Got a Great Shot of the Empire State Building? You Could Win This Contest

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/17/2020, 11:00 AM

Post your perfect shot of the Empire State Building on Instagram and you'll gain some likes.  But enter that same pic in the iconic New York City skyscraper's annual photo contest and you could win up to $5,000. Now in its ninth year, the competition gives amateur photographers from across the United States the chance to show off their skills when it comes to capturing images of the most fam...

This Las Vegas Casino Is Going Entirely Smoke-Free

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/16/2020, 11:00 AM

The Las Vegas Strip is getting its first entirely smoke-free casino resort.  MGM Resorts announced this week that the complex housing the Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas hotels will reopen on September 30, following their temporary closure in the spring due to the pandemic.  Among the changes guests can expect: a full ban on smoking.  In a statement, the company cited "recurring guest demand...

Most Ikon Pass Skiers Won't Need Advance Reservations This Winter

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/15/2020, 9:00 AM

Most skiers who buy the Ikon Pass for the 2020–21 season won't need advance reservations to hit the slopes, according to Alterra Mountain Company, which operates the pass.  It's a different story at the nearly three dozen mountains covered by the Epic Pass from Alterra competitor Vail Resorts. Vail announced in late August that in order to control crowds in the era of Covid-19, all visitors wil...

New Website Helps You Plan Wildlife Spotting on African Safaris

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/14/2020, 10:00 AM

Safari-goers who have their hearts set on glimpsing certain animals in Africa have a helpful new online resource.  Tour operator Expert Africa has launched a data-rich website showing your chances of spotting 26 different species in 12 African countries.  Under the site's wildlife tab, click the link for the animal you're interested in, and you'll be taken to a page displaying camps and lodg...

Now You Can Dine on a Sandbar in the Florida Keys During Sunset

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/10/2020, 3:00 PM

For anybody in search of a dining venue with guaranteed social distancing, a sandbar in the Gulf of Mexico seems like a safe bet.  A luxury resort in the Florida Keys has set up a romantic table for two in that very setting.  The new "Dinner on the Sandbar" experience at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa on secluded Little Torch Key—located about 30 miles east of Key West on the Overseas H...

Same Time, Next Year—for 20 Years: Win a Free Annual Mexican Vacation

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/09/2020, 1:00 PM

How do you like the idea of a free luxury vacation on Mexico's Caribbean coast for your first post-pandemic getaway? How about repeating the experience every year for the next two decades of post-pandemic getaways? That dream scenario will become reality for the winners of a contest organized by hotel developers and tourism boards in Mexican Caribbean destinations including Cancún, Cozumel, Tul...

Game of Thrones Studio Tour Gets the Go-Ahead in Northern Ireland

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/09/2020, 9:00 AM

Magical realms are good for tourism here in the real world, from the scenic New Zealand spots that stood in for Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies to the representations of Harry Potter's Wizarding World created for Universal theme parks and preserved at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour outside London. In Northern Ireland, where much of HBO's Game of Thrones was shot, pre-pand...

Class Up Your New England Road Trip with Picnics at Gilded Age Estates

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/04/2020, 9:00 AM

A recently introduced offering in elegant Newport, Rhode Island, gives visitors the chance to practice social distancing, Vanderbilt style.  The new "Stroll the Gardens and Grounds" package from the Preservation Society of Newport County grants outdoor access to two of Newport's Gilded Age mansions—the Elms and the Vanderbilts' Breakers—as well as the kid-friendly Green Animals Topiary Garden (...

How to Track Fall Foliage in New York State

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/03/2020, 11:00 AM

Though not as ballyhooed as New England's autumnal displays, the fall foliage in New York State is nothing to shrug at. From late September through mid-November, woodsy areas such as the Catskill and Adirondack mountains in the eastern part of the state, the Finger Lakes in the north, and the Hudson Valley (where you'll find Bear Mountain State Park, pictured above) north of New York City all t...

Brand-New Aquarium Opens on Mississippi's Gulf Coast

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/01/2020, 11:00 AM

Fifteen years to the day after Hurricane Katrina battered Mississippi's Gulf Coast—and just a few days after a fresh spate of storms made landfall in neighboring Louisiana—the coastal city of Gulfport opened the brand-new Mississippi Aquarium to the public on Saturday, August 29.  At a ribbon-cutting event on Friday, Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes called the nearly $100-million facility "a monument...

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