There are few things more quintessentially American than the landscapes of the West and the emotions they evoke. Whether you come for the pink sunsets, the forlorn-looking cacti or the abandoned ghost towns, traveling in the western part of the U.S. will leaves its mark on you. No matter where in this picturesque region you travel, choose a hotel that matches the rusticness of the surrounding scenery.

Spanish Colonial Santa Fe

Santa Fe has a population of under 70,000, but it's so full of amazing attractions that there are almost as many reasons to visit as there are people from living there! Tour historical structures like Loretto Chapel or the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis, or marvel at something more modern as you walk in the footsteps of Georgia O'Keefe. Many Santa Fe hotels are as scenic and picturesque as the city itself, from the El Rey Inn to the Eldorado Hotel & Spa.

Laughlin's Colorado River Chill

Laughlin is no Las Vegas, but there's still plenty of excitement to be had in this Nevada town—and yes, a couple casinos as well! The Davis Dam, for example, is a smaller answer to the Hoover Dam farther down the Colorado River, while theGrapevine Canyon Petroglyphs document a time long before modern gambling. Hotels in Laughlin tend to be as simple as the desert scenery that envelopes them, but because of this they're cheap, with rooms at Edgewater Hotel & Casino, for example, costing as little as $18 per night.

Bend: Oregon Starts Here

The Oregon town of Bend hasn't achieved the ubiquity of Portland or even Eugene, but there are few better spots in the state to start your trip. Discover the nearby Deschutes National Forest, hike to the top of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, or immerse yourself in the history of the High Desert Museum. Sleep in a spot as stunning as your surroundings, like the Sonoma Lounge or Pronghorn Resort.

Skiing is Just the Beginning in Aspen

Aspen has gained infamy as a ski hub for the celebrities, but in reality, you don't need to be savvy on the slopes in order to enjoy this Colorado town—you don't even need to be into the outdoors! Aspen has its fair share of culture, for example, such as the Wheeler Opera House and the Aspen Art Museum. Season shouldn't be a deciding factor for you either, as year-round hiking spots like Independence Pass and Maroon Bells prove. Hotels in Aspen aren't cheap, but the views they offer are priceless.

Central California Starts in Fresno

In spite of great attractions like Forestiere Underground Gardens and Chaffee Zoo, the city of Fresno pales in comparison to many of the sights around it, namely Yosemite National Park. The city makes a great hub for exploring that region, however, whether you head inland toward the Sierra Nevada or outward toward the coastal Highway 1 Discovery Route. Fresno is also a low-cost destination, with prices on hotels like Days Inn Fresno as low as $50 per night.

Then again, the American west is as limitless in destinations as the horizon line you see driving through it. Can you think of any other can't-miss places to visit in the Western U.S.?

  Article posted on Leave Your Daily Hell by Robert on February 10th.

Published in United States

Oregon and Washington are two of the most beautiful states in America. The extensive rainfall of the Pacific Northwest provides the flora and fauna with ideal conditions to thrive, making the landscape and wildlife of the region some of the best in the USA. The varied terrain and geography offers something for all types of nature enthusiasts, from plentiful coastlines to breathtaking mountains, with everything in between. Consider these destinations for your next trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Salem, Oregon

The beauty of Salem is that even though it is the capital of Oregon, it doesn't feel that way. It has the subdued appearance and vibe of a quiet little town nestled among the trees. During the warm summer months the city comes alive with weekly farmers markets and other social events. While the city might not be as hip as Portland, there are still plenty of amazing sights and activities both in and around town. Definitely visit one of many vineyards scattered outside of town, and be sure to catch the Oregon State Fair if you are visiting at the end of August or early September.

Old railway bridge in Salem, Oregon
Old railway bridge in Salem. Photo by Max Rae via Flickr.

Bend, Oregon

The mountain town of Bend, Oregon is arguably the most beautiful part of the state. Multiple rivers snake through town and snow-capped mountain peaks dot the horizon. Several nearby lakes lay just a short drive outside of town and are great for a day-trip or camping trip. The pristine beauty of Bend makes it a favorite among both amateur and professional photographers.

Mirror Pond in Bend, Oregon
Mirror Pond in Bend. Photo by Gordon via Flickr.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane is another one of these American cities that has undergone a revitalization this last decade or two and become a hotbed of live music, craft beer and hip events. Add to that the natural beauty of the surrounding area and all the amazing outdoor activities year-round and it's evident why Spokane is so well-loved by adventure travelers. It is an incredible winter wonderland for those craving snow but also a fantastic summer destination as well.

Historic Howard Street truss bridge over the Spokane River Middle Channel in Spokane, Washington
Howard Street Middle Channel Bridge in Spokane. Photo by cmh2315fl via Flickr.

SeaTac, Washington

Planning to fly to Seattle or Tacoma, Washington? Then you'll be landing at the small city of SeaTac, home of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. While tourism is not too big here, business is, especially given the city's strategic location between an airport and a seaport. As such there is no shortage of hotels, with most stretching along Pacific Highway 5 or located within a minute or two of it. If looking for a luxury stay, it doesn't get much better than Cedarbrook Lodge. Or if budget is the name of the game, there are several options below $50/night from the discount chains.

Blue skies over the SeaTac/Airport station in Washington
Blue skies over the SeaTac/Airport station. Photo by atomictaco via Flickr.

Kent, Washington

Next door to SeaTac is the city of Kent, also part of the Seattle Metropolitan Area but a world of difference. The small city has nearly 75 parks, some of them over 100 acres in size. Much like its neighbor city, Kent is also home of some prominent businesses including REI and Boeing. However the peaceful surroundings and how easy it is to enjoy the countryside beyond make this an ideal choice for anyone seeking relaxation.

Green crops-a-growin' in Kent, Washington
Green crops-a-growin' in Kent. Photo by nicenecktie via Flickr.

  Featured photo by Sheila Sund via Flickr

Published in United States

Thanks in part to its wide-open landscape and sprawling interstate system, the United States has maintained a long-term love affair with the automobile. The romance certainly hasn’t waned over the years, as more cars were sold in the United States in 2015 than during any other year in history. Many of those sales were pragmatic vehicles like Crossover Utility Vehicles, but you don’t have to cover many miles to encounter far more interesting autos. So hit the highway and take the exit for these motor-friendly metropolises!

Portland, Oregon

Portland may conjure up images of farm-to-table brunch spots and thick-bearded Millennials pedaling past organic coffee shops and tattoo parlors, but this hipster-friendly city knows how to burn some rubber. Portland International Raceway, just south of the Columbia River, features a full calendar, including Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events, motorcycle road-racing, ⅛-mile dragstrip, karting, and unique events featuring vintage racecars, rally cars, British autos, and the surprisingly versatile Volkswagen Beetle. Sign up for their Pro Drive racing school and learn how to handle your car both on and off the track. If you’re more into aesthetics than pure speed, PDX Car Culture can point you towards the myriad car shows, cruise-ins, and custom builders in the area!

Reno, Nevada

Often seen as Las Vegas’ smaller cousin, Reno provides a gearhead culture unlike anything Vegas has to offer. The National Automobile Museum presents The Harrah Collection, the eponymous casino-owner’s world-renowned collection of over 200 of the world’s rarest, most historic automobiles. Nowhere else can you see the 1938 Phantom Corsair, or the only original example of Buckminster Fuller’s “Car of the Future” – the 1934 Dymaxion – or the 1907 Thomas Flyer, the American-built car that conquered the world in the 22,000-mile 1908 New York to Paris Race. Once a year, Reno offers an adrenaline-pumping alternative to the static displays at the museum: the Reno Air Races, where some of the fastest propeller-driven aircraft in the world tear through the air at over 400 mph. At that speed, they could cover the 7-hour drive from Vegas to Reno in just over an hour!

Austin, Texas

Another Millennial favorite, Austin boasts something no other city in the contemporary United States can claim: a chance to see Formula One cars at full-tilt. This racing series represents the pinnacle of automotive technology, and, in terms of global popularity, is the soccer of the auto-racing world. The Circuit of the Americas also hosts a number of other high-octane events throughout the year, including a weekend of MotoGP in April (the motorcycling equivalent of Formula One), the Summer X-Games, and the Pirelli World-Challenge in March, contested by racecar versions of the world’s fastest street cars, including McClarens, Ferraris, Porsches, and American iron like Fords, Chevys, and Cadillacs. COTA’s Austin360 Amphitheatre also plays host to huge music and comedy events throughout the year, packing in upwards of 14,000 fans to see headliners like Duran Duran, Florence and the Machine, and Jeff Foxworthy’s RedFest.

Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is hallowed ground in the world of motorsport, and no tour of American automotive history would be complete without paying homage to ‘The Brickyard.’ Except for brief hiatuses during the First and Second World Wars, the world-famous Indy 500 has been run on this site every year since 1911. Contemporary racers cover the 500-mile distance in under three hours, at average speeds nearing 200 mph! The Brickyard also plays host to many other top-notch racing series, including NASCAR, MotoGP, and the Red Bull Air Race. For a more sedate experience, be sure to pay a visit to the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum, where a rotating selection of historically significant racecars, around 75 at a time, are on display.

Nashville, Tennessee

Better known as the Country Music Capitol of the World, Nashville also offers a little something for those who prefer the music of internal combustion. While the Musician's Hall of Fame features musician-owned cars like Elvis’ Gold Cadillac, the true gearhead won’t want to miss the Lane Motor Museum. Featuring one of the most extensive collections of eccentric cars in the world, be sure to pay a visit to gawk at bizarre gems like their 1966 Citroen DS Ice Racer, the three-wheeled (and elegantly named) 1934 B.S.A. TW33-10-4 Cylinder, and the 1951 Hoffmann, which Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky gleefully dubbed "the worst car ever built." Who wouldn't want to see that?

Charlotte, North Carolina

No motorsport is more American than NASCAR, and no city in the United States is more steeped in it than Charlotte, North Carolina. Take a lap through NASCAR history at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, tour the headquarters of one of the many NASCAR teams who call Charlotte home, and feel the thunder of horsepower at the legendary Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition to multiple NASCAR races and events throughout the year – including the only Saturday night race in the NASCAR Chase – the Speedway hosts events featuring monster trucks, MXGP motocross, World of Outlaws, and the 8,000 horsepower, 320 mph acceleration-machines known as NHRA Top-Fuel Dragsters. Let your gearhead flag fly, and don’t forget your earplugs!

  This article was published on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmunk on February 15th.

Published in United States

Amsterdam was once a place where college kids and marijuana aficionados flocked in order to enjoy herb out in the open, eliciting no more than a glance from passersby. But the times, they are a-changin'. Now that marijuana is legal in five U.S. states and the District of Columbia, American pot smokers need not cross the pond for the experience.

According to Hipmunk airfare search data, Amsterdam has fallen from the #7 most-searched international destination in 2014 to #10 in 2015. We speculated it has something to do with domestic cities like Denver and Portland (both of them) joining the small group of pro-ganja cities.

We took a look at Hipmunk data to see if there was an increase in flight searches shortly after Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. legalized marijuana back in November 2014. And there was.

Increase in Share of Searches on Hipmunk From November 2013 to November 2014

Alaska 37%
Washington DC 21%
Colorado 19%
Oregon 15%

 

With so many more options and the Amsterdam government imposing stricter regulations on herb, we thought it’s time to outline all of your pot tourism destination options along with estimated budgets for each.

Pot-Friendly Vacation Destinations by Price

Destinations Average Flight Price Average Nightly Hotel Price Estimated Cost of a Weekend Trip for Two
Colorado $300 $174 $948
Oregon $362 $150 $1,024
Washington $370 $182 $1,104
Amsterdam $1269 $182 $2,902

 

We dug even deeper to bring you estimated weekend getaway pricing for popular cities in each of our domestic pot-friendly states.

Pot-Friendly Domestic Vacation Cities by Price

Cities Average Flight Price Average Nightly Hotel Price Estimated Cost of a Weekend Trip for Two
Yakima, WA* $317 $110 $853
Denver, CO $275 $184 $918
Spokane, WA $395 $125 $1,039
Boulder, CO $275 $249 $1,048
Portland, OR $349 $178 $1,054
Colorado Springs, CO $424 $114 $1,076
Eugene, OR $419 $121 $1,080
Bend, OR $449 $130 $1,157
Seattle, WA $362 $241 $1,206
Aspen, CO $715 $310 $2,049
Vail, CO $715 $365 $2,160

 

Did we miss your favorite 420 destination? Or have you traveled to one of these locations to take a toke? Let us know in the comments below.

 

*It's illegal to operator a pot shop, sell, and purchase marijuana in Yakima, WA. However it's legal to possess and consume a certain amount within Yakima. The purchase of pot is legal in Union Gap, WA–only 3 miles outside of town.

  This article was posted on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmunk on October 7th.

Published in United States

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