most overnight visitors find themselves on the largest, Santa Cruz. Three quarters of it is a nature conservatory, and it features two different styles of campsites. So how can you pull this off in a long weekend? Here’s all you need to know about reaching one of our country’s most isolated National Parks:

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mayflower renaissance hotel washington dc

Mayflower Renaissance Hotel

This Memorial Day, don’t get suckered into paying premiums to travel during the holiday. Whether you crave beach bliss, action-packed entertainment, or a little dose of history, we’ve uncovered hotel deals ranging from just $106 to $239 per night. Ready to hit the road?

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desert landscape around mesa, arizona

Visit Mesa

Located in south central Arizona, less than 20 miles east of Phoenix, Mesa has all the diversions a traveler would want from the Southwest. You’ll find everything from outdoor playgrounds to fine dining to an “agrihood.” Standing guard nearby, Superstition Mountains provide plenty of natural adventures, too, with jagged peaks separated by rock-filled canyons and covered with saguaro cacti that reach tree-like heights. But perhaps the most compelling reason to make this destination your base is that a visit to Mesa costs just a fraction of a visit to its big-city neighbors. Lodging rates here, for starters, are 60 percent lower here than in Scottsdale.

Here’s what else you need to know about a great Mesa escape:

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Cheap & Chic: Ojai, California, On a Budget

Wedged between the expensive seashore city of Santa Barbara and the beach cities of Los Angeles County, Ojai is in the perfect spot for a budget-friendly getaway. This laid-back town of 7,500 people boasts charming bed-and-breakfasts, spas, eclectic boutiques, farm-to-fork eateries, and outdoor adventures. It’s not uncommon to pass a shop touting palm or tarot-card readings, and a yoga class is always an easy find. Fly into LAX, and even with LA’s worst traffic, you can be there in less than two hours. Here’s the perfect plan for your Ojai getaway.

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lake tahoe - national park

Flickr/Daniel Meacham

National Park Week begins April 18, giving you the chance to visit your favorite national park — or discover a new favorite — for free. Here are five ways you can make the most of the week, which runs through April 26. Read more


Tommy Burson

First stop London. Second stop Edinburgh. Is there even a third stop on a typical UK vacation?

Of course there is, even if London and Edinburgh tend to get the most attention. London alone attracts about 15 million more visitors than the second closest English city. But the next time you’re there, we suggest getting out of the city and spending the weekend in Newcastle, northern England’s capital. Much discovery awaits there, considering its struggle for visitor numbers to approach anything near the one-million mark — somewhat surprising, considering that the readers of The Guardian consider it the UK’s best city. Here’s how to join the cool kids club and experience this Geordie center for yourself.

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Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina

Kim Button

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina could be America’s closest example of a real-life castle. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau is still the largest private home in the country. Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the current 8,000-acre estate and grounds are just a small fraction of what the Vanderbilts originally had to call their home. Thankfully, you don’t need a trust fund to be able to indulge in the high life at Biltmore Estate today, especially when you use these tips and tricks to make a visit more feasible and affordable.

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Connie Hum

La Jolla is often referred to as the “Jewel of California.” With its perpetual sunshine, white sand beaches, and aquamarine waters, it’s not hard to see why. The popular tourist destination isn’t just for beach bums, either. La Jolla boasts an eclectic mix of world-class cuisine ranging from street tacos to fine dining, as well as a thriving art and music scene. Here’s how to get the most out of this beach town — all for less than $75 a day.

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Cabaret the Musical on broadway nyc

Cabaret the Musical

This post is sponsored by

Planning a visit to the Big Apple? You’ve picked the perfect time to visit. After a long winter, things are kicking back into high gear all over the city. And for those who are looking for a single, easy way to organize the trip, is a one-stop shop where travelers can book a number of tours, shows, hotels, cruises, and more. If you’re already in the city or in the know? Score high on’s series of four New York IQ quizzes, running now through April 3, and be entered to win up to $2,000 worth of gift certificates good for any tickets and services on their site.

From the hottest restaurants to the best in Broadway, here are 10 great reasons for you to book a ticket to NYC right now.

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j.n. ding darling national wildlife refuge, sanibel, florida


As winter maintains an icy grip on the East Coast for a few more weeks, we like the idea of following the birds south to sunny Sanibel. Just off the coast of Fort Myers in Florida, Sanibel has seen a resurgence in national and international tourism in recent years, thanks to its year-round sun and white, sandy Gulf beaches. It’s a quieter, more relaxing, and very affordable scene here compared to the hubbub along the state’s eastern coast — ideal for those seeking to stay active but low-key, all the while enjoying fine dining and great shopping. Here’s how to make the most of the area’s expansive nature and golden warmth.

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620 - Hotel Exterior high-res

The Charles

Pi Day, which falls on March 14, is not just for math nerds anymore. (As you might remember from math class, the mathematical constant π approximately equals 3.14, hence the date of the holiday.) It’s now being embraced by the hotel industry — specifically by The Charles in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the form of a Pi Day flash sale.

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Las Cruces, New Mexico

Flickr / BLM New Mexico

Toss the snow shovel and grab the sunscreen! While most of the nation faces bitter cold and mounds of fluffy white stuff, these small town destinations offer moderate temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and a whole lot of fun.

Las Cruces, New Mexico: From wide open spaces to space exploration, Las Cruces has something for just about anyone. Sled down a hill of warm sand at White Sands National Monument, sample wines along the Rio Grande River, or get schooled Scovilles at the Chile Pepper Institute. Or, tour nearby Spaceport America, where the nation’s first space tourists will soon blast off. On your way, stop at Hatch –the birthplace of New Mexico’s infamous green chiles.

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Bottomless Lakes, Roswell, New Mexico

New Mexico Tourism

Perhaps you’re just passing through en route from Albuquerque to one of southern New Mexico’s must-hit natural wonders (like the superlative Carlsbad Caverns). Or maybe you’re caught up in the company of one of the many UFO hunters who descend upon this legendary little city in droves. But if little green men aren’t tops on your own personal agenda for visiting Roswell, New Mexico, there’s happily more to this city than just alien kitsch (though, thanks to the purported 1947 UFO crash here, there’s plenty of that, too). Art and nature lovers will find diversions worthy enough to deem Roswell a destination in its own right, while some memorable local dining and night spots will get you up-close-and-personal with some down-home New Mexican hospitality and chile-infused cooking. Here’s the scoop on what to see and do — and where best to eat, drink, and sleep — in Roswell.

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The 1940 Air Terminal Museum

Flickr / Michael Bludworth

The next time you have a day off, head to the airport. These seven airport museums dedicated to aviation are destinations in their own right — and also make for great entertainment if you’re ever stranded with delays.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum (William P. Hobby Airport, Houston)
Housed in the Art Deco building that served as Houston’s original airport, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum ($5) explores Houston and Southeast Texas’ role in aviation. The focus is mainly on civil aviation, including commercial flight. Expect to see uniforms for pilots and stewardesses, dinnerware, playing cards, and other airline memorabilia. The museum’s hangar has a small collection of business and commercial planes. Tip: After you’ve visited the museum, find a seat on the benches out back and watch aircraft take off from Hobby Airport. Or, pick a spot in the museum parking lot and watch for free. (Just let museum staff know what you are doing and how long you plan to be there.)

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