The Four Best Day Trips For Fall Visitors To Seattle

Mt Rainier National Park, seattle, usa

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on September 23rd.

seattle tour, fall tours in seattle, usa

For visitors to the Pacific Northwest this fall, there is no shortage of activities in Seattle, the region’s largest and fastest-growing city. Baseball fans can check out a Mariners game, foodies can stroll around Pike Place Market for hours, and brave souls unafraid of heights can take in the unparalleled view from the Space Needle. But travelers who find themselves with free time, and with access to a car, may want to consider the following four day trips, which highlight the lush beauty unique to the Emerald City and the surrounding area, particularly in the Autumn season.

whale watching, san juan island, seattle, usa

The San Juan Islands:

About a three-and-a-half-hour drive north, the San Juan Islands are a must-see destination for out-of-towners. The San Juan Islands are composed of 172 individual islands, but four (San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island) are served by ferries and feature activities for visitors. For wine aficionados, visiting San Juan Vineyards, located on the main San Juan Island, is well worth the drive – their well-regarded wines have won many awards. Those with fond memories of the film Free Willy should also be sure to go whale watching while exploring the islands, with the best time for viewing occurring from late May to October. All four islands have hotels and inns for those wishing to stay overnight, with the Earthbox Inn and Spa offering the perfect ambiance to relax.

North Cascades National Park, seattle, USA

North Cascades National Park:

Northwest of Seattle is the North Cascades National Park, which is about a four hour drive from the city. Many come here to camp, and the jagged peaks, engulfed by hundreds of glaciers nestled among cascading waters, ensure an unforgettable experience. No other U.S. park outside of Alaska contains as many glaciers, in addition to diverse wildlife: bald eagles, moose, bears, grey wolves, and more than 200 species of birds. If you’d prefer a day trip in the park as opposed to camping, try staying at the budget-friendly Red Roof Inn near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Sea-Tac).

Olympic Peninsula, rainforest, seattle

Olympic Peninsula:

Three hours west of Seattle is the Olympic Peninsula, home to temperate rainforests and the Olympic Mountains. There is no shortage of activities with fishing, sailing, boating, and hiking being among the most popular. The Peninsula is also famous for its lush scenery featured in Hollywood blockbusters like the Twilight series. Those wishing to stay in and around the peninsula have a plethora of options, while nearby Olympia offers budget-friendly hotels like Red Lion Hotel or the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites.

Mount Rainier National Park, mt rainier, seattle

Mt. Rainier National Park:

For aspiring mountain climbers, the three hour drive south to Mt. Rainier National Park is a must. Mt. Rainier is an iconic part of Washington state’s landscape, standing at 14,000 feet above sea level. An active volcano, Mt. Rainier has the largest glaciers in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Most climbers require two to three days to reach the summit, with experience in glacier travel and self-rescue required. About half of the 8,000-13,000 climb attempts per year are successful, so only the brave at heart should undertake the climb. Less experienced mountain climbers shouldn’t feel left out though, as the entire park is open for hiking, backcountry skiing, camping. Photographers should definitely pay a visit – you won’t see anything else like it in the U.S. Try staying in nearby Tacoma, at either the Hotel Murano or the Silver Cloud Inn, for affordable, modern luxury.

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Amazing Places to Stay at Disney World

disney world magic kingdom, lake buena vista, florida, disney world resorts

If you dream of an African safari but you don’t have the time for a long vacation in faraway Africa, you can visit Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista. If you love water more than wildlife, Disney World Resorts can arrange a fun-filled tropical vacation for you instead. Be it a weekend getaway or a family vacation, here are five places to stay at Disney World to make your vacation a memorable one.

Disney World, Disney world theme park, Disney magic kingdom

Image by Joe Penniston via Flickr

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House

Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House, Disney world resorts

Image by Brett Kiger via Flickr

The African wildlife theme, designed to resemble traditional African village huts, is what sets Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House apart from other resorts at Disney World. All the villas and studio rooms have a wonderful view of the meticulously re-created landscape of the African savanna. A variety of herbivorous animals, including giraffe and zebras, roam freely to make you feel like you’re really in Africa.

Enjoy thrilling water slides in this tropical oasis or chill out at Uwanja Camp’s water playground while watching wildlife at a distance. Scenic jogging trails, evening campfires, and an open-air movie by the pool are some of the exclusive recreational amenities at Disney Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Disney world resort, Disney beach club resort

Image by Loren Javier via Flickr

Overlooking the Stormalong Bay, an artificial lagoon full of beachside recreational features, the Disney’s Beach Club Resort offers a captivating panorama along with classic New England-style accommodations. Elegantly designed rooms and suites come with free Wi-Fi, king-size bed, coffee maker, microwave, safe, iron and ironing board, and portable crib. You can upgrade to rooms with club-level service for more personalized services and a range of complimentary amenities, such as access to the club-level lounge and fitness center.

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Disney's yacht club resort, Disney world resorts

Image by Melissa Hillier via Flickr

Offering a range of watercraft and sports amenities by the Stormalong Bay, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is a haven for adventure lovers. The guest rooms come with modern interior and amenities including king or queen bed, upscale furnishings, coffee maker, iron with ironing board, in-room safe, and baby crib. The on-site restaurant, Yachtsman Steakhouse, serves mouth-watering steaks and seafood dishes. While you go for some beachside adventures, your kids can enjoy games and crafts at the supervised children’s activity center.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Lake Buena Vista

Immerse yourself in luxury and leisure at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Lake Buena Vista. The resort’s one and two bedroom suites come with ample amenities, ensuring ultimate comfort of its guests. The hotel allows quick access to Disney World Resorts’ dazzling shopping arcades and fine dining restaurants. Enjoy all the benefits of this Disney World resort, including discount on entry to the PGA golf course and free shuttle services to all the Disney World theme parks and water parks. The hotel also houses a state-of-the-art fitness center, meeting room, outdoor pools, and tennis courts for both your business and recreational needs.

Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort

Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort, Disney World Resort

Image by Darryl Kenyon via Flickr

If you’re thinking of a long, relaxing family vacation at Walt Disney World, Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort is a wise choice. The resort houses an array of rental suites with elegant European décor, modern furnishing, a private balcony, and a kitchen equipped with all necessary appliances including cookware, a microwave, and a fridge. The condo-style rooms offer a beautiful lakefront view. Hotel amenities include a concierge, spa, restaurant, BBQ area, and more.

The Best Scenic Runs for Tourists in New York City

New York scenic trails, New York City

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on September 5th.

New York, NYC, Scenic trails New York City

Heading to the Big Apple? Sure, there are the must-see for any tourist, from The Empire State Building and The Statue of Liberty to the Museum of Modern Art and Central Park.

But perhaps there are some even cooler things to see not only by foot, but by stride. Whether training for a marathon (marathon season is coming up, after all) or simply looking to get some exercise in after all those slices of New York pizza, check out these running routes around the city to see the sights in a completely new way.

Manhattan

Hudson River Run, Manhattan, New York City

Hudson River Run

This route is great for runners looking to run one mile or 10. The Hudson River Greenway is a path that runs from Battery Park in Manhattan all the way up to the Bronx, and is paired pretty perfectly with a sunset. Along the route, runners will see (depending on mileage) the USS Intreprid, the Statue of Liberty, the George Washington Bridge, and great waterfront restaurants perfect for a post-run meal. The path is on the west side of Manhattan, so the best option is get off at any ACE or 123 train stop, and then walk west until the Hudson River is in sight! After the run, check out the Highline hotel, which is also on the west side of Manhattan, for a well-deserved drink in their garden.

Brooklyn

Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City

Coney Island

Coney Island is part beach, part seaside resort, and part amusement park. In other words, it’s awesome. Visitors can also run the length of its boardwalk, which is just shy of six miles run. The best part? Jump in the ocean right after to cool off. To get there, hop on the D, Q, N or F train all the way to  Stillwell Avenue. Just remember to wear sneakers (and bring a bathingsuit)!

The Five Bridges Run

Forget one of those tour buses and hit three of New York’s boroughs—Manhattan, Queens, and Williamsburg— by fast foot. Note: This route is easier for those more familiar with the city, or is at least with someone who is! For a killer 17 mile run, start at the 59th street bridge in Manhattan, cross to Queens, jump on the Pulaski Bridge to connect into Brooklyn, and then run over the Williamsburg Bridge to return back to Manhattan. From there, head towards and over the Manhattan Bridge, then finish the run over the Brooklyn Bridge. Phew! Here’s a map that will be helpful, too. When starting at the 59th Bridge, take the NQR trains to the 59th/Lexington Stop. To start at the Brooklyn Bridge, take the 456 train to, what else, but the Brooklyn Bridge stop. Bonus points for grabbing a room at the NU Hotel, a chic hotel that will make any tourist feel like a New Yorker.

Queens

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York City

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Forget Central Park and check out this city greenspace in Queens. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park offers a great 2.5 mile loop so anyone can see the best things Queens has to offer: the Unisphere, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, The Queens Museum, and Citi Field (go Mets!). People can access the park by car (parking is pretty easy) or take the 7 train to Willets Point/Mets Stadium. Consider staying at Red Roof in Queens to cut down on travel time.

Astoria Park

This park is well known for having the largest pool in the city, but it also comes with much more: tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, and many trails for runners. There’s also a gorgeous shoreline along the East River for a great running route that comes with a nice breeze. The best option is to take the Q train to Astoria Park, then walk (or run!) less than a mile to the park’s entrance.

Bronx

Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, New York City

Van Cortlandt Park

For a taste of New York that’s feel anything like a city, head on the 1 train to 242nd street and explore the trails at Van Cortlandt. It’s a bit of a hike, but is totally worth it for the committed runner. The famous route is the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which can be up to seven miles long. Fun fact: Van Cortlandt is the third largest park in New York City, behind Pelham Bay Park and Staten Island Greenbelt, and is also home to the oldest building in the bronx: Van Cortlandt House Museum.

5 Tips to Plan Your Trip to Singapore

Singapore skyline, singapore

Blog Post Type: Planning a Trip to a City

Singapore, one of Southeast Asia’s most prosperous cities, boasts vibrant cosmopolitan culture and dynamic city life. The buzzing nightclubs, plush shopping malls, glamorous casinos, and luxury cruises are some of the reasons Singapore has grown to be a leading tourist destination in this part of the world. There is so much to see and do in Singapore; therefore, it’s always better to plan your Singapore trip well in time.

Singapore skyline, singapore

Singapore Skyline – Image by Erwin Soo via Flickr

Decide the type of your tour

First, you need to decide what type of tour you would prefer. If you are running short of time on a business trip, plan a short tour that will cover the main attractions of the city. On the contrary, when you have enough time, you can plan for a leisurely walking tour in and around Singapore. Walking tours help you experience the place and not just see it. If you are traveling with family, make sure you choose your accommodation and sightseeing spots carefully so that there is something for everyone (or every age group) in the family.

Include Walking Tours

Singapore botanic garden, singapore walking tours

Image by Edwin Lee via Flickr

There are lots of paid and free walking tours conducted in the city. Singapore walking tours are the best way to explore the city’s numerous museums and historic colonial districts that exude the essence of the island nation’s British past and Chinese present. Go off the beaten tracks with walking tours to various scenic spots, parks, and gardens in Singapore.

Things to Do and See

gardens by the bay, singapore, singapore sightseeing

Image via Wikipedia

Singapore as a booming metro city has a lot to offer to the most discerning traveler. From museum hopping to shopping, from fun-filled river cruising to enjoying the panoramic cityscape from the famous Gardens by the Bay, anything can be included in your itinerary depending on your budget, time, and preferences. Some places/things that you should not miss on your first trip to Singapore are Little India, Chinatown, the Merlion, Clarke Quay, Gardens by the Bay, and Singapore Flyer among others.

Finding Hotel Accommodation

Singapore hotels, hotel in Singapore, singapore accommodation

Image by Aldas Kirvaitis via Flickr

If you want to splurge, accommodation options are aplenty in this city. At upscale hotels, a wide range of amenities comes at a high price. On the other hand, mid-range hotels in Singapore are places where you will find all the necessary amenities to make your stay comfortable. Value Hotel Thomson would be a good choice for mid-range accommodation in a quiet neighborhood with easy accessibility to downtown Singapore. The Chinatown area is home to some elegant boutique hotels. Choosing a B&B accommodation or a backpacker’s hostel can get you landed in a private AC room with free Wi-Fi and TV at an economical price.

Seasons and Festivals

Christmas on a great street Singapore, singapore festivals, Singapore events

Image by Chris Hoare via Flickr

When is the best time to visit Singapore? Well, Singapore is a happening place; the city witnesses festivals and cultural events throughout the year. If you want to delve deeper into Singapore’s cultural life, plan your trip around Singapore festivals and events to add more fun to your vacation. The city embraces hot and humid tropical weather, and it rains – especially in the afternoons. But November to March would be the best time to plan your Singapore trip as the temperature drops due to northeast monsoon.

Top Luxury Hotels in Pittsburgh

Omni william penn hotel, luxury hotels pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, with its rugged industrial past and cosmopolitan culture, is one of the most advanced cities in the United States. Not just a commercial hub in the state of Pennsylvania, the city is home to several museums, amazing architecture, and some of the leading academic institutions in the country. Outdoor adventure and cultural festivals are other reasons tourists flock here all year. Check out these top 5 hotels in the city.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Image by David Fulmer via Flickr

Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport

Located close to the airport Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport offers plush, sound proof rooms to make sure you experience a quiet stay. The Business Plan rooms, designed for corporate travelers, have an ergonomic chair, large work desk, computer, and complimentary high-speed Internet access. The hotel’s guest rooms are pet friendly. Among the property’s amenities and features are yoga sessions, heated indoor pool, and free local transportation.

Omni William Penn Hotel

Omni William Penn Hotel, a historic property dating to 1916, has classic décor, a luxurious interior, and expensive wood furnishings in the guest rooms, giving the property a sense of Pittsburgh’s rich European heritage. The world-class service makes this award-winning non-smoking hotel a favorite hideout for celebrities, statesmen, and corporate leaders. The Speakeasy lounge serves cocktails like those popular in the 1920s. Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts is fours blocks from the hotel.

Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA

Image by Mathew Paulson via Flickr

Red Roof PLUS+ Pittsburgh South – Airport

If you are looking for an economical pet friendly hotel, Red Roof Plus Pittsburgh South – Airport is the place for you. This hotel does not charge anything extra for your canine friends. Among the guest room amenities and features at Red Roof PLUS+ Pittsburgh South – Airport are a flat-panel television with cable service and premium channels, desk, and safe. Wi-Fi, local calls, and cribs and infant beds are complimentary.

Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel

Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel, an aparthotel in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood, is within one mile of Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside. Among the hotel’s amenities and features is a business center, conference space, meeting rooms, complimentary area shuttle, free self-parking, garden, and picnic area. Guest room amenities include a livingroom, dining area, and kitchen with full-size refrigerator/freezer, microwave, cooktop, coffeemaker, cookware, utensils, and dishes. There is free wired high-speed Internet access and a LCD television with digital service and premium channels.

Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA

Image by Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel via Flickr

Sunnyledge Boutique Hotel and Tea Room

Small array of exclusively designed rooms, tranquil atmosphere, graceful interior design and the warmth of personalized service tailored to every guest’s personal taste and preferences — you will find all the specialties of an authentic boutique hotel in Sunnyledge Boutique Hotel and Tea Room. The classic interior décor, complimentary continental breakfast, and lavishly appointed library for leisurely reading will remind you of an aristocratic European lifestyle. Workout in the hotel’s fitness center in the morning, and savor the finest wines in the hotel’s Martini Bar in the evening.

Top Five Boutique Hotels in Baltimore for Luxury in Budget

Baltimore Inner harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, harbor

Since its inception, the concept of “boutique hotel” has gained popularity all over North America. Baltimore, being a major tourist hub in the country, is no exception. This vibrant city with a booming tourism industry is home to a number of boutique hotels ensuring a remarkable living experience for visitors. Here is a list of Top 5 Boutique Hotels in Baltimore, MD which will help you choose your accommodation wisely on your next trip to Baltimore, the “city of neighborhoods.”

Baltimore Inner harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, harbor

Image by Ron Cogswell via Flickr

Baltimore Harbor Hotel

If you are looking for a specious, comfortable, and contemporary accommodation right by the bay, Baltimore Harbor Hotel is the place for you. The hotel provides modern amenities for both business and leisure travelers alike. With complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi Internet in the room, and most of the Baltimore attractions such as Inner Harbor, Oriole Park, National Aquarium, and the convention center within walking distance, this hotel is friendly to your pocket. Special entertainment features include Karaoke nights at the hotel on every Wednesday and Thursday.

Baltimore harbor hotel, Baltimore, MD

Image via Baltimore Harbor Hotel

Blue Door on Baltimore

Blue Door on Baltimore specializes in theme-oriented decor and services. An array of modern amenities in an elegant classical setting is what sets the hotel apart from all other hotels in the famous Inner Harbor district in Baltimore. Experience luxury with Baltimore’s traditional Row House bed and breakfast accommodation and personalized services at Blue Door on Baltimore. In addition to free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, DVD player, iPad, and interactive television, there’s more to keep you engaged in the hotel room, such as Yoga mattresses and private balconies overlooking the city and the harbor.

Biltmore Suites Hotel

Have you ever thought about experiencing Victorian luxury in a modern urban neighborhood? Well, if you have no problem with non-smoking accommodation then Biltmore Suites Hotel awaits you with an array of elegant, Victorian-style suites appointed with all modern amenities at affordable rates. Savor sumptuous continental breakfast served in the room as you wake up in the morning. Enjoy discounted rates on cruising and car parking. You can further save on your travel budget by booking online.

Biltmore Suites, Baltimore, inner harbor hotel

Image by oklanica via Flickr

Brookshire Suites Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Find Baltimore’s lively urban spirit in Brookshire Suites Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, a contemporary-style boutique hotel with artistic decor and relaxing ambiance. Baltimore’s bustling heart, Inner Harbor, is a short walk from the hotel, and so are the buzzing Cross Street Market and local food junctions. Immerse yourself in luxury with spacious suites and an array of amenities including two flat-screen televisions, fridge, microwave oven, in-room work space, and much more. Sit by the large bay window and enjoy the harbor view right from your room. A state-of-the-art wellness center at the hotel awaits you with a variety of equipment, yoga gear, and fitness training activities.

Embassy Suites Baltimore – Inner Harbor

Part of the Hilton hotel chain, Embassy Suites Baltimore – Inner Harbor is a perfect idyllic escape for all types of travelers. While business travelers can make the most of the hotel’s contemporary business center, leisure travelers can relax in complete luxury. This boutique hotel offers a range of upscale accommodations along with a bunch of special offers depending on the guest’s travel date, itinerary, interests, and chosen accommodation type. Special discounts for military families, redeemable bonus points on buying with the Citi Hilton Visa card, Weekend Getaway Packages, and Family Fun Packages are several of the interesting travel deals that can make your Baltimore trip even more enjoyable.

Embassy Suites Baltimore, Inner Harbor, Baltimore

Image via Embassy Suites