The leaves are already changing all across North America—don’t hesitate to finalize your plans before the symphony of color turns to winter white! For all of you fall foliage travelers, we’ve ranked the top ten best North American leaf-peeping destinations by comparing their autumn beauty with the overall appeal of their vacation accommodations and attractions.
1. Montreal, Canada Take in Montreal’s outstanding fall scenery while rafting the Lachine Rapids or exploring Mount Royal, two outdoor adventure opportunities in close proximity to the city. No large Canadian city can match Montreal’s vibrant culture—so come back downtown and enjoy the nightlife in the evening.
2. Stowe, Vermont Stowe’s fall foliage is spectacular. Convenient to Interstate 98, Stowe’s burst of autumnal color is just peaking—hop in the car or book your flight today to catch the leaves before they fall! Extend your stay to take advantage of this rustic resort town’s exceptional East Coast skiing accommodations.
3. Denver, Colorado Denver, a city of more than half a million people, is often under-appreciated for its fall foliage. Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is an exciting metropolis within close driving distance of the best autumn sightseeing the Western U.S. has to offer. Leaf peep while exploring Colorado’s nearby wine country or by catching a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the most famous outdoor venues in the United States.
4. Quebec City, Canada The capital of the province of Quebec is an ideal destination for taking in autumn’s awesome palette. Enjoy the panoramas of leaves while visiting nearby pick-your-own strawberry farms or Montmorency Falls, a waterfall almost 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls. Quebec City’s additional attractions include a rich French heritage and its Old Town section, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Bar Harbor, Maine Located on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is never prettier than during the changing of the leaves. Bar Harbor, famous for its pastoral setting and peaceful beauty, also includes the largest portion of Acadia National Park, affording dramatic views of Cadillac Mountain.
6. Logan, Ohio This small Ohio town sports exceptional leafy fall fireworks—especially at Hocking Hills State Park, which features multiple dramatic rock-shelter waterfalls. More unusually, Logan is also home to the last washboard manufacturer in the nation, the Columbus Washboard Company, as well as the annual Washboard Music Festival.
7. Lake Placid, New York Lake Placid’s stunning autumnal aesthetics can be richly appreciated by hiking: all 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks are convenient by car. Lake Placid was also the home of the 1980 Winter Olympics and the famous Miracle on Ice.
8. Sedona, Arizona Sedona features stunning sandstone sunsets and exceptional fall foliage. Enjoy the leaves by making a trip to Tonto National Forest or the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church dramatically built into a rock face. Visit in October and you can also catch the Sedona Jazz on the Rocks festival!
9. Branson, Missouri This town is one of the best in the Midwest for choice leaf-peeping. Branson features two gorgeous lakes—Table Rock and Bull Shoals—both of which make an exceptional fall-foliage day trip. A visit to Silver Dollar City will please the whole family: it’s a popular theme park known to some as a Midwestern Dollywood or a far more kid-friendly Las Vegas.
10. The Berkshires, Massachusetts No fall foliage best-of would be complete without the Berkshires. Attractive towns in the region include Pittsfield and Williamstown, Massachusetts. Pittsfield is worth a stop for the foliage displays afforded by Pittsfield State Forest alone. This bucolic town also hosts the Berkshires Museum, the cultural epicenter of the Berkshires, and can boast of being the place Moby Dick was written. While in Williamstown, enjoy the fall scenery during a tour of Williams College, the definition of the picturesque elite liberal arts school.
Don’t let autumn escape you. After all, leaf peeping is more popular than you may realize—and for good reason. In fact, fall foliage tourism is an $8 billion industry in New England alone, with visitors flocking from all over the globe.
With the holiday season in full swing and 2009 quickly retiring, it’s time to start planning your New Year’s celebrations. We’ve highlighted cities around the world that greet 2010 with a bang. So get your party hat, grab your kissing partner and book your vacation rental and get ready to head to one of these most sizzling celebrations! Sydney, Australia– Australians bring in the New Year like no one else. The fireworks display over Syndey Harbor is the most watched fireworks spectacle in the world with 1.5 million people gathering to see the fierce pyrotechnics that dance across the dark skies. This year’s theme is “Awaken the Spirit” with the Syndey Harbour Bridge adorned with a large S (for Sydney) and crowds showing up wearing blue to represent Sydney.
Miami, Florida– This saucy city certainly knows how to celebrate. With clubs along Miami Beach offering fiestas that go till the early morning, the night time sizzles, especially on New Year’s Eve. Places like Mansion Nightclub and SOBE Live offer open bars and tunes to dance your heart out to. Or if you’re looking for a more relaxed evening, head to Ocean Drive, dig your feet in the sand and watch the fireworks show over the ocean.
New York City, New York– The city that never sleeps shows you how it’s done. With over a million people gathering in Times Square to watch the glittering ball drop, mark the end of one year and the beginning of another. As the ball drops, take in the tunes of big name artists like Taylor Swift and Lionel Ritchie. With festivities like these, there’s no doubt that the next year will start off right.
Edinburgh, Scotland– Hogmanay (New Years) in Edinburgh dates back to pagan times when people celebrated mid-winter with fire and light festivals. Today the festivities are spread across several days with a torchlight procession on the 29th that weaves through the streets of the city planting seeds of excitement and ending in the burning of aViking Long boat. On the 31st people gather in the streets with the Edinburgh Castle standing guard over the city as fireworks blaze in the background. Stages are set up throughout the city with music and dancing and at midnight after the kisses and hugs have quieted, people join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne, a song which has been sung for centuries.
Las Vegas, Nevada– Las Vegas is dazzling 364 days out of the year, but on New Year’s Eve it is a full blown spectacle. With people dancing in the streets under the flashing lights and sparkling fireworks glimmering in the sky, there is no shortage of energy. If you’re well connected with the Hollywood type, get your tickets to one of the several parties hosted by the likes of 50 Cent, Eva Longoria, Nicole Ritchie and the Black Eyed Peas.
Phuket, Thailand– Even if we are entering their busy tourist season (January to June), prices in this Thai Island are ideal all year long. With the Thai Baht equaling about 0.02 U.S. dollars, you can’t afford not to go here. Phuket offers visitors miles upon miles of squeaky white sand, hunter green interiors and quaint bamboo huts that will make you wish you never had to leave.
Istanbul, Turkey– Istanbul, the sultry capitol of the long gone Constantinople, is a whirlwind of a city. Over 19 million proud, pleasant Turks reside in Istanbul, straddling Europe and Asia, making the city one that brims with ancient mosques, hip museums and some of the best food you’ve ever tasted. But all this doesn’t come at a price, the Turkish Lira is at about 0.6 U.S. dollars, a solid exchange rate for a fascinating metropolis like Istanbul.
Washington D.C.– While most travelers prefer to visit the capitol during its balmy summer months, a visit to D.C. in the winter is a refreshing break from the large crowds and sweaty lines. A Mecca for museum junkies, military men and families alike make this city a perfect holiday getaway. With the free museum entry to all the museums as well as off-season prices your wallet will thank you
Burlington, VT– This bohemian paradise is a ski lover’s winter wonderland. From December to March, while most cities are deep in hibernation, Burlington comes to life, with rocking bars, sprawling parks and some seriously crisp mountain air. Close proximity to Jay Peak, Smuggler’s Notch and Stowe Mountains make it an ideal home base for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Plus the small town prices won’t hurt your holiday budget.
Belize– Nestled into the foot hills of Mexico on the Caribbean shores; Belize offers the island lifestyle without the high prices. With hoards of Mayan ruins, silver sandy beaches and the unreal “Great Blue Hole,” a sink hole surrounded by screaming colors of the tropical reefs, Belize is a truly divine destination.
Tybee Island, GA– The off-season presents opportunities to stroll the serene beaches and towering light houses without bumping into hoards of other people. Believe it or not, beaching it is still possible during the winter months. It won’t be scorching hot as in the summer months but with temperatures in the mid 70s throughout the winter, you’ll walk away with a full wallet and clear mind.
Egypt– One of the oldest centers of civilization, Egypt is a frenzied country anchored in tradition and dripping with ancient pyramids and crumbling ruins. With the Nile running through it, giving the arid landscape a touch of vitality, this country offers some of the most remarkable sights. With vacation rentals for as little as $40 a day and an equally enticing exchange rate, Egypt is a highly desirable destination this season.
Winter Park, Colorado– With 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, Winter Park has some of the best skiing in the Rockies. But part of this gem’s appeal is that it flies under the radar, in close range of Vail and Aspen it is easily overshadowed by the glitzier ski resorts. Just outside of Denver allows for easy flights and while its still peak season at Winter Park, the prices aren’t super outrageous.
Montreal, Canada– Although you may be thinking that Canada in the winter is a massive ice cube, there are some serious perks to visiting this majestic city in the dead of winter. Not only is Quebec’s old city a vibrant piece of ancient Europe that has been grafted onto the surface of north America, but these French Canadians know how to do winter right: with a formidable ice skating rink smack dab in the middle of the city, vin chaud (hot wine) to chase away those chills and some poutine (French fries, cheese and gravy!) to fill that tummy of yours. Plus the Canadian dollar has been about on par with the U.S. dollar these days so you don’t have to worry about a terrorizing exchange rate.
St. Louis, Missouri– Head to the Gateway state for a true slice of Americana. St Louis offers a whole range of free activities for the inexpensive vacations from free entrance to the St. Louis Zoo, St Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Musem and the St. Louis Science Center. There’s also a surprising amount of breweries here where one can get a taste of that good old Budweiser or the lesser known Schlafly Beer. Regardless of what you choose to do here chance are, it’ll be free!
With winter knocking on our doors travelers are starting to plan their escapes from hibernation, whether it be to the sun-soaked shores of Hawaii or the snowy slopes of Aspen. We compiled a list of the top ten vacation rental destinations of September so you can start planning your great escape…
1. Gulf Coast of Florida: It’s no wonder why Florida’s Gulf Coast is a consistently popular place to vacation. Famed for its iridescent beaches and a whole host of activities ranging from surfing and sun bathing to hiking and shopping, this is a fabulous spot for any group.
2. Outer Banks, North Carolina: These charming barrier islands draw a strong interest, and for good reason too. With hoards of light houses, sleepy towns and feral ponies running wild, the Outer Banks make for an ideal family vacation. Cape Hatteras is ideal for the adventurer, with its Diamond Shoals- the site of many demised ships. The snorkeling and scuba diving here are limitless.
3. Florida Keys: This chain of islands, which at the southern most tip reaches a mere 90 miles from Cuba, has an enticing laid back culture. Key West is one of the most attractive islands here, with Duval Street maintaining the heartbeat in this eclectic island. With Ernest Hemingway’s seven-toed cats running around the island, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the allure of the island.
4. Disney- Orlando, Florida: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto…where else but Disney? Considered one of “the most magical places on earth”, Disney is a must for any child, regardless of age. With numerous theme parks in the area as well as some of the best dining in Orlando, a trip to this central Floridian city is sure to please everyone in the family. 5. Paris, France: Paris, the magnanimous capitol of France, serves as a cultural and financial leader in Europe while remaining one of the most visited cities in the world. With a vast array of activities to tempt unsuspecting visitors, like strolling the Seine River, taking in the awe inspiring stained glass of Notre-Dame, or feasting on the delicacies that each quaint café has to offer, Paris certainly lives up to its reputation.
6. Oregon Coast: The Oregon Coast, stretching for over 350 miles, is a delightful treat for any sun-seeking family. With the entire coast remaining public domain, there is endless opportunity for hiking, fishing, swimming, even just relaxing on the beach while seals frolic in the Pacific.
7. Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Gatlinburg serves as a doorway to some of Tennessee’s most spectacular natural sights. With the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge lapping at the outer skirts, Gatlinburg offers plenty of activities for the adventurous family including the tram that floats above the majestic Smoky Mountains.
8. Kauai, Hawaii: With its lush, diverse tropical beauty and its brilliant ability to withstand any major resorts, Kauai remains as one of the most sought after Hawaiian Islands to visit. With the dense jade green rainforest in the interior and the crystal blue ocean lapping at the sandy white shores, Kauai’s immaculate natural beauty is worth the trip.
9. Maui, Hawaii: Maui, the sister island to Kauai, has its own unique vibe that attracts its own breed of Hawaiian travelers. With three volcanoes, some of which are still active, Maui beckons to be explored. Take an early morning hike up the Kaleakala volcano for an unrivaled glimpse of what has often been called the most beautiful sunrise in the world. Or spend the day sipping Mai Tais on the black sand beaches of Hana.
10. Aspen, Colorado: With winter fast approaching and many ski resorts opening their chair lifts already, it’s no surprise that Aspen comes in at our number 10 vacation destination. This city, which at its heart is a quaint ski town, has experienced a transformation over the past decade. The contrasting dualities of the town make it one of the most exciting places to visit, plus the excess of fresh powder makes Aspen/Snowmass one of the best places to ski in the world.
When traveling with the family in tow, staying at a hotel is never an easy option. With the kids along side you for your travels, be sure to consider not only our top 10 family friendly destinations, but also the option of staying in a vacation rental.
With a vacation rental you have all the amenities of a home at your fingertips. Almost all of the properties on our site offer a full kitchen, so you won’t have to rack up so many pricey restaurant bills. Unwind or spend an evening playing a game in your rental property’s family room, common space, or back-yard.
So, with no further ado, here is this year’s list of FlipKey’s top ten family vacation destinations:
A trip to Orlando is, perhaps, the quintessential family vacation. Between Shamu performing flips at Sea World and Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World sparkling on the horizon, kids won’t know what to do first. These resorts aren’t just great for the little ones; Orlando also has some seriously delicious dining. After a full day at the amusement park, relax with some gourmet eats at Emeril’s Orlando, or Jimmy Buffet’s chain of restaurants, Cheeseburger in Paradise. Once you’ve had your fill of theme parks, head to the Kennedy Space Center for a taste of real life thrills. Take a tour of a real rocket ship and the infamous grounds of the Apollo 13 flight center. Time it right and you might even be able to watch a space ship launch into the skies.
One of San Diego’s most popular attractions is the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Bring your kids to see the zoo’s famous panda collection. After the zoo, head to Balboa Park and enjoy the beautiful botanical gardens, free IMAX movies, summer concert series, and over 14 museums. With so many museums to choose from, you are virtually guaranteed to find exhibits that cater to the diverse interests of every family member.
Museums range in subject matter from science and air and space, to automotive, sports, and art museums. Also, be sure to visit one of Balboa Park’s most child-inspired attractions, the Puppet Theatre, which is designed to seat over 200 people. Wow, talk about puppets hitting the big time! After the puppet show, take the kids
The Bahamas are a great place to escape to with the whole family. Located in the Caribbean Ocean, the beaches here are exquisite. The Atlantis Resort is a great way to spend an afternoon. Your kids will love the 9 water slides, aquariums, and a shark tank (really). And for the parents they offer a top-notch spa, and a casino. The best part about it is they offer day passes for families that are not staying at the hotel, so you can enjoy the facilities by day and your vacation rental by night (without the hefty price tag of lodging at the hotel). Once you’ve had your fill here, get in touch with your aquatic side by swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Encounters. Prince George Wharf is a great place to go to check out the local cuisine and traditions. This market sells everything Bahamian from jewelry and clothes to baskets and food!
London, England is a great family destination, offering a glimpse of foreign culture without a language barrier. Taking in the sites from the second floor of a double-decker big red bus is an exhilarating way to check out the city. The Princess Diana Memorial Playground is a great place to let your kids blow off some steam. Your kids will love the life-size pirate ships and tee-pees (modeled after Peter Pan). Be sure to take sometime for yourself and unwind, head to Coffee and Crayons Café, a coffee shop that will entertain your kids with arts and crafts while you enjoy some time to breathe.
If you have a family of museum lovers, The Tate Museum is a modern art museum that will invoke the imagination of all. With familiar and unfamiliar works of art sprinkled throughout this gallery, your whole family will love the experience. The Globe Theatre, home to Shakespeare’s original plays, is a treat for children and adults alike. Here you can see some of the classics performed in the setting that Shakespeare envisioned. Check out Matinee shows for ticket savings, while introducing the kiddies to some culture.
With zip lines that whiz you through the forest canopy, Jeep safari tours, sport fishing, and SCUBA diving, Puerto Vallarta is a great spot for the adventure hungry family. If you’re looking for some more excitement, the public squares hold fiestas that are open to the public and offer a taste of Mexico. Be sure to take some time to unwind on the beautiful ribbons of beaches that stretch along the coast. Puerto Vallarta has great festivals in the springtime, April and May specifically. May is witness to the month long Cultural Festival, where locals celebrate the customs and traditions of the region. With games, livestock, exhibits and local food, to the entire fam will be impressed and invigorated.
This appropriately named city is a beach haven for families. With what has been dubbed the ‘best boardwalk’ that stretches for miles (literally), every turn holds a new surprise. Your kids will love exploring the entertainment here. Street performers, arcades, carousels and food stalls colorfully paint the picture. Be sure to get a taste of the salt water taffy, Fisher’s Carmel Popcorn and the French fries from Thrashers. The nighttime offers hoards of entertainment, too. Live concerts at dusk followed by bonfires on the beach at night are a great way to end the day. Late September in Ocean City is home to the Kite Festival. With colorful kites majestically blowing in the balmy winds, it’s a great way to send off the summer.
Barcelona is a quirky funky town that is brimming with things to entice and inspire. Antoni Gaudi, Spain’s most well-known Art Nouveau architect, strongly influenced Barcelona’s identity with his natural designs and bright abstract colors that are sprinkled throughout the city. His Park Guell is a beautiful place to take the kids, with amazing views of the city plus jungle gyms. One you’ve seen the sites in the city, consider a day trip to Montjuic. Take the Montjuic Gondola, which departs from Barcelonita and provides you with amazing views of the city that rests below. You’ll arrive at the top of Montjuic, a mountain that borders Barcelona. Besides the breathtaking views (again!) of the city, you can check out Castle Montjuic. It is now a military museum that houses several canons that your kids will love to climb on. Top the day off by watching the fountains on Montjuic put on a night show, with lights, colors and music.
Yellowstone Park is a great place for the family who’s looking for a nature retreat. Adventure out into the wilderness on horseback for some real fun. Or head downstream in white water rafts. Old Faithful is a natural wonder that is both beautiful and puzzling. Be sure to plan your visit so that you can witness this marvel. Cheyenne Frontier Days, a festival during July, is an exciting place for the kids. Take your kids to the festival and teach them about Native American life, amidst the rodeos, cook-offs and National Guard Air Show. Nighttime is just as exciting as the day. Share scary stories around a bonfire while smores melt in your mouth. Turn off all the lights for a view of the skies that is unrivaled. Stars twinkle while meteors flash across the sky.
Scoop up the kids and hop a plane to Myrtle Beach, SC where there is truly something for every member of the family. Enjoy 60 miles of beaches, known as the “Grand Stand”. Once off the sand and in the ocean, there is no shortage of water sports to keep you busy. Try snorkeling, surfing, fishing, parasailing, or even a sunset cruise. When you tire of salt water, head to one of the areas many water parks and glide down a giant water slide.
Once you’re back on dry land, be sure to play some mini golf, one of Myrtle Beach’s signature activities. With over 40 mini golf courses and plenty of actual golf courses to choose from, Myrtle Beach will satisfy both the adult and youth golf players in the family. On a rain day, hit Ripley’s Aquarium and gaze into the giant tanks to view Reefs and Sting Rays, or head to the Children’s Museum or Planetarium.
With the economy starting to make a slow recovery, the smartest travelers are taking advantage of what’s likely to be one of the last waves of recession-inspired travel deals and promotions. With our saving savvy travelers in mind, we’ve compiled a list of FlipKey’s top 5 bargain vacation rentals. We were pretty surprised with what we found, from the shores of North Carolina to Italian castles, a small budget can stretch around the world!
Best FlipKey Bargains:
1) “Akbuk Apartment,” Akbuk, Turkey: Experience an exotic culture without spending a fortune. This 6 person home will run you about $21 per night. Close to the shores of the Aegean Sea, this home will offer you sandy beaches to relax on and exciting adventures to encounter, with none of that buyer’s remorse.
2) “Hillcrest Holiday Apartment,” Jeffreys Bay, South Africa:This African gem is one of the least expensive deals out there, at $210 per week. Overlooking the warm waters of the Southern Ocean, this house offers one of the most unique experiences at a most affordable price.
3) “La Castellana,” Tuscany, Italy: Who says you can’t live like a king on a minimal budget? Not the people at La Castellana, who rent their 2 person apartment situated in the Castle of Orciatico for only $35 a night. Located in the heart of Tuscany, this 7th century apartment is sure to be a royal vacation.
4) “Egyptian Experience,” Sinai, Egypt: For the group looking to change things up a bit, this apartment located on the Red Sea is your answer. For $250 a week you can enjoy views of both the Sinai desert and the sea from your balcony. Walk the ancient sands and experience what is often considered the cradle of civilization to get a taste of adventure.
5) “Conched Out Apt,” Emerald Island, NC: For a mere $50 a night or $200a week, this quaint rental sleeps four comfortably and is located on one of the hottest destinations on the east coast: the Carolinian shore. Perfect for the cost conscious!
Here at FlipKey, we’ve compiled a list that combines two of our favorite artifacts of summer: blockbuster movies and a prime vacation rental season. Here are our top 10 movies that will inspire any audience to consider a vacation rental for their next getaway…
Dirty Dancing: This classic ’80s tale about coming of age is quite possibly one of the most memorable chick flicks of all time. Set in a Catskills cabin rental resort, this film is highly memorable, not only for Patrick Swayze’s performance and his “fresh” moves, but mostly for the “magic” that happens at the family’s rental cabin!
Spanglish: In this Adam Sandler drama, we see how one family’s summer at a beach vacation rental can turn into a life changing experience. When their maid is asked to come along and family drama ensues even at their Malibu summer beach house, they are forced to re-evaluate their ways and better appreciate the beauty of the little things in life… including the idyllic vacation rental they were sharing together.
What About Bob: The eccentic Bob (Bill Murray) can’t stand the thought of his psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) heading to a New Hampshire vacation rental without him, so he does what every sane person would do…follow him! This oddly hilarious flick will leave you yearning for your own Bob, and your own vacation getaway.
The Notebook: In this ultimate heart-breaking, tear-jerking, chick flick, the main character, Allie, (Rachel McAdams) falls head over heels for a local construction worker, Noah (Ryan Gosling) while spending the summer at a vacation home in South Carolina. Sigh…summer love.
American Pie 2: The Michigan lake house rental in this flick provides the backdrop for the raunchy hilarity these kids experience during their last summer of ‘freedom’ before going out into the working world. Even Stifler’s Mom makes an appearance at their summer rental… Somethings Gotta Give: This film is the timeless love story of boy loves girl, boy meets girl’s mom, boy loves girl’s mom. Ok, so it’s a little twisted but we love Diane Keaton in this film and her stunning Hampton’s vacation home as the perfect setting for this quirky tale to unfold.
The Holiday: Fed up with their lives, two strangers decide to swap homes to ‘get away.’ Cameron Diaz ends up trading her posh LA mansion for the lovely and quaint English country cottage owned by Kate Winslet’s character. In the end, both Winslet and Diaz end up with some peace of mind and some unexpected love (hello Jude Law!) Thank you, holiday home!
Weekend at Bernies: Ok, ok, we know it’s about a dead guy and his employees that use him to gain access to his beach property, but this cult classic is a fave at FlipKey, we just can’t help it. Plus the Hampton’s beach resort is so enticing; it makes up for the dead guy.
Summer Rental: This comedy starring the legendary John Candy is your classic summer vacation movie. Candy plays an overworked Dad who rents a Florida vacation rental for the summer. When he meets both friends and foes, hilarity ensues…
Dan in Real Life: This atypical romantic comedy has Steve Carrell delivering his sharp wit in a down-to-earth yet offbeat role. We especially love the hectic family reunion scenes in their Rhode Island vacation rental.
With the warm winds of Mexico sweeping past the beautiful blue waters of the Texas Gulf Coast, it is no wonder why this was our number one vacation rental spot in June. Explore South Padre Island’s extensive opportunities, regardless of what you’re looking for in a vacation. Get a taste of Mexico by taking a bus across the border or spend your afternoons on the beach watching dolphins flip in the distance. Have an invigorating day fishing the sparkling waters or ride horses at sunset. Wherever you choose to vacation on the Texas Coast, you will find sun, sand and even a bit of serenity.
The Outer Banks, or OBX if you’re a local, was our second most popular vacation rental destination last month. Although the beaches are the biggest draw to this chain of barrier islands there are many other things to experience. Watch the wild horses on Ocracoke Island, descendents of the colonists’ horses. SCUBA dive the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” a notorious disaster area for ships, and be amazed at what you can find resting so peacefully beneath the surface. But we won’t blame you if you decide to simply kick your feet up on the porch, take a deep breath and watch the sunrise over the vast Atlantic.
Myrtle Beach is home to an abundance of family friendly activities. The area boasts a large number of water parks, amusement parks, and even music parks to keep your entire crew happy. Spend your days cruising Broadway on the Beach, which is home to an aquarium, entertainment complex and an enormous selection of stores. Whatever you decide to do, Myrtle Beach offers an excess of activities that’ll keep you and your little ones smiling.
Destin, Florida on the Emerald Coast is a popular spot for people looking to fish. It’s sparkling waters and warm temperate make it an ideal place to enjoy the outdoors. Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin is home to some of the best fishing in the Gulf. If you are an avid fisher, make your way down to the Destin Fishing Rodeo. If fish interest you more from a culinary perspective, be sure to check out the Destin Seafood Festival brimming with fresh local seafood as well as local artists.
The Georgia coast was our fifth top destination of interest for the month of June. Visit the Mansions on the South shore of Jekyll Island, golf on one of Kiawah’s renowned courses or listen to Greg Russell play under the ancient Liberty Oak Tree on Hilton Head.
Gulf Shores, Alabama has beautiful coastal shorelines that attract a vast array of vacationers. While many Americans head to Florida when they vacation, the locals know that the Gulf Shores has the perfect balance between tranquility and beautiful surroundings.
Home to more amusement and theme parks than anywhere in the United States, it is indeed a magical place to spend some time with your family. Visit the Cinderella Castle at Disney World or get your thrills on the Incredible Hulk roller coaster at Universal.
With it’s charming New England towns and scenic harbors, it’s no wonder that this Massachusetts cape draws so much attention. Spend the day lounging by the beach or take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. Sample some of the freshest seafood around and afterwards walk along the dusky dunes and watch the stars.
This 2 million year old lake is known for its extreme beauty, range of activities and moderate climate. Breathe in the crisp mountain air on a hike or canoe on the lake and catch some rays. Take a Gondola Ride up Heavenly Mountain and peek the Sierra Nevada Mountains, surrounding you.
We round out the list with the Keys at #10. With over 1700 islands, there is something for everyone here. Visit Key West, the most southern spot in the U.S. and while you’re there take a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home. Or head to Key Largo and sample some of the best Cuban food around.
What a year… Obama for president, the collapse of the financial industry and an unknown future for U.S. automakers. 2008 was chalk full of headlines with the vacation rental industry carving out its own “major news.” Based on an extremely unscientific poll, FlipKey has amassed the Top 10 Vacation Rental Highlights of 2008.
#10: FlipKey launches the industry’s first independent guest review serviceamassing the industry’s largest collection of verified vacation home rental guest reviews to promote the advantages of the vacation rental experience.
#9: VRMA overhauls board of directors, including the introduction of the industry’s first supplier representation (Kyle Buehner, Navis Technologies) in an effort to improve the market awareness, impact and membership growth.
#8: PhocusWright conducts the first formal, independent, industry study on the $24B vacation rental market highlighting that vacation rentals are emerging as a mainstream lodging category
#7: Orbitz begins promoting vacation rentalson Orbitz.com and Away.com through partnerships with Zonder and Vast, respectively.
#6: Discover Vacation Homes is launched,introducing the first dedicated public relations effort to promote the advantages of vacation rentals and professional managers.
#5: Industry addresses consumer confidence in vacation rentals with several companies introducing new vacation rental insurance products, the introduction of manager only search portals (e.g. ClearStay.com and VacationRoost) and additional PR efforts to educate consumers on the safety and advantages of vacation rentals.
#4: Instant Software announces over $1B in online reservations were executed through its ISILink global distribution system (GDS), highlighting the migration of vacation rental reservations from call centers to the desktop.
#3: Large RBO website raises $400M, underscoring the growing popularity and growth potential of the vacation rental industry.
#2: Vacation rentals hit mainstream press with the WSJ, New York Times, USAToday and several other national publications featuring articles on the vacation home rental industry.
#1: TripAdvisor takes a majority stake in FlipKey and announces it will begin promoting vacation rentals to TripAdvisor Media Group’s 24M monthly visitors in 2009.
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 240,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.