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Deal: Club Med adds round-trip L.A. airfare to Mexican resort package

Club Med ups the ante on all-inclusive with a deal that includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles. It's offering a week at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific resort in Mexico plus flights starting at $1,499 per person.

The deal: Club Med Ixtapa Pacific is all-inclusive (dining, beverages plus all kinds of activities like kayaking, tennis, sailing, etc.) and family friendly too. Children younger than 4 years old stay free at the resort, which has 298 rooms and suites.

The $1,499 price is based on double occupancy and includes transfers to and from the airport. Round-trip flights to Zihuatanejo included in the deal depart Saturdays on Delta Air Lines.

When: The offer is good through June 23 for selected dates through Oct. 30 (based on availability).

Tested: I went to Club Med's website and found the deal for six nights for the slightly lower price of $1,199 per person. (It includes a membership fee; if you already have a Club Med membership, it will be about $60 less.)

Info: Club Med Ixtapa Pacific...

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Did someone say beer? Carlsbad hotel adds Hops Highway tour to stays

If you didn't know it, the more than 60 miles between Oceanside and Julian has been nicknamed the Hops Highway for the number of microbreweries located in northern San Diego County.

West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad offers visitors a chance to experience the area's craft beer movement with their stay starting at $499 for two.

The four-hour tour along California Route 78 by Sterling Rose Transportation comes with a private vehicle and guide to give a bit of history about each brewery. You'll also receive a snack basket with things like cheese and crackers to munch on along the way.

Stops include four tastings at places like Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, the Lost Abbey in San Marcos, Mother Earth Brew Co. in Vista and Ballast Point in San Diego, according to a hotel announcement.

Other extras include hot breakfast, Wi-Fi, parking and a beach party (if you like). They'll also send you home (for those who overdo it) with a collapsible cooler with aspirin, Alka Seltzer, Gatorade and gift certificates...

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Northwest: Tracking Lewis & Clark, by train and Columbia River cruise

If you want an old-school journey like Lewis & Clark's (OK, not that old school), Uncommon Journeys offers four summer trips to the Northwest that combine travel on a vintage train and sailing on a replica steamer ship.

The journey, called In the Path of Lewis & Clark, takes 11 days and visits Mount St. Helens in Washington, Astoria in Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge, among other points. The idea is to experience some of the 19th-century wonder that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark encountered during their expedition.

The trip begins in Emeryville, Calif., where participants board the private train the Great Western Limited. You'll enjoy Pullman sleeping cars and meals cooked by a personal chef on the trip to Portland, Ore.

The train has a "vista dome" or view car that allows you to take in the scenery as you travel north and through the Cascades. (Free connecting train service from other California cities if you reserve by May 15.)

After a welcome dinner in Portland and a stay at...

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California's national parks: A photographic history seen through The Times' archives
German theme park set to debut innovative coaster-dark ride combo

A German theme park will introduce a first-of-a-kind attraction featuring a 240-foot-tall high-speed hyper-coaster sandwiched between a pair of medieval-themed dark ride experiences.

Set to debut this summer at Hansa Park, Karnan's Oath: Beware of Its Spell will join two other dark ride-coaster combos built by Gerstlauer at the park: The Curse of Novgorod and the Snake from Midgard.

Billed as a challenging and adventurous family thrill ride, the high-speed hyper-coaster will feature a theme based on a Swedish medieval fortress built in the 1300s. Concept art for the ride shows the coaster swooping through a 260-foot-tall replica of the fort's distinctive stone tower. A soundtrack has been specifically recorded for the ride by a symphony orchestra.

Located on the Baltic Sea about an hour northeast of Hamburg, Hansa Park is expected to reveal many of the remaining details about the signature ride in a viral marketing campaign. What's known so far paints an intriguing but incomplete picture.


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Colorado: Ride historic Rio Grande railway to mountaintop concerts

This summer you can take a ride on a historic railroad through the southern Rocky Mountains and attend a mountaintop outdoor concert featuring the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Juice Newton and other country and western performers.

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad operates from Alamosa, Colo., the onetime narrow-gauge railroad hub for passenger and freight trains in the West.

Starting June 13, it will take passengers on a two-hour journey to the outdoor Fir Summit Amphitheater at 9,400 feet in La Veta Pass. The concert venue has a stage in the shape of a boxcar and runs on wind and solar power.

The concert series on select weekends begins with the vocal harmonies of the Haunted Wind Chimes (June 13 and 14) followed by country singer Mark Chesnutt (June 27 and 28), Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (July 11 and 12) and Juice Newton (Aug. 1 and 2). 

Performances continue through Sept. 13.

The cheapest tickets start at $19 for adults and $9 for children for an economy seat. Other rail classes include an open...

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