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The Most Memorable Hotels in Monterey

Regardless of what type of traveler you are, Monterey has something to offer. You may come for the beautiful California coast, the city’s location in the heart of wine country, the nearby state and national parks (including Pinnacles and Fort Ord Dunes), or one of the many attractions in Monterey itself. The city offers everything from whale watching at Fisherman’s Wharf to 6,000-plus sea life exhibits at the famed Monterey Aquarium to local art at the Museum of Monterey.

Whatever brings you to this beautiful city, picking the right accommodation can make or break your trip. The hotels in this article range from budget-friendly to luxurious, and each has its own style and appeal. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the best Monterey hotels found on Hipmunk.

Beachfront Beauty: Monterey Tides

The Monterey Tides, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel, has more than its fair share of amenities, ranging from a 42″ HDTV and mini-fridge in each room to a 24-hour fitness center and heated pool. The single most appealing thing about the hotel, however, is its location directly on the beach. It takes less than a minute to get from the hotel’s front door to the sand — and if you care to go a bit further, you’ll find Fisherman’s Wharf and Pebble Beach Shopping Center within just a few minutes’ walk. When you get back to the hotel, you can enjoy the nightly fireside cocktails to cap off your day.

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MatD’s Beach Adventure in Costa Mesa, Treasure Island, Atlantic City, Gulf Shores, and Santa Cruz

This post originally appeared on Made All the Difference and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

Summer is about enjoying the sun, sand, and sea. With over 90,000 miles of shoreline, there are many options to choose from when selecting a spot for a beachfront vacation. Each beach town has a great variety of tourist activities and delivers a unique experience to those considering a location for a beach adventure.

Avoid the High Beachfront Prices of the California Coast at Costa Mesa

Located in the famed Orange Country, Costa Mesa, California, is a beach town for everyone. It’s located near the renowned Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. It also has all the amenities of the beachfront spots without the high prices of nearby towns. Costa Mesa is a mile from the water and is close enough for a morning surf lesson. It’s a cultural center with several theaters and amphitheaters for art and musical productions. Costa Mesa hotels, such as Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa, provide a great place to explore the city.

Hunt for Golden Sand Beaches at Treasure Island

There isn’t treasure buried in the sand in Treasure Island, Florida, but the golden sand sparkles as the warm water washes over the shoreline. The area is known for its sunny weather, and it’s great for parasailing on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you get tired of the beach, make the short drive to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg or Bush Gardens in Tampa. Also consider staying at one of the many beachfront hotels in Treasure Island, such as Residence Inn by Marriott St. Petersburg.

Enjoy the Sand and Slots in Atlantic City

Atlantic City, New Jersey, has a long history as a beach resort town. From the time the first Atlantic City hotel appeared in the 1800s, the town has been based around tourism and its famed beach. The tallest lighthouse in New Jersey resides here as well. Today, this city is more famous for its boardwalk and high-rise casinos. It’s considered the Las Vegas of the East Coast of the U.S. However, gambling hasn’t always been part of the Atlantic City boardwalk. It was legalized here in 1976 and has grown as a main tourist draw since then. Avoid the boardwalk crowds, though, by staying at The Chelsea.

Visit the Little-Known Beach Town of Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores, Alabama, is often overshadowed by the large beach towns in nearby Texas and Florida. This fact has helped keep the crowds down along the beach. The town isn’t tourist free, however. It’s a haven with beach amenities, but without the swarm of visitors. Be sure to enjoy a stay at a Gulf Shores hotel, like the Four Winds 704, without the crowds. Gulf Shores has several nearby state parks for walking along the beach and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge for those looking to see some wildlife. The parks and refuge are home to many bird and other animal species that are a treat to watch.

Travel From Beaches to Redwood Forests in Santa Cruz

Few beach towns are as diverse as Santa Cruz, California. The town sits on the beach, and a few miles inland is a forest of redwoods, which is protected by the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The beaches are great for surfing, and the town is home to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. The city offers a wide array of outdoor adventure for both nature and beach lovers. Don’t forget to take a break from your adventure at one of the many hotels in Santa Cruz, like the Chaminade Resort & Spa.

Which of these is your favorite beach town to visit?


Oh, Canada! Hipmunk’s Guide to The Great White North

This post originally appeared on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

canadian_travel_imageBy: Hipmunk Staff

From the famed ski slopes of Whistler to the roaring majesty of Niagara Falls, some the world’s greatest travel destinations are just north of the border, in Canada.

With an overload of Canada travel options, which of these destinations are most popular among travelers? Hipmunk analyzed its travel data from 2015 to find out.

The 25 cities below make up 80 percent of all hotel accommodations in Canada. We also included their average hotel and Airbnb booking prices, as well as average airfare (if flying from the US or within Canada) to each city. Note: all prices are in US dollars.

Here’s how they ranked:

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How to Spend a Week in Shanghai

Here’s something I regret: My parents offered to take me along on their trip to China, but I turned them down. I was in my early twenties and had a full-time job, but the experience would have been far more valuable than what little money I was earning then. Today, I find myself fantasizing about spending a week in Shanghai.

Tranquility in the Center of Shanghai

Once I’ve finished my deep dive into the urban life and cultural goodness of Shanghai, it will be time to unwind in the evenings. Yu Garden — a place where the natural calm of nature meets with traditional Chinese style — will be the ideal place to start. From there, I’ll want some spa time at one of the luxurious hotels in the heart of Shanghai and might catch a show at Circus World or Shanghai Centre Theatre.

Shanghai’s Nightlife and Skyline

Image via Flickr by Kamal Zharif

To start my journey, I would immerse myself in Shanghai’s urban atmosphere. The Bund, Shanghai’s lively and beautiful waterfront district, is the perfect place to explore the city’s nightlife — and a night cruise along the Huangpu River would allow me to see the iconic panorama of Shanghai’s skyline.

The Metropolitan Masterpieces of China

The Bund is worth more than a single day, but there are also plenty of other districts to explore. A stroll down Nanjing Road will get me to a dozen different works of public art that commemorate important moments and people in Shanghai’s history. From there, I would explore the city’s stunning architecture, including Jin Mao Tower, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the various buildings of the Bund International Architecture Exhibition. After having seen the buildings up close, I would catch a 360-degree view of the city from the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center.

Chinese Culture and Art

One the great appeals of China for me is that it contrasts so strongly with America. Truly exploring the culture will be a top priority for me, and there’s no better place to do that than the Huangpu District. The gem of the district is the Shanghai Museum, located in the center of the People’s Square, just a five-minute walk from the People’s Square metro station. The museum houses more than 100,000 artifacts of ancient Chinese art and culture. After I walk through the exhibits, a “culture shock bike tour” would allow me to get up close and personal with the sites and residents of the city.

Good Eats in Yuyuan and Pudong

As a travel foodie, I’m eager to explore everything from fine dining to street food. There are two places that are brimming with such experiences: Pudong, one of the city’s major shopping districts, and Yuyuan Bazaar, a shopping hub that combines touristy buys with traditional treats. I’m open to exploring all kinds of dishes, but “cong you bing,” or spring onion pancakes, sound especially tasty.

These are just a few of the things I want to do and see when I make it to Shanghai. How about you? Have you been to Shanghai recently, or will you be heading there soon? What sites and experiences do you recommend? Share your thoughts, plans, and experiences in the comment section below.

Here’s something I regret: My parents offered to take me along on their trip to China, but I turned them down. I was in my early twenties and had a full-time job, but the experience would have been far more valuable than what little money I was earning then. Today, I find myself fantasizing about spending a week in Shanghai.


How to Visit Cuba on a Budget

This post originally appeared on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

Now that Cuba’s tourism industry is up and running, we’re doing everything we can to educate our readers about how to make the most of their Cuban vacations. From knowing which cities to visit to learning how the country has changed and prepping for your trip, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re ready to visit but worried about finances, we’ve still got your back. Simply implement the following strategies in order to enjoy a budget-friendly trip to Cuba.

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It helps to know Spanish.

Overwhelmingly, travelers to Cuba report that you’ll be more accepted if you speak Spanish—and that means you’re more likely to be offered lower prices and to haggle successfully. Even if you don’t have time to become fluent before your visit, learning a few key Spanish phrases will surely make the trip a little easier.

Don’t withdraw or exchange cash in Cuba.


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Accommodations for All Types in Indianapolis

Indiana is rightly called the crossroads of America. Regardless of where you’re going, Indiana makes for the perfect stop along the way. That isn’t to say that Indianapolis isn’t worth its own trip: It’s a city filled to brim with beautiful sites and memorable attractions. So whether you’re on your way somewhere else or simply visiting the region for its own merits, here are a few great hotels worth booking.

Affordability and Location: La Quinta

If you’re like me, the La Quinta is a perfect go-to chain thanks to their low prices and great locations. Sure, the amenities tend to be pretty basic, but that frees up money to spend on bonus attractions or continued travel. This particular hotel (La Quinta Inn Indianapolis Airport Executive Drive) is optimally located near the airport. It’s also the perfect budget option while in Indianapolis thanks to its affordable rates, which start at $65 per night.

A Unique Experience of Aquatic Fun: Caribbean Cove

If you’re a fan of water parks, the Caribbean Cove Hotel & Water Park is the perfect place to stay. It features a variety of aquatic attractions, ranging from rapid pools to water slides to a shipwreck-themed play area and much more. Thanks to the on-site pizza parlor, an arcade, and other family friendly features, this hotel / playground is an amazing attraction in and of itself. And when you’re ready to explore sites further afield, it’s easy to get back on the road since Caribbean Cove is just off the 465.

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The Best Indie Hotels in Columbus

Columbus is best known for OSU (go Pistols!), but the city offers countless other attractions too. From its sports stadiums to its historic theaters to its stunning architecture, you’re sure to find plenty in this city to fill your itinerary. So whether you’re in town to visit OSU, catch a Pistols game, or simply visit the city for its own merits, Columbus won’t disappoint. In this article, I’m going to explore five of the best independent hotels you can stay at during your next trip.

The Best Budget Option: Varsity Inn South

The Varsity Inn South Hotel is close to OSU and all the attractions that surround the university (like the Bill Davis Stadium, the Jerome Schottenstein Center, the Jack Nicklaus Museum, and the university itself). Even so, it comes in at a wonderfully low nightly price. For rates that typically start around $60/night, you get a room equipped with high-speed WiFi, a microwave, a fridge, and a variety of other amenities.

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