Bethaney Wallace is a writer and editor for The Social Robot, an internet marketing and content production company founded in 2009. To read more of her posts, go to http://thesocialrobot.com. Or follow her on Twitter @bethaneywallace.
It’s getting to be that time of year again. The weather is cooling down, the leaves are dropping and before you know it the holiday season will be in full swing. With all of the cleaning, planning, shopping, and cooking that can be involved in holiday preparations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or behind schedule before you’ve even had a chance to get started. Instead of waiting for the early winter months to fly by this year, take them by their metaphorical horns and make a vacation out of this holiday season. What better way to relieve yourself of some stress than taking a holiday getaway? You can even bring the whole family along and host a holiday dinner in your vacation home.
If you want to get an early start, consider taking a spooky Halloween vacation. Read all about some of the U.S.’ most haunted destinations here. However, for those of you who are planning on taking a vacation later in the holiday season, there are plenty of options for you as well. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other seasonal tradition, these hot spots are sure to provide a great holiday traveling destination.
This holiday season, there will be virtually no better winter scene than the beautiful views of the Poconos. With the perfect landscape for curling up beside a window, skiing, or taking part in one of the area’s many other winter sports, this destination is sure to have enough activities to keep the entire family happy. For those who prefer to enjoy a white Christmas indoors, the area has numerous inside activities such as cooking classes and discovering amazing dinnerware and ceramics transform right before your eyes at the local pottery center. If you’re behind on the holiday shopping, the area has plenty of shopping centers, so you can pick up those last minute gifts
This European town is widely known for its ability to become a picturesque winter postcard. With heavy snowfalls and decorated trees, the city lights up into a beautiful scene each holiday season. Heidelberg is also home to Weihnachtsmarkt, a stretch of outdoor markets that span over a mile. The shops are home to intricately decorated ornaments, often handmade, and serve spiced wines and potato pancakes to keep their shoppers warm while experiencing the outdoor holiday market. Heidelberg also offers tours of the historic downtown and castle, which turns into a gorgeous winter backdrop.
If you’re looking for more of a down-home scene this season, look no further than Charleston, South Carolina. Known for its slightly warmer winter climate, this city will not only provide a milder stay than a northern town, but Charleston also offers up decorated holiday scenes around every corner. Even the harbor’s boats get decorated for the season. The city’s historic feel and Southern charm are also illuminated by its holiday traditions; in fact, they even have their own website at Christmasincharleston.com, where the town displays its many specials and discounts on holiday activities and events. If you go, be sure to check out their annual Festival of Lights, held each year from Nov. 11 through Jan. 1.
Another great holiday travel destination is Rivera Maya, located on the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. A great tropical hot spot for your vacation, Rivera Maya will allow you to spend your holidays like you’ve never spent them before. Not only will you have your own traditions, but you’ll get to experience new ones as well, all in the warmth and beauty of the Rivera Maya’s clear, crisp beaches. Throughout most of December, there is a nightly midnight ritual that celebrates Mexican religion. Many other traditions are present as well, such as wearing “lucky” underwear on New Years, and an April Fool’s Day of sorts, where friends attempt to borrow one another’s belonging without them knowing.
San Diego, CA
This popular California town leaves little to be desired when it comes to holiday tourism. Not only is San Diego known for it’s cheer, the city is home to the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival, where classic city traditions meet holiday spirit. Lights can been seen at the San Diego Zoo‘s Holiday Light Display, and The December Nights is a must-see show for families of all ages and sizes. Despite the warm climate, visitors can still ice skate each year at the Hotel del Coronado, which also hosts a great annual holiday party.
Whether you choose to spend your holidays in the winter climates of the Northeastern United States and Germany, opt for a beach stay, or head to sunny California, you’re sure to find a vacation destination that the entire family can enjoy. So remember, this winter season, save yourself the stress, and vacation your holidays away instead. Not only will you get to spend the joyous season with your family, but you’ll have an entire new set of holiday traditions to look forward to next year.
Bethaney Wallace is a writer and editor for The Social Robot, an internet marketing and content production company founded in 2009. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English, she began writing professionally. To read more of her posts, go to http://thesocialrobot.com. Or follow her on Twitter @bethaneywallace.
Taking an urban vacation is often a nice change of pace from the typical beach or resort backdrop of tourism. An inner-city setting allows for countless activities, and gives you a chance to live like the locals. From your urban vacation home, you’ll find a wide range of restaurants within walking distance, and live theaters, bars, and parks that can all be easily accessed and enjoyed. The question remains, however, which big cities have the best vacation rentals? Here’s a list of the top world’s 10 urban rental areas to help you decide where to visit!
San Francisco is a great place not only to enjoy some valued vacation time, but also to take part in the local culture. Head to the famous Golden Gate Bridge, check out the local entertainment, or sample the freshest catch from the fish market at the pier. You’re sure to have an urban retreat to remember in this lively corner of California.
The center of Germany’s culture since the fall of the Berlin Wall, this former Soviet stronghold offers no shortage of historical landmarks, activities, and tourist attractions. For those who aren’t history buffs, there is plenty of German culture to take in as well. Try a local bakery’s fresh baked breads, cakes, and other unique concoctions and confections for a taste you won’t soon forget.
As Brazil’s country’s second-largest city, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the country’s culture, with a skyline that offers countless picturesque photo opportunities. The city is composed of five separate districts, all of which can be explored on your exciting urban getaway.
Only in the city of stars can you experience the glitz and glam that Hollywood has to offer. Whether you’re stolling down the Walk of Fame, taking a guided tour, or snapping photos of the notable landmarks (and celebrities), L.A. will provide a destination experience like no other urban spot can.
When it comes to urban cityscapes, Sin City has virtually every skyline beat. Casinos, hotels, and all types of businesses spread out as far as your camera lens can see. And with activities from gambling and shopping to hanging out by the pool and relaxing, every visitor is sure to find their pastime of choice in America’s playground.
Who says the nation’s capital is just for politics? Washington, D.C. has plenty of museums, monuments, and educational stops that all add up to create a distinctly unique urban vacation experience. Not to mention, many of these historical monuments and activities are offered free of charge.
Take a tour of the Coliseum and other Roman ruins in this historic ancient city, or visit the Vatican City and the famous Sistine Chapel to see historical landmarks in action. Once you’ve finished touring the sites, take in the flavors of Roma. No matter your cup of tea (or plate of pasta), the Italian Capital provides its guests with an incredible selections of food and wine, not to mention seemingly endless gelato flavors.
Expand your urban horizons by traveling to Barcelona, Spain’s center of art and culture. The locals speak Catalan, a romance language that is a mixture between Spanish and French. Decipher a local map and visit Gaudi’s famous “Sagrada Familia” cathedral and take a stroll by the Nou Camp – the largest soccer stadium in the world.
No urban vacation list would be complete without one of the world’s most beloved cities: Paris. This heavily-populated town is home to some of the most famous markets in the world, ranging from high-end couture to mom-and-pop shops. Take advantage of the city of lights by living like a local and enjoying more off-the-beaten-path parts of town. You may find a hidden gem among the city’s many jewels.
Finally, we reach our number one urban rental destination: NYC. Not only is New York the biggest city in the U.S., but the Big Apple is also home to five separate boroughs … meaning five distinct downtown cultures. Catch an acclaimed Broadway play and walk to Central Park when you visit Manhattan, or explore the city’s subway to head out to Queens or Brooklyn. You can spend a lifetime of vacations in New York without seeing it all. Next time, try renting a vacation home in a new boroughs and exploring your surroundings. You’ll be surprised at how much there is to discover!
Of all of the vacation prospects available, for many dedicated consumers, none seem quite as thrilling as an entire trip devoted to shopping. People from all across the globe enjoy purchasing goods with their hard earned dollars, and what better way to join them by taking a shopping vacation? Although the idea of this kind of trip may sound pricey, remember that you’re saving on activities, and you only have to spend as much as you choose. Plus, spending the day window shopping or people watching can be an entirely free day of entertainment. But for those who are all about the merchandise, try on this list of excellent shopping vacations before planning your big spree.
Known as the biggest mall in the USA (and the second in the continent; Canada holds the top honors), the Mall of America is home to more than 520 stores, more than enough to keep you busy for several days. The Mall’s main attractions also include dining and amusement park rides. With all of these options you’re sure to be kept busy even after you’re all shopped out.
The Big Apple holds several notable shopping districts within the city limits. Head down to Madison Avenue, do some upscale shopping on Fifth Avenue, and then take the train down to SoHo for an array of shopping possibilities. With such a large city to browse, you’re sure to have plenty of stores to choose from throughout your spending spree of a vacation.
The world capital of haute couture has more clothing stores than you’ll have time to even consider shopping at. Home to thousands of designers and boutiques with a unique style of their own, Paris has the style for you. And who says shopping is strictly for clothes? Take advantage of Paris’s reputation for delicious cuisine: stroll the streets in search of bistro fare, cheeses, breads, and wines and don’t head home until you’re full.
No list of shopping destinations would be complete without including the famous Rodeo drive, located in the heart of Beverly Hills. The street is known world-wide for its prestigious list of shops and the glamorous people who frequent them. Join the hype of fashion week, or take part in one of the street’s many annual events such as Snow 90210 Rodeo. This destination will offer plenty of shopping opportunities as well as entertainment for all ages.
For those who are looking to shy away from your average shopping experience, Bangkok is anything but ordinary. On weekends, the city holds the Chatuchak Weekend Market, a flea market of sorts that covers more than 35 acres with all kinds of goods. The market, which receives approximately 200,000 visitors per day, offers many homemade products and items for sale. The city also hosts a large number of stores from upscale shops, to street stalls, to farmer’s markets.
Taking a shopping vacation can introduce you to new cultures and offer experiences like no other trip can. So keep these destinations in mind for your next one-stop shop-till-you-drop vacation.
As the autumn months approach, we are reminded of an array of fall traditions. The leaves turning colors and collecting on the ground, wearing warmer and cozier clothes, carving pumpkins into intricate displays, and of course, Halloween. These cooler months not only offer a change of pace for your everyday life, they also offer a change of pace for your vacations. Instead of heading to the beach, going camping, or hitting the national parks as per typical family vacay, a different time of year offers up entirely new ways to enjoy yourself. Why not start by embracing the eeriest time of year?
Whether or not you’re a believer in all that is macabre, a haunted Halloween vacation is a spooky and alternative way to spend the holiday or at least get geared up for mask-donning children knocking on your door. Take a leap into the fall spirit by going on one of these thrill-producing trips this October.
Research your favorite scary movies
Are any of your beloved scary hits based on a true story? Where did they take place? Oftentimes former movie locations will offer tours of the grounds, including any inside info to the place’s past or its ghosts’ histories. One of the most celebrated horror stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is still recognized every year in its namesake’s town. Visitors can take tours of both the church from the story, and the cemetery in which many historical figures are buried. Or they can go on the town’s haunted hayride, a frightening trek that is sure to make Washington Irving himself cringe.
Amusement parks are more than rides
Although a strong summer staple, amusement parks are no stranger when it comes to celebrating Halloween. In fact, many of them make it a yearly event, bringing in costumed employees, themed concessions, and elaborate haunted houses. Disney‘s parks have a kid-friendly Halloween celebration every year called Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. But for those looking for more of a thrill, there are plenty of vexing options as well. Kansas City’s Worlds of Fun opens its doors to a Halloween-loving crowd every fall. Six Flags holds an annual Fright Fest each year, Seaworld holds a Halloween Spooktacular, and Universal Studios hosts Halloween Horror Nights, starting in late September. These destinations offer up holiday fun that will thrill even without the rides!
Town histories remembered
While some events may be remembered as a cruel or misunderstood part of American history, many have taken advantage of their haunted histories, creating parades and annual get togethers. After all, Halloween is the perfect time of year to celebrate the unknown. For example, each October in Salem, MA, Citizens and travelers gather to partake in a town festival including witch trial reenactments, tours of the Haunted Witch Village and Frankenstein’s laboratory, and psychic readings. New York City hosts the world’s largest All Hallow’s Eve celebration with their annual parade in the village. Philadelphia opens up its penitentiary for the fall where guests can encounter former prisoners first-hand. And Tombstone, AZ Provides spooky activities to its guests year-round. Home to famous shootouts, the town is home to several haunted historical buildings. You can even learn about the spirits who haunt them in the town’s museum.
Can’t get enough of your Halloween vacation? Visit your local museum or historical society to learn about hauntings that may be nearer than you think.
This fall, consider taking a haunted Halloween trip to get you in the ghouling spirit. Give the bewitching season the attention it deserves with this Halloween treat.
New England is known as one of the prettiest vacations spots in the country for its ocean views, multiple lakes, and vast amount of trees. Not to mention the historical importance of the area that is a big attraction for visitors. But when traveling, especially far away from where you call home, there is often something missing: your family dog. Many vacation rentals aren’t pet-friendly, and having to leave Spot or Fido behind can add extra costs and planning arrangements. The next time you’re thinking about heading to scenic New England, stay at one of these dog-friendly homes and bring along man’s best friend!
This lovely waterfront home is located on Toddy Pond and contains five bedrooms and two baths, sleeping up to 12 people. Totaling 2,800 square feet, “Relax & Listen” offers guests a sandy beach that is perfect for the family to enjoy. With Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor just minutes away, you’ll have plenty of activities to keep you and the pup busy.
This four-bedroom, two-bathroom house is 2,040 square feet and sits just where its name suggests: on the coast of Boothbay Harbor. Sleeping up to eight people, this rental offers fantastic views of your very own private waterway. The house comes fully-equipped with new appliances and is within walking distance of historic downtown, home to many shops and restaurants. Your dog will love having their run of this home’s private deck and yard.
This newly-constructed luxury chalet is located in Franconia, NH. Boasting three bedrooms and two baths, this rental can sleep eight guests. Enjoy a lakefront view while sitting in the Jacuzzi or relax next to the gas stove. Cook for yourself and guests in the fully-equipped gourmet kitchen, under the 23′ natural pine cathedral ceilings. With hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and nature watching all within the area, you and your beloved pet will surely have plenty of activities.
Take a vacation out to the beautiful White Mountains, in Lancaster, NH with this 3,500 square foot farmhouse. With four bedrooms and two baths, this rental sleeps eight people. Relax on the classic farmer’s porch and breakfast nook, or entertain in the formal dining room. With breathtaking views of gardens, and mountains in both Vermont and New Hampshire, you and your pup will have plenty to look at.
Taking its name from the Norwegian “broad view,” this two-bed, two-bath cottage will take you and up to three guests to a fabulous view of the Green Mountains. Also located on the edge of Spruce Forest, this rental offers up an impressive nature scene. It comes with all modern appliances as well as a wood-burning stove. With 1,100 square feet of cottage in a rural setting, your dog will have plenty of running and playing space.
This townhome is adjacent to the Woods Resort and Spa in Killington, Vermont. This three-bedroom, 4-bathroom getaway is the perfect destination to enjoy all the amenities of a ski resort in a home-like setting. Guests have access to the resorts’s indoor pool, fitness center, steam room, and spa treatments. With all of these possibilities, your family dog will have more to do than they can fit into one vacation.
Bring up to a whopping 18 guests to stay in this massive, 5-bedroom, 4-bath house. Located in Vermont, this vacation rental comes with plenty of luxuries, including: a professional kitchen, private deck, hot tub, and a billiards table that can be converted for any ping pong or air hockey lovers. If you’d rather relax, then enjoy a movie next to the wood-burning fireplace or on one of the house’s three flat screen TVs. The old boy will love having his roam over this large contemporary rental.
A stay in Edgartown at this 6-bed, 4-bathroom rental will provide you with a beautiful private pool. Newly renovated, this house offers many indulgences, including; luxurious linens, a video library, and plenty of outdoor living space. It even comes with a separate bungalow for the kids and the dog to hang out.
Treat yourself to some of the best views in Massachusetts from this 4-bed, 4-bath home. Overlooking Sandy Neck Beach, this luxurious house is just a short and private walk from the beach. This rental also offers a billiards room, dining area, and luxury master suite complete with Jacuzzi tub you can be sure the pet will enjoy!
Located in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, this 2,600 square foot, 4-bedroom, 3-bath vacation spot provides you with breathtaking views. The house hosts a deck that offers panoramic views of the Provincetown Harbor and the Pilgrim Lake dunes. Enjoy this private getaway with a heated pool, hot tub, and sauna. And with a chef’s kitchen and two outdoor gas grills, you’ll never have to worry about your best friend going hungry.
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