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Exploring a classic California beach town: Ventura

Because not all of us can jet off for a week to somewhere exotic—there’s the low-key day-cation or weekend getaway. Tucked between two rivers and situated between California ’s Coastal Range and the Pacific Ocean, Ventura might be one of California ’s best-kept secrets. The quintessential California surf town is an outdoor lover’s dream: How about a daylong Kayak adventure? Exploring sea caves? Or maybe spotting some of the 27 varieties of whales and dolphins found in the surrounding waters? Afterward, wind down the day’s activities with a stroll through Ventura’s revitalized historic downtown district packed with boutiques, coffee houses, wine bars and award-winning restaurants. Nab a room at the Crowne Plaza Ventura—the only hotel in Ventura located right on the beach.

For room reservations at the Crowne Plaza Ventura, call: 805.648.2100. To book kayaking and water-related activities, contact Aqua Sports: 800.773.2309 or Island Sports: 805.642.1393

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Beijing or Bust

The Forbidden City. The Great Wall. Former home of the 2008 Olympics. The capital of the world’s most populous country, Beijing has emerged as the modern jewel of China, a fast-paced metropolitan hub. If you’re headed there for a trip, consider staying at Opposite House, a sleek boutique hotel designed by Japanese master architect Kengo Kuma. The 99 rooms feature contemporary Chinese decor, natural wood floors and bathrooms with deep oak soak tubs, rainshowers and heated floors. Stay two nights receive a third night free, including breakfast for two on weekends, a guided cultural walk of Beijing, complimentary mini-bar and Internet access. The promotion is valid until Dec.31 and rates start at approximately $337.

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