USATourist News MagazineDecember 2005
In this issue:
Everyone here at USATourist.com would like to wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season. If you're traveling in the United States this month remember to arrive early to the airport since lines are longer and security screening may take longer than normal. We have some travel tips for air travelers in this issue from the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). We also have some excellent specials from our sponsors this month.
If you are interested in staying at a hotel in Las Vegas (LAS) without a casino, our new Web page can help you find the perfect accommodation. If location is important to you be sure to visit our Las Vegas Tourist Map to see where hotels are. The Howard Johnson Airport Inn is one of the choices. It is located one mile from the McCarran International Airport and two miles from The Strip. A hotel shuttle will transport you to and from both locations. You can find more information about the Howard Johnson and other locations here: www.usatourist.com/english/destinations/nevada/lasvegas/las-vegas-hotels.html
If you're going to be in Las Vegas this month you'll most likely see a lot of cowboy boots and hats. The reason, the National Finals Rodeo is being held December 2-11. nfr-rodeo.com
All through the month of December cities and towns across America glow with the beauty of holiday light displays. Wherever you visit you may want to spend an evening enjoying one of these beautiful displays. Just remember to dress warmly. Most are open through the entire month of December until January 1st. Here are some links to just a few of the many light displays.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: www.milwaukeeholidaylights.com
Washington, DC (Gaithersburg): www.gaithersburgmd.gov/poi/default.asp?POI_ID=261&TOC=107;84;99;261;
Oglebaby, West Virginia: www.oglebay-resort.com/fol.htm
Charleston, South Carolina: www.holidayfestivaloflights.com
San Diego, CA: www.sdparadeoflights.org
Are you looking for the perfect Christmas ornament to hang on your tree as a reminder of your trip to New York? NYCwebStore.com sells over 65 New York Christmas Ornaments. You must see their collection. They have something for everyone. www.NYCwebStore.com/Christmas
New York ornaments aren't the only city ornaments they sell. They have another 50 ornaments from other cities around the US, including San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston. www.NYCwebStore.com/American_Ornaments
Be sure to visit www.NYCwebStore.com today. They have International and Express shipping available.
Jacksonville, Florida (JAX) is one of the loveliest places to visit during the winter months here in the United States. It's located on the northeast corner of Florida near the Georgia border. The average temperature is around 72 degrees (F) or 22.22 degrees (C). Jacksonville is also the largest city of the 48 lower states with 758.7 miles (1,221.01 km). It has double the population of Miami. Besides Jacksonville's beaches, Jacksonville has over 50 golf courses, lots of shopping, and many opportunities for boating and fishing. Jacksonville Landing sits on the St. John's River and is a great place to go shopping at one of the forty stores or grab a bite to eat at one of the nine restaurants. In the evenings it's not uncommon for a live band to be playing in the courtyard. www.jacksonvillelanding.com
Not far south of Jacksonville is the oldest city in America, St. Augustine. This charming town is known as "the Ancient City."
Florida received its name in 1513 by Spanish explorer Don Juan Ponce de Leon who first sighted the beautiful land and called it "La Florida," meaning "Land of Flowers." Don Juan Ponce de Leon claimed the land for Spain and over the next fifty years Spain made several unsuccessful attempts to settle Florida. All the while, the French were making claim to the land. Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles was eventually sent to Florida by King Phillip II to drive out any settlers. His arrival off of the coast was on August 28, 1565, the Feast Day of St. Augustine. A week and a half later Menendez and his 600 soldiers defeated the French, including their fleet. Finally, the land was in Spanish hands and named St. Augustine by Menendez.
Today the town is in full swing. Year round visitors swarm the area to enjoy the beautiful weather and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. You can't help but be taken back in time in the historic district with its cobblestone streets and old buildings. Magnificent Oak trees surround the area and the scent of Magnolias flowers fill the air.
Anyone looking to restore their youth can try their luck at the Fountain of Youth. Visitors say the grounds are breathtaking as are the peacocks that roam the 15 acres. The history of The Fountain of Youth dates back to the days of Don Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival. Beginning January 1, 2006 rates will be $6.50 for adults (13-60 yrs.) $5.50 for seniors (over 60) and $3.50 for children (6-12yrs.) www.fountainofyouthflorida.com
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of six Florida lighthouses still open to the public. It was the second light house built in Florida. Admission prices: adults $7.50; seniors ages 60+ $6.50; children ages 5-11 $5.00. If you visit the Web site you can print a 10% off coupon for up to six people. www.staugustinelighthouse.com
Seeing a live alligator during your visit to Florida is a must, but honestly your chances arent very good unless you venture into the swamp lands. Instead, you can tour the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. You'll see more than alligators at this park. The largest animal on the grounds is Maximo, a 1250 pound (566.99 kg) saltwater crocodile. He is 15 feet (4.57 meters) and 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) long and is expected to live to be 60 to 80 years old.
Other exhibits include albino alligators, crocodiles from all over the world, exotic birds and seven different species of endangered monkeys. Admission: adults (12 and up) $ 17.95, seniors receive a 10% discount, children (ages 5-11) $9.95. If you visit the Alligator Farm Web site you can print a $1 off coupon for each admission up to six people.
For more information on this incredible town visit: www.ci.st-augustine.fl.us
Disney Area Vacation Homes is offering special discounted rates in November and December (excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year weeks) for USATourist.com readers. For the special rates, please call 863-227-5281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Special rates good through 12/23/05
Power Pass of LAS VEGAS, HONOLULU and NEW ORLEANS offers a 10% discount on all products for USATourist readers. Simply use the code "USAT" in the Promotional Code box when ordering. The Power Pass gives you free entry to the top destinations in each city, VIP front-of-the line access to many attractions, discounts to top restaurants and retail stores, and a free map and guidebook that helps you plan your vacation before you go! Special Offer expires 12/31/05
HelloMetro is a great website of local information for many U.S. cities. You'll find Art, Music, Events, Weather, and Maps, plus local restaurants and Real Estate information.
December 23rd is one of the busiest shopping days of the year as last minute shopper's scurry from store to store trying to cross everyone off their gift list. But the day after Christmas the sales begin as the stores mark down the left over merchandise. Consumers can find some excellent bargains at the after Christmas sales. By February the stores begin marking down their winter merchandise. For more tips on shopping in the United States visit: www.usatourist.com/english/tips/shopping.html
Clothing sizes in the United States are different than those found in the rest of the world. Therefore, it is important to know what your size is in US measurements before you shop in the States. Visit our clothing guide page to find your size as you shop the great after Christmas sales. www.usatourist.com/english/tips/womens-sizes.html
You don't have to remove your shoes before going through airport security but don't be surprised if a screener suggests that you do.
The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) says footwear such as boots, platform shoes, footwear with a thick sole or heel, athletic shoes, dress shoes and footwear containing metal are likely to cause additional screening.
In order to limit the time you spend at security TSA suggest passengers wear footwear that is easily removed. www.tsa.gov/public/index.jsp
TSA is now providing historical wait times at security checkpoints to help you plan your trip to the airport. Passengers may go to the TSA Web site www.tsa.gov/public/display?theme=183&content=09000519800c0909 Click on Wait Time Information. You'll need to enter the state, then the airport you're departing from, the day of week and the estimated time of your flight. TSA reminds passengers that weather, airport flight schedules, staffing conditions, holidays and special events can affect your actual wait time.
TownePlace Suites by Marriott is known for its neighborhood feel. With a friendly staff and atmosphere, the properties are pet-friendly and more residential community than hotel. Built for extended stays, the suites have large, comfortable rooms with full kitchens, free in-room high-speed internet access, on-site laundry, and favorable rates for longer visits. Marriott has more than 120 TownePlace Suites hotels in over 30 States. TownePlace Suites: Live the way you want to live.
After Hurricane Katrina gas prices soared to as much as three dollars a gallon. But recently we've seen a drop in gas prices and although it's still not as low as it was a year ago, we're happy to see any sign that the gas prices are dipping.
With this in mind you may want to consider a road trip in your own rental RV (road vehicle).
Have you visited USATourist.com lately? www.USATourist.com We have several new additions and if you havent already be sure to check out our Photo Tours. These amazing pictures were taken by some very talented photographers and will give you a glimpse of our beautiful country. You may be tempted to jump on a plane today to come and see some of this incredible scenery for yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this issue of USATourist. Have a happy and safe holiday season. We'll see you in 2006!
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
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