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National park tips: This California valley gets you lower than the Grand Canyon

Mauna Kea Hotel, Hawaii

The scene: On one of the best beaches in all of the Hawaiian Islands, Laurance Rockefeller and friends built this Big Island resort in the 1960s and decorated it with hundreds of pieces of Asian art. It's been redone, but that strange brew of Asian calm and swinging '60s flavor remains. My last stay: 2009.
Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times
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