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The California Coastal Commission recently agreed to create a mile of public beach on century-old ranchland as part of a deal reached with the landowner.
Altogether, 36 acres of ranch land is being transferred to Santa Barbara County.
The news is particularly noteworthy because the public has been shut out of the land for so long.
The beach is located about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles near remote Jalama Beach. It is between the south end of Vandenberg Air Force Base and Point Conception.
The property in question was once part of the Bixby Ranch, which belonged to a famous California ranching family. Today it’s part of the Cojo Jalama Ranches, which cover more than 37 miles, including 11 miles of coastline.
The newly public section of coastline will be used to extend a public park at Jalama Beach , about one hour from Santa Barbara. The isolated park is already known for surfing, whale-watching, birdwatching and being home to many protected native plants. This public beachfront area has a popular snack shack, a sundry store, picnic tables and fire boxes.
The exact date to reopen this beach has not been announced.
Visit the California Coastal Commission for recommendations on scenic coastal trails to explore.
Holidays at the Mansion
Orlando bound? There’s nothing quite like the Stetson Mansion , decked out in full regalia for its annual Christmas celebration. The Stetson Mansion Christmas tours are the highlight of any holiday visit to DeLand and the West Volusia region. This Victorian mansion on Florida’s first-ever luxury estate is open daily for tours (advance reservations required) which offer a step back in time. The estate was built in 1886 for famed hat maker John B. Stetson. Its current residents are carrying on the Stetson tradition of extravagant gatherings with an event described as “over the top in the best meaning of that expression,” by TripAdvisor.
Annual holiday tours are conducted through mid-January and decorations change each year. Guides share the stories of the decorations and historic highlights of the mansion as well as the journey of the current owners through an extensive restoration.
The 75-90 minute tours operate 10:30A, 1:30P and 5P daily, excluding Sunday mornings. Adult entrance is $25; $15 ages 6-22. Not recommended for infants and toddlers.
Holiday celebrations are just one reason to visit the West Volusia region, a destination with stories to tell, history to share and fun to have. Nestled between Orlando and Daytona, West Volusia encompasses fourteen communities with the authenticity travelers seek. From top-rated downtown DeLand to the scenic St. Johns River, this is real Florida.
Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to HURRY! can expire at any time. Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually, you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price!
NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges apply for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines.
Best Value Hotels
TripAdvisor has recently announced the 10 Best Value Hotels in the U.S. this fall, based on traveler reviews and TripAdvisor price comparison of 200 booking sites for the lowest seasonal hotel rates. To qualify as a Best Value Hotel, a property must have at least 3.5 stars and four bubbles on TripAdvisor, and offer seasonal nightly average rates that are at least 20% below the city average and cost less than $300 per night.
Properties in popular travel destinations that offer the combination of quality rooms and amenities, great location and low prices are often trendy or fun independent properties with local flavor.
Case in point: Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle. Located downtown, the historic Mayflower Park Hotel was built in 1927, and restored with crystal chandeliers, and period antiques with European elegance. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Best value in downtown Seattle. Everything was first class! The staff, decor, bedding, towels, new fixtures, etc.”
Polished Queen Anne-style rooms have desks, coffeemakers and extra-deep soaking tubs; some have wet bars. Suites add extra living areas.
Amenities include a lounge, a restaurant, and a fitness center.
Rates from $125.
In a month-long survey of more than 10,000 USA Today readers, YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado was voted Best Family Resort in the U.S.
YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park is situated on 800+ acres bordering Rocky Mountain National Park and features pet-friendly private cabins and hotel-style lodge rooms with common areas. Meals are served daily in an all-you-can-eat buffet-style dining hall and numerous activities are available on-site for family members of all ages, such as archery lessons, horseback riding, a climbing wall and brand new 370-foot-long zip line, and an arts & crafts center where families can choose to make their own tie-dyes, design mosaics, create jewelry or learn how to basket-weave.
Autumn at YMCA of the Rockies features fall-themed activities every weekend in October, while herds of elk roam the campus during bugling season.
Winter is a peaceful retreat from the crowded ski towns with family activities like ice-skating on a natural pond and snowshoe adventures through Rocky Mountain National Park.
Spring and summer visits offer beautiful hiking opportunities with YMCA’s experienced guide masters, as well as day camps for children ages 3-18 years old.
In 2018, YMCA of the Rockies will open the Boone Family Mountain Center to provide a base camp for nature, environmental and high-adventure activities. In addition to housing a hands-on education nature center and two-story climbing wall, the Mountain Center will also serve as the staging and information area for fishing, mountain biking, archery, and the zip line.
Included in lodging fees, guests enjoy the roller skating rink, the indoor swimming pool, and an 18-hole miniature golf course.
Several multi-bedroom cabins and larger reunion cabins can sleep up to 88 guests in 17 bedrooms.
Most lodge rooms and cabins do not have televisions, providing a truly unplugged experience for families.
Reservations are available to YMCA members and the general public.
In celebration of its 110th Anniversary , YMCA of the Rockies is currently offering 110 lodge rooms at Estes Park Center and 110 lodge rooms at Snow Mountain Ranch for just $84 per night to be used by December 31. Each reservation includes a two-night stay in one lodge room and two free breakfasts each day.
Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on Twitter .
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