August Outdoor Escapes | Big Bear Lake, California

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With fresh mountain air, breathtaking scenery, and a seven-mile long lake, Big Bear is ideal for a summer getaway. The quaint town offers beautiful views of the surrounding San Bernardino National Forest, excellent local craft beers, and delicious restaurants. Experience some outdoor fun with Alpine slides, water sports, and a parasailing adventure over the lake.

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Holiday Inn Resort Big Bear Lake

Located in downtown Big Bear, the Holiday Inn Resort Big Bear Lake is steps away from great restaurants, shops, and the Lake Boardwalk. The hotel has comfortable rooms, a health and fitness center, and an outdoor pool and whirlpool. Onsite eatery Stillwells serves up delicious California cuisine. Make your time in Big Bear extra special with the Romantic Escape Package. It includes a bottle of sparkling white wine, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and a box of chocolates.

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Sweet Basil Bistro

Enjoy a romantic night out at Sweet Basil Bistro, an intimate Italian restaurant just a short walk from the hotel. The family-owned restaurant is one of the town’s newest. Their menu is full of authentic Italian specialties and fresh sauces. We recommend the Braccilone, a flank steak breaded and stuffed with tomatoes and Gorgonzola and served over linguine with tomato basil sauce. For dessert, indulge in their decadent vanilla crème brulee. 

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Alpine Slides

The Magic Mountain Recreation Area is home to the Alpine Slide, one of our favorite activities in Big Bear. Take a chairlift up the mountain and then coast down a quarter-mile long cement track in an individual sled. During your ride, you’ll feel the fresh mountain air rushing past you and take in amazing views of the lake and surrounding forest. The recreation area also features a water slide, go-karts, and mini-golf.

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Big Bear Lake Brewing Company

Big Bear Lake Brewing Company offers their own house brews, well-known craft beers, a long list of homemade cocktails, and excellent food options. Try the Sidewinder Red Ale, which features pineapple, citrus, and pine aromas, or the Strawberry Lavender Martini, made with Reyka vodka, Lillet Rouge, Monin lavender, lemon juice, and fresh muddled strawberries. We recommend an Avocado Bomb to go with your drinks. It’s their signature dish made with honey ale tempura battered avocados, spicy sashimi ahi, crab and shrimp cake, and chipotle aioli.

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A Day on the Lake

Big Bear Lake is calling. Pine Knot Marina is the starting point for a variety of exciting water sports. Take a lake tour and learn about Big Bear’s history, spend the afternoon fishing, or rent kayaks, boats, or jet skis. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try parasailing. You’ll soar through the air and experience unparalleled views of the glistening Big Bear Lake and surrounding mountains from over 500 feet up.

Off to the Races in Del Mar, San Diego

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Enjoy a seaside escape in San Diego’s North County. From July to September, racing season is on at the famous Del Mar Racetrack. Spend a day at the track cheering on your favorite horses and placing wagers. You’ll also want to explore the coastal towns of Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Encinitas. From boutique shops to mouth-watering restaurants to serene beaches, you’ll experience just the right mix of adventure and relaxation.

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Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Inspired by the palaces and resorts in Spain, France, and Italy, the luxurious Fairmont Grand Del Mar combines European and Southern Californian style. It features an 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts, a spa, and over 37 miles of trails in the surrounding Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. Fairmont Grand Del Mar is the ideal place to stay for a relaxing vacation. They provide free transportation to the nearby towns of Del Mar, La Jolla, and Solana Beach, and host fun summer events such as outdoor movie nights and beach escapes. With their A Day at the Races package, enjoy two nights in a guestroom or suite, breakfast for two each morning, reserved seats at the Del Mar Racetrack, and transportation to and from the track.

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Off to the Races

The Del Mar Racetrack was built by a partnership of actors that included Bing Crosby, who was there to welcome fans when the track first opened in 1937. In its early years the racetrack was a popular spot for Hollywood stars, and going to the races remains a fashionable summer activity today. During racing season, which runs from July to September, spectators can spend the day making wagers, watching the races, and socializing at the track. Racing season incorporates other events such as a summer concert series, a Pizza & Beer Festival, and a Spirits & Sliders event.

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Tony’s Jacal

After a day at the racetrack, head to Tony’s Jacal for dinner. Tony’s serves some of San Diego’s most authentic Mexican food. It opened in 1946, and many locals have been loyal customers for over 50 years. They’re known for their extensive menu that offers endless combinations of traditional Mexican dishes. Order a pitcher of margaritas and the Tostada Suprema, a mountain of beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and guacamole atop a crisp flour tortilla.

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Solana Beach

Explore Solana Beach, a seaside community just north of Del Mar. Stroll down Cedros Avenue, a two and a half block stretch with over 85 independent shops that reflect the area’s cool and contemporary vibe. You can browse antiques, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and more. Spend the afternoon window-shopping and be sure to stop at Lockwood Table Café for an organic tea or fresh juice. If you’re in town for the weekend, visit Cedros Avenue on Sunday afternoon for the Solana Beach Farmers Market.

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Moonlight Beach, Encinitas

Drive a little further up the coast to Encinitas, another lovely coastal town in North County. Head to Moonlight Beach, a beach named for the midnight picnics locals had there in the early 1900’s. Whether your ideal beach day includes relaxing on the sand, swimming in the ocean, or playing sports on the shore, Moonlight Beach has something for everyone. You’ll find picnic tables, volleyball courts, a snack bar, and fire pits. Plan to get there in the afternoon and stay for a bonfire when the sun goes down.

Find Adventure in Seattle

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With a lively city center surrounded by breathtaking Pacific Northwest scenery, Seattle is the ideal place to enjoy an urban vacation and spend some time outdoors in nature. Stay at a historic and stylish hotel in downtown Seattle, take a few hikes through Green Lake Park and an ancient coal mining district, and experience the best coffee, spirits, and dining that the city has to offer.

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Hotel Sorrento

The Italian-inspired Hotel Sorrento was built in the early 1900s. The first guests were prospectors and entrepreneurs, when Seattle was still a small city. Now, Hotel Sorrento blends its history with modern style to give guests the perfect Pacific Northwest experience. The hotel has been a gathering place for writers, dancers, singers, and musicians, and hosts lectures and performances by the city’s most talented artists. No two rooms are alike. Each one features vintage furniture, unique artwork, and retro-modern design. Best of all, Hotel Sorrento is only a few steps away from museums, boutiques, cafes, and nightclubs in downtown Seattle.

Experience the local sights and tastes with the Urban Distillery Tour package. You’ll be chauffeured in a Mercedes-Benz on a 2.5 hour tour of Seattle’s distilleries, with stops for vodka, gin, and whiskey tastings. Back at the hotel, you’ll enjoy a welcome amenity, deluxe accommodations, and breakfast for two in one of the Hotel Sorrento’s historic on-site restaurants.

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Cafe Allegro

Though Starbucks may be Seattle’s most famous coffee shop, you can find a more authentic experience at Cafe Allegro. First opened in 1975, Cafe Allegro is Seattle’s oldest Espresso bar. Brick and dark wood give the cafe a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, and their roastery is located right upstairs. Café Allegro imports quality coffee from family farms all over the world. Start your day off with a cup of the best Seattle-style coffee.

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REI Seattle Flagship Store

The REI Seattle Flagship Store is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts. Browse clothing and gear for virtually any outdoor activity. Visitors can rent equipment, a perfect option for adventurers who want to camp, backpack, or ski while they’re in town. Be sure to take advantage of their free classes, including Pacific Northwest Camping Basics, Bike Maintenance Basics, and Kayaking Basics. Check their calendar to see what you can catch while you’re in town. Rock climbers can take on the 65-foot Pinnacle. It’s a Seattle landmark that offers views of the city’s skyline and surrounding mountains at the top.

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Spend Some Time Outdoors

Seattle has a number of excellent hikes with beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery. Get some exercise while seeing the city at Green Lake Park. It’s a 2.8 mile path around Green Lake in one of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods. Locals and newcomers alike enjoy the native plants, trees, and birds around the lake. Green Lake Park offers two paths – a paved path for bikers and a crushed granite trail for runners and walkers. For something more outside the city, try the Coal Creek Trail in neighboring Bellevue. It’s a round-trip hike of 5.6 miles that will take you through a historic coal mining area. You’ll be able to see coal mine shafts and occasionally catch the scent of coal and cinders.

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The Pink Door

End your day with a delicious Italian meal at The Pink Door, located right next to the famous Pike Place Market. Aptly named for the pink entrance that identifies it, The Pink Door manages to be both quaint and elegant. Indoors, they have entertainment that includes cabaret, trapeze artists, burlesque, music, and even tarot card readings. Outdoors, you’ll find a picturesque patio perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine. The menu is full of simple Italian classics and fresh fish. We recommend the spaghetti – theirs is enhanced with fresh artichokes, garlic, bread crumbs, and olive oil.

An Unforgettable Vegas Trip

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While what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, we know you’ll want to create a trip that you’ll remember for years to come. From flashy and funny shows to upscale bars to diving with sharks, we’ve got you covered. Here are some memorable ways to enjoy the City of Sin.

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The Palazzo

Stay at The Palazzo, an upscale, all-suite resort located on the Strip. Their luxurious suites are almost twice as spacious as other Vegas hotel rooms. The Palazzo has great slots and table games, over 200 boutiques, a spa, and relaxing pools with private cabanas. Guests can choose from over 14 delicious eateries run by world-famous celebrity chefs, like Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse CUT. The Palazzo also has great nightlife, offering a number of bars and nightclubs. For something unique, be sure to check out the Fusion Latin Mixology Bar, featuring homemade cocktails from Mexico, Trinidad, Brazil, and Peru. Featured cocktail Smokin’ Mama, made with Mamas Boy Tequila, Xicaru Mezcal, Aperol, fresh lemon-lime sour and garnished with chili salt is sure to refresh and invigorate you.

The Palazzo is home to some of the best shows in Vegas. Book the Complimentary Show Tickets package and enjoy rates from $159 and two free tickets to one of The Palazzo’s many fantastic shows (up to a $100 value). Lipshtick, a comedy series featuring a number of famous funny women like Whitney Cummings, Iliza Shlesigner, Loni Love, and Garfunkel & Oates, is just one of the shows you can use your complementary tickets for.

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Eat is a new restaurant in downtown Las Vegas that offers delicious breakfasts and lunches. Chef Natalie Young uses fresh and local ingredients to bring quality food to the surrounding community. The result is a menu full of simple yet tasty options. Stop by for brunch and try the Huevos Motulenos, made with two eggs, green chiles, black beans, peas, pico, feta, and sautéed bananas with corn tortillas.

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Mandarin Oriental

The Mandarin Oriental offers some wonderful venues to eat, drink, and take in the views of Las Vegas. The Mandarin Bar is located on the hotel’s 23rd floor and offers impressive views of the bustling Strip. Try a hand crafted cocktails like the Cucumber & Cilantro Margarita. It’s made with Casamigos Reposado tequila, cilantro, cucumber, agave nectar, fresh lime juice, and egg whites. You’ll love it.

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Prefer tea? Try the Mandarin Oriental’s Tea Lounge. Enjoy teas from all over the world while you snack on delicious scones, pastries, and desserts. The Tea Lounge offers unparalleled views of Las Vegas and is the perfect afternoon getaway. 

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V – The Ultimate Variety Show

Can’t get enough of Las Vegas’ exciting shows? The city offers a staggering number of shows in almost all of the major hotels. It can be hard to choose between comedy acts, concerts, magic shows, and acrobatic routines. Get tickets to see V – The Ultimate Variety Show, and you won’t have to choose a particular genre. V is a 75 minute show that includes about seven different acts. Master juggler Wally Eastwood hosts and performs with energetic showmanship and humor. Audiences will get to see acts like rhythmic gymnast Tamara Yeroffyeva, comedian Russ Merlin, dancer and street performer Turf, and drummer group The Crazy Gauchos. See the show at Planet Hollywood.

get_blog7 Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium

The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay showcases rays, sea turtles, piranha, jellyfish, sharks, and even a golden crocodile. Visitors can feed stingrays, sea turtles, and even sharks in special animal encounters. If you’re feeling especially daring, sign up for their Dive With Sharks Program. You’ll go on a tour of the entire aquarium and then see over 30 exotic sharks up close on a guided dive.

Experience the Unique Charm of Portland

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Portland is one of the country’s most unique cities, well known for its eclectic vibe. Situated between the Columbia and Willamette rivers, it’s full of Pacific Northwest beauty. Portland offers an array of entertainment options including performing arts theaters, museums, and parks. Explore the Pearl District, see the world’s largest bookstore, and check out some of the latest art exhibitions.

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The Mark Spencer

Stay at The Mark Spencer and immerse yourself in Portland. This stylish and comfortable hotel provides free continental breakfast, afternoon tea and cookies, and an evening wine reception. It’s located right in downtown Portland, close to the vibrant West End and Pearl District. Book the Paperback Writer package, which includes a $50 gift certificate to the famous Powell’s Books, a Powell’s coffee mug, and a bookstore map. You’ll also enjoy free parking at the hotel and a late 1pm checkout.

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Powell’s Books

Any book lover will tell you that Powell’s Books is one of the most famous bookstores in the country. The store has been an independently owned Portland landmark since 1971, and has expanded to include five stores. Visit the flagship store, which is called Powell’s City of Books due to its incredible size. It’s the world’s largest used and new bookstore, occupying an entire block of Portland’s Pearl District. Don’t miss the Rare Book Room, which has about 9,000 of their most valuable and exciting volumes.

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The Pearl District has become one of the city’s most exciting areas. It boasts art galleries, spas, and endless food and beverage options. Stop at Ovation Coffee & Tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. They have a great selection of coffee and tea, including Moroccan beverages and cold brew, as well as delicious scones and pastries. The Pearl District is also a great place to browse some of Portland’s unique, independently owned shops. You’ll find amazing stationary at Oblation Papers & Press, a 19th-century print shop. Visit Nau, a store committed to creating sustainable clothing, for some of Portland’s best fashion.

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Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. It was founded in 1892 and features over 42,000 objects and unique exhibitions. Case Work: Studies in Form, Space & Construction blends art and architecture together, presenting pieces of architectural design that were part of the creative process for some of the country’s most impressive buildings. The museum is also presenting Native Fashion Now, a look at modern Native American Fashion and indigenous designers in the last half-century. Both exhibitions run through September 4, 2016.

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Go “Floating”

Portland is full of unique trends and opportunities. Try something new while you’re in town and check out Float On. What is “floating”? Floaters spend 90 minutes inside a float tank containing a mix of water and Epsom salt. The tank is soundproof and dark, and the buoyancy makes you float on your back in the water. The idea is to lose track of your body and the environment around you. It’s been described as a profoundly relaxing experience, reducing stress and giving your body a break from gravity.

Blue Wave Bar and Grill at Island Palms | San Diego

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The Blue Wave Bar & Grill at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina offers handcrafted food and drinks, friendly service, and picturesque views. The on-site bar and restaurant features a marina view dining room and an outdoor deck overlooking the pool. The restaurant hosts a unique mix of hotel guests, locals, and crew members that have come to San Diego from all over the world. Executive Chef Christopher Spayde has created a contemporary California menu for all hours of the day.

Island Palms’ Shelter Island Escape Package offers guests the perfect way to experience the restaurant. In addition to complimentary parking at the hotel, you’ll be greeted with welcome beverages, receive a breakfast credit for two, and enjoy a 20% discount off of lunch or dinner at the Blue Wave throughout your stay.

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Lunch With a View

The outdoor deck makes the Blue Wave a perfect place for lunch. Take a seat overlooking the marina and enjoy one of their handcrafted cocktails with your meal. Our server Theresa was friendly and attentive, answering all of our questions about the menu and recommending some wonderful food and drink pairings for us. Blue Wave offers a variety of classic and California-inspired dishes, all freshly made with house sauces and condiments.

Try the Grilled Fish Tacos for a truly Southern California meal. Fresh Mahi Mahi is wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with homemade salsa and Jalapeno crème. The tacos are served with a side of house-made potato chips. Pair your fish tacos with a Firestone Walker Brewing Co. 805 Blonde Ale, a refreshing and light California-style beer.

The Kobe Beef Burger is another one of Blue Wave’s most popular lunch options. The burger is cooked to your liking and piled high with cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and red onion. A delicious house-made garlic aioli is the perfect finishing touch. Be sure to ask for some crisp and flavorful French fries on the side.

If you have room, the lunch menu also includes tempting dessert choices including a Flourless Chocolate Torte and Carrot Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. They’re fun to share and it’s a great way to end your meal on a sweet note.

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Happy Hour

Happy hour at the Blue Wave is the perfect way to cap off a day of sightseeing around the city. From 4-7pm daily, enjoy $3 domestic bottled beer and Bud Light Draft, $4 house wines, and $3.50 wells. You can also get select craft beers for $4. Blue Wave has beer on tap from many of San Diego’s best breweries like Stone Brewing Co. and Ballast Point Brewery. The happy hour menu includes mini tacos, sliders, and wings. We recommend sharing the Half Flatbread with chicken, caramelized onion, goat cheese, tomato, mushroom, basil, and balsamic reduction. Enjoy happy hour outside in the refreshing ocean breeze on the Blue Wave’s deck. Check into the Blue Wave Bar & Grill on Facebook to receive a special $5 drink of the day.

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Fresh Cocktails

The Blue Wave specializes in classic cocktails with modern twists. They craft their drinks with freshly squeezed juices and house-made simple syrups. We love the Blood Orange Screwdriver, made with Tito’s Vodka, fresh blood orange juice, sparkling water, and house-made rosemary simple syrup. Another good choice is the Dirty Bird, a blend of Grey Goose vodka, olive juice, and blue cheese stuffed olives.

You don’t even have to wait until 5 o’clock. The Blue Wave has a full menu of breakfast cocktails that include traditional favorites like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Irish coffee. For something a little more adventurous, try the Peaches n’ Cream. It’s made with Absolut Apeach, peach liquor, orange juice, simple syrup, and half & half. If tequila is more your style, go with the Paloma, a refreshing mix of El Agave Silver Tequila, grapefruit juice, and sparkling water with a lime garnish.

Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina | San Diego

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Shelter Island has a tropical style that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into your own personal paradise. Stay at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina, a waterfront hotel that encompasses three distinct building styles. Choose a room in the picturesque Island Palms, Mediterranean-style Casa Del Mar, or modern Casa Marina. Their expansive suites include fully equipped kitchens and a private patio or balcony. The hotel also features a private marina, a fitness center, tennis courts with complimentary racquet rentals, and a fantastic on-site restaurant. Enhance your stay with the Shelter Island Escape Package. It includes welcome beverages when you arrive, a breakfast credit for two, a 20% discount at the Blue Wave Bar & Grill, and complimentary parking.

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Rise and Shine

Wake up and venture out into the fresh morning air. Island Palms has its very own waterfront jogging path only steps away from your room. The 3-mile loop meanders around Shelter Island and is perfect for a walk or run. You’ll take in views of the marina, the water, and lush tropical greenery. The hotel also offers complimentary bike rentals for your enjoyment!

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Breakfast at Blue Wave

Island Palms’ onsite restaurant Blue Wave Bar & Grill offers marina views and plenty of breakfast options. Their Breakfast Value Menu offers classics like waffles, French toast, and oatmeal, while the Full Breakfast Specialties Menu has larger meals and more adventurous choices. We love the Breakfast Pizza, which has country gravy, bacon, tater tots, cheese and a poached egg, all topped off with arugula and drizzled with lemon vinaigrette. We also recommend trying a Blue Wave Bloody, hand-crafted with Stoli Jalapeno Vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix. Blue Wave takes this classic drink to the next level with homemade pickled vegetables and bacon salt.

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Sailing Adventure

Shelter Island is a departure point for boating excursions. Go on an adventure with Sail San Diego, conveniently located just steps away from Island Palms. Their 3-hour Sailing Tour is ideal for a day out on the water. Tours depart at five different times throughout the day. Enjoy complimentary beer, wine, sodas, and snacks as you soak up the sun and enjoy the sea breeze. Sail San Diego even provides hats, jackets, sunscreen, sunglasses, and binoculars to make your trip as comfortable as possible.

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Poolside Fun

At the end of the day, head back to the pool at Island Palms. Take a dip or relax with a good book on one of the many loungers surrounding the pool. Blue Wave Bar & Grill offers pool service and will bring an afternoon snack right to you. Kids will love the outdoor pool area and the fun toys provided by the hotel. The Blue Wave deck, overlooking the pool and the marina, is the perfect place to enjoy one of their refreshing cocktails. Blue Wave’s drinks are hand crafted with their own fresh-squeezed juices and homemade syrups. We recommend the tropical Mai Tai, made with Bacardi Light & Gold Rum, Captain Morgan, Myers, Amaretto, and pomegranate, orange, and pineapple juices.

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Fathom Bistro, Bait, and Tackle

Across the street from the hotel you’ll find Fathom Bistro, a hidden gem frequented by locals. Right on the Shelter Island Pier, this unassuming bar has incredible views of downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bridge. Stop by for one of the many local craft beers they have on tap. Fathom Bistro is known for their homemade sausages and unique hot dog specialties. Try the Explodo Dog, a Vienna beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and smothered with pepper jack, house made kimchi, and mustard.

Island of Romance | Catalina, California

Visit Catalina, a charming island destination off the coast of Southern California. Known as the Island of Romance, Catalina is also a playground for zip line adventures, boat tours, and golf. Stroll through the main town of Avalon and take in the Mediterranean-inspired ambience, breathtaking sunsets, and sparkling beaches. The consistently sunny weather means you can plan a visit any time of year. From outdoor adventures to fine dining restaurants, there are countless activities to enjoy.

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Pavilion Hotel

The beautifully appointed Pavilion Hotel is elegantly landscaped and just a few steps away from the beach! Spend time together in the semi-private courtyard and the outdoor lounge overlooking the ocean. The hotel provides a complimentary European breakfast every morning and a wine and cheese reception in the afternoon. Book the Romance Package for an intimate getaway. It includes overnight accommodations, round-trip boat transportation, a helicopter tour of the island, and a picnic basket lunch for two.

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Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co.

Start your day with a quick breakfast and fresh brewed coffee at the Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co., a local favorite since 1980. The Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co. is a two-time winner of “Best Dessert” at the annual Taste of Avalon competition. Each of their 12 cookie flavors is an original family recipe. We recommend the Eclipse Cookie, a fudge chocolate chip cookie dipped in white chocolate. View the menu online.

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Parasailing Adventure

Soar over the ocean at an elevation of 800 feet on a parasailing excursion! Experience the crisp sea breeze along with panoramic views of Catalina and the surrounding waters. California Parasail is Catalina Island’s premier parasail operator, dedicated to providing a safe and exciting adventure. Flights accommodate two or more, so it’s the perfect activity to enjoy with a loved one. Use the discount code “Online” to save $10 per person on an 800’ flight. Browse available times and reserve your spot online.

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Descanso Beach Club

Spend your afternoon at the waterfront Descanso Beach Club. It’s a secluded beach with soft white sand. Make sure to reserve a private cabana for two, which includes complimentary bottled water, smoothies, Wi-Fi, and beach towels. Walk over to the bar and sip a cocktail as you enjoy the gorgeous ocean views. For those seeking adventure, the beach club features snorkeling, kayaking, and 32-foot rock climbing wall. If you’re in search of rest and rejuvenation, indulge in a Massage by the Sea. The trained massage therapists will pamper both your mind and body.

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Dinner and a Movie

Dress up for a romantic evening at the Avalon Grille, centrally located in the heart of downtown Avalon. The restaurant serves new American cuisine in a relaxed upscale setting overlooking the Avalon Bay. Reserve a table on the outdoor patio to take advantage of the warm California climate. The menu features regional favorites made with seasonal ingredients, as well as an extensive selection of wine, craft beer, and specialty cocktails. Be sure to try the famous Wrigley Martini, created by Major League Baseball player Philip K. Wrigley in the 1950s. It’s made with Hendrix Gin and a dash of vermouth. Dine at the Avalon Grille between 5 – 6 pm and receive a movie pass for the Avalon Theatre with the purchase of any entrée. Ask your server for details.

The Avalon Theatre is located on the lower level of the Catalina Island Casino. It’s a spacious auditorium that measures 43 feet high and seats up to 1,184 people. Renowned painter John Gabriel Beckman adorned the walls with intricate art deco-style murals. The brilliant artwork and crisp acoustics create a unique movie-going experience. Feature films are shown nightly at 7:30 pm. View the screening schedule online.

 

Explore Laguna Beach

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Seven miles of coastline, 30 beaches and parks, 70 art galleries, and 400 working artists and studios make Laguna Beach one of the most vibrant places to visit in Southern California. It’s perfect for a springtime getaway, whether you’re looking for a romantic trip, family vacation, or girls’ weekend. Stay in a stylish hotel, have an adventure out on the water, and experience the best music, art, food, and outdoor activities that this popular seaside town has to offer.

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Laguna Beach House

Stay at the Laguna Beach House, a recently renovated hotel overlooking the sea. The property was designed to feel like a beach cottage and is styled with vintage furniture and coastal decorations. The Laguna Beach House offers a truly indulgent hotel experience, pampering you throughout the day with coffee in the morning, a sunset wine hour, and milk and cookies before bed. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance from beautiful beaches, the boutiques and restaurants in downtown Laguna Beach, and the cliffs and tide pools of Heisler Park. Stay for one night and have a paddle board adventure for two with the Stand Up Paddle Package. You’ll receive two paddle board rentals, take a half-hour lesson on land, and then set off on an hour-long guided tour on the water. See dolphins, fish, sea lions, and plenty of beautiful scenery as you paddle from Fisherman’s Cove to Sea Lion Rock.

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Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Head up to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park for impressive views of Laguna Beach’s gorgeous coastline. The park spans 7,000 acres of coastal canyon, oak and sycamore woodlands, and rocky cliffs overlooking the sea. Choose from forty miles of trails that are perfect for hiking, biking, running, and horseback riding. Pack a lunch and take the Boat Road trail, a moderate 1.3-mile route that ends in a scenic vista. You’ll enjoy a picnic with 180-degree views of Laguna Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

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Blues Wednesdays at Mozambique

Mozambique Restaurant and Coastal Lounge brings South African cuisine to Laguna Beach. This sophisticated venue hosts concerts almost every day of the week and is a great place to see some of Laguna Beach’s best bands perform. Their Blues Wednesdays feature live performances by blues bands every Wednesday from 7:30pm to close. While you’re enjoying the music, be sure to try one of their specialty Mozambique Cocktails like the “African Mojito,” a unique twist on the classic mojito made with citrus vodka, muddled red grapes, lemon, and Chambord.

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First Thursdays Art Walk

Laguna Beach has been an artist’s colony for over a hundred years. First Thursdays Art Walk is a free monthly event that allows the public to experience local art and museums. Every first Thursday of the month from 6-9pm, nearly 40 galleries and museums up and down the coast open their doors to visitors. You can take a self-guided tour by downloading an Art Walk Gallery Guide and taking the free trolley service. Make sure to stop at the Laguna Art Museum to see the current exhibition “City Life, Los Angeles: 1930s to 1950s,” which features pieces depicting the development of urban Los Angeles.

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Nick’s Laguna Beach

Nick’s Laguna Beach is a restaurant praised by locals and visitors alike for excellent service and delicious California and Mexican cuisine. Enjoy a relaxing weekend brunch at an outside table overlooking the water. We recommend ordering a Bloody Mary (Nick’s are garnished with fried blue cheese olives) and the Oatmeal Brulee, which is made with old-fashioned oats, caramelized berries, vanilla, and cinnamon. After brunch, you can walk right down to the beach!

Escape to Palm Springs

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Palm Springs has long been thought of as Southern California’s luxury destination with 350 days of sunshine per year, making it ideal for playing golf and relaxing by the pool. More recently, Palm Springs has become a year round arts and culture destination with the remarkable Coachella Valley art scene, lively farmers markets, performing arts theaters, and the very first Palm Springs Life Festival.

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Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs has a style that’s simultaneously classic and modern. Elegant rooms feature unique furniture, art, and decorations. The resort offers an incredible culinary package for food enthusiasts. The Glutton’s Delight deal offers low rates ($249 for weekdays, $299 for weekends) on a chic estate room, and includes a $250 credit for food and non-alcoholic drinks that you can use at any of their on-site restaurants or for room service. Make sure to eat at Norma’s, their 5-star diner that serves gourmet breakfast and comfort food all day. Wake up with a stack of Nutella Packed Jacks with pineapple and raspberries, or stop by at night to build your own Pie Shake from a variety of ice creams, fillings, and crusts. You’ll also want to check out Mister Parker’s, an intimate lounge that serves bistro-style food. They have an extensive wine list and make an amazing Moroccan Spiced Salmon, served with green hummus and pomegranate reduction.

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Palm Springs Life Festival

Be a part of the inaugural Palm Springs Life Festival, a season-long event running from March 20 to April 24 that will pull together fashion, food, wine, music, and art throughout the Coachella Valley. The festival will incorporate the already well-known Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, which brings together chefs and fare from all over America, and Fashion Week El Paseo, the largest fashion week on the west coast. Other events include the In Vino Veritas series of wine tastings, a meet and greet with the stars of Project Runway, and a variety of concerts. See world-famous violinist Midori perform classics by Bach in a solo recital on Friday, March 25. Check out the full list of events and buy tickets here.

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Ristorante Mamma Gina

You won’t find a more authentic Italian restaurant in Palm Desert than Ristorante Mamma Gina. Its sister restaurant opened in Florence in the 1950s, and the Palm Desert location has been serving delicious Italian cuisine for thirty years. Stop by any time for their “All Day Happy Hour” and try the Mango Mojito, one of their specialty cocktails made with mango simple syrup and fresh lime, mango, and mint. For lunch, we recommend the Ravioli Neri, homemade black ravioli filled with ricotta and lobster in a vodka rose sauce.

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VillageFest

VillageFest is a vibrant street fair with live entertainment that takes place every Thursday from 6-10pm in Downtown Palm Springs. Stroll through booths of art, crafts, jewelry, fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables, snacks, and more. Find Bean Boys Coffee and try one of their 83 varieties of coffee, and don’t miss the Antique Galleries of Palm Springs booth, which has antiques and collectables in the mid-century style that Palm Springs is so famous for.

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Desert Art Tours

Desert Art Tours, led by art consultant Richard Almada, offer a unique way to experience the fantastic art of the Coachella Valley. They have museum, gallery, and even shopping tours. We recommend the Public & Private Art Tour, where you will learn about the stories behind the public art located throughout the Valley. You can enjoy a glass of wine as you view the current exhibitions at the local gallery stops along the way.