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L.A. County sets another tourism record

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LOS ANGELES -- For the seventh straight year, Los Angeles County has set a record for drawing big-spending tourists.

The county hosted 48.3 million visitors in 2017, a 2.2 percent increase over the record 47.3 million tourists in 2016, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who announced the fresh record during a recent news conference ...Read more

Following in the footsteps of fictional character Doc Ford in Sanibel and Captiva, Fla.

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Darkness has descended over the southwest Florida swamps as I ease my rental car into the parking lot of Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island. Grabbing my bag, I head for the marina to meet up with Captain Jack La Plante, whose boat will be my ride over to Cabbage Key.

As we skim across Pine Island Sound on a moonless night, I let my imagination run ...Read more

Wine country hotels: Healdsburg's Camellia Inn

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The Camellia Inn comes by its name honestly. More than 80 camellia plants flower in the gardens of this peach-hued Victorian inn, just a couple of blocks from the town square in Healdsburg, Calif. The house was built in 1869 for a former gold miner, who found prospecting in real estate far more lucrative than scrabbling around creeks with a pan....Read more

Beyond glitz of Palm Springs is a winter oasis

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Five minutes from downtown Palm Springs, a former Hollywood hangout where the ghosts of Dinah Shore and Bob Hope still stroll, five friends and I on a winter getaway filled our water bottles and smeared on sunblock at the trading post-themed Indian Canyons visitor center.

Our timing was perfect. A guided ranger walk was about to begin. We lined...Read more

New Canoe Bay Escape village offers tiny houses for rent in northern Wisconsin

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The tiny-house craze has come to vacation properties in Wisconsin.

The new Canoe Bay Escape Village features three types of tiny homes for rent outside Chetek, Wis. The village, the first of its kind in Wisconsin and projected to be the largest in the Midwest, opened Dec. 1.

The village is situated on 100 acres of mixed hardwoods and wetlands,...Read more

Stay more than a day to get the most of Catalina Island

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There's always something new to do in Catalina. "Catalina reminds me of a Greek island with its golf carts, clear blue ocean water and laid-back European atmosphere," a Norwegian visitor told me while we waited in line at Avalon's only grocery store. I nodded in agreement because Catalina is a pretty special place, accurately labeled "California...Read more

New water taxi service lets you cruise South Florida's coast

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--A new water taxi service will allow you to sightsee from the mansions in Lighthouse Point to the condo canyons of Hallandale Beach.

But be prepared for a leisurely tour -- between transfers and wait times, it will take you a full day to do so, the service operators say.

The Pompano Beach Water Taxi will open to the ...Read more

Minnesota's Hungry Hippie Hostel satiates North Shore travelers

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The candy-apple red barn sits on a hillside above Lake Superior, with panoramic views of the North Shore. On a recent fall weekend, the bright setting sun lit up the golden leaves of aspens as hostel guests arrived.

"Oh, wow," a Minneapolis woman said, gushing as co-owner Kate Keeble showed her to her room during a fall-color sightseeing trip. ...Read more

Milwaukee: More than just beer here

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MILWAUKEE -- "Arrived in Milwaukee. Found beer," my social media post said. Because honestly, beer is about the only thing I knew about the city. And make no mistake, beer is big there. You can tour any one of more than a dozen breweries, see the mansion that Pabst built, the ballpark that Miller built. But to say Milwaukee is all about beer is ...Read more

Healdsburg, in heart of California wine country, is open for business

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The signs are everywhere, and their messages simple. "Thank you, firefighters," reads one, "God bless." "Thank you for saving our town," reads another.

And another, "Thank you, firefighters, police, EMTs, first responders, and volunteers." Then finally, one that is more prevalent than the others, "The love in the air is thicker than the smoke."...Read more

Lake Tahoe must-see: Gorgeous Emerald Bay

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If you can imagine the shoreline of Lake Tahoe as a glittery necklace, Emerald Bay would be its most radiant jewel.

No first-time visit to the area is complete without spending some time around this gorgeous body of water situated on the western edge of Tahoe's most southern point. You can cruise into it -- and around tiny Fannette Island -- ...Read more

Los Angeles: 5 great places to see art

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Not long ago, Hollywood film premieres and private parties dominated Los Angeles' social landscape. Now the city's power brokers and celebrities lavish attention and money on exhibition openings and promoting great art -- which is to the benefit of everyone else. Here are five of L.A.'s top spots for viewing world-class art:

Los Angeles County ...Read more

Lake Tahoe: 2 scenic aerial rides take you to new heights

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It's one thing to enjoy the beauty of the Lake Tahoe region from the ground. It's quite another to make like a bird and rise above it all.

Here are two invigorating, gasp-inducing rides that will take you to great heights.

1. Heavenly Mountain Gondola

The lake stretches out beneath you as you soar into the sky in an eight-passenger cabin that...Read more

Lake Tahoe: 3 great places to try snowshoeing

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Are you up for something different? Slip your feet into a pair of snowshoes.

Snowshoeing has become increasingly popular in recent years and the good news is that, if you can walk, you can snowshoe. Snowshoeing doesn't have the substantial learning curve that comes with cross-country skiing -- just lift those knees! It's a great way to explore ...Read more

Los Angeles: 4 great beaches

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In Los Angeles, it's beach weather all year-round. But in January you don't have to compete with nearly as many people for prime towel spots. All L.A.-area beaches are managed by the California State Parks Department, sometimes in cooperation with county or city governments.

1. Santa Monica: Santa Monica State Beach celebrates America's love ...Read more

A winter wonderland that caters to all

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It's funny how a majestic Lake Tahoe vista, all lathered in snow, can bring out vastly different desires in different people.

The adrenaline junkie lays eyes on the powdery terrain and instantly yearns to rip through it at a frantic pace on a pair of skis, or aboard a snarling snowmobile.

Meanwhile, the more laid-back type prefers to position ...Read more

A Tahoe North Shore romp, with ziplines and more at Treetop Adventure Parks

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The most fun I've ever had while fearing for my life -- that should have been emblazoned on the T-shirt I wore while traipsing through two of Tahoe's three unforgettable Treetop Adventure Parks with my daughter.

If you love to scramble up tree trunks, whoosh along a zip line or experience a day in the life of a squirrel, this is the ultimate ...Read more

Los Angeles: Is it really 'America's capital of the 21st century'?

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It's been a long time since theme parks were the main reason to go to Los Angeles. That's even true for starstruck fans for whom the Hollywood Walk of Fame and other flashy, industry-related attractions are the main lure.

Los Angeles has begun to shed its reputation as a culturally backward sprawl of freeways, suburbs and soulless strip malls ...Read more

Want to really see Atlanta? Get out of the airport and forget what you think you know

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ATLANTA -- I've always joked that when I die, whether I go to Heaven or Hell, I will have to change planes in Atlanta. I suspect that many of us who live in the south feel the same. I'm intimately familiar with every nook and cranny of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, but am less so with the city itself.

Oh, I've done the usual -- ...Read more

Hidden San Diego website offers adventure but raises ethical questions

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SAN DIEGO -- The first time Jessica Johnson explored the Mushroom Caves in Solana Beach she was trespassing.

It was 2013, a few years after the 35-year-old elementary school art teacher first started documenting her passion for adventurous, sometimes dangerous hikes on her increasingly popular website Hidden San Diego.

Walking along the path ...Read more

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