The mighty thoroughbreds are guided into the starting gate. Your pulse begins to race. You spot your horse and jockey. They’re looking good. Your pulse begins to race. The final horse is in the gate. A pause and then they’re off! You leap to your feet. The entire crowd cheers on their favorite. A flurry of powerful galloping the horses round the corner with one goal on their mind: the finish line. And then it happens: win, place or show. Did your horse come in? The excitement of that moment can be relived time and time again at the luxurious Oaklawn Race Track located in historic Hot Springs Arkansas, which just opened for its 2010 season.
Throughout the 2010 season, you can find many thrilling races taking place every Thursday through Sunday at the Oaklawn Park Race Track. What makes these races all the more exciting is your chance to place a bet and possibly score some winnings.
Every racing session consists of nine races. Each of these races are different course lengths with different horses. Many factors such as breeding, track condition, jockey and past performance goes into picking a winning horse. You can bet on one or all of the races as long as you get your bet in by the post time of the race. There is plenty of time between races to place you bet. Some folks even like to lay out their bets for the entire evening before the first race. That’s going to mean a little bit of homework!
There are a variety of race-betting combonations available in just as many denominations. Not only can you bet on a combination of horses to win, place or show in every race but there might be opportunities to combine the winnings of more then one race together for an even bigger pay off. Everything is explained in the daily racing guide provided to you when you show up at Oaklawn Race Track.
You can also get plenty of betting info at Oaklawn.com. There you can find info on the daily races that are handicapped by the pros. This means they can help you pick the winner if you follow their advice. Of course, nothing in racing is guaranteed! You’ll also find a handy first timer’s betting guide that takes you step by step through the betting process. If you’ve never bet on a horse race before, don’t worry. The friendly staff of Oaklawn is standing by to answer your questions.
As much fun as the Oaklawn horse races are, you’ll discover just as much fun next door at Oaklawn Gaming. Here you can get in on all the thrills of playing poker and blackjack. There are challenging tournaments for players of all levels happening all the time. You’ll be able to hone your skills in a comfortable setting.
You can even bet on the races while playing cards. There are video poker machines as well. When you’re hungry, the amazing Lagniappe’s buffet is standing by to satisfy your appetite. Whether you’re out with a group of great friends or on a date with a special someone, a night at Oaklawn Race Track and Gaming will certainly make for a memorable time.
Wondering where to stay during your weekend visit to Oaklawn? Sunbay Resort sits just down the road in a tranquil scene on Lake Hamilton. Vacation-Offer is currently featuring an Oaklawn Park Vacation Package which is perfect for a weekend getaway to Hot Springs. The package provides 2 nights at Sunbay Resort, as well as a bonus complimentary dinner for two at Oaklawn Park’s Carousel Terrace Restaurant, all for just $89 (not per night, total!)
We’re all pretty happy that 2009 is behind us. Many people have taken a year long hiatus from vacationing in 2009 to save some money. Now that the economy is getting back to normal, we have the opportunity to visit some new places and also revisit some great travel destinations of old. One vacation destination that many people will visit for the first time in 2010 is Orlando Florida: renowned for fun theme parks, great dining options, incredible resorts and more.
Whether you are planning your Orlando Vacation to visit Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, or a number of other hot attractions, getting ready for the big trip can often be quite a process. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide an overview of how to best plan out your Orlando Vacation and determine where to go, stay, eat, and play.
1. Pack Right
Although it is usually very warm in Orlando, be sure to check the upcoming week’s weather and pack the right clothes. If you have young children, you will probably want a few layers on top of the standard bathing suits and warm weather clothes in case the night air gets chilly.
2. Find a Resort or Hotel Nearby the Theme Parks
Although many resorts are offering great deals around the Orlando area, many of them are inconvenient in terms of access and distance to Disney and the other theme parks. Your trip will be less stressful if you have easy access to the fun places you want to go.
Vacation-Offer is currently providing a great Orlando Florida Vacation Package to the Courtyard Suites which provides luxurious accommodations and is the closest hotel to the main entrance of Walt Disney World. On top of that, the deal provides 2 FREE one-day passes to Disney.
3. Discover your Theme Park
If you are a first time Orlando visitor and have a limited amount of time, how can you decide between Disney, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens? A lot depends on who you are vacationing with and what you are looking for.
- Family with Young Children : If you are with young children, Disney World is a sure bet; the Magic Kingdom and Epcot will provide a a great deal of fun and a lifetime of memories for those impressionable young minds.
- Family with Teenagers : If you are traveling with teenagers (who are hard to impress), Universal Studios can provide them countless hours of high-tech fun that revolves around the hottest movies and trends.
- Romantic Getaway : If you are on a romantic getaway, Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island is a great place to grab a drink and romantic dinner. Busch Gardens is also provides a fun day-time adventure for a couple looking for a good time.
- Animal Lovers : For animal lovers, Sea World and the Animal Kingdom are the places to experience the adventure of Underwater Seascapes and African Savannah.
New Years 2010 is a big one. The first double digit year of the millennium should be welcomed in style, and what better way to ring in the New Year than by visiting one of the most exciting places on earth - Orlando, Florida.
Orlando’s stable of incredible theme parks including famous Walt Disney World have provided the backdrop to some epic New Years celebrations.
So what does Orlando have in queue for New Years 2010? I’d like to provide a synopsis of Orlando’s upcoming celebrations as well as reasons why an Orlando vacation should be your target New Years Eve celebration destination.
Walt Disney World - Each of Disney’s theme parks has a distinct and fun filled celebration planned for New Years Eve. All parks are open past midnight for the special occasion.
- The Magic Kingdom : The Magic Kingdom will once again bring back the acclaimed ‘Fantasy in the Sky’ fireworks show from retirement to ring in 2010. Fantasy in the Sky’s fiery pyrotechnics and creative lighting are sure to blast off a great start to 2010.
- Hollywood Studios : Guests to Hollywood Studios can welcome the New Year like a star, by first viewing the spectacular ‘Fantasmic’ show at 8:30 p.m., then seeing the spectacular ‘Lights, Camera, Happy New Year’ firework show as the clock strikes 12.
- Animal Kingdom : Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the perfect place for those with youngsters who won’t be able to make it till midnight. They can enjoy an afternoon of fun at the Animal Kingdom - ‘Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade,’ featuring a procession of famous Disney characters with a final showing at 4:45 p.m.
- Epcot : Epcot will feature an end of the year laser light show called ‘Illuminations: Reflections of Earth” at 11:40 p.m., just before the clock strikes 12. Reflections of Earth is a tranquil and entrancing way to ring in 2010, as flowing fountains and vibrant flames capture your imagination.
Old Town Kissimmee : If you’re on a budget, Kissimmee offers a free New Years Eve parade in Old Town. Old Town’s celebration has something for everyone, including food, drinks, music (Jim Van Fleet and the Reign), rides, and a fireworks show at midnight.
Nick Hotel Slime Drop : If you want to show your kids a great time on New Years Eve, or you’re just a fun loving adult, the Nickelodeon Hotel makes the offer to slime you to ring in the new year. Don your swim trunks and party the evening away at the Nick’s lagoon poo l,and then get ready to be slimed as 2010 rolls in!
Wall Street Plaza: Wall Street Plaza in downtown Orlando is one of the hottest New Year’s Eve destinations in the world. Adults looking to ring in the new year with drinks, dancing and fun, should head over to the Full Moon Street Bash 2010, featuring 8 side by side night clubs and outdoor bars. Admission is only $25, which will include a free champagne toast at midnight.
SeaWorld : SeaWorld Orlando is famous for putting on one of the best New Year’s celebrations in town. Their annual planned festivities include food, drinks, a full jazz ensemble, and an all night DJ to help you welcome 2010.
Wherever you plan on spending your Orlando New Years 2010, be sure to stay at one of Orlando’s most luxurious and comfortable hotels - the Courtyard Suites Orlando. Vacation-Offer’s Orlando Florida Vacation Package offers a discount 3 night stay at the Courtyard Suites Orlando, with the added bonus of 2 free one day passes to Disney.
On March 4th, 1921, Hot Springs National Park was created in Central Arkansas: a beautiful wilderness area carved out of the Ouachita mountain range. Although it is the smallest of U.S. National Parks, it possesses several unique qualities that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. These inspiring natural features continually attract visitors to the park throughout the year.
So what are the top attractions in Hot Springs National Park? Why should you choose Hot Springs Arkansas for your next vacation? I’d like to provide a quick synopsis of why Hot Springs National Park is truly a unique American landmark and continues to become a more popular vacation destination.
- Easy Access: Many National Parks across the country possess great beauty, but also require mobility and strength to access some of the ‘hot spots.’ Hot Springs National Park has several unique features that are easily accessible for small children, as well as the elderly and disabled. The Park includes downtown Hot Springs and Bathhouse row, featuring a historic district that everyone can easily traverse and enjoy.
- Bathhouse Row: Bathhouse Row is one of the featured attraction in Hot Springs National Park. This national historic landmark includes several structures that make up the oldest and most famous bath houses in North America. Vacationers can visit the park’s informational Visitor Center at the Fordyce bath house, view the interior Gilded Age architecture of the structures, as well as partake in a traditional relaxing bath experience at Buckstaff Baths.
- History: Hot Springs National Park has a unique and storied history that dates back to the 1500s. Visiting the historic downtown section and Bathhouse row will take visitors on a walk through time, from Native American influence and culture, to Civil War stories, to modern historic influences like President Bill Clinton’s boyhood home.
- Flora & Fauna: Hot Springs National Park exists in a natural world unique to a Southwestern United State’s ecosystem. Some defining characteristics include thermal hot spring waters, cold water springs, pine-oak-hickory deciduous forests, and animals like the American Mink, Nine-banded Armadillo, Gray Fox as well as a variety of Migratory birds that follow the Mississippi Flyway.
Informative Links - National Parks Service Site, Hot Springs National Park Wikipedia Article, Hot Springs City Site
Lodging - Take advantage of our discount Hot Springs Vacation Package. Stay at a centrally located condominium on pristine Lake Hamilton, only $89 for 2 nights with a free dinner included.
Many people will feel pressure to curb their spending on vacationing this coming winter. The current economic downturn is making dream vacations vanish along with many other leisure activities.
These current economic times call for a new view on vacation spending. Resorts across the country are attempting to keep up by offering discount vacation packages across the board. Great travel and vacation deals can be found through online travel sites that are partnered with specific resorts to provide discount vacations for all.
Vacation-Offer.com is one such site that currently provides discounted rates to several resorts across the country. Vacation-Offer is essentially an Expedia for discounted vacation packages. The site is easy to use, has a simple travel booking interface, top of the line submission security and fantastic customer service.
The primary advantage to utilizing Vacation-Offer is that it maintains some of the best vacation package savings available. How can we offer such great deals you ask?
Vacation-Offer.com is able to access these saving through partnerships with resorts that are promoting vacation ownership. Basically, visitors are required to go on a 90 minute resort tour, and in return receive great deals, bonus premiums, and access to beautiful resort amenities . The timeshare tour is quick and highlights the advantages of vacation ownership, where you can own a flexible vacation week at that specific resort.
All in all, we offer great vacation deals that people can take advantage of during trim times.
Why do we love the ocean? Is it the calm, fulfilling crash of the waves and aromatic sea breeze at night? Or is it the sunny beach day that provides the ultimate sandy playground for our inner child (and outer beach-bum).
Whatever your reason for loving the ocean, there are several great vacation spots that are hot even during the winter. If you are dreading those early east-coast mornings, shoveling snow before your dreary commute, now is the time to start planning your winter getaway. So where to go? There are so many choices within the US; let me narrow it down for you.
1. Miami, FL
If you like the beach AND the nightlife, Miami is the place for you. This culturally eclectic city sits by some of the most stunning beaches on earth, including the famed South Beach. Not only will you find plenty of great spots to lay out and tan during the day, but there are also a plethora of nightclubs, bars, and restaurants for you to play at all night long.
2. Kauai, HI
If you are looking for the ultimate ‘getaway’ beach spot, the Hawaiian island of Kauai is the place for you. Kauai is quieter than many of the other islands (Maui), and provides a breathtaking shoreline to adventure along. Kauai’s scenery is so beautiful that it has been featured in various Hollywood movies, such as Jurassic Park and South Pacific.
3. San Diego, CA
Hitting the beach is the way of life for the people of San Diego. You can also make it your way of life during a vacation to this southern California city, known for great Mexican food, laid back natives and plenty of attractions to keep the family entranced. Had enough surfing for the day? Check out the animals and sea life at the San Diego Zoo and Seaworld.
4. Marco Island, FL
Although Marco Island isn’t considered a ‘hot spot’ like Miami due to its primarily elderly inhabitants, there is no doubt that this sea-side city is one of the quaintest and most beautiful in the country. After your cross over the bridge from ‘Alligator Alley’ in the Everglades, you won’t ever want to leave Marco again. Don’t worry about having too much to do here: simply pick a spot on the beach, and relax.
We’ve all experienced the let down of a rainy day during our vacation time. Whether your idea was to lay out on the Miami beachfront or visit San Diego’s famous Zoo, rain can put a damper on any of your outdoor plans. Don’t let the rain get you down on your vacation time though; there are a ton of rainy day activities for you to explore.
I’d like to share my list of ‘Top Five Rainy Day Vacation Activities’ with you:
1. Museums and History: Many vacation destinations have wide assortments of museums and historical landmarks that you can visit even during a torrential downpour. Whether you are into art, natural history, science, aerospace, or whatever else, you can find your calling at the museum. In fact, the pitter-patter of the rain on a museum’s roof can often enhance the atmosphere, as if the exhibits could come to life.
2. Sea Life at the Aquarium: If it’s wet outside, why not go where water is in abundance? Aquariums across the country house amazing and colorful ocean creatures, from sharks and killer whales to the smaller sort like starfish and anemones. If you have children, a visit to the tide pool can be a great way to get them a fun hands on experience with an assortment of ocean creatures (or to channel your own inner marine biologist).
3. The Coffee Shop Tour: Visiting a vacation destination’s various downtown coffee shops can often be a great way to experience the local culture. A warm coffee and a good book, with a view of the puddles through the storefront window, can turn out to be quite the relaxing vacation day.
4. Malls and More Malls: America is known for it’s super malls, from the Mall of America in Minnesota to Sawgrass Mills in Florida. While you may not want to spend your sunny days enclosed in these giant rat races, they are perfect for those rainy afternoons. Grab lunch at the food court, get a haircut, check out a movie, or even go shopping.
5. Home Cookin’: One fun rainy day vacation experience, if you have the necessary equipment, is to cook a dish local to your destination. Are you visiting New Orleans? Head to the supermarket and try cooking up some good ole’ Creole cuisine. Staying in San Diego? Experiment by concocting some fresh fish tacos after stopping by the local market.
I’m sure you’ve seen it all on the Food Network and Travel Channel: From Anthony Bourdain to Bobby Flay, showing you the best to eat in cities across the United States. Some swear by good ole’ southern cooking, some rave about blue collar city sandwiches, and some declare (with their nose held high) the finest cuisines centralized to extravagant hotel restaurants. However, if you love food, and are heading out on your next vacation, how do you know which city to pick?
Although I fully support various food connoisseur opinions, I’d like to take some time to ‘boil’ it all down to the 5 Best Food Cities across America.
1. New Orleans: For good reason, the Big Easy has remained on many a food critic’s ‘best of’ lists for several decades. Unlike many other cities on this list that promise the best of every continent, New Orleans has excelled in remaining simple. Although New Orleans food is made up of a melting pot of various cultures, it remains true to its roots. From Gumbo, Jambalaya, Crawfish Boil, Po Boys and BBQ, get ready to experience a unique food culture that is not found anywhere else in the world.
2. New York: Although often considered far too touristy to enjoy a good meal, each Borough of NYC has a distinct flavor and personality that can cater to every single one of your taste buds. Even more so, you can run the range of prices, from a $300 a person French Cuisine at Daniel to an $8 slice of real Brooklyn Pizza at Di Farra Pizza.
3. Las Vegas: Ten years ago the Las Vegas strip was primarily known for it’s coma-inducing all you can eat Buffets that seamlessly filtered in and out of Casino floors. Today, Vegas boasts a wide assortment of fine dining experiences from all ends of the globe, including the famed Joel Robuchon. In true Vegas Fashion, the fine dining on the strip will also include the best in sensory experiences from around the globe.
4. San Francisco: San Francisco’s food experience is almost like splitting the city into several smaller cities, each with its own unique and amazing vibe. Want Italian? Head over to SF’s famed North Beach district. Sushi? Head over to Japan town. Are you a vegan? Try the vegan Lobster Mushroom Risotto at the Millenium Restaurant in the Tenderloin. More of a meat eater? Shuffle over to Harris’ Steakhouse Extrodinaire in Nob Hill for a saliva inducing Fillet Mignon.
5. Chicago: If an out of country visitor were to come to the US, and ask what city to go to try ‘American’ food, Chicago would be my answer due to the Hot Dog. Although Hamburgers are more classically American, I believe that the Chicago hot dog takes the cake in its variety and various condiment ‘recipes.’ Between ‘Hot Dougs’ famous Foie Gras Duck Sausage Dog and Jimmy’s Red Hot’s special Vienna Beef Dogs, in Chi Town you truly can have a hot dog any way you want it.
I was recently watching the new Ken Burn’s documentary National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and was amazed to see how difficult it used to be to traverse the country on primitive roads. Today, smooth highways connect the best vacation destinations across the country, making the US the perfect place for road trip bliss. America was built on highways; our history is wrought with the idea of manifest destiny and taking a journey to the unexplored.
I’d like to take a moment to list several must-haves for ‘the art of the road trip,’ the perfect method to escape everyday monotony by hitting the road.
1. The road trip has a theme. Whether it be visiting national parks, seeing old friends, sampling the best foods our country has to offer, or running away from your crazy brother in-law, a central theme will help tie your experiences together.
2. The road trip is inherently cheaper than your standard vacation. Using any possible vacation discounts is encouraged and setting up camp in the wilderness at some point is mandatory.
3. The road trip has several stops between the final destination. Visit friends, stop to see places of fond memories, or go to landmarks you’ve never seen. Take your time and make sure to stop and take it all in. Unless you are trying to break the cross-country record driving time.
4. The road trip may be taken alone. Friends, wives, husbands, children, or estranged brother in-laws all are welcome on your road trip, but don’t be afraid to explore alone. Be safe of course: don’t pick up strange hitchhikers, stay at motels with schizophrenic proprietors, or eat any strange road-side foods. Albeit, driving alone on an empty highway could prove to be one of the most memorable moments in your life.
5. The road trip must have problems. Expect something to happen. A tire will flatten, a map will be misread, a landmark will be passed, or a certain brother in law will steal your car for a joy ride. Things will come up and they will be resolved. Just breathe and keep going. In the end these stories are what will make your road trip a lasting memory.
Most working people only see one or two opportunities per year to go on vacation, often during a designated holiday where they will take about a week off. While these extended week long vacations are memorable and probably very relaxing, I am here to suggest a new way to go on a discount vacation: the getaway.
A getaway is a sort of short, discount vacation package- a two or three day trip that usually falls on a long weekend. The getaway is often to a place within driving distance of your home, as it would not be a good use of time or money to fly somewhere for such a short period of time.
The getaway has several advantages over an extended vacation:
1. Getaways are cheaper than vacations, both because they are shorter (less nights) and because many hotels offer exclusive vacation discounts for shorter occupancies.
2. You can go on several getaways a year, instead of one or two longer vacations. This helps prevent spending a large amount of money all at once, and also allows you break up your stressful year with several memorable trips.
3. Getaways expose you to fun, beautiful, and interesting destinations in your own backyard that you never knew about. Although we are often inclined to fly somewhere super exotic during our breaks, this can often be stressful and expensive. No matter where you live in the US, there is always a incredible driving-distance destination waiting for you.
4. You can spend much less time getting ready for your getaway. We all know the experience of preparing for a long trip: packing, canceling the mail and cleaning service, getting the prescriptions and medicines, finding a kennel for the dog, etc. For your getaway, just grab the necessities and escape.
5. Driving is cheaper than flying Airlines are still price-gouging us between the expensive, cramped, delayed flights and the checked bag fees they’ve recently imposed. This makes it the perfect time to hit the road on a getaway.
6. There is less pressure to relax on a getaway. Sometimes on our ‘only-vacation-of-the-year; we feel extreme amounts of pressure to relax, which isn’t very helpful for that purpose. Getaways are spur of the moment opportunities to escape and achieve some piece of mind, without the pressure.
7. Getaways are easier on kids. Sometimes leaving home for extended periods of time can be traumatic for young and adolescent children. It breaks a very set life-schedule and can often cause problems at school on return. Leaving for two or three days won’t have this same drastic effect.
8. You may end up someplace you’d go back to. Destinations that are within driving distance from your home can often be places that you will return to. Some families travel to the same destination every year or own timeshare at a getaway-spot that they really love. These regular trips can build fantastic memories of a home away from home. Your children may even bring their own kids there some day!
9. Because you are spending less money on airfare and lodging, you can concentrate on what really matters: food and entertainment.You can explore the best restaurants your destination offers or check out some exciting local shows.
10. There are some great online travel sites that specialize in booking discount vacation getaways. We make a point to excel at the discount getaway at Vacation-Offer.com.