Month: April 2013

Christine’s Corner – Family Friendly Memorial Day Destinations

Looking to do something a little different for Memorial Day weekend this year? If you want to get away from the typical Miami and Vegas party scene you may want to try visiting a few of these family friendly destinations. Based on searches for Memorial Day weekend this year, I’ve compiled 5 travel destinations that saw some of the highest year over year increases in flight searches. So if you’re still not sure about what you’re going to do to celebrate, here are a few tips on where to go and what to do.

  Washington, D.C.

  

As you might guess, D.C. is the most patriotic place to celebrate the holiday, with events such as the National Memorial Day parade and special military ceremonies. There’s so many thing to do while visiting D.C. Make sure to see the National Mall located between the Capitol, Washington Monument, White House, and Lincoln Memorial the National Mall is a 2-mile walking park with memorial and monuments including The Smithsonian museums, Capitol Hill and the National Monument. DC also has many large parks offering walking, hiking, and sportsfields. Near the Mall are Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, the National Arboretum, Meridian Hill Park and the C&O Canal Towpath. Rock Creek with the Anacostia River is full of deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, birds, and a few coyotes.

Sarasota Springs NY

Sarasota Springs NY

Saratoga Springs, NY, saw an 804% year-over-year increase in flight searches, which may be largely in part due to the Saratoga 150, a five-month long celebration of the 150 years of horse racing at Saratoga Race Course and Dave Matthews Band’s regular summer show at SPAC. Saratoga Springs is known as the Spa City for it’s numerous luxury spas. Travelers can also enjoy music festivals, parks, horse shows, NYC day trips and waterfront festivals.

 Austin, TX

TX timeshare hot list

Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin doesn’t disappoint, with a plethora of free outdoor music concert series, like Blues on the Green and Unplugged at the Grove. In fact , there’s a music festival every month in Austin, highlighting any one of several genres and ethnic sounds, such as Brazilian and Latino sounds at the Carnaval Brasileiro or Latino Music Month, respectively. Once you’re done, you can cool off with a dip into Barton Springs, a 68-degree swimming hole. Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to enjoy boating season and outdoor fun. At sunset, you can watch millions of bats take flight from the Congress Avenue Bridge.

Denver, CO

17034

Fine art and pop culture descend on the Rockies over Memorial Day weekend. The Downtown Denver Arts Festival kicks off its 15th year on Friday, May 24, hosting more than 135 local artists from all over the state. The free festival lasts all weekend at Denver Pavilions, and everything from 3D mixed media to jewelry to photography will be featured. Known as “The Mile High City”, Denver has a flourishing outdoor and brewpub culture.  There is skiing, biking and rafting. The city is absolutely beautiful and is located by the Rocky Mountains and several National Parks.

Nashville, TN

nashville

Celebrate Memorial Day in Nashville TN. Downtown Nashville has a variety of entertainment, dining, and attractions.  With over 99 public parks such as Public Square and Riverfront Park there’s so much to do. Tennessee State Museum, State Capitol and The Hermitage along with several Civil War sites and battle forts are popular attractions in the city. Warner Parks has hiking and horseback ridging trails. This park is home the annual Iroquois Steeplechase.  Fishing, waterskiing, sailing and boating is popular at Old Hickory Lake and Percy Priest Lake. Also in the area are the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art and other museums. There will be several concerts, music festivals and cookouts this Memorial Day weekend so be on the look out.

Destination Spotlight – Hawaii

The State of Hawaii is a highly desirable and popular vacation destination. It has grown tremendously popular among family travel. Hawaii is the northernmost island of Polynesia, the southernmost state and the only state made of only islands in the US.  Located in the central Pacific Ocean, Hawaii’s tropical climate attracts tourists, surfers, biologists and volcanologists. Hawaii is known for sugarcane and pineapple production. Both Hawaiian and English are spoken languages. Hawaii has North American and Asian influences contributing to the exciting local culture.

Panorama13

The Hawaiian Island chain has hundreds of islands.  The eight main islands are O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’I, Lana’i and Hawaii or “The Big Island”. Hawaii attracts over 7.6 million visitors yearly.  The islands were formed from underwater volcanoes and are still active volcano beds.

Hawaii’s beaches stretch 750 miles which consist of black, yellow and white sand. Swimming, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities in the Islands. The archipelago has coral reefs including conservation areas Waikiki Beach, Hanauma Bay and Hulopoe Bay. Submarine tours are offered through companies like Atlantis Submarine. On the Big Island many of the volcanoes have hiking trails. Volcano, Kilauea has oozing red-hot lava that can be viewed up close.  The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii offers guided hiking. Best hiking spots include Diamond Head, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park. Hawaii has breathtaking waterfalls such as Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls, Oheo Gulch and Opaekaa Falls. Whale watching by boat, inflatable or catamaran tours is another wonder Hawaii offers. Hawaii is the sportfishing capital of the world and there are many outfitters. Mule rides are specially popular in the Kalaupapa National Historic Park. Helicopter tours in Hawaii are the best way to view the surreal landscape.

Visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. There are many botanical gardens to tour. The Bishop Museum and the Halekulani’s House Without a Key offer Hula dance performances daily. On Kohala Coast is Mookini Helau the oldest and most sacred temple in Hawaii.

Dining on Hawaii includes mangos, pineapples, other local ingredients and several Asian inspired dishes. Recommended spots are Roy’s Restaurant and Pineapple Grill. The Luau, a Hawaiian dance celebration and feast, are all over the islands, including the “Haleo” at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa and Island Breeze Productions, The Royal Luau at The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and Sheraton Kauai Resort’s Surf to Sunset Oceanfront Luau.

The main Islands have luxury hotels, all-inclusive resorts and vacation rentals. Main resorts on Oahu include Spa Suites at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, Spa Luana at Turtle Bay Resort, Ihilani Spa at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort; on Hawaii, Hualalai Sports Club & Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu and Kohala Sports Club & Spa at the Hilton Waikoloa Village; Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa Moana at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort on Maui and ANARA Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort on Kauai.

Each main Island has a state highway encircling it and a public bus system. The Honolulu International Airport is the main Hawaiian airport. There are airports on all main islands including Kona International Airport and Hilo International. The Hawaii Superferry operates between the islands. Cruise lines arrive regularly in Hawaii making this destination a mecca for family travel.