21 Top-Searched Cities for Long Weekends

See where Travel Channel fans are planning their next weekend getaway.
21 photos

Pre-Wedding Party Places

For the Francophile: Montreal, Canada
For the Jet Setter: Puerto Rico

For the Jet Setter: Puerto Rico

East Coasters looking for an exotic locale without technically leaving the country should consider Puerto Rico's stunning beaches and tropical weather. Head straight to a resort for some R&R or soak up San Juan's nightlife with bottle service at Club Brava inside the San Juan Hotel or salsa dancing to a live band at Nuyorican Cafe. Hint: let a local lead. 960 1280

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For the Sex-and-the-City Devotee: New York City

For the Sex-and-the-City Devotee: New York City

The Big Apple is the quintessential bachelorette party destination -- no matter which borough you choose to celebrate in -- boutique shopping with a side of cronut in Soho, rooftop cocktails at The Standard in the Meatpacking District, or craft beer and pizza at hipster-haven Roberta's in Brooklyn. 960 1280

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For the Party Girl: Las Vegas

For the Party Girl: Las Vegas

The life of the party expects nothing less than a big ole' Vegas-style bachelorette. Splurge on a poolside cabana at REHAB at the Hard Rock, see some Cirque and then hit the club -- just hopefully you won't end the weekend on the Hangover Bus. 960 1280

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For the Adventurer: Vail, CO

For the Adventurer: Vail, CO

Vail is a great option for the bride who can't sit still. Off the slopes, your party can take a Cocktails & Canvas class at the Alpine Arts Center, go whitewater rafting, zip line in the Colorado Mountains or ride horses from Beaver Creek Stables. Regardless of the season, check into the luxurious Cordillera Lodge -- the mountaintop retreat's award-winning spa is renowned for its relaxation treatments. 960 1280

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For the Music Lover: New Orleans

For the Music Lover: New Orleans

Depending on the bride’s music taste, we suggest either attending New Orleans’ annual Jazz Fest or singing karaoke on stage at Cat's Meow -- they'll even provide a DVD of her performance. Dine al fresco on Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar's patio along St. Charles Avenue for traditional Louisiana seafood and Creole fare or spice things up with class at the New Orleans School of Burlesque before a Bourbon Street bar crawl. 960 1280

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For the Sun Worshipper: Miami

For the Sun Worshipper: Miami

After a day of oceanfront lounging drinking and dining in South Beach hit Blo a blow-dry bar where you can sip wine and primp for your big night out. Then prepare to see-and-be-seen at STK steakhouse and hotspot LIV. For those still feeling inspired by Channing Tatum's moves in Magic Mike Hunk-O-Mania is a Miami bachelorette party mainstay. 960 1280

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For the Foodie: Charleston

For the Foodie: Charleston

Consider renting a beach house in nearby Sullivan's Island or stay in downtown Charleston for Upper King Street shopping Lowcountry cooking classes at Maverick Southern Kitchens and a smattering of stylish downtown restaurants and bars like Social Wine Bar. The Cocktail Club is a foodie's dream -- the rooftop terrace houses a garden where many of the drinks' garnishes are picked daily. 960 1280

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For the Francophile: Montreal

For the Francophile: Montreal

She may only dream of honeymooning in Paris but she can get a taste of French culture (and cuisine) as you stroll by the mostly French shops and restos along rue St.-Denis. To truly take advantage of Montreal's nightlife get chauffeured around by Montreal Limousine (which offers everything from town cars to party buses). Then partake in the Saint-Laurent club scene à la Le Rouge or take in an entertaining drag queen show at Cabaret Mado. 960 1280

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For the Celeb Spotter: Cabo San Lucas

For the Celeb Spotter: Cabo San Lucas

With dreams of marrying Justin Timberlake now out the window she can still vacation like a celebrity in Cabo San Lucas Mexico. Rent a yacht from the Love Shack and spend the day snorkeling swimming and lounging margarita-in-hand on deck. Just a 2-hour flight from Los Angeles there's no telling how many A-listers you might run into (infinity) poolside especially if you splurge on a suite at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. The hotel -- and spa -- are said to be among Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez favorites. 960 1280

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For the Quirky Girl: Austin

For the Quirky Girl: Austin

"Get weird" in a town that embraces it. Yes it has a dueling piano bar and Cherry Bomb party bus but we suggest focusing on daytime activities like floating down the Guadalupe River beer in hand with River Sports Tubes or sipping cocktails at the W Austin's rowdy pool party. Indulge in mouthwatering Tex Mex at La Condesa (where you can book a private dining room for up to 20) before heading out into the "live music capital of the world." 960 1280

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For the Oenophile: Napa Valley

For the Oenophile: Napa Valley

Your friendship is like a fine wine it keeps getting better over time. Check into the scenic Carneros Inn where you can lounge by the pool in between spa treatments. After a weekend of Napa Valley wine tours catch the sunrise from a hot air balloon with Balloons Above the Valley that also offers a champagne brunch upon landing. 960 1280

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Bachelor's Parties in Nashville, Tennessee
For the Sports Fanatic: Chicago

For the Sports Fanatic: Chicago

It’s easy to see why Chicago is quickly becoming one of the most popular bachelor party destinations in the US. The city has something for everyone. Beach? Check. Professional sports? Check. The Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox all call Chicago home. Food? Check. Deep-dish pizza and Italian sausage are a must. And Beer? Um, check! Chicago has more than 60 breweries inside its city limits alone. 960 1280

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For the Jetsetter on a Coach Budget: Montreal

For the Jetsetter on a Coach Budget: Montreal

There are a myriad of reasons to visit Montreal, not least of which is its affordable and late-club scene centered along the 7-mile-long Boulevard Saint-Laurent, as well as the city’s fantastic summer festival lineup (including its fantastic beer, jazz and comedy fests), and its access to European flair without ever leaving the continent.
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For the Over-Indulgent: New Orleans

For the Over-Indulgent: New Orleans

The Big Easy is unmatched for its ready-made party atmosphere and dedication to nonstop indulgence -- and no boulevard in the city is better suited to carousing than Bourbon Street. Some of the country's best music can be found at joints like Tipitina’s and Preservation Hall, and legendary restaurants like Brennan's will have you savoring your waning days of bachelorhood with bull shots, red roosters and so much more.
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For the Beer Lover: Milwaukee

For the Beer Lover: Milwaukee

Wisconsin isn’t the most obvious potential bachelor party locale, but its biggest city has a lot more going for it bro-wise than you might think. Home to both MillerCoors and an abundance of worthy microbreweries, from Horny Goat Brewing Co. to good ole Milwaukee Brewing Company, Milwaukee has well earned its Brew City nickname. Stay at the bro-riffically brand new Brewhouse Inn & Suites, a boutique hotel located in the 20-acre downtown complex that housed the Pabst Brewery for over 150 years. 960 1280

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For the Music Fan: Nashville

For the Music Fan: Nashville

It ain’t called the Music City for nothin’! Now, I’m not saying there aren’t other places music lover’s should go on their bachelor parties (see New Orleans), but there is nowhere better in the world — for fans of country music — than Nashville. Without fail, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can find live music. Maybe music isn’t your thing. Don’t worry. Nashville still has plenty of amazing options for a bachelor. Like sports? Maybe a Predators hockey game or a Titans football game is more your speed. And no place on our list does barbecue quite like Nashville. 960 1280

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For the Classic Party Guy: Las Vegas

For the Classic Party Guy: Las Vegas

Sure a Vegas getaway for the guys is popular, but for good reason. From high-stakes gambling and all-day pool parties, to over-the-top clubs, Las Vegas is a nonstop full-tilt playground that’s the stuff of countless epic bro weekends.
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For the Adventure Seeker: Aspen

For the Adventure Seeker: Aspen

If you’re looking to hit the slopes for a fun, fast-paced bachelor party, you really can’t go wrong heading out west. However, there is one particular Colorado destination that seems to stand out the most, and that’s Aspen. Rent a cabin or stay at one of the famous ski-in/ski-out resorts with a bunch of your buddies and immerse yourself in Aspen’s cool, laid-back environment. The Apres-ski conditions don’t get much better either. Fire pits, hot tubs, live music and great food among other things are available at your fingertips around every corner. 960 1280

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For the Sea Lover: Yacht Week

For the Sea Lover: Yacht Week

Perhaps the ultimate bachelor party destination isn’t just one destination at all, visit several awe-inspiring European countries through Yacht Week. Bachelors get to choose which route they’d like to cruise, with special offers including trips around Croatia, Greece, Italy, Turkey, the British Virgin Islands and Thailand. And don’t forget to sign up well in advance; the different countries only have a limited number of yachts permitted per route, per week. 960 1280

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For the Night Life Enthusiast: Miami

For the Night Life Enthusiast: Miami

With its awesome oceanfront views, amazing food, easy access to some of the country's best sports, and 24-hour club scene, Miami’s South Beach has all the features of an ultimate bachelor fest. The restaurant scene is teeming with superstars like the 10,000-square-foot penthouse Juvia and the Florida outposts of New York City icons like Scarpetta and The Dutch. Not-to-miss party spots include Nikki Beach Club by day and LIV by night. 960 1280

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For the Golf Pro: Phoenix

For the Golf Pro: Phoenix

For the sports-minded posse, the greater Phoenix area aims to please, with year-round sunshine and warm temps that make it perfect for enjoying the scores of superb golf courses, pro baseball’s Cactus League lineup, and a multitude of fantastic hiking and climbing options nearby in great outdoor spots like Camelback Mountain. And since no self-respecting bachelor weekend can be 100% healthy, the area is also surprisingly rife with nightlife and several casinos are within easy driving distance. 960 1280

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For the Beach Bro: Rio de Janeiro

For the Beach Bro: Rio de Janeiro

When it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, opposite-seasoned Rio de Janeiro makes for an especially magnetic stag party destination. And how many of your buddies can say they had their bachelor fests in the sizzling beachside host city of both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics? You’ll never need to leave the utopian Copacabana/Ipanema area, but for a little more authenticity and adventure, check out the even livelier Lapa neighborhood. 960 1280

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The Strip

The Strip

Las Vegas Strip -- the 4.2-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South -- passes through Paradise and Winchester, 2 unincorporated towns, and it also is the heart of the glitzy in Vegas. The Strip has made Vegas a hot tourist attraction in part because 15 of the world’s largest hotels (by room count) are located here, as well as popular casinos, restaurants and over-the-top live entertainment. 960 1280

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Hot-Air Balloon Ride

Hot-Air Balloon Ride

Soar high above Las Vegas to see the city’s famous Strip, the diverse neighborhoods and the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon. Some companies provide hors d’oeuvres and/or a traditional Champagne breakfast to create a romantic atmosphere for couples. 960 1280

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Stratosphere Thrill Rides

Stratosphere Thrill Rides

Step off the ledge and go for the extreme. Get your heart-pounding thrills atop the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower with a free fall from the 108th floor; a 3-G spin 900 feet in the air; a headfirst dive 27 feet over the edge of the tower; or get shot 160 feet in the air at 45 miles high above Vegas. The Stratosphere’s rides -- Skyjump, Insanity, X-Scream and Big Shot -- are perfect for adrenaline junkies. 960 1280

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Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

Take a hike! Visit the 197,000-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, located about 17 miles outside Las Vegas, to commune with nature and see 3,000-foot-tall red-rock formations. In addition to hiking, the family-friendly area offers other outdoor activities, including horseback riding and climbing -- or just have a picnic and enjoy the amazing scenery.  960 1280

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Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay

Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay

Explore the exotic wonders of Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The aquarium’s 1.3 million gallon main tank is one of the largest in North America. We recommend taking a walk through the stunning shark tunnel (pictured) and paying a visit to this fun Vegas attraction to see a wide variety of marine life, including sawfish, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, jellyfish and the rare golden crocodile. 960 1280

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Cirque du Soleil’s 'Michael Jackson One'

Cirque du Soleil’s 'Michael Jackson One'

Head to Vegas’ Mandalay Bay to experience Cirque du Soleil’s immersive musical experience Michael Jackson One. Watch as the King of Pop’s catalog of award-winning music comes to life through dance, acrobatics, aerial performances and amazing visuals. It’s a not-to-be-missed show if you’re a Michael Jackson fan! 960 1280

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Wynn Las Vegas Golf Course

Wynn Las Vegas Golf Course

Tee off at the Wynn Las Vegas Golf Course located on the Strip. The 7,042-yard, par-70, 18-hole course is the brainchild of American business magnate Steve Wynn and golf course architect Tom Fazio. Reservations are available up to 90 days in advance for Wynn and Encore guests and 30 days in advance for non-hotel guests. 960 1280

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Mob Museum

Mob Museum

The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also known as the Mob Museum, showcases real stories and actual events in mob history through interactive and engaging exhibits about Al Capone, John Gotti, Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and more. Located in a former federal courthouse and US post office, the museum opened its doors on Feb. 14, 2012, to coincide with the anniversary of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929. 960 1280

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Italian Brunch at Vegas Uncork'd

Italian Brunch at Vegas Uncork'd

Get a once-in-a-lifetime cooking experience courtesy of the Pellegrino family. Actor and restaurateur Frank Pellegrino and his family show off their skills by serving up an Italian brunch as part of Vegas Uncork’d, an annual celebration of wine, food and spirits. 960 1280

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Vegas Uncork'd at Caesars Palace

Vegas Uncork'd at Caesars Palace

Experience a foodie’s delight at Vegas Uncork’d. This ultimate food and wine experience assembles cutting-edge mixologists, master sommeliers and celebrity chefs -- including Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Matsuhisa -- for cooking and wine demos held at Caesars Palace (pictured), the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and the MGM Grand. 960 1280

Caesar's Palace  

Buggy Desert Racing

Buggy Desert Racing

For thrill-seekers visiting Vegas, hop in a custom-built dune buggy for an adrenaline-pumping off-road adventure over Nellis Dunes. 960 1280

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Zip-Lining in Bootleg Canyon

Zip-Lining in Bootleg Canyon

Get an adrenaline rush! Go zip-lining 1 1/2 miles across the Mojave Desert through Bootleg Canyon and Boulder City, NV, at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. According to Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the desert’s wildlife -- which includes lizards, hawks and bighorn sheep -- during the 3-hour experience. 960 1280

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MGM Grand Casino

MGM Grand Casino

Take a chance on your luck. Head to the MGM Grand Casino to play the slots, poker, blackjack, roulette and more. If that’s not your speed, place your bets on popular sporting events including NASCAR races, soccer games, championship tennis matches, championship golf tournaments, boxing matches or Thoroughbred races. 960 1280

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ATV Off-Road Adventure

ATV Off-Road Adventure

Hit the road and go for adventure! Hop on an ATV and traverse the desert’s rough but beautiful terrain. ATV Action Tours and American Adventure Tours are a few companies that provide these adventurous excursions. 960 1280

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Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience

In 1905, Las Vegas started near the corner of Fremont Street -- the city’s first paved street -- and Main Street. Today, all of your senses come alive when strolling down this $70 million experience. The 7-block open-air pedestrian mall features legendary casinos, performance stages, live entertainment and an amazing graphic light show. 960 1280

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Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat

Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat

Come face to face with bottlenose dolphins, white tigers, panthers, white lions and leopards at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. This must-see attraction at the Mirage also provides tourists with a unique experience of creating a painting with help from a friendly dolphin. 960 1280

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Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Racing fans should not miss out on making a trip to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which offers exciting experiences such as getting behind the wheel of a real Ferrari race car, competing in a side-by-side drag race and taking a tour of the speedway’s 9 tracks. 960 1280

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Little White Wedding Chapel

Little White Wedding Chapel

Las Vegas is known as a destination for quick nuptials for couples in love or couples who’ve found love after a long night out on the town. Britney Spears, Joan Collins, Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan and other celebrities have been spotted at A Little White Wedding Chapel to renew their vows, to get married or to simply enjoy a fun visit. 960 1280

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Wild West Horseback Riding

Wild West Horseback Riding

Book a 5-hour outdoor adventure with Wild West Horseback Adventures to explore the trails of the most infamous outlaws of the American West on the Ol’ Spanish Trail ride. Or, you can take the scenic Sunset Dinner Ride to enjoy Nevada’s wildlife, as well as a meal of steak or mesquite grilled chicken, a baked potato, corn on the cob and a slice of apple pie.   960 1280

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Cheat Weekends: Skip the Calorie Count

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii is the only state that grows cacao beans for chocolate production, so what better than to visit the source? There are more than a dozen chocolate shops scattered around Honolulu; among them is award-winning Madre Chocolate. Its bean-to-bar chocolate is made on Oahu in Kailua, which has become an artisanal chocolate epicenter. Try the Hawaii Origin Bars, like Coconut Milk and Caramelized Ginger. You can even buy a bean-to-bar chocolate-making kit or take a five-day chocolate boot camp class.

You can find Manoa Chocolate Hawaii in Honolulu, but detour to its flagship, a half hour outside the city in aforementioned Kailua, to take a 45-minute tour of its chocolate factory. Afterward, a tasting might involve in-demand flavors such as Hawaiian Sea Salt, Goat Milk or Ghost Pepper. Not least, Honolulu Chocolate Company is a local favorite for its chocolate-dipped fruit; the small-batch chocolate is made at its factory behind the store in Ward Center.
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Manoa Chocolate Hawaii  

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Entrepreneur Milton Hershey didn’t just establish his now-famous chocolate factory in Hershey; he also helped create the town and the beginnings of what would become Hersheypark. After Hershey’s death the town continued to build on its chocolate legacy with the creation of Hershey’s Chocolate World, an entertainment complex that’s a chocoholics dream, complete with a chocolate tour ride, the chance to create a chocolate bar or personalized dessert and chocolate tastings. All things chocolate extend to other properties, such as The Hotel Hershey, where you can get chocolate-themed spa treatments. Chocolate fiends can also experience chocolate-infused drinks and dishes, like cocoa-smoked chicken wings, at the resort’s different restaurants. 960 1280

Hershey's Chocolate World  

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Although you can find Vosges Haut-Chocolat nationwide, the brand, best known for exotic flavors and bacon chocolate, is based in Chicago. Chocolat Uzma Sharif has won a following for its small batch chocolate infused with ingredients such as Indian chili and rose water. You can even take a chocolate-making class with Uzma Sharif herself. Newcomer Veruca Chocolates whips up handmade, gourmet creations that are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

For more than 100 fine chocolate options, beeline to the annual Chicago Fine Chocolate Show held at the Navy Pier. The best part? Free samples. True aficionados shouldn’t miss The Chicago Artisan Chocolate Festival, featuring some of the best local and national chocolate makers. However, if you really want to elevate your chocolate knowledge, the Chocolate Academy offers classes ranging from beginner to advanced.
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Donato Sardella / Contributor  

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s chocolate history all started with Ghirardelli. The now-ubiquitous chocolate company was founded in 1852, and claims to be the nation’s oldest continuously operating chocolate maker. Every year it holds a weekend-long
Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, filled with live music, chef demos and opportunities to gorge on Ghirardelli chocolate.

Beyond Ghirardelli, there are now dozens of artisanal chocolate shops in the city: at small batch Dandelion Chocolate, you can take a “bean-to-bar” tour of its factory, pop into its café and participate in chocolate classes. They even organize educational chocolate vacations. Charles ChocolatesRecchiuti Confections and Christopher Elbow are other standouts. To properly understand San Francisco’s burgeoning chocolate landscape, consider a walking tour with Gourmet Walks
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Ghirardelli Square In San Francisco  

New York City

New York City

NYC is a chocolate-lovers heaven, loaded with dozens of excellent chocolate shops. Of note are Li-Lac Chocolates, whose founding in 1923 makes it the oldest in Manhattan; you can watch chocolate making in action at its factory in Brooklyn. Not only does Nunu Chocolates have some of the best artisan chocolate in the city, but you’d never guess its founders are self taught. MarieBelle is one of the best (and most charming) spots to sip rich hot chocolate, while world-famous Jacques Torres still operates its original location in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Kee’s Chocolates began as a combination flower/chocolate shop, and has evolved into a destination spot for inventive and unexpected chocolates, such as blended pepper and elderflower. Try your hand at making chocolate by taking a two-hour class at Raaka Chocolate’s factory in Brooklyn—your own creation is a sweet reward.
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Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas may lack the homegrown faction compared to other places, but it is one of the best cities for finding destination-worthy chocolate. Celebrated pastry chef François Payard has a museum-quality shop at Caesars Palace, selling some of the finest Parisian-style chocolates and pastries around. Acclaimed Jean Philippe Patisserie dazzles with artfully crafted bonbons and decadent chocolaty cakes, pastries and more. The pièce de résistance at his Bellagio location is the floor-to-ceiling chocolate fountain, recognized as the largest in the world by Guinness World Records.

However, not all of Vegas’ best chocolate shops are branches. HEXX chocolate is a local bean-to-bar chocolate maker that focuses on single origin dark chocolate. It’s conveniently located on the strip, and offers free tours of its kitchen. Or eat your way into a chocolate coma at the Las Vegas Chocolate Festival and Pastry Show, which showcases some of the world’s best chocolatiers and pastry chefs.
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Jean Philippe Patisserie  

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Along with craft beer, Portland has a thriving chocolate scene. Moonstruck Chocolate can be credited with launching the city’s artisanal chocolate movement in 1993. It still specializes in handcrafted batches, from truffles to chocolate bars; look for seasonal specialties, such as mushroom-shaped truffles. Moonstruck also has five cafés in which to linger. Trendsetter Xocolatl de David has won awards for its Brown Butter Crunch Bar and Sourdough & Olive Oil Bar, while the limited-edition Foie Gras Chocolate Bar is among its truly unconventional creations. Alma Chocolates distinguishes itself with chocolate icons, from the religious to the symbolic, which are covered in edible gold leaf foil.

As the name suggests, Batch PDX whips up small batch goodness while elevating truffles to the next level. For example, the Vietnamese Ice Coffee and Thai Ice Tea appear to be miniature cups filled with liquid. Batch doesn’t have a brick and mortar store, but its creations can be found at Cacao, a specialty shop that sells some of the best craft chocolates from around the world. 
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Alma Chocolates  

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

LA’s chocolate roots run deep: See’s Candies has been a local institution since 1921, and classics, such as nuts and chews and milk buttercreams, are among its best sellers. At the other end, trendsetting Compartes Chocolatier is renowned for its next-level artistry, although it’s just as much about the taste as it is about the eye candy. Its truffles come in a wide assortment of flavors, (Browned Butter, Tequila Lime) and are decorated with a complementary graphic. Its chocolate bars, like the glittery Bijou, are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Valerie Confections has earned major accolades for its hand-dipped Petits Fours; the fact that its first cookbook was a James Beard-award finalist is further testament to its craft. When available, grab a chocolate Oscar statue as an iconic souvenir. ChocoVivo was the first in LA to focus on bean-to-bar production, and uses an ancient stone grounding technique employed by Mayans and Aztecs. It produces only dark chocolate, so opt for one of its pure chocolate bars to really taste the flavor. 
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John Sciulli / Stringer  

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Add chocolate to the list of things Seattle does well. Theo Chocolate was among the vanguard, and the first chocolate factory in the nation to be designated organic and fair trade. It’s also known for its handcrafted chocolate bars in a variety of common (sea salt) and uncommon (coconut curry) flavors. You can schedule a factory tour, or check its calendar for chocolate-making and chocolate-tasting classes. Fran’s Chocolates is a local institution, and Bobby Flay had nothing but high praise for the gold bars, which he compared to gourmet candy bars, while the salted caramels are among its best sellers.

Chocolat Vitale
 is where to go for European-style drinking chocolate, and you can also buy some to bring home. If you don’t have time to hit all of Seattle’s chocolate shops, the Chocolate Box sells a curated selection of the best local and international chocolate offerings. The store also holds chocolate-making classes and chocolate- and wine-pairing events.
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Chocolate Vitale  

Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Chocolate lovers should bypass the major theme parks in favor of chocolate attractions. The World of Chocolate Museum & Café provides a 45-minute guided tour that covers the history of chocolate and the chocolate-making process. Throughout are 25 chocolate sculptures of iconic landmarks that help illustrate this history, and yes, there are chocolate samples. Chocolate Kingdom is a better option if you have young children in tow, since it’s a more interactive experience.

As far as chocolate shops, David Ramirez Chocolates is worth a visit for its handcrafted, visually stunning chocolates, along with its macarons. Farris and Foster’s Chocolate Factory is popular for its chocolate-making classes—resulting in a pound of chocolate. Speaking of which, the Festival of Chocolate is the largest chocolate event of its kind in the Southeast. Besides plenty of options to buy chocolate, there are also chocolate classes, demonstrations and chocolate-pairing seminars.
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Richard Lautens  

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley, California

The U.S. ranks in the top five of wine producing countries, and California leads the way among the states. There are 12 distinct wine regions, and each one is worth a weekend visit. However, first-time visitors should start with the world-famous Napa Valley, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. Napa is a wine-soaked paradise with more than 400 wineries, many of which do Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay particularly well. Start with the Silverado Trail, since it has a more manageable 40 wineries, and includes heavy hitters such as Robert Mondavi. Venture off the trail for the iconic Castello di Amorosa.

For something different, explore one of Napa’s oldest wine caves at Schramsberg Vineyards, which is beloved for its sparkling wine. You can also take a wine class at the Culinary Institute of America, and stomp grapes during harvest season. Barrel blending, where you can create your own blend, is also available year-round at many wineries, including Conn Creek, one of the first to offer it. Hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, which combines a gourmet meal with (of course) wine. It also runs bus tours to some of the best estates, including an after-hours tour of Grgich Hills Estate. Wine festivals can be found year-round. Flavor! Napa Valley is a five-day food and wine pairing dream.
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Hoberman Collection / Contributor  

Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County, California

About an hour away from Napa, Sonoma County is considered more low-key and spread out. However, it holds its own with an equal number of wineries, and the region excels at Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Standouts include the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, owned by the famous movie director. Not only does the estate produce more than 40 wines at its on-site facility, but the grounds also include two eateries, two swimming pools, a movie gallery and bocce ball courts. Add ongoing wine tastings and wine experiences, and you might not have a chance to visit anywhere else. Korbel Winery is a must stop for sparkling wine lovers; 50-minute winery tours cover its wine cellars and conclude with a tasting at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards.

Bike tours are another great way to experience Sonoma’s bucolic countryside: Wine Country Bikes offers single and multi-day tours. For the ultimate wine country experience, check out Sonoma County Grape Camp—three days worth of harvesting grapes, blending wines and eating farm-to-table fare.

Take your pick of ongoing festivals, but if you have to choose, the Harvest Fair draws wine aficionados from around the country for a weekend of wine tasting, grape stomping, seminars and more.  

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George Rose / Contributor  

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

About 90 miles north of Los Angeles, picture-perfect Santa Barbara is perhaps best known for its beaches, but it produces high quality wines as well, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. In fact, you may remember the region from the movie Sideways. You can even recreate it by following the Sideways wine trail, which includes wineries from the movie. Among those featured are Firestone Vineyard, which was founded in 1972 and is now an institution; Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard, founded by the actor who played Davy Crockett; and Foxen Vineyard & Winery, which provides a more personable experience at “The Shack.” If the movie trail isn’t your thing, there are more than 100 other wineries to explore. Be sure to attend the Celebration of Harvest Weekend if possible.  960 1280

George Rose / Contributor  

Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York

The state’s largest wine region, located upstate, is packed with more than 100 wineries. The area is best known for Riesling, but it also produces Gewürztraminer, ice wine and sparkling wine. Choose from three different wine trails: The Cayuga Wine Trail is considered the first organized wine trail in the U.S. Keuka Lake Wine Trail is the smallest of the three, but the birthplace of the Finger Lakes wine industry. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail boasts the largest wine trail—not just in the area, but in the state—with more than 30 wineries.

Dr. Frank Wines (also known as Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars) helped launch the local wine industry when he planted vinifera vines, a type that originated from Europe; you can find it along the Keuka Wine Trail. Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard was another early pioneer, and has since built a reputation on its Rieslings. For something different, Sheldrake Point Winery and Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars are good stops to try the region’s ice wines. 
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Finger Lakes Wine Country  

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Oregon has a handful of wine producing centers, but the action centers around the Willamette Valley, which is known for its Pinot Noir. The region counts more than 300 wineries and five wine trails, including one geared toward cycling enthusiasts: Pedaling for Pinot. Whether or not you follow a trail, many wonderful wineries abound. For example, Silvan Ridge Winery was one of the first in 1979, and has since become one of the most beloved. While in its tasting room, also try the 2013 Malbec.


King Estate Winery produces the most pinot gris in the country, and its pinot noirs, cabernet sauvignons and syrahs also receive high marks from wine professionals. Willamette Valley Vineyards and Sokol Blosser Winery are other don’t misses for pinot noir. However, the International Pinot Noir Celebration is the ultimate pinot noir mecca known the world over. The three-day event, now in its 30th year, features tastings from more than 70 of the world’s best pinot noir producers, vineyard tours, and drinking and dining under the stars.

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George Rose / Contributor  

Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla, Washington

Although Walla Walla’s wine industry didn’t start until the late ‘70s, it’s rapidly built a reputation as one of the top wine regions in the country, and even earned comparisons to Napa. Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are among the wines it does well, and there are more than 100 wineries, spread across four wine regions, in which to try them. The Walla Walla Wine Alliance provides a thorough rundown to get oriented. Leonetti Cellar was the region’s first commercial winery in 1977.

Woodward Canyon Winery was another early pioneer—not just in wine production, but in sustainable wine production at that. Pop into its tasting room to sip its acclaimed 2012 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. Pepper Bridge Winery excels at Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and its tasting room, housed in a small yellow structure straight out of a storybook, is the perfect setting to try them. If you enjoy being the first in the know, Spring Release Weekend provides the chance to explore new releases while learning about them directly from the winemakers.

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Pepper Bridge Winery  

Hill Country, Texas

Hill Country, Texas

In between Austin and San Antonio, the rolling green landscape of Hill Country is home to 46 wineries producing excellent Viognier, Tempranillo and Syrah. The Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 is a good place to start, with 15 wineries along this wine trail. Among them, Pedernales Cellars represents the old guard, and creates award-winning Tempranillo and Viognier.

Becker Vineyards
 is another institution; the 46-acre estate includes a German-style stone barn and lavender fields. Book ahead to visit its Reserve Wine Library for the chance to sample the owners’ private collection and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the production facility. In addition to wine, Hill Country is also famous for its bluebonnets, which spring to life in April. Enjoy the best of both with tickets to the 2016 Wine and Wildflowers Trail, which includes free tastings at all participating wineries. 
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Pedernales Cellars  

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Virginia counts at least 250 wineries and 17 wine trails around the state, and each trail offers something to recommend it. However, Monticello, located in scenic central Virginia, has Thomas Jefferson to thank for its origins. While Jefferson’s attempts weren’t fruitful, it’s still considered the birthplace of American wine. The area now numbers about 30 wineries, and produces a wide assortment, including Orange Muscat, although it excels in Viognier and Cabernet Franc.

The Monticello Wine Trail provides a helpful guide, and naturally Jefferson Vineyards is the best place to start. The winery’s owners aren’t descendants of the Founding Father, but the current vineyard was established on land that Jefferson gave to Filippo Mazzei, a grape grower from Italy. Fast-forward to today, where it produces award-winning wines, such as the 2013 Viognier. 

Barboursville Vineyards is another property with historic roots, as a friend of Jefferson’s owned this land too. You can easily spend the day here, from wandering the extensive grounds, which are anchored by an 18th-century estate, to taking a guided winery tour. Don’t leave without trying Octagon, a world-class red wine that’s considered its signature. Other notable wineries along the trail include Blenheim Vineyards (which was founded by musician Dave Matthews).
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Barboursville Vineyards  

Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania

Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania

The bucolic Brandywine Valley resides about an hour west of Philadelphia, and is perhaps best known as the birthplace of famed painter Andrew Wyeth and home to Longwood Gardens. Wine production in this region might be under the radar, but it’s where you’ll find award-winning Chaddsford Winery, one of the largest wine producers in the state. Its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are among the wines it does well. Tastings are available in its 17th century barn, and tours are also offered.

While it’s the best known, Chaddsford isn’t the only winery in the area. Penns Woods Winery is nearby, and produces a range (Merlot, Rosé), from Pennsylvania-grown grapes. There’s also the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, which includes four wineries. Or time your visit to also squeeze in the annual Brandywine Food and Wine Festival in order to experience the best of the region in one place.
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Chaddsford Winery  

Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Just north of Traverse City, the Leelanau Peninsula is a scenic spit of land jutting out into Lake Michigan. The area has become a foodie destination in recent years, and don’t be surprised if you spot chef Mario Batali around town—he owns a summer home on the peninsula. The area has also attracted notice for its wineries, and Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Franc are among the wines to try here. The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail numbers 25 wineries dotted along three trails: Sleeping Bear Loop, Northern Loop and Grand Traverse Bay Loop. L. Mawby, is considered the gold standard for Michigan sparkling wine, and its tasting room offers the first two pours for free.

Black Star Farms is another standout when it comes to Michigan wine. It offers three locations, but its flagship is on the peninsula. You could easily spend an entire weekend here, since the farm includes an upscale inn, dining options and several tasting areas. If your time is limited, hop on a wine tour: numerous companies, such as Grand Traverse Tours, cover the highlights. For something different, participate in the annual Harvest Stompede and race through vineyards—literally.
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Black Star Farms  

Green County, Wisconsin

Green County, Wisconsin

Unsurprisingly, Wisconsin wins as the top cheese producer in the U.S., churning out more than 600 varieties of cheese. Although it’s famed for cheddar, Wisconsin produces everything from mozzarella to limburger. Green County is one of the most famous cheese regions, where a dozen creameries create about 50 different kinds of cheese, including gigantic wheels of iconic Swiss cheese.

At the heart of Green County lies Monroe, dubbed the “Swiss Cheese Capital of the U.S.A.,” owing to the town’s Swiss heritage. Emmi Roth USA, a subsidiary of the Swiss company, is the largest importer of cheese from Switzerland, and visitors are allowed into the viewing hall to witness cheesemaking action. While in Monroe, don’t miss the National Historic Cheesemaking Center, which details the nation’s dairy history.

Of course, no trip to Wisconsin is complete without a cheese festival. Detour two hours north for the annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival, complete with a Big Cheese Parade, a cheese-curd eating competition and cheese carving demos. Try not to leave the state before stopping in Madison at Fromagination, a cheese shop that’s loaded with Wisconsin-made cheeses.
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National Historic Cheesemaking Center  

California Cheese Trail

California Cheese Trail

It makes sense that a state so intertwined with wine would also happen to be one of the top cheese-producing regions in the states. In fact, it ranks just behind Wisconsin, and yields about 250 different kinds of cheese. Experience as many as possible by downloading an app and hitting the cheese trail, a 100-mile journey that wends through redwoods and farmland in Sonoma and Marin counties.

The cheese collective consists of more than 30 farms, creameries and cheesemakers producing small-batch cheese: brie, blue cheese, cheddar and chevre are among the standouts. Many are open to the public, but some require advance booking if you want to tour the facilities. Try your hand at making cheese by booking a class at Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma.
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Sacramento Bee / Contributor  

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Vermont weighs in with about 50 cheesemakers per capita, the most of any state, and produces more than 150 kinds. The Vermont Cheese Trail blankets the Green Mountain area, but you can also experience the state’s tastiest artisanal offerings at the annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival held at Shelburne Farms. Expect more than 40 cheesemakers in attendance, including Vermont Creamery, one of the leaders of the country’s artisanal cheese movement. Highlights include cheesemaking demos in a historic barn, cooking demos from The Cabot Creamery Cookbook and workshops on Vermont blue cheese. Vermont Farm Tours is also located in Shelburne, Vermont, and can arrange mozzarella-making workshops and artisan cheese tours. 960 1280

Boston Globe / Contributor  

Hudson Valley, New York

Hudson Valley, New York

Pastoral Hudson Valley is ripe with cheese options. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is considered one of the premier restaurant schools in the country, and its Hyde Park location recently added a cheesemaking course. The two-day boot camp teaches the basics of making cheese from scratch, and covers goat cheese, mozzarella and ricotta. Also at the CIA, the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici will be holding a six-course dinner that spotlights Italian cheeses, such as gorgonzola and pecorino.

There are also a number of artisanal cheese makers in the Hudson Valley: Sprout Creek Farm is a working farm known for its award-winning cheeses; stop by the farm to visit its goats. Coach Farm, which specializes in goat cheese, supplies its stock to top NYC chefs like Jean-George Vongerichten. At Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, stop by its store to pick up its award-winning camembert—just note that as a self-serve shop, you’re on the honor system.
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John Greim / Contributor  

Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail

Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail

Neighboring the Hudson Valley, the bucolic Berkshires cover a wide swath of New York and Massachusetts. Narrow the field by following the Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail, which numbers eight farms and three restaurants. Cricket Creek Farm is one of the more established dairy farms in the region, and has won awards for its raw milk and extra-aged cheeses. There are no official tours, but guests are welcome to visit the farm animals, and even watch cows being milked. Hawthorne Valley Farm makes organic cheese, both hard and soft, on its biodynamic farm, and guided tours are available by appointment. Refuel at John Adams, A Farmhouse Restaurant, and choose the farm prix fix menu to get a taste of local cheeses. 960 1280

DenisTangneyJr  

Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes have earned a reputation for its wines, and its cheeses shouldn’t be overlooked either. The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail includes six members, but be sure to plan ahead since two are closed in winter. Otherwise, mozzarella, blue cheese and even fresh curds are among the varieties that can be found along the trail.

The annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is a great opportunity to sample cheese from five members of the cheese trail that aren’t open to the public. You can also watch goats being milked, take a self-guided farm tour and participate in seminars. For even more local cheese sampling, sign up for a wine and cheese pairing class at the New York Wine & Culinary Center.
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Engelbert Farms  

Oregon

Oregon

Add cheese to the list of items experiencing a resurgence in the state. Where to start? Luckily, the Oregon Cheese Trail simplifies the matter by sorting the trail into regions. For example, the Willamette Valley alone has five cheesemakers on the trail. (Added benefit: It’s also one of the top wine-producing regions in the U.S.) In Southern Oregon, award-winning Rogue Creamery has been making cheese since the ‘30s, and blues and cheddars are popular sellers.

In March, Rogue Creamery will be hosting the 12th annual Oregon Cheese Festival. Tastings and classes are part of the fun; attendees can also buy tickets to the Cheesemakers Dinner, a golden opportunity to pick the brains of top cheesemakers during a multi-course dinner.  
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cislander  

Washington

Washington

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is arguably the state’s most famous, and was the first artisanal cheese shop in Seattle when it opened in Pike’s Place Market in 2003. Although it’s branched out, you can still visit the original location and watch its award-winning cheeses being made while you shop. Elsewhere in Washington, Cherry Valley Dairy has won awards for its rubbed rind cheese, and Willapa Hills Creamery is known for its sheep and cow milk cheeses and spreads.

Monteillet Fromagerie in Walla Walla distinguishes itself by making cheese from the Alpine goats and East Freisan-Lacaune sheep that populate its farm. Seasonal varieties include Wasabi Pickled Ginger chèvre along with its signature goat and sheep milk blends. The farm also offers two-day cheesemaking workshops for industry professionals and cheese enthusiasts alike, and you can even stay onsite in its farmhouse. The highlight is a fridge stocked with farm-fresh items (and yes, cheese).  
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Beecher’s Handmade Cheese  

Festival of Cheese, Des Moines, Iowa

Festival of Cheese, Des Moines, Iowa

Every year the American Cheese Society hosts the Festival of Cheese, one of the largest cheese conferences and competitions in the nation. Following the judging portion, the conference opens to the public with more than 1,800 artisanal cheeses to be tasted. This year the conference will be held in Des Moines, which has garnered buzz in recent years for its emerging food scene.

The Cheese Shop will hold events in conjunction with the conference. It’s also worth a visit to the store to peruse more than 100 artisanal cheeses and cheese tasting bar. For a full meal, pop into the Cheese Shop’s café to enjoy cheese-centric menu items, not least of which is the macaroni and cheese made with locally sourced gouda and cheddar.
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Uriah Carpenter / Festival of Cheese  

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sure, Philadelphia has long been associated with the humble cheesesteak (and the cheese-like whiz that smothers it). But cheese-related food aside, Philly’s cheese roots run deep. In fact, cheese purveyor Di Bruno Bros., a mainstay since 1939, has focused on cheese since the ‘60s. It now operates five stores around the city; swing by its flagship Rittenhouse Square location to salivate over more than 600 international cheeses.

Nearby, Reading Terminal Market is a 39,000-square-foot food hall that’s home to almost 80 vendors, and is one of the best places to sample farm fresh cheese from Amish Country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Before leaving, stop by Valley Shepherd Creamery to sample handmade, cave-aged cheeses from its North Jersey farm, and Downtown Cheese for its specialty domestic and international selections. 
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Di Bruno Bros.  

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Oregon is a major player in the nation’s craft beer scene, with almost 200 breweries across the state. There are at least 60 in Portland alone, earning its “beervana” nickname and (unofficial) title as beer capital of the world. Widmer Brothers Brewing was among the first on the scene in 1984. Award-winning Deschutes Brewery, based in Bend (another craft brew hotspot and with its own ale trail) operates a brewpub in downtown Portland, while Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. is heralded for its unusual beers. With 99 craft beers on tap, beer hall Loyal Legion is a great way to sample local offerings, including newer brewers Burnside Brewing and The Commons Brewery.

Or join an organized beer tour: BeerQuest PDX offers walking tours, Brewvana provides small bus tours, and Pedal Bike Tours combines the best of biking and tasting. For festival buffs, the Oregon Brewers Festival, now in its 29th year, attracts 80,000 beer aficionados to one of the longest-running craft beer fests in the country.
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DANA JUHASZ  

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Although there are more than 100 breweries and brewpubs across the state, Asheville is the epicenter with the most breweries per capita, earning it the title of “Beer City, USA” four times in a row. As such, beercation options abound. You can start by following the Asheville Ale Trail, which provides options by car, bike or on foot. Wicked Weed Brewing is a favorite for its hoppy ales and barrel-aged sour beers. Visit its Funkatorium location, a barrel house and tasting room all in one.

Download the Dig Local app for the city’s latest beer happenings, or let an organized tour, whether the original Brews Cruise or small group Asheville Brewery Tours, do the work for you. Depending on the time of year, try to include the long-running Brewgrass Festival for live music alongside favorite local brewers, or the Winter Warmer Beer Fest to partake in some of the best breweries from around the state.

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George Rose  

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee was once considered the beer capital of the world, but few of the old guard, such as MillerCoors, remain. Though the city may have lost certain bragging rights, a strong craft beer scene has emerged. The new guard includes Sprecher Brewery, the city’s first craft brewery, Lakefront Brewery, a microbrewery that pioneered organic and gluten-free options, and Brenner Brewing Co., a newer brewer heavily involved in the arts and music scene. Even better, each one offers tours.

Take your pick of festivals: the Wisconsin Craft Beer Festival, held at the Harley-Davidson Museum, is a weekend–long event with classes and tasting sessions with the top nationwide craft beers. Admission to the Milwaukee Brewfest includes unlimited sampling of more than 100 craft and major name beers, while Where the Wild Beers Are focuses on wild and sour ales, generally defined as tart-tasting beers brewed with “wild” yeast.
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Lakefront Brewery  

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

As one of the top U.S. producers with more than 200 breweries crafting the whole gamut, this beer-soaked state is awash in suds. Choose between the Denver Beer Triangle, a trifecta stretching between Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins and home to at least 60 brewers, or follow the Denver Beer Trail, with a more manageable 20 breweries. Highlights along the latter trail include award-winning Great Divide Brewing Company, beloved for favorites like Yeti Imperial Stout, and must-stop Breckenridge Brewery, which was among the state’s first craft breweries when it opened in 1990.

Crooked Stave
is newer to the scene, but has already won awards for its sour Wild Wild Brett Rouge. Denver’s also home to the Great American Beer Festival, a Guinness World Records’ holder for the world’s largest beer festival. That record is hard to dispute since this year’s fest will feature more than 700 breweries offering 3,500 varieties of beer. 
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JOE AMON  

San Diego, California

San Diego, California

California and wine are synonymous, but the state is also a brewery heavyweight with about 500 statewide. San Diego alone is packed with more than 70 breweries; and standouts encompass Stone Brewing Co.: its beautiful Escondido location offers 45-minute tours followed by a tasting at its outdoor beer garden. You can sample draft beers from Stone’s own line, along with some of the city’s other top brewers. Green Flash Brewing Company is notable for its West Coast IPA and 4,000-square-foot tasting room and beer garden. Stop by one of Ballast Point Brewing Company’s five tasting room locations for its award-winning Grapefruit Sculpin IPA.

Avoid drinking and driving by joining Brewery Tours of San Diego for either public or private tours of the city’s top breweries, or designate a driver and navigate this self-guided tour. If you fancy a festival, the San Diego International Beer Festival is the largest one of its kind on the West Coast, with more than 400 international beers from around the world, including some of California’s most highly regarded breweries. If you can’t commit, the San Diego Brewers Guild holds year-round events revolving around craft beer.
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Don Tormey  

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s suds scene is quickly catching up to more established hubs, thanks to at least 50 breweries within city limits, and more than 100 in greater Chicagoland. Goose Island Beer Company has become synonymous with the city’s craft beer movement, and it’s still producing the coveted line of Bourbon County Barrel Stouts even though it was acquired by Anheuser Busch in 2011. Although it’s only been around since 2010, award-winning Revolution Brewing has already become a fixture; try the popular Anti-Hero IPA.

Half Acre Beer Company, known for its rough micro beers, is another one of Chicago’s beloved craft makers. Moody Tongue Brewing Company, which calls itself a culinary brewery, represents the newer creative class (e.g. Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner). Many individual brewers also offer tours. For something different, beer snobs can geek out at the Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers, where more than 90 breweries will be serving 300 barrel-aged beers. Chicago Craft Beer Week is another great introduction to the best in local beer.
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Rick Kern  

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

We’d be remiss to leave Washington off the list, as it’s currently the leader in hops production, stouts and IPAs. There are more than 300 breweries dotted across the state, and at least 20 call Seattle home. Founded in 1989, The Pike Brewing Company is an early pioneer, and offers tours of its 30-barrel brewery. Newcomer Holy Mountain Brewing Company has already developed a cult following for its seasonal and limited-edition lagers, while Fremont Brewing is popular for its beer garden and award-winning beers, from barrel-aged to pale ale.

Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in particular has experienced a brewery boom: nano-brewery Populuxe Brewing might have a limited selection, but if possible, order its award-winning Cinderblock CDA. For tours, Road Dogs provides a good overview of the city’s craft scene. Time permitting, detour to the Yakima Valley for the annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival.
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The Pike Brewing Company  

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

Portland, Oregon might be considered the beer capital of the world, but with 17 microbreweries for less than 100,000 people, Portland, Maine ranks as one of the highest per capita. Allagash Brewing Company, nationally known for its Belgian-style beers, helped launch the city’s craft scene in 1995. Of those that followed, Peak Organic Brewery is known for its hoppy organic beers, while Bissell Brothers Brewing Company has also garnered acclaim for its hop-forward ales. To navigate, Maine Beer Tours offers numerous tours of the city’s breweries. Now in its 23rd year, the Maine Brewers Festival is a celebration of all things craft beer. 960 1280

Portland Press Herald  

Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn, New York

Believe it or not, Brooklyn was once one of the country’s top beer producers at the turn of the 20th century. As with the rest of the country, Prohibition was one of the major factors behind the industry’s decline. Brooklyn Brewery heralded the industry’s resurgence when it opened in 1996, and today its beers, including the popular Brooklyn Lager, can be found nationwide and abroad. Venture to hipster-haven Williamsburg for a free tour and tasting.

Other breweries that you can visit include Threes Brewing, which consists of an on-site brewery and a full bar with 20 taps. Recent newcomer Other Half specializes in IPAs and gives appointment-only tours. Tørst has become a destination for craft beer imbibers; across the river in Manhattan, Blind Tiger Ale House, one of the city’s best craft beer bars, serves a curated tap selection that includes renowned Brewery Ommegang from upstate New York.

For guidance, Urban Oyster offers craft beer walking tours and craft beer crawls. True beer lovers shouldn’t miss the annual NYC Beer Week, a 10-day event celebrating local beer with everything from trivia nights to secret events.  

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Mario Tama  

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids’ craft beer industry may still be in its infancy, but beer experts are keeping a close eye on the city that gave birth to internationally acclaimed microbrewer Founders Brewing Company, and is home to more than 40 breweries. Of these, Brewery Vivant is a sustainable producer of Belgian-style beers operating out of a former funeral home. The Mitten Brewing Company resides in a Victorian-era firehouse and adds a twist on classics—for example, Label Up is a brown ale made with toasted pecans and maple syrup.

Harmony Brewing Company represents the up-and-comers, and now has two locations serving IPAs, stouts and lagers. For more, consult the Beer City Ale Trail for a self-guided tour, or hand the reins over to Grand Rapids Beer Tours. Either way, factor in visiting HopCat, regarded as one of the best brewpubs in the county for its extensive collection of local craft beers (and equally beloved for its beer-battered "Crack fries"). For even more options, the annual Winter Beer Festival features more than 100 Michigan breweries pouring about 1,000 different craft beers.
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Joel Denyes Company/The Mitten Brewing Company  

Kings County Distillery, New York City
Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Central Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon and it continues to be the largest producer in the world. Local distillers formed the bourbon trail in 1999, and its recommended itinerary includes ten distillers. It starts in Louisville at Bulleit and Evan Williams, popular names among bourbons fans, and continues to powerhouses Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark the next day. While in Bardstown, dubbed the “Bourbon Capital of the World,” pop into the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History to view a rare collection that dates back to pre-Colonial times. The tour concludes on the third day in Lexington, after squeezing in the illustrious Four Roses and Wild Turkey.

However, there are plenty of other acclaimed distillers in the region. Step off the official trail to visit beloved brands such as Eagle RareBuffalo Trace (for cult-favorite Pappy Van Winkle) and Willet. Or take a break from driving: My Old Kentucky Dinner Train rolls through bourbon country and offers bourbon-themed rides. 
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Stephen Sak  

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

What started as a bourbon tasting and dinner in 1992 has ballooned into a six-day bourbon festival to end all festivals, and is a bucket list must for water-of-life imbibers. Last year’s event attracted more than 50,000 people from the world over. It all goes down in Bardstown, where bourbon’s been made since 1776, and continues to produce the majority of the world’s consumption.

Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, Blanton’s and more will be in attendance, but the festival is more than just bourbon sampling. You can learn what goes into making a barrel, listen to live music, tour local distilleries and peruse craft vendors. For an additional fee, the black tie Tasting & Gala includes dinner and dancing along with the opportunity to hold court with master distillers while quaffing samples from eight local producers.
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Dave Kotinsky / Stringer  

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Kentucky isn’t the only place that makes bourbon, nor does it have to be produced there to call it such. Woodinville Whiskey Co. is a short drive outside Seattle, and definitely worth a side trip to tour the distillery and learn all about its 90 proof straight bourbon whiskey that took more than five years to make. Back in the city, Oola Distillery is a small-batch producer in the Capital Hill neighborhood, and offers tours every Saturday. Its Waitsburg Bourbon Whiskey has won awards and accolades.

2bar Bourbon from 2bar Spirits is made from locally sourced grains, and the distillery is open for tours Thursday-Saturday (be aware that Saturdays book up in advance). Upscale Tavern Law is the place to imbibe bourbon cocktails, or make a reservation at its (not-so-secret) speakeasy, Needle & Thread. Cocktail bar Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium claims to have the largest collection of spirits in the Western Hemisphere, and with more than 3,500 options, that number’s hard to dispute.
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Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium  

WhiskyFest

WhiskyFest

Now in its 18th year, WhiskyFest is the longest-running whiskey festival in the states. Events are held year-round across the country, and this year’s lineup includes Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and New York. Expect to find more than 350 international whiskies, including bourbon. There are also opportunities to participate in seminars and meet whiskey experts, from distillers to master blenders. 960 1280

Tetra Images  

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Portland isn’t just the leader on the craft beer landscape; a distillery boom is underway as well. In fact, there are so many that there’s even a Distillery Row, which includes Eastside Distilling, whose small-batch bourbon has won awards. Others, like House Spirits Distillery, offer bourbon-tasting classes, while New Deal Distillery holds whiskey-making classes that tend to sell out. Bull Run Distilling Company has a devoted tasting room and several Straight Bourbon Whiskey options.

Bourbon is readily available at bars around town, and The Pope House Bourbon Lounge offers a wide selection, in addition to private bourbon-tasting classes. However, the hands-down winner is destination-worthy Multnomah Whiskey Library for bourbon nirvana. It’s not easy getting in, but once there, sink back into a leather couch, marvel at more than 1,000 whiskey bottles lining exposed-brick walls, and sip away.
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Dina Avila Photography / Multnomah Whiskey Library  

Hudson Valley, New York

Hudson Valley, New York

Before Prohibition, the picturesque Hudson Valley was home to at least 1,000 distilleries. Tuthilltown Spirits was at the forefront of the area’s resurgence when it opened in 2005. It produces small-batch Hudson Four Grain Bourbon and Hudson Baby Bourbon, and in addition to tours and tastings, it also serves farm fresh fare at its restaurant, located in a historic grist mill. Orange County Distillery uses local grains to make quality bourbons in small batches. Both of its locations offer tastings, but only the aforementioned distillery has a production facility.

At Black Dirt Distillery, the corn used in its namesake bourbon is grown in said black dirt, which is an ancient fertile soil found in the Hudson Valley. To try it, head to the tasting room at Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, which is where the bourbon originated. Hillrock Estate Distillery offers a different twist with “solera”-aged bourbon, a technique that periodically removes small quantities of whiskey and replaces it with new whiskey, helping to create a more complex flavor. Make a tour appointment to learn more, and then visit its rustic tasting room.
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Black Dirt Distillery  

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

This annual festival is traveling to 10 cities in 2016, including Atlanta and Tampa. Besides the requisite beer and barbeque, taste more than 40 bourbons and attend educational seminars. Bourbon exhibitors include Elijah Craig, Yellow Rose and Blanton’s. 960 1280

Beer Bourbon and BBQ Festival  

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

It’s rumored that bourbon got its name from famed Bourbon Street in the 19th century, since New Orleans served as a key shipping port. Either way, bourbon still has a strong presence in the city. Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House is first and foremost a seafood restaurant, but it also boasts the largest bourbon selection in town (as well as Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch). The Avenue Pub also has a good selection, from wheated to experimental bourbons, and is also home to the New Orleans Bourbon Society. Chef Emeril Lagasse is behind the annual Boudin, Bourbon & Beer, a food and drink extravaganza that features notable chefs, live music, and of course, bourbon. Last year’s event included a signature bourbon cocktail from Buffalo Trace. 960 1280

Tetra Images  

New York City

New York City

In the 1800s Brooklyn was once home to at least 20 illicit distilleries, which prompted ongoing raids known as the Whiskey Wars until none were left. Kings County Distillery was the first to return when it opened in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2010. It makes its award-winning bourbon (along with moonshine and chocolate whiskey) from organic corn, and also holds whiskey-tasting classes. Tours and tastings are available every Saturday, and there’s no need to book ahead. 

Widow Jane Distillery is also based in Brooklyn, and produces a number of organic “farm-to-bottle” bourbons, including heirloom varieties made from ancient grains. It’s not open to the public, but you can find it at whiskey bar and restaurant Maysvillewhich boasts more than 150 American whiskeys. The Flatiron Room is considered a destination for whiskey connoisseurs, and its menu features about 100 bourbons. The Flatiron Room also offers a Whiskey School with classes for all levels, from Whiskey 101 to Pappy Van Winkle, an educational class and tasting devoted to the cult favorite.
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Valery Rizzo / Kings County Distillery  

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Not only does KOVAL Distillery focus on making organic spirits, but it’s also the city’s first distillery since the 1800s. Its Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey is unconventional since it employs millet as a supplemental grain instead of the more commonly used rye or wheat. In addition to tours and tastings, it also offers whiskey workshops for furthering your knowledge. FEW Spirits is just north of Chicago in Evanston (ironically, the headquarters of the Temperance Movement, which formed to “temper” alcohol consumption before Prohibition). This small-batch distillery creates an award-winning bourbon whiskey and holds tours.

If you can’t make it there, FEW is served at Fountainhead Chicago, along with other craft and locally made bourbons, such as New Holland Brewing and Journeyman Distillery from Michigan. Fountainhead is also notable for its rare single cask selections. Other places to sip bourbon include The Berkshire Room, an upscale lounge with an extensive bourbon list, from Van Winkle to I.W. Harper, and Untitled Supper Club, a speakeasy burlesque that houses an entire Whiskey Library containing more than 400 American brands.
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Nick Gerber / KOVAL Distillery  

 Capitol Cider
Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Washington is a prime apple-growing region, with more than 50 cider makers in the state, and a growing number of places in which to taste them. Seattle Cider Company was the first cider maker to open in the city in 2013, and produces small batch, locally grown ciders. It currently offers 12 options, ranging from the year-round Citrus, to the seasonal Basil Mint, to the limited-edition Three Pepper. Sample these and more at The Woods, a tasting room that’s shared with Two Beers Brewing.

Not to be outdone, Capitol Cider, the city’s first cider bar, boasts 20 ciders on tap and more than 150 bottles from both the region and the world. Schilling Hard Cider does one better, claiming to offer the largest draft cider selection in the country with 32 ciders on tap. It also sells more than 300 bottles of craft cider. Schilling makes its own cider too; its high-demand Chaider (chai-spiced hard cider) is only on tap between November and January. If that’s not enough, cider-making classes are available one weekend a month.
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Capitol Cider  

Lake Champlain, Vermont

Lake Champlain, Vermont

Vermont can be considered as the birthplace of the hard cider revival movement in the U.S. when Woodchuck Hard Cider launched in 1991. Eventually, more followed, and the Lake Champlain region has proven to be one of the best apple-growing spots in the country. Citizen Cider, based in Burlington, has a tasting room and the option to sample a tasting flight; the Dirty Mayor is a good option for ginger fans. Shacksbury Cider distinguishes itself by using “lost apples” from the Champlain Valley, which are defined as the type of apples that early settlers in the area used to make homemade hard cider. Be warned Shacksbury only makes limited-release runs with lost apples, and they are popular. Tours are by appointment only.

Champlain Orchards Cidery uses apples from its own orchard, and many of its ciders—Ginger & Spice, Honeycrisp—have won awards. You can stop by for a tour and tasting, or try Champlain and other area cideries during Vermont Cider Week.
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Shacksbury Cider  

Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes region is another key player in the apple belt. Bellwether Hard Cider was the first on the scene in 1999, while Finger Lakes Cider House is considered the reason behind the renewed interest in hard cider. Besides offering local craft ciders in its full-service tasting room, it also serves its own Good Life Cider. Among the local cideries it serves, Eve’s Cidery is acclaimed for its sparkling ciders, which employ the Champagne Method. Eve’s also has its own orchard, and produces ice cider as well. Redbyrd Orchard Cider is also available at Finger Lakes Cider House, and the owners apply their wine-making knowledge to produce small batches. To try more cideries, attend Cider Week Finger Lakes, which attracts about 15 local cider makers. 960 1280

Finger Lakes Cider House  

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Where there’s good beer, good cider is sure to follow. Bushwacker Cider was the first cidery to open in Portland in 2010, and now has two locations in the city. The original Brooklyn spot sells more than 300 types of cider from around the world, as well as its own line. Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider deserves its cider renegade reputation thanks to its boundary-pushing ciders: the flagship Hallelujah Hopricot can best be described as a combination of beer, cider and wine. See for yourself at its cidery and taproom.

A few hours away in Bend, a number of craft cideries have set up camp among a plethora of established breweries. Atlas Cider Co. was the first and one of the best known; its flavor comes from the fresh-pressed apples used to make an all-natural product. Its new taproom hosts live music and offers arcade games. To cover the most cider ground, the Cider Rite of Spring festival in Portland features the best ciders in the Northwest, while Cider Summit PDX highlights the best artisanal ciders from around the world.
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Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider  

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville already has a booming craft beer scene, and now cideries are starting to move in. Urban Orchard Cider Co. usually tops the list when discussing North Carolina cidery makers. It’s known for experimenting with unexpected flavors such as habanero, and its full bar showcases cider while also offering wine and local beer. Noble Cider uses local apples to create two ciders: The Standard Bearer and The Village Tart, a popular, cherry-minded cider. Bide your time in the taproom while enjoying live music and access to a rotating lineup of food trucks.

Black Mountain Ciderworks + Meadery is among the handful of cideries along the Asheville Ale Trail. Stop by the taproom of this small-batch cidery (and meadery) to imbibe ciders made with Southern apples. Asheville also plays host to CiderFest NC, which features 20 hard cider makers from across the state and country.
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Black Mountain Ciderworks and Meadery  

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Beer Company, the heavyweight producer behind Samuel Adams (which helped launch the craft beer movement in the states), also produces Angry Orchard Hard Cider. Varieties range from its signature Green Apple to the seasonal Elderflower, and it sources apples from its own orchard in the Hudson Valley. Downeast Cider House uses locally grown apples to create its year-round Cranberry Blend and seasonal Maple Blend. You can tour its cidery without advance booking, but be forewarned that drinking is restricted to its cider garden, which isn’t climate controlled. Bantam Cider is a craft cidery just outside of Boston in Somerville. The classic Wunderkind is its first cider, and since then Bantam has experimented with slow roasting apples to create the unconventional Smoked Saison. 960 1280

Downeast Cider House  

Sonoma, California

Sonoma, California

A fledgling cider scene has emerged amidst Sonoma’s wine dominated landscape. Sonoma Cider is a father-son operation redefining hard cider. It uses organic apples to create core offerings such as The Anvil, a bourbon cider. Keep an eye out for experimental limited runs, which currently include Absinthe and Habanero Lime. Tilted Shed Ciderworks also uses local organic apples in its small batch creations. Visit the tasting room for barrel-aged and barbecue-smoked ciders. Devoto Orchards Cider uses apples from its own orchard in Sebastopol, a longtime apple-growing region, to make three different organic ciders. It’s closed to the public, but you can find its dry and semi-dry ciders at specialty stores in the area. 960 1280

Tilted Shed Ciderworks  

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Argus Cidery was the first to open in 2010; in a bit of an unusual twist, it uses apples from Texas and Arkansas to produce its sparkling hard ciders. Though not a cider, don’t pass up the chance to try its Tepache, a sparkling pineapple wine, at its tasting room. Newish Texas Keeper Cider has garnered press for its small batch ciders; you’ll be able to sample them soon at its new tap room, complete with a picnic area. Austin Eastciders is another young, small-batch cidery that differentiates itself by employing bittersweet and bittersharp apples in order to create just three options: Original Dry Cider, Texas Honey Cider and the recently added Hopped Cider. It plans to offer factory tours and a tasting room in the near future. 960 1280

Bloomberg / Contributor  

Hudson Valley, New York

Hudson Valley, New York

The Hudson Valley has a long-standing reputation as one of the best apple growing regions in the country, and is home to some of the country’s oldest cider makers. The now sizable cider community started in 1994 with Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery when it launched Doc’s Draft Ciders. Sample both its cider and wine at its rustic tasting room while enjoying live music. Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider is another long-time establishment, and specializes in European techniques.

Newcomer Nine Pin Cider Works creates dry and experimental ciders using locally sourced apples, and offers a tasting room. Bad Seed Cider Company is another relative newcomer. You can tour its factory in addition to exploring dry ciders in its tap room. If possible, detour to NYC for Wassail, the city’s first bar devoted to hard cider (and apple-related drinks). It also holds regular events such as monthly meetups for amateur cider makers. Descendant Cider Company, based in Queens, is one of the only hard cider makers in the city, and its apples are sourced from no other than the Hudson Valley.  
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Bad Seed Cider Company  

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cider is slowly starting to make inroads amidst a craft beer boom. Sociable Cider Werks is the city’s first cidery, and its industrial tasting room has quickly attracted a loyal following. It sources apples from the Midwest, and adds hops and grains for a dry and well-balanced finish. All of its ciders are named after bike terms, like the dry-hopped Hop-A-Wheelie. You can also tour its cider house and enjoy eats from The Curious Goat Food Truck. Newcomer Lionheart Cider just opened this past summer and only makes one European-style cider at the moment; you can find it at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul. Meanwhile, gastropub Republic MPLS offers the largest selection of craft ciders around, and provides an excellent opportunity to try local ciders from across the state, including Sweetland OrchardMilk & Honey CidersWyndfall Cyder and Sapsucker Farms. 960 1280

Republic MPLS  

Digital Detox Weekends

glacier national park, montana, outdoors and adventure, long weekends, mcdonald creek
Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun Road

A National Historic Landmark itself, this 53 mile drive is a must if you're in Glacier. The only road that runs all the way through the park, be prepared to make lots of stops as there seems to be another photo opportunity everywhere you look. If you happen to visit during the winter months be advised that parts of this road will often become impassable due to snow! 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Fish Creek Campground

Fish Creek Campground

With more than thirteen campgrounds throughout the park there is something for everyone, regardless of where you enter Glacier or your experience level with camping. Fish Creek is close to the West entrance of this National Park and Lake McDonald is just a short walk from these sites. Fish Creek and St. Mary's Campground are the only two in the park that accept reservations so if you are worried about securing a site make sure to call ahead. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald

If you've looked at pictures of this National Park before you were most likely looking at photos of Lake McDonald. The largest lake within the park it offers some of the most iconic views; glass like water with a mountainous backdrop. Take a dip in the chilly water to cool down after a day of exploring the park.
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Jeremy Pawlowski  

McDonald Creek

McDonald Creek

Don't let the name creek fool you, the rushing water of this river is fueled by snow melt high in the mountains of Glacier National Park and is enough to create powerful waterfalls throughout its path to Lake McDonald. There are strategically placed turn off points on Going to the Sun Road where you can pull over to get spectacular views of the water. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Rocky Point Trail

Rocky Point Trail

A quick and easy 2 mile loop that will start and end right by the Fish Creek campground. With little elevation gain this hike is perfect for the whole family and makes for a great way to start a day in the park. A little more than half a mile into this trail you'll be greeted with with sweeping views of Lake McDonald. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Polebridge

Polebridge

Twenty miles south of the Canadian border lies the small community of Polebridge. With no electricity the handful of structures here hold onto their rustic charm. Be sure to stop in the mercantile which is known for their fresh baked goods and the saloon for a cold one after a long day of hiking. If you happen to be in the park during the 4th of July Polebridge hosts a parade that shouldn't be missed. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

sexy slipways, beaches, resorts, romance, cancun, Zona Hotelera
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (Hawaii)

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (Hawaii)

The gorgeous landscape of Maui is custom-made for romance. Boasting year-round bikini-friendly temperatures and a diverse lineup of recreation — from posh spas and postcard-worthy beaches to world-class golf courses and waterfall hiking — this Hawaiian island is a tropical respite from the real world. 960 1280

Peter Vitale / Four Seasons  

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (Hawaii)

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (Hawaii)

Once you set foot in the 5-star Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, you'll be hard-pressed to break free from the poolside foot massages, Japanese Kobe beef at Duo, complimentary activities and endless thoughtful amenities. 960 1280

Don Riddle / Four Seasons  

L'Auberge Carmel (California)

L'Auberge Carmel (California)

With its mix of chic boutiques, art galleries and bistros, the coastal village of Carmel, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor, caters to well-heeled travelers. This former artists' colony is now a romantic refuge for those who appreciate a refined and slow-paced getaway. 960 1280

Sergio Parisi / Getty Images  

L'Auberge Carmel (California)

L'Auberge Carmel (California)

Built in 1929 and later renovated, L'Auberge is an intentionally intimate boutique hotel. Its 20 rooms have French windows, ocean views, comfy king- or queen-size beds, decadent down bedding, oversize tubs and heated bathroom floors. The hotel's 12-table restaurant, Aubergine, is equally beguiling and features a 4,500-bottle wine cellar. 960 1280

lucydphoto / Getty Images  

The Setai (Miami)

The Setai (Miami)

Packed with runway-ready locals, glamorous nightclubs, spectacular warm weather and picture-perfect beaches, there's something inherently sexy about Miami's South Beach. The ultimate getaway for nightlife lovers is its Ocean Drive strip of restaurants and clubs, and there are plenty of swanky places to sleep in late after a night on the town. 960 1280

Pola Damonte / Getty Images  

The Setai (Miami)

The Setai (Miami)

Among the most luxurious places in Miami is the Asian-inspired Setai. A Zen-like counterbalance to trendier hotels, it features suites that are spacious and serene, 3 pools that are kept at 3 different temperatures, and a hotel spa that offers in-room treatments. When the sun goes down, the hotel's courtyard transforms into a sexy lounge with mood-making ambient music. 960 1280

  

Wickaninnish Inn (British Columbia)

Wickaninnish Inn (British Columbia)

Few places in the world are more romantic than the relatively unspoiled town of Tofino. Tucked away on the western end of British Columbia's Vancouver Island, you'll spend days meandering through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve or kayaking, surfing and whale-watching at Long Beach, which is widely considered to be one of the best oceanfronts in all of Canada. 960 1280

Wickaninnish Inn  

Wickaninnish Inn (British Columbia)

Wickaninnish Inn (British Columbia)

After sunset, cuddle up in front of a fireplace to listen to the crashing waves with a glass of local wine. Romantics will love the posh environs of the Wickaninnish Inn, where every room boasts ocean or beach views. Try side-by-side couple's treatments at the resort's elegant Ancient Cedars Spa. 960 1280

Wickaninnish Inn  

Live Aqua Cancun (Mexico)

Live Aqua Cancun (Mexico)

Cancun gets a bad rap for resorts filled with loud party crowds or overrun by energetic children, but this Mexican-owned Grupo Posadas property defies such silly notions. Despite its Zona Hotelera address, calm, privacy and panoramic blue skies prevail at this tony, all-inclusive resort. 960 1280
Live Aqua Cancun (Mexico)

Live Aqua Cancun (Mexico)

Seven on-site restaurants let you have your pick of cuisines, and Aqua Club rooms grant guests access to a VIP lounge. If you really want to splurge, book a suite with its own whirlpool tub. 960 1280

Christine_Bariana / Getty Images  

Viceroy Santa Monica (California)

Viceroy Santa Monica (California)

Think SoCal sophistication sans the snobbery of other nearby beachfront locales. A mere 16 miles west of the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica is the quintessential laid-back California beach town. Steal smooches with your honey on the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier, admire the always-stunning sunsets or shop till you drop at the Third Street Promenade, a retail mecca. 960 1280

compassandcamera / Getty Images  

Viceroy Santa Monica (California)

Viceroy Santa Monica (California)

For a romantic rendezvous, indulge yourselves at the Viceroy Santa Monica, from private poolside cabanas to retro-style bikes that guests can borrow to cruise along the beach to top-notch dining at the property's restaurant, Cast. 960 1280

VHGImages / Getty Images  

weekend trip, outdoors and adventure, slickrock biking trail, utah, moab
San Juan Islands (Washington)

San Juan Islands (Washington)

Sea kayaking tours off the San Juan Islands in Washington state, like those offered by Sea Quest Expeditions, are designed to visit the favorite feeding, traveling and play areas of resident pods of orcas -- easily among the most awe-inspiring creatures you'll ever likely encounter close up and personal in the wild. 960 1280

Danita Delimont / Getty Images  

Slickrock Bike Trail (Utah)

Slickrock Bike Trail (Utah)

The highly technical 9.6-mile Slickrock Bike Trail is considered by many to be the ultimate mountain-biking experience. However appealing Moab is to the seasoned rider, it also offers a wide assortment of easy to moderate biking trails that expose casual riders to classic high-desert scenery along cacti-lined single-track, primitive jeep roads and patches of slickrock. 960 1280

Whit Richardson / Getty Images  

Youghiogheny River (Maryland)

Youghiogheny River (Maryland)

To cap off a long weekend in the wet wilderness of the East, you might want to try the Upper Yough. Pronounced "Yock," it refers to the Youghiogheny River, which springs from the highest ridges of the Allegheny Plateau in western Maryland. For 7 miles, this pristine river is virtually one long rapid cascading through a lush hemlock forest. Not that you're likely to have time to notice the wildflowers and wildlife as you navigate blind chutes and ledges, dropping an average of 116 feet per mile. 960 1280

Panoramic Images / Getty Images  

Green Mountain National Forest (Vermont)

Green Mountain National Forest (Vermont)

The Moosalamoo region of Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest is a New England destination reputed for outstanding local heritage, nature conservation and tourism stewardship. Whether on your own self-guided tour, or through an operator like R.E.I. Adventures, you can wander through more than 20,000 acres of forest, cliffs, vistas, lakes and streams. 960 1280

Danita Delimont / Getty Images  

Superior Hiking Trail (Minnesota)

Superior Hiking Trail (Minnesota)

Lodge-to-lodge hiking along the Superior Hiking Trail, which, aptly named, really happens to be one of the continent's finest hiking trails, is always a great adventure. It winds for 200 miles, from Two Harbors, MN, to the Canadian border along the ridgeline of the ancient Sawtooth Mountain Range, high above Lake Superior. 960 1280

By Tony Webster from San Francisco, California (Superior Hiking Trail) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Cheat River (West Virginia)

Cheat River (West Virginia)

The Cheat River Watershed is the largest free-flowing watershed in the Eastern United States. As one of few rivers that flow northward -- its origins are in West Virginia's highest mountains -- the Cheat is a boulder-strewn river big on beauty and personality, ranging from nice and easy riffles to raucous and raging rapids. Rafting the mighty Cheat is one wet and wild way to spend a day. 960 1280

Aimin Tang / Getty Images  

Red River Gorge Geologic Area (Kentucky)

Red River Gorge Geologic Area (Kentucky)

There are countless crags for climbing in the gorgeous Red River Gorge Geologic Area of eastern Kentucky, but perhaps none is as easy to get to and varied in difficulty as those at Torrent Falls Resort. With more than 42 acres of majestic cliffs and 3 waterfalls (the highest is 165 feet), this wilderness resort maintains more than 50 different routes, ranging from 5.2 to 5.13. An expert staff caters to both novice and experienced climbers. 960 1280

Matt Meadows / Getty Images  

logding, places to stay, weekend trip, unique, unusual, Cedar Creek Treehouse, mount ranier
Rose Island Lighthouse (Rhode Island)

Rose Island Lighthouse (Rhode Island)

Out on Rose Island, beyond the reach of the utility lines of Newport, RI, is a restored lighthouse that was home to keepers and their families for more than a century. In 1993, after years of disrepair, the light in the tower was relit. Now listed on charts as a private aid to navigation, as well as on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic Rose Island Lighthouse attracts overnight keepers from all walks of life. 960 1280

Kenneth C. Zirkel / Getty Images  

Rose Island Lighthouse (Rhode Island)

Rose Island Lighthouse (Rhode Island)

Everything in the lighthouse, even down to the pitcher pump at the pantry sink, has been painstakingly restored. The lighthouse, which serves as a museum during the summer, is fully furnished with pots, pans, dishes and utensils -- just as if its keepers still lived there. 960 1280

Melanie Stetson Freeman / Getty Images  

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

Ever wonder what it would be like to travel to and stay on Mars? Well, then, look no further than the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated martian habitat in southern Utah. 960 1280

George Frey / Getty Images  

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

Each pod contains 6 tiny bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, a communications center and a research laboratory, all squeezed in to about 1,000 square feet of space. 960 1280

George Frey / Getty Images  

Cedar Creek Treehouse (Washington)

Cedar Creek Treehouse (Washington)

Cedar Creek Treehouse is situated high in the canopy of the lush temperate rainforest surrounding Mount Rainier National Park. A mammoth tree trunk grows straight up through the floor of the kitchen, and disappears through the ceiling of this Earth-friendly mountain retreat. Cedar Creek also boasts a 100-foot-high observatory in a nearby fir -- accessed by a rainbow-colored bridge that leads to an 82-foot spiral stairway. 960 1280
Cheyenne Reservation (Montana)

Cheyenne Reservation (Montana)

The Cheyenne teepees are made from canvas fabric (fireproofed) and comfortably sleep 8. Surely, the Old Ones would have appreciated the opportunity to rest (as guests here do) on airbeds zipped to sleeping bags. Other than that slight modernization, it's the same millennia-old soul-transporting experience of sleeping in the fresh open air of a teepee, peering through the teepee ears and gazing at the constellations while the coyotes sing. 960 1280

Montana Landscape Art / Getty Images  

Cheyenne Reservation (Montana)

Cheyenne Reservation (Montana)

Daily activities at the Cheyenne Reservation teepee camp range from horseback riding, cultural tours, ethno-botany walks, and teepee-raising to fishing, roping, arts workshops, traditional meals and powwows. 960 1280

Jordan Siemens / Getty Images  

Castle Hotel & Spa (New York)

Castle Hotel & Spa (New York)

The Castle Hotel & Spa is an oasis on this side of the Atlantic in Tarrytown, NY. Built between 1897 and 1910 by General Howard Carroll, the castle was originally called Carrollcliffe. In 1997, it was transformed into the lavish hotel and spa it is today. 960 1280

Andre Maier / Castle Hotel & Spa  

Castle Hotel & Spa (New York)

Castle Hotel & Spa (New York)

With its 40-foot vaulted ceilings, Gothic stained-glass windows and crystal chandeliers, the Great Hall at the Castle Hotel & Spa is available for weddings and other events. Your guests will be glad to take in a massage at the THANN Sanctuary before diving into their goose-down beds. 960 1280

Castle Hotel & Spa  

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Minnesota)

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Minnesota)

For centuries, yurts have been the dwelling of choice for natives of the Mongolian plateau, and for good reason. The round, peaked-roof canvas-covered huts are warm and cozy. For a long-weekend yurt experience much closer than Mongolia, but every bit as remote, trek to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. Here, yurts dot the Banadad Ski Trail, a 27-kilometer groomed ski trail through rugged wilderness. 960 1280

Willard / Getty Images  

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Minnesota)

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Minnesota)

Each yurt is equipped with a wood-fired stove, dishes and utensils, pots and pans, gas stove with oven, dining area, sleeping bags, and bunk beds. The Tall Pines yurt even has a wood-fired Finnish sauna. You choose the level of self-sufficiency; your yurt can be staffed by a hut host, who tends to the cooking and camp chores. Or you can yurt on your own, in perfect solitude, providing your own meals and firing up your own sauna. 960 1280

Tom Lynn / Getty Images  

Caddo Lake State Park
Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

This Oklahoman park (the only one of the list not in Texas) is a six hour drive from Austin and offer miles and miles of hiking. Another big draw is the bison herd that roams the land here; these majestic beasts can be seen grazing throughout the park. On your way out, be sure to drive to the top of Mt. Scott for 360-degree views of the land below. Bonus: this is the only park on the list that doesn't charge an entrance fee! 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all  

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park

I like to refer to this state park as a jungle gym for adults. Pedernales Falls is more about creating your own path rather than following set trails. Climb around the limestone cliffs and bluffs that make up the bulk of the land; or if you happen to visit during the heat of the Texas summer, take a dip in the river that runs through this park. Being only thirty miles outside of Austin, this park is perfect for a day trip or a weekend where you'd rather spend your Sunday enjoying the sun instead of spending hours driving home. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all  

Pace Bend Park

Pace Bend Park

This is one of the closest parks to Austin, but with 400+ campsites, you're always able to get away from others and enjoy some solitude. It's best enjoyed during the summer when you can take full advantage of the cliff diving that makes this place famous. Get there early in the day and get yourself a campsite along the nine miles of shoreline, as this park does not take reservations. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all  

Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park

Stretching five miles along the Gulf Coast of Mexico, this state park offers a few RV spots, but what you really want to do here is pitch your tent right on the beach. No hiking trails, no mountains to climb, this place is all about relaxing in the sun and enjoying the waves. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all  

Caddo Lake State Park

Caddo Lake State Park

In a bayou cloaked in history and mystery, you can pitch your tent under towering pines and bald cypress trees with low hanging Spanish moss. It's one of the only natural bodies of water in the state, so be sure to rent a canoe and paddle yourself through the swamplands that divide Texas and Louisiana. Just be sure to watch out for the alligators.  960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all  

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

The most ambitious of all Austin weekend trips, and probably one that should be saved for a three day weekend at the minimum, is Big Bend National Park. This Texas national park has it all: the Chisos Mountains, The Rio Grande, and the Chihuahuan Desert — an ecosystem for every explorer. After hiking to the top of Emory Peak, the highest point in the park, be sure to take a dip and relax in the 105-degree hot springs located within the park. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all  

Amistad National Recreation Area

Amistad National Recreation Area

Go here if you want to camp in true solitude. This reservoir has shores in both the USA and Mexico, so bring your passport if you plan on paddling across the border. With more than 65,000 surface acres, Amistad is a haven for fishermen and water sports enthusiasts, but come night time, the place is empty. Pitch your tent anywhere along the 547 miles of shoreline and enjoy complete isolation.  960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski / America Y'all  

wide angle, waterfall, grand canyon, expansive shot, daytime,
Havasu Falls - Arizona

Havasu Falls - Arizona

Located in the Grand Canyon near the Havasupai Indian village of Supai, AZ, Havasu Falls has an average water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. One of the most extraordinary swimming holes on the planet, it features spring-fed water that cascades 100 feet into an iridescent turquoise pool all day long. 960 1280

Michele Falzone / AWL Images / Getty Images  

Cummins Falls - Tennessee

Cummins Falls - Tennessee

Looking for the best place to escape the sweltering summer heat in the heartland of America? For more than 100 years, Cummins Falls, a scenic, 75-foot waterfall located in Jackson County, TN, has been a gem for Tennessee natives … but now, the secret is out! Although it’s a bit of a hike to get to once in the park, the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River provides unmatched beauty on your way to taking a dip in Tennessee’s eighth-largest waterfall. 960 1280

Cummins Falls Tennessee, Getty Images  

Chena Hot Springs - Alaska

Chena Hot Springs - Alaska

Only in Alaska can you find a secret swimming hole that’s accessible only by dogsled. Known by many as nature’s hot tub, Chena is filled with water that’s a constant 106 degrees and is also good for your skin because it contains sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. 960 1280

Patrick Endres / Design Pics / First Light / Getty Images  

Homestead Crater - Utah

Homestead Crater - Utah

Just a short drive south from Salt Lake City, UT, is Homestead Crater, a family-owned local attraction. Inside the unassuming mound of dirt is a hidden gem 12,000 years in the making. The giant pool is a soothing 96 degrees, and the water is said to have high levels of calcium and magnesium that can make you look and feel younger. 960 1280

  

Madison Blue Spring - Florida

Madison Blue Spring - Florida

Cascading over piles of limestone boulders, this first-magnitude spring on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River is one of Florida’s newest and most awe-inspiring swimming holes. Dive deep into the cool, crystal-clear waters that descend almost 25 feet into the earth’s surface, but make sure to get there early; this once-hidden gem is becoming more and more popular by the day. 960 1280

floridastateparks.org  

Blue Hole - New Mexico

Blue Hole - New Mexico

In one of the driest states in America, just off Route 66 in Santa Rosa, NM, lies the famed Blue Hole. The size of an average golf green with crystal-clear, 61-degree water, the Blue Hole is known as an artesian aquifer, where rainwater trapped beneath the ground is forced up under natural pressure. The spheres bobbing on the surface are attached to underwater diving platforms used for exploration. 960 1280

Sue Smith, Getty Images  

Aztec Falls - California

Aztec Falls - California

Known for its high cliffs and deep waters, Aztec Falls is the perfect getaway for those looking to escape the hot Los Angeles sun without heading to the crowded beaches. Deep in the San Bernardino Mountains, the falls are accessed via a 6-mile loop that runs mostly along the Pacific Crest Trail and offers jumps of 20, 40 and 60 feet. 960 1280

  

Hali’i Falls - Hawaii

Hali’i Falls - Hawaii

Located deep in the jungle on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Hali’i Falls is a multitiered waterfall that is accessible only by hiking through bamboo forests, deep marsh and former sugarcane pastures. The falls feeding this pool are named Hali’i, which means “to spread out,” and the cascading water does just that, creating the ultimate swimming experience. 960 1280

  

Mooney Falls - Arizona

Mooney Falls - Arizona

Half a mile north of Havasu Falls stands the tallest water feature in the Grand Canyon, rising 190 feet above the surface. Named after a prospector in the 1800s, Mooney Falls is accessible only by crawling through 2 tunnels and then climbing down a sheer cliff face with just a couple of dangling chains to hold on to. Although tough to get to, the view alone makes it worth the trip. 960 1280

Jeremy Woodhouse / Photodisc / Getty Images  

Wekiwa Springs - Florida

Wekiwa Springs - Florida

Deep within the sinkhole capital of the United States is the crystal-clear swimming hole known as Wekiwa Springs, just 15 miles from Orlando. One of the shallower swimming holes in Florida, it has a water depth of just 5-7 feet, but it offers a perfect 72-degree temperature year-round. 960 1280

  

Sliding Rock - North Carolina

Sliding Rock - North Carolina

A popular place to cool off during those hot North Carolina summers, Sliding Rock waterfall is located in the Pisgah National Forest in Transylvania County. About 60 feet of flattened rock dumps into a nearly 7-foot-deep pool at the bottom, making this natural waterslide a great place to visit with kids of all ages. 960 1280

Universal Images Group, Getty Images  

Lihue Plantation - Hawaii

Lihue Plantation - Hawaii

A private swimming hole at the old Lihue Sugar Plantation on Kauai, HI, was transformed into an inner-tube water ride by Kauai Backcountry Adventures in 2003. The waters for this 2 1/2-mile journey, which originate near the top of Mount Waialeale — one of the wettest spots in the world — are channeled through ditches and tunnels that were hand-dug by plantation workers over a century ago. 960 1280

  

Beaver Falls - Arizona

Beaver Falls - Arizona

The third and final swimming hole in the Grand Canyon, Beaver Falls is a free-falling fantasy that offers 40-foot cliffs and deep, aqua-blue pools. 960 1280

Michael Hanson, Getty Images  

NYC Escapes

Hamptons Alternative

Hamptons Alternative

Located in Suffolk County on the eastern end of Long Island, the North Fork has become a quieter alternative to the Hamptons scene that takes over the South Fork every summer. Instead of crowds and trendy nightlife, welcoming wineries, endless farmland and uncrowded beaches dominate. The main action centers around Greenport, a charming seaport village rich in history. 960 1280

littleny  

Kontokosta Winery

Kontokosta Winery

More than 40 wineries call the North Fork home, along with a brewery and distillery. Wineries are a mix of corporate and independent; if you’re traveling with a larger group, check with independent operators ahead of time, since many don’t allow buses or vans.

Kontokosta Winery is the island's easternmost winery, and one of the most beautiful properties in a region packed with Instagram-ready wineries. Its long, vineyard-flanked driveway makes for a dramatic entrance, and leads to an equally impressive tasting room housed in a large, airy farmhouse. For the ultimate North Fork experience, cross the sprawling backyard with your glass of award-winning Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc while drinking in the rural sweep of Long Island Sound.

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Kontokosta Winery  

The Old Field Vineyards

The Old Field Vineyards

The Old Field Vineyards feels like you’re drinking wine on a friend’s farm, where chickens run free and you’re welcome to wander the grounds. Mattebella Vineyards is a small winemaker focusing on sustainable practices. Its impossibly quaint tasting area includes a cottage and patio overlooking rose bushes and endless vineyards, and the knowledable employees are happy to answer your burning wine questions. Sparkling Pointe specializes in sparkling wines, and the indoor tasting room is distinguished by airy white walls accentuated with crystal chandeliers and colorful artwork. If the weather’s nice, opt to do a tasting on the terrace while admiring rows of vineyards. Oenophiles can book a tour of the facility, from the cellar to the tank room. 960 1280

Michael Krinke  

Shinn Estate Vineyard and Farmhouse

Shinn Estate Vineyard and Farmhouse

Shinn Estate Vineyard and Farmhouse excels at reds, from Merlot to Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastings on the rustic outdoor patio are ideal, and include a self-guided vineyard tour. You can also join an official tour, which includes the barrel cellar. Even better, stay the night in one of the estate’s four guest rooms. Croteaux Vineyards produces only Rosé; its flower- and greenery-filled tasting barn, peppered with umbrella-topped tables, contributes to the sense that you’re in the south of France. Raphael and Bedell Cellars are also standouts for their rustic chic ambience and excellent wine. 960 1280

AlisonPerryPhotography  

What to Do

What to Do

You could easily spend the entire weekend visiting wineries, but it's not the only option. Rent bikes from Dan’s Bike Rental, either to pedal to wineries or around Greenport. A number of wineries also hold yoga classes in their vineyards during the warmer months. There's no shortage of farms, and Harbes Family Farm is one of the largest with three locations. The main location in Mattituck offers 10 acres with horses, sheep, chickens, rabbits and more. It also features two corn mazes, hayrides, and a tasting room for adults.

Orient Beach State Park is located at the very end of the North Fork, and is just a 15-minute drive from Greenport. The beach is long enough so that it never feels crowded; in fact, if you visit during an off-peak time, you might have much of it to yourself. Either way, hiking paths lead to such finds as mussel beds or giant osprey nests in trees, while kayak rental is available from Eagle’s Neck Paddling Company. On the way back, stop by Lavender By the Bay to stock up on lavender supplies. Walk through the lavender fields when they’re in bloom (usually between early summer and fall) for an $8 entry fee.

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ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / Staff  

Shelter Island

Shelter Island

The North Ferry to Shelter Island is conveniently located next to the Long Island Rail Road, and the trip takes five minutes. Shelter Island is a worthwhile excursion; if the North Fork feels like a serene getaway, the island is even more so. Exploring it requires a car, unless you’re in good enough shape to bike hills and longer distances. Grab lunch at SALT Waterfront Bar & Grill next to a marina and chow down on steamed mussels and lobster rolls. Afterward, make your way over to Sunset Beach and head upstairs to the bar to enjoy sunset views over the water.

Back in Greenport, make time to pop into its dozens of boutiques and antique stores that line Front and Main streets. Verbena sells eclectic gifts, while Bealle & Bell is a go-to among industry insiders for its antique treasure trove; Thursdays are the best bet to score new weekly finds.

Nightlife is low-key, but many wineries provide live music in the evenings. You can also find live music in Greenport at Claudio’s Clam BarFirst & South and on Greenport’s waterfront.

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iShootPhotosLLC  

Where to Eat

Where to Eat

Shabby chic Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck is a beloved breakfast and brunch spot; you can’t go wrong with the French toast or a lobster roll. The North Fork Table & Inn, a ten-minute drive from Greenport in Southold, serves destination-worthy farm-to-table fare in an upscale farmhouse setting. Options for lunch or dinner might include tuna sashimi or handmade ricotta cavatelli. Desserts tend to be artistic takes on savory dishes, such as a tapioca pudding resembling sunny side up eggs. If you can’t score a reservation, look for The North Fork Food Truck in the parking lot and order the lobster roll at least once. A side of North Fork Potato Chips are obligatory.

In Greenport, The Salamander General Store serves some of the best fried chicken around. Place your order an hour ahead of time, then bring your feast to the waterfront for a lunchtime picnic. For dinner, Noah’s is acclaimed for its seafood and small plates, and provides an interesting selection of local wines. The Frisky Oyster is another upscale option for dinner, and yes, oysters are a highlight. For more casual dining, Claudio's Clam Bar is an open-air dining spot right on the water, and the perfect spot for enjoying fresh seafood and local wine.

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4kodiak  

Where to Stay

Where to Stay

If you’re coming by public transportation, the Greenporter Hotel is just across the street from the Long Island Rail Road and within walking distance of town. The eco-friendly hotel is quiet, comfortable and even has an outdoor pool. The Harberfront Inn is also situated in Greenport. Its simple but luxurious rooms offer a clear view of Peconic Bay, and amenities include a heated in-ground pool. Further out, The Blue Inn at North Forkis a good value and neighbors Lavendar By the Bay. Rooms include a kitchenette, there’s an outdoor pool, and breakfast is included. 960 1280

Alice_yeo  

When to Go

When to Go

The best time to visit is between Memorial Day and harvest season in the fall. 960 1280

Leonsbox  

Getting There and Around

Getting There and Around

The North Fork is about two hours by car, or three hours via the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station to Greenport. The Hampton Jitney, an upscale bus service that stops in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, is another popular option, and also stops in Greenport next to the Long Island Rail Road station. 

If you didn’t drive out, consider renting a car in Greenport, or arrange for a bike rental. A handful of wineries are within easy biking distance. Many restaurants and businesses are also within easy walking distance if you’re staying in town.
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Kontokosta Winery  

Stratton Mountain, VT
Ski Getaway

Ski Getaway

Stratton Mountain Resort resides in the heart of the Green Mountains, and claims the tallest peak in Southern Vermont at 3,875 ft. The resort might be overshadowed by nearby Killington, yet it offers many of the same benefits without the difficult terrain. As an added bonus, the self-contained ski village means you don’t have to leave the mountain  — unless you really want to. 960 1280

Hubert Schriebl / Stratton Mountain Resort  

Where to Ski

Where to Ski

Stratton offers 97 trails across almost 700 acres of skiable terrain, with the longest trail measuring three miles. Many trails are geared toward beginners (there’s even a magic carpet for novices), however, double black diamond trails exist for the advanced set. In fact, free guided tours of the mountain are available to those who are intermediate and advanced.

A gondola and 11 lifts help keep crowds moving, while snow machines supplement lighter snow fall days. Stratton also offers private and group lessons for all ages and all levels, and even holds multi-day, women-only ski and snowboard camps. 
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Hubert Schriebl / Stratton Mountain Resort  

Other Snow Adventures

Other Snow Adventures

The ski- and snowboard-averse can beeline to the Sun Bowl Activity Center for cross-country skiing, nighttime snowshoe hikes or even dog sledding. There’s also a snow tube park complete with four lanes, lift service and a fire pit. Other resort activities include ice skating, yoga, and a fitness center with a saltwater pool, hot tub and sauna.   960 1280

Hubert Schriebl / Stratton Mountain Resort  

Best Shopping

Best Shopping

When you've had your fill of wintry activities, Stratton Village offers more than 10 ski shops to choose from, including fashion-forward LoleThe Boot Lab will help you find properly fitting boots, or even adjust your current ones. Skiers and non-skiers alike can seek refuge at the Day Spa at Stratton Village, which provides everything from facials to hot stone massages. 960 1280

Hubert Schriebl / Stratton Mountain Resort  

Where to Drink

Where to Drink

Nightlife on the mountain is low-key and centers around Grizzly’s bar, which hosts live music as part of its Winter Concert Series.  960 1280

Hubert Schriebl / Stratton Mountain Resort  

Where to Stay

Where to Stay

There are dozens of options, both onsite and offsite, including lodges, condos and home rentals. Black Bear Lodge is a good family-friendly option, since kids under 12 can ski and stay for free. Long Trail House is an affordable condo option near the slopes featuring gas fireplaces, a pool and sauna on the property. Splurge on Founders Lodge (pictured) or Hearthstone, condo properties about a 10-minute walk from the lifts in The Village Commons section. Besides proximity to the ice skating rink, both offer heated parking, saunas and fireplaces; Founders also comes equipped with an in-condo washer and dryer. 960 1280

Hubert Schriebl / Stratton Mountain Resort  

Outside the Slopes

Outside the Slopes

Technically offsite, though conveniently located just a short walk to the gondola, YogaBnB (pictured) is both comfortable and affordable. As the name implies, yoga classes are included in the room rate and are held three times a week in an airy, wood-paneled yoga studio. Breakfast is also part of your stay. Stone Boat Farm Bed and Breakfast is another convenient option less than a 10-minute ride away. The charming property resides on 40 acres and is home to three alpacas. Its five rooms overlook a babbling brook, and every morning a full, hot breakfast spread awaits you in a separate dining cottage. 960 1280

YogaBnB  

Where to Eat

Where to Eat

Stratton Mountain offers upwards of 20 dining options, from pizza to sushi, and many incorporate locally sourced ingredients where possible. For example, Vermont Grilled Cheese makes sandwiches with cheese from local Cabot Creamery. For other quick bite options, Stratton Mountain Deli serves up breakfast egg sandwiches, burritos and hot chocolate. It also offers a small grocery section, and is a good spot to pick up souvenirs such as Vermont maple syrup. Fire Tower Restaurant & Tavern is a popular spot for casual fare, with a small menu featuring tempura-style shrimp and margherita flatbread. It also provides a strong selection of local craft beers. For upscale dining, Verde Restaurant earns high marks for its mussels and homemade breads.  

If you have a car, off-mountain options abound a half-hour away in Manchester and surrounding towns. The Silver Fork excels at New American; its dining room is small, so reservations are a must. Adventurous foodies should try The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern. It describes its approach as freestyle, and has been experimenting with a new menu every weekend. For a romantic meal, The Chantecleer Restaurant specializes in seafood and French fare.   

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FrankvandenBergh  

When to Go

When to Go

While Stratton is a ski resort first and foremost, it also offers year-round activities. Warm weather fun includes, but isn’t limited to, hiking, biking, kayaking, tennis and golf.   960 1280

Hubert Schriebl / Stratton Mountain Resort  

Getting There

Getting There

It takes about four hours from NYC without traffic. The Stratton Jitney is a great option for those without a car and leaves from Manhattan. The service is new as of January 2016 and offered through March 27 from the ever-popular Hampton Jitney. 960 1280

BeachcottagePhotography  

Step Back in Time

Step Back in Time

Newport is located just off the coast of Rhode Island on Aquidneck Island. This seaside village has been a popular tourist destination since the early 19th century, but it's become best known for its Gilded Age mansions, summer homes that were built by some of the country’s wealthiest families (Astor, Vanderbilt) in the late 19th century. The Preservation Society of Newport County maintains 10 of the properties, and eight are within walking distance along Bellevue Avenue. Both guided and self-guided tours of the mansions are available. 960 1280

Onne van der Wal  

Must-See: The Breakers

Must-See: The Breakers

The Breakers is the most famous of the Newport mansions due to its sheer grandiosity. Railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt II modeled the 70-room estate after a 16th century Italian palace, and the opulent interior, which is literally covered in gilt, is the very definition of gilded. A self-guided audio tour allows you to explore at leisure, while providing first-person narratives from the manse’s inhabitants. 960 1280

John Greim / Getty Images  

Must-See: Marble House

Must-See: Marble House

Marble House is another testament of the Vanderbilt’s wealth, and though not the largest, it set the precedent for all the society homes that followed. True to its name, it contains $7 million worth of marble; it's also a classic example of Beaux Arts architecture that was favored by the French. 960 1280

John Corbett  

Must-See: The Elms

Must-See: The Elms

The Elms (pictured) was also inspired by a French chateau, and though more “modest” in size than some of its neighbors, its art collection rivals many a museum. The Servant Life Tour is unique to The Elms, and includes tales from the butler and a maid while exploring everything from the basement kitchens to the servants’ quarters on the third floor—which entails climbing a cardio-worthy 82 steps.

If parts of Rosecliff look familiar, it might be because it’s been featured in major films such as "The Great Gatsby." Silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs loved to entertain, and as a result Rosecliff boasts the largest ballroom of the Newport estates.
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Gavin Ashworth  

Must-See: Rough Point

Must-See: Rough Point

Sprawling Rough Point is famous for being the summer home of billionaire tobacco heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke, whose extreme wealth and unconventional lifestyle drew media attention her entire life. The 115-room residence has remained the same since her death, filled with an impressive art collection and surrounded by formal gardens. Unlike the other estates along Bellevue Avenue, Rough Point was modeled after an English manor; it was also the site of Duke’s debutante ball.

Chateau-sur-Mer was the first on the Newport society scene, and the site of many a grand party. Its Victorian decor is markedly toned down compared to later arrivals, but rest assured its dark wood paneling and hand-painted murals are by no means boring.

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Newport Restoration Foundation  

Must-Do: Newport Cliff Walk

Must-Do: Newport Cliff Walk

Beyond touring the mansions, the 3.5-mile-long Newport Cliff Walk meanders along the shore line, and provides unparalleled views of both the ocean and the stately grand dames holding court along Bellevue. 960 1280

Joe Sohm / Getty Images  

Best Shopping

Best Shopping

Downtown, Thames Street is just a block from the waterfront, and the mile-long strip (along with the surrounding area), is the main destination for shopping and restaurants. Expect to find an assorted mix of independents stores and chains.

Bowen’s Wharf and Bannister’s Wharf are also popular destinations for shopping and dining downtown.
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iStock  

Where to Eat

Where to Eat

Dozens of good options exist: Corner Café is a popular spot for breakfast and brunch among locals and tourists alike; just be prepared for a wait. The Clarke Cooke House is located in a historic Colonial home, and is considered a must stop for notables passing through. Work off dinner by dancing at the downstairs Boom Boom Room.

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar has been a Newport mainstay for 25 years. This upscale waterfront eatery is where to splurge on Maine lobster, or oysters washed down with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Smoke House is only open during peak tourist season from May to October, but its offerings—from baby back ribs to corn and crab chowder—are the best of both the barbeque and New England worlds.
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Erin McGinn  

Where to Stay

Where to Stay

The only thing harder than deciding where to eat is deciding where to stay. Channel the Gilded Age at Castle Hill Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property. Its lodging options range from a luxurious room in a 19th-century Victorian mansion, to cottages and houses on a private beach, to a separate property overlooking the harbor. On-site dining and spa services complete the relaxation trifecta.

Boutique hotel Gilded is a quirky take on the era and a must for lovers of architecture and design, from furniture in bold colors and shapes to wallpaper and accents that beg for your attention. Breakfast is included and might involve homemade baked goods such as cheddar-scallion scones or small plates with melon balls and cucumbers. The Vanderbilt Grace boutique hotel resides in a historic mansion, and yes, it was built by a Vanderbilt. It's near the attractions on Thames, and counts two restaurants, two pools and a spa.

The suite-only Mill Street Inn is ideal for families, and located in a 19th-century mill that’s been designated a National Historic Landmark. Or stay right on Thames in The Francis Malbone House, the former residence of shipping magnate Colonel Francis Malbone. The decor channels an earlier era, and provides the proper setting for an afternoon tea of homemade macaroons, cookies and more.

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Discover Newport  

Getting There and Around

Getting There and Around

Newport's peak season occurs between Memorial and Labor Day. However, the holidays are also a great time to visit, since The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House are decked out in their Christmas finery.

A car is your best bet both for getting there and around, and the trip from N.Y.C. can be done in less than four hours without traffic.
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iStock  

LA Escapes

Arrive, Palm Springs, California
The New Palm Springs

The New Palm Springs

Thanks to Coachella, new developments and a couple of recent celebrity moves, the desert town is distancing itself from its dated, retiree reputation and reemerging as a hip, mid-mod mecca with Vegas-style pool parties and nightlife a la Miami. 960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Where to Stay: Arrive

Where to Stay: Arrive

The newest hotel to Palm Springs, this resort was backed by former Facebook employees and has tech-forward features like texting for reservations or room service. Yes, you can text a pizza to your room and have it waiting for you after a night of clubbing. Genius.  960 1280

Jaime Kowal  

Where to Stay: Alcazar

Where to Stay: Alcazar

If you love design, you'll love the boutique rooms with custom art in this Spanish-style inn. Breakfast is also complimentary.  960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Where to Stay: Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Where to Stay: Ace Hotel & Swim Club

This is the hotel of your boho-chic dreams. The resort has two pools and a vintage photo booth plus rooms are outfitted with funky decor and record players.  960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Must-Do: Moorten's Botanical Garden

Must-Do: Moorten's Botanical Garden

The all-cactus garden is an Instgram gold mine. Obsess over succulents from all over the world for just five bucks. 960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Cactus to Clouds

Cactus to Clouds

Yes, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is touristy but it's the largest rotating tramway in the world and the view is well worth it. 960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Mid-Mod Dreams

Mid-Mod Dreams

If you love mid-century modern architecture, get ready to geek out over the colorful examples throughout the city. You can even book a tour to see the most iconic buildings, like the Saguaro Palm Springs, another popular hotel for its pool parties and tequila/taco bar.  960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Where to Eat and Drink

Where to Eat and Drink

With so much time in the hot desert sun, you'll want to stay hydrated and fuel up. Brunch at Cheeky's is a rite of passage, Birba is great for pizza and old-school cocktails, and stay healthy with fresh juices and organic fare at Chi Chi.  960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Tiki Bars

Tiki Bars

Don't miss the creative cocktails at Bootlegger Tiki, a "Tikieasy" in the original Don the Beachbomber restaurant. Another great Tiki stop is Tonga Hunt. Enter through the secret door in the phone booth! 960 1280

Jaime Kowal  

Nightlife

Nightlife

Huge dance parties at Zelda's Nightclub are perfect for bachelorette parties. If DJ sets aren't your vibe, The Hood Bar keeps the Coachella spirit alive all year with rotating local and national bands. And the hipster Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club offers everything from comedy shows to indie arts and crafts sessions. The hotel's patio, with giant fires and bistro lights, is the perfect place for one last drink before crashing. 960 1280

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism  

Old Mission Santa Barbara
Where to Stay

Where to Stay

Described as encompassing Spanish Colonial warmth, old Hollywood glamour and new California dreaming, the Bacara Resort & Spa is the height of luxury for a weekend in Santa Barbara. Every one of the 311 rooms and 49 specialty suites are intimate and relaxing, featuring their own private patio or balcony.

The resort resembles an intimate Mediterranean village, embracing 78 beachfront acres between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains. The understated elegance is present in every room and at the resort's spa and 3 restaurants.

Another great option is The Simpson House Inn, an 1874 historic landmark decorated to Victorian perfection. French doors open to manicured gardens, and quaint cottages dot the beautiful grounds. While the rooms have everything your heart could possibly desire, the Inn's most impressive features are its extras: the gourmet Mediterranean hors d'oeuvres and Santa Barbara wines served each afternoon, the enormous video library and the full gourmet breakfast (delivered on delicate china).

Take a tour of The Simpson House Inn's gardens, and see why guests fall in love with this unique Santa Barbara bed and breakfast.

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Jim Bartsch  

Budget Stay

Budget Stay

If you're looking to experience Santa Barbara's splendor, but don't want to break the bank, book a room at the Days Inn. The hotel is only a block from Yacht Harbor and walking distance from some great dining options. Walk to Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant and The Brewhouse, but better yet, walk directly across the street to the beach. 960 1280

Mark Weber  

Where to Eat and Drink

Where to Eat and Drink

The Brewhouse is a quintessential California hangout: outdoor dining, views of the water, dinner and drink specials, fresh music and a relaxed vibe. And to state the obvious, great beer brewed on the premises is served daily; try the dark Harry Porter or the Condor Pilsner.

Brophy Bros., overlooking the harbor, is a locals' favorite and home to fresh California cuisine. Two things not to be missed at Brophy's are the clam chowder and the opportunity to make new friends at the long communal table. The fresh-fish menu changes daily, the mark of a great seafood restaurant.

One of Santa Barbara's most romantic restaurants is Stella Mare's. The traditional French cuisine is served for brunch, lunch and dinner, complemented by French and American wines. Overlooking the Bird Refuge, a 42-acre saltwater wildlife refuge, the beautiful old house and greenhouse are the perfect place to bring a loved one while staying in Santa Barbara.

For the best authentic tacos in Santa Barbara, head to this humble street-corner shack. Endorsed by Julia Child, you won't mind waiting on line for fresh ingredients that are spiced to perfection. Always check the daily specials first and ask for extra tortillas no matter what you decide to order.

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Brophy Bros Clamhouse  

What to See: Old Mission Santa Barbara

What to See: Old Mission Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Mission was founded on December 4, 1786, the tenth of 21 California missions founded by the Spanish Franciscans. From its hilltop lookout, you can view Santa Barbara below and the Channel Islands beyond. Tour the beautiful church, historic cemetery and mausoleum, and 10 acres of gorgeously landscaped gardens from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Self-guided tour brochures are also available at the Mission's gift shop in 8 different languages. 960 1280

Mark Weber  

What to Do: Santa Barbara Zoo

What to Do: Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is a perfect afternoon activity. All 700 animals can be seen within 30 minutes at this pint-sized park, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas. Enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the Pacific after your visit with the animals.
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Ron Berg / Visit Santa Barbara  

Ganna Walska Lotusland

Ganna Walska Lotusland

Another picturesque setting for a beautiful afternoon in Santa Barbara is the Ganna Walska Lotusland, a lavishly landscaped 37-acre estate brimming with exotic flora and romantic garden paths. Named after its late owner, the eccentric Madame Walska, the garden contains priceless rare and beautiful specimens acquired during the lax import regulations of the 1940s. Wander the ethereal walkways and feel as though you've entered another time, but advanced reservations are required to tour these grounds. 960 1280

Mark Weber  

After Dark

After Dark

After watching a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean, head to any number of places for nighttime fun. The Boathouse at Hendry's Beach is a relaxed atmosphere perfect for watching the sunset and then sipping cocktails around the fire pit.

For a lounge atmosphere with great dancing, head to Eos Lounge located near State Street. Combining the vibes of casual elegance, contemporary cocktail lounge and nightclub, Eos is a great place to experience the culture and style of Santa Barbara.

To combine your dinner with some great theater, head to The Lobero whose calendar of events features performances like the Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Capital Steps, Damn Yankees and an evening with Lily Tomlin. It's conveniently located in downtown Santa Barbara and is the perfect Friday night activity.

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steeven petitteville  

Travel Channel Insider's Tip

Travel Channel Insider's Tip

Santa Barbara's wine country is still largely undiscovered, however it's quickly garnering international respect. Travel the vineyards located about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara for sophisticated and spectacular wines. The best part? Chances are you'll have personalized attention at these small vineyards. You can also take a self-guided tour of those wineries featured in the 2004 Academy Award winner, "Sideways." 960 1280

Jay Sinclair  

Chicago Escapes

Indiana Dunes
Pristine Beaches Just an Hour Away

Pristine Beaches Just an Hour Away

Just an hour drive from Chicago, the Indiana Dunes is the perfect spot to escape the busy city and unwind, surrounded by stunning beaches and forest. And don't worry about a crowded beach town with tons of traffic. The dunes are protected inside the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and state park. 960 1280

Christine Livingston / Indiana Dunes Tourism  

Natural Wonders

Natural Wonders

The dunes were formed by glaciers long ago and the massive mounds of sand can reach up to 200 feet tall. 960 1280

Christine Livingston / Indiana Dunes Tourism  

Surreal Hiking

Surreal Hiking

The 2,000-acre state park has more than just beaches. The park features 70 miles of tranquil trails through forests and praires. Some trails feature boardwalks that meander through the forest and eventually emerge at the shore. 960 1280

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Stay on the Dunes

Stay on the Dunes

Most beaches have tons of signs warning you to stay off the dunes. Here, runners and hikers can climb the dunes in the state park's "3 Dunes Challenge." The 1.5 mile trail features the three tallest dunes with 552 vertical feet to climb. If you make it, the view is incredible. And you get to call yourself a "dune conqueror." 960 1280

Christine Livingston / Indiana Dunes Tourism  

Beautiful Beach Stones

Beautiful Beach Stones

Shell hunters may not have the best luck on the national lakeshore, but those who take back a rock from every trip will love combing through the multi-colored beach pebbles. 960 1280

Kenneth Keifer  

Where to Eat and Drink

Where to Eat and Drink

After a day in the sun, head to Chesterton, Indiana, the nearest town to the dunes. Try more than 15 local brews on tap at the Craft House and get a burger at Octave Grill. 960 1280

Maksymowicz  

Can't-Miss Instagram

Can't-Miss Instagram

Camp out and wait for the sunset at the East Pierhead Lighthouse in Michigan City, Indiana. You won't regret it. 960 1280

Danita Delimont  

Where to Stay

Where to Stay

Short of camping in the park, the closest hotel to the dunes is DunesWalk Inn, a historic mansion turned B&B.

The summer season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, is the most popular but, if you don't care to sun bathe, late spring is great for hiking, too, and you can find lower rates at hotels.

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Christine Livingston / Indiana Dunes Tourism  

Beach in Fall, Michigan
Charming Beach Life

Charming Beach Life

Less than a three hour drive from Chicago, Grand Haven, Michigan offers an escape from city life with picture-perfect Lake Michigan shores and a relaxed, Americana vibe. 960 1280

Bob Peskorse / Grand Haven Visitors Bureau  

Skip the Car

Skip the Car

There are more than 100 miles of bike paths around the Grand Haven area, winding around the beach, main streets, lakes, rivers and the dunes. Slow down and enjoy the beach town on two wheels. 960 1280

Ed Post / Grand Haven Visitors Bureau  

Must-Hike Trails

Must-Hike Trails

Love long walks on the beach? Try the lakeshore trail that connects Grand Haven to Holland, Michigan. You can stop at Kirk Park and beautiful Olive Shores along the way. Need some shade? The Rosy Mound Natural Area has a popular shaded canopy boardwalk around the dunes. Just be prepared to hike 1,000 feet of stairs up and down the dunes! 960 1280

Bob Peskorse / Grand Haven Visitors Bureau  

Where to Eat

Where to Eat

Locals know that no visit to the beach is complete without a stop at the Pronto Pups stand. The corndog franchise has been a Michigan staple for more than 60 years. 960 1280

Stefanie Herder / Grand Haven Visitors Bureau  

Where to Drink

Where to Drink

Cider lovers will love craft selections at Vander Mill. For beer, Odd Side Ales is a funky craft brewery with selections like Pineapple IPA and Mayan Mocha Stout. 960 1280

Stefanie Herder / Grand Haven Visitors Bureau  

Must-Instagram

Must-Instagram

Even if you visit the Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier during the day, come back for the postcard-worthy sunset. It's worth the wait.  960 1280

Masphotomi.com / Grand Haven Visitors Bureau  

When to Go

When to Go

The summer season is the best time to visit Grand Haven, but if you can, come the first weekend in August for the Coast Guard Festival. Grand Haven, nicknamed the Coast Guard City, celebrates the oldest sea branch of the military with a parade, fireworks show and craft fair. 960 1280

Ed Post / Grand Haven Visitors Bureau  

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