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USATourist News Magazine

December 2006

In this issue:

The New Year is almost here which means it is not too early to be planning your 2007 travels here in the United States. This month we will be offering some ideas on where you may want to consider spending your holidays and vacations.

Enjoy the outdoors

If you love the great outdoors the United States has thousands of parks, rivers, lakes, and mountains that are perfect for spending your days outdoors. Many small towns have local motels and cabins you can stay in or you might want to consider camping, a fun and recreational way to experience nature firsthand. Camping offers access to endless opportunities for fun and exciting things to do like hiking, biking, climbing, and if you are near a river activities may include white water rafting, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, fly-fishing, and swimming. Looking for the perfect campsite? Try this list:

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A favorite tourist destination is the Appalachian Trail, a 2,175-mile long footpath that is enjoyed by millions of people each year. Some visitors enjoy short day hikes and others venture on long-distant overnight hikes. Nearby is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Renting a houseboat is another great way to spend a week and still be among nature. There are plenty of activities to participate in while staying in a houseboat including fishing, swimming, scuba diving, waterskiing, hiking, or just enjoying the beautiful scenery around you. Plus, it really is like having your own condo on the water.

The U.S. has many wonderful National and State parks. On the National Parks Service Web site there is an option to search by topic and state. There is an excellent tool for locating places that are of interest to you. Dinosaurs, volcanoes, hot springs, camping, hunting, and climbing are just a few of the options.

Ski with the Powder Pass!

Of course the most popular winter-time outdoor activity is skiing! The U.S. has some amazing resorts. And the best way to take advantage of them is with the Powder Passport. It is a multi-mountain access pass that gives you UNRESTRICTED skiing and riding at your choice of 18 Northeast Mountains with no blackout dates. Ski at New England Mountains, plus resorts in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York. One low price saves you money and is good on holidays and weekends. YouÂ’ll also get a FREE full-color guidebook featuring mountain stats, trail maps, and directions PLUS great savings on nearby lodging. Good through 4/30/07.

Take a vacation for the mind, body and spirit

Destination health spas are becoming more and more popular. Destination spas are full-service health centers that concentrate on improving their guests' physical and mental wellbeing. Guests have many options during their stay such as exercise and yoga classes, personal training, massages, spa treatments, and much more. Spa Finder is a nice site to locate a spa that is perfect for you.

Dr. Beach's Top 10 Beaches

The United States coastlines have many beautiful beaches. A beach vacation is always wonderful. Sports and activities during a beach vacation include water skiing, parasailing, surfing, or just laying back with a book.

If you are looking for advice on what beaches might be "best" you might want to consider the advice of Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach. Every year Dr. Leatherman puts out America's Top 10 Beaches. A lot of analyzing and research goes into deciding the final lists. The 2006 lists consists of: Fleming Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii - National Winner; Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida; Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina; Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York; Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii; Main Beach, East Hampton, New York; Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Coronado Beach, San Diego, California; Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii; and Barefoot Beach Park, Bonita Springs, Florida. This link to Dr. Leatherman's Web site also has a list of former winners as well as pictures.

Dude Ranches

Looking for a different type of vacation? Let real cowboys and cowgirls show you what life on a ranch is like. The U.S. has many dude ranches open to guests who are interested in living the life of a cowboy or rancher. There are two types of ranch vacations. A working ranch allows the visitors to get involved in the hustle and bustle of the daily life on a ranch. A resort ranch is a more laidback and fun environment.

Here is a link that offers descriptions of several dude ranches:

Amusement and Theme Parks

California and Florida are both overflowing with amusement and theme parks. Disney Land, Knott's Berry Farm, Lego Land, Paramount's Great America, Sea World San Diego, and Universal Studios Hollywood are just some of the theme parks throughout in California.

In the state of Florida you will find Busch Gardens, The Holy Land Experience, Lion Country Safari, Sea World Florida, Universal Orlando: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, Walt Disney World: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney/MGM Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Theme parks are not limited to California and Florida. 27 Six Flags amusement and water parks are found through out the U.S. Then there are local parks like Dollywood in the Great Smokey Mountains in Pigeon, Tennessee.

If a theme park adventure interests you here is a site with links to numerous theme parks:

Sunstate Rental Deal

Whether you are visiting Florida for the Amusement Parks or the top beaches, renting from Sunstate is always a good idea! SunState Vacation Rentals has a huge selection of affordable luxury homes located just minutes from Disney World, shopping, golf courses, nightlife, and hundreds of casual and fine dining restaurants. Choose from 2 bedroom townhomes to 6 bedroom luxury/premier homes. For a limited time, take advantage of their special Winter Wonder promotion and save 10% off any vacation home rental over 5 days. Make sure to mention USATourist when making your reservation!

December is a busy travel month

So be sure to arrive early to the airport and check with TSA for new or changing security measures and restrictions.

We hope you were able to get some ideas for traveling the U.S. in 2007. Have a safe and happy holiday season. Next month we will be highlighting some of the special occasions and holiday dates of 2007. We will see you next month!

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

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