Oceanfront Laguna Beach | Orange County

Laguna Beach is a gorgeous seaside city located in Orange County situated between Los Angeles and San Diego. This premier coastal destination has a pleasant climate and seven miles of sand and surf! It’s the perfect getaway for any time of year. Next time you travel down the California coast, check out these great spots in Laguna Beach!

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Surf & Sand Resort

The luxurious Surf & Sand Resort sits directly on Laguna Beach, just steps away from the water. The elegant hotel offers 167 beachfront rooms, each featuring views of the Pacific, making this property the perfect ocean retreat. Indulge in the Stay, Spa, & Splashes Package to make your vacation memorable. The package includes signature spa treatments, gourmet breakfast, and a 3-course dinner for two at Splashes Restaurant. Reserve your room online today!  

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Art-A-Fair

Experience a fine art festival right by the water! Discover over a hundred distinguished artists, enjoy live music and outdoor cuisine, and participate in a variety of art workshops. The festival is open daily during the summer season. Check the website for more information.            BigFishTavern_644x270 

Big Fish Tavern

This Laguna Beach favorite was previously known as the House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer. Locals flock to the restaurant for the obvious specialties: fresh seafood and a diverse beer selection. At Big Fish Tavern, it’s all about the experience – great food, inviting décor, patio seating, and spectacular ocean views! Be sure to try the Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia and ask about the rotating selection of draft beers. Reserve a table or even order online!  

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Victoria Skimboards

Did you know skimboarding was actually founded in Laguna Beach? In the 1920s, local lifeguards created the sport by riding pieces of wood along the water. Tex Haines later founded Victoria Skimboards in 1976, and with his help the sport went global. Visit the Laguna Beach storefront and browse the wide selection of skimboards and accessories. They offer private lessons for beginners, or join them for a weekly skimboard session every Saturday at 10 am! 

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Tidepools

The Laguna Beach tide pools offer you an exciting glimpse at marine life. The protected tide zone is home to various aquatic species. During low tide you can observe them up-close and personal! Keep in mind that all of tide pools within the Laguna Beach city limits fall in a State Marine Conservation Area. Do not take anything from the tide pools, be cautious of where you step, and help ensure that the beautiful ecosystems can be preserved for the enjoyment of generations to come! 

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 The Rooftop

The Rooftop Lounge is popular among locals and a must-see for visitors. Located on the roof of La Casa del Camino hotel, it offers stunning views of the ocean. Relax and watch the sunset as you sip a signature fresh fruit Mojito and sample delicious California cuisine. Stop in for Happy Hour every weekday from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm and enjoy half off drinks!

Desert Getaway | Palm Springs

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Palm Springs is a desert getaway known for its beautiful hot springs, elegant resorts, and lavish spas. The downtown area features a lively shopping district and a variety of unique restaurants to try. Warm desert air and a relaxing atmosphere make it the perfect vacation destination to unwind. Treat yourself to some of our favorite places in Palm Springs!

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Riviera Palm Springs

Stay at the Riviera Palm Springs and get ready for a luxurious desert getaway. This iconic hotel has been a staple in Palm Springs since 1959. The noted architect Irwin Schuman designed the resort with inspiration from renowned Vegas hotels such as The Flamingo and The Sands. The resort became a hot spot for celebrities and sophisticates including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley. Relax in a lavish suite, sip cocktails by the pool and enjoy your retreat in paradise. Looking to pamper yourself? The SpaTerre Escape package includes deluxe accommodations and a $100 daily spa credit. Book your vacation today!

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Desert Hills Premium Outlets

Shop till you drop at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets. The outdoor shopping center offers one of the largest collections of designer outlets in the country. Located minutes West of Palm Springs and surrounded by picturesque mountains, it’s a true shopping oasis! The outlets feature over 180 stores including high-end brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Versace. You can save up to 65% off retail prices! It’s a shopping trip that’s sure to be worth your while.

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Trio Restaurant

Palm Springs locals frequent this vibrant restaurant that combines contemporary American cuisine with modern design and fantastic service. Situated on Palm Canyon Drive in the uptown design district, Trio Restaurant the perfect place to people watch as you enjoy dinner on the dog-friendly patio. Their daily happy hour features ½ price bar bites and discounted drinks from 11 am – 7 pm! We recommend the calamari appetizer – hand breaded, lightly fried, and served with a house-made Thai dipping sauce.

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Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

Visit the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino for a complete destination vacation. This Vegas-style property offers exciting gambling options, golf courses, incredible dining, world-class entertainment, poolside lounging, a bowling alley and more! Whether you’re in Palm Springs for a romantic getaway or a trip with the family, Fantasy Springs Resort has something for everyone. Feeling lucky? Their award-winning casino boasts over 2,000 slots and video poker machines, 40 table games, and a massive bingo room.

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Costas Nightclub

Dress up and dance the night away at this popular Palm Springs lounge. Located inside the beautiful Desert Springs JW MarriottCostars is the perfect setting for a birthday celebration or an evening out with friends. The high-energy nightclub features live DJs and entertainment, a stylish atmosphere, and creative cocktails. Their new line of summer cocktails are inspired by the seasons high-fashion trends. Sample chic libations such as the Trendsetter, made with edible diamonds!

 

Shelter Island | San Diego

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Shelter Island is a waterfront neighborhood of Point Loma. Though it’s known as an island, it’s actually connected to the mainland by a narrow strip. It was originally a sandbank visible only at low tide and was built up and developed in the 1950s. It’s now home to several resorts, marinas, restaurants, and attractions. From water activities to fine dining, here are some of our favorite things to do on Shelter Island.

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The Bay Club Hotel & Marina

Spacious guest rooms, waterfront views, and a private marina make the Bay Club Hotel the quintessential San Diego vacation destination. Soak in the sunshine as you relax by the pool, or enjoy panoramic views of the San Diego Bay as you dine at the Quarterdeck, their onsite restaurant and bar. Book the Romantic Island Getaway package for and treat someone you love to water view accommodations, dinner for two, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

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Pearl of the Pacific

Make sure you see the “Pearl of the Pacific”, located in Shelter Island’s Pacific Rim Park. It’s an outdoor work of art that is a symbol of San Diego’s connection to China, Mexico and Russia. The images on the park’s tiles represent the four countries that make up the Pacific Rim: the Chinese dragon, and American shore bird, Russian Siberian tiger, and Mexican Quetzalcoatl. The scenic waterfront location is a popular destination for weddings, picnics, and just laying out to relax.

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Stand up paddle boarding

Adventure out on the water and float across the gorgeous San Diego Bay on a standup paddleboard! Shelter Island is the ideal location, surrounded by calm waters for beginners and open ocean access for thrill seekers and more experienced riders. Commonly known as SUPing, it’s a fun activity for everyone to enjoy! Visit Action Sport Rentals located in the Kona Kai Resort on Shelter Island to rent a board for up to 8 hours.

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Sportfishing

Looking to take a fishing trip? H&M Landing is the oldest, most experienced sportfishing company on the West Coast! They’ve represented San Diego’s finest passenger fleet since 1935. Whether you’re looking to take the family out on a private charter or seeking the excitement of offshore fishing, their experienced staff and various boats will guarantee a memorable experience! They offer half-day up to multiday trips. Book online in advance to secure your spot!

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Bali Hai Happy Hour

Relax, grab a bite, and sip on a refreshing island cocktail at the Bali Hai Restaurant, a local favorite that’s been around for over 50 years. They serve delectable coastal Asian fusion cuisine and are known for their world famous Mai Tai. The restaurant is located right on the edge of Shelter Island and offers extraordinary views of the San Diego Bay and downtown skyline. Stop in for happy hour any weekday from 3 pm – 6 pm and enjoy discounted appetizers. Stay a while and catch the sunset over the water!

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Concerts by the Bay

End your night with live music right on the waterfront! Humphrey’s theater has been bringing talented musicians and entertainers to San Diego since 1982. Situated between Humphreys Restaurant and Half Moon Inn & Suites, the 1,400 seat outdoor theatre is the perfect place to spend a summer evening. Check out the concert schedule online and buy your ticket today!

Coronado | San Diego

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Just across the bay from downtown San Diego, Coronado is a popular vacation destination with a charm unlike any other city. The quaint shops, beautiful architecture, fine dining, and stunning beaches draw in locals and visitors alike. Here are a few of our favorite things to do on the beautiful Coronado Island!

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Ferry Landing

Take the ferry over to Coronado Island from downtown San Diego. Explore the unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants right along the coast of the San Diego Bay. Buy a souvenir to take home or enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the water. The Ferry Landing Marketplace has something for everyone!

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Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach was named one of the top beaches in the country by Dr. Beach. Take a walk along the shore and it’s easy to understand why! The 1.5 mile beach shines silvery white because of the presence of the mineral mica. Numerous fire pits line the sand, and the northwestern end is dog friendly. A little known fact about the beach is that the sand dunes along the edge actually spell out “CORONADO”.

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Action Sport Rentals

Take advantage of the San Diego sunshine and spend some time out on the water. Action Sport Rentals, located in the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, is the one stop shop for your next adventure. Kick back and relax on an electric Funcat with a built in cooler or try Water Skiing if you’re a thrill seeker!

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1500 Ocean

Walk down the beach to the world famous Hotel Del Coronado and visit their signature restaurant, 1500 Ocean. The upscale eatery offers California coastal cuisine with fresh, local ingredients. With stunning views of the ocean, it’s the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. Try the four-course tasting menu with hand selected wine pairings for a truly exceptional culinary experience. Reserve your table today.

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Spreckels Park

Spreckels Park is located on 7th and Orange, right in the heart of Coronado. It spans 8 acres and features a playground, gazebo, picnic tables, and plenty of natural shade. The park is named after J.D. Spreckels, one of Coronado’s founding fathers. Free concerts take place in the center of the park every Sunday during the summer.

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MooTime Creamery

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a local favorite. MooTime Creamery is a Coronado staple that has been serving handcrafted ice cream and hand-rolled cones since 1998. They now have two locations on the island and continue to create their treats from scratch. The flavors rotate daily, and you can even purchase custom ice cream cakes and pies!

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Glorietta Bay Inn

The Glorietta Bay Inn is a timeless, award-winning Coronado hotel and that is the perfect aplace to unwind after a long day on the island. The quiet setting and rich architecture guarantee a comfortable and memorable stay. Step back in time with their featured Historic Coronado Package! It offers a two-night stay, $25 local restaurant gift card, tickets to the Coronado Historic Walking Tour, and more. Book your stay today!

Encinitas | San Diego

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Encinitas is a beautiful beach city located along six miles of the Pacific coastline, just 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego. Full of sunshine and natural beauty, Encinitas is the perfect summer vacation destination. Spend a day out on the town and check out some our favorite things to do!

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Take the scenic route

If you’re planning a visit to Encinitas, skip the hassle of parking and take the Pacific Surfliner train. Enjoy gorgeous ocean views as you travel along the Southern California coast! The train stops right in the heart of Encinitas, walking distance from everything the city has to offer. The route features multiple stops connecting San Diego and San Luis Obispo through Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Reserve your seat online.

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Get your caffeine fix

Start your morning at Lofty Coffee, a locally owned company dedicated to serving sustainable, “farm-to-cup” coffee and tea. Grab a seat on the patio and sample their selection of organic pastries and locally sourced breakfast options. Their specialty drinks are crafted from scratch with house-made sweeteners – our favorite is the Salted Caramel Latte!

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Cruise around and ride the waves

Walk down the main street to CONCEPT Surf Shop, a family owned storefront that has become the go-to stop for surfers and beach goers in Encinitas. Rent a beach cruiser for the day and ride along the coast, taking in the ocean air and California sunshine. Feeling more adventurous? They’ve got everything you need to gear up and hit the waves! CONCEPT carries a wide variety of surfboards, boogie boards, and wetsuits. Ask about their daily surfing lessons!

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Experience tranquility

Locals and tourists alike gather at this hidden gem behind the Self-Realization Fellowship church. Tucked on a cliff overlooking Swami’s Beach, the garden provides spectacular ocean views. A canopy of trees, lush greenery, and exotic plants surround the area. Stroll through the peaceful grounds and relax by the koi pond. The serene environment creates a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

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Satisfy your cravings

There’s nothing like a juicy burger and a cold beer after a long day at the beach. Head over to the Encinitas Ale House for one of their “locally world famous” burgers. Their unique menu offers an array of humanely raised meats, including beef, bison, alligator, duck, rabbit, ostrich, and more! They also have a selection of more than 400 bottled beers from all over the world. Can’t decide? Try a flight of four beer tasters! Ask about their daily specials.

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Watch the sunset

End your day at Moonlight Beach, one of the most visited beaches in Encinitas. Gather around a cozy bonfire or bring a blanket and lay out on the soft sand. It’s the perfect location to unwind and enjoy the gorgeous West Coast sunset. Don’t forget to bring your s’mores essentials!

 

 

Gaslamp Quarter | San Diego

Whether you are in San Diego for a long weekend, convention or staycation, you can always find something to do in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Gaslamp Quarter covers approximately 16½ blocks in downtown with 94 Victorian-era buildings that feature some of the best restaurants, shops and nightclubs in the city. The next time you are in town, check out a few of our favorites things to do downtown.

Morning on the Waterfront

It’s going to be a busy day! Start your morning off with a sunrise run or walk around the waterfront. If you are staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt or the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Hotel, all you have to do is walk out the back door to start your waterfront run at Seaport Village. If you are staying in the Gaslamp Quarter, the best way to reach Seaport Village is to cross along 1st Avenue and then head south to make your way to the waterfront. From Seaport Village, you can explore the waterfront all the way around to Harbor Island and beyond.

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Breakfast at Café 222

After your morning run, we always like to stop at Café 222 for a wholesome, home-cooked breakfast. We recommend the Tamales and Eggs or the 5-Grain Waffle with Granola. Café 222 also makes an assortment of fresh-baked goods daily to go with your soy latte.

Shopping in the Gaslamp

With more 130 stores, Westfield’s Horton Plaza is a must stop for savvy downtown shoppers. Get your shop on and enjoy an upscale, outside shopping experience that will get you in the mood to further explore the other boutiques in the Gaslamp Quarter. As you exit Horton Plaza on the East Side, you can stroll up and down 4th and 5th Avenues to finish up your shopping marathon. You’ll find an assortment of local boutiques offering urban-chic clothing, modern furniture and great home accessories.

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Pool Time Drinks

Not a shopper? No worries. Nothing says relaxation like fresh margaritas by the pool at the Hotel Solamar. Get away for the day, or the weekend, and enjoy the perennial San Diego sunshine. Located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, call ahead and reserve your own poolside cabana. Read a book, swim, or mingle with the poolside crowd. You will have fun in the sun all day long.

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Dinner & Theatre

No day is complete in the Gaslamp Quarter without some great food and memorable entertainment. San Diego has not always been known for its upscale eats and culture… but do we have a surprise for you! Bring your dressy casual threads and take your special someone out on the town for an evening you will remember.

Start at Bice restaurant on 4th Avenue. You will enjoy true Italian hospitality, an outstanding wine list, and an enticing world of complex entrée combinations – true Italian cuisine. And be sure to ask about the gourmet cheese bar. Bice was named Open Table’s Diners Choice Winner for 2015. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Westside

After a relaxing dinner at Bice, you can enjoy a vibrant and intimate production of West Side Story, America’s favorite love story, at the Grand Horton Theatre. Enjoy Bernstein & Sondheim’s musical masterpiece filled with great songs like Tonight, Somewhere, When You’re a Jet, I Want to Be in America, and Maria. This ‘don’t miss’ production is directed by Deborah Gilmour Smith with musical direction by Partick Marion and choreography by Colleen Kollar Smith. Get tickets today.

 

Dallas | It’s Not All Football and Rodeos

Ok, I’ll admit…when I used to think of Dallas, Texas, the first thing that came to mind was cowboys.  The ones that ride horses, and the ones that play football.  But Dallas has developed into such a diverse and exciting metropolitan city, filled with art, music and culture that I thought I would highlight five of the highest ranking attractions in Dallas, as ranked by TripAdvisor reviewers.  I was surprised at a few of them, and I reckon y’all may be too!

The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is currently ranked #1 as the top attraction in Dallas.  Featuring over 66-acres on the shores of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum varies it’s displays four times each year, providing amazing color and breathtaking season changes for visitors year round.

The Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center is located in the Downtown Dallas Arts District and is home to the world-class Dallas Symphony Orchestra and other Dallas-based cultural organizations. The Meyerson’s impressive architectural features, open spaces, touches of elegance, and unsurpassed acoustics make the building the preeminent environment for exceptional events in Dallas.

The George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum also topped this list and the reviewers can’t say enough about how beautiful, clean and educational this library and museum is.  While it focuses on republican President Bush’s time in office, there is such a sense of American patriotism, it doesn’t matter if you are republican or democrat, it is worth a visit.

The Nasher Sculpture Center, in the heart of downtown Dallas, features a collection of more than three hundred sculptures, and twentieth-century paintings and drawings.  This is a beautiful center of indoor and outdoor exhibition space that is filled with natural light and elegant in design.

Dallas Museum of Art Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art features an outstanding collection of more than 22,000 works of art from around the world, from ancient to modern times.  This museum is in the heart of the Arts District, and is highly rated on TripAdvisor.

So next time you are considering an arts and culture getaway, think of Dallas, Texas.   While you may not have had it on your bucket list before, I think you will be pleased, and may be surprised like I was, with what you discover in the heart of this amazing city.

 

South Carolina | Culinary Tours of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina,  rich in history and southern charm was recently featured in USA Today Travel for it’s popularity as a culinary and beverage destination getaway. With  myriad hotel vacation packages in Charleston, (many of them being food and wine packages), we thought we would highlight some of the more popular culinary tours that are featured in the city.

Culinary Tours of Charleston, Savor the Flavors

This is a wonderful tour for you to experience a more general overview of Charleston’s essential cuisine. This tour is two and a half hours, and highlights downtown restaurants and food shops that will have you sample grits, pralines, benne wafers and more.  During this walking tour, you also learn about the area’s rich culinary history.  While some may find this to be enough of a meal, most who enjoy the tour may need a more substantial meal after the tour is complete, and there are plenty of options in downtown.

Charleston Brews Cruise

Not only is Charleston popular for it’s incredible cuisine, it has also moved up the ranksCharleston Brews Cruise in popularity as a beer-drinker’s paradise. While alcohol laws used to be very strict, they have eased up and the craft beer scene has blossomed.  This “Brews Cruise” is three and a half hours and highlights three local breweries, where you can sample four ounce tasters of IPAs, Porters and ESB’s.  Try any you love? You can buy them and store them in a cooler on the bus!

Charleston Culinary Tours, The Farmer’s Market Tour

The Charleston Farmers Market is an incredible experience for any “foodie”.  It features more than 100 vendors, entertainment and a whole lot of fun! Charleston Culinary Tours has a two hour tour each Saturday that allows you to peruse it like an insider!  Starting off the tour with some architectural history and ending the tour with a fresh brunch that your group creates from fresh ingredients you have gotten throughout the market tour.


Original Pub Tour of Charleston

As we mentioned before, Charleston is absolutely rich with history and some of theCharleston Pub Tour most interesting history comes from it’s centuries-old pubs. On the Original Pub Tour of Charleston, you experience a tour of four pubs, often  the Blind Tiger (whose building was erected in 1803) and The Griffon (also located in a structure that dates to the early 19th century).  Each of the pubs you experience offers complimentary appetizers as your guide shares tales of interesting and engaging characters from American history.  All food is included int he price of the tour, however drinks are not included in the ticket price.

Whether or not you fancy yourself as a “foodie” these tours are sure to please, and are a whole lot of fun!

Are you planning your next vacation getaway? Consider our hotel packages in Charleston, South Carolina where you can reserve a wonderful Charleston hotel package, and then plan a fun culinary tour to complete your vacation itinerary!

Southern California | Classic Getaways

 As the dog days of summer count down, don’t miss what may be your Best Summer Vacation Getaway yet! From Los Angeles to San Diego, here are some of the most popular, and quintessential Southern California experiences that should be on your “Fun Bucket List.”

Los Angeles – Do you know of anyone that visits Los Angeles who doesn’t get a picture of either the iconic Hollywood sign, or of themselves by one of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Check.  Universal Studios and Citywalk are so much fun and a great way to experience the essence of the movie scene in LA.  Madame Toussauds Wax Los Angeles, Hollywood, Jennifer LopezMuseum serves as home to many celebrity figures that bear an eery likeness to the real thing. Instagram op? Check.  LA also is a great option for sports fans wanting to take in an exciting game while traveling – whether it is an NBA basketball game or a professional baseball game, you can watch the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center, or the Dodgers at the world famous Dodger Stadium.  The Santa Monica Pier is also a great diversion,whether traveling with your family, or just friends. Venice Beach offers a world of people watching.  Whether you are into celebrity sightings, thrill rides, NBA or pro baseball, LA has it all, and then some.

Orange County – This region includes Anaheim, home of the famous home of Mickey Mouse…Disneyland Resort, and Disney’s California Adventure which remain to be twoDisneyland, Southern California, Anaheim, Mickey Mouse of the most popular SoCal attractions.  Newport Beach serves as home to the amazing Fashion Island Mall, and beautiful Balboa Island which is a gem, and a special place you can either drive, walk, bike, or take the Balboa Island Ferry to get to.  And then there is Laguna Beach, which is gorgeous seaside town that has evolved into a destination for art lovers that hosts world class artists, festivals and shops.  It is well known for the popular Pageant of the Masters, a one-of-a-kind theatrical “living art” performance every summer.

Then finally, San Diego, America’s Finest City, where one can plan a week’s vacation, and still not fit in all the amazing attractions and fun things to do.  From Legoland, to SeaWorld San Diego, to the world famous San Diego Zoo, San Diego is thriving withSan Diego Zoo, Pandas world renown attractions. In addition to these well known attractions, there are awesome things to experience at the USS Midway Museum and Balboa Park, aka “the Smithsonian of the West”.  And if you need to just relax or take in a round of golf, there are 70 miles of beautiful beaches for you to enjoy, and more than 90 golf courses to work on your golf game.  San Diego is truly a recreational paradise for all!

Southern California, no matter where you go, offers you sunny and moderate temperatures year round and a host of activities and attractions that will please every traveler to the region.

When you are considering your next trip for two, a family vacation consider making a trip to Southern California, and go to our California Getaway page to check out each of these cities to see all the amazing hotel getaway packages that will make for the perfect getaway. Classic Southern California Getaways are always in style. no matter what the occasion for your trip!

America’s Top Free Attractions

What do the incredible and iconic museums and attractions such as the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, The Getty Center in Los Angeles and The Alamo in San Antonio all have in common?

They are free!

CNN Travel and Leisure recently published a list of amazing attractions and museums that do not charge admission fees to visitors.  What an incredible way for you and your family or travel partner to enjoy your vacation in a great American city, all while being a bit frugal at the same time.

Other attractions that were highlighted were Pike Place Market in  Seattle, Washington; the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia and the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at Bellagio in Las Vegas.

You know what else all of these fantastic museums and attractions have in common? They are all located in great cities, and we have excellent hotel packages in every city mentioned.  So you can not only save money by visiting them, but you can get even more for your money by purchasing a hotel package through Getaway Packages!