6 Spooky Backstories at Hilton Properties for Halloween

It’s officially #spookyseason! October is in full swing, bringing with it the excitement of choosing the perfect Halloween costume, planning socially-distanced fall outings, enjoying pumpkin-flavored eats and drinks, and of course, telling ghost stories.

Luckily, if you enjoy a spooky presence, Hilton’s got a few great ghost stories from our 100+ year history. For more paranormal activity, read on (if you dare!)

1. The Seelbach Hilton

This hotel is perhaps most famous for inspiring the location of Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s wedding in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. However, there is more to this historic Kentucky property than its literary fame.

In 1987, two Team Members reported separate sightings, minutes apart, of a lady with long dark hair wearing a blue chiffon dress walk into the elevator. In both reports, the doors to the elevator were never open. Shortly after these sightings, the onsite team found a newspaper article from 1936 at the local library that helped explain the mystery.

According to the article, a lady working at the Starks building across the street went to the Seelbach Hotel to meet her husband. He, unfortunately, was killed on his way to the hotel. She was so upset when she heard the news that she threw herself down the hotel’s elevator shaft, while wearing a long blue chiffon dress.

Today, The Seelbach Hilton honors its “resident ghost” with a craft beer named after her, the Lady in Blue, a blueberry lager.

2. The Emily Morgan San Antonio, a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel

There is a reason USA Today declared this the 3rd most haunted hotel in the world in 2015, and Travel + Leisure named it among the most haunted hotels in America.

Once used as a hospital, the most haunted floors are said to be the seventh, ninth and fourteenth.

“We have a Hilton Team Member who was staying overnight and experienced her bathtub filling with blue water,” despite not turning on the tap. “They checked the lock, but no one had entered the room,” added Emily Morgan’s General Manager, Kole Siefken. Room Attendants have stated that after making the bed and turning their back, they would find all the pillows on the ground, and others have said lights flicker or say that the TV comes on for no reason.

3. The Hotel Alex Johnson, Curio Collection by Hilton

The historic Hotel Alex Johnson is known as one of the most haunted places in South Dakota. The SyFy Channel’s show “Ghost Hunters” traveled to Rapid City to do a special segment on the hotel, and the investigators reported that they experienced significant paranormal activity.

The most famous ghost story is of the Lady in White. During the 1970s, it was reported that a young bride committed suicide by flinging herself out the window of room 812. Those that knew the young woman insisted there was foul play, stating that she was much too happy and friendly to commit such an act. Yet, no one was ever convicted of her murder and the suicide ruling stood firm.

Today, guests claim the young bride wanders the halls of the eighth floor in a white gown, but the hotel is proud of its haunted heritage: guests can book a “Ghost Package” to stay in room 812, complete with a K2 meter (ghost detector) and record their encounters in a “Haunted Stories” book at its front desk!

4. Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Utica

This property was built in 1912 as the first luxury hotel between New York City and Buffalo, serving as a place to stay when people traveled to or from major cities on the East Coast.  However, before becoming a DoubleTree by Hilton, the property also served as an adult care facility in the 1980s, and some claim the former residents now linger as ghosts.

According to Lee Arthur, the hotel’s General Manager, “just last year, guests noticed a blue light orb floating in mid-air in front of them and watched it move across the bedroom.” She added, “They said they didn’t feel scared or threatened but actually enjoyed what they were seeing which was pretty neat for the hotel team.”

5. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Now this one isn’t your average hotel haunting! In 1957, Elvis Presley came to Hawaii for the very first time, and stayed in the Hawaiian Village’s Ali’i Tower. (It would not become a Hilton until 1961). Elvis enjoyed his time in Hawaii and came back to the Hilton Hawaiian Village whenever he was performing at a concert or a charitable event in Hawaii, until about 1976.

After he passed away in 1977, there have been several incidents reported by housekeepers of seeing a man in white with dark black hair on the 14th floor, which is where Mr. Presley preferred to stay in the hotel’s fittingly named “King Suite”.

Once such incident reported by a housekeeper, was that she was cleaning the King Suite on the 14th floor when she caught a glimpse of a man with dark hair on the balcony of the suite. She checked to see if the room was occupied, but discovered that the room’s last occupants were a mother and daughter who had checked out the evening prior. Others reported seeing a man in white with dark hair at the end of a hallway, but when they turned away and then looked back the man was gone.

6. Hotel Del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

As the legend tells it, a young woman named Kate Morgan was found dead from an apparent suicide at San Diego’s legendary Hotel Del Coronado in 1892. Today, Kate’s spirit seems to have remained at The Del, where Team Members claim she sometimes visits her former guestroom. But her beautiful vision – and ghostly pranks – can be experienced throughout the rambling resort and grounds.

As described in the hotel-published book Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado, “guests in Kate’s room report everything from breezes that come from nowhere to having to deal with a television set that turns on and off by itself.” The book can be purchased in the hotel’s gift shop.

The hotel offers a year-round Ghost Tour (temporarily closed due to Covid precautions), as well as a Ghost Roast experience in October.

 

Are you courageous enough to spend a night in one of the hotels mentioned above? Book your next Hilton visit now to experience your own spooky stay this season, and happy Halloween!

 

7 Outdoor, Socially-Distanced Activities For Fall

Can you believe it’s already fall?! Kids are back in school (albeit remotely in many places), pumpkin spice everything is flowing at your favorite coffee shop, and many travelers are now thinking about how best to participate in outdoor, socially-distanced fall activities.

While this year’s autumn may look different than most, there’s still a ton of fun fall activities that you can do to safely celebrate the season. Here are our top picks for great events around the US, all of which would make a great long weekend!

1. Pack a Camera and go Leaf-Peeping
The Love Temple at the Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

The trees are often the first harbinger of the change of seasons, with vibrant greens melting into reds and golds. While many areas of the country offer great leaf peeping, we love the fall foliage of the Northeast the best. A visit to the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania’s Chester County is a great choice, where the spacious Longwood Gardens providing the ultimate viewing locale.

Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Kennett Square

2. Pick your Own Fruit at a local farm or orchard
Hampton Inn Fishkill is just a few minutes from the Fishkill Farms, New York

There’s nothing like the fun of picking your own apples, or getting to try the many home-baked goodies on offer at most orchards. Just an hour and a half outside the Big Apple, you’ll find all the different varieties of apples you could want at Fishkill Farms. They’re offering reservations for pick-your-own through October, to help ensure a socially distanced experience.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Fishkill

3. Enjoy a wine tasting at a vineyard
The Morris Vineyards are close to many large metro areas including Atlanta, Nashville, and Chattanooga

While wildfires in California have left much of that state’s wine region currently off-limits, there are many vineyards and wineries worth visiting across the country. Roughly halfway between Nashville and Atlanta, and in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains, you’ll find one such locale: Morris Vineyards, which produces 19 different varieties.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Cleveland, TN

4.  Support Local at an Outdoor Farmers Market
A mountain view patio at the Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder

Farmer’s markets present an excellent opportunity to get to know a new area and learn the area’s cuisine. One of the largest farmer’s markets in the country can be found in Santa Fe, New Mexico, held at the historic Santa Fe railyard on Saturdays and Tuesdays. There you’ll find all manner of fresh and prepared foods, including the region’s signature spice: chiles.

Where to Stay: Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder

5. Visit a Drive-Thru State Fair
Big Tex greets visitors at the State Fair of Texas

While many State Fairs have been forced to cancel or postpoint their 2020 dates, others like Texas and South Carolina have taken a more innovative approach: a drive-thru state fair. In Dallas, where the State Fair of Texas is held annually, your drive-thru ticket includes a photo with Big Tex, fair favorite food offerings, and a chance to drive by the many festive displays.

Where to Stay: The Statler, Curio Collection by Hilton

6. Pick out the perfect Pumpkin at a Pumpkin Patch
Spendy your day at an epic pumpkin patch, then relax the evening away at the fire pit

Ever since Charlie Brown discovered the Great Pumpkin, seeking your own perfect Jack-o-Lantern-to-be each autumn has become many a family’s annual tradition. At Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm, less than an hour outside of Chicago, guests can enjoy pumpkin-themed treats, carnival style games, and an epic hay maze — or stay until the evening when the farm shifts to host a haunted house.

Where to Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton Joliet Plainfield

7. Go Stargazing with Someone You Love
Look up to see rarely-seen astrological happenings of October

This fall is also a great chance to look to the heavens, as October marks one of the best chances to view Mars in many years. According to Space.com, “The Red Planet arrives at opposition to the Sun on Oct. 13, in the zodiacal constellation of Pisces, visible from dusk to dawn and shining at an eye-popping magnitude of -2.6, a full three times brighter than Sirius; brighter than even mighty Jupiter!” Set up your telescope at one of the many International Dark Sky Parks just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah for an excellent view.

Where to Stay: The Peery Salt Lake City Downtown, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Where To Stay On Your Next National Park Vacation

We have a confession to make: many of us at HIlton are *obsessed* with our U.S. National Parks. It’s not at all uncommon to spy a scratch-off travel map of which National Parks someone has visited on any HIlton Team Members’ desk, and more than a few Hilton Team Members have competitions going to see who can fill up their National Park Passport the quickest.

So take it from us — we know all the best spots to stay in order to have a truly great National Park experience. Here are some of our favorites below!

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Smoky Mountains form a portion of the Appalachian Chain

Located along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was dedicated in 1940, and explorers have been visiting the park ever since. Notably, the famed Appalachian Trail crisscrosses the park’s borders, while Rainbow Falls and Roaring Forms are some of the other popular attractions visitors often rave about.

Where to Stay:

2. Canyonlands & Arches National Parks
The hike to Delicate Arch vista in Arches National Park.

With both parks just a short drive outside the town of Moab, Utah, you can get double the NPS goodness with a visit out West to see these beauties. Known for their stunning rock formations, some of the most famous hikes include Mesa Arch and Island in the Sky in Canyonlands, and the Windows section of Arches.

Where to Stay:

3. Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon’s endless views

Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon has long been considered one of the ultimate must-visit destinations in the United States. While the North Rim is home to some of most challenging hikes you’ll find in any National Park, the South Rim is more beginner-friendly, with a Visitor Center and several scenic vistas that you can drive to.

Where to Stay:

4. Rocky Mountain National Park
A mountain lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park

With five unique geographical regions all encompassed within the park’s borders, you can find something for everyone within Rocky Mountain National Park. Hiking, rock climbing, and fishing are all popular summertime activities at the park, while winter visitors are able to participate in snow sports like skiing and snowshoeing.

Where to Stay:

5. Acadia National Park
The Hampton Inn Bar Harbor lies just 3 minutes outside the entrance to Acadia National Park

Called “the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast,” Acadia National Park in Maine combines the forest and the coast in a magnificent setting.  Touring the park by car is a popular activity, especially in the fall, when “leaf-peepers” come to see the breathtaking fall foliage. For those hoping to explore more in-depth

Where To Stay:

Are you thinking of visiting a National Park this year? Tell us about it on social media, by following @Hilton!

Best Beach Destinations Near DC

When the humidity crosses 90% and you feel like you’ve forgotten what it’s like not to be sweating, the beach may feel like it’s a million miles away. But with several great coastal getaways just a short drive away from DC, there’s still time to cap off your summer with a beach vacation.

Here are our picks for the best beach destinations close to DC – tell us if we picked one of your faves on social media using #hiltonatthebeach.

1. Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City feels like a quintessential East Coast beach town, complete with a wooden boardwalk lined with restaurants and shopping, plus amusement rides and carnival-like attractions for kids. It’s no wonder it’s been drawing families for decades.

Where to Stay: Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites

2. Virginia Beach, Virginia

History comes to life in Virginia Beach, where you can take a break from the sun and surf to take in the country’s backstory: nearby First Landing State Park tells the story of the Jamestown colonists who first arrived to this area in 1607 through nature trails and interactive displays.

Where to Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront South

3. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Just a couple hours outside the city lies Rehoboth Beach, where DC residents have been retreating for vacations since 1873, when the first camping area was established. All those visitors across the years have helped earn the area its motto as the “Nation’s Summer Capital.”

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Rehoboth Beach

4. Chincoteague Island, Virginia

If crowded beaches and bustling boardwalks just don’t sound relaxing to you, then look to Chincoteague for a more relaxed pace.  Don’t miss a stop at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to catch a glimpse of the ponies that still run wild on the island.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront

5 Best Beach Destinations From Alabama

There’s nothing like some time along the Gulf Coast to recharge your batteries and make you feel human again. And with more than 60 miles of shoreline across the state plus easy access to the panhandle of Florida, Alabama is one of the best spots in the country to take in the sand and surf.

Check out our picks for the top five Alabama & North Florida beaches and let us know if you agree on social media using #hiltonatthebeach.

1. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores is simply one of the all-around best family beach destinations in the entire country. While there’s plenty of sand and surf to go around, a wealth of other activities including nature trails, water parks, ziplining and more are also found in this haven for summer fun.

Where to Stay: The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel

2. Orange Beach, Alabama

Just up the coast from Gulf Shores lies the equally entertaining Orange Beach. After a day in the sand, unwind with shopping and dining galore at The Wharf, located nearby.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach/Gulf Front

3. Pensacola Beach, Florida

Known equally for its sugar white sand beaches and its long military importance, Pensacola Beach will delight history buffs as the home to historic Fort Pickens and the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Where to stay: Hilton Pensacola Beach

4. Fort Walton, Florida

Just an hour from the Florida-Alabama state line, you’ll discover Ft. Walton Beach. Wildlife lovers in particular will enjoy exploring the area’s natural inhabitants like dolphins, rays, and alligators at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.

Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Ft. Walton Beach

5. Destin, Florida

Golf lovers will rejoice in the panhandle community of Destin where vacationers can easily split their time between hitting the beach and hitting the links.  The area’s well-known seafood restaurants ensure that however you spend your day, you can end it with a fantastic meal.

Where to Stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Destin Miramar Beach

Best Beach Destinations in Georgia

As longtime residents know, the Georgia coast is filled with history, tradition, and fun. If you’re looking for a great spot to getaway before the summer officially comes to a close, look no further than the state’s coastal backyard to see our picks for the top beaches in Georgia.

Which one is your fave? Tell us on social media using #hiltonatthebeach.

1. Tybee Island

If you’re looking for a vacation that balances beach time with fine dining, art, and nightlife, then look no further than Tybee Island. Less than 30 minutes from bustling Savannah, you can enjoy the comforts of the city while still taking in some sun and sand at the beach.

Where to Stay:  The Cotton Sail Hotel Savannah, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

2. Cumberland Island

Steeped in American history and home to wild horses, this barrier island is all about reconnecting with nature. While development is intentionally sparse on the island itself to preserve the majestic landscape, you’ll find hotels and other attractions like the Crooked River State Park and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge just a short drive away.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Kingsland

3. Jekyll Island

The sunsets are legendary at Jekyll Island, where pinks and oranges light up the horizon nearly every evening. The Southernmost destination among Georgia’s “Golden Isles,” Jekyll is less touristy and crowded than some of its northern cousins.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Jekyll Island

4. St. Simons Island
Sun bathe by our outdoor pool.

King Beach and Prince Beach are two of the local favorite stretches of sand on St. Simons Island where you’ll also find excellent fishing from the St. Simons Island Pier. In the right months, you can even partake in whale watching.

Where to Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton St. Simons Island

5 Best Beach Destinations in the Carolinas

With miles of white sand beaches, barrier islands, and unspoiled natural beauty, there’s nowhere like the Carolina coast for an amazing beach vacation. Whether you prefer the popular spots like Myrtle Beach or the secluded getaways like the Outer Banks, you’re sure to find a spot for every beachgoer.

Our top picks for Carolina beaches are below, but we want to know your favorites as well. Tell us what we missed using #hiltonaththebeach on social media.

1. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
The beach lies just beyond the oceanfront pool at The Ocean Oak Resort by Hilton Grand Vacations
The beach lies just beyond the oceanfront pool at The Ocean Oak Resort by Hilton Grand Vacations

This lowcountry vacation spot is known for more than just its pristine beaches – its golf courses are equally famous. Whether you’re hitting the sand or hitting the links, a great place to stay at the end of the day is a must.

Where to Stay: Ocean Oak Resort by Hilton Grand Vacations

2. Folly Beach, Charleston, South Carolina
The Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District is located in a restored former Citadel Military College
The Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District is located in a restored former Citadel Military College

Just outside the city of Charleston you’ve got one of the nicest stretches of white sand anywhere on the East Coast. Pack a picnic lunch with foodie delights from the City, and you’ll be sure to have a great day.

Where to Stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District

3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Sunset at the beach at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront
Sunset at the beach at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront

Popular with both spring breakers and families, Myrtle Beach is a quintessential Atlantic beach town complete with a boardwalk, great seafood, and plenty of seaside shopping.

Where to Stay: DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront

4. Outer Banks, North Carolina

A beachview balcony room at the Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk

If you’d rather avoid the big crowds and reconnect with nature on your beach vacation, head out to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The gentle dunes and swaying seagrass will easily melt stress away.

Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk

5. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

A balcony overlooking the boardwalk at the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Carolina Beach Oceanfront

With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Cape Fear River on the other, Carolina Beach is the perfect spot for fishermen to test  their lures and their nerves in an effort to catch “the big one.”

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Carolina Beach Oceanfront

5 Best Beach Destinations in California

Beach towels? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Flip flops? Check! Californians know how to do beach time better than almost anyone, and we’re letting you in on the best beach getaways in the Golden State.

Check out our picks for five of the best California beaches, and let us know your favorites on social media using #hiltonatthebeach.

1. Coronado Beach, San Diego
The famous Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton and its namesake beach
The famous Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton and its namesake beach

If you’re looking for a beach that makes you feel like a celebrity, then look no further: this hotel & beach were featured in 1950s classic film Some Like It Hot. Some folks even claim the beach glitters, as a result of special minerals found in the sand.

Where to Stay: Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

2. Santa Barbara
Between the beach and the mountains lies the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Between the beach and the mountains lies the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Dubbed “America’s Riviera” for the Mediterranean style architecture and red tiled roofs you’ll find surrounding this beach city, Santa Barbara offers a wealth of great beaches. And when you’re done with the sand and surf, you can also visit the numerous wineries located nearby.

Where to Stay: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

3. La Jolla
An ocean view one bedroom suite at the Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton
An ocean view one bedroom suite at the Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton

Golf aficionados will recognize La Jolla’s rugged coast as the backdrop to some of Torrey Pines’ most famous holes. But even non-golfers can take in the magnificent view over La Jolla’s nearby Shell Beach.

Where to Stay: Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton

4. Carlsbad Beach
The pool and the beach at the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach
The pool and the beach at the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach

If you want to try your hand at surfing, Carlsbad is the place to be. Here, the waves are gentle but challenging – a perfect place for a beginner to learn.

Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach

5. Huntington Beach
Sunset over the beach at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel
Sunset over the beach at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel

Just South of Los Angeles in California’s famed Orange County, you’ll discover Huntington Beach, where an active lifestyle is par for the course. Enjoy beach volleyball or try your hand at surfing, then have a jog or bike-ride along the 3.5 mile Huntington Beach Bike Trail.

Where to Stay: The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel

5 Best Beach Destinations in Texas

It is HOT out there, Texas. And with no sign of the triple-digit days letting up anytime soon, if you’re headed outside, we recommend you go South – way South, to the Texas coast, that is! Here are our picks for the five best beach getaways in Texas.

Tell us: did we include your favorites? Tag us using  #hiltonatthebeach on social media to let us know if we got it right.

1. South Padre Island
The pool and beach at the Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island Beachfront
The pool and beach at the Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island Beachfront

Many a Texan grew up visiting South Padre as a kid, and there’s no doubt as to why — this barrier island is packed with both ocean & lagoon side activities, a bustling boardwalk, and all the great seafood you could want.

Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island Beachfront

2. Port Aransas

For a slightly quieter getaway, continue North from South Padre and you’ll reach Port Aransas, which was once home to pirates in the 19th century. Nowadays, it’s a great spot for a family-friendly beach getaway away from the big crowds.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Port Aransas

3. Galveston
An outdoor seating area at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Galveston Beach
An outdoor seating area at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Galveston Beach

Galveston’s just a quick hour drive outside of Houston, making it the beach destination of choice for Houstonians who need a break. When you’re done at the beach, check out the city’s historical Strand District for excellent shopping and art.

Where to Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Galveston Beach

4. Mustang Island

For those hoping for a chance to commune with nature, Mustang Island is home to the undeveloped Mustang Island State Park – an excellent spot for bird-watching, dune-climbing, and shell-collecting for families.

Where to Stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Corpus Christi

5. Rockport
The pool area at the Hampton Inn & Suites Rockport-Fulton
The pool area at the Hampton Inn & Suites Rockport-Fulton

While badly damaged after Hurricane Harvey, Rockport has re-built and looks better than ever. Recently named one of “America’s Best Places to Retire” Rockport is a good choice if you prefer leisurely strolls on the beach over a bustling nightlife scene.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Rockport-Fulton

10 Best Beach Destinations in Florida

Beach = life here in Florida, and if you’re looking for a new favorite stretch of sand to explore, we’ve got you covered. We’ve made a list of some of our favorite beaches across the state, and would love to see if you agree!

Tag us on social media using #hiltonatthebeach to let us know if we picked your favorite spot, or to share a new spot we may have missed.

1. Miami Beach
The pool and beach at the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach
The pool and beach at the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach

The most famous of Florida’s beach cities, Miami’s style has inspired musicians, artists, and foodies for decades. Take a stroll along Ocean Drive to see miles of white sand beaches on one side, and the art-deco inspired architecture the area is known for on the other.

Where to Stay: Hilton Cabana Miami Beach

2. Clearwater Beach
The white sand beach of the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
The white sand beach of the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa

As its name implies, Clearwater is a great spot to take in the shimmering gem-like turquoise waters on this stretch of the Gulf of Mexico. Perfect for people watching, the white-sand beach is lined with walk-and-bike paths that are popular with joggers, roller-bladers and cyclists alike.

Where to Stay: Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa

3. Boca Raton
The pool and beach at the Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
The pool and beach at the Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

If you prefer the finer things in life, plan to unwind in Boca, where the shopping, dining, and golf courses all have a decidedly upscale feel. This neighborhood is also a great one for re-connecting with nature, complete with a butterfly garden and sea turtle sanctuary.

Where to Stay: Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

4. Marco Island
The Deck Restaurant overlooking the beach at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa
The Deck Restaurant overlooking the beach at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa

If you really want to get away from it all, then look no further than Marco Island, a barrier island off the coast of Naples, Florida. Explore the less developed North side of the island for unparalleled peace and solitude.

Where to Stay: Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa

5. Panama City Beach

A long-time favorite of spring-breakers and family vacationers alike, the crystal clear waters and white sand beaches located in Florida’s panhandle region lures out-of-staters who can get to their beach vacation with less drive time than by visiting spots in the state’s southern half.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Panama City Beach-Beachfront

6. Key West

A couples massage on the beach at the Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

As the Southernmost point of the Continental US, Key West offers up excellent beaches, a literary heritage in the Hemingway House, and last but not least: really excellent key lime pie, which is said to have originated here.

Where to Stay: Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

7. Cocoa Beach
An ocean view room at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront
An ocean view room at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront

Home to NASA’s Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach is the spot that gives Florida its nickname as the “Space Coast”. Even on days without a rocket launch, you can still relax on the white sandy beaches and dream of the heavens.

Where to Stay: Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront

8. Key Largo
A balcony in Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton, in Key Largo, Florida
A balcony in Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton, in Key Largo, Florida

Key Largo is more than just a line in a Beach Boys song, and if you’re looking for a Florida Keys style getaway without the long drive all the way to Key West, take a rest in Key Largo for all the fun with half the car-time.

Where to Stay: Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton

9. St. Augustine
The pool area at the Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach
The pool area at the Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach

A city with a decidedly European feel, St. Augustine is a perfect getaway if you like to mix beach time with world history. Visit the Colonial District or the Castillo de San Marcos to experience the role St. Augustine has played over the years.

Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach

10. Destin
Beach view from the Embassy Suites by Hilton Destin Miramar Beach
The beach boardwalk from the Embassy Suites by Hilton Destin Miramar Beach

Another popular spot on Florida’s pandhandle, Destin is equally known for its white quartz sand beaches as well as its excellent selection of area golf courses.

Where to Stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Destin Miramar Beach

Five U.S. Towns That’ll Make You Feel Like You’re In Europe

It’s no surprise that travel looks a bit different in 2020. If you’ve been dreaming of a magical European getaway, don’t give up hope just yet. America is full of charming cities and towns that harness the food, culture, history and architecture of a destination across the sea.

Horse-drawn carriages along the streets of St. Augustine, Florida
Horse-drawn carriages along the streets of St. Augustine, Florida

Oktoberfest in Munich might have to wait another year, but beer and bratwurst shouldn’t have to. Here’s our list of five great small-town getaways that will make you feel like you’ve touched down in a different country.

1. Solvang, California

Solvang is a popular destination for travelers looking for the classic feeling of being in Denmark. The Southern California town boasts gingerbread architecture, twirling windmills, authentic Danish bakeries and more one-of-a-kind experiences. Don’t miss the famous replica of Copenhagen’s Round Tower, or Rundetårn, in the town center. The best part? Solvang is situated near 120 vineyards right in the Santa Ynez Valley, providing the perfect stop on a wine tour through Santa Barbara.

Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Buellton/Santa Ynez Valley

2. St. Augustine, Florida

The small coastal town of St. Augustine is a history lover’s paradise. Full of Spanish heritage and centuries-old architecture, it is commonly called the “Nation’s Oldest City.” Step back in time during a visit to the city’s Colonial Quarter downtown, which offers a peak into the lives of 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century residents. No trip is complete without a visit to The Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century Spanish stone fortress with views of the St. Augustine Inlet.

Where to stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton St Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort

3. Fredericksburg, Texas

There’s no place quite like Fredericksburg, a German settlement situated in the epicenter of the Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg was recently named “Best Small Town in Texas” by Southern Living for the third consecutive year, and it embodies the feeling of “German heritage with Texan hospitality.” German architecture, beerhalls and a rule that no chain stores are allowed in its Historic District keep the town’s historic roots alive. Make time for wine tasting, as Fredericksburg is also home to over 100 wineries and vineyards.

Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Fredericksburg

4. New Glarus, WIsconsin

If you love the Swiss staples of chocolate and cheese, add “America’s Little Switzerland” to your travel bucket list. The town closely resembles Glarus, Switzerland through its geography and architecture, and the community keeps Swiss-German culture alive through annual festivals, music, tradition and more. Pay a visit to the town’s museums for a true dose of history and appreciation.

Where to stay: Hilton Madison Monona Terrace

5. Frankenmuth, Michigan

Referred to as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth has embodied a German feel for over 170 years, dating back to when it was a Bavarian mission colony for Lutherans in 1845. Locals are incredibly proud of the town’s heritage, and you will feel it through their food, festivals, European architecture and warm hospitality. If you’re looking for the ultimate holiday experience, pay a visit to Bronner’s, the world’s largest Christmas store.

Where to stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bay City – Riverfront

Five Best Small Town Getaways from Seattle

It’s summertime in Seattle, and that means a great time to leave the city and get outdoors. If you’re looking for an escape that doesn’t require long days of travel, look no further than our list of the top five small-town getaways from Seattle.

Fall foliage in Olympia, Washington
Fall foliage in Olympia, Washington
1. Leavenworth, Washington

Sitting amongst the Cascade range, Leavenworth is a great choice if you’re bummed about current travel restrictions to Europe. Here you’ll find the traditional architecture, boutique shopping experience and German cuisine of a Bavarian mountain town.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Leavenworth

2. Olympia, Washington

Take a stroll around the manicured gardens of the State Capitol Campus, or heard to Percival Landing Park for a great spot for an open-air picnic. Or, if you’d rather disconnect from city life altogether, spend a day at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and get a little closer to Mother Nature.

Where To Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Olympia

3. Bellingham, Washington

Start your trip with a scenic tour along Chuckanut Drive for breathtaking vistas of where sea meets mountain. After taking in the landscape, head to the Fairhaven Historic District for walkable shopping, fine dining, and art.

Where To Stay: The Chrysalis Inn & Spa Bellingham, Curio Collection by Hilton

4. Yakima, Washington

Grape lovers will celebrate this escape to the agricultural powerhouse of Washington, which just happens to be dotted with great wine tasting locales like the Portteus Vineyards and Bonair Winery. Afterwards, you can work off all those wine calories on the Cowiche Canyon Trail with some excellent hiking.

Where To Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Yakima

5. Bremerton, Washington

A great choice for families, Bremerton is a vibrant community filled with spots for young ones to let loose. Explore the Bremerton Boardwalk for seaside shenanigans, or take the kids to the Harborside Fountain Park for some splash-filled memories.

Where To Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Bremerton