Across the sea to Catalina Island

Break out to the blue waters of Catalina Island, and try these packages at Pavilion Lodge, centrally located just steps from
the beach –   

All packages listed below are at
starting rates and are priced per person, double occupancy for one night,
  They are valid through
Sept. 12, and some offer accommodations at the charming Hotel Atwater.

beginning at $310, includes two nights accommodations, round trip boat
transportation aboard Catalina Express, one-hour kayak rental, all day bike
rental, Inland Motor Tour, and lunch for two at Catalina Country

Escape Package
starts at $219.25, and includes
night hotel accommodations, round trip on the Catalina Express and a choice of 2
out of 4 tours: The Casino Walking Tour, Glass Bottom Boat, Avalon Scenic Tour
or the Seal Rock Coastal Cruise.

Adventure Getaway
starting at $220, includes accommodations, kayaking and snorkeling in Catalinas
crystal waters, miniature golf, and glass bottom boat tour.  Save up to 20 percent on this package.


begins at $240 and includes accommodations with round trip on Catalina Express
and 9-holes at the pastoral Catalina Island Golf Course. Package offers 22 percent

Canyon Package
from $390, includes round trip
aboard Catalina Express, the Cape Canyon Tour, Undersea Tour and Fox Canyon
Kayak trip.  Save up to 16 percent on this

Celebrate Stagecoach Days in San Diego

It’s been
over a century since the last stage line operated in San Diego. Beginning in 1857, stage lines
passed through rural San Diego
moving passengers, freight, and mail. These new services helped bring the
outside world a little closer to this emerging frontier community that we know
today as San Diego.

On July 11, 18, 25 come to Old Town San Diego Historic Park to  travel real
horsepower – before the train and automobile. Take a wagon ride around
the park.  Imagine yourself traveling dirt roads with a maximum of 25 pounds of
luggage to make your way to San Diego
in the 1860s.

 In addition to the
permanent collection of historic wagons, the new reproduction mud wagon will be
on display. View a colorful Mexican women’s equestrian precision riding team. 

Hear the sounds of blacksmiths pounding iron and carpenters sawing wood. Try
your luck by participating in 19th century games for both children
and adults.  Enjoy live music that is evocative of days gone by.

Stay the day and
enjoy activities that reflect life in San
during the mid-1800s. All of the activities are
part of Old Town San Diego
State Historic
‘s celebration
of 19th century transportation, especially the stagecoach.

vignettes, demonstrations, living history, stories, songs, and stagecoach
equipment, visitors will gain an appreciation for travel and daily life.

 Old Town San Diego
State Historic
along with
the Boosters of Old Town are proud to offer these
activities to adults and children of all ages. The park is
located on San Diego Avenue
and Twiggs Street
in San Diego, and is conveniently located next to
the Old Town Transit
, with Coaster,
Trolley, and MTS bus service.

 For more information, go to

Stay and Bike Package includes all day tcket to Mammoth Mountain Bike Park


Downhill, freeride and cross country – Mammoth Mountain Bike Park has it all with over 90 miles of trails! Uphill transport by gondola, shuttle and lift, a full service repair shop, top-quality rentals and Bike Park Rangers round out a great day on the hill.

Make the most of your trip by staying in a convenient Mammoth Resort property! Choose your lodging from the following prime locations:


The Mammoth Mountain Inn – located at the base of the Panorama Gondola; The Village Lodge – located at the base of the bike park; and Juniper Springs Resort – with easy shuttle access to the park.
The package is valid through Sept.19. Prices start as low as $85 per person, per night, based on double occupancy in a Standard Hotel Room at Mammoth Mountain Inn. No refunds for early departures. Excludes service fees and taxes.

For more information, visit <> or call 800.MAMMOTH/800.626.6684.

Going camping for the Fourth of July?

Feel like heading to the beach for Fourth of July weekend but don’t want to shell out money for a hotel? How about staying in a campground?

of mid-June, campsites near the beach were still available in Southern
California, including Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego and Malibu
Beach RV Park in Malibu.

And if you’re looking for activities to enjoy with your family, many campgrounds and RV parks can provide that, too.

the Santa Cruz KOA, for example, campers will be able to participate in
a Fourth of July parade, a pet costume contest, make a patriotic craft,
ride banana bikes and join in an ice cream social.

Meanwhile, Far
Horizons 49er RV Resort in Plymouth will host its annual Kids and Pets
Parade, a Fourth of July RV and campsite decorating contest and a tri
tip barbecue, complete with ranch style beans, corn on the cob,
watermelon and lemonade.

Other campgrounds and RV parks are
located in places where fun activities are taking place, including
Creekside Cabins and RV Resort in Willits, which hosts California’s
longest continually running rodeo over Fourth of July weekend as part
of the city’s Frontier Days activities.

“There’s plenty of
things to do at campgrounds and RV parks throughout California, and
many of them still have campsites and cabins available over the holiday
weekend,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California
Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. The Auburn-based association
markets campsites and cabins through its website at

In fact, an online survey by the
California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds has identified more
than 100 campgrounds that still have campsites and cabins available
over Fourth of July weekend.

“If you log on, click the ‘Find a Park’ tab and type in the dates
you want to camp, the website will automatically locate campgrounds
that have sites or cabins available those days,” Sipe said.

website also allows campers to search for campgrounds by region and by
specific amenity so that they can find the type of park that best suits
their travel needs. Not all campgrounds offer online reservations,

Some campgrounds only offer a fraction of their sites for
booking online and hold the rest for people who call to make their
reservations by phone. So if a campground says it is sold out, you
might still want to call about campsite availability. allows visitors to jump to individual websites of
each campground or RV park of interest to them, so that they can gather
more information about specific activities taking place at each park.

The website also includes a statewide calendar of special events, so
consumers can quickly find fun things to do, not only over Fourth of
July weekend, but throughout the year.

“There are festivals,
concerts and other interesting outdoor activities taking place every
month in California, and there’s almost always a private campground or
RV resort nearby,” said Sipe, who added that Camp-California pairs its
listings of festivals and other events with recommended campgrounds and
RV parks that are located nearby.

Passel of fun in Paso Robles

and the living is easy.  It’s also fun and affordable in Paso Robles

An old-time downtown, “Paso” is the perfect place
to kick back and enjoy some lemonade sipping. 
Start packing now, and plan
on enjoying the passel of events scheduled this summer.   More information, including accommodations can be
found at:
  • Paso
    Robles Main Street Association Concerts in the Park:  Every Friday
    5:30-7:30 p.m. in downtown Paso Robles through Aug. 28. What’s more
    fabulous than music and the outdoors?  Especially when it’s free.
  • Outdoor
    markets in the Park:  North County Market is held every Tuesday in the
    City Park from 3-6 p.m.; the Country Farm and Craft  is there held
    Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Fresh produce, craft, gourmet food and
    other treats!
  • Wine-tasting: 
    okay, this is year-round fun, but with over 20 local wineries rolling
    out music, food, fun and tastings, there’s no better time to discover
    Paso’s wine country.
  • Annual Fourth of July Celebration:  the largest on the Central Coast.  A spectacular, old-fashioned 4th for the whole family.  Hurry before the ice cream is gone

Mango Festival planned on Hawaii’s Big Island

Exotic, luscious, sweet, and juicy –
all these words and more have been used to describe the mango. Ranked
among the most widely produced and consumed fruits in the world, mango takes
center stage on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the first Mango Festival 2009 held
on Hawaii‘s Big Island.


Keauhou Beach Resort will host this luscious all-day
event and invites mango lovers to take advantage of its KEAUHOU MANGO FEST
package. Priced at $149 single occupancy or $199 double, the package includes one night
accommodations, a self-service buffet breakfast the following morning, and entry
to the Mango Festival’s Kona Mango Experience and the Mango Inspired Dinner on
Aug.1. For reservations or information, call toll free (866) 326-6803 or the hotel direct at (808) 324-2515, or visit


Festival 2009 celebrates all things mango with a day filled with events and
activities. The festivities begin at the Keauhou Farmers’ Market at the
Shopping Center
from 8
a.m. to noon, complete with farmer-chef cooking demonstrations and tastings that
begin at 10 a.m. This year, Stuart Johnson, also known as Mango Man, and Chef
William Trask, President of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association, will be


The fun
continues at the oceanfront Keauhou Beach Resort from 2 to 6 p.m. with the
“Kona Mango Experience” held in the hotel’s Royal Garden. Here attendees will learn how to
grow and prepare mango for eating, vote for the best mango-inspired art, enjoy
live entertainment and shop for mango-themed gifts. Refreshing “Mangoritas” also
will be available during the day at the hotel’s Veranda Lounge for


off the evening at 6:30 p.m. will be a three-course “Mango Inspired Dinner.”
Prepared by Keauhou Beach Resort’s Executive Sous Chef Cy Yamamoto, the menu
includes Thai Style Beef Salad with Mapulehu Mango Vinaigrette; South Kona Mango
Scented Grilled Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice, Asparagus and Rapoza Mango Relish;
and Warm Haden Mango Sweet Bread Pudding with Mango Cream


Admission to the morning’s Keauhou Farmers Market is
Free. Entrance to the Kona Mango Experience at Keauhou Beach Resort is just $10
and includes a Kona Brewing Company beverage or the festival’s mango coloring
book. The evening’s Mango Inspired Dinner is priced at $40, plus

Motocross and mountain biking at Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes,where the sun setting over the snow-capped mountain peaks
is an event in and of itself, how does man compete with Mother
Nature? By not even bothering to try.

Instead, summer events at Mammoth
are designed to incorporate the spectacular surroundings, the stunning
vistas, and the fresh alpine air.

Whether travelers enjoy the adventure
of flying at top speed down a mountain bike trail or spending a
leisurely evening listening to jazz while the red alpenglow steals over
the peaks, events at Mammoth Lakes pay tribute to the great outdoors.
Here is a listing of what’s on tap for summer 2009.


Date: June 18-28
Location:  Motocross Track in the Town of Mammoth Lakes
Info: The Mammoth
Motocross is the longest continuous running motocross in the US. Many
of the top racers in the world, such as Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy
McGrath, Rick Johnson, and Jeff Ward, have honed their skills at this
event. It also has become one of the major amateur events in the
country. Race day, gates open at 5 a.m. Practice day, gates open at 7
Official Event Party: Mammoth Motocross Mayhem will be in the Village at Mammoth June 27 from 5pm to 8pm.
Tickets: Spectator ticket ($20 adults, $5 child)
Lodging Package: The
Stay and Motocross Package includes lodging, a spectator ticket for
each night stayed and a commemorative t-shirt for each adult on the
reservation. Packages are available by calling 800.MAMMOTH or at
Date: June 20
Location: Adventure Center, Mammoth Mountain
Info: The Adventure
Center opens for the summer. Fat tire fans can explore 100-plus miles
of dirt single-track, including an exhilarating 3000-foot descent from
Mammoth Mountain’s summit. Scenic gondola rides, a climbing wall and
zip line also open for the summer. 
Tickets: $39

Downtown Los Angeles offers summer freedom


Take advantage of all that Downtown LA has to offer with these Summer Freedom hotel deals!

Hilton Checkers

535 South Grand Avenue (map)
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 624-0000

Summer Days & Summer Nights Package

nothing like exploring Los Angeles during the long days of summer.
After an eventful day of new experiences, retreat for a luxurious
evening at Hilton Checkers Los Angeles.

This package includes:

  • Luxury rooms accommodations for two nights in one of the hotel’s brand new guestrooms
  • American
    Breakfast for two each morning at the award-winning Checkers Downtown
    restaurant directed by new Executive Chef Todd Allison
  • Complimentary valet parking for two nights
  • And your choice of one delectable treat each day. Choose from:
    • Bottle of wine from Santa Barbara wine country
    • Plate of homemade, decadent cookies
    • Selection of epicurean cheeses
    • Fresh California fruit plate
    • In-room movie

Rates starting at $249 for two-night package on weekends, based on availability.

Stay tuned for many more specials this summer. For complete details and how to take advantage of these
great packages, please visit

San Simeon State Park ideal locale to explore Central Coast

28789-San Simeon Coast 6 x 4.5.jpg


Story and photos by Marlene Greer



When my husband and I pulled our RV into San Simeon State Park in January, half the campground was closed and the portion that was open was half empty even on a holiday weekend. During the off-season (Oct. 1 to March 14), the state park is first-come, first-served, and we had no trouble getting a spot. There are no hookups, but each site has a table and fire ring.

 It was dark when we pulled in, and the first thing we noticed was the incredible night sky. Coming from Southern California, where city lights dim the stars, here, we saw the universe on dazzling display. A night out by the campfire under the stars was the ideal beginning to a four-day weekend exploring the Central Coast.

According to park literature, the area was once a rancheria supporting the development of the California missions, serving as a coastal access point for goods shipped to and from Monterey’s Mission San Antonio. Today, the park encompasses two miles of rocky coastline, wetlands and one of only five remaining native Monterey pine groves left in the world. In winter, the Monterey pines are home to large numbers of monarch butterflies.

 The park has two campgrounds – San Simeon Creek and the more primitive Washburn. San Simeon campground sits amid the trees at a lower elevation than the coastal bluffs so there are no views of the coast. Washburn sits on a hill one mile from the coast. Though the area is open with little privacy, campers have views of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the ocean.

From either campground, visitors can take a trail to where the creek empties into the Pacific Ocean. You won’t be swimming here, but there’s plenty of driftwood, rocks and tidepools to explore.

There’s also an excellent trail the winds three miles through the park. Interpretive signs offer information on native wildlife and habitat and benches along the route offer a chance to rest or take in the view.

Though not among the more pristine of coastal parks and beaches, San Simeon State Park is situated conveniently to Hearst Castle and other points of interest along Highway 1 and in nearby towns. From a seal colony to an old lighthouse, there’s much to explore.

  • Hearst Castle – The former home of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst is now a California state historic monument. Begun in 1919 and taking nearly 30 years to complete, the 115-room main house, guesthouses, pools and eight acres of cultivated gardens are a must see. Tours take about two hours and run throughout the day. Advance tickets recommended even during off-season. Information: (800) 444-4445,
  • Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery – Elephant seals spend 8 to 10 months at sea, migrating thousands of miles to return to this rookery to rest, mate, give birth and molt. When we visited in January, it was birthing season. New pups and their moms covered the beach as far as the eye could see. Now through July is male molting season (when the seals grow new skin and slough off the old). A viewing area off Highway 1 is located seven miles north of San Simeon.

  • 28788-Male Elephant Seal 2.5.jpg

    Piedras Blancas Lighthouse – Completed in 1875, the lighthouse was among the chain of light stations used by mariners navigating the California Coast. Now under the Bureau of Land Management, the lighthouse is open for tours Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Meet at 9:45 a.m. at the old Piedras Blancas Motel 1 miles north of the light station (four miles north of San Simeon). Adults $10, children $5. (805) 927-7361.

  • Cambria – Just two miles south of San Simeon State Park on Highway 1 is the small town of Cambria. Enjoy a stroll down Main Street, with its antique and boutique shops. Then head for the boardwalk at Moonstone Beach. The mile-long path extends from Moonstone Beach Drive to Santa Rosa Beach and protects the coastal bluffs from foot traffic. Benches along the route invite visitors to sit a spell and perhaps watch the sunset.
  • Cayucos – This small beachside community about 15 miles south of Cambria has a nice beach, pier, shops and restaurants. A great place to spend the day at the beach. Kayaking is popular, and rentals are available. Free parking, bathrooms and showers.
  • Wine tasting – If you are visiting Cambria or Cayucos, stop in at the Cambria Wine Shop, Moonstone Cellars or Cayucos Cellars for a sample of local wines. Or try Harmony Cellars, in the tiny hamlet of Harmony, population 18, on Highway 1 between Cambria and Cayucos. There are dozens more wineries and tasting rooms in nearby Paso Robles. Stop in at the San Simeon Tourist Office and pick up a wine tour brochure.



Where: 35 miles north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1.

Camping: San Simeon Creek – 134 sites for tent or RV, tables, fire rings, flush toilets, coin-operated hot showers, dump station, no hookups, maximum length 35 feet; $25 ($20 off-season). Washburn – 68 sites, tables, fire rings, chemical toilets, water spigots; $15 ($11 off-season).

Reservations: (800) 444-7275; First-come, first-served Oct. 1 to March 14; reservations recommended March 15 to Sept. 30.