Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

With oceanfront views, cinematic festivals and fine wine, Santa Barbara has been called the "American Riviera" -- with a twist. The coastal city also comes with a down-home style all its own.

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Best Western Adirondack Inn
This alpine-style Best Western, located in Lake Placid, NY, has a great location across from the Olympic Center and blocks from downtown Lake Placid and Mirror Lake beach. The cozy living-room-like lobby, indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, fitness center, free breakfast and game room are added bonuses.
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The Annabelle Inn
This rustic Aspen, CO, lodge stays true to its unflashy roots with nicely updated mountain-lodge-style decor in the lobby, including tons of old, unfinished barn wood (even the ceilings), comfy leather couches and a cozy stone fireplace. The layout of the Annabelle is unlike any other in the area, with a 4-story, courtyard-style layout exposing all the stairways and walkways to the elements.
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Picasa  

The Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort
This rustic-luxe, chalet-inspired lodge is one of Vail's premier options, with a location in the heart of Vail Square, near the Eagle Bahn lift. The 62 luxurious rooms feature massive bathrooms, stone fireplaces and scenic balconies. Both the lavish spa and rooftop lap pool pack serious wow factor.
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Crystal Peak Lodge
As one of the higher-end properties in Breckenridge, it has a great winter location on Peak 7, right on the Breck-Connect Gondola line. Upscale details can be found throughout, including exposed wood beams in the open common area and stone fireplaces in the big, individually owned condos.
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Fairmont Chateau Whistler
This 550-room Fairmont Chateau is perched amid Bavarian-styled buildings just outside of Whistler Village, with magnificent views and close proximity to ski lifts. The 2 eucalyptus steam rooms and multiple Jacuzzis make it easy for guests to warm up after a day in the snow.
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High Peaks Resort
Near the Olympic Center and a short drive away from slopes, the High Peaks resort is built on the site of the first Lake Placed B&B, built over 100 years ago. Today, it's a great pick because of its warm, inviting interior and scenic views of the lake (seen from most rooms).
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Loden Hotel
In a bustling coastal metropolis that uniquely offers views of both the mountains and the sea, a boutique hotel is just what you need to come home to in Vancouver. The Loden Hotel will make you feel relaxed after a long day of skiing the nearby slopes.
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Nita Lake Lodge
A luxurious escape from the madness of the touristy parts of Whistler, the 77 suites at Nita Lake Lodge evoke sophisticated, mountain-town style, with high, vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and beautiful balconies with gorgeous views.
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One Ski Hill Place, A RockResort
One Ski Hill Place is located directly on the mountain in Breckenridge, CO, and the on-site Gondola transports guests within walking distance to Main Street. It's a true ski-in/ski-out property, and the views are excellent.
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Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside
This 121-room hotel has a premier location in the heart of Whistler Village, right next to the ski lifts. Rooms are homey and functional, if not luxurious, with light wood accents, space-saving Murphy beds, kitchenettes and fireplaces. After a day out in the cold, the outdoor Jacuzzi is a wonderful treat.
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The Peery Hotel
The main draw of this quaint, historic hotel is its downtown Salt Lake City location, within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions. The rooms have Tempur-Pedic beds with quality linens and romantic white canopies, iPod docks and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
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The Sassy Moose Inn
This homey inn with quaint on-site spa and log cabin decor will help you feel like you’re in your own living room. Its proximity to Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort make it a great, casual destination.
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The St. Regis Deer Valley
The St. Regis offers a true 5-star experience. Skiiers will love its location in Park City, UT: its is directly on the famous ski resort of the same name, offering excellent ski-in/ski-out access for guests.
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Stein Eriksen Lodge
This luxurious 170-room Park City lodge offers ski-in, ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort, and has a design style that could be described as "wilderness chic." Perks such as free ski valets and free shuttles to the slopes from the parking lots are season-long luxuries.
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Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa
In keeping with its name, hideaway has a distinct mountain-lodge vibe. This cozy hotel is just steps from the base of Jackson Hole Mountain resort, and only a mile from the entrace to Grand Teton National Park.
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Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa
This value-for-money hotel is located in a serene, creek-side spot in Vail Village, close to the Bahn ski lift. Among its many other amenities, the excellent, organic Terra Bistro is a favorite with locals as well as guests, and provides free hot breakfasts.
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Sweet cinnamon sticky buns are perfect with pecans on top. 960 1280

  

Cooked in a vat of bubbling oil, these french fries are a true indulgence. 960 1280

  

Fill up with a plate of tasty spaghetti served with tomato sauce and flecks of fresh basil. 960 1280

  

The only thing that can improve on a tasty slice of rich New York cheesecake is a gooey topping of sweet cherries. 960 1280

  

This burger is an all-American favorite, topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, special sauce and, of course, bacon. 960 1280

  

Don't just dismiss mac and cheese as kids' food; the luscious, creamy goodness tempts adult palates, too. 960 1280

  

The crisp green beans and burst cherry tomatoes look tasty, but the star on this plate is the mouthwatering steak. 960 1280

  

Who needs a plain doughnut when you can enjoy one topped with creamy icing and colorful sprinkles? 960 1280

  

Food Porn  8 Photos

Mrs. McMullen’s Appleberry Pie
Mrs. McMullen’s Appleberry Pie

Mrs. McMullen’s Appleberry Pie

Raise your spirits this Thanksgiving with Mrs. McMullen's Appleberry Pie. We’d happily trade canned cranberry sauce for this cocktail combination of raspberry, blueberry and blackberry. 960 1280

  

Frozen Mint Julep

Frozen Mint Julep

Start the summer off with a bang this Memorial Day by toasting with Frozen Mint Juleps. For non-southerners, this twist on the Kentucky Derby delight may make the bourbon more palatable -- and refreshing. 960 1280

  

Liam’s Midnight Toast

Liam’s Midnight Toast

Ring in the New Year (or Christmas -- it’s festive) with a classy, champagne cocktail like Liam's Midnight Toast. Garnish with an orange slice, and leave the speeches to your guests! 960 1280

  

Black Devil Martini

Black Devil Martini

For your adults-only Halloween party, serve this Black Devil Martini. This spooky spirit gets its color from dark rum, course orange sugar and a black olive garnish. 960 1280

  

Autumn Colors Cocktail

Autumn Colors Cocktail

The name says it all. This crisp, sweet-tea-vodka mixture is pretty enough for the Thanksgiving table thanks to pomegranate liqueur and orange zest. 960 1280

  

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

Warm your belly during the holidays with beloved Hot Buttered Rum. This classic mixed drink containing rum, caramelized brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg is perfect for enjoying fireside. 960 1280

  

Clarence’s Cranberry Toddy

Clarence’s Cranberry Toddy

It’s a wonderful life! We think right after Clarence, George Bailey’s guardian angel, finally got his wings he reached for this hot, cranberry concoction. 960 1280

  

Santa’s Pumpkin Pie Martini

Santa’s Pumpkin Pie Martini

One part Thanksgiving, 2 parts Christmas, we bet the big guy in red loves Santa's Pumpkin Pie Martini -- we do, too! 960 1280

  

Cocoa Raspberry Heaven

Cocoa Raspberry Heaven

Paradise is found with a sip of this raspberry-infused, hot-chocolate cocktail, some people might say. Top the whipped cream with a drizzle of Chambord and a fresh raspberry. 960 1280

  

Photos

Ruby's Diner is located at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier, one of the longest public piers on the West Coast. 960 1280

Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau  

Laguna Beach is a seaside resort city made famous by MTV's series of the same name following privileged SoCal teenagers. 960 1280

Jeri Koegel through Flickr Creative Commons  

Laguna Beach is the second-oldest city in Orange County, second to Anaheim. Its picturesque coastline is midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. 960 1280

Chris Eason through Flickr Creative Commons  

There's no shortage of shopping for real housewives or tourists in Orange County. 960 1280

La Citta Vita through Flickr Creative Commons  

The newly-renovated Hilton La Jolla sits atop the bluffs and overlooks the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course and Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Paul Cross through Creative Commons  

One of the youngest cities in the OC, Rancho Santa Margarita is a beautifully planned community set upon the rolling hills. 960 1280

Courtesy City of Rancho Santa Margarita  

The streets of downtown La Jolla are spotted with the world's shopping elite visiting storefronts from charming boutiques to high-end art galleries. 960 1280

Alejandro Mallea through Creative Commons  

San Clemente is a popular surfing destination, catching swells all year long. 960 1280

Curtis Fry through Flickr Creative Commons  

Newport Beach Harbor is a semi-artificial harbor that created several islands such as Newport Island, Balboa Island, Collins Island and more now mostly covered with private homes. 960 1280

John Martinez Pavliga through Flickr Creative Commons  

Imagine soaking in the sunset view at home in Laguna Beach. 960 1280

Jeri Koegel through Flickr Creative Commons  

La Jolla's curving coast along the Pacific Ocean is an affluent seaside resort with home prices averaging $2 million. 960 1280

Paul Hamilton through Flickr Creative Commons  

The South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa define luxury shopping with the highest sales in the US. 960 1280

  

With more than 12 miles of sand and surf and 8 miles of paved boardwalk downtown Huntington Beach offers one-of-a-kind shopping, dining, activities and nightlife. 960 1280

Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau  

dockweiler beach

dockweiler beach

Marianela, craving some s’mores, heads to Dockweiler Beach, one of the only beaches in Southern California where you can have a bonfire. 960 1280

  

hang gliding

hang gliding

The beach is also famous for being a hang-glider flight-training park, and was a major testing ground for hang gliding pioneers in the '60s. 960 1280

  

relaxation

relaxation

Dockweiler is perfect for a day of relaxation, hanging with friends, and enjoying the beautiful view of the shore. 960 1280

  

hot dog

hot dog

Marianela enjoys a hot dog she cooked on the bonfire. 960 1280

  

close up

close up

Marianela is ready for her close-up. 960 1280

  

bonfire

bonfire

Marianela gets ready to chop some wood for the bonfire. 960 1280

  

bonfire making

bonfire making

Beachgoers teach Marianela the proper technique to making a bonfire. 960 1280

  

boeing airplane

boeing airplane

Marianela checks out the Boeing 747 airplane flying by. 960 1280

  

football

football

Marianela plays a little football as the sun sets on Dockweiler Beach. 960 1280

  

bonfire making

bonfire making

Marianela learns that making a bonfire isn’t as easy as it looks, but eventually gets the hang of it. 960 1280

  

new friends

new friends

Marianela poses with her new friends, “champions” of bonfire making. 960 1280

  

LAX

LAX

Dockweiler is located right off the takeoff path for LAX. 960 1280

  

sunset

sunset

As the sun sets, Marianela takes in the gorgeous view of the LA shoreline. 960 1280

  

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach

Just 5 minutes from San Diego, this family-friendly beach boasts wide stretches of sand, mostly calm surf and ideal whale watching (January through March). The lifeguards on staff, nearby public facilities and free parking along Ocean Boulevard add to its convenience -- and popularity. Couples can take a romantic walk to the luxury beachfront Hotel del Coronado and sip cocktails on its patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Tashka/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, founded by the Chumash Indian Tribe, is located in central California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Whichever direction you travel from, there’s plenty of activities to keep you here: fishing on the 1,200-foot-long pier, strolling through the Monarch Butterfly Grove, horseback riding along private trails, and exploring tide pools and caves, to name just a few. 960 1280

Mimi Ditchie Photography / Getty Images  

La Jolla

La Jolla

You’ll have to leave the surfboards and boogie boards behind, but trust us it will be worth it. La Jolla Cove is the most desired area for swimming, snorkeling and diving; it is ecologically protected, making it a safe home for the bright orange Garibaldi fish (among others species) in the crescent-shaped cove. Called “the jewel” of San Diego, this beach is small, but you’ll find more room to stretch out on the mile-long La Jolla Shores to the north. 960 1280

John Hoffman/ iStock/ Thinkstock   

Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast State Beach comprises 13 miles of coastline, stretching from Blind Beach to Bodega Head. It’s dotted with nothing save hidden beaches tucked between the rocky coves and tall bluffs. Follow the Sonoma Coast Trail to visit these secret beaches and take postcard-worthy pictures, #nofilter necessary. 960 1280

Jairo Leiva/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Main Beach in Santa Cruz

Main Beach in Santa Cruz

For most beachgoers in Santa Cruz, Main Beach is where the action is -- complete with restaurants, shops, surfing spots, beach volleyball courts and, of course, a scenic boardwalk and bandstand. If you ask us, it’s just the right amount of Americana. 960 1280

Mitch Diamond/ Photodisc/ Getty Images  

Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Pier

With a location at the end of Main Street and a nickname like “Surf City, USA,” Huntington Beach evokes a time gone by. The pier (one of the longest on the West Coast), the year-round surf (thanks to ocean swells around Catalina Island) and Ruby’s Diner (the milkshakes are a must) will continue to draw crowds here for years to come. 
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Christopher Riddler/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Our resident beach expert, Marianela Pereyra, can attest to its weirdness, but there’s a reason Venice Beach is world famous. It may bring to mind visions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muscle Beach of the ’70s, but let us assure you that the 1 1/2-mile-long boardwalk is still the perfect storm for people watching, street performers and souvenir shopping. 960 1280

Christian Kober/ AWL Images/ Getty Images  

Baker Beach

Baker Beach

To the west of the Golden Gate Bridge lies the rocky serpentine shoreline of Baker Beach. Rip currents make swimming unsafe, but you’re here for the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge … and maybe to picnic. Just don’t venture too far north unless you’re looking for another kind of scene: the northernmost end of Baker Beach, which attracts clothing-optional sunbathers. 960 1280

Jamairani/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Formerly known as Surfrider Beach, Malibu Lagoon State Beach’s famous right point breaks have made it the most-surfed spot in Los Angeles since the ’60s. Arrive early to find a parking spot and pick a point -- some of the perfect swells due to Surfrider Beach will give you a ride all the way to the pier (a couple hundred feet away). And for non-surfers, the historic wooden Malibu Pier offers excellent saltwater fishing, bird-watching and picnicking. 960 1280

Ryan McVay/ Digital Vision/ Thinkstock  

Dockweiler State Beach

Dockweiler State Beach

Located just west of the LAX runway, Dockweiler Beach is where people come to relax and party. That’s because the 3-mile-long shoreline is the only Los Angeles beach that has an RV park and allows bonfires. S’mores, anyone? 960 1280

Jose Gil/ iStock/ Getty Images  

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