Travel News

Once we got that hint of sunny weather earlier this week, it became official: we’ve got the beach bug. Nothing ushers in warmer temperatures (at least in our minds) like frolicking in the sand, and a trip to the shore can be the perfect way to get the family together. We’ve told you about the best beaches for diving, surfing, and even going topless, so this time around we’re giving you the low-down on the best beaches for families; if you have babies in tow or water-winged toddlers, these seven U.S. beaches are our top picks for a family-friendly visit.

La Jolla Cove, San Diego

La Jolla

An upscale seaside sanctuary, La Jolla attracts families with its pristine downtown area, quiet neighborhoods, and stunning natural surroundings. While the town boasts plenty of surfer-friendly beaches, La Jolla Cove is ideal for tourists traveling with little ones; this small cove of clear water is part of the La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, and swimmers and divers have free range (surfing is not allowed). Lifeguards patrol the calm surf year-round, and the beach boasts clean public restrooms and showers, as well as designated picnic spots.

Where to Stay: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

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March is the unofficial month of spring break, which — at least to hundreds of thousands of college students across the nation — means it’s a 30-day stretch of time dedicated to partying, preferably in exotic locales around the world. We’ve already given you the inside scoop on where to spend an awesome alternative spring break, but if you’re looking to get the classic (read: raucous) spring break fix, here are the top ten spring break destinations for partying.

Where to go: Cancun

cancun

Cancun — with its beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters – is one of the world’s top beach destinations, and it also one of the most-visited spring break destinations on the planet. The Hotel Zone is where to go if you’re looking for all the college spring break staples; dozens of megaresorts line miles and miles of postcard-perfect beaches where guests lounge in the sun margarita in hand. Hotels here cater to spring breakers, hard partiers, young couples and rowdy groups with night-long parties, loud entertainment, cheap booze and all-inclusive plans.

Where to stay: Hotel Riu Cancun

In the heart of the Hotel Zone, Hotel Riu Cancun sits on a sprawling piece of beachfront that’s close to bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and shops. The all-inclusive 569-room resort offers three swimming pools, a buffet-style restaurant, as well as three themed restaurants, and a range of on-site activities that includes nightly live shows, tennis, windsurfing, and a nightclub. Rooms are a bit outdated, but most consider it a small tradeoff for the affordable prices.

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If you’re like us, you’re ready for this freezing weather — courtesy of the polar vortex — to be over. In fact, you’ve been ready for weeks now. And though the groundhog may not have predicted a quick return to warm weather, that hasn’t stopped cities across the U.S. from making plans to usher in the spring, which makes its official entrance March 20. From Atlanta to Los Angeles, from Vermont to Savannah, popular vacation destinations are already prepping for the season’s welcome with spring-themed festivals, parades, and parties. Here are seven destinations where you can celebrate spring.

Los Angeles, CA: Holi Festival of Colors, March 8

Traditionally a religious Hindu festival marking the beginning of spring, Holi has become a holiday celebrated around the globe by Hindu followers and non-followers alike, and few places stateside do the day justice like Los Angeles. This year, the festival takes place in L.A. on March 8 and includes group yoga sessions, musical performances, food vendors, and even “color throwings” ever hour. Dubbed by many as “the world’s happiest event,” Holi is all about reveling in the vibrant colors of spring.

Where to Stay: The Georgian Hotel

A picturesque Art Deco boutique hotel with a commanding view of the sea (from the sunny front porch, but not all rooms), the Georgian is a classy retreat with lovely rooms and a prime location on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. On-site amenities, however, are few. You’ll have to  drive to the festival, but when the festival is over, we recommend staying near the beach in Santa Monica to catch some rays.

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Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your loved one, but that can be hard to do in a crowded resort where dozens of other couples are trying to do the same thing. If you’re planning a special getaway for the holiday, however, there are still plenty of spots where you won’t need to worry about a lack of privacy. We’ve found nine romantic hotels that are not only super sexy but uber secluded, making it easy for quiet one-on-one time with your significant other.

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana

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Couples will realize just how wonderfully secluded this 96-suite getaway really is during the hour drive from the airport down a bumpy road. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by giant rooms with gorgeous terraces, a top-notch spa, and four high-quality restaurants, all of which are never packed with diners like those at some of the D.R.’s megaresorts. The on-site beach is private which helps to keep it quiet and calm, and couples can indulge in a vast variety of free activities such as yoga and snorkeling.

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Europe is a popular destination year-round, and it becomes all the more popular as the temperatures rise and students and families opt to travel abroad during their spring and summer vacations. Those who have an extended amount of time off (and, of course, the cash to afford it) can visit numerous cities during one trip, but others with limited time and funds must decide upon one location — which can be a tricky feat. So we’ve come up with an expert guide for how to spend six months in Europe; whether you can take half a year and explore a handful of cities, or you have just a weekend in which to get away, we’ll tell you the best European destination for each month — starting right now with February!

February in Venice

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Venice’s Carnival is one of the most famous festivals in the world, and every February locals and tourists crowd the streets of the city to let loose before Lent begins. This year the celebration kicks off on February 15th and runs for two and a half weeks; parades, contests, special exhibits, and ceremonies take place along the Grand Canal.

Where to Stay: Hotel Al Sole

This boutique hotel may have simple — verging on bland — rooms, but canal views, a charming courtyard, and a great location — the hotel is housed in a 15th-century mansion within walking distance of numerous sights — make Hotel Al Sole a solid pick.

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It’s a tradition to wine and dine your significant other on Valentine’s Day for a reason; after all, the way to a man’s heart (and many women’s as well) is through his stomach, and a candlelit meal with plenty of tasty treats and booze can be just the thing to kick off a romantic evening. With the amorous holiday falling on a Friday this year, there’s even more reason to celebrate in style, as plenty of delicious hotel restaurants are featuring special menus for the occasion. Here are the seven most romantic hotel restaurants across the U.S. for this Valentine’s Day.

Cleo at The Redbury at Hollywood and Vine, Los Angeles

redbury Aptly located at Hollywood and Vine, the Redbury is an eclectic boutique hotel that attracts a young, and sometimes famous, clientele. Along with the spacious, apartment-style rooms, the on-site Mediterranean restaurant, Cleo, is a major draw; the warm, cozy space serves tasty small plates and signature cocktails. For Valentine’s Day the restaurant is offering a prix fixe menu at $65 per person which includes mezze for the table followed by a choice of second course and entree. Dessert is a sexy flourless chocolate cake with roasted banana, chocolate parfait, and chili doughnuts.

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A romantic date is a requirement on Valentine’s Day if you’re in a relationship, but if you really want to impress your significant other, a lovely weekend getaway is just the ticket. And with February 14th falling on the Friday of President’s Day weekend this year, its the perfect time to escape with your honey. So if you need a little inspiration for where to go and stay, check out the five most romantic hotel rooms we’ve ever seen. These will be sure to fire up some love (and lust!) for the holiday!

Junior Suite at Eden Roc, Cap Cana; Dominican Republic

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A nice beach can make a vacation, and there really doesn’t have to be much more to it than soft sand, clean water, and plenty of space to spread a towel. But a truly special beach is harder to come by; it has to have that little something extra that makes it — and your vacation — one-of-a-kind. Here are seven beaches around the world that wowed us.

Bioluminescent Bay; Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico

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A national natural landmark, Bioluminescent Bay (also know, much less prettily, as Mosquito Bay) glows a breathtaking neon blue. A tiny micro-organism that sparkles when disturbed gives the bay its beautiful luminescence, and many tours take kayakers and divers out at night to watch the waters glow.

Where to Stay: W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island

This hotel has the modern, funky feel of the W brand with a tropical twist — it’s right on it’s own private beach, the lobby and rooms feature bright colors and concrete floors, and the infinity pool overlooking the ocean has a pool bar serving up poolside drinks and meals.

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Winter can start to drag once January hits, so many travelers choose to escape the seemingly inescapable cold by jetting off to the Caribbean and sunny destinations down south. We won’t pretend that a balmy beach doesn’t sound nice right about now, particularly after the all-powerful (and all-freezing) polar vortex, but there is something to be said for taking advantage of the snow and making for the slopes. And fortunately, with dozens of amazing ski destinations around the globe, there’s a mountain resort that will have everything you’re pining for, no matter your style. So whether you’re feeling inspired by the upcoming Winter Olympics, or you simply need a ski spot for MLK weekend, here are six great ski destinations to suit different types of skiers.

For the Adrenaline Junkies: Whistler, British Columbia

The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler

If you’re looking to really get your heart pumping, Whistler is a great option. Development in the late 1900s built this tiny logging town into the full-scale ski resort that it is today, complete with uber-challenging slopes and fear-inducing activities such as heli-skiing. Whistler’s Blackcomb mountain is known for having some of the steepest and most difficult runs in the world.

Stay: The Westin Resort & Spa

This upscale hotel attracts families and couples alike with its spacious rooms, gorgeous views, and prime location just steps from Whistler’s Village Stroll.

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View from the Pool Terrace at the Grand Hotel Minerva, FlorenceIf asked to picture a postcard version of Florence, the views from the Grand Hotel Minerva are most likely what would come to mind. The lovely rooftop pool and terrace offer up some of the most picturesque views in the city, and many rooms have balconies offering similarly excellent outlooks (most balconies have great views of the Santa Maria Novella Plaza, and those on higher floors have spectacular views of Florence’s skyline). All rooms and suites are spacious, with high ceilings and elegant furniture, and bathrooms are modern (if a little tight). The hotel’s central location, high-end restaurant, and regal historic ambiance make it easy to justify the splurge. Read More »

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