Champaign, IL - Travel Expert Marcia Frost is sharing fun getaways during the holidays.
Daytona Beach, Florida
It’s not too late to plan a few days away while for a winter vacation in the sun. Daytona Beach is a good choice from Central Illinois with a direct flight to nearby Sanford from Bloomington Airport. It’s got a variety of accommodations right on the beach, but it’s not quite as busy as Miami or Fort Lauderdale.
I stayed at the Oceanside Inn. It’s reasonably priced, right on the beach, and has a pool.
Restaurants that you shouldn’t miss are Ocean Deck and Crabby Joes. Both are beachfront and have a menu that will please even finicky kids. Two must-see attractions for the whole family are the tour of the Daytona Speedway and the Museum of Arts & Sciences, which has fun exhibits on things like teddy bears and Coca Cola.
Visit DaytonaBeach.com for more information.
St. Louis, Missouri
First, head just a bit past St. Louis to Eureka, home of Six Flags and Jellystone Park. The campground has turned into a holiday Mecca, hosting Santa’s Magical Kingdom. It’s a lot of fun for all ages as you can drive your car through the lights and animations, or take a ride on the wagon through the kingdom with a peppermint hot chocolate from Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Snack Shack. There’s also a great shop with some unusual Christmas gifts.
Before you leave Eureka I suggest stopping at one of my favorite barbecue places, Super Smokers. Get a room at The Cheshire, an English themed Inn right near the zoo. It’s comfortable, family-friendly, and they include a great breakfast with homemade breads and pastries.
Spend the next few hours downtown at the St. Louis Arch, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. There’s lots of remodeling going on around it, but checkout the museum, the film, and most of all the Tram. It’s like a big, enclosed ferris wheel and the views are amazing.
This was my first trip to Galena and I was so surprised by all the hills. On some streets I felt like I was driving in San Francisco. Of course, those hills make for great winter sports when the snow finally comes. Even without snow, there’s a ton to do, see and eat in Galena.
The Goldmoor Inn looks like a castle and you will feel like you are treated as royalty. The location is perfect, with views of the river and plenty of land to explore. The rooms all have fireplaces, whirlpools, and decks, and the food is phenomenal. Breakfast is included for guests, and while dinner is extra, it’s well worth it for one of the best meals in the county.
Be sure to check out the shops downtown where you can find anything you want and things you didn’t even know you wanted. Have a martini flight at the historic DeSoto Hotel, go wine tasting at Massbach’s tasting room, and check out the very unique drinks and live music at Grape Escape, also known as Miss Kitty’s.
Have breakfast one day at Otto’s before you visit the Ulysses S. Grant House. Then, take a drive for Northwest Design Glass Blowing. While you are in Stockton, lunch at Stella’s is a must. It’s the same owner as Sweet Alice’s across the street. They sent some chocolate and caramels.
More information on St. Louis and Galena on GoMidwest.About.com