Jubilant July Travel Ideas

Make it a jubilant July! Take in July 4th fireworks over NYC, celebrate Bastille Day in the Big Easy and kick up your boots at Canada’s largest rodeo -- July’s travel ideas have just begun.

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Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

On your mark, get set … it’s off to Louisville for the granddaddy of all horse races. In time-honored tradition, the 140th annual Kentucky Derby -- the first leg of the Triple Crown -- kicks off the first Saturday in May. Settle into your seat at Churchill Downs racetrack on Central Avenue, sip a mint julep and enjoy the "Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports." 960 1280

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Mother’s Day Tea at The Plaza

Mother’s Day Tea at The Plaza

Mom is always fussing over you, now’s your chance to turn the tables -- in style. Treat Mom to afternoon tea at The Plaza’s Tea Room. A tradition since the hotel opened in 1907, tea at this NYC landmark has inspired scenes in popular films and novels, including Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Mom can enjoy a selection of sandwiches and savories from the Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages and The New Yorker menus. 960 1280

The Plaza  

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

La lumière, la caméra, l'action! Slip on some shades, and head to the French Riviera for the largest annual showcase of cinema in the world. Don’t have a ticket to events inside the Palais des Festivals et des Congres building where the festival is held? Pas de probleme! Enjoy open-air shows at the Cinema de la Plage, and for celebrity sightings show up extra-early outside the Palais. You may just spot Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman or Steven Spielberg on this year’s red carpet. 960 1280

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Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500

Rev up for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports (with the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans right behind) this annual race is quite possibly the largest single-day sporting event in the entire world, attracting roughly 400,000 spectators. Head to Indianapolis the last weekend in May, and prepare for a high-speed show around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval circuit. 960 1280

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Brighton Festival, England

Brighton Festival, England

Enjoy a 3-week celebration of music, theater, dance, art and film at the 47th annual Brighton Festival. Held each May in the southeastern English city of Brighton and Hove, the gathering is the largest multi-art form festival in all of England: More than 370 performances from artists such as Sinead O’Connor and 3-time Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, are slated for 2013. 960 1280

Brighton Festival  

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Take in the small-town charm of Winchester, VA, in this 6-day celebration of spring. First held in 1924, the annual festival packs a wallop of more than 30 events into its lineup: band competitions, dances, parades, carnival, a 10K race, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah and so much more, attracting crowds in excess of 250,000. 960 1280

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival   

Whale Watching, Stellwagen Bank

Whale Watching, Stellwagen Bank

Did winter come and go without you getting a chance to see whales? There’s still time: Between May and September, more than 400 orcas swim in the waters around Canada’s Vancouver Island. Or head to the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago about 1,000 miles from Lisbon, where sperm whales gather from May to October. Closer to home, Stellwagen Bank, a submerged sandbank between Cape Cod and Cape Ann in Massachusetts, attracts the endangered North Atlantic right whale to its waters. 960 1280

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

When chef Mark Abernathy of Arkansas restaurants Red Door and Loca Luna kicks the bucket, he wants to skip heaven and head straight for this food extravaganza. Such is the praise heaped on this annual fest by critically acclaimed chefs. Now in its third year, the gathering celebrates the best of Southern cuisine’s past and future, with cooking and cocktail demos, tasting tents and seminars on everything from the history of the Southern cocktail to Southern beer culture. 960 1280

AFWF/Raftermen  

National Bike Month

National Bike Month

Dust off that old bike, or buy a new one: It’s National Bike Month. Cities nationwide, including Austin, Boston, Santa Barbara, and Portland (pictured), are among the cities actively participating in the event. In San Francisco, you’ll find “energizer stations” this month, with food, drinks, red blinky lights and reflective leg bands available for bikers participating in the month-long public awareness campaign. Sounds like a great way to get free stuff -- and get in shape! 960 1280

Portland  

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (meaning "fifth of May" in Spanish) right here in the United States. Nationwide, there are more than 120 official US celebrations, spanning 21 states, in cities such as Cleveland, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. The holiday stretches back to the first few years of the American Civil War, when Mexican-American communities sought to commemorate the causes of freedom and democracy. Head to downtown Denver for one such celebration: Here, members of a Mexican folkloric dance academy perform at the city’s Civic Center Park. 
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Vesak (Buddha Day)

Vesak (Buddha Day)

Seeking enlightenment? Celebrate Buddha’s birthday this May. Or take in the festivities as Buddhist devotees mark the occasion in Southeast Asian countries from Nepal to the Indonesian island of Java (pictured). Here, Buddhist monks pray at Borobudur, a 9th-century temple (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) that is Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction. 960 1280

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Head to this amphitheater at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for a grand show: Each May Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from a large, rocky passage within Carlsbad Cavern in search of a tasty mix of insects for dinner. In case you’ve happened on this wondrous sight in southeastern New Mexico with your family (and your kids have questions), a park ranger gives an informative talk as visitors wait for the bats to come out. 960 1280

carlfbagge, flickr  

May’s Must-Dos  12 Photos

National Cherry Blossom Festival
National Cherry Blossom Festival

National Cherry Blossom Festival

The nation’s capital comes abloom every spring with the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. See the famed cherry blossom trees, lining the Tidal Basin, while strolling past sites like the Jefferson and Martin Luther King memorials. See more ideas for where to travel in March. 960 1280

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Holi (India)

Holi (India)

Celebrate spring with a dash of color. The annual Holi festival in India inspires revelers to hit the streets, playfully throwing powdered colors on each other. Once your clothes are doused with all sorts of hues, you’ll understand why this is called a festival of colors. 960 1280

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Daytona Bike Week

Daytona Bike Week

Rev up for a week of diesel and fun at Daytona Bike Week. The annual motorcycle rally attracts some of the fiercest bikers, clad in leather (and sometimes little else) to celebrate the freedom of the open road. 960 1280

DonRichards, flickr   

MLB Opening Season

MLB Opening Season

Calling all baseball fans! Grab a hot dog, popcorn and peanuts to enjoy one of America's favorite pastimes. Travel to watch the opening game to kick off the Major League Baseball season.   960 1280

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Las Fallas (Valencia, Spain)

Las Fallas (Valencia, Spain)

Enjoy a high-spirited fiesta in Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city. The annual bash, held in commemoration of Saint Joseph, sees neighborhoods transformed into lively parties over a boisterous 5-day period. 960 1280

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Spring Equinox: Stonehenge

Spring Equinox: Stonehenge

Mark the beginning of spring with a celebratory gathering at Stonehenge. Join the crowds who gather at the mysterious stone structures in Wiltshire, England, to see the sun rise, ushering in the spring equinox. 960 1280

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St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day

Don your friendliest green for St. Patrick’s Day. Boston is the place to be, with the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day Parade drawing anywhere from 600,000 to 1 million people every year. 960 1280

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March Madness

March Madness

Get out your ballots, it’s time for March Madness. The annual college basketball showdown begins March 18. Stay glued to the tube and watch every game live or hit the road and check out our list of the best college basketball towns. 960 1280

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Spring Break (Panama City Beach)

Spring Break (Panama City Beach)

Slap on your sunscreen and grab your shades for a laid-back spring break on Panama City Beach. This sunny haven on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico beckons with its tagline, “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” You’ll see why once you sink your toes into its unique sugar-white sand. 960 1280

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South by Southwest

South by Southwest

Pull up a seat at the leading film, interactive and music festival showcase in America. Every year, since 1987, South by Southwest has put the spotlight on Austin, TX, and cutting-edge communication trends; see what’s in store this year, with speakers like Chelsea Clinton and actress Mindy Kaling. 960 1280

Jason Kempin   

Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)
Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)

Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)

See some of the world’s most elite athletes compete in the big daddy of Ironman events. More than 2,000 athletes from around the world will set out on a 140.6-mile triathlon race from Kona, HI. Come as a participant, spectator or volunteer because this is one competition you won’t soon forget.   960 1280

Reuters  

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con

Gear up as the X-Men or any other favorite action hero at the largest comic and pop culture celebration on the East Coast. Showcasing the latest in comics, graphic novels, video games, anime and more, New York Comic Con kicks off at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 960 1280

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Taste of DC

Taste of DC

What better place to enjoy Columbus Day weekend than in the city that bears the famed explorer’s name? Head to Washington, DC, for a Taste of DC, an annual showcase featuring more than 40 area restaurants and live musical performances. 960 1280

USDAgov/ Lance Cheung, flickr   

Shocktoberfest (Sinking Spring, PA)

Shocktoberfest (Sinking Spring, PA)

Experience the Unknown at Shocktoberfest in Sinking Spring, PA. Halloween revelers can take the “Almost” Naked and Scared Challenge and explore this spooky house in nothing but their, um, knickers. 960 1280

Shocktoberfest  

Acadia National Park (Maine)

Acadia National Park (Maine)

Catch a glimpse of Maine’s gorgeous fall colors at Acadia National Park this month. Each October, 600,000 visitors enter the park, but with 47,000 acres to explore, you’ll have plenty of leaf-peeping options. Looking for something closer to home? Check out our favorite fall foliage road trips. 960 1280

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Race for the Cure

Race for the Cure

On your mark, get set … join one of the hundreds of Race for the Cure events taking place in cities across the US this month. Go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month at any number of walks and races occurring nationwide, and make it a Pinktober to remember. 960 1280

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Autumn Color Fly-Drive (West Virginia)

Autumn Color Fly-Drive (West Virginia)

Another great fall leaf-peeping option: the Mountain State. As America’s third-most-forested state, West Virginia boasts 36 state parks and 6 national parks — together, they’re home to more than 200,000 acres of fall-foliage wonder like this. 960 1280

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Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)

Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)

Head to the most extraordinary 3-day music fest of its kind in the US. Held each year in Austin’s Zilker Park, Austin City Limits draws more than 130 music acts, showcasing the best in indie, rock, country and more, across 8 stages. This year, the music fest will unfold over 2 consecutive weekends. 960 1280

Ashley Garmon  

Pumpkin House (Kenova, WV)

Pumpkin House (Kenova, WV)

Take in a display of 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins at the famous Pumpkin House in Kenova, WV. This illuminated wonder, which welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors each year, takes center stage at a Victorian house, dating back to 1891, at 748 Beech St. In times past, the house won fame for securing a visit from President Grover Cleveland; in recent years, it’s garnered national media attention for its number of glowing jack-o'-lanterns. 960 1280

  

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Take advantage of off-season travel to popular landmarks such as the Grand Canyon. Each October, the 1.2-million-acre park sees half its summer crowds. Enjoy cooler temperatures (in the 70s), as well as the deepening colors of aspen, oak and birch trees that adorn this national treasure. 960 1280

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MLB World Series

MLB World Series

Head to one of America’s most iconic baseball stadiums and take in the spirit of the World Series, which is expected to kick off Oct. 27.  One of our favorite stadiums remains Yankees Stadium, home to 27 World Series wins. Whatever your stadium of choice, you’re likely to have a hard time passing up all the mouthwatering ballpark food. 960 1280

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World’s Largest Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

World’s Largest Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

Wind your way through 33 acres of corn in the world’s largest corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, IL. This year’s design celebrates the 200th anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner and includes 5 mazes with shapes such as a flag, a battleship and soldiers. After you find your way out of the maze, enjoy other family-fun activities, including a pumpkin patch, hayride and zip line. 960 1280

Michael Kappel, Flickr  

Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon

Lace up your running shoes and head to the Windy City for the Chicago Marathon. One of the 6 major marathons, this annual race welcomes both elite athletes and everyday runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Even if you’re not participating, join runners as they cross the finish line in Chicago’s Grant Park for the post-race party, which features live entertainment and vendors.  960 1280

REUTERS / Kamil Krzacynski  

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