Earth's beautiful multicolored natural wonders
In a time when we all need a little pick-me-up, here are some of the world's most striking and colorful sights found in the natural world.
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This weekend is the last one before Tax Day. Monday, April 18, is the federal deadline to submit 2021 tax returns or file an extension. While that reminder might be an unwelcome one for those owing taxes from 2021, there’s less of a sting among those set to receive a tax refund. If you fall in the latter category, are you thinking of spending that refund on a trip?
According to the IRS, the average refund was $3,226, up 11.5% compared to last year.
So, just for fun – and in the interest of adding a silver lining to one of America’s less joyful rites of spring – we thought we’d suggest a few getaways falling within that range for transit and lodging that might make the coming months of 2022 all the more enjoyable.
The 16 Top Amusement Parks in the U.S. 2022
From exhilarating roller coasters to costumed characters, these parks offer fun for everyone.That said, some of the best amusement parks focus more on dizzying coasters than family fun, and others offer more ride options for the little ones in your crew. With that in mind, it's smart to plan your family trip based on park features and amenities in addition to geographic location.
1. A couple’s getaway to Grand Cayman
With the Cayman Islands easing some COVID-19 restrictions in recent months, It’s hard to think of a better way to relax for a few days this spring than on one of the world’s best beaches. Grand Cayman’s 7 Mile Beach, along which numerous resorts sit, features spectacular white sand and beautiful, warm waters. There are also some great dining options both on the resort properties along the beach, and also in town. When I visited in 2018, one of my favorite stops was Lobster Pot. © The Points Guy Seven Mile Beach (Photo courtesy of the Westin Grand Cayman)
Looking at airfare for two to the island later this spring, I found a round trip departing from the northeast on American Airlines for $319 per ticket for a long weekend from May 5-9. The basic economy ticket (which does not include a full-size carry on bag) involves a layover in Charlotte.
The 18 Best Weekend Getaways From New York City
From picturesque beaches to dreamy mountain retreats, these weekend getaways are the perfect change of scenery.About two hours or less:
© The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)
Once you get there, there are numerous resorts, including multiple Marriott Bonvoy properties, a Westin and a Ritz Carlton. For this particular weekend, the most affordable Marriott property was the Marriott itself, which is right on the beach and has a pool overlooking the ocean. The nightly rate of $348 brings the total for the four-night stay to $1,392. © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Marriott Bonvoy)
Related: Where to use points in Grand Cayman
That brings your total for airfare and hotel to $2,030, meaning, if your tax refund falls near the U.S. average you’ve got some cash leftover for meals, transit, checked bags and other expenses.
2. A family trip to New York City
With COVID-19 cases just a fraction of what they were back in January, and many more children eligible for vaccination compared to this time last year, it could be a great opportunity to take the kids to New York.
Esmé Brings Old-School Charm and Panache to South Beach
Esmé Brings Old-School Charm and Panache to South BeachYou might overlook the property amid diners eating al fresco on Española Way, but when you pass through the threshold into the 145-room boutique hotel, it feels as though you’re slinking through the best of the Mediterranean over the decades. It’s not distinctly Spanish or French, but the sentiment is unmistakable as you meander through white-washed Spanish-style paseos and Art Deco-designed rooms that imbue France’s Années folles (“the crazy times” of the ’20s).
© The Points Guy (Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)
Looking at trips departing from Washington, D.C., earlier this year, I decided to go the Amtrak route, since a train ride to Manhattan puts you right in the middle of the city. The trip to New York went for $78, with a great $29 fare on the return trip. For a family of four, the round trip comes to $428. © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Amtrak) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Amtrak)
Related: 5 scenic Amtrak trips you can enjoy on a budget
Gallery: 10 Hidden Hotel Fees That Sneak Up on You (GOBankingRates)
Once in the city, I checked Hilton properties right in the middle of the action: $225 per night is the rate at the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square/Penn Station, so $1,1,65 for the four-night stay. © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Hilton)
Add in four $125 tickets to see catch a Saturday matinee Broadway production of the Lion King at Minskoff Theater, and your total for transportation, lodging and the centerpiece of your entertainment comes to $2,093. © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Ticketmaster)
Related: What it’s like to attend a Broadway show with young kids
28 Top Things to Do in Utah
Natural attractions and otherworldly landscapes make Utah one of the most unique states to explore.Soaring sandstone arches and towering hoodoos make Arches National Park in eastern Utah one of the most striking places in the state. Plus, the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the distance only add to this area's beauty. If you only have a few hours to explore, drive the 18-mile scenic road (Arches Scenic Drive) to enjoy a brief, but thorough tour of the park. You'll pass Balanced Rock as well as the Windows area, which is home to a large concentration of arches. Luckily, there are plenty of spots to pull over and admire the views.
3. Meet friends in California for a golf getaway
Golf is on the mind of many people. After all, just last weekend marked the playing of the 2022 Masters. So I thought I’d check on trips to Southern California, which is home to numerous renowned golf courses and popular for golf getaways.
Looking at trips from Chicago that same long weekend (May 5-9), the best nonstop service I found involved flights on United from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to San Diego (SAN) for $482. © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)
For lodging in California, you might consider booking at the Andaz San Diego Boutique Hotel, which is right in the heart of the city and has a rooftop pool and spectacular views overlooking the city’s Gaslamp Quarter. © The Points Guy Pool at the Andaz San Diego Boutique Hotel. (Photo courtesy of World of Hyatt)
The four-night stay comes to $1,329, bringing your total airfare and lodging to $1,811, leaving some cash for food, transit and – of course – the golf! © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of World of Hyatt)
Not getting a tax refund?
We also know not everyone will be getting a tax refund in 2022. If you’re not, maybe it’s a great time to book a trip using points and miles. Our advice on that front? The sooner you can book, the better!
Featured photo by Stephen Frink/Getty Images
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Discover the world's hidden and lost rivers .
Homes are built on their banks, bridges span their bodies and they carry people and goods on their backs. Cities have been built around them and even shaped by them. Yet many of the world’s rivers have fallen victim to the success of those very cities, becoming polluted and forced underground. They flow beneath streets, parks and pavements, with some completely buried and others with small sections that can be seen above ground – if people know where to look. Here are some of the world’s most fascinating hidden waterways.