Four in 10 U.S. workers are leaving their paid time off, including vacation days, unused, according to a report by the U.S. Travel Association and Travel Effect. Some of the findings reveal companies don’t always make it easy to take the time, or employees don’t feel they’re in control of paid days. But there’s more reason to take paid days than relaxing or because you earned them. Annual vacations are shown to cut the risk of heart attacks in men by 30 percent and in women by 50 percent.
Warm weather brings plenty of opportunity for fishing. Head west to Black Hills, South Dakota, to try your hand catching yellow perch and jump lake trout. Beyond fishing, there’s opportunity to see bison and bighorn sheep at Cluster State Park and the Wild West town of Deadwood.
Montana has earned the reputation as one of the best trout fishing spots in North America. Pack-up the RV and try fly fishing in West Yellowstone before exploring the national park and staying overnight for some camping. Remember to bring along your fishing and boating licenses, or get one online before you leave for your trip.
Go apple and pumpkin picking and take in the fall foliage in New England this fall. Pennsylvania hosts the National Apple Harvest Festival at the South Mountain Fairgrounds featuring fresh cider, live entertainment and apple dumplings. For a savory treat, Maine boasts the Harvest on the Harbor Festival in mid-October along Portland’s waterfront. Adults and kids alike are welcome at the Columbus, Ohio, Oktoberfest for live music, German beer, polka dancing, frankfurters, sauerkraut and arts and crafts stands.
Snow birds looking to escape cold winters should head south to Key West, Florida, to hit all of Ernest Hemingway‘s old haunts, bars and his namesake house museum. Explore the art galleries, relax on the beach or rent a kayak to blow off some steam before unwinding with a seafood dinner and drinks on Duval Street.
It’s true Key West has a reputation for a lively party town, but there are more secluded areas in Florida to keep you warm this winter. Cadaesi Island near Tampa consistently earns the title for “secret island” and is generally warm year round with a nature trail, no hotels and miles of quiet beach for long walks and seashell collecting.
If you’d rather enjoy the snow, pack up the skis and head to Keystone, Colorado, to explore the village after a day out on the slopes. Get to know other vacationers and locals with a little night skiing and watch the sun set over the Rocky Mountains. When you need to rest your skiing muscles, jump on a Keystone Adventure Tour snowcat and see the snowy outback.
Spring bursts with energy during seasonal festivals in a backdrop of blooms. Back East, cherry blossoms blanket Washington, D.C. with over 1,700 cherry blossom trees peaking. Events include the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, Blossom Festival Parade and over 150 daily cultural performances.
Despite Washington, D.C.’s reputation as a renown cherry blossom capital, over 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees grow in Macon, Georgia. Every spring for 10 days, Macon attracts thousands of visitors with live entertainment, food, and cultural and natural appreciation. Pedestrians wander the streets of downtown while boutiques, galleries and restaurants open their doors for a day of shopping and fun.