Facebook Favorites: Summer Destinations

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Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Take a scenic drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway and see why Asheville attracts creative types and vacationers alike. This eclectic town has a burgeoning River Arts District, boasts some of the nation's best craft breweries and is home to the iconic Biltmore estate, "American's very own Versailles." Start off with breakfast at the popular, farm-to-table Early Girl Eatery, which dishes up Southern comfort food with a side of retro charm. Next meander through galleries in the River Arts District before stopping at Wedge Brewery for a draft, a game of core hole and a bite from one of the food trucks posted up outside. In the evening, enjoy live music at local haunt 5 Walnut Wine Bar or curl up with a book at the dog-friendly Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne bar. 960 1280

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Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is best known for its majestic monoliths like Haystack Rock (an ideal beach selfie spot). However, its miles of serene beaches and a charming (yet refined) art scene make it one of the best resorts on the famed Oregon coast. Surf shops, galleries and wine bars line Hemlock Street. We suggest stopping by the Wine Bar at Sweet Basil's Cafe for bacon-wrapped dates, Willamette Valley wine selections and live music. 960 1280

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Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York

Skip the Hamptons-bound jitney, instead road trip to this scenic, Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Popular for its wineries (nearly 100 in all) and New England scenery (think: rolling hills, deep-blue vistas dotted by Amish farmland and charming small towns) -- life slows down as you follow paved 2-lane blacktops along the slender lakes' shores. Follow the popular Cayuga Lake Wine Trail near Seneca Falls, where a host of 15 wineries (and 4 distilleries), scenic waterfalls and gourmet restaurants beckon you to stop. We like Maxie's Supper Club & Oyster Bar, a Cajun seafood restaurant and raw bar. Stop in before 6 to beat the crowds and be treated to half-priced raw oysters or start your meal off with their signature cornbread and honey butter and Southern-style fried green tomatoes. 960 1280

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Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Why spend the weekend on 1 Florida beach, when you can island hop through the Florida Keys -- preferably in a convertible -- on scenic Highway 1 through Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and, last but not least, Key West. Each mile marker seems to bring a new slew of kitschy gift shops, snorkeling spots, and roadside fish shacks, but we recommend stopping for conch fritters at roadside seafood joint, Alabama Jacks on Key Largo, checking into Casa Morada on Islamorada (the half-way point between Miami and Key West) and touring the Ernest Hemingway Home on Key West. 960 1280

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Austin

Austin

Forgo the crowds at Barton Springs and instead cool off at Hamilton Pool Preserve, a lesser-known oasis. Approximately 23 miles west of Austin, this historic swimming hole was formed when an underground river collapsed. Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone cliffs to create a 50-foot waterfall. It's an approximately 10-minute "hike" from the parking lot to the pool so wear sensible shoes and leave the rolling cooler at home or you'll be cursing the stairs and uneven ground. If you're visiting Austin as well, Franklin Barbecue is worth the wait (we promise) and the landmark Allen's Boots has more than 4,000 pairs to chose from (along with hats, clothing and other accessories). 960 1280

Sandra Hintzman, flickr  

St. Michaels, Maryland

St. Michaels, Maryland

To enjoy a quiet weekend on the water, head to Maryland's Eastern Shore. Wander through the charming, historic town of St. Michaels (which dates back to Colonial times) popping into boutiques, stopping for a scoop at Justine's Ice Cream Parlour or capping off the day at Carpenter Street Saloon. The real attraction here is the water: spend the day sailing, jet skiing, kayaking or even crabbing. We suggest checking into the Inn at Perry Cabin -- yes, the one from Wedding Crashers -- or at least stopping by the premises for an aperitif and to see the sunset over the water from an Adirondack chair. 960 1280

Brain Gratwicke, flickr  

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

The most obvious choice for a full-blown Fourth of July celebration, DC's A Capitol Fourth concert doesn't disappoint with the National Symphony Orchestra providing the soundtrack for a spectacular fireworks display. Locals know it's not the only thing to see at night: Skip the crowds (and sweltering humidity) by taking an evening walking tour of the National Mall -- the brightly lit monuments and memorials are just as beautiful after dark. 960 1280

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Jersey Shore, New Jersey

Jersey Shore, New Jersey

The Jersey Shore, stretching from Sandy Hook to Cape May, has undergone major recovery efforts since Superstorm Sandy -- and the more recent Seaside Heights boardwalk fire. The shore welcomes visitors looking for an All-American summer vacation filled with beaches, lighthouses, ice cream shops, amusement rides, mini golf, fishing and more. While there is still work to be done, downtown Asbury Park has been revitalized, as have most of the region's tourist-heavy destinations. Spend a day in the kitschy town of Wildwood, home to the widest beach in the state and a boardwalk that lives up to its namesake, or stay in nearby Cape May, known for its Victorian houses, historic lighthouse and gourmet restaurants. 960 1280

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Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Just 21 miles south of Charleston, Kiawah Island is a coastal island and world-class golf resort. While beautiful Beachwalker Park is open to the public (and provides lifeguards, picnic areas and parking), we recommend staying at the 5-star Sanctuary Hotel or renting one of the homes or villas to access the slew of amenities the resort has to offer (including its top-ranked spa). Play a round of golf at Ocean Course (1 of 5 award-winning golf courses on the island), enjoy tennis on clay or hard courts, canoe through marsh-lined creeks or simply spend a day at the beach enjoying more than 10 miles of pristine shoreline. 960 1280

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Pacific Coast Highway, California

Pacific Coast Highway, California

Hop in a car, better yet make it a convertible, for a weekend road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. Take a detour on the private 17-Mile Drive, which hugs the craggy coastline from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach. The drive not only offers views of the picturesque 7th green, but also one of California's best known landmarks, the Lone Cyprus. Back on the PCH stop a few miles south of Monterey in the artsy town of Carmel-by-the-Sea -- once home to photographer Ansel Adams and writer Sinclair Lewis -- where you can spend the night at the romantic Highlands Inn, a Park Hyatt resort overlooking the Big Sur coast. Following brunch at Mission Ranch, snake along the 30-mile stretch from Carmel to Big Sur for cliff-top dining at the Nepenthe Restaurant. End the weekend 65 miles south in San Simeon at the eccentric Hearst Castle, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst's enormous estate. 960 1280

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San Juan

San Juan

Though it's not located on the continental US, increasing direct flights from the East Coast are making Puerto Rico a viable long-weekend option. Puerto Rico is also becoming a popular year-round destination, but visit before July if you don't want to chance a hurricane. Once you land on the island, check into the luxurious St. Regis Bahia Beach resort for a secluded-island vacation or stay put in the town of San Juan. We recommend strolling Old San Juan's colorful, narrow streets, checking out the casino and nightclub inside the San Juan Hotel, and mingling with locals over live salsa at Nuyorican Cafe when not basking on the beach. 960 1280

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Roughly 80 miles northwest of Denver lies the majestic Rocky Mountain National Park. Families should make Estes Park -- at the east end of the park -- their base camp to experience unbelievable views from the Estes Park Aerial Tramway (which climbs over 1,000 feet in less than 5 minutes), kid-friendly hikes like the easily-accessible Alberta Falls and after-dinner ghost stories at the infamous Stanely Hotel. Those looking for solitude from the summer crowds -- and who are willing to brave a challenging hike (12.6 miles roundtrip) -- will find solace at nearby Lawn Lake, as well as 13,000-foot granite peaks, catch-and-release trout fishing and wildflowers ringing the western edge of the lake. 960 1280

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Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County, California

Escape up US Highway 101 into Northern California's wine country for a weekend of good food and fine wine in Healdsburg, CA (just 70 miles north of San Francisco). Start the weekend off at the Healdsburg Farmers Market where you can pick up Pug's Leap goat cheeses, a variety of bottled olive oils, fresh butter and other produce -- all sustainably grown on farms within 10 miles of the town's Spanish-style plaza. Flying Goat Coffee and food trucks are also on site if you aren't full from the vendors' food samples. With more than 150 wineries dotting the Wine Road (made up of the Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River Valleys) refrain from ending up Sideways by renting a bike from Wine Country Bikes or joining one of their guided tours. Afterwards, dine at Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen inside the minimalist Hotel Healdsburg -- a stylish and convenient choice to stay as well. 960 1280

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St. Louis

St. Louis

Ah, baseball. Nothing epitomizes summer leisure more than taking in a game that involves a stretch somewhere into its third hour. Cheer on the St. Louis Cardinals -- beer in hand -- fittingly, at Busch Stadium. Afterwards, check out Three Sixty rooftop bar perched atop the nearby Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark -- one of the best rooftop bars in the country. You'll get a bird's-eye view of the ballpark, the soaring Gateway Arch and more -- all from 400 feet above downtown. If you haven't filled up on stadium fare, indulge in gourmet bites like mini lobster rolls or have a House Kit Kat Bar for dessert. We suggest making Moonrise Hotel -- a unique, boutique hotel property on the famous Delmar Loop -- your home base for the weekend. 960 1280

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Chicago

Chicago

Cap off the summer in Chi-town. Grab a grassy spot and picnic at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park for the annual (free) Chicago Jazz Festival, a favorite among Chicago's many Labor Day weekend festivals. Spend the day strolling along the glistening Lake Michigan shore, taking in the expansive skyline as you round the North Avenue Beach curve and taking a break at Oak Street Beach Food + Drink. If you have kids, treat them to one last fireworks show at the Navy Pier before school starts. 960 1280

Panu Tangchalermku, flickr  

South Bay, CA
South Bay, CA

South Bay, CA

Look out, here come the South Bay surfers! Head to the South Bay area, southwest of Los Angeles, for cool waves and plenty of sun. For top surfing action, check out the annual International Surf Festival -- one of South Bay’s biggest events of the year, held in late July. 960 1280

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Waimea Bay, HI

Waimea Bay, HI

If everybody had an ocean, across the USA … they might wish it looked like Hawaii’s Waimea Bay. Top gun surfers -- called 'rhino chasers' in the Beach Boys’ day -- love the area’s tall waves. 960 1280

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Redondo Beach, CA

Redondo Beach, CA

Everybody’s gone surfin’ at Redondo, too. While in the South Bay area stop by Redondo Beach, one of 3 prized beaches in the region. The South Bay waves here turn into killer kahunas -- as high as 20 feet! 960 1280

Neil Kremer, flickr   

Sandals Cay, Jamaica

Sandals Cay, Jamaica

Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand … welcome to Sandals Cay. Once known as Kokomo Island, Sandals Cay is just 2.5 acres but big on tropical relaxation: a Thai restaurant, Jacuzzi and secluded beach can be found here. 960 1280

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Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA

Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA

Tach it up, tach it up, buddy gonna shut you down! The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson used to rev it up in a Shelby Cobra car around the now-gone San Fernando Raceway. These days, head to places like Auto Club Speedway, which has hosted NASCAR racing every year since 1997. 960 1280

Massimo Mazzocca, flickr  

Big Sur, CA

Big Sur, CA

Under Big Sur sky, that’s where you belong. This stretch of California’s Central Coast inspired the Beach Boys with its 'cashmere hills filled with evergreens, flowin’ from the clouds down to meet the sea.' 960 1280

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San Miguel, Mexico

San Miguel, Mexico

The Beach Boys sang they could be in San Miguel forever. However long your visit, take time for a stroll through this central Mexican city’s quaint cobblestone streets, lined with colorful homes and churches. 960 1280

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Trestles Beach

Trestles Beach

And who can forget Trestles Beach? The Beach Boys didn’t in ‘Surfin’ USA.’ Trestles Beach remains one of California’s best surfing spots, with some of the last undeveloped coastal areas in Southern California. 960 1280

Rian Castillo, flickr  

Disneyland

Disneyland

Disneyland is worth a trip to LA. The theme park made the list in the Beach Boys’ hit ‘Amusement Parks USA.’ In true Beach Boys-style, get behind the wheel of a specially-designed car and zoom around the track at Disneyland’s own roadway, Autopia. 960 1280

Larry Johnson, flickr  

Narrabeen Beach, Australia

Narrabeen Beach, Australia

It may not be surfin’ in the USA, but Australia’s Narrabeen Beach got a nod from the Beach Boys in their famous hit. The beachside suburb, northeast of Sydney, has 4 beach areas – and plenty of water activities, including rowing. 960 1280

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Islamorada, Florida Keys

Islamorada, Florida Keys

The Beach Boys called Islamorada the real inspiration for their hit ‘Kokomo.’ Four islands in this upper Florida Keys attraction offer tranquil spots to stretch out on the sand. And don’t forget your fishing pole -- locals call this the ‘sport fishing capital of the world.’ 960 1280

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Swami’s Beach, CA

Swami’s Beach, CA

Surf’s up on Swami’s Beach. This stretch of sand near San Diego was made famous in the Beach Boys’ ‘Surfin’ USA.’ To this day, Swami’s remains a major surfing destination -- its large number of right-hand point breaks is a big reason why. 960 1280

Phil Price, flickr  

Kona Coast

Kona Coast

Welcome to an “island mecca.” Yep, that’s what the Beach Boys called Kona’s coast. Part of the Big Island of Hawaii, the coastline includes Kealakekua Bay -- a popular spot for snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking. 960 1280

Travis Thurston, Wikimedia Commons  

Pasadena, CA

Pasadena, CA

Make like the ‘little old lady from Pasadena,’ and take a drive around this LA County city. One of the most scenic driving spots is Orange Grove Boulevard, a street lined with so many mansions it’s called ‘Millionaire’s Row.’ 960 1280

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Photos

As the temperature rises in the Caribbean during the summer, airfare and hotel rates to places like St. John drop. 960 1280

  

Between May and December, Maho Bay Camps on St. John is a bargain for families. 960 1280

  

The beauty of a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, vacation: a week at a budget-friendly hotel for under $1,000. 960 1280

  

Family deals at the Myrtle Beach Sea Mist include admission to the resort's own water park. 960 1280

  

In the afternoon at Medomak Camp in Rockland, Maine, everyone heads to the lake. 960 1280

  

Swimming, sculling, sailing and, of course, kayaking are among the most popular activities at Medomak Camp. 960 1280

  

The Ace Adventure Center in Oak Hill, West Virginia boasts a prime location on the New River Gorge National River. 960 1280

  

At the Ace, you can carve some family-bonding time into the summer with wild outdoor adventures for one set price. 960 1280

  

Shake up your summer routine with an urban getaway to Boston. 960 1280

  

With no slush and snow underfoot, it's a great time for a stroll along Boston's Freedom Trail. 960 1280

  

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