Travel's Best for 2014

Luxury hostels, Cuba, local brew pubs and the Jersey Shore – they’re all reasons to pack your bags in 2014. See what hot destinations and travel trends are our favorites for 2014.

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Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark, Orlando

Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark, Orlando

Ihu's Breakaway Falls at SeaWorld's Aquatica is billed as the tallest and steepest waterslide in Orlando, sending thrill-seekers 40 feet straight down before they twist and turn their way through the colorful slides. Race headfirst against 7 other guests on Taumata Racer, a high-speed racing slide, or wind down at the park’s lazy river. The popular wave pool and the splash fortress with a 500-gallon dumping water bucket will please even the smallest park guests. 960 1280

SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando  

Carowinds, Charlotte, NC

Carowinds, Charlotte, NC

Standing 325 feet high, the new Fury 325 roller coaster at Carowinds is among the 5 tallest coasters in the world. Taller than the Statue of Liberty (305 feet), it sends riders racing up, down and around turns at 95 miles per hour. If you want even more heart-pumping action, Carowinds has 9 other roller coasters that offer drops, loops, turns and spins — both forward and backward. 960 1280

Carowinds  

Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

2015 marks the 60th anniversary of “the happiest place on Earth.” Disneyland will have its Diamond Celebration with a spectacular new nighttime parade and fireworks show. Along with mainstay attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which was upgraded last year), they will deftly stir emotions with eye-popping technology and huge doses of nostalgia, where the Mouse House excels. 960 1280

Disney  

Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA

Knoebels Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA

Plan to stay all day at Knoebels Amusement Resort, which is about 2 1/2 hours outside Philadelphia. Admission is free, and guests pay per ride. The newest attraction to grace the amusement park, Impulse, is a hair-raising roller coaster with a 90-degree vertical drop. There are also historic rides such as the 1948 classic wooden roller coaster Phoenix and a brass ring carousel, which is a rare find in the United States. And if you like camping, Knoebels features one of the largest campgrounds at any traditional amusement park. 960 1280

Joel Styer/Knoebels  

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA

For small-town charm and fantastic roller coasters, pay a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm (and save $25 per ticket if you purchase online in advance). This year, Voyage to the Iron Reef, a new 4-D interactive experience, has riders battle against the Queen of the Kraken and her army to save the park’s iconic attractions before they become scrap metal. Knott’s other thrills include the speedy Montezooma’s Revenge and the looping Boomerang, as well as various offerings for small screamers and kids just getting started on coasters. 960 1280

Knott’s Berry Farm  

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX

Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX

Stuffed to the gills with water fun, Schlitterbahn is an enormous, unique and innovative water park. Among its notable attractions are 2 of the world's firsts: the wavemaking Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride and the Master Blaster uphill water coaster, which sends passengers racing in the dark for a face-to-face encounter with a dragon. Thanks to the industry pioneers behind the circa-1979 Texas landmark, both attractions have become staples at many other parks. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts  

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles

For a twisted new ride this summer, hop on the Twisted Colossus. According to Six Flags Magic Mountain, it has 5,000 feet of wood and steel track, making it the longest and most innovative hybrid coaster in the world. But Trip Flip host Bert Kreischer’s favorite ride in the world is Magic Mountain’s Superman: Escape From Krypton. “I spent the entire summer shooting a series for Travel Channel at this park, and every single day at sunset, the entire crew and I would meet at the 415-foot tower for 1 last ride before the park closed,” he says. 960 1280

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images  

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta

Six Flags White Water, Atlanta

Six Flags White Water offers fun for all ages, with rapids, twisters, free falls and tube rides, plus 3 kid-friendly zones — Captain Kid’s Cove, Lilypad Crossing and Tree House Island — with the oh-so-fun water-dumping buckets and splash play areas. This summer, the park is unleashing Dive Bomber, which drops brave riders through a trapdoor for a zero-gravity, 10-story, heart-stopping fall. If guests prefer more chill than thrill, White Water offers cabanas for families to relax and escape from the sun. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Splashin’ Safari Water Park, Santa Claus, IN

Splashin’ Safari Water Park, Santa Claus, IN

After taking a ride on the new $22 million Thunderbird roller coaster, cool down at Splashin’ Safari Water Park, part of the Holiday World theme park. Splashin’ Safari features 2 of the largest hydromagnetic water coasters in the world — the Mammoth and the Wildebeest, which are consistently ranked among the best water-park rides in the country. There’s also a variety of fun family attractions, including Monsoon Lagoon, the Bahari Wave Pool and Hyena Falls. Other great guest perks include free parking, soda, Wi-Fi and sunscreen. There’s never a dull — or dry! — moment at Splashin' Safari. 960 1280

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari  

Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii, Kapolei, HI

Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii, Kapolei, HI

A trip to Oahu must always be accompanied by a visit to what might be one of the best water parks in the country, Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii. The new Waimea Whirl, set to open this summer, is among several water thrills packed into the 29-acre park, which competes with some of the world’s best beaches. Shaka — a favorite ride of Bert Kreischer, host of Travel Channel’s Trip Flip and Bert the Conqueror — has a 2-person inner tube plummeting down more than 4 stories, and the ride doesn’t end until gravity and inertia are done with you. 960 1280

Wet ’N’ Wild Hawaii  

GoPro HERO3+, $399.99

GoPro HERO3+, $399.99

"Record your wildest travel adventures this year with the waterproof action camera that can take a beating while still producing stunning HD video and 12mp photos. GoPro's newest model is smaller, lighter, and sharper than ever before with impressive low light performance." -- Matthew Karsten, ExpertVagabond.com 960 1280

GoPro  

One Love Organics Deluxe Travel Kit, $67

One Love Organics Deluxe Travel Kit, $67

"Keeping your skin clear, hydrated, and healthy goes a long way towards helping you look and feel your best. But when we travel, a skincare regimen is often the first thing that falls by the wayside, a victim of TSA restrictions or a desire to pack lightly. Enter this handy travel set from cult beauty brand One Love Organics. Each product does double- (or even triple-) duty, from a face/hair/body wash to a balm that cleanses and moisturizes." -- Holly E. Thomas, DC Editor for Refinery29 960 1280

Eco Diva Beauty  

Electronic Cord Zip Pouch, $149

Electronic Cord Zip Pouch, $149

"This cord pouch is the perfect gift for a frequent traveler. A rather new product to the market, so there's a good chance they won't have one yet. Any time I'm traveling I'm always trying to find the perfect option for all of those pesky cords I have to bring along with me — Macbook, iPad, iPhone, my camera — why must they all have different chargers!?! The black leather one from Coach is thoughtful and chic." -- Meg Biram, lifestyle blogger at MegBiram.com 960 1280

coach.com  

Hennessy Hammock, from $99.95

Hennessy Hammock, from $99.95

"Hammock camping is the wave of the future. A quality hammock like the Hennessy is more comfortable than sleeping on the ground, lighter to pack, and super fast to set up. You can explore remote corners of the globe and always have a dry & bug free place to sleep." -- Matthew Karsten, ExpertVagabond.com 960 1280

Hennessy Hammock  

Steph Tassel iPad Case, $268

Steph Tassel iPad Case, $268

"Ensure your gadgets are always as glamorous as you are with this exotic, jaguar-print iPad case. Your prized piece of technology will be protected as it goes through airport security in this luxe, calf-hair case designed by Mumbai-based Simone Camille." -- Alisa Ng, Founder of ShopLatitude.com  960 1280

Latitude  

Travel Fragrance, $84

Travel Fragrance, $84

"This perfume was made for traveling. The bottle is made so it won't leak or break because the glass is housed in the black aluminum exterior. You simply twist it up to expose the sprayer, and twist it back down when you are putting it back in your bag. Not only does it abide by airport regulations, but the scents are like nothing you've smelled before. All based on a city in the U.S. — the complex scents will have everyone asking you what it is." -- Meg Biram, lifestyle blogger at MegBiram.com 960 1280

Meg Biram  

Apex HD + WiFi Video Snow Goggles, $400

Apex HD + WiFi Video Snow Goggles, $400

"You see, I am a slightly below average skier -- at best! And as self-deprecating as I am, I can’t imagine anything better than sharing the POV horror of my skiing with friends and relatives with these Apex HD + WiFi Video Snow Goggles. I can only imagine the enjoyment and laughter they’ll  all get from this wonderful gift capturing all my pain." -- Rob Pralgo, Host of Travel Channel's Gear Guide 960 1280

Liquid Image Co  

Dezso Pouch, $70

Dezso Pouch, $70

"Where ever you go, take the beach with you with this canvas pouch by Mexican designer Sara Beltran. Featuring a black-and-white photo of Tulum, Mexico, this well-sized pouch holds vacation must-haves and can double as a clutch on a night out on the town. It's the chicest choice for toting a day’s essentials in perfect style!" -- Alisa Ng, Founder of ShopLatitude.com  960 1280

Latitude  

The Resort at Paws Up, nightly rates from $885

The Resort at Paws Up, nightly rates from $885

“Give an unforgettable glamping experience at Paws Up in Greenough, MT. Guests can go fly fishing, horseback riding and hot air ballooning before hitting the spa tent for a massage and retiring to their tent (with heated floors and electricity). Wilderness lovers and those who don't consider a vacation a vacation without certain creature comforts (think: gourmet meals), will both be pleased.” – Sara Gilliam, Senior Interactive Producer at Travel Channel  960 1280

The Resort at Paws Up  

Gift of Travel Sweepstakes

Gift of Travel Sweepstakes

What’s this snowy scene got to do with Puerto Rico? Everything! Enter our Gift of Travel Sweepstakes, and snag a grand prize of $10,000 cash. Just what could you do with a cool 10 grand while on vacation in Puerto Rico? Click on to find out! 960 1280

Travel Channel  

Artifact Uprising Coffee-Table Book, starting at $17.99

Artifact Uprising Coffee-Table Book, starting at $17.99

"The ultimate coffee-table tome, however? Showing off your own adventure,” says Senior Producer Sara Gilliam. Artifact Uprising makes it easy to turn personal photos from your latest trip, or series of trips, into a one-of-a-kind hardcover keepsake for a loved one. 960 1280

Artifact Uprising LLC  

Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, $299.95

Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, $299.95

"If you haven’t bought a pair of Bose's noise-canceling headphones because they take up too much space, look into its QuietComfort 20i (or QC20) acoustic headphones," recommends travel expert Johnny Jet. 960 1280

Bose Corporation  

Brooklyn Candle Studio Travel Tins, starting at $14

Brooklyn Candle Studio Travel Tins, starting at $14

"Brooklyn Candle Studio's stylish, brushed-gold tins instantly cozy up any old hotel room and come in a variety of fruity, floral and woodsy scents, such as green tea lemongrass and sandalwood," says Sara Gilliam. 960 1280

Brooklyn Candle Studio  

Second Edition Red Playing Cards, $15

Second Edition Red Playing Cards, $15

Fathom co-founder Jeralyn Gerba says this stylish red set of cards is a conversation starter with new friends, a diversion during travel hiccups and, mixed with the right cocktail, pretty much all you need to have a party. 960 1280

Misc. Goods Co.  

Napa Valley Wine Train, starting at $109 per person

Napa Valley Wine Train, starting at $109 per person

"The Napa Valley Wine Train is not only a practical way to see California’s beautiful wine country (no designated driver required), but it’s also an experience in itself — the ride offers fine dining and panoramic views in the 2-story 1952 Pullman domed railcar," says Sara Gilliam. 960 1280

John Elk lll/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

The Satechi Travel Adapter, $21.99

The Satechi Travel Adapter, $21.99

"This device is the only travel converter you need to bring around the world — it juices gadgets in more than 150 countries with the 4 most common plug configurations," says Johnny Jet. 960 1280

Satechi  

Scottevest, starting at $70

Scottevest, starting at $70

“Any jacket or other article of clothing that has multiple hidden pockets and can act as a third carry-on, protect your valuables and still be stylish like Scottevest will always be on the top of my list,” says Johnny Jet. 960 1280

SCOTTeVEST, Inc.  

Selk Bag Patagon, $199

Selk Bag Patagon, $199

"I'm a big fan of comfortable and cozy, and this sleeping bag/onesie was both in spades," says Travel Channel Gear Guide host Rob Pralgo. "If I had a Selk Bag, I'd wear it 24/7." 960 1280

Selk’Bag  

Neoprene Zip Pouch, $75

Neoprene Zip Pouch, $75

"The neoprene fabric, big zipper and squishy shape mean the Summer Bummer toiletry bag is light and durable and water-resistant and can be tossed around — from boat to beach to ski slope and back into your carryall," says Jeralyn Gerba. 960 1280

Summer Bummer  

Rimowa Luggage, Starting at $525

Rimowa Luggage, Starting at $525

"Ask me for a suitcase that combines robust German engineering with space-age materials that basically rolls itself, and I will show you the best lightweight luggage money can buy," says Jeralyn Gerba of Rimowa luggage. 960 1280

Rimowa  

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