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5 Great Summer Vacation Destinations
vacation.jpg (4345 bytes) Americans work too much and relax too little. The average person takes a total of two to three weeks of vacation time each year, versus the European average of six weeks. Relaxing and unwinding are great for beating stress, which means a healthier you. To help you plan your next great vacation for some much needed R+R, here's a list of vacation favorites:

 

  1. Cancun. The hippest spot in Mexico is this Yucatan peninsula city. Favored by Spring-breakers for years, Cancun offers a mixture of nightlife and adventure, with a lot of history blended in. If you grow tired of sun-bathing and people-watching, take a day and visit Chichen-Itza, known as the capital of the Mayan Empire, dating back to 445 AD. There's also Tulum and Xel-ha, with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea, and snorkeling adventures. Spend a day at Xcaret, which was a centerpiece for Mayan ceremonies, and is now an eco-archaeological park. Or, take a 3-day sightseeing excursion to Merida, a city filled with churches and palaces built by 16th-century Spaniards.

  2. Las Vegas. We know it's Sin City to many of you, but Las Vegas is a great place for everyone in the family. The hotels are loaded with things for kids to do. One hotel (Excalibur) is designed to resemble Camelot, while others have rare animal exhibits and amusement parks right in their lobbies. Vegas can be inexpensive, too: check out the room rates at some of the renovated, older hotels directly on the Strip. And be prepared to be entertained: the best comedy and magic shows in the world play Vegas. Outside of the city are Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. If you're adventurous, try a helicopter ride down to the Canyon floor.

  3. New Orleans. It's our duty – and privilege - to recommend that you don't forget the Big Easy when choosing your summer vacation. New Orleans is back and running full-steam, with the recent re-opening of the world-class restaurant The Commander's Palace as a significant benchmark. The Gulf Coast city still offers the most original and exciting music to be heard anywhere in the United States. Just wander down almost any street in the French Quarter, and you may suddenly come upon the best blues and jazz you ever heard.

  4. Orlando. Still the unofficial family fun center of America, Orlando is the home of Disneyworld, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and a host of other attractions. Taking the kids to see Mickey doesn't have to break the bank, if you plan well. Tip: don't stay in the pricey hotels inside of the park. There are hundreds of inexpensive hotel chains located around the park, within minutes of the Magic Kingdom. There's even another great theme park only an hour away: Busch Gardens, in Tampa, offers roller-coasters, safaris and Adventure Camps for children starting from age three and up.

  5. All-inclusive resorts. These destinations started out as party-central for singles, but they morphed into great vacation spots for couples, as well. They're almost always located on a tropical beach or island, and they offer a one-stop-shopping experience: you pay one charge and everything's free from there - except for airfare, long distance calls and outside excursions. So, eat, drink and be very, very merry, without having to pull out your wallet.

Not only are vacations great for beating stress, the act of planning and looking forward to a vacation is actually good for your mental well-being.