We’re Traveling Fast: Three Award Wins in Two Weeks

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At VacationRenter, we are obsessed with making travel easier. That means providing the best search experience for travelers looking for vacation rentals all over the world. No more endless scrolling across different websites or wondering whether or not you got the best deal. 

 With the number of vacation rentals well into the millions and growing quickly, using technology to intelligently and programmatically find the perfect rental for every traveler is critical. Over the last year and a half we’ve invested heavily into proprietary automation and AI to constantly improve how we find travelers the best rentals. We’ve also layered on helpful content like local expert travel guides and smart destination pages with data on price trends to help you plan the perfect trip. 

 As we continue to grow and innovate in the vacation rental industry, we are honored to be recognized by the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards and the Golden Bridge Awards with three different wins:

  • Gold for Startup of the Year in the Consumer Product category by the Golden Bridge Awards
  • Gold for Online Travel Services: Trip Planning in the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards
  • Silver for Online Travel Services: Website in the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards

The Golden Bridge Awards program recognizes and honors the world’s best achievements and innovations in every industry around the world, with more than 160 global experts participating in the judging. The Travel Weekly Magellan Awards celebrates the best in travel globally, with judges comprised of some of the biggest names in the industry. We are honored to be recognized and awarded by both of these prominent organizations.

While we are excited about what we have accomplished, we are even more excited about what’s on the horizon:

Expanding Globally

This summer we began expanding to new markets, making it easier to find your perfect rental wherever you are. We’re continuing to invest in expansion and plan to launch in more markets in the final months of 2019 and into 2020.  Expanding globally means localizing content, adding more currencies, and adding additional partners to ensure travelers have the best options when exploring other countries. As we grow and build more partnerships around the world, we’re continuously improving our search results rankings so even with more listings being added everyday, we’re ensuring you only see the best ones. Not only will you see more listings, but you’ll see better, more unique ones along with more local data on our travel guides and price trends for all the places you want to visit.

Expanding Locally

While we are growing the reach of our vacation rentals, we are also working to localize our website based on where you are, wherever you are, across the globe. Our goal is for everyone to eventually be able to book in their native currency and language. Keep an eye on our announcements over the coming months to learn more about the localized features that are underway. 

More Tools to Plan, Wherever You Plan on Going

Our content will increasingly help you plan trips both domestically and internationally so you can identify the right vacation rental, regardless of your destination. Our proprietary tech enables us to search and sort millions of listings very fast and present you with the best ones so you don’t have to spend your time sifting through pages and pages of listings. Want to head to Macchu Picchu or lounge on a beach in Spain? We’ll help you plan the perfect stay. 

We are excited about how far we have come, and we are excited about what lies ahead. Here’s to traveling!

To learn more about the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards and the Golden Bridge Awards, check out our announcement or visit their websites at:

 

https://www.travelweeklyawards.com/

https://goldenbridgeawards.com/

Making Global Travel Easier With More Currencies

At VacationRenter, our team is committed to helping travelers conveniently book vacation rentals from anywhere around the globe. Our mission is to help you find the perfect vacation rental with the simplest experience. 

We recently shared our plans of expanding into international markets and over the last month we have already helped millions of international travelers find their perfect rentals. While they are still only a small percentage of our users, we expect international travelers to grow exponentially over the coming months as we roll out new international features.

To make searching easier for travelers overseas, our team is excited to announce that we have added additional currencies to our platform, allowing users to select a currency of their choice while searching through our millions of global properties. We started with adding the currencies that account for more than 50% of global transactions in vacation rentals including USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, and NZD. In addition, if a traveler is located in a market that uses one of our provided currencies, the currency will default to their location’s currency.

While we’re excited about this, it’s only the first of many international product updates that will make the VacationRenter search experience easier for travelers everywhere. Over the coming months, we will continue to add additional currencies, enable language localization, collaborate with international partners to bring our users more listings, and expand our localized content with travel guides and price trends for locations abroad. 

Your next vacation is just a click away. Escape to a beautiful rental with VacationRenter today!

 

How Automation is Tackling the Pain Points of Finding a Vacation Rental

Going on vacation is relaxing, but there’s a lot of planning that goes into leaving your cares behind. The Internet is a great help when it comes to buying a ticket, renting a car and learning all about your destination.

But unfortunately, finding the right vacation rentals is not the easy, frictionless experience that it should be. Internet searches do not quickly direct travelers to the perfect rental at the right price – they return pages and pages of results that range from the ideal to the not-even-close, in no particular order.

Finding the right rental on the Internet is time-consuming and frustrating, but automation is changing that. Artificial intelligence can now aggregate and personalize search results, so vacationers no longer have to jump from website to website looking for what they want at a price that fits the budget.

Finding a rental will soon be frictionless, because automation is tackling the three pain points that make it a difficult experience today:

Too Many Results. The rental you want is out there, but it could take hours to find it. Web searches bring a flood of results that must be sorted through manually. Artificial intelligence can narrow down the inventory of search results without losing any that might be attractive. One of the main benefits of automation is that it can cut away the dead wood, taking significant time out of the search process.

Irrelevant Results. Today, search engines have only a few criteria to match the searcher with the appropriate result. That means most results for any query are not relevant enough. This is another pain point AI can remedy, by discerning the real intent behind the search. Search results that are not relevant come from the lack of data segmentation in search engine results, as well an inability to identify user cohorts. Taking these concepts into account is what enables search results that are far more personalized.

Not Locating the Best Deal. People looking for a vacation rental today have to look at multiple websites—and narrow their searches by date and location on each site—before they can compare prices and find a good deal. After putting in significant time, searchers opt for what they hope is the best rental at the best price. Artificial intelligence enables a new kind of search, one where multiple results from multiple websites can be aggregated and displayed on a single page. This saves significant time in searching, and the user knows for sure he or she has found the best deal within their travel dates, destination and other parameters.

VacationRenter is the service that will make the entire vacation relaxing, including the planning. It will not just save significant time that used to be spent jumping from one website to another, but offer certainty that the traveler has found the perfect rental in the ideal place for the right price.

Every vacation is different. It’s going to be great to have an AI-enabled service that understands that.

North Carolina Vacation Rentals | Asheville Neighborhood Guide

When searching for vacation rental properties in Asheville, North Carolina, there are several great neighborhoods to choose from. With so many things to do in Asheville, it’s probably easier to narrow your choice by the type of attractions you want to visit, whether you prefer art, history, outdoor spaces, drinking, dining or shopping. Read on to find out which of the five neighborhoods fit your needs best.

Biltmore Village

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The quaint Biltmore Village was originally built as a manorial village for the adjacent Biltmore Estate workers. Many of the original pebble-dash buildings, built in a Tudoresque style, still remain although they’ve been converted to offices.

The vast Biltmore Estate, covering 8,000 acres and with 250 rooms in the mansion, is not to be missed when you’re staying in Biltmore Village as it sits next to its entrance. Built by George Vanderbilt for use as his winter home, it has awe-inspiring architecture and houses his artwork collection. After touring the estate, visit the winery in the village and enjoy a tour of the cellars before sampling specially crafted wines.

Biltmore Forest

Originally part of the Biltmore Estate, Biltmore Forest became its own neighborhood when it was annexed from the land in 1920 by the founder’s wife, Edith Vanderbilt. This prestigious neighborhood is definitely worth considering when looking for quieter Asheville vacation rentals. Play a round of golf at the Biltmore Forest Country Club‘s golf course, which is surrounded by beautiful homes built in Colonial Revival and Tudor styles. If you haven’t already done so, take a guided specialty tour of the adjacent Biltmore Estate to learn about the Vanderbilt family’s lifestyle, the landscaping of the gardens and the architecture of the mansion.

River Arts District

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You’ll find one of the world’s largest craft breweries in the River Arts District, New Belgium Brewing Company. When you’re all beered out, wander around the galleries and see artists at work in their studios. This district, situated along the French Broad River, inspires more than 200 artists who work in converted industrial buildings. Many of the homes are historic, and the area is also popular for its restaurants, including the well-known 12 Bones Smokehouse.

Montford

Fans of architecture need to put Montford on the list of places to stay. The neighborhood is filled with historic buildings built in the Victorian era, which are beautiful to see. Montford is classed as a National Historic District and also includes the graves of the literary legends Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry at the Riverside Cemetery. Richard Sharp Smith, who designed a number of homes in this neighborhood, is also buried there.

Downtown Asheville

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Browse boutique shops and art galleries, visit craft fairs and dine out in style in downtown Asheville. Explore this trendy neighborhood by foot along the Appalachian Urban Trail or take a trolley ride tour. As the heart of Asheville, it’s home to popular attractions like museums, historic homes, breweries, theaters and public parks, which can be found within a small radius. Set amid the Blue Ridge Mountains, the busy neighborhood still retains a mountain vibe.

If you’re looking for Asheville cabin rentals, stick to the outskirts for easy access to the stunning natural surroundings. Those hoping for an ice cold beer are in luck as this is where you’ll find South Slope, Asheville’s brewery district.

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Once you’ve settled on the right neighborhood in Asheville, it’s time to find a place to stay. We’ve got you covered!

11 Must See Adventures for Your Trip to Asheville, North Carolina

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Set amid the Blue Ridge Mountains and filled with historic buildings, beautiful architecture, diverse scenery, and an active arts scene, you have numerous excellent places to check out in Asheville, North Carolina. Explore the outdoors, and soak up the culture in this incredible city. If you’re setting off on a trip to Asheville, don’t forget to add these 11 experiences to your itinerary.

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway

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    As one of the most famous drives in America, don’t miss the chance to see the sights along this 469-mile highway known as Blue Ridge Parkway. Stop off along the route to visit quaint towns, go biking or hiking along a trail or admire the view from an overlook. Learn about the region’s history at the visitor center located at milepost 384 in Asheville.

  2. Biltmore Estate

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    Be in awe of the largest private home in America when you explore the vast Biltmore Estate. Built in the late 1800s by George Vanderbilt, it has 250 rooms for you to discover as you follow the marked route on a self-guided tour. Outside, be mesmerized by the gardens spanning across 8,000 acres, and wander down the trails to admire the estate’s flora and fauna. However, if you want a unique take on this attraction, go on a horseback riding adventure around the many trails that wind their way through the estate’s grounds.

  3. Pisgah National Forest

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    Originally part of the land belonging to Biltmore Estate, Pisgah National Forest has three ranger districts for you to explore and is home to the Appalachian Mountains’ highest peak, Mount Mitchell, from where you can get 360-degree views of the scenery below you. Hike along trails ranging from easy to challenging, go horseback riding, see cascading waterfalls and try some rock climbing if you’re feeling energetic.

  4. North Carolina Arboretum

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    Nature lovers won’t be disappointed with the diverse flora found in North Carolina Arboretum. Set within Pisgah National Park, wander through numerous themed gardens, such as the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the National Native Azalea Collection. Discover what else the park has to offer as you explore the trails around the gardens by foot or on bike. Kids love learning things from the resident box turtle at the arboretum.

  5. Hike Part of the Appalachian Trail

    appalachian-trail-in-asheville

    You don’t have to go on a long-haul backpacking adventure to experience the magic of the Appalachian Trail. The famous hiking route stops just 35 miles northwest of the city, so you can easily make your way over, hike a stretch and then head back into town.

  6. Western North Carolina (WNC) Cheese Trail

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    The countryside around Asheville is home to lots of amazing farms. Get a literal taste for some of the goods they produce by visiting the WNC Cheese Trail, taking you to some excellent local creameries where you can sample delicious local cheeses.

  7. Asheville Pinball Museum

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    If “Pinball Wizard” is practically your personal theme song, then the Asheville Pinball Museum should be a top attraction on your Asheville to-do list. It boasts an impressive collection of vintage pinball machines, which you can play and admire to your heart’s content.

  8. Thomas Wolfe Memorial

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    Visit the literary landmark called the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. Once home to the famous novelist, it lets you see his original furnishings. Thomas Wolfe grew up in Asheville, and his childhood home is now a visitor center. If you’re a book lover, this is a great place to trace the footsteps of one of the great minds of American literature. Additionally, the walking tour takes you to see parts of the city that Thomas Wolfe once knew, such as the Vance Monument and the Asheville Citizen Printing Office.

  9. Moog Music Factory

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    Asheville has a lively music scene, and there are many venues where you can catch a fantastic concert scattered throughout the city. Electronic music lovers will get a kick out of the Moog Music Factory. It was also the home of Bob Moog, who created the first synthesizer. Moog is now a big name in electronic music production, and the company still produces its synths in the city.

  10. Brewery Tours

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    Going on a brewery tour is one of the best things to do in Asheville, North Carolina. In terms of breweries per capita, the city is ahead of the pack, with dozens of establishments to choose from. Go on a tour, and learn how beer completes its journey from barley to bottle, and sample some of the wares when you’re done. Two notable breweries to check out are Asheville Brewing Company and The Funkatorium.

  11. Basilica of Saint Lawrence

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    As one of the biggest attractions in the city, make sure you take some time to visit the Basilica of Saint Lawrence. The dome-topped church is the largest in Asheville, and construction of this beautiful architectural structure finished in 1909. Choose a self-guided tour, or book a guided tour in advance to learn more about this historical building.

Ready to see the sights of Asheville, North Carolina? We can help you find the perfect vacation rental!

Visiting Asheville, North Carolina | A Quick Seasonal Guide

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Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Asheville is a beautiful city that is quickly becoming one of the country’s top vacation destinations. From restaurants serving up fresh locally sourced food to an abundance of craft breweries, it’s a haven for foodies. From malls and antique stores to independent shops and boutiques, it’s a fun place to browse or shop.

You can also check out the local points of interest, like the famed Biltmore Estate, or take in the local arts, live music, and mountain culture. Take a hike, bike ride, or drive through the mountains, and you’ll discover the city is home to as much natural beauty as it is man-made adventures. But how do you know when is the best time to visit Asheville? Check out our seasonal guide for what makes Asheville special throughout the year.

Winter in Asheville

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Asheville doesn’t get quite as cold as other mountain destinations, though lows during the winter can dip down into the 20s. Average highs are in the 40s and 50s. The city is usually less crowded during the cooler season, though many people come during the holidays to experience the many festivities taking place in town.

Things to Do in Winter

Asheville has a reputation for being a city with major holiday spirit. Keep warm indoors with a tour of the city’s famed restaurants and breweries. Christmas at the Biltmore Estate is also a popular activity that offers lights, decorations, live music and more.

Spring in Asheville

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Spring brings comfortable temperatures in the 60s and 70s to Asheville. The city comes alive with flower blossoms and festivals during this lovely season.

Things to Do in Spring

Play golf or check out the city’s wildflower blooming schedule. Plan a trip around one of the many arts festivals or live concerts that takes place during the spring. Check out the gardens in full bloom at the Biltmore, and end the day by cooling off with a beer at one of the many local breweries.

Summer in Asheville

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Summers can be hot and crowded in Asheville, but mountain breezes help keep those highs in the 80s a bit more comfortable. You’ll find more young families in the city during this season, as kids are out of school.

Things to Do in Summer

This part of the year is perfect for outdoor adventures like kayaking, zip-lining, and even swimming in the local lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. You can visit Great Smoky Mountains just an hour away and admire the wildlife that wanders in one of the top national parks in the country.

Fall in Asheville

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Many consider fall to be the best time to visit Asheville for a number of reasons. Of course the beautiful jewel-colored leaves that adorn the trees that cover the mountainsides are the top attraction and bring people from all over the world. Temperatures in the 50s, 60s and 70s are comfortable for most outdoor activities.

Things to Do in Fall

Go for a hike or a ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the gorgeous leaves. Peak season is anywhere from early October through early November, though the weather and elevation can have an impact on the timing.

There’s Never a Bad Time to Visit

While certain seasons have their advantages and disadvantages, the truth is that there is never a bad time to visit Asheville, North Carolina. The vibrant city always has something going on, and the shops, restaurants and attractions always have their doors open to visitors and residents alike.

No matter what time of year you visit, VacationRenter can help you find the perfect place to stay in Asheville.

Where to Celebrate NYE in NYC, Aside From Times Square

Times square, new york, broadway. Picture by Free-Photos on Pixabay.

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, there’s no place on the planet like New York City. It is so iconic, in fact — that on December 31, 1904 — the first crowd gathered in Times Square to ring in 1905, and also to celebrate the opening of the new headquarters of the New York Times newspaper. Thus, for better or worse, a tradition was born.

But let’s be honest: at over a century old, ringing in the new year in the cold among the frenzy of Times Square really isn’t for all of us. Some of us prefer to partake in the festivities from the warm vantage point of someplace indoors. Others, still, don’t mind being outside but prefer a different crowd and vibe.

Whether you’re clubbing or biking, New York City has still got you covered for New Year’s Eve. Once you’ve figured out your where you’re staying, the sky is the limit, so here are a few alternatives for anyone who wants to reap all the fun of being in New York City on New Year’s Eve without risking the headache of everything that comes with being up close and too personal with the ball drop.

Head to Brooklyn

Brooklyn bridge, suspension bridge, landmark
Brooklyn bridge, suspension bridge, landmark. Picture by 12019 on Pixabay.

Option #1: Party Prospect Park

Want to leave the Midtown revelry to Manhattan and make mischief in Brooklyn instead? For 40 years, vast crowds have shared your vision and opted to party the night away in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. This free event is family-friendly and draws a crowd of tens of thousands to Grand Army Plaza, where live entertainment followed by fireworks cheer on the new year.

Option #2: Take the New Year to incredible heights and walk the Brooklyn Bridge

If you’re in New York, you have to at least consider walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at some point, so why not skip the crowds and attempt it during the countdown between 2019 and 2020? Built in 1869, the bridge is one of the most recognizable and iconic landmarks in the five boroughs, taking passengers by car, train, on foot, and on wheels from the tip of Manhattan into Brooklyn. Onlookers strolling can expect sweeping views of the city skyline and fireworks over the New York Harbor near Liberty Island. But here’s a pro tip anyone can use, whether they are a native New Yorker or a visitor on a mission: it’s January, so be sure to wear a coat.

Ready end the year right in Brooklyn? We thought so!

Get a Jump Start on Your Fitness Resolutions

Central park, new york city, benches
Central park, new york city, benches. Picture by mland31 on Pixabay.

Option #3: NYRR Midnight Run

It’s a very familiar trend: the new year often calls for a spike in fitness resolutions that often fail to launch or get abandoned by January 10, but for the serious fitness buff or the curious fitness connoisseur, New York has certainly got your number on New Year’s Eve. For runners, there’s the infamous Midnight Run. This run, sponsored by the New York Road Runners Club, is a four-mile event that starts at the stroke of midnight in Central Park, then promises fitness and fireworks to ring in the new year with a bang.

Option #4: Hop On A Bike and Ride

Biking enthusiasts can also greet the new year with fitness by joining Times Up, NY, a direct action environmental organization, on a ride that takes them from Washington Square Park in the West Village to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle, for an outdoor afterparty. Those who want to ride the entire way can arrive at the arch in Washington Square Park at 10 PM, but anyone who doesn’t want to actually participate in the ride is also invited to the party, which starts at 11:45 PM.

Find affordable vacation rentals near the park here.

Party Like It’s The Last of 2019

Statue of liberty, new york city, sunset
Statue of liberty, new york city, sunset. Picture by 12019 on Pixabay.

Option #5: Get on a Party Boat and Float Into the New Year Like the VIP You Know You Are

Tickets for boat celebrations are not exactly what we’d call budget savvy per se. But in exchange for a king’s ransom, you can expect to enjoy an unforgettable evening while afloat and “at sea” in the New York Harbor. There is a variety of options to choose from, including this one that promises passengers fireworks and views of the city from its open deck, but on the whole, ticket holders can expect food, drinks, music, and one unforgettable countdown to midnight.

Option #6: Boogie and Booze the Night Away

Let’s face it: this is New York City, so finding a place to dance, or to drink and stay up late is never a problem. The question is, where should you go to greet 2020? Lucky for you, places like the famed Meatpacking District have your night planned, by offering up passes that are sure to get you in the spirit by giving you access to the hottest parties and spots in the neighborhood.

Concert, music, crowd
Concert, music, crowd. Picture by Free-Photos on Pixabay.

For revelers who aren’t feeling as adventurous and prefer to stay rooted, try a rooftop bar such as Moxy NYC, which is close to Times Square without actually having to be there, or Ph.D., which will provide all the booze and plenty of views in the process. Clubbers might want to check out Marquee, where famed DJ Kaskade will spin hits into the new year, or Dream Downtown at the Gallery with an exclusive hip hop set by DJ TBA.

Ready to live it up in New York City this New Year’s Eve? Find an affordable stay with VacationRenter!

Ski for Under $100 Along the Rockies | Colorado, Montana & More

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The vast mountain range in the midwest known as the Rocky Mountains passes through Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. With blankets of snow piling on top of this midwestern region during the winter, you’re bound to find a handful of affordable ski resorts in all five of these states. To save you the trouble of searching for yourself, we’re sharing a list of the most affordable places to ski near the Rockies for under $100, along with vacation rentals you can book in each state!

Colorado

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Starting off with our first ski resort, just an hour west of Denver, Echo Mountain prides itself in being the most affordable ski resort in the area. Adult lift tickets cost $58 on weekdays, or $62 on weekends and holidays when purchased online. Night skiing is also available for only $30. For the very first time, the resort will be open seven days a week in the 2019-2020 season! This is a great place to go for seasoned skiers in Denver, as the slopes are mostly for intermediate skill levels.

Second on our Rocky Mountains ski radar, we have Copper Mountain. Lift tickets vary close to $99 from now until December 20th, then prices start to increase once the holidays roll around. The earlier you purchase lift tickets, the lower the price will be! Copper Mountain also hosts several exciting events through the winter, including a handful of events sponsored by 10 Barrel Brewing Company, the U.S. Grand Prix Snowboard & Free Ski Competition from December 11th to 4th, and Mountain Dew’s very own Dew Tour in February. ‘Tis truly the season for winter fun!

Wolf Creek in Pagosa Springs is known to get the most snow in Colorado. You can put that reputation to the test before you go by checking out the ski area’s live webcams. Full day lift tickets cost $76 for adults, and active military personnel and their spouses can purchase a lift ticket for $54 with valid military ID. Thrill-seeking seniors over the age of 80, on the other hand, can ski for free!

Where to Stay in Colorado: Copper Mountain Condo

Among all the winter vacation rentals in Colorado, this newly remodeled condo in Copper Mountain‘s Center Village caught our eye with its utmost convenience. The property sleeps 11 people and is just a walk away from Copper Mountain‘s American Eagle and American Flyer lifts. You can see the resort right outside your window! Booking this condo will also give you guest access to a hot tub, sauna, and ski lockers.

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Browse through more vacation rentals in Colorado for your ski vacation!

Montana

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Whitefish Mountain Resort is our first stop in Montana. Adults can purchase a single day lift pass for $83, with the price lowering to $76 if you buy lift tickets for two or more days. Night skiing tickets are also available for only $25. The resort welcomes everyone to partake in two holiday events: Santa’s Torchlight Parade and Gift Giving on December 24th and the New Year’s Eve bash consisting of a ski and snowboard competition, a torchlight parade, and fireworks show.

Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Bozeman recently kicked off its opening weekend festivities with a Bozeman Christmas Stroll. Adults planning to visit this season can score full day lift tickets starting at $63, and $53 for a half day pass. Adding on to the winter celebrations, the resort will be celebrating its 65th birthday on January 10th!

Where to Stay in Montana: Whitefish Ski-In/Ski-Out

A virtual tour of this Whitefish property already has us wanting to visit Montana ASAP. With a home that sleeps 26 people right off the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort, you’re sure to have a great time! In addition to the extreme benefits of a ski-in/ski-out vacation rental, this winter escape is equipped with fantastic amenities including a hot tub, indoor sauna, foosball table, and grill. Now the important question is: who’s coming with you?

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Looking for more ski-in/ski-out properties in Montana? We got you covered.

Idaho

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Sandwiched right in between Washington and Montana — smack dab in the middle of Idaho’s chimney top — you’ll find Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Adult lift tickets cost $86 for full day, with an additional 10% off for college students, military personnel, and seniors. If you want to ski for even less, head to Schweitzer over the weekend for Sunday Solutions, granting you full mountain access for only $30 if you purchase tickets online, and $40 at the door. Our advice would be to book online for ultimate savings, and so you can double check to see if your dates aren’t excluded from the Sunday Solutions rates.

Next we’re heading to Brundage Mountain in McCall. The resort opened its doors for the season on Saturday, December 7th, with lift tickets for as low as $54 online. Tickets increase to $73 at the door, but there is one advantage to purchasing your lift pass in person. Brundage offers a “Snow Check Guarantee” allowing you to buy a lift ticket at the window, then test a couple runs on the mountain to feel out the conditions. If you’re not happy with the snow conditions within one hour of purchasing your lift pass, you can return to the ticketing window to get a “snow check” for the value of your ticket, so you can use it on another day during the season.

Where to Stay in Idaho: Beautiful McCall Home

For a large group visiting Brundage, this spacious McCall home sleeps 16 people — and it’s also pet-friendly! At this vacation rental, you’ll be less than 20 minutes away from Brundage Mountain Ski Resort. The home features incredible mountain views which can be seen from the living room’s floor-to-ceiling windows and the balcony. Waking up in a home like this is an absolute dream, and you can make that dream come true by booking it for your next ski trip.

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We can help find the right vacation rental in Idaho for your winter getaway.

Wyoming

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Nestled along Wyoming’s Grand Teton Mountain Range is Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Alta, about an hour away from Jackson. Lift tickets cost $98 on regular dates, then increase to $105 on holidays. Although this falls on the higher end of our budget, it’s definitely worth the mention. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can go on a snowmobile backcountry tour to Yellowstone National Park, offered by Teton Valley Adventures. These guided tours include everything you need for a backcountry winter adventure, including a snowmobile suit, boots, a helmet, and electric hand warmers. Grand Targhee also hosts Kids Night Out events on Saturday nights — and even on New Year’s Eve!

Snow King Mountain is Jackson‘s local ski resort, inviting skiers and snowboarders to visit from now until Sunday, March 22nd. Full day lift passes cost $53 online and $59 at the door for adults, but with a Big King Pass you’ll get unlimited access to the Cowboy Coaster, King Tubes, and day-to-night skiing for only $90. No matter which pass you decide to with, it’ll still fall within budget and guarantee an amazing day on the slopes.

Where to Stay in Wyoming: Targhee Lodge

If you’re looking for ski-in/ski-out accommodations close to Grand Targhee Resort in the town of Alta, the Targhee Lodge welcomes your party of four to enjoy a winter getaway in Wyoming’s snow-capped mountains. Lodge amenities include massage services, a hot tub, pool, and ski storage.

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Search for more Wyoming winter cabin options on our site!

Utah

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Up in Utah’s northern region is Powder Mountain, located in the town of Eden — just an hour north of Salt Lake City. The park has 9 different lifts and 11 trails for a variety of skill levels. Lift tickets for adults ages 13 and up cost $95. Plus, 35% military discounts are available for active duty, veterans, and their dependents; while kids 6 and under or seniors 75 and up ski for free.

Another ski resort within an hour drive of Salt Lake City is Eagle Point, open for the season on December 20th. Window rates range from $39 to $79 for adults depending on the day of the week, but they all fall under the $100 budget. The resort’s Vision 2020 promises newly built ski-in/ski-out town homes by 2020, so be on the lookout for those if you want to be one of the very first to experience Eagle Point’s newest addition.

Last on our Rocky Mountains ski list, we have Brian Head Resort, about an hour and a half away from Kanab. Daily lift ticket prices are $45 on weekdays, $62 on weekends, and $83 during peak holidays for adults. As we make our way into the new ’20s, the ski resort will be hosting a “Roaring ’20s” New Year’s Eve Party, with live music and fireworks on the docket. Time to celebrate in the snow!

Where to Stay in Utah: Brian Head Ski-In/Ski-Out

Visitors to Brian Head Resort should consider this ski-in/ski-out home just steps away from Brian Head’s ski lifts. It sleeps up to 12 people, with a two-car garage and jacuzzi. Staying at Brian Head also gives you close access to Dixie National Forest, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park, which would be great to visit towards the tail end of ski season. Better plan ahead before the dates you want get booked up.

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Are the Utah mountains calling your name? Find an affordable place to stay on VacationRenter.

3 North Carolina Holiday Rentals Near Asheville’s Top Attractions

Asheville is a vibrant town found in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The city packed with fantastic sights such as the Biltmore Estate, Pisgah National Forest, and the Basilica of Saint Lawrence — among other exciting places that will keep you busy, including breweries, museums, and outdoor activities galore. If you’re heading to what’s known as the Land of the Sky in the near future, consider these three vacation rentals to give you a proper Asheville welcome, close to the city’s most popular attractions.

  1. Apartment 203: High Design Downtown

    Step into this chic industrial loft conveniently located in the heart of downtown Asheville. Brick walls surround the space’s interior, adding more flair to this artsy apartment.

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    This intimate space sleeps two people comfortably, inviting you into a quirky blue bedroom that makes you feel like you’ve checked into a trendy hotel.

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    Taking a closer look at the living area, you can enjoy breakfast from several places: the comfy corner nook, the kitchen countertop, or the living room coffee table!

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  2. Suzie’s Luxury Cabin

    If you’re looking for close access to Bitlmore, this private cabin sleeps five guests and is within a five mile radius of the Biltmore Estate and Biltmore Village.

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    Each bedroom is pared with its own full bathroom and shower, ensuring maximum comfort for everyone. The master bedroom gives an ultimate cabin feel with wood interior and an a-frame overhead.

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    The living room opens up to the deck, with unrestricted views of Mt. Pigsah and Lake Julian. Amenities on the deck include patio seating and a hot tub.

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  3. Private Cozy Cottage

    Four miles away from Blue Ridge Parkway and two miles away from downtown Asheville, this cottage offers a family-friendly Asheville experience. There’s plenty of secluded lawn space surrounding the home, so kids can run freely surrounded by North Carolina’s nature.

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    The home’s spacious living room is connected to the dining area, where lots of natural light shines through. There’s plenty of room to cuddle up for a movie night, or to spread out and play some board games.

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    Two bedrooms and two bathrooms accommodate five people comfortably. Plus, the home provides its own washer and dryer.

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Click here to find more affordable vacation rentals in Asheville, North Carolina!

5 Underrated Destinations for a Family-Friendly Ski Trip

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Ski resorts can be crowded and expensive, which isn’t always an ideal combo when you’re traveling with kids. But ski vacations are a great winter family activity, particularly if you can travel to a location with a ski school for little ones. Check out these less-popular, but still great resorts to make the most of your family ski vacation this year!

  1. Alpine Meadows, CA

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    Boasting more than 2,000 skiable acres and a lower profile than neighboring Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows is a good ski destination for families who have some experience on the slopes. Parents who want to hit intermediate and advanced trails while the kids hang out with instructors on bunny slopes will be pleased with the variety available in Alpine Meadows. Look for vacation rentals in nearby Truckee to save some money on the trip.

  2. Taos Ski Valley, NM

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    That’s right, New Mexico isn’t all desert. Taos has a particularly good ski resort for families who want to avoid all the pretension and glitz of some better-known Western ski destinations. At Taos Ski Valley Resort, you’ll find ski lessons and daycare options for those who don’t want to hit the slopes. This is a good destination for parents who want to head out on their own for the day!

  3. Mt. Hood, OR

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    Oregon’s Mt. Hood is home to several different ski resorts, all of which have options for skiers and snowboarders of different levels. One upside for families is that the resorts on Mt. Hood offer a range of different activities. Some resorts even make space for snow tubing and other pursuits for kids who don’t enjoy standing on skis or boards. Nearby towns like Government Camp and Welches provide a wealth of vacation rental options for families to consider. Be aware that the drive out from Portland International Airport can take a couple of hours, so kids who don’t like car rides might not be too excited about this part of the journey.

  4. Crystal Mountain, WA

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    Are you and your kids completely new to skiing? Crystal Mountain is the ideal place to find out whether this winter sport is right for you. The ski school at this affordable destination has special programs for first timers. Lift tickets are also relatively cheap, so if you end up deciding that you’d rather cozy up to the fireplace at your vacation rental house after your first couple of runs, you won’t feel like you spent too much money.

  5. Smuggler’s Notch, VT

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    As a ski resort that specifically markets itself to families, Smuggler’s Notch is one of the best choices among the several New England options on offer. This is a suitable destination for families that take skiing seriously and want kids to join the tradition of hitting the slopes. The kids’ ski school at Smuggler’s Notch has an excellent reputation.

Ready to plan a ski trip this winter? VacationRenter can help you get started.

Visit Utah | Local Ski Resorts in Salt Lake City & Park City

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Visitors heading to Salt Lake City in the winter usually have one main thing on their minds: the fresh powder. With nine amazing resorts within an hour of SLC and Park City, skiers have plentiful options for hitting the slopes. Whether you’re an expert skier, just starting out, or you prefer other winter sports such as snowboarding, both Salt Lake City and Park City offer lots of nearby options for spending a day on the mountain.

Salt Lake City Ski Areas

No matter what your skiing style or skill set is, you can find slopes in Salt Lake City to fit your needs. Check out five of our favorites in SLC below!

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Those looking for a spot to learn the tricks of the trade should visit Brighton Resort. Kids age 10 and under ski free at Brighton with paying adults, and the resort has a pleasing mix of runs to appeal to skiers and snowboarders of all kinds.

Powder Mountain has earned a reputation for having a low skier density. Skiing this resort not only means typically pristine run conditions, but it also means delightfully uncrowded slopes. First-time skiers and snowboarders can take private or group lessons by the hour, half day or full day. Custom retreats are also available!

Alta is often called a “skier’s mountain” — and for a good reason. Skiing is the only type of recreation that happens at Alta, so you can be sure that the conditions and terrain are often impeccable. As the first ski area in Utah to install a ski lift, Alta has been providing skiers with exceptional experiences for decades.

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Those who are willing to drive a short distance out of Salt Lake City can enjoy stellar skiing conditions at several other resorts in the area. Sundance Mountain Resort in the town of Sundance offers a wealth of winter activities to appeal to practically everyone. The skiing and snowboarding conditions promise to impress, and a ski and snowboard school is on-site for beginners in need of instruction.

Sundance’s Winter ZipTour offers exciting tours of Mount Timpanogos. You’ll soar high over the snow-covered mountains, cruising at about 65 miles per hour and riding for more than 3,870 feet. You can even put the brakes on to stop whenever you wish so you can enjoy the scenic views. A Nordic Center also offers cross-country ski trails and snowshoe trails for those looking for a different type of snow experience.

Solitude Mountain Resort is about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City, but the trip is well worth it. With two separate base areas, Solitude offers the Moonbeam Lodge for day skiers and Village Lodge Area for skiers staying in the resort’s lodging. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing keep visitors busy, and a full-service spa is also on-site.

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Make sure your Salt Lake City ski trip is long enough to include at least a few of the nine resorts in the area, as each one offers unique features and amenities that you’ll have a blast experiencing. Some like to stay on-site at a specific resort to enjoy easy access to the slopes, while others prefer to find vacation accommodations that are centrally located to make it possible to visit many different resorts. Whatever your style, you can be sure that your SLC ski vacation will be unforgettable.

Park City Ski Areas

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Park City, Utah dates back to 1884. Before this date, though, miners descended on the area in search of silver veins discovered in the mountains. Eventually, declining prices led to an end of the mining boom, and skiing became the focus in Park City. Park City enjoyed an important year in 2002 — this was when the city hosted four events for the Winter Olympic Games. There are two ski areas within Park City, with the first being Park City Mountain. The resort features an alpine coaster, a flying eagle zip line, terrain parks, mountain tours, and sleigh rides.

Deer Valley is another excellent resort in Park City. The Deer Valley resort sets the bar high, making sure that the slopes are groomed beautifully and that every amenity is top-notch. The resort even uses teams working in multiple overnight shifts to keep the slopes groomed and prepared for each winter day. Those in need of guidance can take a ski lesson or two before hitting the slopes independently.

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Does a trip to Salt Lake City or Park City sound like it could be in your winter plans? We can help you find the right cabin in Utah!

Winter Vacations | Where to Ski in Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

Pocono translates to “stream between mountains” in the Lenape Indian language, which likely refers to the Delaware River that cuts through the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Although you won’t find the towering alpine elevations that exist in the western United States, this eastern mountain range has decently sized mountains that make for great skiing conditions.

As you plan a Poconos skiing vacation, check out these ski areas in the Pocono Mountains that could be the perfect destination for your winter getaway.

Blue Mountain

A visit to Blue Mountain in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, promises to be memorable thanks to the 1,082-foot run, toted as the highest in the entire state. This ski resort features 39 trails suitable for skiers of all skill levels. With 16 lifts, skiers and snowboarders race to the top of the trails with ease. Snow tubing is another popular option at Blue Mountain, and with 39 lanes in the snow tubing park, everyone is sure to get their thrill on. Those who need instruction can take a ski or snowboarding lesson, taught by seasoned professionals on the Blue Mountain team.

Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is the place to go if you’ve got lots of skiers possessing a wide range of experience and skills. This family-friendly winter resort has a spectacular space devoted to skiing, snowboarding and tubing. The New Terrain Park is definitely something to experience for snowboarders, as are the 38 different trails designed to appeal to all sorts of boarders. Those looking to learn how to ski or snowboard are also in luck, as lessons are available for both kids and adults. When you need to warm up, you’ll find three different ski-in ski-out restaurants including Kartrite’s Summit House and Trails End Pub & Grille, waiting to satisfy hungry appetites.

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Bear Creek Mountain Resort

Those just venturing out and looking to strengthen their skiing or snowboarding skills should head to Bear Creek Mountain Resort. The moderate slopes here are ideal for first-timers and youngsters. The top elevation at the resort is 1,100 feet, and the vertical rise comes in at 510 feet. The resort is made up of 30 percent beginner trails, 30 percent expert trails and 40 percent intermediate trails. Don’t miss unforgettable night-skiing conditions, as 100% of the trails are fully lit.

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Jack Frost & Big Boulder

Two mountains at the price of one, so what could be better? With one lift ticket, you get access to both mountains for double the fun. Jack Frost has an elevation of 2,000 feet, featuring an impressive vertical drop of about 600 feet. Big Boulder caters more to the snowboarding crowd with more than half of the area making up terrain parks. You’ll also find on-mountain dining and lodging so you can make the most of your stay.

Whether skiing, snowboarding or tubing, your winter vacation to the Pocono Mountains should be full of stellar memories!

Find a place that fits the whole family on VacationRenter today.

5 Cities in the U.S. That Will Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Looking to make the holiday season a bit more magical? Here are the top five U.S. cities full of bright lights, holiday joy and cheer to visit before the most wonderful time of the year.

  1. Frankenmuth, MI

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    Designated as one of the nine “Most Christmassy Towns in America” by TIME, this city of just over 5,000 people known for its German roots and Bavarian-style architecture is home to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, self-proclaimed as the world’s largest Christmas store. Bronner’s is the size of one and a half football fields, shines over 50,000 lights in its Christmas Lane all 365 days of the year, and offers over 50,000 different items you can peruse and gift wrap for friends and family.

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    Once you’ve done some shopping, stop by The Old Christmas Station Restaurant to eat your fill of festive holiday dishes and Christmas cookies, then explore their museum of antique tree ornaments. For a unique evening experience, hop on a horse-drawn carriage ride along snow-covered streets and wander through Michigan’s Little Bavaria’s outdoor European-style pop up holiday marketplace for one-of-a-kind trims and decorations handcrafted by local artisans. Near the holidays, the whole town of Frankenmuth radiates with twinkling lights and star streamers, making it an ideal location to find those sought-after holiday vibes.

    Find a festive vacation rental in Frankenmuth this holiday season.

  3. Asheville, NC

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    Asheville sits within western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, known for its historic architecture and a vibrant arts scene that comes alive for the holidays. For a nearly endless array of holiday activities, visit Biltmore Estate, a mansion built for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, known to be the largest privately owned house in the United States. While this destination inspires wonder and awe all year, you can find some hard-to-beat holiday vibes across the home and estate during its two-month November and December celebration, complete with 360 fresh wreaths, 1,000 live poinsettias, 7,500 feet of fresh evergreen garland, and more than 55 hand-decorated Christmas trees.

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    The holiday decor all centers around a 35-foot Fraser fir brought by Santa on a horse-drawn carriage and lifted into place in the grand Banquet Hall during the annual tree raising. To top it all off, you’ll find musicians performing seasonal classics throughout the mansion’s many different rooms to keep you entertained on your self-guided tour. Then, wander down to the property’s Antler Hill Village and Winery where you can enjoy a free holiday wine tasting to warm you against the snowy cold.

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    For a festive holiday meal, explore one of the estate’s many restaurants like Deerpark Restaurant, housed in a historic barn and known for its farm-to-table options, or Stable Café, known for its house-smoked meats and southern twists on seasonal classics. Asheville also offers holiday experiences like a ride on the Polar Express Train and an Aluminum Tree Museum where you can walk back in time to explore products of America’s vintage tree fascination during the mid-20th century.

    Get into the holiday spirit in a cozy Asheville vacation rental.

  5. St. Augustine, FL

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    Known for its Spanish architecture and sandy beaches, St. Augustine is rumored to be the oldest city in the United States. During the holiday season, its brick-lined streets come to life for the Night of Lights celebration, which traces back to the Spanish tradition of a white candle in the window to signify the holiday season. Light-strung oaks and a massive, glowing holiday tree live as the centerpiece in the Plaza de la Constitución. Over three million lights then stretch out to illuminate all of St. Augustine’s historic district, shining on old restaurants, museums, and shops.

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    If you follow the lights down to the water, you can find the annual Regatta of Lights celebration, which honors the rich maritime roots of St. Augustine. Sit by the bayside and watch in wonder as intricately built boats adorned with brilliant lighting displays float by and reflect off the water. These sea-faring vessels compete for awards like “Best Theme” and “Most Colorful” leading to intense competitors who’ve prepped year-around to shine the brightest.

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    Once you’ve taken in the lights, head to The Reef Restaurant for seasonal holiday cuisine on top of a year-long menu of seafood, steaks and elegant plates. Or head to Sangrias where you can find wine, tapas, and beverages to get you in the holiday mood like Reilly’s Rojo Sangria, featuring cranberry and apple juice, Ruby Porto, apple slices, peach liquor, and cinnamon.

    Settle into an affordable St. Augustine rental before exploring the bright holiday lights of the city.

  7. Leavenworth, WA

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    Leavenworth is a gateway to winter festivities, tucked away in the Cascade Mountains of central Washington. This Bavarian-style village of just under 2,000 people is home to the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, which houses over 6,000 nutcrackers of different shapes and sizes. Explore the different styles of craftsmanship from around the world that have helped these holiday hallmarks last for hundreds of years, then head to The Gingerbread Factory to taste authentic Bavarian gingerbread cookies, houses, and cakes.

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    For holiday shopping, explore the Kris Kringle Christmas Store
    which offers seasonal décor and creative gifts all year-round, or head down to the Bavarian-style Christkindlmarkt for authentic German fare, handmade arts and crafts, and holiday entertainment like their weekend Christmas Welcome Celebrations and Lantern Parades.

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    To light your evenings, Leavenworth hosts the Christmas Lighting Festival each year which includes over half a million Christmas lights in a dazzling display. Beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Festival is made up of holiday ceremonies on Saturdays and Sundays, live music of the season from handbell choirs, visits with Santa Claus, and free tastings of wine and cider to warm your spirits. For a full-fledged meal, head to Andreas Keller Restaurant or Stein Leavenworth which both offer an array of German bites and brews.

    Escape to Leavenworth this holiday season with VacationRenter.

  9. North Pole, AK

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    It’s hard to top the North Pole for holiday vibes, whether you’re visiting in January, July, or December. This Alaskan city is known for its year-round Christmas decorations, which include candy-cane striped street lights and a giant 50-foot tall Santa statue. Travel down streets like Kris Kringle Drive and Mistletoe Land and stop by the Santa Claus House for one of the country’s largest Christmas stores and the “official home” of Santa Claus himself, complete with walls covered in children’s letters.

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    Before you leave, have Santa pen a letter to your friends and family back home, take a seat in his sleigh for festive photos, and get to know his reindeer team with a tour of Antler Academy. Nearby, you can head to the Chena Lake Recreation Area for seasonal ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, skijoring, and dog mushing during the day. Nighttime, on the other hand, would be your best chance to try to catch a glimpse of the amazing Northern Lights. For unique cuisine and festive fare, try Pagoda Restaurant on North Santa Claus Lane or head to the Moose Creek Lodge to tap a glass with the locals.

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    Make your childhood dreams come true and visit the North Pole for the holidays!

    To find holiday vibes this year, plan a vacation spot where you can experience something unique and unforgettable. Lights, decorations, music, and seasonal celebrations are a must – and if you visit Santa’s House, bring some cookies and a glass of milk. Wherever you plan on going this holiday season, VacationRenter can help you find and book the perfect stay.