Monday, June 30, 2008

Destinations That Won’t Break the Bank

The weak dollar and soaring gas prices doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on taking a break this summer. For those who believe that getaway is not simply pitching a tent in the backyard, there are six amazing places in the US, where you can have a fantastic vacationing experience without spending ‘too much’.

Downtown Atlanta

Hip and vibrant, Atlanta is a perfect blend of the old and the new. Numerous luxury hotels are springing up in the city. The recently opened W Atlanta in Midtown is within walking distance of the High Museum of Art and Piedmont Park. In downtown Atlanta, the new Ellis and Twelve Centennial Park hotels and the rehabbed Glenn Hotel are just a few steps away from the prominent attractions.

What's the deal: The $89 MVP (Most Valuable Package) on sale through Sept. 21 buys admission to five popular attractions. For information call 800-285-2682; or check out

Harbor Country, Michigan

Just a short drive from Chicago's downtown Loop, this is an amazing place offering a mix of beaches, you-pick-'em farms (blueberry season starts in early July) and shopping for antiques and art.

What's the deal: Free Fourth of July events include fireworks and live music in New Buffalo. For information check out:

North Texas Hill Country

Emerging as a new tourist destination here you will have plenty of opportunities for discovery, from visting Granbury's classic courthouse square; one of the best in Texas to scuba diving in cliff-lined Possum Kingdom Lake, you will have a great experience!

What's the deal: Stay two nights at gorgeous Wildcatter Ranch in Graham (888-462-9277; and they'll pay for your gas both ways from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For more information call; Travel Texas, 800-888-8839; or check out

Laguna Beach, California

Nestled between Laguna Canyon and the Pacific about 50 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, its picture-perfect setting has long attracted artists - at last count, about 400 are in residence - along with almost 100 galleries.

What's the deal: Free trolleys with extended summer hours circulate downtown and in the canyon so you can leave the car behind. . For more information call; Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau; 800-877-1115; or check out

Mount Rainier National Park

On a clear day, Mount Rainier is a giant mound of white looming over Seattle, and its national park, around 50 to 100 miles from the city is always worth another visit. There's a place 5,400 feet up the mountain called Paradise, and you'll know why when you see the wildflowers in July. The lush scenic beauty of the place will sweep you off your feet!

What's the deal: A newly extended free shuttle system whisks weekend visitors from Ashford, 6 miles outside the park's Nisqually entrance, to Longmire, where a second shuttle takes you to Paradise. For more information call; 877-270-7155; or check out

Charlottesville, Virginia

Better known for its academic affiliation, Charlottesville boasts a cornucopia of good restaurants rarely found in a town of 40,000 year-round residents.

What's the deal: The $29 Presidents' Pass buys discounted tours to three popular historical attractions: Monticello, Ash Lawn-Highland (Monroe's home) and the 18th-century Michie Tavern. For more information call; 877-386-1103; or check out

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