June Travel Buys
(MONEY Magazine) – --CAMPING The National Parks Less Traveled.
Camping fees have doubled in recent years, and many parks are booked months in advance. But we found seven parks that boast breathtaking scenery and still have inexpensive camping sites available. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California (559-565-3341; camping fees are $8 to $16 a day): Three hours south of notoriously crowded Yosemite, these adjoining parks are known for their giant sequoias and the 60-foot basalt columns created 900,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption. Many campground showers are fed by natural hot springs. Lava Beds National Monument in California (530-667-2282; camping fees are $10 a day): Highlights here include majestic hawks and prairie falcons as well as lava tube caves inhabited by Native Americans centuries ago. North Cascades National Park in Washington (360-856-5700; camping fees run up to $10 a day): This 500,000-acre park features four lakes, 360 miles of hiking trails, glaciers, waterfalls and thousand-year-old cedars. Capitol Reef National Park in Utah (435-425-3791; camping fees are $10 a day): A hiker's paradise, this park boasts spectacular red rock formations. Pick pears, peaches, cherries and apples in the summer. Isle Royale National Park in Michigan (906-482-0984; camping is free): This archipelago of 400 islands in Lake Superior, accessible only by boat, teems with moose and features historic lighthouses, shipwrecks and ancient copper mines. Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina (252-728-2250; camping is free): A shield of undeveloped barrier islands in the South Atlantic, this 56-mile stretch of seashore, reachable only by ferry, offers pristine beaches, salt marshes and dunes. Go to www.nps.gov for more National Park Service information.
--AUSTRALIA Down Under Deals.
Purchase tickets by May 31 and travel by Aug. 23 to get round-trip Air New Zealand flights from Los Angeles to Fiji, Auckland and Sydney for $599, $699 and $799, respectively. It's winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but most of Australia and New Zealand is temperate and dry. Call 800-262-1234 for details.
--CARIBBEAN Summer savings.
Unlike, say, parts of Florida, the Caribbean is only slightly hotter and more humid in the summer than in the winter. Still, deep discounting is the rule, making the region a smart alternative to pricey beach vacations along the U.S. Atlantic coast. Until Oct. 15, a seven-night stay in a deluxe one-bedroom suite at the Blue Horizons Cottage Hotel in Grenada (800-742-4276), plus breakfasts and dinners, is $572 per person, double occupancy. Children under 18 stay free, and free babysitting is provided for two hours a day for three days. From June 1 to Sept. 30, seven nights at the Bolongo Bay Beach Club & Villas in St. Thomas (800-524-4746), including a scuba lesson and a one-day sailing trip, is $508 per person, double occupancy. Kids 12 and under stay and eat free. Through Oct. 31, a seven-night stay at the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club in Nevis (800-742-6008), including breakfasts, afternoon teas and dinners, is $995 per person, double occupancy.
--COLORADO Off-season values.
To most vacationers, Colorado means skiing. But summer in the Rockies offers beautiful scenery, a wide range of outdoor activities--and accommodations at 30% to 50% off winter rates. Five nights at Creekside at Beaver Creek is $656 per person. The deal includes air fare, car rental, fly-fishing and white-water rafting trips and two days at Camp Vail for kids. The same package--but without air fare--at the Vail Racquet Club will cost four people staying in a two-bedroom condo overlooking waterfalls $345 per person. Call Vail's visitor bureau (800-525-3875) for details on these and other deals.
Until Dec. 17, travelers 55 and older can stay at any Presidente Inter-Continental resort in Mexico for $55 per person per night, double occupancy--or 45% to 60% off regular rates. Locations include Cancun, Cozumel, Guadalajara, Ixtapa, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Call 800-327-0200 for details.