Unique Lodging Options in Washington State

It is time to discover what both residents and visitors to the state of Washington have known for years. The evergreen state is blessed with a plethora of unique and breathtaking lodging options guaranteed to elevate any vacation experience. Here are a few of the most interesting choices available to discerning travelers wanting more adventure than the standard hotel experience:

LIGHTHOUSE LOOKOUTS: Washington’s unmatched location on the shores of many waterways lend it the availability of five distinct lighthouse lodging options. All five provide breathtaking views and the opportunity to understand the life of a lighthouse keeper back in the day at modest prices suited for most any travel budget.

HISTORIC CABINS: Hiking enthusiasts will delight in the myriad of rustic and classic cabins available for lodging purposes. Scattered all over the state, these experiences run the gamut from luxury accommodations to truly roughing it.

LOFTY TREEHOUSES: Rural Fall City is the home to the idyllic Treehouse Point, a collection of tiny treehouses nestled deep in the woods and high in the trees. Treehouse lovers not wanting the full overnight experience can book a tour for a nominal fee for the chance to climb the ladders to the house and explore.

Wherever your travels take you in this scenic state, you can be sure that you will have a grand adventure if you take the time to think outside the box when it comes to lodging choices.

Travel + Leisure Names Their Picks For Best Rides In Disneyland

Visiting Anaheim’s Disneyland can be an overwhelming experience for newbies. Unless you have access to a ton of Fastpasses, it’s impossible to get on every single ride in this iconic park in just one day.

To help first-time visitors, the writers at Travel + Leisure put together a list of the absolute must-do rides at Disneyland. If you only have a few days to spare at this iconic theme park, definitely put these rides at the top of your itinerary.

The number one Disneyland attraction on this list is the wet and wild Splash Mountain. Based on the film Song of the South, this log flume ride takes guests on a journey with characters like Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear, and the sneaky Br’er Fox. Don’t forget to smile for the photo-op as you plunge on a 50-foot drop into the Briar Patch!

Second, Travel + Leisure recommends waiting in line for Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure. In this thrilling ride guests board a car and race through an abandoned (and perhaps haunted?) temple. Thankfully, the immersive queue area makes waiting in line go by quickly.

Like the first prize winner, third place goes to another classic Disneyland ride: Pirates of the Caribbean. Although this ride has changed a great deal since it opened in 1967, the adventurous feelings evoked are the same. Keep a lookout for Captain Jack Sparrow as you take your voyage on this exciting ride.

From four to ten, here are the other big winners on Travel + Leisure’s list: the Matterhorn, the Haunted Mansion, the Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, It’s A Small World, and the Jungle Cruise.

Travel (and food) in Los Angeles

If you are looking for a great trip this summer, consider a visit to Los Angeles. While many think of Southern California as a town of beaches, fitness, glitz, and glamour. But, a key piece of the culture of Los Angeles is food. Many consider it one of the best food cities in the country. From high class restaurants to a neighborhood food truck, your options are nearly endless.

Eater.com recently listed the 12 Best New Restaurants, and (surprise!) a Los Angeles based restaurant made the list (https://www.eater.com/2017/7/26/16034248/best-new-restaurants-2017). Located in Venice, Felix Trattoria is Chef Evan Funke’s new restaurant. The name means “happy” or “funky” Trattoria and the restaurant aligns with the surge, nation-wide, of Italian restaurants. Felix Trattoria seves the carby, saucy, cheesy, herby, garlicky yumminess that your soul craves.

Felix Trattoria is in the super boho-hip Abbot Kinney Boulevard. It is in beautifully renovated 1920s building with many traditional and new touches Amazing food choices include spectacular focaccia, and pasta (so many great pastas!). The menu is full of mouthwatering twists on classics and new flavors you may have never tried. But, beware, reservations can be tough. Plan ahead or go early and sit a the front bar (all the better for people watching). Next time you find yourself on a trip to the West Coast, don’t miss out on this Los Angeles restaurant or several others that will make your trip memorable (and perhaps add an inch or two to your waist!).

Travel + Leisure Announces Top 15 Cities In Europe

Spain and Italy claimed most of the top prizes in Travel + Leisure’s 2017 reader’s survey of the top tourist draws in Europe. Out of this list of 15 cities, eight spots went to locales in these two nations.

The top prize went to Italy’s Florence. This shouldn’t come as a shock to readers, especially considering Florence won the top honor ten out of the past eleven years. Out of a possible score of 100, Florence got a 90.75.

Italy also clinched second place with the capital city Rome. “The Eternal City” raked in a score of 89.73 from Travel + Leisure’s readers.

Coming in third place was Spain’s second largest city: Barcelona. Barcelona’s score of 89.52 was extremely close to Rome this year.

Rounding out the top five European cities on this list were San Sebastián in Spain and Hungary’s capital Budapest. These two cities scored 89.52 and 89.19, respectively.

The only other nation that had more than one city on this year’s list was Portugal. The Portuguese capital Lisbon came in tenth place and the city of Porto came in ninth. Travel experts say this is yet more evidence of Portugal’s rising status as a major player in the European tourism industry. Both cities scored in the 88-point range.

Travel + Leisure authors asked readers to rank major tourist destinations in areas such as friendliness, cost, food quality, shopping opportunities, and cultural experiences. Respondents praised Florence’s efforts to preserve its cultural identity by blocking off fast-food chains from the city center and planning renovations at the Uffizi Gallery.

From sixth place to fifteenth, this is how Travel + Leisure’s list broke down: Siena, Seville, Kraków, Porto, Lisbon, Prague, Venice, Edinburgh, Istanbul, and Madrid.

Travel + Leisure Announces Nominees For Readers’ Choice World Destination 2017

The editors at Travel + Leisure are excited to announce their nominees for the 2017 Readers’ Choice Destination of the Year. Now readers from around the world can cast their vote for the destination they believe deserves this year’s top prize.

In total, Travel + Leisure narrowed down their list to 23 countries and cities. The list includes a great mix of obvious tourist hotspots and “off the beaten path” locales that are just starting to get more attention.

First on the list is the island nation of Bermuda. Editors note that Bermuda has been working hard this year to attract new tourists by hosting dozens of major events such as the America’s Cup. The country has also put a ton of money into travel infrastructure, especially revitalizing the famous Hamilton Princess hotel.

Next on the list is the great state of California. Although much of this western state was devastated by wildfires this summer, Travel + Leisure editors say that California’s famous Napa and Sonoma wineries are intact and booming with business. Nature lovers are also extremely happy that California opened up Highway 1 into Big Sur this year.

Third on Travel + Leisure’s list is the Asian nation of Cambodia. Amazingly, Cambodia’s tourism traffic rose by 12 percent in just the first quarter of this year. The most popular tourist attractions, of course, are the ancient temples such as Angkor Wat. However, more people are also taking advantage of Cambodia’s great beaches and luxury hotels in the capital of Phnom Penh.

The rest of the destinations on this list in alphabetical order include Canada, Cape Town, the Caribbean, Chile, the country of Georgia, Greece, Iceland, South Korea, Mexico City, Minneapolis, Montana, Namibia, New Orleans, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Santa Fe, Sicily, Slovenia, and Vietnam. Travel + Leisure will announce the destination with the most votes on November 15th.