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U.S. Travel


In the Sierra Nevada, an escape to the past

When I was a child, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was my annual escape from hatchet-faced bullies, geome-try quizzes and Los Angeles County smog.


What the State Dept. lifting blanket international travel advisory means for Americans

The State Department has lifted its blanket Level 4 international travel advisory, prompting many Americans to wonder, "Does that mean I can travel abroad again?" Not really.


Visitors can count on predictability of Old Faithful, beauty of Yellowstone

We arrived at the Old Faithful Lodge 10 minutes too early. As the front desk scrambled June 8 to open for Yellowstone National Park’s 2020 summer season, the list of predictable geyser eruptions wasn’t quite ready.

In Maine, businesses offer pay-what-you-can promotions to locals as restrictions keep tourists away

Tourism in Maine typically sees an uptick this time of year. But with a mandated two-week self-quarantine for those visiting or returning to the state, it has seen an uptick in cancellations instead. The shortfall has prompted some of the state’s businesses to offer a pay-what-you-can promotion for locals. Acadia Yurts and Wellness Center, a luxury glamping destination just outside the gates of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, is one of them.


A long-ago trek on the Pacific Crest Trail is helping me survive in quarantine

When I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in the ’90s, a rattlesnake struck at my ankles, missing by millimeters.


Florida’s Grayton Beach named the best beach in the country

The sand along the coast of Grayton Beach State Park is so unique, some say it speaks to you. It’s compared to sugar, and is so white it’s almost blinding in bright sunlight. It’s a large reason the beach was picked as the best in the United States by Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, who has been ranking the nation’s beaches for 30 years.

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  • Pandemic changes the rhythms, routines of summertime in Washington, DC

    The coronavirus pandemic, which began its devastation just as spring arrived, now presents the region with a ruined summer season — devoid of many traditions, fraught with parental headaches and filled with uncertainty.


  • When you’ve had it with COVID-19 isolation, these camper vans are ready for vacation

    This was to be the year of expansion to Orlando for Ondevan, a camper van rental dream-turned-business for Hallandale Beach residents Omar Bendezu, 34, and Haley Kirk, 28.


  • Care and feeding of animals at Disney’s (closed) Animal Kingdom

    It can be fun to daydream about animals taking over Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park while it’s closed. Maybe lions would venture off their rock at the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction for a new sunny spot or the bats would go crazy or the elephants would take a dip near the “Rivers of Light” amphitheater. Or maybe they’d make a break for it over to Epcot. You know, just a bunch of mammals, blowing off steam in the coronavirus era.


  • Tourist-dependent Solvang struggles through coronavirus stay-home orders in California

    With his wire-rim glasses, burly build and shock of alabaster hair tucked into a bike helmet, Chuck Stacy looked a little like Santa Claus on vacation as he pedaled through Solvang's quaint business district last week.


  • All the cool things you can see on national park webcams (including Old Faithful eruptions)

    Every April the National Park Service reminds us about the beauty and value of America’s national parks. With most parks in the West and elsewhere closed to visitors, what’s there to celebrate during this year’s National Park Week?


  • The Appalachian Trail has closed due to the pandemic, forcing hikers to head home

    When Alexandra Eagle first mentioned plans to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alongside her new husband, her sister told her they’d either be divorced in five months or married forever.


  • Zoos are closed, but the animals still need care

    Across the country, zoos and aquariums have closed to the public amid widespread efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The shutdowns have allowed for delightful videos of penguins marching around empty parks, but they haven't stopped work at the facilities.


  • Many national parks remain open during outbreak

    Many American national parks are remaining open amid the coronavirus outbreak to serve as a refuge for those who feel stuck at home. Though there are many restrictions, national parks can still be enjoyed by those who want to get some fresh air and exercise.


  • The Walt Disney Archives are shaping the culture of tomorrow. Ask Marvel’s Kevin Feige

    The Walt Disney Co. likes to say that Disneyland is not a museum — a phrase invoked whenever a beloved attraction undergoes a change that fans view as particularly painful. And yet there are most certainly aspects of Disneyland worthy of museum placement, and even times that Disney parks have acted like museums themselves.


  • River cruising in America is growing among boomers, but many still don't know about it

    Diana and David Carlson have traveled around the world over the years: Egypt, South Africa, China, Prague, Berlin and more. "My husband's getting to the point where he says, 'I just don't like those long plane trips,'" says Diana Carlson, 73. That's fine with her. "I say, 'OK, we'll go on the boat again.' I'll go on it as often as I can."


  • Florida's Venice has warm springs, shark teeth and more

    There's an oasis where people from around the world come to soak in warm mineral springs, where locals and tourists alike search for shark teeth on the beach and perhaps kayak into the sunset alongside friendly dolphins.


  • How to explore the best of Puerto Rico and make a difference, too

    I landed in San Juan on Jan. 8, just 36 hours after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico. It was followed by a series of smaller earthquakes and aftershocks that killed at least one person and rocked the south side of the island.


  • Las Vegas: What you will (and one thing you won't) miss in 2020

    Las Vegas is all about the new, but some places disappear, fading away quietly or exiting with a bang. Travelers who have a favorite dining spot in Vegas would do well to check in at Eater Las Vegas' comprehensive list of 2019 restaurant closures.


  • No-drama llamas: Therapy animals are coming to a Portland, Ore., hotel for the holidays

    The holiday season is fraught with cliches (albeit cliches we love). Everywhere you turn, you see the same lights, hear the same songs and drink the same eggnog. And then there’s Portland, Ore., a city so unique that it got its own show ("Portlandia") to lampoon its many quirks. You can now add this to the list: festively dressed therapy llamas in a hotel lobby.


  • 'Uphill skiing' is gaining ground among winter sports enthusiasts

    Once a fringe activity — and even banned at most North American resorts — "skinning" uphill is among the fastest-growing winter sports, according to Snowsports Industries America.


  • Fall colors are on display across the land. Here's how it works.

    Some areas of the country are more likely to experience those bright red and orange leaves than others. New England is a perennial fall destination because of its abundance of tree species contributing bright colors.


  • Where is 'Kokomo'? People are still searching for The Beach Boys' tropical island getaway

    You know the catchy, relaxing lyrics: "Off the Florida Keys, there's a place called Kokomo," goes the 1988 hit by The Beach Boys. Three decades later, people are still wondering, where is Kokomo?


  • Kentucky’s underground rock star: Mammoth Cave National Park

    Weeks before I actually headed to Mammoth Cave National Park for a weekend trip, and a day after I’d booked several guided cave tours, I encircled my chest with a tape measure. I was relieved to confirm I’d be an OK fit -- quite literally, if just barely -- for the Wild Cave Tour, the longest, most intensive cave tour offered at the Kentucky park.


  • Nine tips to keep friendships intact while vacationing with pals

    In theory, a vacation with close friends — known as a friendcation — sounds like a great idea. But while you might enjoy someone's company over dinner, on the tennis court or while cheering on children from the soccer sidelines, a getaway with the same person or people could be a recipe for disaster.


  • 6 tips for scoring housesitting gigs that will let you travel the world

    In the past four years, Toni and Peter Farmer have visited France, England, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Switzerland and Australia, as well as a number of cities in the United States. For the most part, they haven’t paid a dime for accommodations. That’s because the two decided, in their retirement, to become housesitters.


  • Light stations offer accommodations to travelers across the country

    According to the U.S. Lighthouse Society (USLHS), a nonprofit organization that helps preserve these landmarks and their legacies, about 70 are available for lodging in 18 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.


  • Why women-only adventure travel is surging

    Registrations for REI's women-specific travel adventures — which launched two years ago — more than doubled from 2018 to 2019. Women are experiencing the world like never before — and in the company of other women.


  • Hate on the Hudson (Yards): How bad can it be?

    If you listen to New York media, the gaping maw of hell is a neighborhood just south of its kitchen. Hudson Yards is the "Horror on the Hudson," a "real estate grift" with buildings that are "pointy and shiny and pointless." It has the Vessel, a Thomas Heatherwick architectural sculpture that is a "gaudy monument," that "looks like an unfortunate misshapen thing produced by your 10-year-old at summer camp, except it cost $200 million," and has been nicknamed "The Wastebasket." It has a shiny new mall, "a shopping centre as prosaic as they come."


  • Tank America in Melbourne, Fla., offers a 17-ton tank-driving adventure

    There I found myself, in the jungle, in a situation I never thought I’d find myself in: Surrounded by signs of impending danger, sitting in control of a 17-ton tank and covered from head to toe in brown, gooey mud. But it was by my own free will that I put myself in this situation at Tank America in Melbourne, Fla.


  • Tasty, fun and cheap: It's easy to see why Wisconsin is hooked on Friday fish fries

    In America's Dairyland, folks have about as much love for their Friday fish fries as they do for the Packers, cheese and beer. And leading the cheering squad -- for the fish, not the football -- is a Milwaukee guy named Caleb Westphal. "I have eaten a fish fry every Friday night for at least 279 weeks," Westphal said in an email in mid-May, meaning the number of consecutive weeks has likely grown by a few. He started keeping track in early 2014 but said that his streak actually extends back to the summer of 2013.


  • On Nevada’s Electric Highway in a Tesla, a Wild West ethos versus a techie future

    We were taking a smarty-pants car through honky-tonky country -- Reno to Las Vegas. Our route: U.S. 95, Nevada’s Electric Highway, a mostly two-lane road that has been peppered with charging stations to meet the growing demand of electric vehicles, or EVs.


  • 2019 Florida Theme Park Guide

    A look at everything new coming to Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens ... and more

    Every theme park in Florida has a significant new attraction opening this summer, and most involve walking into the worlds of your favorite fictional characters.


  • How much are people willing to spend at theme parks? More every year

    The pull of the new Star Wars land, Harry Potter and wild coasters at Busch Gardens has guests willing to overlook constant price hikes.


  • Wooing visitors to Star Wars land is easy. But shooing them?

    "Star Wars" fans have spent years waiting for Disneyland to let them enter a galaxy far, far away. How then does the Magic Kingdom get them to leave? Disneyland's May 31 launch of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will test the park's efforts to open a highly anticipated expansion without the crushing crowds, frustration and chaos that can accompany a new attraction.


  • The best times to visit DC's monuments and memorials on the National Mall

    With so many people jostling for space in the strip of green running between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the key to an enjoyable visit is finding the right time to go.


  • A closer look at Kennedy Space Center’s immersive Astronaut Training Experience

    If you’ve ever wondered what the process of becoming an astronaut is like, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex now has an experience that puts visitors in the shoes of a space explorer in training.


  • The reimagination of San Diego's iconic Hotel del Coronado

    San Diego's Hotel del Coronado is a legendary property, one that has hosted a long list of presidents over the years and even served as the backdrop for Marilyn Monroe's "Some Like it Hot." The iconic property is synonymous with luxury and elegance. But even the most revered hotels need a facelift now and then.


  • Beyond Yosemite: State parks to seek out off the beaten vacation path

    The government shutdown earlier this year brought with it many hardships for millions of Americans who depended on those missing pay checks to feed and clothe their families. On a less drastic note, it also brought -- among a laundry list of other things -- the closure of the country's national parks.


  • A backcountry refuge in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Somewhere along the precipitous gravel road that leads to the Cataloochee Valley, a sign looms large. "No cellphone service." For hyper-connected, news-addicted individuals such as ourselves, this could have caused panic. But on this humid summer day, we tried not to bat an eye. Our mission? Escape Parisian civilization for a few days ... on the densely populated East Coast of the United States.


  • Legoland: Walk where the actors walked in 'Lego Movie 2' set

    Fans of all things Lego may have already seen the recently released "Lego Movie 2," but for a more up-close experience, Legoland enlisted its master builders to bring a part of the movie directly to the theme park. Visitors to the Carlsbad, Calif., park can now experience key scenes from the film at the new Lego Movie 2 Experience, which re-creates a set from the film.


  • Paintings of the Obamas bring a million more people to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

    WASHINGTON -- Justin Philip was back in line for the second time that day, waiting for another chance to snap a selfie with Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Barack Obama.


  • Some stops on a black history tour of Philadelphia

    This year’s Black History Month is nearing its end, but that’s not a reason to stop celebrating. Many of Philadelphia’s historical markers honor influential African Americans and their achievements 365 days a year.


  • Migrating birds of prey draw visitors to the Florida Keys

    Luis Gles and two other experienced birders count raptors as part of the Florida Keys Hawkwatch, an annual census of migrating birds of prey. For the past 12 years, Curry Hammock State Park on Little Crawl Key has hosted this Hawkwatch, one of more than 100 fall ones conducted around the country in collaboration with the Hawk Migration Association of North America.


  • 'You can’t go home again': A one-time Denver local confronts a gentrifying city

    I used to think my neighborhood of Five Points in Denver was unique. Of course, years after I left the Five Points I grew up in, I discovered that not only were there many other neighborhoods across the U.S. called Five Points, but there were also thousands of communities that were like mine in more than name.


  • Raleigh, NC: Where the cool sneaks up on you

    The City of Oaks is growing swiftly, with a population of nearly 500,000. As I explored, I found a progressive city in a state that often isn't, a place full of public art and bike paths and a university-inspired hub of innovation and design. Locals are at once excited about growth and worried about how it will change their city.


  • SeaWorld doubles down on thrill rides, with third roller coaster in three years and its tallest yet

    SeaWorld San Diego has announced plans to add in 2020 its tallest roller coaster yet as the once beleaguered marine park continues to invest more heavily in attendance-building thrill rides.


  • In the Salt Lake tabernacle Brigham Young built, 360 voices blend with frontier history

    There’s nothing particularly Mormon, or American, about "Ubi Caritas." It’s a Gregorian chant at least 11 centuries old, was rearranged by French composer Maurice Durufle in 1960 and has been sung by church choral groups around the world. But I can tell you that when it is performed by a certain famous choir in a certain quirky old building in downtown Salt Lake City, that melody works a particular magic.


  • Two Harvard guys based their million-dollar business on a whole lot of nothing

    When I think about entrepreneurs and Harvard, I think about Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook mob, who started their little dorm project for kicks and turned it into something that’s worth more than a small country. Pete Davis and Jon Staff aren’t the Facebook guys. Davis and Staff are the anti-Facebook guys.


  • What's it like to touch a nuclear missile? Find out at the Titan Missile Museum

    The Titan Missile Museum, in Sahuarita, Arizona, is offering a new tour of the deactivated Titan II missile facility. It is the Director’s Tour, and it is an opportunity to view the site through the eyes of its director, Yvonne Morris, who was a U.S. Air Force officer and a missile combat crew commander at that very site from 1980 to 1984.


  • Near Niagara Falls, U.S. and Canadian forts from the War of 1812 still face off

    Dan Laroche holds a slight grudge against the United States. Every day when he goes to work as site supervisor at Fort George in southern Ontario, he can stare across the Niagara River and into western New York, and think to himself, "Those Americans stole our flag."


  • 'It's a Wonderful Life' — all December — in this New York town

    Early each December, a magical transformation takes place in Seneca Falls, N.Y., as the classic Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life" leaps off the screen. The word "Bedford" replaces "Seneca" on signs marking the city limits. The tavern at The Gould Hotel becomes "Martini's." Along Fall Street, the main drag, George Bailey shouts, "Merry Christmas! Hello, Bedford Falls!"


  • Leavenworth it? Assessing 2 new spots in the Pacific Northwest's little Bavaria

    Leavenworth is a trip. Nestled against the far side of the Cascade mountains just a few hours east of Seattle, this little town does an impression of a Bavarian village with all its might. The beer flows freely and the music is oompah; buildings are decorated with wooden beams, family crests and gingerbread trim (or their trompe l'oeil versions). The HeidleBurger boasts "Best Burgers in Town," and even the 76 station, Starbucks and Howard Johnson's are in on the illusion, their corporate identities trumped, for once, by a civic thematic mission.


  • Camp out in a tree house or a goat farm; Hipcamp site lets you rent hidden gem campsites

    Looking to rent a tree house with a slide-down pole and space for nine? A tent site on a private horse farm? A riverfront spot to park your RV near a half-dozen natural springs? You can find all these -- plus 300 other campsites -- in Florida thanks to Hipcamp, a website that has just launched in the Sunshine State.


  • New hotel in St. Louis aims to match room color to guest’s mood

    Looking for a romantic getaway? Or maybe you just want to go somewhere to relax and unwind? A new hotel in St. Louis aims to match travelers’ moods with the type of room they get, and it’s all based on color.


  • Resorts are moving family time from apres-ski to the slopes

    Family time may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of terrifying downhill runs like Corbet's Couloir in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Highland Bowl in Aspen, Colorado, or the Big Couloir at Big Sky, Montana. This is precisely why so many ski destinations celebrated for their daredevil Instagram feeds are ramping up features to better engage and excite families with beginner skiers -- on the slopes and off.


  • What to see at the National Air and Space Museum before its renovation

    On Dec. 3, the National Air and Space Museum will close two galleries -- "Apollo to the Moon" and "Looking at Earth" -- as it begins a seven-year renovation project. Seven more galleries shutter in early January. Most of the museum's major attractions, such as the Spirit of St. Louis and the moon rock, will still be on display, but hundreds of other artifacts will disappear from view.


  • The Oregon Desert Trail is just that, complete with canyons and rattlesnakes

    I felt every drop of sweat make its way down my face, neck and back as I stared down the rattlesnake, its beady eyes locked with mine, daring me to move. At this point, a few miles into my solo-backpacking trip through Oregon’s remote desert, I considered turning around and heading the several miles back to my car. After I caught my breath, I shook off the idea. Testing myself, I thought, is exactly what I signed up for.


  • Off the grid: Exploring the San Juans' most remote islands

    You don't go to the most isolated islands in the San Juans for the amenities. You go for the quiet, for pitch-black nights with the sound of waves hitting the beach. You go for the rare opportunity to disconnect from your modern, plugged-in life.


  • ANALYSIS

    A look at the things passengers steal from planes

    What do passengers steal from planes? Anything that isn't bolted down. Among the items snatched from commercial flights: coffee mugs, cutlery, blankets ... and even life jackets.


  • Soaking up an Alaskan adventure, unswayed by the rain

    A torrential downpour lulled me to sleep the night before my all-day kayaking expedition in the waters around Fox Island off Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Through the cracked windows of my log cabin, I watched the waves slap the slate beach as rain pounded the roof. I had come to southwestern Alaska with three friends to cap off the summer with an ocean adventure.


  • Boo-crative strategy at California theme parks

    In years past, Six Flags Magic Mountain's annual Halloween celebration isolated the monsters and ghouls to certain areas of the amusement park while keeping other parts, such as the kid-centric Bugs Bunny World, as a scare-free sanctuary for parkgoers who wanted no part of what the Southern California park calls Fright Fest. Those safe zones are gone this year. During the 19-night Fright Fest, the entire park in Santa Clarita is turned over to costumed maniacs, bloodsuckers and creeps. Even Bugs Bunny World goes dark.


  • Disney extends military ticket deal to Department of Defense civilians, contractors

    Disney has extended its Military Salute Tickets to include Department of Defense civilian and full-time military contractors. The tickets were previously been limited to active duty and retired military personnel only.


  • Aretha Franklin exhibit debuts with eye toward her legacy

    The Detroit museum that hosted Aretha Franklin’s public visitations after her death is again holding space for her — this time with an exhibit featuring photographs, videos and the red shoes she wore at the first funeral viewing that drew global attention.


  • On Colorado-New Mexico border, the trainspotting is transporting

    There are hundreds of railroad museums and scenic train rides all across the United States. Many of them offer the opportunity to "step back in time" or "relive yesteryear." But few deliver on that promise quite like the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad -- a 64-mile, narrow-gauge route across the rugged San Juan Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado that has gone nearly unchanged since the last freight train rumbled over Cumbres Pass 50 years ago.


  • Duluth, Minn., bets on a new wave of cruise ships

    With the cruising industry booming across the globe, officials in Duluth, Minn., are betting that someday soon their ships will come in, too.


  • 10 things I never knew about Las Vegas until I ran a high-roller suite

    In Las Vegas, the ultimate sand trap-turned-capital of capitalism, there’s no better byword for sophistication than the Cosmopolitan. Its 20-plus suites, known as the Boulevard Penthouses, are the most coveted rooms in town, largely because they’re priceless. The only way in is by invitation, which means fronting over a million dollars (and preferably two) at the Reserve, the hotel’s private, three-room casino on the 75th floor. It’s a gaming experience so exclusive that not even James Bond could charm his way through the door.


  • Beads, bourbon and … babies in New Orleans?

    The family stepped warily onto Bourbon Street and hurried past a burlesque joint, an absinthe bar and neon signs touting "Leather Lingerie Love Toys" and "Hunk Oasis Male Strippers." Heather and Chad Bruton, a clean-cut couple from Texas, didn't want to visit this historic city for the first time without witnessing its famed promenade of debauchery. But with three young children in tow, they didn't want to see too much. "How come that guy died on the street?" 3-year-old Cooper said as he spotted a barefoot man passed out on a sidewalk. It was still well before noon, and the air reeked of stale beer, grease, vomit and bleach.


  • Airports open gaming parlors to occupy travelers

    As airport time killers, cocktails will never lose their most-favored status. But the race for novel concessions inside the terminal is becoming more, well, playful. Especially when it comes to mollifying less-than-happy passengers.


  • Military families offered deal on Universal Orlando Resort vacation

    Universal Orlando Resort is offering active-duty and retired troops and their families a four-for-one deal through the rest of the year.


  • From boom to bust and back again, Astoria appeals as gateway to the Oregon coast

    Founded a little over 200 years ago as America's first settlement in the West, this port city finds itself buoyed these days by a tourist-fueled revival. Yet history lingers here, palpable and powerful, just a two-hour drive from the state's metropolitan center of Portland.


  • DIY Network fans can live a 'Salvage Dawgs' life - for a night

    Navy veterans Mike Whiteside and Robert Kulp started salvaging together in 1999 and opened shop as Black Dog Salvage later that year. Their warehouses in Virginia have become bucket-list destinations for fans of "Salvage Dawgs." Now, those fans have a place to stay.


  • A guide to Portland, beyond the birds and beards

    Portland may have a reputation for putting birds on things and performative quirkiness, but, as with most things, the reality is a lot more complicated. That's a good thing, and it should be the guiding principle for your next visit to the city.


  • Feel the pull of the prairie on a uniquely American safari in Montana

    Few places remain where you can witness American bison roaming fenceless in their native habitat. Yellowstone National Park is such a destination, with more than 4 million visitors a year and bumper-to-bison traffic through summer. The American Prairie Reserve is a lesser-known site, a bit more off the beaten path, but utterly immense in its scope and vision.


  • Hawaii is about to ban popular sunscreen brands to protect its coral reefs

    From Banana Boat to Coppertone, major sunscreen brands will soon have to revamp their products or stop selling them in Hawaii. State lawmakers passed legislation in May that would ban skin-care companies from selling and distributing sunscreens on the islands that contain two chemicals deemed damaging to coral reefs. The bill is opposed by various companies and business associations and even some dermatologists, who worry that the ban may discourage people from wearing sunscreen at all.


  • Give me a decaf mocha frappuccino — and hold the fish

    A prudent first consideration when trying to understand Seattle is that it is not Athens, Rome or, for that matter, Stratford-upon-Avon. Although Seattle remains heavily European in population and influence, it doesn't completely fit a classical definition of what is Western; in fact, it doesn't quite fit any classical definition. It is, in a word, "whatever," in the very contemporary use of that word to mean, "If that works for you, I'm OK with it."


  • Leaving technology behind on vacation in Lancaster County, Pa.

    Children are welcome at Iron Stone Acres, the bed-and-breakfast that Sharon Zimmerman has been running for nearly 30 years in rural Narvon, Pa., but they'll need to entertain themselves. The Mennonite-owned dairy farm has no internet connection and no TVs, and you'll have to head into town to find a newspaper. The severed connection to technology in favor of the farm's peace and quiet is exactly what draws many of Zimmerman's visitors.


  • DC's secret Navy museum is amazing - if you can figure out how to get in

    The National Museum of the United States Navy is free and open to the public, but it's on the Washington Navy Yard - a military base that intentionally deters casual visitors.


  • Canoeing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters

    Every paddle stroke sprinkled water drops, reflecting the setting sun like sparklers across the black, glacier-carved lake. Just a few hours earlier, I had been portaging on an ankle-deep muddy trail with that 55-pound canoe balanced over my head, shielding me from a chilly downpour. That contrast is the essence of the wilderness experience in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. The physical effort required to explore its off-the-grid remoteness — including carrying a canoe solo on slippery, rocky trails — makes every worry evaporate like steam off woolen socks strung over a campfire.


  • SeaWorld announces free tickets for military personnel through July 4

    SeaWorld officials have announced United States military veterans and up to three guests will receive free admission to its theme parks through July 4. Veterans will be able to gain free tickets to SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego by redeeming admission through the Waves of Honor website.


  • Exploring the spectacular landscape of south-central Utah

    Like most hikes and drives in south-central Utah, Lower Muley Twist Canyon is both heavenly and hellish for someone curious about what's around the next corner - and I definitely am. It's possible to hike down the canyon, in Capitol Reef National Park, for 12 miles and turn at least three times as many corners.


  • It's time to reconsider Vegas

    The Las Vegas you know and love (or hate) is in the midst of a reinvention. The convention center is being overhauled and expanded at a cost of $1.4 billion, and hotel mainstays, from the Palms to Caesars, are getting nine-figure renovations.


  • New Orleans turns 300, and you're invited to the yearlong party

    As if New Orleans needed to give visitors another reason to party, the city celebrates its 300th birthday this year. That means non-stop tricentennial events, parades, exhibits and more on top of the Big Easy's already packed calendar. America's most unique city draws tourists for its culture, food, cocktails and festivals -- and keeps them coming back by embracing its rich history while continuing to evolve.


  • Florida roadside attraction: Gators to the left, crocs to the right

    There's a fine line between alligators and crocodiles. At Gatorama, a roadside attraction in Palmdale, Fla., off U.S. Highway 27, that line is a boardwalk.


  • How to plan your next 'walk-cation'

    On my latest trip to Chicago, I consumed nine tacos, three doughnuts, an Indian crepe, a giant tamale, a mound of carnitas, a bowl of pasta and a table full of Vietnamese food. How did I not gain 15 pounds? Well, I also walked 8 to 10 miles per day -- which is typical for me when I travel.


  • It’s leisure as usual for travelers to Hawaii despite lava flow

    While the photos and videos of the popping, churning, spewing lava from Kilauea volcano look post-apocalyptic, officials with the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau say that the danger zones are isolated to private, residential areas and they don’t expect an impact on travelers. "Really, almost 90 percent of the island is unaffected," says Ross Birch, executive director of the Hawaii Island Visitors and Convention Bureau.

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