Dreaming of a tropical getaway, but don’t know where to go? Want to bask on beautiful beaches, but don’t want to cross several times zones to get there? Puerto Rico, just a quick 2-½ hour flight from Miami, is as close as it gets to an island paradise. Temperatures year-round hover between a perfect 75 to 85 degrees. If that doesn’t convince you, here are 5 more reasons to visit Puerto Rico.
1. No Passport Required
Forgot to renew your passport? Don’t worry; you can still take a trip to Puerto Rico. While this exotic isle may seem like a world away with its rich Spanish culture and exotic beaches, it’s still part of the US making it a no-passport-required vacation. One less thing to (forget to) pack.
2. Glow-in-the-Dark Sea Creatures
Don’t let the name Mosquito Bay scare you – it is not the world’s most mosquito-infested bay. Also known as Bioluminescent Bay, this lagoon in Vieques is home to tiny glowing creatures that light up the bay at night in trails of blue phosphorescence. Rent a kayak on a moonless night for the best viewing of this amazing glow-in-the-dark phenomenon.
Whether you’re looking to escape the winter cold or chase it, there are plenty of affordable places to visit this winter without breaking the bank. Several airlines are running amazing winter fare sales on domestic and international destinations, many under $300 round-trip. Here are 5 of the cheapest winter fares right now.
Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage on Monday, which should draw even more happy couples to the Aloha State. The law also allows couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a move that is sure to appeal to plenty of tourists.
How much of an appeal? Sumner La Croix, an economist at the University of Hawaii -Manoa, tells NPR that the legalization of gay marriage in Hawaii could boost tourism in the state by as much $217 million over the next 3 years.
“Same-sex couples will be attracted to Hawaii for the same reasons that opposite-sex couples are attracted to Hawaii,” said La Croix. “It’s the great weather, it’s the warm water, it’s the beautiful scenery. And it’s also the aloha spirit.”
We couldn’t agree more at Travel Channel. We’ve lauded combining your wedding with your honeymoon on the Hawaiian Islands thanks to the year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets.
Can someone learn to surf in just 1 day? How about learn to surf and participate in a surfing competition in 2?
If your teacher is Travis Long, the answer may be yes. At least that’s what this tandem-surfing pro and surf instructor with San Diego Surfing Academy has been saying ever since I touched down in Southern California a couple hours ago, and before then, when we were emailing coast to coast. Who could pass this up?
There’s just one small thing: Forget not knowing how to surf, I barely know how to swim. And come to think of it, I don’t own a bathing suit. Plus, I have a bad lower back. Other than that, this sounds like one great idea.
At least Travis thinks so. He’s even got us booked in a tandem-surfing competition, slated for the very next day. Swami’s 19th Invitational Surf Contest is an annual event put on by Swami’s Surfing Association at Cardiff Reef, CA. As the guardians of “sun, sea and surf since 1964,” this is one of the oldest surfing clubs in all of California, and … I’m starting to freak.
The Jersey Shore is open and ready for business. A year after Hurricane Sandy, the 270 miles of shoreline along New Jersey’s coast have seen a resurgence in visitors. This past summer, most of the Jersey Shore’s shops and restaurants were open to travelers. In Monmouth County alone, which saw the brunt of Sandy’s wrath alongside neighboring Ocean County, nearly all the waterfront restaurants have reopened, with new ribbon cuttings almost weekly, attended by the likes of New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.
“We have to celebrate that we’ve come this far,” says Bob Hilton, executive director of the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau. A big reason for the Shore’s revitalization has been the arrival of 40,000 new travelers, from places like Virginia, New York, Ohio, Philadelphia and as far north as Canada, who’ve come out of a mixture of curiosity, support and travel discounts. Travelers are finding that, despite the number of displaced families and business that have yet to resettle in the area, the majority of the Shore’s tourism attractions are back up and running. In fact, some areas, such as Atlantic City, saw minimal damage and were open the day after Sandy’s touchdown.
So as news reports on Sandy’s 1-year anniversary saturate your newsfeed, we’ve sifted through the hysteria and the hype — here’s what travelers can really find in visiting the Jersey Shore’s 4 counties:
Home to 27 miles of oceanfront beaches, and 26 miles of bayfront beaches, Monmouth County encompasses Jersey Shore’s northernmost tip. Visit Monmouth’s 3 working lighthouses, including the oldest one in the US, Sandy Hook Lighthouse; enjoy a round of golf at 8 courses; and horse racing at Monmouth Park Racetrack. Popular restaurants in Highlands, NJ, include Bahrs Landing and Inlet Café (both on the waterfront), as well as Windansea, Chilangos and Havana Tropical Café. Plus stroll the revitalized Spring Lake, Belmar and Asbury Park boardwalks.
Despite a dip in its beach rental market, and the recent Seaside boardwalk fire, Ocean County has been coming back strong thanks to a packed festival season — October sees about 60 events happening throughout Ocean County, including, for the Halloween-minded, Fright Fest at Great Adventure and Haunted Seaport, as well as lively parades such as Toms River Halloween Parade — the biggest Halloween parade in the country, on Saturday, Oct. 26.
On the Jersey Shore’s southernmost tip, Cape May was largely unaffected by Sandy. Attractions include the Physick Estate, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, and come Christmastime, the decoration of local bed-and-breakfasts, like the Queen Victoria, with different holiday themes. For New Year’s, the boardwalk will see 70 different entertainment venues, spread over 2 days, with plenty of fireworks and a New Year’s Day plunge into the Atlantic.
Everything is open in Atlantic City – it’s been that way since the day after Sandy hit shore. Among the highlights is the new Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville complex, which opened this past summer, as well as new stores in The Pier Shops at Caesars including Bare Feet Boutique, Shoe Be Do, Cellairis, BLO/OUT Blow Dry Bar, Auntie Ann’s and Cinnabon. Plus, you’ll find Empire Burger takeout on the Boardwalk, operated by Phillip’s Seafood. In addition, 5 new dining outlets opened at Tropicana’s Marketplace (on the boardwalk side). In Tropicana’s The Quarter, Broadway Burger Bar also opened.
What’s your favorite Jersey Shore attraction? Tell us in the comments box below.
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Visit the aristocrat of beaches, Cape May, New Jersey.
Discover the birthplace of Miss America, Historic Atlantic City.
Take a tour of the Jersey Shore’s Communities.
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