40+ Amazing Travel Deals You Can Grab This Weekend

Whether you want to give the gift of travel or book your own vacation in the new year, now’s the time to do it. 

With Black Friday sales that often extend to Cyber Monday or Travel Tuesday (yep, that’s a thing), there are some phenomenal online travel deals to be purchased through the end of this month — and beyond.

So once you’ve fully recovered from your Thanksgiving Day feast, mosey on over to your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and reserve yourself or your loved one a trip of a lifetime — saving up to 60 percent along the way.

One tip before you book: Keep an eye out for blackout travel dates. Some of these bargains may not be available during peak travel season or holiday weekends. The company website should spell out all details. 

We’ve outlined just some of the great deals available worldwide below — but rest assured, even if you don’t see your dream trip listed here, chances are that hotel, tour, or cruise is offering some sort of special holiday sale. Many travel companies offer their lowest prices of the year at this time, so be sure to click around the internet this weekend.

Happy shopping from the comfort of your own home!

View from a one bedroom presidential terrace at Karisma Hotels and Resorts
One-bedroom presidential terrace at Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Jamaica (Photo Credit: Karisma Hotels & Resorts)

International Travel Deals For Hotels And Resorts

Iberostar Resorts In Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica

Save up to 60 percent on stays at some of Iberostar’s finest five-star properties in the Caribbean including Iberostar Grand Bavaro in the Dominican Republic, Coral Level at Iberostar Selection Cancun, and Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Jamaica. All-inclusive rates include accommodations, food and drink, watersports, and activities and entertainment.

Book by November 30 for stays through December 20, 2022.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts In Mexico, Caribbean

Get up to 60 percent off the vast collection of properties from Karisma Hotels & Resorts. These include the all-inclusive El Dorado Spa Resorts, Azul Beach Resorts, Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts, and Margaritaville Island Reserve brands. 

Book by December 6 for travel through December 23, 2022.

Ocean Hotels Group, Barbados

Save 50 percent on Ocean Hotels Group properties: the new all-inclusive O2 Beach Club & Spa, all-inclusive Sea Breeze Beach House, or the boutique South Beach property. This deal is valid on all room/suite categories with a four-night minimum stay. 

Book by November 30 for stays through December 20, 2022. 


Bettoja Hotels, Rome, Italy

Save 30 percent on your stay at one of the Bettoja Hotels in Rome: Hotel Mediterraneo, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio, and Hotel Atlantico. Rates start at 66 euros per night, double occupancy, and include free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Properties are located within walking distance of key landmarks such as the Colosseum, Opera House, Forum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps.

Book between November 26 and December 2 for travel through March 2022.

&Beyond, Africa and South America

Get up to 30 percent off stays at iconic &Beyond destinations: the &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve; luxury lodges in the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and the Masai Mara; as well as the &Beyond Vira Vira, the gateway to Patagonia. You can combine this offer with other specials, which allows for savings of up to 48 percent.

Book by December 3 for travel between January and May 2022 (excluding April 7 to April 27, 2022).

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

Get up to 35 percent off your stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino on the sandy white shores of Palm Beach. Don’t miss a toes-in-the-sand dinner at the beachfront restaurant Atardi. 

Book between November 26 and November 30 for stays through October 2022. 

Promo Code: L9Z

Casa Kimberly, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Enjoy 50 percent off a suite stay at intimate and elegant Casa Kimberly, the former secret love nest of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that overlooks Banderas Bay. 

Book between November 26 and November 29 for stays through May 2022. 

Promo Code: CYBERCK

Sonesta Resorts In Sint Maarten

Get 50 percent off your stay at the family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa and the next-door adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort. Located on the Dutch side of the island (Sint Maarten vs. Saint Martin), these properties are all-inclusive. 

Book by November 28 for travel through December 23, 2022. 

Promo Code: BFSALE

Tabacon Thermal Resort And Spa, Costa Rica

Enjoy 30 percent off current rates, plus a daily buffet breakfast for two at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa at the base of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano. Soak in the resort’s network of naturally flowing hot springs while taking in mountain and volcano views.

Book on November 29 for travel between August 27 and November 15, 2022. 

Entrance to Lotte New York Palace
Photo Credit: Lotte New York Palace

United States Travel Deals For Hotels And Resorts

Hotel Viking, Newport, Rhode Island

Save up to 40 percent on the best flexible rate at the Hotel Viking, a luxury hotel with an enviable downtown location in the heart of seaside Newport. 

Book between November 29 and December 5 for stays through March 2022. 

Promo Code: CYBER1

Hilton Head Health, South Carolina

Enjoy 20 percent off current 2021 rates, plus an extra $150 resort credit at this South Carolina wellness resort where guests spend 24/7 focused on their physical and mental wellness. Cooking demonstrations, sunrise walks on the beach, meditation, and kayaking are among the activities offered at Hilton Head Health.

Book by December 3 for travel between December 26, 2021, and April 2, 2022. 

Lotte New York Palace, New York City

Get up to 50 percent off all suites at the Lotte New York Palace, an iconic luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan. 

Book between November 26 and November 30 for travel through Labor Day Weekend 2022.

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Enjoy room rates as low as $199 and get a $100 resort credit per night at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, a 1,300-acre property in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. On-site you’ll find a spa, championship golf courses, and family-friendly ski hills. 

Book by November 29 for travel through May 26, 2022.

Caribe Royale Orlando, Florida

Save 20 percent on the best available rate and up to $150 in dining credit at this all-suite resort near Walt Disney World and other key Orlando attractions. The Caribe Royale Orlando offers shuttle service to Walt Disney World and Disney Springs and has one-bedroom suites and two-bedroom villas.

Book by December 1 for stays through June 2022. 


The Lodge At Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Enjoy 30 percent off multi-day stays at The Lodge at Jackson Hole, an excellent base camp for exploring both Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Room rates include complimentary breakfast daily. 

Book between November 26 and December 3 for stays through May 14, 2022.

The Maven, Denver

Save 50 percent on your second night at The Maven, a hip hotel at downtown Denver’s “micro-district” Dairy Block. It’s close to popular Denver landmarks like Union Station, Larimer Square, and Coors Field, among many retail spots and restaurants. 

Book between November 26 and November 29 for stays through March 2022. 

Gale Chicago, Illinois

Get up to 60 percent off room rates at Gale Chicago, just off Michigan Avenue and Magnificent Mile in the heart of downtown Chicago. The historic property features contemporary amenities with rooftop terraces. 

Book between November 26 and November 29 for travel through December 2022.

Margaritaville Resort Times Square, New York City

Enjoy up to 50 percent savings when you book three or more nights at the new Margaritaville Times Square. Get on island time and enjoy Caribbean flair in the heart of Times Square. 

Book before December 2 for stays through November 30, 2022. 

The Winston, Solvang, California

Save 30 percent on all room types, starting at $213 a night, at The Winston, an upscale boutique hotel with just 14 rooms. It’s located in the charming Danish village’s historic Old Mill Clock Tower, one of the most photographed buildings in Solvang. 

Book by November 30 for travel through April 2022.

Lodging At Sunday River Resort, Maine

Save up to 20 percent on hotel and inn accommodations at Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine. The ski resort is nestled in the Mahoosuc Mountains with eight interconnected peaks, 135 trails, and 18 lifts. 

Book by November 29 for lodging this ski season. 

Promo Code: WINTER20. 

Lift tickets are also on sale for as low as $45.

Hanalei Colony Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

Save 25 percent on the best available rates (excluding oceanfront and premium oceanfront suites) and get a free room upgrade with availability at check-in at Hanalei Colony Resort on Kauai’s North Shore. The resort is close to shopping, restaurant, and beach activities of Hanalei and the world-famous Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park.

Book by December 5 for travel through December 15, 2022. 

Lodging At U.S. National Parks

Get up to 30 percent off lodging in or near these U.S. national parks: Zion, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, Death Valley. Other sales with the Xanterra Travel Collection include deals at Colorado’s The Broadmoor and with Windstar Cruises. 

Book by November 30 for select dates through May 2022.

Hurtigruten cruise to Antarctica with penguins
Hurtigruten cruise to Antarctica (Photo Credit: Becca Singelenberg / Hurtigruten Expeditions)

Travel Deals For Cruises

Virgin Voyages

Save up to 20 percent and receive a $100 bar tab bonus (when purchasing a $300 bar tab) on Virgin Voyages cruise itineraries. The Scarlet Lady sails in the Caribbean, while the Valiant Lady debuts in 2022 with trips in the Mediterranean. 

Book by November 29. Sail with Scarlet Lady December 1, 2021, to March 27, 2022. Sail with Valiant Lady March 18 to May 22, 2022.


Save up to $1,000 on veranda and ocean-view suites on select Seabourn voyages and up to $1,000 shipboard credit per suite through summer 2022. The elegant cruise line sails worldwide.

Book by November 30. 

Hurtigruten Expeditions

Enjoy up to 50 percent off adventure cruises to Alaska, Antarctica, the Galapagos, Norway, and other worldwide destinations. Not sure which itinerary is best for you? Take the Hurtigruten Expeditions’ quiz

Book by November 30 for select cruises through 2023.

Tour of Crater Lake by Intrepid Travel
Tour of Crater Lake by Intrepid Travel (Photo Credit: Intrepid Travel)

Travel Deals For Tours

Intrepid Travel

Get up to 25 percent off select Intrepid Travel trips worldwide or 15 percent off Intrepid trips in the United States and Canada. The world’s largest adventure travel company, Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 trips on all seven continents.

Book by December 1 for travel through March 31 (worldwide trips) or December 14, 2022 (U.S. and Canada trips). 

Abercrombie & Kent

Save up to 50 percent on your private journey to destinations around the world, including Botswana, Croatia, Chile, Egypt, Kenya, Peru, Tanzania, and Turkey, with Abercrombie & Kent’s Private Escapes Sale.

Book between November 29 and December 3 for travel on select dates in 2022. 


Save up to 20 percent on more than 40 trips across the globe with Trafalgar, a leading guided vacation company. Trips include in-destination transport, cherry-picked accommodations, and multiple meals all led by an expert guide. 

Book by November 30 for select 2022 trip departures. 

See The Sights Walking Tours of London

Enjoy 60 percent off private walking tours in London with See The Sights Tours. Itineraries include tours of key landmarks, a “Secret London” tour, as well as Harry Potter and royal palaces tours. 

Book by December 31 for tours throughout 2022. 

Promo Code: blackfriday

One More Travel Deal For Cyber Monday

MedjetAssist Membership

Get $50 off any individual annual membership and $75 off any family annual membership at Medjet, a global air medical transport and travel security membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if a member is 150 miles from home and lands in the hospital (including due to COVID-19), Medjet will arrange air medical transfer to the member’s hospital of choice and provide access to medical consultants and language translators: no health questions, claim forms, or deductibles.

Purchase on November 29. Valid for new memberships only.

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6 amazing Asia train journeys for food, scenery and culture

(CNN) — The Covid-19 pandemic has derailed many family reunions, destination weddings and long-awaited trips. And while some would-be globetrotters miss the hyper pace of travel circa 2019, others plan to adjust their travel style completely.

According to the 2021 Global Travel Trends survey of 3,000 travelers worldwide by American Express, 68% expressed interest in more sustainable travel; 78% said they were looking for travel experiences that relieve stress; and 61% said they wanted slower, longer trips than in the past.

A train journey could be just the ticket for those who have their eyes on Asia for a 2022 trip.

From zig-zagging up the rugged mountains of central Taiwan to a Rajasthan rail journey fit for a maharaja, these scenic train routes showcase some of Asia’s most beautiful landscapes and provide a much-needed opportunity to rest and reconnect with loved ones.

Belmond Eastern and Oriental Express, Bangkok to Singapore

Passengers of the Belmond Eastern and Oriental Express are treated to fine-dining experiences.

Passengers of the Belmond Eastern and Oriental Express are treated to fine-dining experiences.


You’ve probably heard of the Orient Express — an oft-romanticized long-distance rail journey between Paris and Istanbul (though the route varied) that ran from 1883 to 2009.

After the rail service ceased operation, the Belmond hotel group purchased the train carriages and created its own collection of romantic rail adventures that channel the grace and splendor of the namesake.

In Asia, travelers can enjoy old-world charm aboard Belmond’s Eastern and Oriental Express, which runs a four-day journey between Bangkok and Singapore with stops at the River Kwai (a poignant World War II landmark), Kanchanaburi and Kuala Lumpur.

The train feels like a roving hotel thanks to its fine-dining experiences, panoramic windows, handsome cherry wood-paneling and Malaysian silk embroidery.

The observation cart at the back of the train is another highlight. On this teakwood deck, guests can enjoy a cocktail in a rattan chair as the scenery glides past on this teakwood deck.

Day to day, the journey also weaves in many cultural experiences. One day, passengers might be admiring Peranakan architecture in George Town; the next, banana plantations or biking through Thai paddy fields.

Back on board, breakfast in bed starts the day on the right foot. Afternoon tea, cocktail hour with live piano music and four-course dinners evoke the romance and luxury of the original Oriental Express.

Seven Stars, Kyushu, Japan

Japan’s bullet trains may be famed for their speed but a ride on the Cruise Train Seven Stars in Kyushu, a luxury sleeper, is a more exclusive experience.

There are several contenders for the best rail journey in Japan. But if it’s scenery and comfort travelers are seeking, the Seven Stars is hard to beat.

Unlike Japan’s famous bullet trains, Seven Stars takes a much slower pace, cruising gracefully across Kyushu’s seven prefectures so passengers can take in the dramatic mountain and ocean views in peace.

The island lies just south of the Japanese mainland and is a treasure trove of natural beauty.

On the four-day journey, guests will get to warm up in an onsen (hot spring bath) in Beppu, experience a five-star ryokan (Japanese inn), learn about local crafts in the city of Oita, and much more.

Designed to be an intimate experience, the wine-red train can accommodate up to 26 people per journey, spread across 12 suites in five train cars.

Some find the suites charmingly retro; others would call them dated. But there’s no arguing with the panoramic views from each cabin.

The other train cars host the “Blue Moon” bar and lounge and the “Jupiter” dining car, where master chefs celebrate Kyushu’s bounty of fresh, seasonal ingredients.

In true Japanese fashion, the train serves as a living museum of art and craftsmanship. Guests will be surrounded by beauty and details, from elaborate kumiko woodwork to aritayaki, the art of Japanese porcelain.

Sri Lanka Main Line, Kandy to Ella

The hilly interior of Sri Lanka is best explored by the charming trains which climb through countryside covered with tea plantations.

The link between the former kingdom of Kandy and Ella, a mountain village to the south, lives up to its reputation as a must-do in Sri Lanka. And it’s perfect for travelers who don’t mind a little chaos.

The first-class carriage on the bright-blue train features air conditioning and panoramic windows so that passengers can relish the sweeping green views of rolling hills, stone bridges, cliffs, jungles and grand estates.

Second- and third-class cabins will be more crowded with no assigned seating. But it’s in these cabins where travelers let their legs dangle out of an open train doorway or stick their heads out a window to feel the mountain breeze in their hair.

Along the journey, vendors squeeze between the crowds, offering an array of samosas, baked sweets and tea.

The trip takes seven to nine hours, and tickets range from $0.80 to $20, depending on the fare class: all in all, an unforgettable way to spend a day.

Palace on Wheels, Rajasthan, India

India's Palace on Wheels offers eight-day tours of northern India.

India’s Palace on Wheels offers eight-day tours of northern India.

Palace on Wheels/Royal Indian Trains

Few rail experiences can compare with the Palace on Wheels, which rolls across the former princely states of northern India.

Let’s start with the train itself: Launched in 1982, it features cars used privately by Rajasthan royalty pre-independence that were renovated in 2009.

Channeling the opulence of the Raj, guests can expect a tapestry of silk and gleaming wood, ornate furniture and silver tableware.

Two dedicated dining carriages, a Royal Spa, and a bar and lounge round out the luxurious experience in the common areas.

The 14 guest coaches, each named after a former princely state of Rajputana, give five-star hotels a run for their money when it comes to accommodations.

The Palace on Wheels is due to start rolling again in late 2022.

The Palace on Wheels is due to start rolling again in late 2022.

Palace on Wheels/Royal Indian Trains

Each brims with regal details like chandeliers, oil paintings, handicrafts, intricate silver embroidery and plush carpets with enough room to include a mini pantry, library and lounge.

The majority of the cabins have twin beds, aside from the Super Deluxe Cabins, outfitted with queen-sized beds.

Operating between September and April each year, the eight-day itinerary begins in the capital of Delhi before heading into northwestern India, where historical forts, palaces, bazaars, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and sprawling national parks await.

Stops in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and more ensure passengers have time to explore the history and heritage of the region.

It’s all about slow travel and immersive experiences, offering travelers a chance to spot tigers in Ranthambore National park, enjoy a royal Udaipur’s City Palace, sip sundowners in the dunes outside Jaisalmer and explore Keoladeo National Park.

Before circling back to the capital, the train makes a final stop in Agra, home to the Taj Mahal.

The train has been on hold since March 2020 due to Covid-19, but is slated for a major renovation in May 2022, followed by regular operations by September 2022.

Alishan Forest Railway, Central Taiwan

Alishan Railway

Taiwan’s historic Alishan Forest Railway travels to the island’s highest train station.

courtesy Liao Yuan-chiao

Rail journeys have long been a calling card in Taiwan, home to a stunning mix of forest, mountain and ocean scenery.

One of the most beautiful routes is the Alishan Forest Railway, a century-old line initially used by the logging industry but relaunched as a tourist experience in 1933.

The historic diesel locomotives run 44 miles from Chiayi city in central Taiwan into the Alishan mountains, zig-zagging up to Chushan Station, the highest station in Taiwan.

During the three-hour journey, passengers will pass through more than 50 tunnels, 75 bridges and varied natural gems, from rivers and waterfalls to dense cypress woodlands and misty mountain tops.

It’s also a favorite among train enthusiasts, who praise the line’s impressive route track, which essentially corkscrews up the mountain to ascend the steep gradients.

Unlike some train journeys, passengers can hop on and off independently for detours — think short hikes to an observatory, a visit to an oolong tea plantation, or a lakeside picnic.

The Vietage, Vietnam

The Vietage carries just 12 passengers on a six-hour journey through Central Vietnam.

The Vietage carries just 12 passengers on a six-hour journey through Central Vietnam.

The Vietage

What the 30-hour journey lacks in amenities and luxuries, it makes up for in scenery, passing through Hai Van Pass, the beaches of Lang Co and near-ubiquitous rice paddy fields.

But this bare-bones ride isn’t for everyone. For travelers seeking a more comfortable experience, The Vietage offers a stark contrast — and a price tag to match at $350 per person one-way.

Launched by Anantara Hotels in 2020, the six-hour train ride carries no more than 12 passengers through Central Vietnam between Da Nang and Quy Nhon, formerly the seat of the Cham Kingdom.

The scenery is as peaceful as it is lush: water buffaloes graze in wide-open fields, humble villages flit by and impossibly green fields beg to be photographed.

Onboard, marble tables, rattan screens and private booths evoke the romance of vintage rail travel.

Tickets also include a complimentary three-course French meal with Vietnamese influences, free-flow wine and beer, plus a head and shoulder massage.

Top image: Belmond’s Eastern and Oriental Express travels through Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

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The Best Ski Resort Dining With Amazing Views

When considering the best winter resort options, many people look for quality skiing, breathtaking mountainous surroundings, and other activities to keep the group entertained. Dining options, though, may not even make the list. Ski resort food is often adequate and nothing more, with the goal of simply providing enough fuel during your stay.

However, that is not the case for these exceptional fine-dining experiences available at ski resorts around North America. These resorts offer the very best on-mountain dining, with incredible five-star food and drink options and serene views brought together for a meal to remember.

The Roundhouse on-mountain restaurant at Sun Valley with gondola in front
Sun Valley

The Roundhouse, Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley, Idaho

The Roundhouse at Sun Valley is the nation’s original on-mountain restaurant. It opened in 1939 and, more than 80 years later, is still a favorite among guests for both lunch and dinner. It’s best known for its impeccable service, hand-crafted cocktails, five-star atmosphere, and, of course, mouth-watering menus. Aside from the delectable cuisine, the panoramic views of the Wood River Valley and the surrounding peaks are absolutely breathtaking. The Roundhouse sits halfway up Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain – world famous for its steep, perfectly-groomed ski runs – at just over 7,700 feet of elevation. On one side of the restaurant, diners can enjoy peering down on the classic ski town of Ketchum in the valley below; on the other, they’re afforded views of skiers and snowboarders flying down the slopes.

Lunchtime at The Roundhouse is a more casual affair than dinner and offers the ideal setting for skiers to recharge. The lunch menu consists of hearty sandwiches, crisp salads, and classic comfort-food snacks. For those who enjoy a midday beverage (and who doesn’t while on vacation?), the restaurant offers a fantastic selection of refreshing specialty cocktails. We recommend enjoying a hot toddy while warming up by the fireplace.

Dinner at The Roundhouse is a full experience. After dusk, the only way to get to the restaurant is in style, aboard the Roundhouse Express gondola. The gondola swoops guests up from the base of Bald Mountain and travels swiftly uphill for about 10 minutes — a perfect opportunity to enjoy the evening views while making the 1,975-foot ascent from the valley floor. Upon arrival, we recommend diners take a beat to enjoy a signature cocktail at Averell’s bar (located downstairs from the restaurant and named for Averell Harriman, the railroad mogul who established Sun Valley as America’s first destination ski resort way back in 1936) before settling in at their table. Once seated, sit back and let the best-in-class waitstaff take care of the rest. Menu selections are made simple with The Roundhouse’s signature four-course prix-fixe dinner, but make sure to save some room for their famous fondue.

Pro Tip: Reservations are required and can book up well in advance. The Roundhouse opens for winter lunch service on December 4, 2021, and dinner service on December 17, 2021. They are taking reservations now, so don’t wait!

mountain view from Seven Glaciers at Alyeska Resort in Alaskamountain view from Seven Glaciers at Alyeska Resort in Alaska

Seven Glaciers, Alyeska Resort

Girdwood, Alaska

The Seven Glaciers restaurant at Alyeska Resort in Alaska is another true dining experience, rather than a simple dinner out. The establishment gets its name from the stunning seven hanging glaciers in Girdwood valley, all visible on a clear night from the observation deck or through the 7-foot-tall windows.

Although Seven Glaciers is a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, in true Alaska fashion, dress code does not apply. Dining outfits may range from diamonds and black-tie to jeans and boots, but no one cares nor judges. The experience begins with a scenic tram ride 2,300 feet up Mount Alyeska to an elevator lift, where diners are then guided down a gold carpet walled by towers of wine. Grab a cocktail at the bar or take in the mountainous air on the observation deck before settling into the elegant dining room.

One of the many unique aspects of Seven Glaciers is their emphasis on using locally grown and raised ingredients for their dishes. The freshly caught fish includes salmon and halibut from Alaska waters, and their signature game includes Aspen Ridge angus beef and wagyu steaks. They feel strongly about supporting their local community of farmers and growers, and even thank them by name on their website. You’ll appreciate the dedication, too, the second the fresh, full flavor hits your tastebuds. Let the chef expertly guide your dinner journey via their two available prix-fixe menus.

Editor’s Note: Seven Glaciers is temporarily closed but will reopen December 10, 2021.

The Viking Yurt in Park City, Utah at night

The Viking Yurt, Park City Mountain Resort

Park City, Utah

The Viking Yurt at Park City Mountain Resort is the perfect break from the summit to the base for a beer or bite. But in the evening, it becomes a gourmet, six-course, Norwegian-inspired experience. 

The evening begins with a snowcat pulled sleigh ride up the mountain, where you can enjoy the stars and twinkling lights of the town. The ride lasts 23 minutes with a 1,800-foot elevation gain, so hats, gloves, and layers are recommended. While you might want to wear a cute pair of shoes, you’ll be walking across the snow during the evening, so think warm boots.

The sound of an antique baby grand piano and the beautiful glow of candlelight set the mood when you arrive. You’ll feast on lobster and salmon bisque, a variety of fruits and cheeses, beef short ribs, mashed potatoes, and marzipan and valrhona chocolate cake for dessert. Once you’re full, you’ll waddle back to the sleigh for the ride down the mountain. The entire evening lasts about 3 and a half hours.

Outside of the Christmas holiday period, dinner costs $240.59 per person. Alcohol is not included with the dinner price but is available to purchase. That’s a Utah thing, by the way. 

The Yurt only seats 40 for dinner, and that number could be reduced. You must book a table for two, four, or six. If your party is an odd number, you’ll want to have a conversation with the reservation folks.

tabletop food spread at The Mountain Room at Sunday River
Nick Lambert, Sunday River

The Mountain Room, Sunday River

Newry, Maine

While most of the dining choices on our list are for those special evening events, The Mountain Room experience is only offered during the day at Sunday River, Maine’s second-largest ski resort. Chef and Maine native Harding Lee Smith is a well-known Portland restaurateur. What he offers at Sunday River is something you won’t see at most resorts.

Just to give you a sampling of the menu options: fried scallop PLT (sandwich), pork belly buns, oxtail, duck rillette, and whipped farm ricotta. The list goes on. There isn’t a chicken finger or generic cheeseburger in sight. Top it all off with a Maine craft brew, of which there are many, and they are fabulous. You’ll have a fantastic afternoon.

You don’t have to actually ski to the mid-mountain Peak Lodge to enjoy Chef Smith’s fare. You can also ride the Chondola to visit, but you’ll need a lift ticket either way.

Beano’s Cabin, Beaver Creek Resort

Beaver Creek, Colorado

If you are making a trip to Beaver Creek this winter, dining at Beano’s Cabin is an experience not to be missed! It is known as one of Colorado’s top restaurants, having earned the coveted four-diamond designation from AAA.

While the elegant, rustic cabin is a favorite among those looking for a five-star dinner, getting there is half the fun. Beano’s Cabin is located on Beaver Creek Mountain, within the White River National Forest. Check-in for the restaurant is at the designated Beano’s Greeter at the Beaver Creek CBar. Guests are given warm blankets and whisked away on a 20-minute open-air sleigh ride up Beaver Creek Mountain. Upon arrival at Beano’s, guests are invited into the lobby to remove coats, gloves, scarves, and even boots. From there, guests are offered comfy slippers and shown to their table.

The luxurious log setting is the perfect backdrop for the five-course dinner. The menu features local Colorado favorites and prides itself on an exceptional wine list and top-notch service. If there’s ever a time to splurge on a meal, this is it!

Eagle’s Eye, Kicking Horse Resort

Golden, British Columbia

Known as Canada’s “most elevated dining experience,” Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is a culinary experience not to be missed. The restaurant sits 7,700 feet above sea level and offers stunning, panoramic views of three mountain ranges and five national parks.

Eagle’s Eye is open for dinner reservations on Friday and Saturday nights — and on holidays. Every dinner includes a gondola ride up the side of the mountain. Guests are also welcome for lunch or aprés — but must have purchased a lift ticket or have a season’s pass.

The dinner menu consists mainly of local fare influenced by classic French techniques, with rich flavors and savory sauces prepared in-house. Besides being a fantastic restaurant, Eagle’s Eye has an incredible bar with a backdrop like no other. It may be one of the only bars where you will need to wear sunglasses. But if you forgot yours, they have spares on hand.

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Royal Caribbean Announces Amazing 274-Day World Cruise For 2023

Cruise enthusiasts, mark your calendars! Royal Caribbean International announced Thursday the debut of the inaugural Ultimate World Cruise, an epic 274-night round-the-world sailing that will visit all seven continents, more than 150 destinations in 65 countries, and 11 great wonders of the world. It begins in Miami on December 10, 2023, and continues through September 10, 2024.

The journey on the Serenade of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s first foray into the arena of world cruises and will be the longest and most comprehensive world cruise ever undertaken, according to the company’s press release.

“This is the world cruise of world cruises,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, when describing the itinerary. “Now more than ever, people have resolved to travel the world and make up for lost time. Royal Caribbean is making that a reality with the ultimate vacation.”

The cost for the entire cruise starts at $60,999 per person, plus taxes and other fees. Passengers who book the sail and pay in full by January 6, 2023, will receive a 10 percent discount. The price also includes business class air and other perks, plus accommodations at the InterContinental Miami hotel prior to departure, a Royal spokeswoman said.

Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society Diamond status members and above can book the full cruise exclusively now by phone through October 26. Members who book will also receive a bonus Seven New World Wonders shore excursion package. They’ll also receive other perks, including a Deluxe Beverage package, VOOM Wi-Fi, laundry service, and more. Bookings will open to all others one week later on October 27 and for the individual segments in December. The segments, or “expeditions” as the cruise line calls them, are divided into four distinct itineraries:

Round The Horn: Americas And Antarctica Expedition

Dec. 10, 2023–Feb. 11, 2024

Three continents, 36 destinations, four wonders. It includes Caribbean destinations like the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) — before heading to Antarctica and around Cape Horn. Some of the world’s stunning wonders along the way are Chichen Itza in Cozumel, Mexico; Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, where guests celebrate New Year’s Eve; and the largest waterfall system on the planet, Iguazu Falls near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lastly, Machu Picchu awaits in Peru.

Wonders of Asia And The Pacific Expedition

Feb. 11–May 9, 2024

Three continents, 40 destinations, three wonders. Guests will venture miles from the ordinary in Oceania, Asia, and discover the beauty and adventure throughout the Hawaiian Islands before sailing south to Moorea and Tahiti, French Polynesia. The thrills continue with an exploration of New Zealand before traveling to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Pristine natural beauty in Bali, Indonesia, is soon followed by two of the most iconic manmade world wonders, the Great Wall of China and India’s Taj Mahal, and gems of the South Pacific from Vietnam to Malaysia. Rounding out the expedition is Japan, with unparalleled culture in Tokyo, Osaka, and Okinawa.

Middle East Treasures And Marvels Of The Med Expedition

May 9–July 10, 2024

Three continents, 44 destinations, four wonders. This expedition begins in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Adventurers uncover ancient sites and more world wonders from the times of emperors and pharaohs, like Jordan’s lost city of Petra, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey, and the Colosseum in Rome. There are also less-traveled places to explore, such as Greece’s Olympia. The journey continues to more destinations known for their storied histories — Split, Croatia, and Cannes and Provence in France.

Capitals Of Culture

July 10–Sept. 10, 2024

Three continents, 40 destinations. The final leg of the Ultimate World Cruise begins in the Mediterranean and heads north to discover Barcelona and savor new flavors across continents — such as lunch in a Parisian bistro and a dinner of tagine and mint tea in Morocco. Museums, theaters, and galleries in St. Petersburg, Russia, give way to fjords in Norway. Guests can reflect on their epic voyage in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland before visiting New York on their way back to Miami.

Guests interested in booking the trip can call Royal Caribbean’s dedicated line for the Ultimate World Cruise at (800) 423-2100 (U.S. toll free) or contact their travel advisor.

Also, be sure to check out all of our travel news and cruise coverage.

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Traverse City fall color tours: 4 routes for amazing views

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Traverse City’s bays, peninsulas and wooded shorelines are pretty glorious in any season. But add some fall colors into the mix, and you’ve got miles of roads and trails just begging to be explored.

“Traverse City’s orchards, vineyards, forests, and villages create a beautiful patchwork of orange, crimson, scarlet, and gold,” according to tourism leaders there. “Whichever route you choose, it will be the perfect one for a drive that combines fall color with views of the bay, visits to wineries and roadside fruit stands, and unforgettable meals.”

Our friends at Traverse City Tourism have mapped out four scenic routes for maximum “wow” factor this fall. We’re sharing them here, just to give you a little nudge with your fall travel plans.

So pack some snacks, grab your sunglasses – and a sweatshirt – and get ready to hit the open road. Here are some great routes, as described by the tourism staff:

Old Mission Wineries

2 Lads Winery is located on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan.John Gonzalez

TOUR #1: OLD MISSION PENINSULA, 45 miles | Two-hour drive

What you’ll see: Old Mission Peninsula is nearly 20 miles long and filled with vineyards, forests, orchards – and a lighthouse with some great trails at the very end. You’ll pass plenty of wineries, a handful of restaurants and some roadside stands that sell everything from fruit to Petoskey stones.

The route: “Follow M-37 (Center Road) north from Traverse City. The road begins with a steep climb through pleasant residential and orchard country, descends to the shore of East Bay, and gradually climbs again to a spectacular viewpoint near the Chateau Grand Traverse winery that overlooks both East and West Grand Traverse Bays. About a mile past the charming community of Mapleton, turn right onto Smokey Hollow Road and follow it down through vineyards and orchards to the quiet village of Old Mission, the oldest permanent settlement in the region. Take a left turn onto Swaney Road and follow it back to M-37, where a right turn will have you heading north to the picturesque Mission Point Lighthouse.

“On the return journey, head back south on M-37 to Mapleton. Here you’ll turn right onto Bowers Harbor Road and follow it down to the shore of West Bay. Keeping to the left, you’ll return to Traverse City by way of Peninsula Drive, a pleasant residential road that skirts the shore of the bay with wonderful views of isolated Power Island, Neahtawanta Point, and the distant hills of the Leelanau Peninsula.”

Traverse City

Flyfishing in Traverse City’s Boardman River. | Photo courtesy Traverse City Tourism

TOUR #2: Long Lake, Interlochen, and the Boardman Valley, 55 miles | Two-hour drive

What you’ll see: Inland lakes, meadows and farm towns all can be found on this route south of Traverse City that crosses into the picturesque Boardman River Valley.

The route: “Head west on Front Street, Traverse City’s main east-west street, as it climbs the hills west of town to become North Long Lake Road, skirts the northern edge of the lake, and finally is known as West Long Lake Road. Make a right onto South Long Lake Road as it heads south to Interlochen. Here the road (also known as M-137) slips between two beautiful lakes at the pine-shaded campus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Just past Interlochen, turn left onto Youker Road and follow it east to M-37, where a quick jog to the south will bring you to M-113, where you’ll turn left again and head to Kingsley.

“At Kingsley, turn left again onto Garfield Road, which will take you north through the tiny village of Mayfield and across the Boardman River. Just past the river, turn right onto Hobbs Highway and follow it for another mile to the next right, which is Ranch Rudolf Road. (There’s a fine view here across the valley and the Boardman River.) Follow the road for several miles to Rennie Lake Road, turn left and pass several small lakes, take another left onto Supply Road and follow it to Hobbs Highway again. Turn left onto Hobbs and follow it past more forest-shaded lakes to rejoin Garfield. Stay on the road for about half a mile until you reach River Road; turn right and follow it down the Boardman Valley, which begins to open up dramatically just beyond this point.

“Bear to the left at Beitner Road and follow it as it climbs steeply from the valley floor, then continue past the intersection at U.S. 31 to East Silver Lake Road, which will take you north and back to Traverse City for one last impressive view.”

Frankfort's Lake Michigan beach

One of the prettiest beaches along Lake Michigan, Frankfort has a wide expanse of sand and plenty of benches to watch the waves, or catch a great sunset.

TOUR #3: Benzie County, 90 miles | Two-hour drive

What you’ll see: Northwest of Traverse City, Benzie County rolls and sprawls until it reaches Lake Michigan. It’s got miles of shoreline and peaceful scenery that just gets more vibrant in the fall.

The route: “Head out of town on West Front Street and North Long Lake Road, which will turn into Maple Street as you approach the village of Lake Ann. Along the way, you’ll pass Long Lake and – you guessed it – Lake Ann, before taking a jaunt (via a right on Ole White Dr. and a left on Almira Road) up to Fowler Road, also known as County Road 610. A left turn onto M-22 will send you along the southern tip of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Platte Lake.

“Continue following M-22 to pass the Point Betsie Lighthouse as you traverse the narrow strip of land between Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake. When you reach Frankfort, Benzie’s jewel of a beach town, swing a right on M-115 E toward the villages of Beulah and Benzonia. A little jog south on US-31 will lead you back to 115, which you can follow the forested highway all the way to Thompsonville. Turn left onto Lindy Road, then left onto Karlin Road (which becomes Nessen and then Karlin again) to begin your journey back toward Traverse City. After you pass Interlochen, take a right on U.S. 31 to return to town.”


Water rushing over the Leland Dam along the edge of Fishtown. Photo courtesy of Leland Preservation.

TOUR #4: The Leelanau Peninsula Length: 75 miles | 3-hour drive (30 miles extra for the optional loop, another hour drive)

What you’ll see: This drive is quintessential Up North, with the storybook towns of Leland, Suttons Bay and Northport all holding court as you wind your way up Michigan’s “little finger” known as the Leelanau Peninsula. **The optional add-on route takes you into tiny Glen Arbor, then shows off the expanse of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The route: “Take M-22 north from Traverse City along the shore of West Bay to Cherry Bend Road, where a left turn will take you to the foot of the TimberLee Hills. Turn right here and head north on County Road 633, a lovely rural road that leads through beautiful upland country to the village of Suttons Bay. Here you’ll rejoin M-22 and continue north along the shore through the villages of Peshawbestown (home to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians), Omena, and Northport. From Northport, continue north to the tip of the peninsula and visit Leelanau State Park and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

“Returning to Northport, take M-22 west to the charming fishing port of Leland. **(See below for the optional loop, which starts here). Beyond Leland, you’ll skirt the western shore of Lake Leelanau for a mile or so and turn left onto County Road 204, which leads to the inland village of Lake Leelanau. Turn right here, just before the bridge, onto County Road 643 which follows a very scenic route along the lake and eventually takes you to the picturesque town of Cedar. Continue south from Cedar on County Road 651 to M-72, turn left, and follow the highway back for a spectacular return to Traverse City.

**(Optional loop) “After leaving Leland, continue south on M-22 along the Lake Michigan shoreline and through the eastern section of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the village of Glen Arbor. Continue through the village on what is now called M-109, past the ghost port of Glen Haven and the famous Dune Climb, and take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (permit required), which offers splendid views of the surrounding lake and dune country. Turn right when leaving the scenic drive and go for about a mile to County Road 616, where you make a left turn and head along the southern shore of the two Glen Lakes. Just past the lakes the road climbs steeply – at its top is an excellent viewpoint called Inspiration Point. Continue eastward through the villages of Maple City and Cedar. In Cedar, take a right turn onto County Road 651 and follow it south to M-72, where a left turn will bring you back to Traverse City.”

For more route details, maps and suggested stops, check out the Fall Travel Guide from Traverse City Tourism here.

Rove Estate Vineyard

Fall is a beautiful time to visit Rove’s tasting room high atop the Leelanau Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery.Photo courtesy of Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery

Headed to the Traverse City area? Here are some things not to miss:

Traverse City fall vacation deals: resorts, wine tasting and golf

Northern Michigan winery offers unique Barrel Room tastings

This delightful Northern Michigan winery is perched atop Leelanau Peninsula’s highest point

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UK travel: Staycation holidays – influencers discuss ‘just amazing’ Skomer Island | Travel News | Travel

UK travel: Staycation holidays – influencers discuss ‘just amazing’ Skomer Island | Travel News | Travel – ToysMatrix

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The amazing vacation homes you can buy for $1 million

By Lilit Marcus, CNN

Vacation homes are one of those things that many people aspire to.

And with house prices recently seeing double-digit percentage increases in 90% of US metro areas, along with other urban centers around the world, some of those fantasy properties in less expensive destinations are starting to look pretty appealing.

Though travel restrictions are still in place in many parts of the world, it’s still fun to contemplate the places we could take off to if we decided to uproot and buy our overseas dream homes.

“With restrictions in most locales lessening, the process of purchasing is becoming less burdensome and interest in buying abroad continues to expand,” Joyce Lee, associate vice president for Asia Pacific at Christie’s International Real Estate, tells CNN.

“Resourceful Americans have continued to buy properties abroad.”

So what will a million or so US dollars get you these days? Here are a few of the properties on the market in some of the world’s most popular travel destinations right now.

Phuket, Thailand

Thailand‘s island of Phuket has long been one of the most desirable vacation spots in all of Asia, and the pandemic hasn’t changed that.

Local real estate agent Norbert Withinrich of Coldwell Banker Phuket confirms that Covid-19 may have slightly cooled the market, but not dramatically.

“In the past 15 months, we saw some second homeowners drop their prices,” he says, adding that some properties even sold over the Internet without a single in-person viewing. But that won’t be necessary now — Phuket reopened to vaccinated travelers on July 1.

Among Coldwell Banker Phuket’s listings within the million-dollar range is a four-bedroom, four-bathroom villa set in a gated community in the island’s hills, a short drive from Bang Tao Beach.

Sitting on a 995-square-meter plot (10,710 feet), the home is laid out in a u-shape around a 15-meter pool, which the bedrooms open up to.

Price: 33,980,000 baht ($1,037,000). Find out more about the property on the Coldwell Banker Phuket website.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

It’s not hard to see why Puerto Plata was the first part of the Dominican Republic to open up to tourism — between the lush green valleys and the long stretches of sandy beachfront, it’s basically impossible to find an unattractive view in this province.

For those looking to enjoy it from the privacy of their own home, this three-bedroom, oceanfront villa is located inside the Sosua Ocean Village gated community, just a 15-minute drive from Puerto Plata International Airport.

The villa, built in 2018, is 220 square meters and sits on a 2,088-square-meter lot. Owners can walk straight out of the breakfast nook into the electric-blue swimming pool, or follow one of the shaded footpaths down to the Atlantic.

Price: $1,050,000. More info can be found on the Ocean Side Realty by Remax listing.

Barcelona, Spain

Does your second-home dream look more like a trendy urban loft apartment than a beachside villa?

The price on this design-forward, 187-square-meter apartment in Barcelona’s trendy Sant Gervasi – Galvany neighborhood has just been reduced.

Featuring four bedrooms and two bathrooms, it was recently renovated, with the original features carefully maintained. And did we mention the clawfoot bathtub?

Spain has recently reopened its borders to international visitors. Combine your real estate tour with stops in the neighborhood’s cool cava bars.

Price: 825,000 euros (about $971,000). For more info visit Lucas Fox International Properties.

The Bahamas

If you liked social distancing so much you’re hoping to keep it up after the pandemic, consider investing in your very own island.

Golding Cay is a 3.4-acre beauty just off the coast of North Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. It’s totally empty and ready for you to build a mansion, villa, tree house or any other property of your choice.

Golding Cay offers privacy and breathing room while not being completely cut off from the rest of the world; it’s just 10 minutes by boat from the fishing village of Spanish Wells.

It’s close enough to North Eleuthera that you can have easy access to the island’s airport and infrastructure, while if you have a boat you can be in Miami in a few hours’ time.

Price $800,000. Check out 7th Heaven Real Estate for more details.

Hokkaido, Japan

If you’re the kind of person who hoards your vacation days to chase powder in Vail, consider buying a home on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, where you’ll find some of the best skiing in Asia.

This quaint, 168-square-meter (1,808 square feet) log cabin in world-famous Niseko is unfurnished, so you can be 100% in charge of decorating decisions.

Located in North Hills, the two-bedroom home is just five minutes away from the slopes of Hanazono.

Price: $888,860. More info available at Niseko Real Estate.

Los Cabos, Mexico

With 1,933 miles of shared border, Mexico has always been a popular getaway for Americans.

This includes the beachside community of Los Cabos. Located on the very southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula, it offers gorgeous views in nearly every direction.

One option for sale there: This ocean-front, 836 sqm mansion in Rosarito Beach’s gated Castillos Del Mar development, which sits on a stretch of sand that’s popular with surfers.

If you prefer calmer waters, there’s a dreamy infinity pool that overlooks the ocean.

It’s got six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and offers private beach access. According to the agent, the title is held in a club membership, which has approximately 51 years remaining on it.

Price: $1,050,000. Contact Baja123 for more info.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

“Over the last two years, Jamaica’s real estate market has literally been on fire!” laughs Matthew Stevenson, an agent at Coldwell Banker in Jamaica. The good news here is that you can buy houses that are absolutely not on fire, although Stevenson’s joy is palpable.

While Caribbean islands are never a hard sell, Stevenson has noticed one major takeaway — Jamaicans who moved elsewhere in the world found themselves pulled homeward once the pandemic started.

According to Stevenson, many Jamaicans who had settled in countries like the US decided that they’d rather wait out the Covid storm from a cozy beach, and property sales kicked up accordingly.

The agent recommends that Americans check out areas like Ocho Rios, near the famous “James Bond Beach” — your money will go further, but you’ll also be enjoying some of the prettiest landscapes on the island.

Among the properties now on sale for under a million there is an 11-bedroom mansion in the St. Mary Country Club, just 15 minutes away from James Bond Beach. It offers ocean views and over 800 square meters of living space, with each bedroom having its own private balcony.

Price: $790,000. Listed by Coldwell Banker Jamaica.

St. John, Barbados

Who needs neighbors? If you buy this home, perched on a hilltop overlooking Martin’s Bay in St. John, eastern Barbados, you won’t have to worry about anybody else blocking your view.

The open-plan property has a roomy walk-in shower, a balcony perfect for watching the sunrise, an elegant garden and four bedrooms, where you can listen to the waves crashing as you fall asleep.

Barbados has been one of the destinations opening itself up to remote workers, so if you’ve ever wanted to sample a taste of life in paradise, this is your chance.

Price: $995,000. More info at Seaside Realty Barbados.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Karla Cripps contributed to this feature.

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9 Amazing Outer Banks Vacation Rentals

You don’t have to leave the states to enjoy an island getaway — just head to the Outer Banks! Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound, the Carolina barrier islands lie 26 miles from the coast. Home to some of the best beaches in the country, the Outer Banks offer plenty of fun things to do with the family. Watersports, state parks, beautiful lighthouses, and shipwreck diving sites are just a few attractions in this historic and charming area. North Carolina’s Outer Banks is also one of the best places to see wild horses in the U.S.

For those who want a little more privacy and room to relax than a hotel room offers, the Outer Banks has an extensive selection of vacation homes. Not only is the price comparable to a hotel stay, but vacation rentals also come with all the essential amenities. Whether you’re looking for a pet-friendly place to stay, a beach house, or a luxury resort, VRBO has the perfect accommodations for your seaside vacation.

Top regions for Outer Banks house rentals include Kitty Hawk, Duck, Nags Head, and Manteo. Home to Kitty Hawk Pier, Kitty Hawk near Kill Devil Hills, where you can find the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Otters, sea turtles, and other unique wildlife populate the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve. Duck is a quaint beach town that features a boardwalk on the sound with shops and places to eat. Its laid-back beaches are perfect for the outdoor adventurer who is interested in fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or sailing.

Further south, the charming beach town of Nags Head is home to the largest and tallest active sand dune on the East Coast. Beachside salt marshes and forests house native wildlife à la Where the Crawdads Sing. Explore Nags Head Woods Preserve and take advantage of the winds by kiting or even hang gliding at the 426-acre Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Be sure to visit historic Bodie Island Lighthouse and its sweeping views of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, one of the best beaches in the U.S. and one of the most incredible beaches in a national park.

Just to the east, Historic Manteo is where you can find Fort Raleigh National Historic site, otherwise known as “England’s First Home in the New World.”

Check out these rentals for your next visit to the Outer Banks!

Cook’s Condo — Downtown Manteo, NC

Hosted by Pirate’s Cove Realty, Cook’s Condo is perfect for two as it has one bedroom with a king-size bed and one and a half bathrooms. Boasting a kitchen equipped with a professional gas range, this charming condo is perfect for the culinarily inclined.

Historic downtown Manteo is so close, you can see it from the private balcony. The Manteo waterfront’s shops, art galleries, and restaurants are just steps away, as is Roanoke Island Festival Park. Other nearby attractions include Elizabethan Gardens at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, The Lost Colony outdoor drama, Island Farm living museum, Outer Banks Distilling, the North Carolina Aquarium, and Nags Head public beaches. A three-night minimum stay is required, but we wouldn’t recommend any less!

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Dog-Friendly Oar House — Duck, NC

If your furbaby is coming to the Outer Banks with you, consider this dog-friendly vacation rental. Located just 650 yards from the beach, Oar House is also within walking distance of Duck Village, which offers shops, restaurants, the Duck Boardwalk, watersports, sunsets over the sound, live music in Duck Town Park, and more!

This family-friendly Outer Banks vacation home rental is perfect for group vacations. Two of the three bedrooms open out to the gated front deck. A charming space with room for everyone, Oar House also features a spacious full kitchen, outdoor gas grill, and a jetted tub.

The best part? It comes with two kayaks and a handful of beach chairs for guest use!

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Beachwoods Resort Condo — Kitty Hawk, NC

If you’re traveling with children and have a little money in the bank, this Kitty Hawk resort is worth a visit. Not only does it have an indoor waterpark, but it also boasts the largest outdoor pool in the Outer Banks. Beachwoods Resort features a fitness center, volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts, plus a lake for fishing or paddle boating!

Nestled in the middle of a 100-acre maritime forest, this family-friendly vacation destination is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The sprawling property is adjacent to a 700-acre nature preserve and is surrounded by dunes, lakes, woodlands, and wildlife.

Nearby, explore attractions like the Wright Brothers National Memorial, pristine beaches, Waterfront Shops of Duck, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Sea Scape Golf Links, and more!

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Tranquil House Inn — Downtown Manteo, NC

Situated on the waterfront of historic downtown Manteo, the Tranquil House Inn offers serene views of Shallowbag Bay. This two-room country-chic suite is perfect for couples, as its bright bedroom only has one Queen bed. Custom cypress woodwork and beveled stained glass decorate the charming yet stately inn. Rooms with handicap access are also available.

Located just minutes from beachfront excitement and activities, the Inn is just a two-minute walk from Roanoke Island Festival Park and four miles from the North Carolina Aquarium. Explore the traditional seaside town via its several boardwalks.

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Luxury Canal Front Home — Kill Devil Hills, NC

Traveling in a group? This fully renovated waterfront home on Colington Harbour in Kill Devil Hills is perfect for your bunch! Its four bedrooms have five beds that can sleep up to nine vacationers. Three and a half baths, two spacious living rooms, and a large, well-equipped kitchen ensure everyone has plenty of elbow room. The expansive main bedroom features a small balcony as well as a jacuzzi tub! An electric fireplace emits cozy vibes indoors, while three expansive decks offer amazing waterfront views. The middle deck is screened in and covered, while the top deck features a huge gas grill.

Boats, kayaks, jet skis — bring whatever water toys you want! The deepwater canal offers quick access to both the sound and the ocean. Launch your boat from the boat ramp by the pool. Fish and crab off the property’s two boat docks.

This sound-front community sounds like paradise, with its tennis courts, a private beach, and a park. Restaurants and shopping are conveniently close by, while The Wright Brothers National Memorial and oceanfront are also just minutes away.

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Sea Spray With Ocean Views — Salvo, NC

Also great for groups, this six-bedroom vacation rental has plenty of space in close proximity to the beach. There is both a pool and a pool table. The two king master suites both have private baths. Every bedroom offers access to the shaded wrap-around deck, complete with hot tub. Head to the top-floor great room for gorgeous views of the sound.

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Oceanfront Escape — Waves, NC

If you really want to go all out, make some waves at this oceanfront escape! This six-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath vacation rental home can sleep up to 17 people! Vacillate from the pool to the tiki bar and back again. Follow the sound of the ocean waves — it’s just a short walk over the dunes to the beach.

After you’ve had enough sun, it’s time for more fun in the game room. Play shuffleboard, Pac-Man, and Golden Tee. In addition to a private bath and deck, the main bedroom offers beautiful dune views. You can also catch these views from the great room, which features cathedral-like wood ceilings.

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Soundside Salvo Dreamer’s Landing — Salvo, NC

Dreams really do come true at Dreamer’s Landing! Also perfect for large gatherings, this seven-bedroom vacation rental has five full baths and sleeps up to 15. Enjoy the grill, pool, game room, pool table, and hot tub on the deck. The main bedroom has access to a large deck area that overlooks the surrounding neighborhood.

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A Carolina Conch — Kitty Hawk, NC

This pet-friendly four-bedroom/three-bath beach rental home is located right on the beach in Kitty Hawk. The 1,500-square-foot cottage offers easy access to the surf as well as ocean views. Take your coffee to the deck and watch the sunrise over the water. You don’t have to go far to find restaurants and shopping. Heads up: Currently, the listing states that guest must bring their own bed linen, towels, paper, and soap products.

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12 Amazing Experiences During Your Machu Picchu Adventure

While many people have Machu Picchu on their bucket list, neither my daughter nor I were amongst them. When the opportunity arose, I went because of my interest in travel and photography. She went to humor me. I’d never been particularly enthralled by the photos of Machu Picchu. I mentally understood the importance of an ancient city, captured en toto as if the entire population had suddenly been run off. 

Arial view of Machu Picchu.
Gail Clifford

But standing on the terraces, overlooking the Citadel, and walking within it, where a city of people lived, loved and died hundreds of years ago, I understood the mystical and spiritual nature of the place as no photograph could quite capture. 

Which makes this the perfect time to plan your trip so you can, too. With forethought, you can maximize your time at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

A Quechua phrase meaning “Old Peak,” Machu Picchu, the best surviving representation of an Incan City, built in the middle of a cloud forest around the 15th century, sits 2,430 meters high in the eastern mountain range of the Peruvian Andes. 

Its mysterious abandonment, estimated just 80 years after construction, adds to the dramatic pull to this remote, high altitude location and has contributed to its becoming one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. 

Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911 and brought publicity to this deserted city, untouched by the Spaniards’ conquest, opening a new door to imagination and contemplation over what happened to the original inhabitants. 

Hiram Bingham Train in Machu Picchu.
Gail Clifford

Visitors have the option to trek the 26-mile Inca Trail, with porters (think Sherpas) to haul what’s needed or use the combination of plane, train, bus, and shoe leather to explore the surrounding area and reach this spirit-filled destination. 

The Incas worshipped the life-giving properties of the sun and worshipped the sun god’s wife, the moon. Harmony and mysticism somehow embraced the duality of the culture, and transformed the architecture. 

The structure reveals complex irrigation systems, farming terraces, and living quarters for royalty, nobles, and servants. It showcases the incredible engineering required to move stones — many weighing over 50 tons — from a distance … completely without wheels then constructed so tightly without any form of mortar that it’d be difficult to get a razor blade to fit between. The perfectly interlocked stone roofed with straw is characteristic of this period.

Machu Picchu with cloud at dawn.
Gail Clifford

If you’re part of a photography group, as I was with the Great Escape Photography Expedition, your tour package is likely to include the afternoon before and then an early morning photo session. That’s your best chance for sunset and sunrise photos. If you’re as lucky as we were, you’ll get what photographers call the “mustache” photo … clouds wafting across Huayna Picchu in the dawn.

In addition to a tour of the Citadel, there are several other things to do while in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The more you know about them in advance, the better you can plan your journey to maximize your experience.

1. Huayna Picchu

Also known as Waynapicchu, this mountain stands guard over the Inca Citadel. This hike is the most desired experience in Machu Picchu, so be certain your tour company makes reservations months in advance. It’s another 300 meters above the Citadel with slopes up to 60 degrees. Many consider it to be one of the most amazing short walks in the world. 

Only 400 people can access their trails each day. Plan your attack on the Citadel so you can see it all. Be warned, if you wind up at the exit accidentally, they will not let you retrace your steps.

Climbing to the top of this summit is challenging. The roads are steep, and the cliffs appear dangerous. If you stick to the well-marked paths, though, the more treacherous parts near heart-racing ravines have safety ropes to hold onto.

This mountain has zigzagging paths and staircases carved from stone. When it rains, it’s common to see visitors descend on their bottoms – slipping down to the next step one bump at a time, rather than risk a dangerous fall.

2. Temple Of The Moon

As the Incas built stone paths, they built a stone cave called the Temple of the Moon, less than 400 meters from the summit of Huayna Picchu. It’s open faced and shallow wherein the center stands a throne carved from rock with steps nearby that lead deeper into the cave. 

The Citadel in Machu Picchu.
Gail Clifford

3. The Citadel

The Citadel has two parts, Hanan (upper part) and Hurin (lower part), consistent with the principle of Dualism popular in Andes Society. They recognized that nearly everything, from cities to mountains, to astronomical features, had a complementary side, including Mother Earth (Pacha Mama) and the Rain (Pacha Tata) peacefully coexisting.

4. The Temple Of The Sun

The Temple of the Sun is a semicircular building erected on a huge solid granite rock. The natural cave beneath it is thought to have been the Royal Tomb. Inside the temple is a carved stone between two windows, one facing north and the other facing west. The windows’ shade perfectly align during the solstices and equinoxes. 

Temple of the Condor in Machu Picchu.
Jackie Mullen

5. Temple Of The Condor

The Condor symbolized the upper world to the Andean people. As you near the end of the Citadel tour, if you don’t know where to look, you will miss the condor. The face is at ground level and the wings are created by two rock walls. The guide may be anxious to keep people moving forward. Allow the crowds to pass and take your photo (but don’t do what we did … don’t stand in the window to try to get a better photo).

6. Temple Of The Three Windows

On the west side of Machu Picchu, at the very heart of the urban sector in the main plaza, stands the Temple Of The Five Windows, of which three remain.

The three windows are said to represent each part of the world: the heaven (Hanan-Pacha), the present surface (Kay-Pacha) and the underground (Uku-Pacha). Sunrise is beautifully displayed within this temple. 

7. The Main Temple

At the highest part of the Citadel, in the main plaza, you’ll find “Wayrana,” Quechuan for “a very windy place.” This three-sided temple leaves room for the wind to enter, and it does! Inside, you’ll find a carved rock that represents the Southern Cross. The temple was used to celebrate rituals for the “creator of everything in this universe.”

Intihuatana, stone solar clock in Machu Picchu.
Gail Clifford

8. The Intihuatana

Located in the main plaza, the Intihuatana, Quechuan for “A place where the sun is tied,” is a four-sided, flat-surfaced carved rock measuring 1 x 2 meters. Each side represents a cardinal point indicated by shadow at the solstices or equinoxes. Modern day astronomers consider this stone work as an astronomical observatory and solar clock. 

9. Explore Hundreds Of Man-Made Terraces

Llamas are surprisingly nimble on the steep steps between terraces. While they will take their right of way, it’s worth the climb to the top terrace to peer down at this ancient civilization site. Take someone you love, as I did with my daughter, and have some time and space together, away from your tour group. You may be surprised by the new perspective.

High view of Machu Picchu.
Gail Clifford

10. Stairs And More Stairs

Most people don’t realize the sheer number and volume of stairs throughout the site. The altitude change is a shock to most systems. Be prepared to stop and rest regularly, and drink plenty of water. 

Family takes photo standing on the Intipunku trail in Machu Picchu.
Gail Clifford

11. Hike To The Intipunku

The hike to Intipunku, Quechua for “Sun Gate,” took us nearly three hours round trip. It’s another 290 meters above the Citadel. Many find the steep path challenging. Complete this hike before your tour of the Citadel. Be sure not to underestimate how long it takes so you won’t be late. 

Called the Sun Gate because the sun’s rays pass there during the summer solstice, it was used as an entrance gate by the Incas. More than anything, when you reach it, you’re likely to feel the same sense of accomplishment we did conquering the hike.

12. Hiking The Machu Picchu Mountain

The actual Montaña Machu Picchu faces Huayna Picchu. Moderately difficult, this hike takes an average of 4 hours, round trip. The wide paths made of stone are easier to climb than those on Huayna Picchu, but its highest point soars to 3,082 meters (10,111 feet) or 600 meters above the Citadel.

At the Machu Picchu exit, look for the table where they keep a passport style stamp. It adds to the memory of this grand adventure.

Further Reading:

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9 Amazing Fall Experiences In Independence, Missouri

Independence, Missouri, located just off I-70 near Kansas City, is a place packed with enough to see, do, and experience to delight any visitor. With its charming Historic Independence Square, lovely notable homes, and plenty of presidential history (Harry S. Truman hailed from here, after all!), the city is a great family destination, no matter the time of year.

But Independence also knows how to throw a party, and there are many terrific celebrations each fall. Here are nine of the city’s best upcoming events, festivals, and fall activities. Get ready to mark your calendar!

Pride flags during a parade in New York City.

lazyllama / Shutterstock

Indy Pride Glow Walk

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Independence prides itself on being a vibrant place where everyone can live, work, play, and have fun. This sentiment will be front and center at the Indy Pride Glow Walk taking place on August 7. The evening begins at the Englewood Station Arts District, and the half-hour promenade ends on the Square at Liberty Lounge, where there will be live music. The party wraps up with an outdoor movie. Taking part is very enjoyable and supports Independence’s LGBTQ+ community.

While all are welcome to walk at this free event, the Indy Pride Glow Walk’s Facebook page includes information about how, for $20, you can register as a VIP and receive a T-shirt and light-up rainbow flag to make the evening all the more festive!

happy couple at SantaCaliGon Festival in Independence, MO

SantaCaliGon Days Festival

Friday, September 3, to Monday, September 6, 2021

Don’t let the strange name throw you — the SantaCaliGon Days Festival that takes over the Square on Labor Day Weekend is one of Independence’s most cherished traditions, and it is a weekend full of many lively activities! Named to celebrate the town’s heritage as the place where the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon Trails began, this event traces its roots all the way back to 1940, when the event was first held — and featured events including a beard and mustache contest, the Miss Independence pageant, and a pioneer costume contest. Another celebration was held right after World War II, and then the festival didn’t resume until 1973.

In the 47 years since, SantaCaliGon has evolved to become a not-to-be-missed event presented by the Independence Chamber of Commerce. It draws hundreds of thousands of people annually. The festival features various vendors, main stage entertainment, Main Street 1849 reenactments, activities, and live demonstrations that truly bring to life Independence’s pioneer past.

Uncorked Wine Festival in Independence, MO

Independence Uncorked Wine Festival

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Independence is blessed with a large number of historic homes and estates. One of the most prominent is the Bingham-Waggoner Estate. Located directly on the Santa Fe Trail in the middle of town, this beautiful home was plotted in 1827. It was home for a time to artist George Caleb Bingham, who is still well known for his Civil War-era murals depicting river life and historic events. 

Wine-lovers know that one of the best events held at this gem of a place is Independence Uncorked. The eighth annual wine festival — presented by Edward Jones and hosted by the Rotary Club of Eastern Independence — is one of the largest wine festivals in the state. More than two dozen wineries will offer on-site tastings. The day’s fun will also include art, music, beer, food booths, and wine classes. Admission includes a wine glass and four-bottle wine holder; proceeds go to various national and local charities supported by the Rotary Club. The event’s website has more details on the day that no wine aficionado will want to miss.

Ghouls Night Out

Thursday, October 21, 2021

It might sound scary, but Ghouls (make that Girls!) Night Out is an entertaining celebration right on the Square that combines shopping, food, and costumes for an unforgettable event. Shops and boutiques on the Square stay open a bit later on this Thursday night to accommodate the strollers and shoppers, many of whom don their Halloween finest for the fun. Grab your girlfriends and make plans to prepare for All Hallow’s Eve with a little retail therapy!

Take The Paranormal Path

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, Independence embraces its spooky side, offering tours of its award-winning Paranormal Path, which includes three historic sites reported to routinely host visitors from the other side. Book each separately for the full frightening experience!

First, the Vaile Mansion, a three-story Victorian masterpiece built for businessman Harvey Vaile and his wife Sophia in 1881, is full of ornate decor, marble fireplaces, hand-carved accent pieces, and at least one ghost. After her husband became mired in a financial scandal, Sophia became gravely ill. Legend has it that after Sophia died in the mansion, she never really left! The home also served as a sanatorium for a time, further boosting its mysterious reputation.

The aforementioned Bingham-Waggoner Estate is also purported to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. People say they’ve seen an apparition in a top hat and long coat strolling inside the mansion, and it just might be the spirit of a former occupant, artist George Caleb Bingham.

Finally, the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum, located right downtown off the Square, housed criminals of all sorts through the years. Today, some claim they stuck around in those cell blocks past their sentence lengths.

All three spooky sites tend to book tours quickly in the fall, so be sure to call ahead to arrange your visits.

family catching tadpoles at George Owen Nature Park in Independence, MO

Leaf Peeping In George Owens

Mother Nature puts on her own spectacular show each fall, so if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, head to Independence’s George Owens Nature Park. Trails wind their way through more than 86 acres of forests, providing plenty of opportunities to get your steps in, look out for wildlife, and take in the splendor of the brilliant autumn color. 

And for the perfect multi-gen visit, mark your calendar for Friday, October 22. That’s when the park hosts its annual Enchanted Forest, a great scare-free alternative to Halloween fun for the littlest ghosts and goblins! Guides lead groups down the paved trail on evening hikes, and stories are enacted during several stops along the way. The event concludes with a hayride. 

Courthouse Square Lighting

Friday, November 12, 2021

As fall transitions into winter, there’s great anticipation for the holiday season in Independence. Each year, the Historic Truman Courthouse hosts the city’s lighting ceremony, when the downtown district comes alive with sparkling holiday light and decor! The shops also celebrate, with many installing festive holiday windows. The downtown district is decked in greenery, and carolers and other entertainers help set a joyful tone. And you never know — you might even see Santa himself stop by to help get the Square’s Christmas tree ready for the season! The lighting ceremony has become a cherished Independence tradition, and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

bbq food in Independence, MO

Royals Wind Down, Chiefs Heat Up!

Independence is located just a stone’s throw away from where Kansas City’s two pro sports teams play when they are in town: both Kauffman Stadium (Royals) and Arrowhead Stadium (Chiefs) are about 15 minutes from downtown Independence. Autumn is a terrific time to experience both teams: As the Royals’ post-season outlook begins to take shape, the Chiefs are just kicking off their season. There are plenty of pre-game activities to experience in Independence! Check out this article about the best way to spend the day there before cheering on the Chiefs or Royals.

Events At Cable Dahmer Arena 

From monster trucks and semi-pro hockey to musicals and concerts, Independence’s Cable Dahmer Arena has entertainment of all types covered! The state-of-the-art arena seats nearly 6,000 fans and has hosted a multitude of concerts by artists including Miranda Lambert, Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, Adam Sandler, and Alan Jackson. For a premium experience, VIP suites are also available for all events. The venue updates its event calendar regularly. You’re bound to find an outing you’ll enjoy at the Cable Dahmer.

Pro Tips

If you want your fall experience to last all evening — or even through the weekend — no worries! Independence has all sorts of overnight accommodations for visitors. In addition to mid-tier chain hotel options, there are also historic inns, boutique hotels, and bed and breakfasts from which to choose. Check out a selection of all the options here.

To learn much more about all of the fantastic things to see, do, and experience in Independence, check out the city’s online visitors guide and get inspired by all our Independence content here.

Visit Missouri Tourism

Missouri Division of Tourism

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