Connect with us

Travel & Leisure

The Ultimate 2021 National & State Park Vacation Guide

Photo: Dan Meyers/Unsplash
Avatar photo



For more than a century, millions have flocked to U.S. National Parks each year to experience firsthand some of the most fascinating, picturesque and adventurous places on earth—from landscapes to wild animals, to daring mountains and hiking trails, to fascinating geologic formations and so much more, the 423 national parks in the United States have a bit of something for everyone. 

Not to be overlooked, there are also more than 6,000 State Parks scattered across the United States, which offer up the best outdoor scenery and activity local terrain has to offer. State parks serve as popular weekend getaways for many who enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, boating and other outdoor activities. And after a year on lockdown, there has never been a better time to explore the outdoors. 

Here are 10 of the best National and State Parks—and the closest Hilton properties that are waiting nearby to welcome you.

Must-See National Parks

According to visitation statistics from the National Parks Service, the top five most-visited National Parks in 2020 were the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Because these are among the most visited in the U.S., be sure to check your desired park’s website for updates on capacity, reservations, hours, and any offerings that may be limited at this time.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – NC, TN

Families can explore the Great Smoky Mountains, which straddle the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, taking in wildlife and breathtaking scenery. Camping, and hiking through forests or to waterfalls, are other popular activities here. Stop at Cades Cove for wildlife viewing and get ready to spot white-tailed deer, black bear, skunk, coyotes and more. And be sure to end your day atop Clingman’s Dome, at 6,643 feet the highest point in the park and an epic way to watch the sunset on another day of adventure. The Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg offers lodging just a half-mile from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance and the Gatlinburg Trailhead. The hotel also offers an indoor swimming pool and a fire pit for nighttime entertainment.

Yellowstone National Park – ID, MT & WY

Did you know that Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park in the United States? In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Park Protection Act to help preserve this beautiful place, and the first National Park was born. The park, which is a bucket-list vacation stop for many, actually stretches through three states: Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It delights the senses with a bevy of wildlife and hydrothermal and geologic wonders. Animals often spotted here include bison, elk, bear and wolves. Visitors can also explore rare geologic formations and thermal basins, or they can hike, bike, fish, go boating or horseback riding. The Homewood Suites by Hilton Jackson is located right in Jackson Hole valley, home to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The area offers shopping and restaurants nearby, or guests can enjoy free hot breakfast at the hotel or prepare meals in their in-room kitchens.

Zion National Park – Utah

Zion National Park, Utah’s first National Park, is full of activities, including hiking, biking, backpacking and canyoneering. Take in the panoramic views of the Kolob Canyons or hike through The Narrows in the Virgin River. Because this park serves as the meeting point of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, Basin and Range, and Mojave Desert physio-geographic zones, it’s home to a wide range of animal life, including falcon, California condor, collared lizards, Mexican spotted owl, Mojave desert tortoise and more. At night, find respite at Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection by Hilton, a stunning hotel a half-mile from the Zion National Park Visitor Center. Guests can recharge from a long hike at the hotel’s two heated outdoor pools and hot tubs (available year round).   

Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado

Hikers get those shoes ready. Rocky Mountain National Park offers more than 300 miles of hiking trails. Camp, bike, picnic, horseback ride, and fish throughout the park, or visit the Holzwarth Historic homestead site. Hampton Inn Loveland is one of the closest Hilton properties to the park. It’s also located two miles from Chapungu Sculpture Park and minutes from outlet shopping.

Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming

The Teton Mountains are home to extraordinary wildlife, glittering lakes and alpine terrain. Hiking, biking, fishing, backpacking, floating down the Snake River, climbing and mountaineering are all on the menu at Grand Teton National Park. Bear, elk, trout, bald eagle, wolves and mountain lions all call the park home. The Hampton Inn Jackson Hole is located just 15 minutes from Grand Teton National Park and one hour from Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy restful nights here with free Wi-fi and complimentary breakfast.

Must-See State Parks

If you can’t make the trek to a major National Park this year, there’s likely a State Park within a few hours drive from your own home. Depending on the park, a State Park day-trip or weekend getaway could be the perfect place for camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, kayaking and so much more. Be sure to check your destination’s official website for hours, restrictions, and even updates on pet access.

Baxter State Park – Maine

Baxter State Park offers more than 200,000 square acres of wilderness to explore, including 215 miles of hiking trails and 337 campsites. The crown jewel of the park is Mount Katahdin. It’s the highest mountain in the state of Maine, measuring a whopping 5,269 feet tall, and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1969. Aside from camping, hiking, biking, fishing, and hunting are also permitted.

Blue Ridge Parkway – Asheville, North Carolina

Stretching through the southern and central Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers an exceptional glimpse of the regional flora and fauna. The park features Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak in the Eastern United States, Nell River, the oldest river in North America, and Linville Gorge, the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon. Animals you may spot range from white-tailed deer to black bear. The Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park is just 10 miles from the Biltmore Estate, the North Carolina Arboretum, and more.

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park – California

Explore the sandstone caves of Chumash Painted Cave State Park to see the rock art created by Chumash Native Americans. The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort offers additional fun, with direct beach access, pools, tennis courts, bike rentals—and a concierge team that can line up kayaking, coastal cruises and golf for you.

Gateway National Recreation Area – NY, NJ

Gateway National Recreation Area stretches 27,000 acres from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to Breezy Point, New York. The park is the gateway from the ocean into New York Harbor. Try archery, kayaking, biking, birdwatching, camping, swimming and more. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tinton Falls – Eatontown is located just minutes from shopping and a short drive from Asbury Park Beach and Long Branch Beach boardwalks. The hotel also offers a warm DoubleTree cookie at check-in.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area – AZ & NV

Lake Mead National Recreation Area was America’s First National Recreation Area, and spans 1.5 million acres that includes mountains, canyons, and valleys. Visit Lake Mead or Lake Mohave, to boat, fish, hike, or go scuba diving or horseback riding. The Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa is a desert oasis located in the Mojave Desert in Henderson, NV, 20 minutes from Lake Mead. The Reflection Bay Golf Club and Las Vegas Strip are also just a few miles away.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park – Columbia, Florida

Travelers can paddle down the six-mile Ichetucknee River via canoe or kayak, and splash in spring-fed swimming holes at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Here, visitors can go tubing, spot wildlife—including turtle, wild turkey, beaver, otter and gar. Visitors can also snorkel in Blue Hole, a spring that maintains a temperature of 72 degrees year-round. Bring your own snorkel gear to glimpse an underwater cave system that starts 40 feet below. Home2 Suites by Hilton Lake City is located in the historic Lake City, Fla., near Ichetucknee Springs, shopping, and more.

Redwood National & State Park – California

Explorers in for forested fun will love the breathtaking redwood trees of Redwood National & State Park. The park offers wide open spaces to walk, camp, kayak, hike, tidepool, bike. The park is also a popular place for scenic drives. Dogs are also permitted in some locations. Check the park’s official site for details. Hampton Inn & Suites Arcata is located just off of the Pacific Coast Highway 101. The Arcata Community Forest is just three miles away, as is the Beau Pre Golf Course, local dining and more.

Valley of Fire State Park – Overton, Nevada

Valley of Fire State Park contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. Stop into the Visitor Center to learn about the park’s geology and ecology, then head out for camping, hiking, and enjoy tremendous photo opps like Arch Rock and Elephant Rock. You can also hike Mouse’s Tank Trail, which is known for having one of the largest collections of petroglyphs that date back nearly 3,000 years. The Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa is a desert oasis located in the stunning city of Henderson, NV. The hotel offers a pool with private cabanas and Mediterranean-style spa.

Continue Reading

Travel & Leisure

Break from the Crowds this Spring and Escape to these Family‑Friendly Destinations

Avatar photo



Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton

Choosing a spring break locale that offers something for every member of the family is no easy feat. It’s tempting to join the flock heading to well-traveled locales, but this year, why not try something new?

Whether your family craves ocean waves or otherworldly adventure, these lesser-touted spring break destinations offer a stress-free getaway with plenty of crowd-pleasing activities.

Oxnard, California

Those seeking sun and sand this spring will naturally be drawn to Southern California’s legendary beaches. Sandwiched between the Santa Monica Mountains and the artsy enclave of Santa Barbara, Oxnard offers ample swimming and sunbathing, easy ferry access to kayaking and whale watching at Channel Islands National Park, and a legendary taco scene that’s sure to spice up your vacation. 

Where to Stay:

The suite-only Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton offers an idyllic beachfront retreat for your family with a location that’s just steps from the sugary dunes for which the resort is named. Relax at the poolside cabanas or partake in a variety of outdoor sports ranging from tennis to rollerblading, surfing, yoga and beyond. You can find everything you need for a beach adventure at on-site Henry’s Gear Rental, including surfboards, paddleboards, yoga mats, GoPros and more. Two hours of gear rental are included with every stay.

Toronto, Canada

While many head south for a getaway, the “Great White North” of Toronto (which should be sufficiently thawed come springtime) makes for a wonderful option for those seeking diverse options to suit a wide array of interests. Shop the food stalls at St. Lawrence Market, climb to the top of CN Tower, and explore a real-life castle at Casa Loma before embarking on a day trip to marvel at the wonders of nature at Niagara Falls to make the most of your visit to this Ontario gem.

Where to Stay:

The newly opened Canopy by Hilton Toronto Yorkville is located in one of Toronto’s hippest neighborhoods. The trendy décor of the hotel reflects the vibrant nature of the area, which is brimming with culture. Explore the area with complimentary Canopy Bikes during the day, and enjoy Roman-style pizzas and seasonal fare at on-site restaurant Día at night.

Carlsbad, New Mexico

For explorers looking to venture into the depths of the unknown, head underground into the limestone chambers at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. After venturing through the park’s 113 caves, set off on an above-ground exploration through the Chihuahuan Desert for a glimpse at prickly pears and agaves as you seek even more adventure in the Guadalupe Mountains that stretch into Texas. And if you’ve ever searched the sky and wondered if we’re alone, then make time for a detour to the nearby alien attractions in Roswell.

Where to Stay:

Enjoy a spacious room at Home2 Suites by Hilton Carlsbad, which serves as the ideal home base for exploring the caverns, as well as the wonders of Living Desert State Park and Lake Carlsbad Beach Park. Fuel up for your day of adventure with the hotel’s free hot breakfast, and relax after a day of exploring at the outdoor firepit and seating area.

Huntsville, Alabama

Blast off for an out-of-this-world break in Huntsville. Home to the United States Space and Rocket Center, this northern Alabama city enables visitors to take part in their own hands-on space odyssey, including a look at the largest collection of rockets in the world. And when it comes time to pull your head out of the clouds, Huntsville has lots more to offer, such as a bounty of parks, artist studios, a botanical garden, and museums dedicated to everything from historic homes to art, military artifacts, and more. 

Where to Stay:

Embassy Suites by Hilton Huntsville offers everything you need to fuel up for adventure, including suite accommodations, a luxurious spa and a saltwater pool.  Be sure to check out the daily free made-to-order breakfast and evening reception.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Those looking to avoid congested hotspots without sacrificing the eclectic energy a city brings should opt for the unique and underrated vacation destination of Pittsburgh. Catch a hockey game, visit renowned museums, stroll lush gardens, and dine on local favorites such as perogies, paczkis, craft brews, and French fries piled high on everything from sandwiches to salads. Then, cap off your visit to “The Paris of Appalachia” with a ride on a 145-year-old incline car to take in epic views of the city and its three rivers.

Where to Stay:

Located in the heart of the city in the Pittsburgh Golden Triangle is Joinery Hotel Pittsburgh, Curio Collection by Hilton. Soak up skyline views from the hotel’s scenic roof terrace, easily explore nearby local attractions, and if you’re looking to bring your family pet along with you for the trip, the hotel also features pet-friendly rooms.

Continue Reading

Travel & Leisure

Rent a boat in Nice and discover France’s hidden gems

Avatar photo



There is no better way to discover France than by renting a boat in Nice. The perfect waterside location lets you sail around Nice and enjoy an unforgettable holiday. Nice is a modern city that enjoys year-round sunshine.

Being set against stunning blue waters, Nice is the most visited French city after Paris. Although Nice is a small city, it offers many attractions such as museums, contemporary arts, old churches, charming cafes, etc. If you, too, want to explore the beautiful Italian heritage, book a service for boat rental in Nice, France, and admire Roman antiquities.

Tourists flock to Nice to witness the beautiful architecture and climate. Apart from this, the city has several hidden gems that unlock the beauty of the surroundings. Hiring a boat in Nice is essential to experience all that Nice has to offer. Boat hire professionals help you explore the city while covering all the famous tourist spots. Here are the top hidden gems to discover on a rented boat in Nice. 

Top hidden treasures to discover on your unforgettable boat trip:

La Camargue: 

It is one of the most important natural reserves, located in the southern part of France. It comprises as many as 400 bird species, including flamingos and a unique horse breed known as the white Camarguais. 

The largest river delta in western Europe, the Camargue, has an area of roughly 930 km2 (360 square miles) (technically an island, as it is surrounded by water). It is a broad plain with sizable brine lagoons, bordered by reed-covered marshes and surrounded by a sizable lake. The farmed area is separated from the sea by sandbars. Book a service for boat rental in Nice, France, to explore La Camargue on a private ride with your loved ones. 

Les Calanques: 

Les Calanques are more than just a location; they are a landscape of rough valleys with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. The rocks have taken on bizarre shapes and have cliffs as a result of centuries of exposure to water. Les Calanques are so much more than that: their light-shifting geometry, diverse plant and animal life, and lovely hidden coves. In the summer, boats and hikers who spend hours travelling to remote fishing communities visit the area.


Honfleur is a famous city known for its historic port. Honfleur is so charming that many overlook that it was first constructed for trade. Affluent families in Honfleur built their multi-story homes close to one another, especially around the Vieux Bassin, the centre of the port, where a front-row residence with a view of the boats was an accurate statement of prestige. In this beautiful setting, shops jostle for space along the quays as restaurants set up outdoor seating across the cobblestones.

Book a boat rental service in Nice, France, and explore the best of French beauty while traversing the French city.

Continue Reading

Travel & Leisure

New Year’s Eve with Hilton: 6 Fabulous Ways to Ring in 2023

Avatar photo



Fireworks at Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton - Photo Credit: Sam Antonio

What’s your ideal way to ring in the new year? Whether you prefer to get glammed up for a New Year’s Eve gala, dance the night away at a rooftop bar, or simply watch the fireworks from the cozy comfort of your hotel room, there are plenty of ways to celebrate. From the beach to the big city, here are five ways you can countdown to midnight at Hilton properties across the Americas.

Conrad Los Angeles

Celebrate the new year with stunning skyline views from Conrad Los Angeles. Watch fireworks illuminate the city from Agua Viva rooftop restaurant’s New Year’s Eve party, complete with DJ sets, drinks and food from a specialty New Year’s Eve menu. Select guest rooms will also have perfect views of the fireworks.

For an extra-special start to the year, book the Cheers to the New Year PackageAs the clock strikes midnight, take in the fireworks from Agua Viva rooftop restaurant or enjoy the show from the comfort of your opulent room, complete with special turndown amenities. Wake up and start the new year with a delicious breakfast in bed or enjoy breakfast at José Andres’ original fine dining concept, San Laurel, where you’ll explore Spanish-inspired flavors intertwined and enhanced with fresh and local Californian ingredients. For dinner, take in captivating views of Downtown Los Angeles overlooking the iconic Disney concert hall while experiencing a decadent, chef-curated New Year’s menu that includes Porcini Crusted American Wagyu, Lubina in Saffron Mussel Sauce with Caviar, and much more.

Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Countdown to midnight fireworks in a variety of ways at Conrad Bora Bora Nui. Make reservations for a prestige dinner at TAMURE beachside restaurant, visit the open-air IRIATAI restaurant for a New Year’s Eve buffet with live music, or spend the evening at UPA UPA lounge bar, featuring drinks and a live DJ. Guests will be able to enjoy beautiful fireworks in the lagoon from UPA UPA bar and IRIATAI restaurant, and guests staying in overwater bungalows will be able to see the fireworks show directly from their villas.

Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

Guests can ring in the new year seaside at Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton. In addition to a glamorous and elevated New Year’s Eve Masquerade Gala in the newly-opened Southpointe Ballroom, Hotel del Coronado also offers a chill way to welcome in the New Year.  Guests can reserve a seat for a New Year’s Eve movie on famed Coronado Beach, immediately followed by a celebratory fireworks display over the Pacific Ocean. Guests with ocean-facing rooms within The Views, Shore House or Beach Village will enjoy a front-row experience for the New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Hilton Rio De Janeiro Copacabana

Celebrate the new year with views of the famous Copacabana fireworks exhibition from Hilton Rio De Janeiro Copacabana. Choose from the New Year’s Eve party at the fourth-floor Clarice Restaurant and Clarí Bar, or a cocktail party on the rooftop Isabel Lounge. Both include views of Copacabana’s front beach fireworks. The Clarice Restaurant celebration will include a special buffet with table seats and an open bar, and after dinner, the party continues with a DJ and samba drummers at Clarí Bar. Isabel Lounge will feature a special cocktail by Executive Chef Pablo Ferreyra, an open bar, DJ and samba drummers. Guests with sea-view rooms will also be able to see Copacabana’s fireworks from their room.

Continue the celebration on New Year’s Day with a traditional Brazilian Feijoada and samba at Clarice Restaurant.

Hilton New York Times Square

Enviably located on 42nd Street in the heart of Times Square and easily accessible from Grand Central, Penn Station and several Subway lines, Hilton New York Times Square is within steps of dozens of Broadway and off-Broadway shows, attractions and Restaurant Row. Soaring 44 stories above Times Square with some of the largest standard-size rooms in the neighborhood, guests will enjoy incredible skyline and Hudson River views, with select rooms looking out to the iconic New Year’s Eve ball drop. 

Hilton Anatole

Ring in 2023 with the best views of the Downtown Dallas New Year’s Eve fireworks show at SĒR Steak + Spirits on the 27th floor of Hilton Anatole. Tickets to the New Year’s Eve party are $300 per person and include four hours of gourmet food at live-action food stations with featured chefs, a premium bar with beverages provided by Diageo and Moët Hennessy, multiple Instagrammable photo moments, live music from DJ SC, and a midnight toast.

Continue Reading



Finance2 hours ago

Factors to Consider When Choosing Funeral Chairs for Memorial Services

The loss of a loved one is devastating for the entire family. For churches providing funeral and memorial services, it’s...

Middle East2 hours ago

Making Sense of Iran’s De-escalation with Saudi Arabia

On March 10, 2023, Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to resume diplomatic ties which had been severed for...

New Social Compact4 hours ago

Luxury Predecessors become the Necessity of Successors

It appears that many people’s lives today are increasingly focused on the pursuit of luxury. There is no denying the...

Russia5 hours ago

Amid Ukraine Crisis, Russia Deepens Strategic Cooperation With China

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have concluded their three-day diplomatic deliberations, most importantly questions focused on...

Economy7 hours ago

The Persian Gulf-Black Sea Corridor: Why should India consider an alternative getaway?

Recently Armenian has suggested the creation of a corridor linking the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea to facilitate trade...

East Asia9 hours ago

Saudi-Iran Truce: China’s Highway to Diplomatic Exploitation

The time-ravaging rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia ranks below few in the assemblage of unresolvable, primeval conflicts since it...

East Asia13 hours ago

Sino-Russia Relations Termed as “With No Boundaries”

The relations between China and Russia go back to the 17th century when the Qing dynasty tried to drive Russian...