Monterey California’s Coastal Beauty

July 15th, 2014

 Monterey hotel accommodations, Monterey travel reservations, Monterey discount travel, Monterey cheap travel deals, online travel booking

 Monterey hotel accommodations, Monterey travel reservations, Monterey discount travel, Monterey cheap travel deals, online travel booking

Monterey California is a beautiful seaside town located around an hour south of San Jose California (70 miles).  You can find some connecting commuter flights direct to the Monterey Peninsula Airport from major west coast airports, like San Francisco and Los Angeles.  You will find many more direct flights into the San Jose International Airport, and then simply drive.  Besides, you will need a rental car to get around the Monterey area and see all the sites.  Monterey is filled with history, culture, shopping, outdoor sports activities, pristine beaches, fine dining and entertainment.  It’s the perfect place for weekend getaways.  Visit VoyageMonkey.com Travel for hotel accommodations, flights and car rentals.

The first stop for most people while visiting Monterey is Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf.  Located on the downtown waterfront, both areas feature shopping, dining, entertainment and activities.  There are plenty of shops and restaurants here and interesting things to see and do.  Here you can take a Monterey Bay cruise and see ocean wildlife like Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Dolphin, Whales, and more.  You can also find activity centers offering activities like sailing, Kayaking, fishing, Scuba diving, winery tours, local spa visits, bike rentals, hiking, and Segway tours.

Perhaps the most popular attraction along the Monterey waterfront is the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Over 1.8 million people visit the aquarium each year.  The aquarium’s mission is to inspire conservation of the oceans.  The aquarium has over 600 species of plants and marine life on display and tanks as large as 1.2 million gallons.  The aquarium features a giant kelp forest exhibit, Monterey Bay habitats, an open sea habitat, Jelly Fish exhibit, and much more.  Animal displays include sharks, giant Octopus, Tuna, Sea Horses, Sea Otters, Penguins, Sea Turtles, Stingrays, and a variety of other Monterey Bay sea life.  The aquarium is an educational and entertaining experience you can’t miss.

No visit to Monterey is complete without taking a short drive south down Highway One to the picturesque town of Carmel by the Sea and the famous 17-mile drive through the Del Monte Forest and breathtaking coastline at Pebble Beach.  This drive is rated one of the best scenic drives in the world.  Pebble Beach has eight championship golf courses and some of the most beautiful coastline in the world.  From there take Highway One south through scenic Big Sur with its remote charm and populous of eclectic artists, photographers, writers and musicians.  Plan on spending all day on this drive as you’ll be making plenty of stops along the way to take photos and explore.

Monterey has excellent restaurants featuring fresh seafood and all kinds of international cuisine and fine wine.  Some of our favorite dining sports in Monterey include Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar, Restaurant 1833, Montrio Bistro, Old Fisherman’s Grotto, the Monterey Fish House, Bistro Moulin, Jack’s at Portola Hotel, and the Sardine Factory.  You’ll also find plenty of casual dining spots, bars and pubs.  If you want to dine in nearby Carmel, we recommend Anton and Michel, Aubergine, Marinus, Portabella, Casanova, and the Flying Fish Grill.  These are some of the most popular dining spots so make reservations.

The best hotels in Monterey include the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, InterContinental’s Clement Monterey, Hyatt Regency Monterey, the Monterey Bay Inn, the Monterey Marriott, Hotel Pacific, and the Portola Hotel & Spa.  In nearby Carmel we recommend the Quail Lodge, Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach, the Inn at Spanish Bay, Hyatt Carmel Highlands, L’Auberge Carmel, and the Carmel Valley Ranch Resort.  You’ll also find plenty of smaller hotels, motels and Bed & Breakfast inns around the area.

VoyageMonkey.com Travel has an inventory of Monterey hotel accommodations to choose from as well as flights and car rentals.  Book your travel reservations now at VoyageMonkey.com.

Vancouver B.C. Canada – Great Northwest Metropolis

June 12th, 2014

Vancouver online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

Vancouver online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

Vancouver B.C. is a large multi-cultural city situated 141 miles north of Seattle Washington.  It’s around a 2.5 hour drive by car from Seattle or you can fly directly into Vancouver International Airport.  Visit VoyageMonkey.com Travel for hotel accommodations, flights and car rentals.  A great way to see this city is on the Vancouver Trolly Hop-On & Hop-Off tour, which allows you to get on and off the tour at any point to see the attractions at your leisure.  You can also get around the city on the Sky Train system, their rapid transit metro system.   This city is filed with culture, arts, entertainment, and fine dining.  You’ll find plenty to do and see.

For some sightseeing, step aboard one of the old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages and ride in class through the splendor of Stanley Park, Vancouver’s most popular attraction.  If you love beautiful city parks, you can visit the beautiful Van Dusen Botanical Gardens with its lush foliage.  Another spectacular park to visit is the Queen Elizabeth Park.  All three of these are worth a visit.  The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden is a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary in the heart of the city.  The gardens feature incredibly manicured foliage and they were the first authentic Chinese gardens built outside of China. You’ll enjoy your stroll along the beautiful paths and admire the architecture, plants, water and rocks.

If you are more adventurous, you can walk across the narrow swaying Capilano Suspension Bridge, which stretches 450 feet across a canyon 230 feet above the Capilano River below. While you are there you can explore the lush fern and fir forests by crossing a series of seven suspension bridges as high as 110 feet above the forest floor. The new Cliffwalk follows a trail along the Capilano River on a series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms.  This is a great place for a nature hike.

There is plenty of activity around the Harbor near the cruise ship terminals.  Harbour Cruises & Events, and Harbour Cruises Ltd, Vancouver’s leading boat sightseeing companies, provide spectacular views of Vancouver and offer a unique and delightful way to experience the city. You can find regularly scheduled cruises every day and evening. Located in the downtown Harbour Centre, the 430 feet high Vancouver Lookout is the perfect place to view the city from above.  The Vancouver Aquarium is home to over 70,000 fascinating creatures from the Arctic to the Amazon. Be sure to catch the daily beluga whale, dolphin and sea otter shows.  For an unforgettable experience try a hands-on animal encounter.

At the Vancouver Art Gallery, their fabulous collection of contemporary art is worth exploring. You’ll see the collection of works by the famous British Columbian artist Emily Carr. On the south side you can stop by the Visitor Center for great information and tips.  There is also a wonderful Museum of Anthropology to enjoy.  At Science World you’ll discover the wonders of science. They feature popular, hands-on interactive displays, inspirational feature exhibitions, and jaw-dropping science demonstrations on Centre Stage, immersive films in the domed OMNIMAX Theatre and awesome shows in their Science Theatre.

Being a multi-Cultural City, you’ll find all kinds of cuisine and fine dining around town.  You’ll find all kinds of Pacific-Rim influenced dining establishments as well as European, Mexican, and other international restaurants.  Popular restaurants include Salmon n’ Bannock, Bishop’s, Absinthe Bistro, Blue Water Café & Raw Bar, Miku Japanese, and the Oakwood Canadian Bistro.

The best 5-Star hotels in Vancouver include the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, the Fairmont Pacific Rim, the Shangi-La Hotel, and the Four Seasons.  There are many 4-Star hotels in Vancouver to choose from like the Fairmont Waterfront, Hyatt Regency, the Westin Grand, and the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown.

VoyageMonkey.com Travel has an inventory of Vancouver hotel accommodations to choose from as well as flights and car rentals.  Book your travel reservations now at VoyageMonkey.com.

Atlantic City, Beach Boardwalk and Casino Fun

April 15th, 2014

Atlantic City online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

Located along the Atlantic Ocean around 125 miles south of New York City, Atlantic city is a fun playground of gambling casinos, entertainment, events, concerts, festivals, bars, nightclubs, and fine dining.  In addition to its world-class casino resorts you’ll discover plenty of arts & culture, luxury spas, shopping, attractions, white sand beaches, and the popular Atlantic City Boardwalk.  You’ll find plenty to keep you entertained and pampered.  Best of all, everything is walking distance. The closest major airport to Atlantic City is the Philadelphia International Airport which is about an hour drive.  Visit VoyageMonkey.com Travel for hotel accommodations, flights and car rentals.

The famous Atlantic City Beach and Boardwalk offers unique retail shops & dining, as well as plenty of beach activities like surfing,  windsurfing, Kayaking, parasailing, fishing and basic beach fun.  The beautiful beach is wide with plenty of room to spread out and soak up the sunshine.  The beach boardwalk is a bustling area that is vibrant with beach bars, music and amusement.  You can rent a bike or aquatic equipment here and then hit the water.  The boardwalk is always lively and one of the best places to simply people watch.

The area has many interesting attractions to visit including the State’s tallest lighthouse.  Steel Pier includes a Ferris wheel and some amusement park rides.  There’s a Ripley’s Believe it or Not full of strange displays.  The popular Atlantic City Aquarium features eleven large aquatic tanks and various interactive exhibits.  Visitors can view tiger sharks, stingrays, seahorses, and handle some small sea creatures.  There is an African American Heritage Museum and History Museum featuring soldiers’ memorabilia and historic displays & artifacts.  The area provides many other activities & attractions like the Atlantic City Art Center, over a dozen golf courses, miniature golf, Paintball, Go-Cart racing, a saltwater taffy factory, parks, art galleries, ballet, symphony, and performing arts.

There is no shortage of fine dining in Atlantic City.  Some of the best world famous chefs operate restaurants here.   You’ll find some of the better restaurants located at the casino resorts.  Super popular restaurants in town include Dock’s Oyster House, Café 2825, Capriccio’s, Amada, Chef Vola’s, Buddakan, and Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse  You’ll find plenty of excellent seafood restaurants and steak houses in Atlantic City, including old school standards like Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, and the Chart House.  There are some great all you can eat buffets in town as well as casual ethnic restaurants, delis and diners.

There are plenty of hotel choices in the area.  We recommend staying in the middle of the action at one of the resort casinos.  That will provide you with on-site gaming, dining & entertainment, and keep you walking distance to all the other casinos, the beach, dining, and attractions.  Some popular resort casino choices include the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the Golden Nugget Casino Resort, the Water Club by Borgata, Revel Casino Resort, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort, Trump Taj Mahal, the Atlantic Club, the Tropicana, the Showboat Casino Resort, and Bally’s Atlantic City.  If you don’t want to stay at a casino you can find plenty of hotels like a Wyndham, Marriott, or Sheraton in the area.

VoyageMonkey.com Travel has an inventory of Atlantic City hotel accommodations to choose from as well as flights and car rentals.  Book your travel reservations now at VoyageMonkey.com.

 

Martha’s Vineyard, A summer Vacation Haven

March 1st, 2014

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  online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

Martha’s’ Vineyard is a summer haven vacation island located around 10 miles south of the Cape Cod coast of Massachusetts.  Summer temperatures average in the low 70’s making it very enjoyable.  The island is only 100 square miles in area and is only accessible by boat or air.  You can take a ferry from Falmouth Massachusetts (1.5 hours from “Boston) that takes around half an hour.  A good way to get around the island is to rent a scooter.  There is also a public bus service provided on the island that is very convenient and travels through all six small towns on the island.  To visualize the island, the famous 1974 movie Jaws was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard.  You can book your trip now at VoyageMonkey.com Travel.

The Island features plenty of great beaches, excellent nature trails for hiking and biking, many great restaurants, fantastic shopping at the many boutiques and local art galleries, kayaking, fishing, boating and water sports.  You’ll even find an Alpaca herd on the island.  This island will take you back to a simpler time.  Stop into Alley’s General Store which has been in operation since 1858.  Here you can grab a bite or some island souvenirs.  There are sightseeing buses to tour the island and show you all the highlights.  Enjoy the quiet island pace and relax.

Many of Martha’s Vineyard beaches are part of the islands five distinct wildlife refuges, so they are pristine and unspoiled.  Some beaches are open to the public without restriction, while others are reserved for residents and summer visitors who are staying in the towns where the beaches are located.  Guests of the island enjoy visiting South Beach (Katama Beach) one of the most pristine locations on Martha’s Vineyard.  The clean sand on this three mile barrier beach provides for a great place to lay down a beach blanket and relax.  Lobsterville Beach on the western end of the island offers two miles of beach and beautiful dunes.  Menemsha Beach also on the western side of the island offers great sunsets and the nearby fishing docks are an excellent spot to enjoy some fresh daily seafood or lobster, and crack open a bottle of wine. 

There are a couple of picturesque lighthouses to visit on Martha’s Vineyard.   The Aquinnah Gay Head Lighthouse offers one of the most spectacular views on the island, a quaint nearby beach, and small shops run by original island settlers.  The bluffs are colorful and the area is kept pristine.  It’s like the perfect postcard.  It is a protected National Historic Landmark and the lighthouse was made from clay bricks from the site.  The East Chop lighthouse provides an awesome lookout point, benches and walking trails with a great view of Cape Cod in the distance.  It is very peaceful there and it’s the perfect place to watch the boats, ships and ferries go by.  The Edgartown Lighthouse sits on an amazingly beautiful beach on the edge of Edgartown where there are nearby shops and restaurants.  The lighthouse itself is beautiful and a climb to the top of the lighthouse offers great photos.  After visiting the lighthouse you can take a relaxing stroll around Edgartown.

In the northern part of the island you’ll discover Oak Bluffs with its unique architecture of the many cute historic houses and colorful pastel gingerbread cottages built in the 1800’s with their ornate trim and tiny porches.  It’s like being transported to a different world or time in a story book.  Great place to stroll with all the little side streets.  There are summer events and activities held in Oak Bluffs.  While at Oak Bluffs be sure to ride the historic Flying Horses Carousel built in 1876.  The Offshore Ale Co. located in Oak Bluffs offers their exquisite house brewed ales as well as an extensive pub menu for lunch and dinner.

Being a small island there are no major hotels or resorts in Martha’s Vineyard.  You’ll find nice intimate accommodations like the four-star Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown and some smaller 3-star inns like the Clarion Inn or Harborside Inn, both in Edgartown, or the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven.  There are also plenty of smaller bed & breakfast inns and private rentals. VoyageMonkey.com Travel has an inventory of Martha’s Vineyard hotel accommodations to choose from.  Book your travel reservations now at VoyageMonkey.com.

Lake Tahoe, Year-Round Fun for All

February 7th, 2014

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online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

Located in the high Sierra Nevada Mountain on the California Nevada Border, this year-round play- ground offers beauty, gambling, entertainment, fine dining, and plenty of outdoor activities like some of the best winter skiing, and fair weather hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing and water sports.

Winter time in Tahoe brings skiing enthusiasts and snow boarders from around the world to some of the best ski resorts in the3 world.  The most popular, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, is Squaw Valley Ski Resort.  This ski resort spans 3,600 skiable acres and offers 30 chairlifts and a scenic Aerial Tram.  Another popular ski resort is the Heavenly Mountain Resort on Tahoe’s south shore.  With 4,800 skiable acres this is the largest resort in California & Nevada.  This resort offers an aerial tram from the State Line casino area to the resort.  The summit at Heavenly is over 10,000 feet and they have a 3,500 foot vertical drop.  Here you can ski Nevada and California and enjoy spectacular views of the lake below.   Other lake Tahoe Ski resorts include Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Northstar Ski Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort, Mt. Rose Ski Resort, and more.

Once the winter snow melts, visitors can enjoy the many championship golf courses around the lake, like the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on the south shore which offers scenic beauty. Lake front greens, and a world-class club house, lake view restaurant, bar and pro shop.  The course host celebrity golf and PGA tournaments and is always kept pristine.  There are around 14 golf courses around Lake Tahoe.  Other popular Tahoe golf courses include the Incline Village Mountain Golf Course and Championship Golf Course, the Lake Tahoe Golf Course and the Tahoe Paradise Golf Course, both in south shore.

One of the most beautiful spots to visit on the lake is Sand Harbor on the north east shore with its picturesque coves, rocks and boulders lining the shore reflecting of the crystal clear waters.  This State park has picnic areas, a gorgeous beach, trails, swimming and kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, Jet Ski rentals, boat ramp, snack bar, and some of the best views of the natural beauty this mountain lake has to offer.  Another spot of sheer beauty on the western shore is Emerald Bay.  It features the tini picturesque Fannette Island in the cove-like bay and Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian castle-like structure.  Emerald Bay is a State park and National Natural Landmark that includes camp grounds, hiking trails, kayaking and boating.

Scattered around the Nevada shores of Lake Tahoe you can find a number of world-class gambling resort casinos.  The resorts offer luxury guest rooms & suites, table games and slots, entertainment, and fine dining.  In the south shore you’ll find popular resorts such as Harrah’s Resort & Casino, Harvey’s Resort & Casino, the Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa, the Horizon Casino Resort, the Lakeside Inn & Casino, as well as other smaller gambling establishments.  On Lake Tahoe’s north shore you’ll find popular resorts such as the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort Spa & Casino, the Cal-Neva Resort & Casino, the Crystal Bay Club & Casino, and the Tahoe Biltmore Casino.  Or you can drive Just around an hour away to America’s Biggest Little City, Reno Nevada, which offers many more world-class casinos, entertainment and dining.

Although we recommend staying at the casino resorts, you’ll find plenty of great lodging all around the Lake Tahoe Area.  You can choose from higher-end lodging like the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe and the Grand Residences by Marriott, or choose from hundreds of smaller lodges, motels, and inns.  VoyageMonkey.com Travel has an inventory of Lake Tahoe hotel accommodations to choose from.  Book your travel reservations now at VoyageMonkey.com.

Nashville Tennessee, America’s Music City

January 1st, 2014

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online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

The heart of the American Country Music scene, Nashville Tennessee is alive with music, nightlife, fabulous restaurants, a rich recording history, and good old southern hospitality.    Called Music City by many, music is the very heart of Nashville.  Nashville is the country western music capitol of the world.  In addition to classic country music, you’ll find plenty of bluegrass, rock, pop, Americana, gospel, classical, jazz and blues.   You owe it to yourself to visit this American classic town.

You’ll discover popular attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum which features the world’s largest collection of country music artifacts.  Across the street would find the Music City Walk of Fame where you’ll find stars in the sidewalk commemorating your favorite country music celebrities.  You can also take a tour of Music Row and visit the recording studios where Elvis, Roy Orbison and many others recorded popular hits. 

No visit to Nashville is complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry which showcases country music superstars and new upcoming country music talent.  The Grand Ole Opry started as a radio show in 1925 and has been going strong ever since.  You can hear performers like Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Vince Gill Charlie Daniels and more at this historic venue.

If you want to visit some country music night clubs then spot by the Honky Tonk Highway.  This Lower Broadway area is a vibrant music scene with popular clubs like Second Fiddle, the Stage, the Bluegrass Inn and many more.  Many country music stars have begun their careers in the Lower Broadway clubs and they still often frequent these clubs looking for new talent.  In this area you’ll also find the historic Ryman Auditorium which was founded in 1892 and has hosted performers from Johnny Cash to Jon Bon Jovi.

Nashville offers unique shopping opportunities with its many antique stores and small boutiques you’ll find around town.  Here you can find unique items you can’t find anywhere else.  Find that pare of fancy cowboy boots you’ve been looking for.  There are also some fantastic shopping malls around Nashville, like Opry Mills, CoolSprings Galleria, the Mall at Green Hills and more.

Dining in Nashville is always a fun experience as you can indulge in the fine Southern cuisine and succulent barbeque as well as an array of international dining options throughout the city.  You’ll find Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Irish, and fabulous steak houses.  For recommended fine dining visit Etch located downtown at 303 Demonbreun; Kayne Prime located downtown at 1103 McGavock Street; Mason’s Restaurant at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel; or, the Bluebird Café at 4104 Hillsboro Rd.

If you want a great place to stay while visiting Nashville we recommend the following hotels:  Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown, the Omni Nashville Hotel, the Marriott Vanderbilt, the Hilton Nashville Downtown, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Renaissance Nashville, the Hermitage Hotel, the Hutton Hotel, and Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Nashville.  VoyageMokey.com Travel regularly has travel deals on Nashville hotel accommodations, flights and rental cars for your Nashville getaway.

 

Napa Valley, California’s Wine Country Getaway

September 5th, 2013

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 online travel booking, vacation package deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel, travel deals, cheap travel

Less than 1-hour north on the beautiful City of San Francisco, you’ll discover California’s wine country, the Napa Valley.  Napa Valley is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.  Find spectacular views, picturesque rolling hills planted with vineyards year-round, mustard growing in the late winter, and wineries dotting the landscape.  The lush valley of vineyards stretches 25 miles from the Town of Napa in the south valley, to the town of Calistoga in the north valley.  Whether you are wine tasting, pampering yourself with a mud bath or spa treatment in Calistoga, dining at renowned restaurants, or just enjoying your stay at one of the fabulous resorts, Napa Valley is the perfect getaway destination.  Make your travel reservations now and save at VoyageMonkey.com Travel. 

You will find plenty of activities and attractions in the Napa Valley.  Of Course, wine tasting at the local wineries is the most popular activity among tourist.  You can pick up a winery map almost anywhere in the valley and start your tasting journey.  There are two main roads that run the length of the valley between Napa and Calistoga.  They are the main road, highway 29, and the more picturesque and less traveled Silverado Trail.  Together these nearly run a loop around the valley, passing many of the most popular wineries and restaurants.  There are many ways to travel between wineries rather than driving.  The Napa Valley Wine Trolley allows you to experience Napa Valley in a motorized open-air Cable Car! The Trolley provides 6-hour wine tasting tours around the valley each day.  Alternatively, the Napa Valley Wine Train is also super popular and is Napa’s most distinctive restaurant on wheels.  The Wine Train offers gourmet fine dining, wine tasting, and exclusive winery tours, all aboard beautifully restored antique rail cars. Advance reservations are required for the Wine Train.  Other wine tasting tours include traveling through the vineyards on a 7-mile loop to several boutique wineries in a horse drawn carriage.  The carriage tour offers beautiful scenery, world class wines, and a sumptuous lunch.  You will also find many limousine companies in the area that specialize in wine tasting tours. There are also many bike touring companies that have guided tours and rent bicycles so you can peddle around the wine country. 

Other popular activities in the Napa Valley include taking a hot air balloon ride over the valley and vineyards.  If you are more daring, you can fly in a glider plane, experience soaring on a thermal updraft and sailing on the wind, or barnstorm in a Vintage Bi-Plane.  There are many Spas in Napa Valley that include an array of beauty and body treatments, full salons, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, fitness rooms, and even mud baths.  A few of the popular Spas include The Spa at Silverado Resort, the Villagio Inn & Spa, Solage Calistoga, and Health Spa Napa Valley.  Avid Golfers can enjoy playing the pristine championship golf courses in the beautiful landscape of the wine country.  Eagle Vines Golf Club, Chardonnay Golf Club, and Silverado Resort & Spa all offer 18-holes of lush vegetation, lakes, ponds, grape vines, and beautiful scenery.  Many visitors to the Napa Valley tour Safari West, a 400 acre wildlife sanctuary.  Safari West is home to over 400 mammals and birds and offers an intimate exposure to wildlife via open-air jeep tours daily.  Visitors to the preserve can experience a taste of Africa in the wine country.  If you are a foodie, the Culinary Institute of America offers a memorable experience at its restaurants, retail stores, and offers public tours. 

When it comes to dining, the Napa Valley has no shortage of fine dining restaurants.  Wine is meant to be enjoyed, especially with food. Top Chefs prepare delicate artistic creations of food paired with fine wines for a fantastic dining experience.  You can find everything from a sumptuous Italian Dinner or French feast, modern American cuisine, Pacific Rim, steaming seafood or tangy BBQ ribs and steaks.  Some of the most popular restaurants include Bistro Don Giovanni , Cole’s Chop House, Carpe Diem Wine Bar, La Toque at Westin Napa, FARM at the Carneros Inn,  Press St. Helena, Market (St. Helena),  Solbar at Solage Resort, Tra Vigne, and The French Laundry. 

Recommended hotels and resorts in Napa Valley include the Silverado Resort & Spa, the Andaz Napa Hyatt, the Westin Verasa, the Solage Calistoga, the Vino Bello Resort, the River Terrace Inn, The Meritage Resort & Spa, The Carneros Inn, and the Wine Country Inn.  VoyageMokey.com Travel regularly has travel deals on Napa Valley hotel accommodations, flights and rental cars for your California wine country getaway.

Seattle, the Jewel of the Pacific Northwest

August 3rd, 2013

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 Seattle vacation package deals, Seattle discount travel, Seattle online travel booking, Seattle discount cruises, Seattle travel deals, Seattle cheap travel, Seattle cruise vacation, Seattle hotel accommodations, Seattle travel reservations

The lovely city of Seattle Washington sits on the sparkling waters of Elliott Bay, Surrounded by green hills and the majestic 14,000 foot rocky peak of Mount Rainier in the background.  The Seattle area provides easy access to the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, several lush expansive city parks, as well as 13 national parks.  A visit to Seattle allows visitors to enjoy the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest, along with its many fine restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and coffee houses.  Most major airlines fly into Seattle daily.  Click here to find a flight and hotel.

The convenient Washington State Ferry system is a great way to get out on Elliott bay and enjoy the local scenery.  From the main ferry terminal at the Coleman Dock you can take a ferry to Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, four of the beautiful San Juan Islands (San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw), and other interesting locations.  These day trips allow you to experience many of the area’s local shops, restaurants, bars and galleries outside of the city.  A popular Ferry trip is to Alki Beach in West Seattle. Alki Beach offers an expansive view of the Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay.  At Alki Beach, you will find local beach community restaurants and bars offering affordable food, drinks, and vibrant happy hours.

At the north edge of downtown, at the Seattle Center, you will find the famous Seattle Space Needle, as well as several popular museums, the Seattle Opera, and Theatre & Ballet venues.  The 74-acre Seattle Center is the site of the 1962 World’s Fair.  It currently hosts the Children’s Museum, Children’s Theater, Fun Forest Amusement Park, Pacific Science Center, and the Experience Music Project Museum.  The Seattle Center Monorail provides fast, direct transportation between downtown’s Westlake Center Mall and Seattle Center. Trains operate daily, with departures every ten minutes.

No visit to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Space Needle’s observation deck located 520 feet above Seattle.  The Observation Deck offers 360 degrees of breathtaking indoor and outdoor viewing of the city below.  Here you’ll find electronic kiosks that share a wealth of information and depth about the physical view of the city and its surrounding areas.  Relax for a while at SkyCity, the Space Needle’s world-famous revolving restaurant located 500 feet above the ground.  The award winning SkyCity features more than 90 Washington State wines, Northwest-grown beef, produce from local farmers, and fresh wild-caught Pacific Northwest seafood.

One of the most popular attractions at the Seattle Center is the Experience Music Project. Inspired by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen’s passion for Jimi Hendrix’s music, the facility houses around 80,000 music artifacts, including handwritten lyrics by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, a Fender Stratocaster that Hendrix demolished on stage, Janis Joplin’s pink feather boa, the world’s first steel guitar, and Hendrix’s signed contract to play at Woodstock.  You’ll find interactive exhibits that allow you to play guitar, jam to a crowd of screaming virtual fans, and experience music in a unique way.

Along the Seattle waterfront you’ll find many attractions, restaurants, entertainment and activities.  The city’s bustling, historic Pike Place Market is the heart of Seattle.  In operation since 1907, Pike Place Market is famous for its fresh fruit and vegetables, unique shops, fish-throwing fish salesmen, and the world’s first Starbucks coffee shop.  Just down the steps from the market, the waterfront attracts strollers, ferry riders and families touring the Seattle Aquarium. The Aquarium features a mammoth 120,000-gallon showcase of sea creatures, a tide pool exhibit, a 360 degree view of Puget Sound sea life in an underwater dome, and a Pacific coral reef exhibit.  Also along the waterfront you’ll find the Seattle Art Museum’s nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park, featuring contemporary works of art set against a backdrop of Puget Sound with a pedestrian path that leads to a beach.

Other Seattle attractions include: the historic Pioneer Square with its preserved 189′0²s buildings, galleries, pubs and shops;  the Museum of Flight with its superb aircraft displays; the Woodland Park Zoo; the 23-acre Washington park Arboretum featuring more than 5,500 different plants and a Japanese garden; and, Boeing’s commercial jet assembly plant.

Seattle is also known for its many fine restaurants and diverse ethnic cuisine.  If you are looking for fine gourmet dining, try Altura or Art of the Table.  Both of these award winning restaurants are praised by the food critics.  Seattle offers some of the freshest Pacific seafood.  Top seafood restaurants like Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar, and Elliott’s Oyster House, feature local caught seafood daily.  If you are a steak lover then try John Howie Steak or the Metropolitan Grill for some Northwest beef grilled to perfection.  Seattle has some of the best ethnic foods in America, from Chinese, Indian, Thai, and Pacific Rim, to Mexican, Caribbean and Brazilian.  You will find it all in Seattle.

Seattle also boasts many upscale hotels and accommodations.  If you are looking for the royal treatment, you can choose to stay at the 5-Star, Fairmont Olympic Hotel or the Four Seasons Seattle.  If you are a bit price sensitive but still want upscale accommodations, then you can try the 4-Star, Westin, W Hotel, Sheraton, Hyatt, Marriott, or Renaissance.  VoyageMonkey.com Travel provides easy online travel booking at discounted rates for all of the above hotel accommodations.

North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Beaches, Nature, and More

July 26th, 2013

Vacation Package Deals to North Carolina Outer Banks, online travel booking, chep travel deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel

 Vacation Package Deals to North Carolina Outer Banks, online travel booking, chep travel deals, hotel accommodations, travel reservations, discount travel

The Outer Banks located in North Carolina are a group of barrier islands stretching along the Atlantic coast nearly 100 miles made up of the Northern Beaches, Roanoke Island & Dare Mainland, and Hatteras Island.  If you are going to fly the best airports to arrive at are either Norfolk, Virginia (ORF) which is a two hour drive down the coast, or Raleigh Durham, North Carolina (RDU) which is about a 4 hour drive depending on traffic.    You can find a variety of flights, hotels and car rental deals at Voyagemonkey.com.

The Northern Beaches consist of the following towns:  Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head.  These small towns are a wonderful vacation spot filled with great beaches, outdoor activities including kayaking, jet skiing, and paddle boards, as well as some food fishing.  On the music scene, the town of Duck will host its annual Jazz Festival in October which commenced in 2007.  And for those that enjoy nature, Kitty Hawk boasts a 461 acres of maritime forest reserve called Kitty Hawk Woods featuring 1877.2 acres of maritime deciduous swamp, forest and marsh.  The reserve has a great diversity of wildlife from the gray fox and white tailed deer to muskrats, river otters, reptiles, hawks, warblers and herons to name a few.  The reserve has hiking trails and is closed to the public after sunset.  And of course, you cannot go to the Northern Beaches without spending some time in Kill Devil Hills home to the Wright Brothers Memorial Shaft , the site of the first heavier than air powered flight.  On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made a twelve second and 120 foot flight which commenced the Age of Aviation.  Whether you relax along the beaches, hike the trails in Kitty Hawk or shop at the Tanger Outlets in Nags Head, there are activities for everyone to enjoy.  There are also many good restaurants to choose from and Voyagemonkey.com  recommends the Colington Café located behind the Wright Memorial in a beautiful Victorian home that has a variety of gourmet food and great service that easily accommodate intimate parties or large groups.  Other restaurants we recommend are the Flying Fish Café, and Miller’s Seafood and Steak House.  When it comes to lodging, the town of Kill Devil Hills has a variety of vacation rentals, as well as many moderately priced hotels and motels with great deals to be found at Voyagemonkey.com

As you move down the coast to Roanoke Island & Dare Mainland you will arrive upon the waterfront town of Manteo in the North and the fishing village of Wanchese located at the southernmost end of Roanoke Island.   The main attractions consist of the Roanoke Island Festival Park exhibiting a 25-acre interactive historic site representing the first English settlement attempt in 1585, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island known for the largest collection of sharks in the state, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on 513 acres of land which includes the Elizabethan Gardens built as a memorial to Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists, and the historic Bodie Island Lighthouse built in 1872.  There are also plenty of restaurants including Front Porch Café, Stripers Bar & Grille, and La Dolce Vita.

For a fun day trip to explore the southernmost towns of The Outer Banks, you can drive from Nags Head down to Hatteras in less than 2 hours and explore the many beautiful towns along the way including Rodanthe which was the setting for the major motion picture starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane name Nights in Rodanthe, as well as the town Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton home of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Frisco and Hatteras each boasting of the natural unspoiled beauty and wildlife, local restaurants, as well as vacation rentals and motels.  Now go and explore North Carolina’s Outer Banks for another fun-filled adventure filled with American History.  Find easy online travel booking now at VoyageMonkey.com Travel.

Chicago, the Windy City By the Lake

July 1st, 2013

 Chicago vacation package deals, Chicago hotel accommodations, Chicago travel deals, Chicago discount travel, Chicago online travel booking

 Chicago vacation package deals, Chicago hotel accommodations, Chicago travel deals, Chicago discount travel, Chicago online travel booking

Chicago is one of America’s top visited cities, offering some of the best hotel accommodations around.  Besides its outdoor activities on Lake Michigan some of the nation’s top restaurants, nightlife, shopping and museums are located here.   The beautiful cityscape views alone make it a destination worth visiting.  Lake Michigan offers an excellent summertime playground along with port access to the Atlantic through the Saint Lawrence Seaway.  The lake provides fun beaches in and around the city as well as several marinas for boating, sailing and a multitude of recreational water sports.

Visitors should be sure to explore the popular Navy Pier, and discover the thrilling rides, activities, dining, and shopping along the pier.  The pier includes over 50 acres of parks, promenades, gardens, shops, restaurants and attractions.  Here you can catch various boat tours of the lake and aquatic activities.  You can rent a bike, skates,  or a Segway at the pier, or enjoy the 150-foot-high Ferris wheel, musical carousel, old-fashioned swing ride, fun house, maze, an 18-hole miniature golf course, Children’s and Stained Glass Museum, and more.  Restaurants include the Riva Crab House, Harry Caray’s Tavern, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

Chicago’s “Museums in the Park” are another main attraction of this city.  The Museums in the Park comprise a coalition of eleven of the most visited museums in the United States.  Around 8 million people visit these museums annually.  Located on the Chicago Park District property, in and around Grant Park and South Lake Shore Drive, the Museums include the popular Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, Museum of Science & Industry, Museum of Contemporary Art, and various other history, art, and culture museums.   While visiting the museums you can enjoy your stroll through the lake front park, with its beautiful fountains and other attractions like Millennium Park.

To fully appreciate this city many visitors choose to visit one of the city’s famous Skydecks and observatories to view the city from above.  Atop the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), Skydeck Chicago attracts nearly 1.3 million visitors each year to its 103rd floor observation deck, which is 1,353 feet above the street.  The 110-story Willis Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and is still one of the tallest buildings in the world.  On a clear day, you can scan the horizon to Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. For the best views you can step out onto The Ledge, a glass-enclosed balcony.  The tower is located at 233 S Wacker Dr.   As an alternative, Located at 875 N Michigan Ave along “The Magnificent Mile” district, the John Hancock Center Observatory offers views that are just as good from 1,000 feet.  You can step outside at 1,000 feet and find out why Chicago is called the windy city.  Also, you can take an elevator up to an even higher floor and enjoy the same views with a cocktail in hand.  Views also stretch across 4 states and Lake Michigan.

The Magnificent Mile district is a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue with endless shopping, top rated international cuisine, theatre, shows, galleries, bars & clubs, dancing, luxury hotels, lively entertainment, nightlife, and majestic architecture.   The district features more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 60 hotels and plenty of unique entertainments and attraction.  Here you can find some of the best dining in Chicago.  Enjoy French, Latin, Italian, Asian, Indian, contemporary American, seafood, and some of the best steak houses in America.  Top rated Steak houses include Mike Ditka’s, Michael Jordan’s, Harry Caray’s, and various top national steak house chains like Morton’s, Smith & Wollensky, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mastro’s, Lawry’s, and Fleming’s.  Chicago is serious about their steak, so enjoy one of the best steaks you will ever eat.  In this district you’ll find some of the best Chicago hotels like the Fairmont, Ritz-Carlton, Walforf Astoria, Sofitel, Omni, Trump, as well as the Westin, Sheraton, Hyatt, Marriott, and the W Hotel overlooking the lake.

Search our travel deals at VoyageMonkey.com Travel to find your hotel, flight and rental car for your Chicago vacation.