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Urban Explorations Vacations

Want just a small taste of the city on your vacation? Here are some locations that are large enough for plenty of fun activities and landmarks without too much congestion. Keep in mind that city prices can be a bit higher than rural destinations, but that shouldn’t keep you from a locale that you really want to explore.

Las Vegas, Nevadas

Las Vegas is famously a resort city, known for its vibrant nightlife, 24-hour casinos, and other entertainment options centered on the Strip. This one small portion features several dazzling landmarks, including the Bellagio’s fountains and other themed hotels, like replicas of an Egyptian pyramid, the Venetian Grand Canal, and the Eiffel Tower. You’ll also need to take a ride on the High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ for an amazing view. Inside the casinos themselves, you have your choice of live shows, countless cuisines, and some of the country’s hottest clubs.

But in case you want a break from city life, there are many places to see outside of Vegas and The Strip. One of these gems is Stateline, located on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe in the Mojave Desert. Though home to few residents, there are five casinos if you still need your gambling fix. What’s more, Stateline is heaven for people who love the outdoors, with Lake Tahoe, the 22-mile-long alpine lake being surrounded by snowy peaks and Emerald Bay State Park on its coastline. There you’ll find beautiful views and amazing forest hikes, as well as Vikingsholm Castle, one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City in New Jersey is the East Coast version of Las Vegas, as another resort city known for its many casinos, wide beaches and iconic Boardwalk. The casinos offer gaming options of every type, from slot machines to table games, as well as offering spa treatments, performances by famous comedy and music acts, and high-end shopping. Don’t miss out on the chance to keep the party going from sundown to sunrise, and with many options and atmospheres, you can always find the experience you’re looking for. Or keep moving from spot to spot throughout the night and satisfy all the members of your group.

Take a break from the casinos and partying, and check out Atlantic City’s many museums and monuments, which honor the Civil Rights movement, war heroes and figureheads that made Atlantic City what it is today. Or visit the The Atlantic City Heritage Collection. Take to the outdoors and learn to surf, go sea kayaking, charter a sport fishing boat and guide, or enjoy a bike ride along the boardwalk. Golfers can also enjoy one of the dozen superb golf courses Atlantic City has to offer.

Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C., the U.S. capital, is a compact city on the Potomac River. With plenty of free activities to enjoy, especially the iconic Smithsonian museums, you can stay busy without having to pay to have fun. It is even easy to get around with the Metro and other public transportation. Shop for some souvenirs at local shops or funky marketplaces, and take a break and people-watch. Enjoy fantastic cuisine at a multi-course dinners, and sample drinks from local breweries.

Venture just outside D.C. for more historic monuments and nature trails. Paddle on the Potomac River, or travel the same trails George Washington would have taken in the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Or visit Mount Vernon, Washington’s plantation. Check out gorgeous views of the water at Great Falls Park in McLean, Virginia. There are plenty of events and activities available all year long.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando is home to the world’s best collection of theme parks, of course, but leave some time to explore International Drive, go outlet shopping, and explore the copious dining options, which include exotically themed restaurants. I-Drive 360 offers multiple attractions, from the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, the iconic 400-foot tall observation wheel, to the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium and Madame Tussauds Orlando.

Downtown Orlando also has much to explore, with nightclubs and trendy restaurants on Church Street, to the family-friendly Orlando Science Center and Harry P. Leu Gardens.

San Diego, CA

San Diego is a city on the Pacific coast of southern California. Known for its beaches, parks and warm climate, it is home to Balboa Park and it’s renowned San Diego Zoo, as well as numerous art galleries, artist studios, museums and gardens. The deep harbor is home to the USS Midway, an aircraft-carrier-turned-museum that is open to the public. Check out Old Town San Diego, the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement from in 1769. The Gaslamp Quarter features Victorian buildings amongst dance clubs, swanky cocktail lounges and dive bars.

Across the bay, over a soaring bridge, lies the resort city of Coronado, featuring the iconic, luxurious red-roofed Hotel del Coronado, along with upscale shops and restaurants. Carlsbad is closeby, home to Tamarack Surf Beach and secluded South Carlsbad State Beach, as well as Legoland California theme park, which includes rides, a water park and the SEA LIFE Aquarium. Oceanside is just a little further north, and is famous for surfing and bodyboarding competitions, golf courses, and parks. The California Surf Museum is located in downtown Oceanside, which is dedicated to archiving and displaying surfboards, surf art, memorabilia, surfing equipment, photographs, magazines, videos, and more.

TripBeat has resorts in all of these amazing urban locations, so you don’t have to venture far to get an amazing vacation.


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