Category Archives: Destinations

5 More Reasons to Visit San Antonio This Summer

San Antonio, widely recognized as a top travel destination, is introducing even more reasons to bring the whole family to the Alamo City. Interactive world-class exhibits, close encounters with dolphins and giraffes, and a high-rise ride at a one-of-a-kind theme park are just a few of the new attractions visitors can find in San Antonio this summer.

In a city filled with new and tried-and-true attractions, highlighted below are just five of the new experiences visitors can have this summer in San Antonio:

  • Enjoy High-Flying Thrills: Six Flags Fiesta Texas‘ Fiesta Bay Boardwalk brings three new rides to the theme park. Guests will find themselves looping, spinning, and soaring as they experience the new high-adrenaline thrills on Fireball, featuring a massive 7-story looping frenzy; Hurricane Force 5, where riders take on the power of a storm and swirl round-and-round while soaring high into the air; and Spinsanity, the ultimate whirling adventure for daredevil riders.
  • Reveal the Hidden Worlds of the Maya: The story of one of the most sophisticated and powerful civilizations of all time is being told in the largest exhibition to be brought to a San Antonio museum in the city’s history. The Witte Museum‘s “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” is the first exhibition at the museums’ new Mays Family Center and brings together hundreds of authentic artifacts displayed in more than a half-dozen immersive and hands-on environments.
  • Ride on a One-of-a-Kind Ferris Wheel: Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first and largest theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment, unveils its new Whirling Wonder Ferris wheel this season. This five-and-a-half story ride along the shoreline of the park’s catch-and-release fishing lake can accommodate guests with and without special needs.
  • Swim with Dolphins: SeaWorld San Antonio‘s added attraction, Discovery Point, is the only interactive dolphin experience in the state of Texas. Discovery Point is the largest single capital investment in the park’s 27-year history, doubling the size of its former dolphin habitat. The attraction transports guests to a lush, tropical setting with opportunities to swim with the dolphins and also see them swim and play in a new way through a floor-to-ceiling, panoramic underwater viewing area.
  • Watch The Battle of the Alamo Come to Life: One of the most pivotal battles in American history comes to life through “Battle for Texas: The Experience,” a 22,000-square-foot “edutainment” adventure in the Shops at Rivercenter. This interactive experience features more than 250 never-before-seen Alamo artifacts and heart-racing multimedia re-enactments of the 13-day battle – allowing visitors to experience the Battle of the Alamo from the perspectives of the mission’s defenders and the Mexican army.

Find your perfect hotel in San Antonio!

Along with these fun, family friendly attractions, visitors can plan their trip to enjoy San Antonio’s numerous summer events, including the events below.

JUNE

  • Now – July 10: Storybook Houses – San Antonio Botanical Garden
  • Now – August 13: (Friday and Saturday Nights): Fiesta Noche Del Rio – Arneson River Theatre
  • Now – September 5: Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed – Witte Museum
  • Now – September 11: Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861 – 2008 – McNay Art Museum
  • 3 – 6: Summer Art & Jazz Festival – Crockett Park
  • 4 – September 5: Mathletics – The DoSeum
  • 7 – July 26 (Tuesdays): Movies by Moonlight – Travis Park
  • 11 – September 4: Highest Heaven – San Antonio Museum of Art
  • 10 – 12: Texas Folklife Festival – Institute of Texan Cultures
  • 11 – August 14: Summer Nights – SeaWorld San Antonio

JULY

  • 1 – 4: Fourth of July Artisan River Walk Boutique – River Walk
  • 2 – 4: Coca-Cola® July 4th Fest – Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  • 2 – 4: Independence Day at SeaWorld – SeaWorld San Antonio
  • 2: “Pride Bigger Than Texas” Pride Parade and Festival – Crockett Park
  • 3: Independence Day Celebration – Traders Village
  • 4: The Official City of San Antonio July Fourth Celebration – Woodlawn Lake Park
  • 8 – 29: Balcones Heights Jazz Festival Concert Series – Wonderland of Americas

AUGUST

  • 6 – 7: Dog Days of Summer – San Antonio Botanical Garden
  • 13 – 27: San Antonio Restaurant Week – Various restaurants

For more information on San Antonio‘s summer attractions and events, visit www.visitsanantonio.com.


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Top 5 Spring Break Destinations

Where are we going on Spring Break in 2016?

After a long winter, Spring Break couldn’t come soon enough for many of us. Google has determined the top Spring Break destinations based on searches related to Spring Break travel. Here are the top 5 destinations where US travelers may be headed this year.

Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida | I-10 Exit Guide
Gulf of Mexico view from Panama City Beach – Panama City, Florida

Panama City Beach is a city in Bay County, Florida, United States, on the Gulf of Mexico coast. The city is often referred to under the umbrella term of “Panama City”, despite being a distinct municipality from the older and larger inland Panama City to the east, making Panama City and Panama City Beach two separate cities. Panama City Beach’s slogan is “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” due to the unique sugar-white sandy beaches of northwest Florida.

Panama City Beach has been a popular vacation destination, especially among people in the Southern United States. The city is also a very popular spring break destination, sometimes having been referred to as “The Spring Break Capital of the World,” due to about 100,000+ college and high school students who would arrive during the months of March and April.

South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas | I-10 Exit Guide
Beach of South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island is a resort town in Cameron County, Texas. It is part of the Brownsville–Harlingen Metropolitan Area. The town is located on South Padre Island, a barrier island along the Texas Gulf Coast accessible via the Queen Isabella Causeway from the town of Port Isabel.

South Padre Island is home to many watersport activities, with personal water craft rental, kiteboarding and dolphin watches being the most popular. Other favorites are horseback riding adventures on the beach and ecological tours that explore Padre Island National Seashore.

In March, the island is a popular spring break destination for college students from around the world. The rest of the year it is a popular family resort destination, with July being the most crowded.

Disney World, Bay Lake, Florida

Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake Florida | I-10 Exit Guide
Main Street of the Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld, Bay Lake, Florida

The granddaddy of all theme parks, and the number one vacation destination, Disney World is a perennial favorite for Spring Breakers. Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida, near Kissimmee and Orlando, and is the flagship of Disney’s worldwide corporate empire. The resort opened on October 1, 1971, and is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of over 52 million annually.

Disney property covers 27,258 acres, housing 27 themed resort hotels, nine non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers, two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort, a downtown-like shopping district, and other entertainment venues. Magic Kingdom was the first and original theme park to open in the complex followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened later throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida

Universal Orlando | I-10 Exit Guide
Hogsmeade Village inside Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida

Spring Breakers aren’t necessarily looking for an ocean view and sandy beaches. If you’re a theme park fan and yearn for state-of-the-art attractions and entertainment, this is the place. The Universal Orlando Resort, commonly known as Universal Orlando, is a theme park resort in Orlando, Florida. Universal Orlando is the largest property operated by Universal Parks & Resorts, is the largest resort in Orlando, Florida, and is the second-largest resort in Greater Orlando after Walt Disney World.

Universal Orlando consists of two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure), a night-time entertainment complex (Universal CityWalk Orlando), and four Loews Hotels (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Cabana Bay Beach Resort).

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Cocoa Beach, Florida | I-10 Exit Guide
View of the Atlantic Ocean from Cocoa Beach, Florida

Cocoa Beach is a city in Brevard County, Florida. It’s a destination year-round, and one of America’s favorite Spring Break locations. You’ll find 6 miles of ocean beaches with excellent beach access from one end of the city to the other, 3 oceanfront parks, a 27-hole public golf course on the Banana River, excellent hotel / motel accommodations , and a wide range of dining choices to fit the taste buds and budget of everyone.

Be awed – Watch a space launch from the Beach! Kennedy and Cape Canaveral Space Launch Centers are just a few miles to the north. Even the locals come out to watch the spectacular views of day and night launches. Or spend a day visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – less than 30 minutes away.

Cocoa Beach is just minutes from Florida’s fastest growing port – Port Canaveral. Embark from the world class cruise terminals aboard affordable cruises to exotic Caribbean destinations or take a day cruise aboard a casino ship. Deep-sea fishing boats and day sails are also available at the Port.

Source: Google Trends, Jan. 2011–Jan. 2015, Travel, United States.
Source: Google Data, Feb. 2015, United States.


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Priceline.com Reveals the Top 50 Most Popular Spring Break Destinations According to College Students

Every year spring break offers college students a much-needed respite from their late-night study sessions and an excuse to take a spontaneous getaway with friends. In fact, 73 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 say they are likely to take a last-minute getaway in 2015, according to a recent survey commissioned by the brand. In March, students are reserving more hotel rooms in Las Vegas, the most popular 2015 spring break destination, than anywhere else. Runner-up destinations include OrlandoNew York CityPhoenix, and Orange County, according to actual hotel reservations made by college students on priceline.com.

Those juggling college debt can still get the full spring break experience on a budget with Priceline’s best bargain destinations for 2015, including both Myrtle and Virginia Beach that have average daily hotel rates below $90. The hottest spring break destination, Las Vegas, also made the top deals list with an average daily rate of $106.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 24 regretted not taking a last-minute trip in 2014, according to a recent survey from priceline.com, so those on the fence about traveling should not let the opportunity of an unforgettable vacation pass them by. For students with some flexibility in their budget, hotels in tropical destinations can be scored for less than $300 per night in the Florida Keys and Oahu, HI, with average daily rates of $275 and $199, respectively.

“After a particularly brutal winter and knowing how easy it is to find a deal on our app, students will be on the lookout for an adventure through last-minute travel deals – we call this seizing the Travel App-ortunity,” said John Caine, Priceline’s Chief Product Officer. “We’ve got options for the student who saved for 12 months and for the student who has just decided to go. Express Deals offer exclusive deals with savings of up to 55 percent off published room rates.”

Priceline.com’s Top 50 Most Popular Destinations for Spring Break 2015
Based on advance hotel reservations for March made by students on priceline.com.

1. Las Vegas, NV

2. Orlando, FL

3. New York City, NY

4. Phoenix, AZ

5. Orange County, CA

6. Miami, FL

7. Chicago, IL

8. New Orleans, LA

9. San Diego, CA

10. San Francisco, CA

11. Los Angeles, CA

12. San Antonio, TX

13. Dallas, TX

14. Washington D.C.

15. Fort Lauderdale, FL

16. Nashville, TN

17. Atlanta, GA

18. Houston, TX

19. Seattle, WA

20. Denver, CO

21. Austin, TX

22. Minneapolis, MN

23. St. Petersburg/ Clearwater, FL

24. Boston, MA

25. Fort Myers/Naples, FL

26. St. Louis, MO

27. Tampa, FL

28. Savannah, GA

29. The Florida Keys

30. Palm Springs, CA

31. Portland, OR

32. San Jose, CA

33. Columbus, OH

34. Puerto Rico

35. Toronto, Canada

36. Daytona Beach, FL

37. Atlantic City/Cape May, NJ

38. Kansas City, MO

39. Indianapolis, IN

40. Philadelphia, PA

41. Panama City, FL

42. Oahu, HI

43. LA/San Fernando Valley, CA

44. Charleston, SC

45. Inland Empire (CA)

46. Central Coast (CA)

47. Sarasota, FL

48. Monterey/Salinas, CA

49. Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY

50. Charlotte, NC

For students who have not purchased their Spring Break trips yet, hotel and airfare deals are available from Priceline oni10exitguide.com

Plan Your Getaway To The Coolest Holiday Destination In The Southwest

With the opening of ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants and the return of the annual Festival of Lights, Moody Gardens has officially become the coolest holiday destination in the Southwest.

This highly anticipated ice sculpture attraction carved out of 900 tons of ice and chilled in a 9-degree, 17,000 square foot tent has guests raving about the experience since its debut on Nov. 15.

“The guest feedback for our new ICE LAND attraction has been outstanding,” said Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt, who added a positive guest experience is at the top of the priority list for the destination. “Visitors have enthusiastically shared that ICE LAND has exceeded their expectations and it is a wonderful addition to our holiday attractions.”

ICE LAND is a frosty new addition to the 13th annual Festival of Lights, the largest holiday lighting display on the Gulf Coast, and other holiday attractions. Add in exciting 3D and 4D movies, visits from Santa, ice skating, a giant ice slide and a great holiday buffet, and it’s easy to see how Moody Gardens has become an ideal holiday destination for families.

With so many attractions to enjoy, the Moody Gardens Value Passes have been a popular choice among guests. For just $59.95, visitors get entry into ICE LAND, Festival of Lights, Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Museum, MG 3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. Those wanting to make a weekend visit can also purchase a Two-Day Value Pass for $79.95 and get unlimited entry to everything Moody Gardens has to offer.

So what’s the best schedule if you are planning a vacation to Moody Gardens? Here is a sample itinerary to make sure you don’t miss a thing:

Day 1

9-9:45 a.m. Breakfast at Moody Brews
Located in the main lobby of the hotel, Moody Brews offers a full line of Starbucks beverages, grab-and-go menu items, retail products, free WiFi, laptop work stations and comfortable seating.

10-11 a.m. Rainforest Pyramid
Take a tour of the 10-story glass pyramid that is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. You will experience rainforest life from around the world and encounter free-roaming animals, like the cotton-top tamarins and saki monkeys.

11:05-11:35 a.m. Discover the Ice Age
Travel back in time to discover a frigid world, covered in ice and occupied by mammoths, saber-toothed cats, cave people and more. The exhibit features life-sized animatronic animals and real fossils within the Discovery Pyramid.

11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch at Café in the Park at the Moody Gardens Hotel

1:30-2 p.m. ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants
Enjoy the coolest new attraction to date when you visit ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants. Being the only holiday ice exhibition on the Gulf Coast, this is a vast and amazing display of 900 tons of towering SpongeBob SquarePants-themed ice creations.

2:15-4:30 p.m. Deep Tissue Massage at the Spa and 9 Holes at the Moody Gardens Golf Course
Send the little ones to a Kid’s Crew activity provided throughout the weekend by the Moody Gardens Hotel and relax at The Spa or play a round of golf at the Moody Gardens Golf Course.

5-6 p.m. Festival of Lights Buffet at the Garden Restaurant for Dinner

6-6:15 p.m. Pictures with Santa
Be sure to stop by Santa’s Village in the Visitor’s Center lobby and get your picture with Santa Claus!

6:15-6:45 p.m. Gingerbread Gardens
Build your own Gingerbread House with the family inside the Visitor’s Center lobby.

7-8 p.m. Festival of Lights
Enjoy the mile-long trail of over one million lights and 100 animated displays that winds through the beautiful Moody Gardens property. This is a holiday tradition you won’t want to miss!

8-8:30 p.m. Ice Rink
Grab some rental skates and enjoy the area’s only outdoor ice skating rink.

Day 2

8:45-9:45 a.m. Breakfast at Café in the Park

10-10:50 a.m. Aquarium Pyramid
Visit four distinct ocean environments in the largest Moody Gardens Pyramid that includes seals, sea lions, sharks, thousands of fish and more than 90 penguins.

11-11:45 a.m. Penguin Encounter
Get up close and personal with a penguin during this 45-minute program that takes guests behind the scenes.

12-12:45 p.m. Lunch at the Aquarium Pyramid Food Court

1-2 p.m. Colonel Paddlewheel Boat
Take a cruise around Offatts Bayou on this 1800s-style paddlewheel boat.

2:30-3 p.m. 4D Special FX Theater
Engage your senses in this theater as you encounter a 20-minute adaptation of Rio 4D or Polar Express 4D.

3:15-3:45 p.m. Arctic Ice Slide
Take a slide down this Texas-sized ice slide located outside the Visitor’s Center.

4-4:45 p.m. Sky Trail® Explorer Ropes Course
Challenge your agility, balance and strength as you encounter the new five-tier Ropes Course. Children 48 inches and under can also take on an adventure of a smaller scale on the Sky Tykes™ Ropes Course.

4:45-5 p.m. Moody Gardens Zip Line
Snap into the harness, step to the edge of the zip line platform and glide over Palm Beach and the Lazy River 60 feet in the air for a bird’s eye view of the Moody Gardens Pyramids and tropical gardens.

5:15-6:15 p.m. Dinner at Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks

6:40-8 p.m. MG 3D Theater
Finish out the day watching some holiday favorites, such as Light Before Christmas 3D and Santa vs. Snowman 3D, in the newly enhanced MG 3D Theater featuring the world’s first giant screen 6p laser projector and the largest screen in Texas.

For more information, call (800) 582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org.

Moody Gardens is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.

Best Family-Friendly Spring Break Destinations

Spring Break Destinations: Most of the time when you think of “Spring Break” you imagine hoards of 20-something hell-raisers as far as the eye can see. Everyone deserves a spring break, especially families. We’ve rated the 5 best “family-friendly” destinations for 2014.

1. Orlando, Florida

Now, be honest. Can you really list family friendly destinations without including Orlando. More specifically, we’ve selected the International Drive area. Situated in the heart of tourist country, “I-Drive” has literally hundreds of family-friendly lodging, dining and attraction options, with more on the way.

You’re a short drive from Disney, Universal Studios and Seaworld, not to mention dozen of minor attractions within walking distance. Wet and Wild, Dave and Busters, Titanic – The Experience, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, helicopter rides, the list goes on and on.

Recommended Family-Friendly lodging in Orlando, Florida:

2. San Diego, California

If you’re looking for a day at the beach, San Diego is the place. With more than 70 miles of beach, the kids will have a ball. But San Diego is so much more than just beaches. Balboa Park offers a collection of museums you’ll not soon forget. The whole family will love a visit to the San Diego Zoo or Seaworld.  San Diego is a city small enough to feel manageable jet large enough to offer plenty of entertainment and lodging.

Recommended Family-Friendly lodging in San Diego:

3. Hilton Head, South Carolina

While Myrtle Beach has the college spring breakers, families head further south down the coast to Hilton Head, a 12-mile-long, five-mile-wide island with 14 miles of sandy beaches, world-class golf courses, and more than 100 miles of bike paths. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, Hilton Head is just for you.

There are plenty of accommodation options here, from renting a private home to family-friendly hotels to beachside resorts. Hilton Head is a great base for exploring the area… a day trip to Savannah or Charleston will give you a taste of the Old South.

Recommended Family-Friendly lodging in Hilton Head:

4. New York, New York

Who says Spring Break needs to warm weather and sandy beaches? Why not visit the city that never sleeps and show the kids a great time. There is not another place on the face of the earth that has as much to see and do as the Big Apple. Museums, landmarks, entertainment, restaurants, parks, shopping and sports… do you really think you’ll be bored?

Must do’s include the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art. The kids will get a bit of education without even knowing it.

Recommended Family-Friendly lodging in New York City:

5. Washington, DC

Washington in the spring is an excellent spring destination. The weather is great for exploring this city and all it has to offer.  Take the kids and discover the history and culture of downtown DC. From the Smithsonian museums to national monuments and memorials, everything is relatively close. Just hop on a bus and take a tour of the city’s sites for an American history adventure.

Be sure to take a walk through Georgetown, a historic waterfront location that’s always fun and exciting. Each spring the very popular Cherry Blossom Festival takes place. The blossoms are simply breathtaking and definitely worth a view.

Recommended Family-Friendly lodging in Washington, DC: