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    Coolest Small Towns 2022

    • Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns 2022
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      Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Budget Travel was born from a simple idea: “Vacations for Real People.” Our audience (that’s you, by the way) is curious, discerning, intelligent, and down to earth. You want the best travel experience that money can buy, and you want to enjoy travel without the hassle. Our Coolest Small Towns in America series has been going strong for more years than we can count, and it reflects on a couple of our founding beliefs: you don’t need to break the bank to have a nice vacation, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We want to invite you to explore the possibility that your next transformative travel experience might be just around the corner. Maybe in your own state, or maybe a day’s ride from home. This year, we want to highlight the small towns that not a lot of people have heard about and have a strong and thriving community. Trends may come and go, destinations may fall in and out of fashion. But curiosity, discernment, and intelligence are always in style. Our 2022 Coolest Small Towns are spread across the country, so that you can Rediscover America. Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Cedar Key, Florida - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Cedar Key, Florida - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      If you’re looking for a laid-back place to make your Gulf dreams come true, Cedar Key, about an hour from Gainesville, on Florida’s northwest coast, is the place to do it. With a population hovering around 700 and a location that puts a firm emphasis on salt water — including a national wildlife refuge, a state park, nature preserves, stretches of sandy beach, and a thriving fishing industry — Cedar Key basically challenges you not to relax. Set aside a few days to get to know this beautiful corner of the Sunshine State. The 13 islands of Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge offer unique opportunities for birdwatching (including migratory birds and majestic pelicans), dolphins in season, and colorful butterflies. Cedar Key Museum State Park combines the best of the region’s natural beauty with rich history, including the restored 1920s Whitman home and memorabilia from the town’s past. Speaking of history, when you’re not soaking up some sun at the beach, you’ll want to soak up some history via photographs and artifacts at Cedar Key Historical Museum. But who are we kidding? With all that Gulf water lapping the shores, seafood may be your number-one priority here — clam bars, seafood joints ranging from modest to posh, and chowder abound in Cedar Key, with enough options to satisfy every taste. More about Cedar Key Cedar Key, FL Cedar Key is a place where time stands still and allows you to enjoy the unique qualities of our coastal environment. Cedar Key is a quiet island community nestled among many tiny keys on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Fredericksburg, Texas - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Fredericksburg, Texas - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      In the heart of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg celebrates both its German roots and its pioneer heritage. In fact, the town’s Pioneer Museum is a good place to get your bearings, tracing the area’s settler history, which dates back to the 1840s. While you may associate fine wine more with the West Coast, Hill Country is home to a good number of major wineries, including several in the Fredericksburg area — explore the local tasting rooms and bring home a bottle (or a case). Even less on-the-nose here in Hill Country is the National Museum of the Pacific War, dedicated to the history of World War II in the Pacific, inspired by local Chester Nimitz, born and raised in Fredericksburg, who served as an admiral in the U.S. Navy during the war. But getting outdoors should be at the top of your Fredericksburg to-do list, with Enchanted Rock State Natural Area offering distinctive pink rocks, endless trails for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding, and ample opportunities for climbing. Fredericksburg is also home to more than 300 species of bird, and millions of bats that attract visitors (really!) More about Fredericksburg Fredericksburg, TX For a relatively small town, it’s easy for you and your family to get lost in Fredericksburg. In the serene beauty of the Texas Hill Country. In the rich German history. The countless unique and sophisticated shops. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Morro Bay, California - Coolest Small Towns 2022:

      Morro Bay, California - Coolest Small Towns 2022:

      You will likely approach the town via inland Highway 101 before heading west, winding through coastal hills down toward the water. As you arrive in town, you’ll find you are a world away from the hustle-bustle of Cali’s big cities to the north and south. Here in Morro Bay, life moves at a pace well-suited to a “vacation for real people.” Tour the wharf, where kids of all ages will love watching fishing boats delivering their daily bounty. And you don’t have to just watch — local restaurants such as Bayside Cafe transform each day’s catch into fresh, imaginative meals such as contemporary riffs on fried clams and crabcakes. Stroll Morro Bay’s main drag, and drop into charming shops like Kites & Surreys, and Revolve Thrift. Explore exceptional parkland, including Morro Bay State Park, or the nearby beaches. Rest your head in a comfy, affordable room at The Landing motel, with views of the bay — and iconic Morro Rock — out your window. Morro Bay is one of those little towns that touches your heart in a big way, making a return visit just about mandatory. More about Morro Bay Morro Bay Morro Bay is unlike any other California seaside town. Just off its shore an ancient volcanic monolith known as Morro Rock rises 576 feet from the ocean, amplifying the magnificence of this stunning coastal backdrop. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Nisswa, Minnesota - Coolest Small Towns 2022:

      Nisswa, Minnesota - Coolest Small Towns 2022:

      Nisswa, in central Minnesota, offers a true small town experience — the pace is leisurely, the people are friendly, and visitors can “choose their own adventure,” at whatever pace they like. In summer, turtle races are all the rage here. For real. If you prefer something more active, the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail beckons, and the region is defined by its many lakes, offering an array of watersports, boating, fishing, and more. On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, winter in Nisswa means skiing (downhill and cross-country), ice fishing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding. Downtown is characterized by cozy shops and eateries serving up comfort food and artisanal candies, and it’s also a good place to purchase hearty winter outerwear. Up here, folks know how to dress for the cold! More about Nisswa Nisswa, MN Nisswa, Minnesota, nestled in the heart of the lakes area. Has been a destination for visitors for more than a century. Generation after generation comes to the area that many call their second home. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • North Adams, Massachusetts - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      North Adams, Massachusetts - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      We love the Berkshires, in Western Massachusetts, for the way they combine gorgeous outdoor vistas with fine art, music, and food — what’s not to love? North Adams is Exhibit A: Sure, it’s a small town, but, with a population around 12,000, it boasts of being the “smallest city” in Massachusetts. Browse along downtown’s artsy streets where cool pubs, cutting-edge cuisine, and cafes beckon. A truly vibrant place to live — or visit — North Adams offers indie music, endless opportunities for outdoor activities (especially popular in fall, when the forests burst into their signature oranges, reds, and golds), great food, small shops, and, of course antiques. Immerse yourself in the town’s Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) for groundbreaking work as well as masterworks of some of the giants of modern art housed in a restored 19th-century mill complex. The museum isn’t just for ogling art — MASS MoCA brings visual and performing artists to town for residencies and presentations of new work. We’re especially fond of The Porches Inn, which allows visitors to bed down in a pleasantly kitschy environment. And your art odyssey doesn’t have to end in North Adams: Nearby Williamstown is home to the Clark Museum, and Bennington, just across the Vermont border, boasts the world’s largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings. More about North Adams North Adams, MA North Adams is a vibrant community located in the Northwest corner of the beautiful Berkshires. Steeped in art, culture, and community..Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Red Lodge, Montana - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Red Lodge, Montana - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      If Red Lodge didn’t have you at “Gateway to Yellowstone,” consider that the drive from Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park’s northeast entrance takes you over the Beartooth Highway, perhaps the most beautiful, dizzying, surreal, and thrilling drive in the world, reaching an elevation of nearly 11,000 feet above sea level at the top of the pass. But whether Red Lodge serves as your gateway to the wonders of Yellowstone or as your first stop back in the “real world” after exploring the park, the town is legit cool all on its own, with its own outdoor recreation offerings, family activities, authentic culinary traditions, and much more. Spend some time getting to know the town’s arts and culture — art galleries like the Clay Center, unique shops, Pride Park, and walking tours of historic downtown (once said to have a “saloon on every corner,” but nowadays decidedly more sophisticated) will keep you busy. And while catching a fleeting glimpse of wildlife in Yellowstone depends very much on luck, it’s an everyday occurrence at Red Lodge’s Yellowstone WIldlife Sanctuary, a few blocks from downtown and home to “non-releasable” mountain lions, wolves, bears, bison, eagles, hawks, and many other native Montana animals. More about Red Lodge Red Lodge, MT Red Lodge, Montana - Gateway to Yellowstone Park via the beautiful Beartooth Highway. Come and experience true western hospitality in this quaint, historic, mountain town. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Telluride, Colorado - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Telluride, Colorado - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      If you really want to get away from it all, Colorado is an excellent choice — the state’s jaw-dropping mountains, wildlife, and independent thinkers have been attracting escapees from the rat race for decades. Telluride (and its close neighbor, Mountain Village), in the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern corner of the state, is firmly in that tradition. Once a boomtown thanks to local mining, the town transformed itself into a skiing mecca in the mid-20th century and today ranks as one of the most dense concentrations of great food, art, nature, and much more. Want to hike? Bike? Ski? The trails that wind in and around town will keep you busy for days, weeks — did we mention that some folks just up and run away to Telluride for good? And, like many popular ski areas, Telluride transforms in the “off-season” (what summer destinations call the “high-season”) into a paradise for hikers, skate boarders, cyclists, and water enthusiasts. Music and arts festivals abound, and we're particularly fond of Telluride’s unique Nothing Festival, in which cyclists ride in the nude. Remember what we said about attracting free thinkers? More about Telluride Telluride, CO If you really want to get away from it all, Colorado is an excellent choice — the state’s jaw-dropping mountains, wildlife, and independent thinkers have been attracting escapees from the rat race for decades. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • St. Simons Island, Georgia - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      St. Simons Island, Georgia - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Sure, not everybody remembers that Georgia — renowned for its inland forests and mountains and urban centers like Atlanta and Savannah — has drop-dead gorgeous beaches. St. Simons Island, on the state’s southern coast, is a good place to get acquainted with the watery side of the Peachtree State. (St. Simons is one of Georgia’s four “Golden Isles,” barrier islands that also include Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and Little St. Simons island). Here, you’ll find a number of quaint villages that boast one-of-a-kind shops and museums. Explore historic sites such as St. Simons Island Lighthouse (dating back to 1872), Fort Frederick National Monument, and Christ Church. Then hit the waterways in a kayak, take a sunset bottlenose dolphin cruise, ride in unique open-air trolleys (which also offer an after-dinner Ghost Tour!), go on a cycling tour, or spend the day fishing with the help of an experienced local guide. Tuck into a plate of shrimp and grits at one of the island’s eateries,like Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill, or stop by the Public House for exceptional pork chops. More about St. Simons Island St. Simons Island, GA St. Simons Island, GA is home to fabulous beaches, golfing, charter fishing, spas and salons, and a variety of restaurants, fun events and entertainment for everyone. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Tarrytown, New York - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Tarrytown, New York - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      On the shores of New York’s Hudson River, just 16 miles from the Bronx border, Tarrytown combines history, natural beauty, and a range of small businesses that make for a truly unique small-town experience. Margo Timmins, lead singer of the alt-country band Cowboy Junkies, recently announced from the stage of the Tarrytown Music Hall that the venue, on the town’s scenic Main Street, is one of her favorite places to perform because there is a great coffeehouse on one side and the yarn shop on the other. That would be Coffee Labs, purveyors of exquisite artisanal java (there will be a line, possibly out the door, but it’s worth the wait), and Flying Fingers, a favorite of Martha Stewart’s, boasting a giant sheep sculpture adorned with brightly colored yarn right outside the front door. You could spend your entire day combing Main Street for world cuisine — Lefteris’s Greek fare and Tarry Tavern’s upscale comfort food are just two wildly popular examples — or galleries, thrift shops, and musical instruments. But set aside some time to explore beautiful historic sites such as Sunnyside (once home to Washington Irving, the first man of American letters and the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle) and Lyndhurst (a 19th century mansion whose riverside grounds now play host to craft fairs, kennel shows, and jazz concerts). No visit to this region is complete without traversing RiverWalk, a scenic trail through the woods along the eastern shore of the Hudson, and the many winding trails in Rockefeller State Park and Preserve. More about Tarrytown Tarrytown, NY A trip to Tarrytown offers visitors the perfect complement of history, dining, shopping and nature -- not to mention entertainment and first class lodging. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

    • Thibodaux, Louisiana - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Thibodaux, Louisiana - Coolest Small Towns 2022

      Most folks already know that Louisiana is at the crossroads of American history and culture — but you might say that Thibodaux, in Bayou country, near the Gulf of Mexico, is at the very center of those crossroads. Here, people from France, Spain, and West Africa met Native Americans and French Canadians, known then as Acadians and now known as Cajuns, and a rich cultural stew began to simmer. Visitors to Thibodaux can’t help but dive into local history: From the E.D. White Historic Site, dedicated to a Bayou Lafourche family that produced a governor and a U.S. Senator, to the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center (part of the multisite Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve), the region wears its multicultural heritage with pride. A visit to Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center delivers immersive presentations via film, exhibits, performances, and boat tours of the Bayou. Visitors can also take a guided tour of downtown led by a National Park Ranger. Whether guided or not, you should definitely stroll Thibodaux’s historic downtown for a taste of Cajun cuisine — dishes such as boudin sausages, gumbo, and jambalaya, that bear the influence of the Bayou’s varied settlers. More about Thibodaux Thibodaux, LA Thibodaux’s backstory is linked to French, Spanish and African peoples who arrived in the region in the early 18th century, and French-Canadian immigrants — known as Acadians (or Cajuns) — who settled here in the mid-1700s. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

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    Tips for Cruising on a Budget

    SETTING SAIL SOON? Wether it is your first time or your tenth time on a cruise, you'll find these tips unique. We've complied a video with some of the most insightful tips for cruising. If you’re planning on taking a cruise, you want to make sure to check out these amazing tips Special thanks and shout out to the amazing influencers in this video: Emma CruisesGriff & AlyssaLia LavonTravelWithMeA Midlife GirlShannon AndersenTiffany DawnSheriTVThe Crazy Cruise LadyHappy Healthy Fit and Fabulous

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    Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns 2022

    Budget Travel was born from a simple idea: “Vacations for Real People.” Our audience (that’s you, by the way) is curious, discerning, intelligent, and down to earth. You want the best travel experience that money can buy, and you want to enjoy travel without the hassle. Our Coolest Small Towns in America series has been going strong for more years than we can count, and it reflects on a couple of our founding beliefs: you don’t need to break the bank to have a nice vacation, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We want to invite you to explore the possibility that your next transformative travel experience might be just around the corner. Maybe in your own state, or maybe a day’s ride from home. This year, we want to highlight the small towns that not a lot of people have heard about and have a strong and thriving community. Trends may come and go, destinations may fall in and out of fashion. But curiosity, discernment, and intelligence are always in style. Our 2022 Coolest Small Towns are spread across the country, so that you can Rediscover America. Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

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    Outdoor holiday celebrations around the United States

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, though things may not feel as festive this year thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The CDC recently released special guidelines for holiday travel and gatherings and officially recommends staying at home, celebrating with the people you live with and holding virtual get togethers. That said, there are still a few places around the U.S. where you can get into the holiday spirit outdoors and admire holiday decorations and lights from a socially distanced walking path. Here’s where to celebrate the holidays safely this year—just remember to book your tickets online ahead of time, wear a mask and stay at least six feet away from anyone outside your group while you’re there. Northeast New York City While getting a glimpse of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a little more complicated this year, it’s not impossible. First, you’ll need to scan a QR code with your smartphone when you arrive in Rockefeller Center. Then, as part of a new “virtual queuing” process, a text message will let you know what time to come back to one of the viewing entrances, where you’ll wait your turn on one of the social distancing markers. Be aware that groups are limited to four people at a time and once you reach the main viewing area, you’ll only have five minutes to take photos and have a look. Visit daily for free through early 2021. New Hampshire The 2.5-mile drive-through light show at the New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon features 400 different lighting displays with snow-covered mountains in the background. Woodstock, Vermont Celebrate the holidays Victorian style at Billings Farm & Museum, where you can try your hand at candle dipping, watch traditional holiday cooking demonstrations, create your own gingerbread ornaments—or just head straight to the onsite Dairy Bar for cider donuts—from December 19-24 and December 26 to January 3. Mid-Atlantic Maryland At Ocean City, Maryland's Winterfest of Lights guests must stay two meters apart while exploring zillions of sparkling holiday lights, animated light displays, and a 50-foot holiday tree on display along a paved path in Northside Park. The Annmarie Sculpture Garden is transformed into an outdoor wonderland until January 1st with many light sculptures of wild animals, winter wonderlands, musical holiday scenes, and magical beings. Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia The White House isn’t the only place in the nation's capital that’s getting in on the holiday spirit. Civilians can enjoy the undeniable festive energy in the District through New Year’s Day by visiting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The National Menorah will be lit throughout Hanukkah. Mask-wearing is mandatory at the Downtown Holiday Market on F Street NW between 7th and 9th Streets. Shop from more than 70 Black-owned and local businesses Tuesday through Saturday through December 23. About 25 minutes away in Vienna, Virginia, celebrate the season at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ Winter Walk of Lights. Stroll the one-way half-mile path full of holiday lights and festive decorations, admire the Fountains of Lights and watch as the “sing to me” tree’s lights dance along with all your favorite holiday tunes. Timed tickets must be purchased online ahead of time and are available on a limited basis, while the event takes place nightly through January 3. Roanoke, Virginia Treat yourselves to a lovely half-mile walk through the woods, toast marshmallows around the fire, shop for presents at the Artisan Christmas Market, donate canned goods to help others, meet Santa and his elves—he’ll be attending virtually December 21 and 22—and feast your eyes on more than 500,000 lights during the Illuminights Winter Walk of Lights at Explore Park. Purchase timed tickets online or by phone to access this event, which runs through December 23 and from December 26 to January 3. Virginia Beach, Virginia Head to Virginia Beach for a unique beach-themed holiday lights display. At the Holiday Lights at the Beach, you’ll drive on the Atlantic Ocean boardwalk that has been transformed into a nautical lights display, including a surfing Santa, until January 3. Southeast Aiken, South Carolina Enjoy more than two miles of beautifully lit paths with over 100,000 lights and holiday decorations at Christmas in Hopelands Gardens. This year, the colorful displays will be lit up all December long to help keep spirits bright. Admission is free so pay it forward and bring along some canned goods for those in need. Visit through December 23 and December 26-27 but dress warm, as shuttle service isn’t offered this year to allow for social distancing—you’ll need to park nearby at the Green Boundary Club and enter on foot. South Walton, Florida If you’re in the Florida panhandle, don’t miss 12 Nights of Lights at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, located about halfway between Pensacola and Panama City Beach in South Walton. Three free light shows happen every hour on the hour starting at 6 p.m. each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through Christmas and you can catch a complimentary concert Wednesday nights between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Houston, Texas Now through December 23 and from December 26-31, the Space Center in Houston is hosting Galaxy Lights, a technological holiday celebration featuring kinetic light shows, choreographed light and music sequences, an interactive light pad, a large light tunnel and the chance to see a film about astronauts celebrating the holidays in space, among other themed attractions. Galaxy Lights requires its own tickets, which can be purchased online, and takes about 90 minutes to fully enjoy. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee Dolly Parton’s Dollywood features an award-winning spectacle, set in the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. The festival features over 5 million lights, and even include fireworks this year. Midwest Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Visit the Tree of Light, a 55-foot silver maple tree decked out in 30,000 lights near the River Walk in Wisconsin Dells, now through mid-January. It’s the perfect time and place for a wintertime stroll, with special performances by the Wisconsin Dells High School Choir and Band or visits from Santa happening most evenings through December 26. Indiana It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the jolly ole fella’s namesake town—Santa Claus, Indiana! Get in on the holiday joy by driving through The Santa Claus Land of Lights show that depicts the story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer at the largest campground light show in North America. For more themed light displays cruise through The Christmas Lake Village Festival Lights on December 12th and 19th covering nine miles of residential light displays with houses decked out with baubles inspired by everything from The Grinch to polar bears. Cheyenne, Wyoming Celebrate the holiday season Western-style this year in Cheyenne, where you can get your letter to Santa stamped by an Elf and see the mail get picked up by a Pony Express rider, visit holiday horses at Santa’s Saloon and Stables, hear Cowboy Carolers sing and meet Mr. Claus by the fire at Kringle Ranch, part of an event by the Little America Hotel & Resort. Check the calendar for more Old West holiday festivities happening through December 31. West Sonoma County, California Cue that legendary piano music and celebrate trees of all shapes and sizes all December long at Windsor’s annual Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove. This year, more than 200 trees were decorated by neighborhood families, classes, small businesses and community groups for you to enjoy on a socially distanced stroll through Windsor Town Green. San Luis Obispo, California Don’t miss San Luis Obispo’s annual Light Up Downtown event, featuring outdoor photos with Santa, a socially distanced scavenger hunt, a holiday window contest among local businesses and an assortment of lit up Christmas trees and holiday scenes on display in Mission Plaza. Nevada The Polar Express in Carson City, Nevada drive-through lights experience is operating until Christmas Eve. The brilliant light show will feature Santa, Mrs. Claus, and dozens of elves busy at work as they prepare for Christmas. Guests are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday pajamas and bring hot chocolate as they travel through the North Pole experience. Hawai’i Get into the Mele Kalikimaka spirit at the 24th anniversary of Kauai’s Festival of Lights. The displays use recycled and reclaimed materials at the Historic County Building park and can be enjoyed until New Year’s Day. Millions of colorful lights illuminate the park’s looming coconut palm trees wrapped in colorful lights as well as upcycled decorations including aluminum can flowers and water bottle butterflies. Arizona Make the best of the holidays at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. The gardens offer a dash of holiday magic with 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags and thousands of white twinkle lights. Las Noches de las Luminarias includes pre-recorded carols to enjoy during the experience. Guests can capture memories with a touchless, complimentary virtual photo booth experience with options of photos, GIFs, or Boomerangs. In Lake Havasu City experience London Bridge Resort's Festival of Lights—the Bridgewater Channel is lit up with over 500,000 lights that set the water aglow and spark the holiday spirit.

    Inspiration

    You can now book the Home Alone house on Airbnb

    This season, fans are set to have their dreams come true with an overnight stay in the original Home Alone house. While the McCallisters are away on their annual trip (all of them but the pet tarantula, this time), four guests will get the opportunity to relive their favorite scenes from the holiday classic and let their inner eight-year-olds run free for the evening without the interruption of pesky intruders. Big brother Buzz McCallister will join thousands of Hosts on Airbnb by opening the doors to his family’s Chicago home as the ultimate gift this month. Following the release of Home Sweet Home Alone, the all-new holiday film now streaming on Disney+, this Airbnb stay offers a trip down memory lane and an unforgettable way to celebrate the holidays. “You may not remember me as particularly accommodating,” says Buzz, “but I’ve grown up, and I’d be happy to share my family home – my pizza, even – with you this holiday season. Just try not to let my tarantula, Axl, loose this time.” Buzz will host a one-night stay* for up to four guests at the McCallister residence on Dec. 12 for only $25**. During their stay, guests will enjoy: A cozy holiday scene with twinkling lights and a perfectly trimmed tree in celebration of the season.Booby traps galore (but don’t worry – you’ll be setting them, not sidestepping them!).Surprisingly searing splashes of aftershave and ample opportunity to scream into the mirror.All the ‘90s favorites their hearts desire, including plenty of Chicago’s finest pizza and a candlelit dinner of microwavable Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.A meet and greet with a real-life tarantula. A viewing of the film franchise’s newest holiday adventure, Home Sweet Home Alone.A LEGO Ideas Home Alone set to take and build at home. “We may all be older and wiser now, but we’re never too old for holiday hijinks,” Buzz said. “So this year, spend the holidays not-so-home-alone at my parents’ house.” Those hoping to stay in the McCallister home should note that this stay’s rules require strict adherence with local COVID-19 guidelines. Onsite staff will follow applicable local, state and federal guidelines as well as Airbnb’s COVID-19 Safety Practices, which include wearing a mask and practicing social distancing when required by local laws or guidelines, and abiding by our five-step enhanced cleaning process. Guests are responsible for their own travel to and from Chicago. Mischief makers can request to book this stay beginning Tuesday, December 7 at 1:00 PM CT at airbnb.com/homealone.

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    Affordable American Winter Beach Escapes

    When the mercury drops a little too much and the snow piles up a little too high, it’s time for a winter escape. We’ve rounded up some of America’s finest winter beaches, each with its own distinct flavor at a price that’s right. THE GEORGIA COAST When it comes to warm beaches, great price, and convenience, Georgia should spring to mind this time of year. The barrier islands of the state’s southern coast offer some of the best stretches of sand, great weather, and the welcoming vibe every vacationer craves. We love St. Simons Island for its incredible white-sand beaches, history, and ample golf courses, but we also love that the best way to get around the island may be on a rented beach cruiser bike, giving you the opportunity to leave your car behind and truly disconnect from all the stuff you went on vacation to escape. Points of interest on the island include a charming lighthouse, a 19th-century church, and ancient oak trees with their distinctive moss drapery. Grab a plate of shrimp and grits at Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill and grab an affordable room (well under $150/night) at the Village Inn & Pub and other hotels on the island. To learn more about St. Simons Island, visit exploregeorgia.org. An easy day trip from St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island is relatively wild (more than 60 percent of its land is protected from development) and home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Georgia. Just drive back to the mainland from St. Simons and over the bridge to Jekyll, where you’ll find 10 miles of beach (including favorites Driftwood and Glory), the 250-acre Historic Landmark District, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a water park, and four golf courses. To learn more about Jekyll Island, visit exploregeorgia.org. Tybee Island is a 20-minute drive from Savannah, making it one of the most convenient winter escapes in the U.S., not to mention one of the most affordable. Here, you’ll find classic beach activities like a boardwalk, pier, and souvenir shops, low-key restaurants like the Crab Shack (yu must try the steamed oysters and Low Country boil with shrimp, sausage, and potatoes), and comfy motels, the beachfront Hotel Tybee (well under $150/night) and others. What’s not to love? Don’t miss the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, a 270-year-old site with historic buildings that visitors can tour and the Civil War-era Fort Pulaski National Monument on nearby Cockspur Island. To learn more about Tybee Island, visit exploregeorgia.org. MOLOKAI, HAWAII No traffic lights. No resorts. The world’s highest sea cliffs. Volcanoes (don’t worry they’re extinct). If you can’t relax on Molokai, the least-visited of the major Hawaiian islands, it’s possible you’re just not trying hard enough. Seek out the gold sand of Papohaku beach, visit the island’s biggest town (a whopping 7,000 people live there), and head to downtown Kaunakakai for local Hawaiian favorites such as mahi-mahi. CATALINA ISLAND, CALIFORNIA For anyone who has visited Los Angeles and complained about the traffic (aka, everyone): We love the fact that cars aren’t allowed on Catalina, just 22 miles off the Southern California coast, unless you count golf carts, which you can rent if you really need to. Yes, this is a place to really get away from it all. After the 90-minute ferry ride, you’ll enter another world, where bicycles are the best way to get around, and exploring the island’s interior in search of birds (you may even see a bald eagle), is one of the prime activities. The town of Avalon is where you’ll find charming shops, restaurants, and affordable lodging. PUERTO RICO Besides being a quick flight from many U.S. cities, no passport required, Puerto Rico can also use your help: Tourism dollars help fund the island’s recovery from hurricane damage sustained in 2017. You’ll love the beaches, great food, and natural beauty, typified by El Yunque National Forest, a rainforest (bring a poncho!), perfect for a half- or full-day guided tour of sites such as La Coca Falls and the Yokahu Lookout Tower. Feast on traditional local fare such as arepas and plantains, washed down with a pina colada (the drink was invented in Puerto Rico in the 1950s), and tour charming Old San Juan, one of the oldest and most historic city centers in the U.S. For great views, visit El Morro National Monument, a 16th-century Spanish colonial fort that offers some of the most Instagrammable moments in the Caribbean. ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS The easternmost point in the United States is in the Caribbean, in the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix may be small as far as islands go, but when it comes to winter getaways, it sure reminds you that good things come in small packages, with great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, eating Caribbean favorites such as conch and snapper, and acres of golf for those who define “vacation” as time on the links. We love historic Christiansted, where you’ll find reliable hotels and restaurants at good prices.

    InspirationRediscover AmericaTravel Tips

    Most affordable destinations for New Years Eve 2022

    Priceline.com has released a list of the most affordable NYE destinations around the USA. *Based on average round-trip ticket costs and average daily hotel rates for travel anytime between December 17, 2021 - January 1, 2022. Most affordable round trip flights Times Square in NYC. Credit: schalkm, Getty Images 1. New York ($312) The ball drop in Times Square is a rite of passage, and Manhattan tends to go all out for new years eve festivities. 2. Las Vegas ($314) Vegas throws great parties! Our recommendation for NYE is this affordable 80s and 90s dance party on Fremont Street (must be 21+). Buy tickets here. 3. Fort Lauderdale ($317) Celebrate the new year in downtown Fort Lauderdale, which will have a band, free street festival, and a brilliant fireworks display at midnight. 4. Chicago ($319) Chicago has a new year's party for everyone. We count almost 30 different options for you to celebrate on the official city website, ChooseChicago. 5. Atlanta ($326) Atlanta celebrates the new year with a college football bonanza. Check out the Chic-fil-a Peach Bowl, and then celebrate your favorite team into next year. Most affordable hotels Credit: Sean Pavone, Getty Images 1. Las Vegas ($130) Say what you want about Vegas, it knows how to throw a party! Our recommendation? Dance the night away and then find a cheap hotel off the strip. Travelers can find great deals in Las Vegas on Priceline.com. 2. Pigeon Forge ($139) Pigeon Forge's Winterfest is a great family-friendly place to ring in the new year. The city puts up over 5 million lights to create a winter wonderland, as well as a fireworks display at midnight. 3. Washington, D.C. ($140) DC has a new year's party for every style and price range. Check out the list of great parties by clicking here. 4. Kissimmee, FL ($145) The Orlando area theme parks are a fabulous experience around the holidays, and several are staying open until midnight to ring in the new year, including Disney World's Epcot and Magic Kingdom. 5. Houston ($146) Houston has tons of family-friendly events to ring in the New Year. Our favorite is the High Noon Countdown at the Woodland Children's Museum on December 31. Celebrate with a dance party and several balloon drops, then get the kids home for bedtime! Check out Priceline's Season of Savings event - 6 weeks of rotating weekly deals on all types of travel. Travelers can save up to $625 on packaged bookings with extra discounts on select hotels in Las Vegas, Orlando, Mexico, and Hawaii including The Venetian Resort (LV), Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton (LV), B Resort and Spa (Orlando, an official Walt Disney World Resort), Sheraton Waikiki (HI), Secrets The Vine Cancun Resort & Spa (MX, All-Inclusive and Adults Only), and more. All bookings must be made by Sunday, December 5, with travel to occur throughout 2022 (see website for exact details and terms as travel dates vary by hotel to receive additional savings). Be sure to check out Priceline.com to check out the deal of the week which is unveiled on Monday each week through January 3, 2022.

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