7 travel upgrades for an unforgettable California vacation

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

From the glamor of Hollywood and Palm Springs to the culture and history of San Francisco, from Yosemite’s spectacular vistas to the majesty of Lake Tahoe, California lures vacationers seeking every type of getaway. Choose one of the state’s best beaches for a sun-splashed hang, head to Napa for a foodie extravaganza and a flight …

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8 local-approved secrets to planning the perfect California vacation

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Californians glow with pride when we show off our state — yet we gripe when our favorite beaches, restaurants and hideaways get “discovered” and start swarming with crowds. We’re also of the opinion that most visitors spend far too much time on guidebook “must-see attractions” and leave without ever experiencing what we consider the real …

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The 22 best beaches in California

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Dreaming about a trip to California? You’re probably also thinking about beaches, beaches and more beaches. From wide, sunny stretches of sand dotted with colorful umbrellas and splashing children to craggy coastlines with big swells popular with surfers and photographers, California has it all. Just be mindful if you’re planning a trip in the near …

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Route 66 road trip planner: The best stops along the way

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year. This post has been updated with current …

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TPG’s complete guide to visiting California’s redwood forests

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

As the tallest and most massive trees in the world, redwoods are well worth traveling for, and California welcomes millions of visitors a year drawn to see their might and majesty. These trees are found nowhere else on the planet (the only exception being a small slice of Southern Oregon just north of the California …

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A gift from nature: Everything you need to know about California’s best hot springs

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Hot springs resorts and spas are increasingly popular destinations for travelers seeking rejuvenation — or a close-to-nature adventure. Indigenous people revered these mineral-rich pools and the Greeks and Romans built baths around them. And nothing has changed today for wellness-seekers who flock to these hot springs to take the waters. California is particularly rich in …

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Here’s what it takes to save coral reefs in Florida and beyond

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Technicolor-bright coral once blanketed the reefs of the Florida Keys, covering as much as 40 percent of the rock. Today, that percentage has dropped to a dismaying 2%, according to the latest estimates. Look at an underwater dive photo from 20 years ago and compare that to what you see when you swim or snorkel …

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7 reasons Bordeaux is the French city to visit now

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

When dreaming of France, do you picture yourself sitting in an outdoor cafe, aperitif in hand, watching crowds stroll a riverfront promenade lined with magnificent 18th-century buildings? If so, you might think Paris is the only place to realize that vision. But on a recent trip to Bordeaux, I discovered that this formerly sleepy port …

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Sonoma comes back to life after the Kincaid Fire, offering visitors a wine country welcome

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

It’s my first time back in the Sonoma wine country town of Healdsburg, and I’m nervous. I have a lot of history here: My father and stepmother once lived just a block from where I’m standing on the town’s central plaza, and I’m afraid to find it damaged as a result of the Kincade Fire, …

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Headed to Cabo San Lucas? Here are 9 activities to book for your family

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year. Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated …

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Why Istanbul Should Be Your Next Big Family Destination

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Walking through the arrival doors of the vast and sparkling new Istanbul (IST) airport, we were greeted by a colorful backlit photograph of Istanbul’s Bosphorus river with the slogan: “A glittering meeting of two continents.” Having read about Istanbul’s importance in world history as the intersection of Europe and Asia, we were well ready to …

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Summer in Santa Cruz: The Perfect Beach Town for Families

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

For generations of Californians, Santa Cruz has been synonymous with beach town, thanks to its long stretches of sand, colorful boardwalk and host of family-friendly activities. Today the sleepy seaside town’s retro appeal and laid-back vibe are drawing a new generation of families who come as much for the area’s scenic beauty as for the …

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Reshaped by Kilauea, the Big Island of Hawaii Welcomes Families With New Adventures

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Always a land of drama and change, the island of Hawaii was dramatically shaken by the eruption of the Kilauea volcano last year. Then, just as things looked like they were settling down, Hurricane Lane lashed the island with 3 feet of rain and wind gusts up to 100 miles per hour. While the Kilauea …

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Things to Do in Oahu With Kids

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

While the beach at Waikiki is justifiably popular, Oahu has much more to offer than Honolulu and the surrounding area. For example, a recent visit to Ko Olina, on the island’s less crowded western side, introduced our family to an unspoiled refuge of palm-shaded sandy coves and rugged shoreline known for its spectacular sunsets over …

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How to Take a Family to Costa Rica and See Volcanoes, Monkeys, Jaguars and Sloths

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

When the monkey swung down out of the tree and lifted my daughter’s peanut butter sandwich straight out of her hand, we knew that our trip to Costa Rica was going to be everything we’d hoped. We were in Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, walking the vine-draped trail to the beach, …

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Pick and Choose: Comparing 8 Different Puerto Vallarta Points Hotels for Families

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

Taking the family to Puerto Vallarta is a little bit like taking a litter of puppies to the dog park — everyone’s running, playing and having the time of their lives. But it’s not necessarily a relaxed experience for those in charge. The secret to avoiding this pitfall: Choosing the perfect hotel, with all the …

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5 Cool Wildlife Conservation Activities for Families Around the Globe

Written by Melanie Haiken @ The Points Guy

If there’s one surefire kid-pleaser no matter where you go, it’s the chance to interact with animals — especially those that your children don’t get to see every day. Hotels, resorts and local communities are spearheading a wealth of family-friendly wildlife conservation programs that allow children to be participants, not just observers, in helping animals …

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