Travel News & Deals
Deals, tips, advice and more
'Dolphin Tale 2' introduces new stars at Clearwater, Fla., aquarium

If “Dolphin Tale” piqued your interest in Clearwater, Fla., the sequel may start you packing.

The first  “Dolphin Tale” movie told the story of Winter, a 3-month-old calf whose tail was so badly damaged by a crab trap line that it could not be saved. A prosthetic tail was created to help her glide like a dolphin.

Dolphin Tale 2,” which opened nationwide last week, emphasizes Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release. The filmmakers also created a mission featurette.

Joining Winter in the new film is Hope, who was rescued as a 2-month old calf in 2010. Both are permanent residents of the Clearwater aquarium, which is about 23 miles west of Tampa in central Florida.

Admission to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium costs $19.95 for adults and provides access to viewing platforms to see Winter, Hope and other rescues.

Additional animal encounters include being photographed with Winter ($140 for an individual, ages 5 and older) and participating in a three-hour...

Read more
Hostels want you to give peace a chance through their Sleep programs

Hostels in 28 countries, including the U.S., will be urging travelers to give peace a chance this weekend.

Hosteling International USA will host special activities from coast to coast to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace on Sunday.

The Sleep for Peace campaign is based on the premise that travel helps foster a greater understanding of people from various cultures around the world.

Several California hostels are among those with special events planned. Among the locations and activities:

The Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel  (16th Street at Highway 1, Montara, Calif., north of Half Moon Bay) will welcome visitors to its Gardening for Peace event 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. The emphasis will be on sustainability, both at the lighthouse and at participants’ homes. Guests are urged to bring gardening tools and a sack lunch.

San Diego’s hostels will band together for Journey to Peace, a peace-building conference from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Speakers will focus on...

Read more
Airfare: $520 round trip from LAX to Stockholm on Norwegian

Spring in Stockholm? Yes, and at a discount: $520 round trip from LAX, including all taxes and fees, on Norwegian Air Shuttle.

The fare is subject to availability and is for travel on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from March 31 to May 30.

You must stay over a Saturday night. If you call Norwegian, you will incur an international toll charge.

Info: Norwegian, 011-47-21-49-00-15.


Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

Read more
Ketchum, Idaho, festival celebrates bringing in the sheep for winter

A wall of wool will “baa” its way through Ketchum, Idaho, next month as a decades-old tradition--the moving of sheep to their winter lambing and grazing grounds--returns.

The autumn event has been a way of life for more than 150 years, but in more recent times, it’s also been a cause for celebration in the Sun Valley area. The 18th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival will be Oct. 9-12.

Sunday, the final day, draws the most attention when a parade moves down Ketchum’s Main Street starting at noon. The procession includes musicians and dancers, but the main attraction is the sheep, all 2,000 of them.

Shepherds, horses and sheepdogs all work together as the flocks are brought down from the mountain high country. (Visitors are strongly urged to leave their dogs at home.)

The run-up to the parade is a kaleidoscope of all things ranching and sheep-related.

Championship sheepdog trials will take place Oct. 11 and 12 from dawn to dusk. The trials, sanctioned by the U.S. Border Collie...

Read more's Drop Watch tool promises you'll get the lowest room rate

Guarantees promising to match the lowest price on hotel rates are nothing new, but a Vegas-centric website is taking that one step further by offering to do the homework for customers.

As part of this week’s relaunch of its site,, one of the largest marketers of hotel rooms in Sin City, has created Drop Watch, an online tool that eliminates the need to keep checking various sites to make sure you have snagged the best deal.

Customers can book rooms, locking in a rate in the usual way. If that rate drops before the arrival date, an email notification will be sent to them. Guests can then call to cancel the old reservation and rebook at the lower price.

“We say to folks, ‘Listen, make a commitment now and we’ve got your back,’” Steven McArthur, the site’s chief executive, told me.

“We are the only travel brand offering the ‘we’ve-got-your-back’ approach to this that we’re aware of.”

McArthur noted that it’s usually wise to book as early as possible, because prices...

Read more
Newly renovated White House Visitor Center reopens

For visitors to Washington who want to take a tour of the White House but did not get the necessary clearance from their congressional office or embassy, there is now another option — the newly renovated White House Visitor Center.      

The center, which opened to the public Saturday, gives tourists a more intimate look inside the White House, according to Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Assn.

“For those who don't have the opportunity to visit the White House, it still gives you a rich, deeply meaningful interactive education on what the White House is like as home to the first family, as office to the president and as ceremonial stage for the president and official functions of government,” he said.

The renovated center provides tourists with a glimpse of everyday life inside the White House. A 14-minute film, "The White House: Reflections from Within," features the voices of past presidents and first ladies, including President Obama and First Lady Michelle...

Read more
Deal: Third night free at Carmel Valley's Bernardus Lodge

Enjoy all the Central Coast has to offer while tucked away at night in the secluded Carmel Valley. The upscale Bernardus Lodge & Spa makes a longer stay more affordable this fall by offering a third night for free.

The deal: It’s simple; buy two nights at the Bernardus Lodge & Spa at the regular rate and the third night is free. If you book online, the nightly rate quoted for three nights includes the discount. The per-night prices can vary significantly and don’t include taxes and fees.

When: The offer is available through Nov. 30 but must be booked by Oct. 31. The website contains a helpful calendar displaying availability.

Tested: I found nightly rates ranging from $220 (checking in Sept. 28 and departing Oct. 1) to $354 (Oct. 24- 27). A three-night stay over Thanksgiving averages $345 a night.

Info: Bernardus Lodge, (888) 648-9463.

Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

Read more
Knott's completes a Halloween Haunt revival with two new mazes

Two new haunted mazes coming to Knott’s Scary Farm will complete a five-year reboot of the granddaddy of all Halloween events that had grown tired and creaky as it crept into middle age.

The turnaround began in 2010 with the introduction of the Terror of London maze based on the Jack the Ripper tales and continued with the apocalyptic Endgames (2011), the puzzle-solving Trapped (2012) and the Harry Houdini-inspired Black Magic (2013). This year, Voodoo and Tooth Fairy carry on the Knott's Haunt revival.

During an exclusive preview, Halloween Haunt masters of mischievous mayhem Lara Hanneman and Daniel Miller offered a walk-through tour of the two new mazes debuting at the 42nd annual event.

Spoiler alert: What follows are detailed previews of the Voodoo and Tooth Fairy mazes. Consider yourself warned.

Behind the Ghostrider coaster, the Voodoo maze travels into the swampy backwoods of a Louisiana bayou brimming with witch doctors and zombies.

Out front, the maze's elaborate facade sets the...

Read more
Paris Las Vegas marks 15th anniversary with food, drink, room specials

Paris Las Vegas will celebrate its 15th anniversary with food, drink and room specials this month.

Special activities are planned throughout the month to celebrate the Sept. 1, 1999, opening of the iconic Paris resort, complete with scaled-down versions of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

Guests can enjoy celebratory food and drink offers throughout the property. At Café Belle Madeleine, where the emphasis is on freshly baked pastries, an anniversary treat awaits. The special -- a French vanilla cupcake filled with vanilla mousse and topped with chocolate ganache and a chocolate Eiffel Tower -- sells for $5.  

St. Louis Cafe, a restaurant designed to evoke the atmosphere of a Parisian sidewalk cafe, is offering a three-course lunch for $15 that’s available daily. The choices include traditional French onion soup, a Croque-monsieur sandwich and, for dessert, a Napoleon pastry.

Can’t decide just what sounds good? There’s a huge selection at Le Village Buffet, where lunch is on...

Read more
New Mexico's Enchanted Byway brings fall foliage viewing full circle

For great fall color, the mountains of northern New Mexico are certainly in contention for a “best of” award, and an 85-mile byway makes it easy.

The artists’ colony of Taos can be the base from which to explore nature’s palate along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

Fall color is expected to peak early this year -- the first week of October in the Taos area -- according to the state's tourism website. The U.S. Forest Service also maintains a fall foliage hotline. Dial (800) 354-4595 and press 3 for conditions in New Mexico. (As of Tuesday, it had 2013 information.)

The Enchanted byway loop links Taos and Questa, N.M., with, in clockwise order, the neighboring resort communities of Red River, Eagle Nest and Angel Fire.

You can make the drive in 2 1/2 hours — if you don’t stop. But you’ll probably need to take some breaks for hiking, leaf peeping, photo ops and wildlife viewing.

Heading north from Taos on State Highway 522, you’ll find a couple of detours. There’s the 1,273-foot Rio...

Read more
'Magic Flute' to be staged this weekend in Las Vegas' Container Park

Visitors in search of a cultural fix in Las Vegas will find one this week as a troupe of opera singers presents Mozart's "The Magic Flute."

Sin City Opera, a company whose motto is “Yesterday’s Opera Today,” will perform a contemporary version of opera at the Downtown Container Park.

Mozart’s classic, designed as a family-friendly introduction to opera, will retain its comedic and dramatic elements, but it will be adapted to feature characters drawn from Las Vegas’ colorful past. The story of Tamino's quest to save Pamina will be sung in English.

“This free admission outdoor show is part of our education outreach to our community [and is] an excellent and easy introduction to opera as we know it today in our fair city,” Skip Galla, Sin City Opera’s artistic director, said in a news release.   

Shows are scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Container Park, 707 Fremont St., just a couple of blocks east of Las Vegas Boulevard, is an eclectic...

Read more
Classic cars rev up for Route 66 Cruisin' Reunion in Ontario

Hop in your Little Deuce Coupe, Hot Rod Lincoln or Pink Cadillac and drive out to Ontario this weekend for a heavy dose of automobile nostalgia.

The Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion starts Friday evening and continues through Sunday afternoon. About 1,000 classic cars are expected along Ontario’s Euclid Avenue.

The events get underway at 5 p.m. Friday  when hosts Rick and Kelly Dale from the History Channel’s “American Restoration” help cut the ribbon opening a new amphitheater at Ontario Town Square. From 8-10 that evening, spectators can line Euclid for a “neon light cruise.”

The parade, billed as one of the largest such events, is described as “a dazzling, moving light show on wheels,” a release says. Some participants spend years outfitting their cars with colorful neon.

Saturday’s highlight is the birthday bash that begins at 11 a.m. It will pay tribute to the 50th birthdays of the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO. More than 50 of these highly polished pieces of the past will be on display.


Read more