9 best places to travel for Thanksgiving

Updated November 20, 2017 8:39 AM Looking to spice up your traditional holiday plans with your family? DK Eyewitness Travel complied a list of the nine best places to travel for Thanksgiving that will make this holiday exceptionally memorable. From strolling through the Christmas markets in Germany to exploring the exotic wildlife of Costa Rica, here are the top spots to travel this Thanksgiving. Costa Rica The eco-friendly country of Costa Rica is filled with beautiful wild life, gorgeous beaches and plenty of fun things for travelers to see. Animal lovers will want to visit the Manuel Antonio National Park, which is home to roughly "200 different types of birds and more than 100 species of mammals." Travelers are sure to spot sloths, iguanas and the endangered squirrel monkey while exploring the local jungles. Munich, Germany Be sure to visit Munich, Germany, this time of year when the city is filled with holiday lights and decorations. The city is stocked with Christmas markets, where travelers can find delicious foods, arts and crafts. For those who are looking to get into the Christmas spirit, visit Christkindlmarkt giant Christmas tree and take your holiday greeting card. Santa Fe, New Mexico Santa Fe is a city filled with a rich blend of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures, perfect for those looking for a twist on a traditional Thanksgiving experience. Local chefs use innovative cooking techniques to spice up the holiday turkey with chile peppers and fresh, local ingredients. Set aside the sweet potatoes and classic roast turkey and try piñon stuffing, pumpkin pasta, and jalapeño chorizo dressing at a local restaurant this Thanksgiving. While visiting the city, travelers should check out the vibrant art galleries and Native American markets where you can find treasures like ceramics and jewelry. Seattle, Washington Some may not know that you can see a Thanksgiving Day Parade right in Seattle. The city puts on Continue Reading

Mojave’s magnificent Mitchell Caverns reopening after 6 years and a series of setbacks

By Michelle Robertson, SFGATE Published 4:08 pm, Monday, September 25, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-29', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 29', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Jerry Schad/Getty Images/Science Source Image 1of/29 CaptionClose Image 1 of 29 Mitchell Caverns in the Providence Mountain State Recreation Area, in eastern Mojave Desert, will reopen Nov. 3, 2017. Mitchell Caverns in the Providence Mountain State Recreation Area, in eastern Mojave Desert, will reopen Nov. 3, 2017. Continue Reading

42 Best cabin getaways

Rachel Levin, Andrea Minarcek, Sunset Magazine Updated 4:00 am, Sunday, November 5, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', Continue Reading

Outdoor notes: Nebraska deer harvest ahead of last year’s pace; Two appointed to Game and Parks Commission

The preliminary deer harvest in Nebraska is 3 percent ahead of last year’s pace. From Sept. 1 through Nov. 30, 49,923 deer werer checked, compared to 48,633 in 2016. Mule deer buck harvest has increased for the fourth consecutive year, with 8,609 taken, compared to 8,499 in 2016. “This bodes well for Nebraska, as mule deer buck harvest in 2016 was the highest on record,” said Kit Hams, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “The average age of bucks is also very good, with 49 percent of bucks estimated at age 3 or older.” Whitetail buck harvest is up 4 percent in 2017 with 26,489 adult whitetail bucks harvested compared to 25,314 in 2016. The average age of bucks declined slightly, with 33 percent of whitetail bucks estimated at age 3 or older. Biologists also collected lymph nodes for chronic wasting disease testing from more than 1,200 deer in Panhandle and southwest units. Results should be available by the end of December. Game and Parks will only notify a hunter if his or her deer tested positive for CWD. Archery and muzzleloader seasons close Dec. 31. The late antlerless season ends Jan. 15. Hunters are reminded that mule deer does are protected in many management units and public lands across the state. Refer to the 2017 Big Game Guide for details. Hunters who wish to donate venison can use the Hunters Helping the Hungry and Deer Exchange programs. Go to OutdoorNebraska.org for more details. New members appointed to Game and Parks Commission Two new commissioners have been appointed to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission by Gov. Pete Ricketts. Doug Zingula of Sidney and Scott Cassels of Omaha have been appointed to represent District 7 (Panhandle) and District 9 (at-large), respectively. The appointments to four-year terms are effective Jan. 16. Zingula is retired from a career with outdoor retailer Cabela’s, where he was vice president of corporate merchandising. He Continue Reading

Levels of the Game—I

Arthur Ashe, his feet apart, his knees slightly bent, lifts a tennis ball into the air. The toss is high and forward. If the ball were allowed to drop, it would, in Ashe’s words, “make a parabola and fall to the grass three feet in front of the baseline.” He has practiced tossing a tennis ball just so thousands of times. But he is going to hit this one. His feet draw together. His body straightens and tilts forward far beyond the point of balance. He is falling. The force of gravity and muscular momentum from legs to arm compound as he whips his racquet up and over the ball. He weighs a hundred and fifty-five pounds; he is six feet tall, and right-handed. His build is barely full enough not to be describable as frail, but his coördination is so extraordinary that the ball comes off his racquet at furious speed. With a step forward that stops his fall, he moves to follow. On the other side of the net, the serve hits the grass and, taking off in a fast skid, is intercepted by the backhand of Clark Graebner. Graebner has a plan for this match. He does not intend to “hit out” much. Even if he sees the moon, he may decide not to shoot it. He will, in his words, “play the ball in the court and make Arthur play it, because Arthur blows his percentages by always trying a difficult or acute shot. Arthur sometimes tends to miss easy shots more often than he makes hard shots. The only way to get his confidence down is to get every shot into the court and let him make mistakes.” Graebner, standing straight up, pulls his racquet across and then away from the ball as if he had touched something hot, and with this gesture he blocks back Ashe’s serve. Ashe has crossed no man’s land and is already astride the line between the service boxes, waiting to volley. Only an extraordinarily fast human being could make a move of that distance so quickly. Graebner’s return is a good one. It comes low over the net and descends Continue Reading

The Best Cruises of 2015: Find the right trip to fit any budget

In recent years, reports of health scares and mechanical malfunctions have raised questions about cruise safety. As a result, many travelers are wary of whether a cruise is the best vacation choice. But here's the reality: With a growing demand for improved safety measures, immersive itineraries and innovative onboard entertainment, cruise lines attract an increasing number of passengers each year — and for good reason. In January, the Cruise Lines International Association estimated 21.7 million travelers would take a cruise in 2014, up from 15 million in 2010. With the introduction of new ships, high-tech amenities and extended time, the industry is striving to lure millennial, multigenerational and first-time cruisers of all budgets and ages. And when you consider that all meals, activities and lodging are bundled into one rate, it's easy to see why cruise vacations are steadily growing in popularity. But once you've decided to take a cruise, comparing ships and itineraries can be exhausting. That's why U.S. News compiles the Best Cruises rankings. Our annual lists include 15 major cruise lines, ranked based on their reputations among travel experts, guest ratings from Cruiseline.com and health inspection scores collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After evaluating the data for each cruise line, we've identified the lines that offer the best experience in the following categories. In Pictures: The Best Cruise Lines of 2015 Top Luxury Cruise Lines For the second consecutive year, Crystal Cruises earned the top spot on our 2015 Best Luxury Cruise Lines list. Thanks to multimillion-dollar renovations in 2013 and 2014, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony now offer even more standout amenities, including an herb garden (on Serenity) and an outdoor Fitness Garden (on Symphony). Apart from its ship upgrades, Crystal Cruises outshines competitors with its exemplary service, gourmet dining options and unique enrichment Continue Reading

From lions to luxury, a Kenyan safari like no other

Kenya marks 50 years of independence from Britain this year, and there's no better way to celebrate than by visiting the original home of the safari — a local word for "journey." New openings throughout the East African country are poised to make Kenyan journeys, from city to bush to coast, extra luxurious — and stunningly sundry: the tourist-friendly country, divided by the equator, boasts a dramatic diversity of climate, culture, language and landscape. Safaris generally kick off in Kenya’s bustling capital, Nairobi, at the Norfolk Hotel, a 109-year-old institution that’s hosted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemmingway and Robert Redford, who filmed “Out of Africa” there. The colonial-style property's lush, sprawling grounds are decked out with a 1903 rickshaw and Model A-Ford Roadstar — but there are plenty of new features: the hotel recently completed a $12 million restoration that included the addition of hypoallergenic suites and extensive refurbishment of all guest rooms. Also in Kenya’s concrete jungle, two hotels opened their doors. Hemingways Nairobi is a 45-suite boutique hotel set in an exclusive suburb, while Hotel Villa Rosa, in the city center, will be Kempinski's first property in Kenya. With 200 rooms and a host of dining options — including a pan-Asian restaurant, Italian bistro and Moroccan Rooftop Lounge — Hotel Villa Rosa will also offer conference facilities and a spa. Nairobi is a cosmopolitan city of over 3 million people, but visitors can fast forget that in Nairobi National Park, the only protected area in the world close to a capital city. Along stretches of acacia bush, wildlife roam: rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, giraffes, zebra and more. Have a sunset cocktail or sumptuous Indian buffet dinner at the new Ole Sereni Hotel’s chic Big Five restaurant, overlooking the park. Then check into The Emakoko, a modish lodge on the park’s Continue Reading

10 last-minute hotel deals for Fourth of July in Phoenix, Scottsdale

Your friends and neighbors are headed out of town for the long July 4 weekend. Beaching it in Southern California. Camping in northern Arizona. Fishing at a family cabin in Minnesota or Michigan.What's a family staying in sweltering Phoenix to do? Book a vacation in your backyard — no airfare or baggage fees required.Check into one of the Phoenix area's luxury resorts for a night or two at prices unheard of when tourists pack the place the rest of the year. Think water slides and wave pools, poolside games and frou frou cocktails, and even fireworks.The best part: You don't have to say no when the kids beg to turn down the A/C.Check out these 10 resorts with the best lineup of family activities during July 4 weekend. Rates are from the resorts' websites as of June 24 for a two-night stay July 2-4 for two adults and two children and are subject to change. Packages that include food and beverage credits and other perks may be a better value, so do the math to see what's the best deal for your family.RELATED: 29 best hotel deals this summer in Phoenix, Scottsdale | A great deal? First check fees | 5 tips to get the best Arizona resort deal | New pools, activities await summer guestsCheck out Travelzoo, Groupon and LivingSocial websites for last-minute offers, too. A Phoenician deal on Travelzoo features a $179 rate that includes parking and resort fee. It must be booked by June 29 unless it sells out sooner. Hotel Tonight, a mobile app for last-minute deals, says Phoenix had the best July 4 hotel rates of any major U.S. city last year, so check its offers, too.Don't forget about resort fees, those mandatory nightly charges that cover a variety of amenities including Internet service. Also note that some activities carry extra charges, so ask when you book or check in.Activities: Water-slide races, watermelon-eating contests, Continue Reading

Carb Day 2017 fun report: A recap of a day at IMS

6 p.m.: Wasn't this fun? Don't cry because Carb Day's over, smile because it happened. We'll be right back here at 6 a.m. Sunday to bring you all-day, nonstop coverage of the fun being had a the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. 5:22 p.m.: Keep on rockin'Introduced as "Stevie Guitar and His Band," the Steve Miller Band opened its Carb Day performance with "The Stake" followed by "Swingtown."    4:30 p.m.: Gotta see the showConcerts are underway now at IMS, with Barenaked Ladies starting at 3:30 p.m. and Steve Miller Band expected to hit the stage at 5 p.m. Indiana State Police Public Information Officer Tony Slocum took the opportunity to remind everyone to make sure they have a safe ride home from IMS tonight. This is also a good opportunity to maybe drink some water, if you haven't already. You'll thank us later. 3:45 p.m. They come from a land down underFlatmates Tom Gleeson-Hammerton, 26, left, Daniel Norris, 25, center, and Iggy Gabitov, 29, right, traveled from Adelaide, Australia, for a friend’s wedding in Fort Wayne, and decided to make a stop to see the greatest spectacle in racing.The paramedics wore khakis, wide-rimmed Australian safari hats and carried a stuffed crocodile with them.“This is what we wear on a daily basis,” Gabitov said, laughing. “No, we thought we’d honor the late Steve Irwin.” Gabitov was drinking a Fosters, which he swore was not Australian for beer.In spite of their patriotism, most didn’t actually believe they were Australian. People asked them how long it took them “to learn the accent.”“I said, ‘well, we were born there, so…’” Gabitov said.“You come here and you see all of the American flags,” Norris said. “We thought we’d show our Aussie pride.” 3:15 p.m.: Hey Dave! Happy Carb Da — oh, sorry.We just saw the bushy, grey beard and thought, David Continue Reading

Boatload of fall festivals start in September: More than 100 across metro Phoenix

Temperatures may be only inching down the thermometer, but we're in the mood to get outside. Lucky for us, festival season is getting underway.From great ethnic food (we mean you, St. George Antiochan Orthodox Church Food Festival) to colorful cultural experiences (hello, Rainbows Festival and Street Fair) to the best shopping experiences (welcome back, Pueblo Grande Indian Market), we are eager to sample everything the crafters, chefs, musicians and diverse Valley culture have to offer.We have your list of the festivals and fairs to check out this September, October, November and December in the metro Phoenix area.The ninth annual Saboten Con is the largest anime convention in Arizona, with about 28,000 attendees in 2015, according to their website. Attendees can enter cosplay contests, buy anime and manga merchandise in the vendor hall or choose from over 100 panels. Saboten has 18 special guests, including Los Angeles-based anime and video-game voice actor Kyle Hebert who is known for Wreck it Ralph/Street Fighter, Naruto and Bleach. All ages are welcome.Details: Friday-Monday, Sept. 2-5. Registration starts at 10 a.m.; pre-registration is Thursday, Sept. 1, 7-10 p.m. Sheraton Downtown Phoenix hotel, 340 N. Third Street, Phoenix. $50 for full event membership; $15-25 daily memberships. 480-428-2776, sabotencon.com.On Sept. 3, some of the Valley’s best chefs will convene to share a variety of tasty ingredients combined into delicious dishes. Described as a “food-lover’s paradise,” Phoenix Cooks! is the largest annual food event in the Phoenix area. Now in its 12th year, Phoenix Cooks! benefits Banner Children’s Hospital.Details: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3. Westin Kierland, 6902 E. Greenway Pkwy., Scottsdale. $60-$100. 480-624-1000, phoenixcooks.com.People of all ages can experience the music and culture of the Andes, the longest mountain range in the world. Attendees will enjoy South American Continue Reading