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Travel News Reports

First look: New day cruises from Florida to Bimini
First look: New day cruises from Florida to Bimini Loading Your News...Log In or Subscribe to skipSign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ4Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are
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Most romantic California beaches 19 October 2014, 22.26 Travel
Most romantic California beaches
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide California has an awe-inspiring 840-miles of shoreline studded with beautiful beaches, one after the other. While any strand with crashing waves and a
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Farm dinners: Feast where your food was grown 19 October 2014, 22.26 Travel
Farm dinners: Feast where your food was grown
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:45 a.m. EDT October 17, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide On Friday nights from May through Thanksgiving, Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Garden in
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NYC secrets: The Burger Joint behind a hotel lobby
Share This Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterest NYC secrets: The Burger Joint behind a hotel lobby USA TODAY's Nancy Trejos goes inside the
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in New Hampshire
The Most Beautiful Places in America Loading Your News...Log In or Subscribe to skipSign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ1367655Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading
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An insider's guide to Baltimore 19 October 2014, 22.26 Travel
An insider's guide to Baltimore
provided by Homewood Suites by Hilton Traveling? You Can Keep Your Daily Routine At Homewood Suites Home isn't just part of our name, it's in everything we do. From a free hot breakfast every morning, to complimentary dinner
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Ebola and air travel: What to expect 08 October 2014, 23.44 Travel
Ebola and air travel: What to expect
Passengers arriving from abroad use automated passport kiosks as they get ready to go through Customs.(Photo: Nick Ut, AP) Tags Ebola Malaria Border Patrol 854 CONNECT 4 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE Travelers from West Africa
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Earn your relaxation: Volunteer on a beach vacation
(Photo: Sandals Resorts) Today's traveler is looking for more than just a vacation – they're looking to connect with a destination. Once they connect, they begin to look at their vacation surroundings with fresh eyes, and
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Experience America: Prepare for scares this Halloween
Find your AMERICA Experience Best of America Theme Park Guides Download our free iPad app! Your Complete Guide to Walt Disney World Resort Guide to Universal Studios Theme Parks National Park
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Top U.S. destinations for fall 2014 08 October 2014, 23.44 Travel
Top U.S. destinations for fall 2014
Deb Hopewell, SmarterTravel.com 7 a.m. EDT October 9, 2014 New York never goes out of season for tourists.(Photo: Songquan Deng, Getty Images/iStockphoto) 63 CONNECT 1 LINKEDINEMAILMORE Fall travel has a lot to recommend
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Love/hate food trends (and where to find them) 08 October 2014, 23.44 Travel
Love/hate food trends (and where to find them)
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Eating is controversial business. One person's fine dining revolution is the portent of an underdressed apocalypse to another. Debates over tipping practices
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Top luxury ship in Galapagos emerges from makeover
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide An exterior shot of the Silver Galapagos, which will undergo a second round of renovations in September.(Photo: Silversea Cruises) Tags Silver
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Taste the bold, full-bodied future of American coffee
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide In our not-so-distant culinary past, Jell-O molds were the height of chic, olive oil was exotic, and coffee came from a can. As a gourmet nation, we've come a
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10Best: Southern tourist attractions worth the crowds
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide We've all been there. A place that's clogged with so many tourists that the first reaction is "get me outta here!" Be that as it may, there are a few tourist
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#Stressedpets: Inside Edition and 10Best want your vote!
A longtime travel journalist, Libby chose her beautiful city after a nationwide search for a new hometown. Greenville's amazing downtown, four mild seasons, varied terrain, friendly residents and countless nearby waterfalls
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Ken Burns shares secrets of Grand Canyon National Park
Ken Burns sat down with USA TODAY and shared some of the secrets of America's national parks. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan are the creators of the PBS documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," available via
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Great girlfriend getaways to the Caribbean 29 September 2014, 19.16 Travel
Great girlfriend getaways to the Caribbean
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A diamond may be a girl's best friend but a women's-only getaway in the Caribbean is worth gold. Barbados Girls just wanna have fun at the Hilton Barbados
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Party on: The best cruise ships for nightlife 29 September 2014, 19.16 Travel
Party on: The best cruise ships for nightlife
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide For most vacationers, a cruise is all about sun, sand, sights and relaxation. But for those for whom the night is always young, many cruise ships also provide a
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St. Lucia is for lovers: What to do as a couple 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
St. Lucia is for lovers: What to do as a couple
(Photo: St. Lucia Tourism Board) There are only a few destinations in the world that are synonymous with romance, among them — Fiji in the South Pacific, Paris in Europe, Hawaii in the United States. In the Caribbean, the
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Where to party in Vegas during iHeartRadio 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Where to party in Vegas during iHeartRadio
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The iHeartRadio Music Festival is rolling into Vegas this weekend. But what's a festival without some rockin' after-parties featuring high-profile hosts,
Read More 29 Hits 0 Ratings
Taste Wisconsin from beer to brats 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Taste Wisconsin from beer to brats
Sharon McDonnell, Special for USA TODAY 8:03 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide 2 CONNECT LINKEDINEMAILMORE It's not all cheese and beer in "America's Dairyland," even
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10Best: Amazing American wildlife watching 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
10Best: Amazing American wildlife watching
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:55 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Humpback whales are often seen near the Farallon Islands, Calif., about 30 miles west of
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Fantasy camps: Get a taste of a different life 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Fantasy camps: Get a taste of a different life
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean that camps aren't still going strong – for adults, anyway. Throughout the USA, camps are available to make just
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Vacationships: These couples only meet up on the road
In a more mobile world, couples are taking long-distance relationships to another level.(Photo: Getty Images) 468 CONNECT 13 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE For their first date, Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger went rock-climbing
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2014 wine harvest festival guide 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
2014 wine harvest festival guide
As major wine regions around the country prepare for harvest season, the celebrations are starting as soon as this weekend. If you live or travel near these popular wineries, plan to participate with this breakdown of harvest
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10Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
10Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you." ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22 The items on this varied list may not all warrant heightened
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Photo tour: The stunning SLS Las Vegas 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
Photo tour: The stunning SLS Las Vegas
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Experience Las Vegas is featuring in-depth photo tours of the city's world-famous hotels and casino resorts this year. We feature a different Vegas property
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Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park
Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park 26Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestKen Burns shares secrets of Arches National ParkThe
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When gross things happen to good passengers 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
When gross things happen to good passengers
Christopher Elliott , Special for USA TODAY 12:50 p.m. EDT September 14, 2014 You board a plane and find your seat stained with bodily fluids. Now what?(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto) 2942 CONNECT 41 LINKEDIN
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Connecticut
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1357252Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in ConnecticutA
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Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales
Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales 357Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestWebcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga
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10Best: Beautiful and historic Southern resorts 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
10Best: Beautiful and historic Southern resorts
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The South offers some of the nation's most famous resorts, several of which enjoy international name recognition. Even the most iconic historic properties are
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New York City's must-see specialty food stores 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
New York City's must-see specialty food stores
Whoever said, "You get what you pay for" never set foot in New York. In the city where East Village studios rent for $3,000/month, and baseball stadium beers run upwards of $10, cost savings are relative.As a result, Gothamites
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Costa Rica's top eco-destination hotspots 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Costa Rica's top eco-destination hotspots
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Costa Rica knows which side its bread is buttered on. People don't visit for the culture, cuisine or nightlife; they come for the nature. The country has
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Adorable hotels on America's Main Streets 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Adorable hotels on America's Main Streets
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide With everything that's going on in the world today, it's nice to occasionally be reminded that simple things do exist -- and they're what counts, right? So
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Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator
Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator 1Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestVideo: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's NavigatorThe
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Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator
Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator 1321Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestVideo tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's
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Cozumel's best places for a honeymoon 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Cozumel's best places for a honeymoon
(Photo: Nathan Gutshall-Kresge, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Cozumel combines the best of two worlds for honeymooners: Mexican culture suffused with a captivating Caribbean ambience. Mexico's largest island also has a range of
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Otherworldly views: Explore Zion National Park 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Otherworldly views: Explore Zion National Park
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Spanning across Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park encompasses over 229 miles of canyon country. Utah's first National Park, this oasis amid the high plateau
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Colorado's famous Broadmoor takes luxury to new heights
Stormy skies hang over the main lodge of the Broadmoor's Cloud Camp. The all-inclusive camp is one of three new retreats that make up the Broadmoor's new "Wilderness Experience."(Photo: MARK REIS Colorado Springs Gazette) 2
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Oklahoma 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Oklahoma
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1353852Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in OklahomaA
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An insider's guide to Denver 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
An insider's guide to Denver
provided by Homewood Suites by Hilton Traveling? You Can Keep Your Daily Routine At Homewood Suites Home isn't just part of our name, it's in everything we do. From a free hot breakfast every morning, to complimentary dinner
Read More 45 Hits 0 Ratings
Photo tour: The most beautiful places in North Dakota
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1333452Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in North DakotaA
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Whatever happened to the heart-shaped tub? 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
Whatever happened to the heart-shaped tub?
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide As the first resort to install lipstick-red, heart-shaped tubs in its couples-only digs, Cove Haven created an image indelibly linked to the Poconos.(Photo:
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Cancun's top honeymoon resorts 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
Cancun's top honeymoon resorts
(Photo: javarman3, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Cancun is a perfect choice for honeymooners looking for action and distraction in a beautiful, beachside setting. Situated on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula in northern Quintana Roo
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Cuisine with a zing: Spiked dishes and desserts
If you've noticed that entrees and desserts have been tasting a little more "spirited" lately, there's probably a very good reason. More U.S. chefs are taking some creative liberties with libations by adding a dash of
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Before summer ends: Go backstage at Universal Hollywood
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Unlike most other similar parks, Universal Studios Hollywood is an honest-to-goodness, working movie studio. (Even its upstart sister park in Florida is really
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10Best: Stone-cold ice cream shops 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
10Best: Stone-cold ice cream shops
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:41 a.m. EDT August 22, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Sweet Republic in Scottsdale, Ariz., offers its take on a classic combination with the
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Believe your eyes: America's most stunning views
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide America is a big country full of bigger views, from sea to shining sea. From stunning natural formations to architectural wonders, these ten sights rise above
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Ken Burns shares secrets of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Ken Burns shares secrets of Great Smoky Mountains National Park 1Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestKen Burns shares secrets of Great Smoky
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Graceland: Tour Elvis' home like a king 19 August 2014, 00.24 Travel
Graceland: Tour Elvis' home like a king
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A singer, actor, and heartthrob known for his sensual dance moves, Elvis Presley is an icon in American culture. He starred in 31 feature films and once held
Read More 69 Hits 0 Ratings
The pros, cons of visiting Japan by cruise ship
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A Maiko dance at a te ahouse in Kyoto, Japan.(Photo: Koichi Kamoshida, Getty Images) Tags Princess Cruises Diamond Princess 2 CONNECT
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Cool reasons to visit Curacao 19 August 2014, 00.24 Travel
Cool reasons to visit Curacao
(Photo: Kjersti Joergensen, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Affectionately dubbed "Holland of the Tropics," Curacao is a melting pot on bold display with more than 100 nationalities calling the cosmopolitan island home. Forty- four
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The travel insurance in your wallet you didn't know you had
George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com 7:03 a.m. EDT August 19, 2014 Some credit cards have contracts with extensive travel insurance. But not all do, and the benefits vary widely between issuers.(Photo: Getty
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Summer relaxation: Put North Carolina on your mind
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide In a day's drive across North Carolina, you can go from mountaintop views to oceanside real estate. Here's how to make sense of the diverse and dynamic outdoor
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Best summer deals in the Caribbean 17 August 2014, 01.18 Travel
Best summer deals in the Caribbean
(Photo: Anacaona) Better known for cold weather lures than hot weather tours, summer in the Caribbean is not only affordable but it's also the best way to audition on island before booking a more expensive winter getaway.
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Retro/vintage hotels: What's old is new again 17 August 2014, 01.18 Travel
Retro/vintage hotels: What's old is new again
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Retro and vintage hotel rooms are making a name for themselves in cities across the nation. Catchy décor and design elements from eras past offer guests a
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Stop, drop and pop it: 8 places to propose on Kauai
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide If a single word conjures images of a postcard-perfect destination, that word is Hawaii. The islands, blissfully adrift in the Pacific Ocean and far removed
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An insider's guide to Atlanta 15 August 2014, 18.25 Travel
An insider's guide to Atlanta
provided by Homewood Suites by Hilton Traveling? You Can Keep Your Daily Routine At Homewood Suites Home isn't just part of our name, it's in everything we do. From a free hot breakfast every morning, to complimentary dinner
Read More 46 Hits 0 Ratings
Photo tour: The most beautiful places in New Mexico
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1315451Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in New MexicoA
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Kentucky: Horses, bourbon and natural beauty 15 August 2014, 18.25 Travel
Kentucky: Horses, bourbon and natural beauty
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The "Bluegrass State," so named for the iconic grass that proliferates on its fertile soil, is synonymous with horses and horse racing. Its two major cities –
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Cruises offer an easier, cheaper way to see Japan
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A musician plays traditional Japanese songs at a welcome party at the start of a cruise around Japan.(Photo: Gene Sloan, USA TODAY) 2 CONNECT
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The 50 longest airline routes from the U.S. and Canada
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Qantas' Boeing 747 jets fly some of the longest flights to depart the United States.(Photo: Qantas Airways) Tags 626 CONNECT 75 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE What are
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Highway rest stops are revving up services, quality
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The newly renovated Maryland House Travel Plaza north of Baltimore.(Photo: Handout) 80 CONNECT 14 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE The weary highway traveler in Ohio can
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10 must-do activities onboard the Regal Princess
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Princess Cruises' newest ship, the 3,560-passenger Regal Princess, modernizes the traditional Princess Cruises experience in beautiful surrounds. As on year-old
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Diagon Alley: Are these the 'Fantastic Beasts' designs?
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, which opened in 2010, brought J. K. Rowling's books and the films they
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The Magnolia State: The beauty of Mississippi
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Offering much more than the namesake river that forms its western border, Mississippi is a must-visit for anyone interested in sampling a unique slice of
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Video captures near-miss of widebody jets in Spain
This screenshot from YouTube shows what appears to be a near-miss in Barcelona. The footage was captured by an amateur aviation enthusiast.(Photo: YouTube.com) 10 CONNECT LINKEDIN EMAILMORE An apparent near-miss at
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Your Take: I love my boat! 06 July 2014, 22.30 Travel
Your Take: I love my boat!
Add Videos or PhotosBe first to contribute Sign in now to share your story. Sign in with FacebookSign in with Google+ Be first to contribute Add More Videos or Photos You've contributed successfully to: You've successfully
Read More 109 Hits 0 Ratings

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Future News Reports

Obama's War Against US Energy Independence:  Give Away Oil Rich Alaskan Islands to Russia!
  By Joe Miller The Obama administration, despite the nation’s economic woes, effectively killed the job-producing Keystone Pipeline last month. The Arab Spring is turning the oil production of Libya and other Arab
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OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials 08 April 2012, 02.33 Administrator Energy
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials
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First look: New day cruises from Florida to Bimini PDF Print E-mail

First look: New day cruises from Florida to Bimini

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First look: New day cruises from Florida to Bimini

BIMINI, Bahamas -- Always wanted to visit Bimini in the Bahamas? A new fast ferry service to the destination from Fort Lauderdale that started up this week is making it easier. Click through the carousel

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The 1,500-passenger Bimini SuperFast operates day trips from Miami and Fort Lauderdale to Bimini in the Bahamas.(Photo: Resorts World)

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BIMINI, Bahamas — Always wanted to visit Bimini in the Bahamas? A new fast ferry service to the destination that started up this week from Fort Lauderdale is making it easier.

Click through the carousel above for our first photos from the vessel, the 1,500-passenger Resorts World's Bimini SuperFast, which will be operating day cruises to Bimini on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The 32,000-ton ship already sails to Bimini from Miami on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

As can be seen in the photos, the Bimini SuperFast features two restaurants, several lounges, an outdoor dance area and a casino as well as day-use cabins. The voyage to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale takes about three hours, and the ship docks at the destination for the afternoon before returning to Fort Lauderdale at night. Passengers can return with the ship on the same day they arrive or book a room in Bimini to extend the visit.

We'll be posting more photos of the ship and the touring options available in Bimini in the carousel above throughout the day.

Click HERE to see the photos in larger format.

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Most romantic California beaches PDF Print E-mail

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California has an awe-inspiring 840-miles of shoreline studded with beautiful beaches, one after the other. While any strand with crashing waves and a Technicolor sunset has potential for passion, there are a handful of Pacific Coast beaches that really move the needle. Here are five California beaches that amour-minded travelers should have on their radar.

Coronado Central Beach

Just outside San Diego lie Coronado Island and its famous Coronado Central Beach, a 1.5-mile expanse of white sand offering great swimming and superb sunsets. Lovers can explore tide pools during low tide against a backdrop of historic mansions along the shore, or toast marshmallows over a beach fire-pit's flames. Active couples can rent bikes, boogie board, take surf lessons, or rent sailboats and paddleboats. Another option is to hire a skippered sailboat and kick back for a sunset cruise with champagne.

Driving from the mainland to Coronado Island is part of the charm. Visitors cross the 2.1-mile Coronado Bridge offering splendid views of sailboats in San Diego Bay before rolling down onto the island, which has a caught-in-time charm. In minutes, guests have driven through town and arrived at the beachfront Hotel del Coronado, which should be the first choice for lovebirds. The distinctive looking red and white hotel opened back in 1888 and has since hosted famous lovers, including Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson. The hotel was also the backdrop for numerous films, including Marilyn Monroe's Some Like it Hot. For the ultimate in privacy, book one of the hotel's villas and cottages in the Hotel del Coronado's Beach Village.

Laguna Beach

If a couple is looking to combine cultural pursuits with a California beach vacation, they can't do better than Laguna Beach, which is located 50 miles south of Los Angeles. Laguna Beach stretches a full seven miles of coastline that is studded with 28 scenic beaches, bays, and coves. Watersports include kayaking, snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding. For a soft workout, couples can descend the 228 steps leading down to Laguna's Thousand Steps Beach, one of the prettiest beaches along the seven-mile expanse.

Nightlife at Laguna Beach is on the sedate side, creating the perfect ambience for couples to concentrate on each other. Foodies will have 70 restaurants to choose from, with many offering scenic views of sunsets during an evening meal or cocktail. Laguna Beach's cultural scene is powered by over 70 galleries and over 400 working artists, with many of them opening their studios for an intimate look at the creative process.

There are many small inns and B&Bs perfect for an intimate getaway. Couples seeking historic accommodations can opt for overnights in Hotel Laguna, which was built in 1888; or the Spanish-style Casa Laguna Inn, which has ultra-private hillside cottages offering dramatic sea views.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is a white-sand wonder east of San Diego. This is a good choice for those lovers who want to mix their alone time with some simple diversions. There's a holiday atmosphere at Pacific Beach. Couples can rent bikes and cycle along the three miles of boardwalk, which is lined with restaurants serving simple fare. Beach pursuits include swimming and boogie boarding, while surfers head to Tourmaline Surfing Park. Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach is a prime spot to catch a sunset.

The most romantic aspect of Pacific Beach is the Cape Cod-style cottages at the Crystal Pier Hotel. The cottages were built in 1930 and are truly special, being built out over the water, where the crash of waves will accompany a romantic night.

Newport Beach

Big-hearted lovers with big bank balances should head for Newport Beach, where the well-heeled stroll the strand, enjoying an ultra-sophisticated beach scene. Newport Beach stretches over 10 miles of gorgeous coastline. It also has the biggest recreational harbor on the West Coast.

In addition, there's an array of water sports such as surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, boogie boarding and sportfishing. Couples can catch a sunset on the Newport Pier or head out to sea on a champagne sunset cruise. The region has added appeal, having received The National Resources Defense Council and Heal the Bay organizations' perfect score of five stars and "A" grades for the cleanliness of its beach and waters.

Newport Beach offers plenty of pleasures on dry land, including live theater, high-end shopping, refined dining and wine tastings. For something different, take your sweetheart on a romantic spin aboard the Balboa Fun Zone's Ferris wheel.

Those looking for sophisticated lodgings should book The Fairmont Newport Beach, where a cutting-edge spa offers soothing treatments and a poolside sky deck serves up trendy cocktails in a South Beach-style setting. For accommodations harking back to yesteryear, book one of the ocean-view cottages at Crystal Cove Beach Cottages, which date from 1935 to 1955.

Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach and the town Carmel-by-the-Sea have a charm all their own and — as its most famous resident and former mayor, Clint Eastwood might put it — a real "make my day" atmosphere. Lovers will be enchanted by the refined beachside setting, where friendly dogs frolic and beachgoers hoist wine glasses to toast the setting sun. Carmel Beach is 120 miles south of San Francisco, tucked in as part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Wildlife lovers have the chance to espy sea otters, dolphins and even humpback whales. Beach bonfires are a Carmel tradition, offering a cozy way to enjoy the beach as night falls.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best dog-friendly beaches in the USA

Away from the beach, there's a wide range of restaurants, with many offering fresh, regional seafood, some with aphrodisiacal qualities, such as locally caught abalone. Further afield, couples can tour more than 75 wineries where it's customary to conduct wine tastings. Shopping runs towards specialized boutiques, art galleries and antique stores, with a great selection clustered along Ocean Avenue.

Couples will have plenty of accommodations to choose from, including 45 inns and B&Bs, which put a premium on an intimate home-away-from-home experience. For something upscale, there's L'Auberge Carmel, open since 1929 and offering a luxurious cocoon or an urbane base to venture out to explore the region.

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Farm dinners: Feast where your food was grown PDF Print E-mail

Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:45 a.m. EDT October 17, 2014

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On Friday nights from May through Thanksgiving, Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Garden in Paonia, Colo., serves a dinner made from fresh ingredients, many grown on the farm or produced in the area.(Photo: freshandwyld.com)

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With farm-to-table restaurants booming in popularity, farms themselves are now getting in on the act, offering meals to diners craving super-fresh cuisine that's often raised on site. "The producers are honoring the ground, presenting the fruits of their labor in a fun and delicious fashion," says Matt Jones of Slow Food USA, an organization dedicated to sustainable, local agriculture. He shares some favorites with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY. Many of these meals are offered seasonally and often support food-based charities.

Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Garden
Paonia, Colo.
On Friday nights from May through Thanksgiving, this inn sets a table replete with fresh ingredients, many grown on the farm or produced in the area. "It's all organic and all local. It's the epitome of a farm dinner," Jones says. "It's a very engaged agricultural community. This is our Shangri-La, our gem on the western slope of Colorado." 970 527-4374, freshandwyld.com

Our Table in the Field
Sherwood, Ore.
This Portland-area farm regularly hosts meals built around food raised right in the area. "Typically the dinners showcase local culinary talent and raise money for non-profits," Jones says. A recent dinner featured Pinot Noirs from the nearby Willamette Valley wine region. "It's a shining example of the vast variety and biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest." 503-217-4304; ourtable.us

Suzie's Farm
San Diego
This farm near the Mexico border takes a playful approach to its dinners. "They have really fun parties. They'll have music. As opposed to the formal sit-down dinners, it's more of a celebration," Jones says. In the past, organizers have themed events to the Day of the Dead, and have brought in food trucks to serve produce from the region. "There's a lot of acknowledgment of the local cultural diversity." 619-662-1780; suziesfarm.com

New Town Farms
Waxhaw, N.C.
Expect an elaborate and tasty meal at this Charlotte-area farm, which raises heritage and heirloom vegetables and livestock, including poultry and hogs. "Their dinners are spectacular. They're loaded up and they're exquisite," Jones says. "They're able to put together a full meal from the farm." Proceeds benefit local charities. 704-843-5182; newtownfarms.com

White Oak Pastures
Bluffton, Ga.
This 150-year-old family farm located near the Florida border has adapted with the times, and focuses on the humane treatment of its grass-fed livestock. It runs a restaurant and offers seasonal Friday and Saturday night dinners served in the same farm kitchen used to feed employees. "They're opening it up to the public and sharing the bounty of the farm," Jones says. 229-317-0203; whiteoakpastures.com

Shelburne Farms
Shelburne, Vt.
Throughout the growing season, this famous New England farm and restaurant hosts upscale outdoor family-style dinners by its vineyard on the shores of Lake Champlain. The meal, which include cheeses, vegetables and other products from Vermont farm partners, benefits a charity that educates children about healthy eating and sustainable agriculture, Jones says. "The backdrop is fairly spectacular." 802-985-8686; shelburnefarms.org

Spence Farm
Fairbury, Ill.
This multi-generation Midwest farm dates to 1830, but in the last decade has focused on increasing crop diversity and raising rare livestock breeds. "They've taken on rejuvenating the farm, raising a vast variety of heirloom products," Jones says. "The lesser-known vegetables and breeds in their dinners set them apart." The farm often collaborates with top chefs from nearby Chicago. 815-692-3336; thespencefarm.com

Glynwood Farm Dinners
Cold Spring, N.Y.
Monthly dinners showcase sometimes surprising seasonal products from New York's Hudson Valley. Dinners are often topical, and have highlighted ingredients from goat meat to hard ciders. "They have wonderful stuff going on all the time up there," Jones says. "I would fly there just to go to that cider dinner." Often meals welcome a guest farmer as a speaker. 845-265-3338; glynwood.org

Fox Hollow Farm
Crestwood, Ky.
There's no doubting the origin of the ingredients at a "Wheelbarrow to Table" dinner offered by this Louisville area cattle and vegetable farm, which brings in top chefs from the region. "It's in an old Kentucky farmhouse, a simple expression of locality and freshness," Jones says. 502-241-9674; foxhollow.com

Harley Farms
Pescadero, Calif.
This restored 1910 dairy farm produces award-winning goat cheeses and holds dinners year-round. A November five-course dinner in a restored Victorian hayloft offers barbecued Cornish game hens, lamb or skewers of fresh vegetables. 650-879-0480; harleyfarms.com

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NYC secrets: The Burger Joint behind a hotel lobby PDF Print E-mail

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NYC secrets: The Burger Joint behind a hotel lobby

NYC secrets: The Burger Joint behind a hotel lobby

USA TODAY's Nancy Trejos goes inside the hidden Burger Joint in Manhattan where only two burgers are served.

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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in New Hampshire PDF Print E-mail

The Most Beautiful Places in America

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A state-by-state breakdown of the most beautiful places in the United States. View breathtaking photos of little-known places and famous scenic locations.

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USA TODAY 10Best 10:31 a.m. EDT October 17, 2014

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At Gleason Falls in Hillsborough, a beautiful stone arch bridge crosses Beards Brook.(Photo: Donald McQuade, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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New Hampshire has a landscape dominated by forested lakes, picturesque valleys and rugged mountain peaks. Take a photo tour with the slideshow above.

See more photos of scenic states:

ALASKA

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ARIZONA

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TENNESSEE

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How are U.S. troops fighting Ebola in Africa? | USA NOW
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An insider's guide to Baltimore PDF Print E-mail

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Ebola and air travel: What to expect PDF Print E-mail

Passengers arriving from abroad use automated passport kiosks as they get ready to go through Customs.(Photo: Nick Ut, AP)

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Travelers from West Africa arriving at five large U.S. airports will have their temperature taken and face questions about their health in an effort to prevent the spread of Ebola, federal officials said Wednesday. How might the changes affect you?

How screening will happen?

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials will step up monitoring for Ebola symptoms at five U.S. airports. The change will affect certain passengers arriving to the U.S. on international flights as they clear Customs upon arrival. The enhanced screening will target travelers whose trips began in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – the three countries hit hardest in the current outbreak.

"We are stepping up protection for people coming into the country and for Americans related to travel," said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While Ebola is difficult to transmit through blood, mucus or other bodily fluids, the disease has infected 8,011 people in West Africa and killed 3,857, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. Enhanced screening aims to reduce the spread of the disease.

"We're always looking for ways that can better protect Americans," Frieden said.

USA TODAY : Five U.S. airports to enhance screenings for Ebola

Where -- and when -- will you notice a difference?

The enhanced screening will take place at five U.S. airports: Atlanta, Chicago O'Hare New York JFK, Newark Liberty Washington Dulles. The stricter screening begins Saturday at JFK and will be phased in at the other airports next week. CBP staffers will pull aside travelers from the three countries, to ask questions and take their temperatures.

Steve Sigmund, executive director of the Global Gateway Alliance, which advocates for New York airports, said the group supported the enhanced screening for the health and safety of millions of area travelers.

"Additional personnel and layers of screening will help ensure the well-being of both passengers and local residents," Sigmund said.

The Atlanta airport issued a statement saying it is working diligently with CDC and CBP to ensure the safety of travelers at the world's busiest airport.

"With growing concern over the spread of the Ebola virus, we welcome the additional screening measures announced today by the White House," the airport said.

What will the screening entail at U.S. airports?

CBP agents will take temperatures of passengers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea with a non-contact thermometer. They'll also ask questions about their health and possible exposure to Ebola. If the traveler has a fever, or if a questionnaire reveals possible exposure, a CDC quarantine officer will make an assessment about whether the passenger will be allowed to continue or if precautionary measures are required.

Even if a traveler doesn't have a fever or other symptoms, officials will ask the traveler to keep a daily temperature log for 21 days and provide information about how to contact them.

Travelers may also have fevers for other reasons. Malaria is common in West Africa, but is transmitted by mosquito rather than between people, according to Frieden.

"We expect to see some patients with fever and that will cause some obvious and understandable concern at the airports," Frieden said.

Will you be impacted if you arriving on an international flight to one of the five airports with enhanced screening?

The enhanced Ebola screening will target only passengers whose trips began in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It is unclear exactly how much time the additional screening will add, but air travelers headed to the U.S. from those nations should budget more time for clearing border controls at the five airports with enhanced screening. At this point, travelers whose trips begin from other international destinations are not expected to see significant changes.

Why is the enhanced screening in the U.S. happening only at those five airports?

There very few nonstop flights between West Africa and the United States. Only about 150 travelers arrive each day from the three West African countries, and 94% of them arrive at one of the five airports with enhanced screening, according to administration officials.

"The number of travelers is relatively small," Frieden said. "It's not an effort that would be particularly disruptive to large numbers of people. We think it's manageable."

For lack of direct flights from West Africa, nearly all passengers traveling between the U.S. and those three nations must connect elsewhere before arriving to the United States.

Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of homeland security, said CBP could track travelers from their originating airport even if they make connections.

"We can in fact identify the full journey of the individual arriving in the United States," Mayorkas said.

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Earn your relaxation: Volunteer on a beach vacation PDF Print E-mail

(Photo: Sandals Resorts)

Today's traveler is looking for more than just a vacation – they're looking to connect with a destination. Once they connect, they begin to look at their vacation surroundings with fresh eyes, and in many cases see locals in need. For some this leads to making their next vacation a voluntourism trip. With this type of travel, all or part of a trip can include such activities as sharing a reading hour with local schoolchildren, helping to build a house for a needy family or something as dramatic as providing care for patients with AIDS. Nature lovers can choose conservation efforts, such as caring for endangered sea turtles. While it's a natural inclination to think voluntourism travel is free, it can actually be on the expensive side, especially when taking place in long-haul destinations from the U.S.

Lending a helping hand doesn't mean a traveler shouldn't have adequate down time to relax. Here's a selection of trips that pair voluntourism with a beach vacation.

Caribbean Islands

Beach lovers looking to volunteer have a lot of options if they choose to vacation at one of the Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, or Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts sprinkled throughout the Caribbean islands. Guests at all of these resorts can participate in a Reading Road Trip, a two-hour program that takes participants into the community to one of the Sandals Foundation's participating adopted schools in Saint Lucia, Antigua, the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Grenada, Barbados, or Jamaica. They'll sit down with small groups of local children to improve their reading skills. Cost is minimal, only $20 per person, which covers round-trip transportation and all supplies. Leave a lasting impression and donate a favorite book of your own to be added to the school's library.

Grand Cayman Island, The Cayman Islands

The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana needs all the help it can get. It's dependent on a breeding program to protect against eventual extinction. This is no little lizard; at up to five feet long, nose to tail, it's the largest native land animal on the island. The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Blue Iguana Recovery Program allows guests to pitch in and protect the "Blue Dragon." Volunteer activities at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park are seasonal, and run the gamut from searching out nests and eggs for protection to more nuts-and-bolts activities like painting fences at the iguana facility. Minimum age to participate is 12 years. The Ritz has a beautiful beachfront location, and no visitor to Grand Cayman should miss a day on the island's centrally located and iconic Seven Mile Beach.

(Photo: Sandals Resorts)

Los Cabos, Mexico

Travelers can combine high-end luxury and eco-voluntourism when they stay at the Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas. The resort has a complimentary sea-turtle conservation program in place that invites guests to participate. Endangered sea turtles come to the beaches of Los Cabos to lay their eggs in the sand, including the beach in front of Capella Pedregal. The resort's conservation team protects the nests from predators and curious beachgoers by installing special screens around the nests. The date the eggs hatch can be determined fairly accurately, and guests can convene on the beach as the turtles are released and make their way to the sea. Guests can encourage and escort the hatchlings on their journey to the ocean, as long as they don't touch the tiny turtles. This initial journey across the sand to the sea is how the hatchlings imprint the route on their memories, so they can eventually return and lay eggs of their own. The resort can also arrange one-on-one meetings between guests and local conservationists for those interested in an in-depth look at the turtle conservation program.

Cancun, Mexico

Visitors to Cancun can mix things up by earmarking one day of a beach vacation to help out at Cancun's City of Joy Foundation (Fundacion Ciudad de la Alegria). The foundation operates the Mano Amiga School, which provides aid to 1,200 students in kindergarten through high school. The facility welcomes visitors to schedule a time to drop in for a day or longer and help in a variety of ways – everything from teaching English to helping with the maintenance of the building. City of Joy reaches out beyond the needs of schoolchildren and helps those in need regardless of age – providing assistance to over 30,000 people in Quintana Roo in need of help.

Half Moon Bay, California

Volunteers also have the option of pitching in close to home. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay on the coast has a Give Back Getaway program in place that affords guests the opportunity to sort, package and distribute food to local Half Moon Bay families in need of a helping hand, through the facilities of Coastside Hope. Interested guests should time their visit to the resort so it falls on the third Thursday of each month, when guests from the resort are invited to help out at Coastside Hope. The sorting and packaging of food takes place 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. while the distribution follows immediately from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Guests can choose to participate for either two or four hours. Half Moon Bay has a string of beaches, including some of the most beautiful in California.

MORE: Five best eco-destinations in Costa Rica
TOBAGO: Top five eco-excursions

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Top U.S. destinations for fall 2014 PDF Print E-mail

Deb Hopewell, SmarterTravel.com 7 a.m. EDT October 9, 2014

New York never goes out of season for tourists.(Photo: Songquan Deng, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Fall travel has a lot to recommend it: mild temperatures, fewer crowds and shoulder-season rates. So what are the most popular destinations for autumn escapes? SmarterTravel asked Trivago.com, which gets more than 2.5 million daily search queries from more than 175 aggregated hotel booking sites.

Trivago analyzed searches from U.S. users between June 1 and Aug. 31 to find the most popular destinations between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30. Worth noting: Of the top 30 cities, there was only one international contender, London. Read on to find out the top 10 places people are visiting this fall.

Las Vegas

Vegas is the reigning go-to U.S. destination pretty much year-round. Come autumn, it's still warm enough much of the time to lounge poolside, but the milder heat means it's also a great time to venture off the Strip and take day trips to some farther-flung attractions, such as the Grand Canyon or the surrounding mountains. Closer in, check out the new SLS Las Vegas on the north end of the Strip, which just opened in August. It's the new incarnation of what was previously The Sahara, completely gutted and reenvisioned by a team of architects headed up by Philippe Starck.

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New York

Like Las Vegas, NYC never goes out of season for tourists, and in fall it has its own kind of energy. Daytime temperatures are still comfortably mild, but the chilly nights have set the trees to turning colors—and Central Park is awash in red, yellow and orange. Find a corner somewhere to take in the spectacle that is the New York City Marathon (always the first weekend in November, unless a hurricane dictates otherwise). And it wouldn't be autumn in the Big Apple without a stop at the Union Square Greenmarket for an apple-cider donut.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

This year, Myrtle Beach launched a campaign called "The Secret's Out: 60 More Days of Summer," capitalizing on the fact that even in October, the air and water temperatures are typically still very summerlike on this swath of the 60-mile Grand Strand. And a bonus this year: Actors in the Magic Mike sequel, Magic Mike XXL, will be in town in early November, filming along the boardwalk, Ocean Boulevard and the towering Myrtle Beach Skywheel. The studio won't confirm which actors will be there, but don't expect that to diminish the crowds hoping for a glimpse of Channing Tatum.

Chicago

Autumn in the Windy City feels like, well, autumn: leaves crunching underfoot, sweaters and scarves on display, and football, basketball and hockey on TV. Those who aren't running in the Chicago Marathon are on the streets cheering the rest on. This fall, the David Bowie exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art is the only U.S. stop for the show, which was organized by London's Victoria and Albert Museum. And this year, the annual Chicago Humanities Festival brings speakers such as Paula Poundstone, Patti Smith, David Brooks, Mark Bittman and Anne Rice to various venues around town.

READ MORE: The year's most popular destinations for fall

Galveston, Texas

Galveston is the beach hangout for Houstonites, who regularly make the 50-mile drive to dip their toes in the Gulf of Mexico along the island city's 32 miles of beaches. In October, the daytime temps average in the high 70s, so fall still invites families on weekends looking for that last blast of summer (even the Schlitterbahn Waterpark stays open on the weekends in October, long after most amusement parks have closed for the season). Away from the water, strolling the city's historic districts—with more than 400 19th-century buildings—is another favorite pastime.

Ocean City, Md.

There was a time this 10-mile-long barrier island was mostly shuttered after the summer season's teems of tourists from surrounding states left its beaches, restaurants and resorts. But now Ocean City entertains millions of visitors all year long, a good chunk of whom come in autumn, when the weather is still pleasant but the summer hordes no longer pack the 3-mile-long boardwalk. It can be a particularly lovely time to visit nearby Assateague Island and its famous wild ponies, or just watch an Atlantic sunrise or sunset over the bay.

San Diego

San Diego's coastline lures visitors all year long, but autumn has its special appeal, when the beaches are relatively empty on the weekdays but the sun is still warm. Head to nearby La Jolla for some upscale shopping and dining, and catch the art and wine festival the second weekend in October. With nearly 90 craft breweries and brewpubs, San Diego has declared itself the "Craft Beer Capital of America," and you'll find nearly all of them represented at the 10-day San Diego Beer Week in October. At night, the Gaslight Quarter downtown is ground zero for rooftop bars and nightclubbing.

Virginia Beach, Va.

Virginia Beach's raison d'être is as a resort town (there's no central, downtown area), stretching along miles of beach, including its seemingly endless, 3-mile-long boardwalk. Families flock here in the summer, but fall still boasts warm days, even as the leaves begin to change colors. Water temps average about 67 degrees in October, which might make it just a little chilly for swimming but still perfect for ocean kayaking among bottlenose dolphins. And since October seems to be the month for beer festivals, Virginia Beach claims one of its own, right on the beach.

San Francisco

Visitors to San Francisco in summertime are too often in for a surprise, and a cold one at that: foggy, windy weather. The City by the Bay really shines in fall, though, when the fog takes a sabbatical, allowing camera-toting tourists those postcard snapshots of the Golden Gate Bridge. For the past 14 years, the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival has drawn close to a quarter million music lovers to Golden Gate Park over the first weekend in October. Head over to Union Square Park, in the heart of the city, on Wednesdays and Sundays through October for Union Square Live, featuring free music, dance, and circus performances.

Daytona Beach, Fla.

It's not just the beautiful weather (daytime highs in the mid-70s to low 80s) that draws visitors to this part of the Florida coast. Each October, tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts descend on Daytona Beach for the annual four-day Biketoberfest, and music lovers converge for the Daytona Beach Blues Festival. And all year long, Daytona Beach draws tourists who want to experience the novelty of driving on the beach, thanks to the area's famous hard-packed sand, which has been drawing motorists since the early 1900s.

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Love/hate food trends (and where to find them) PDF Print E-mail

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Eating is controversial business. One person's fine dining revolution is the portent of an underdressed apocalypse to another. Debates over tipping practices and minimum wage for restaurant workers inspire protests and develop legislation. In the spirit of open discourse, we are taking a long, hard look in the bistro mirror, and inventorying the most divisive trends in the food world today. Hey, no one ever said having good taste was easy.

Paid restaurant reservations

Digital reservations sites are nothing new – free service OpenTable has been helping last-minute Valentine's Day dates put food on the table since 1998 – but now, pay-to-play startups have skin in the game. Resy, an app that partners with restaurants to charge aspiring patrons a $10-50 fee for prime tables, debuted in June. That same month, peer-to-peer service Shout launched a mobile auction site in which users auction off their own hard-earned restaurant reservations (as well as airline vouchers, tickets to Burning Man, etc.) to the highest bidder. Also new this year is Killer Rezzy, which sells reservations secured with and without restaurants' participation for a $25 flat fee.

The debate: Some industry insiders argue that paid reservations eradicate hospitality from the dining experience. Killer Rezzy CEO Sasha Tcherevkoff counters, "This is all about serving the customer… It is simply the next step forward for the industry."

See for yourself: The New York area – for now. Killer Rezzy will arrive in San Francisco in November, and is eyeing Los Angeles, London and Paris. Shout is in the process of expanding its member base, and plans to roll out a new and improved version with greater geographic reach later this year.

Urban foraging

Inspired by chef foragers Rene Redzepi and Blaine Wetzel, urbanites with a taste for adventure are exploring the bounty underfoot. Naturalist and self-proclaimed "Wildman" Steve Brill leads foraging tours of the northeastern USA, and last spring, New York City native Ava Chin published a foraging cookbook and memoir called Eating Wildly. Around that same time, a geographer from Boulder, CO launched a Wikipedia-style, interactive app that helps users identify more than 600,000 forager-friendly locations worldwide.

The debate: Popular enthusiasm may be growing by shoots and leaves, but parks organizations nationwide have reservations regarding safety and sustainability. New York City's Central Park, for example, prohibits residents from gathering edible plants in order to protect its grounds, as well as public health.

See for yourself: A field or grassy median near you. Heading to the Big Apple? Check out Brooklyn's Salvage Supperclub, in which patrons gather in a (scrubbed down) dumpster for a $50, six-course meal composed entirely of past-prime ingredients otherwise headed for a landfill. Bon appetit.

Hybrid pastries

In May 2013, James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel introduced a croissant-doughnut hybrid at his eponymous Manhattan bakery. The Cronut is now the stuff of (heavily trademarked) legend. Epic lines and fawning television spots propelled it onto the global stage, and Ansel has become a bona fide celebrity. Soon thereafter, copycats hawked fauxnuts from Indianapolis to the Philippines.

The debate: Winter is coming. Is any dessert worth an hours-long queue on a cold city sidewalk?

See for yourself: Ansel introduced a vaguely beleaguered pre-ordering system to help alleviate wait times at his still-swinging SoHo shop. Other popular stops for pastry shape-shifters include Chicago's Endgrain, where chef Enoch Simpson transforms his renowned biscuits into crowd-pleasing doughscuits; and Los Angeles pop-up Churro Borough, where the churro ice cream sandwiches made by a Jean-Georges alum inspire Cronut-like fervor.

Gluten-free everything

Difficult to define and easy to hate, gluten is the edible enemy du jour. (For those keeping score, gluten is a protein composite that exists in grains like wheat and barley.) As a result, gluten-free foodstuffs are a booming business, priced 242% higher than their glutinous counterparts, and predicted to be a $15 billion industry by 2016. Restaurants across the country also strive to accommodate gluten sensitivities. "Having gluten-free menu options isn't a choice anymore; it's a necessity," says Jet Tila, a Food Network judge and chef of Dallas' Pakpao restaurant.

The debate: Thirty percent of Americans say they want to eat less gluten, but Celiac disease, the genetic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the small intestine in the presence of gluten, affects only 1% of the population. As a result, naysayers argue that perceived gluten intolerance is a fad, not a medical issue.

See for yourself: Grocery chains like Whole Foods have gluten-free products for days. New additions to the gluten-free restaurant scene include a Del Posto chef's pasta pop-up touring the Eastern seaboard; tasting menus at Trentina in Cleveland; and, as of last April, pizzas at Stella Barra locations in Chicago and southern California. Next month, Manhattan's Benoit will debut a seasonal, gluten-free French pastry. Ooh la la.

SEE MORE: Why going gluten-free doesn't have to ruin travel

Artisanal toast

It may sound like an April Fool's Day joke – actually, it was one – but lovingly browned and buttered bread now starts at $4 a pop in certain circles. Call it the ultimate embodiment of hipster nonsense, a sign of our food-obsessed times, or a little bit of both. Just don't call it crostini.

The debate: Critics contend that paying more than the cost of a loaf of bread for one slice creates strong commentary about the exclusive economics of contemporary food culture. On the flip side, other critics grudgingly admit, "It's really, really good."

See for yourself: Toast outposts have sprung up from coast to coast, but the Bay Area is the apex (or, one might argue, nadir) of the artisanal toast movement. Try it at the tellingly named Trouble Coffee Company in San Francisco's Outer Sunset, Acre Coffee in Petaluma, or The Mill, an Alamo Square spot that Fourbarrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread opened last year.

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