Great Attractions

Stay Outdoors, Indoors, at Joshua Tree

Trying to categorize the lodgings offered by the Acido Dorado, located on the edge of California’s Joshua Tree National Park, is like trying to solve a Zen koan.

Acido Dorado isn’t a house—it is too open to the elements for that. It isn’t a glamping (glamorous camping) experience and certainly isn’t a cabin—the setup is way too luxurious. The accommodations here aren’t indoors, though nor are they outdoors; rather, it is some ingenious melding of the two.

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The Best View From a
Hotel Room in Patagonia

Glaciers, fjords, wildlife, mountain peaks, rushing rivers, idyllic lakes—Patagonia is one of the most scenic regions on Planet Earth. The area is vast, divided between Chile and Argentina at the southern tip of South America. Given the size and beauty you’d think that it would be difficult finding that one hotel with the best view in Patagonia. But it isn’t. One resort outshines the rest: The Hotel Salto Chico.

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LOST Hawaii

As fans of the hit ABC television series LOST watch the riveting drama about a group of airplane crash survivors on a mysterious island, they often ponder questions of love, fate, survival and black smoke monsters. What exactly is the Dharma Project? and What do those numbers mean? are questions nearly all LOST fans have asked themselves. They inevitably also ask Where exactly are all these gorgeous tropical scenes filmed?

The vast majority of LOST was set in various locations around Hawaii. Even many of the locations that were supposedly not on the survivor’s island were shot in the Aloha State. The Sydney airport in LOST? That was actually the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.

Here’s our roundup of our favorite Hawaii LOST filming locations. Each are worthy Hawaii travel destinations, for LOST fans and fans-in-waiting who have (yet) to see the show:

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8 Amazing Libraries (and One That’s Horrible)

One of Spot Cool Stuff’s most popular travel posts has been our review of World’s Best Bookstores. But what about those people looking to borrow, and not buy, a book? Fortunately our planet also has several incredible libraries. In fact, there’s a case to be made for libraries having more interesting architecture than any other building type except for religious houses of worship.

Here’s our look at eight architecturally amazing libraries (and one that’s not so much). It is the first in a series of Spot Cool Stuff’s tour of the world’s best looking libraries. To stay updated on all of our posts, including our cool library series, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed or check back with our newly opened Book and Literature Travel category page.

And if you know of a library you’d like us to check out leave us a comment any time. Late fees never apply.

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The Barry ManiLOVE Store

When it’s time to do a special something for your special some one forget about giving yet another set of shedding flowers and stale chocolates. Spot Cool Stuff recommends a fab new tactic d’amour: skip the Whitman’s sampler and use the cash to get you and your baby to Vegas. Because nothing says love like Barry Manilow, friends.

There’s a little ‘Copacabana’ at the core of every good love story (the passion! the danger! the ostrich feathers!). And thankfully, the Paris Las Vegas Casino & Resort knows it.

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The World’s Most Beautiful, Crowded Waterfall

James Cameroon with all the latest CGI special effects could not concoct a waterfall more perfect than the one at Dunn River in Jamaica.

In a lush jungle filled with beautiful birds and red rhododendron, crystal waters cascade along smooth sculpted rocks until finally splashing upon a bone white beach and a stark blue Caribbean Sea. The planet has more dramatic waterfalls (Iguazu and Victoria come immediately to mind) but per square meter none may be more beautiful.

And none is more crowded.

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The Dunes of Lake Michigan

Picture outdoor travel in the upper midwest of the United States and an image probably comes to mind of flat forests and flat fields—if anything comes to mind at all.

In fact, the region is home to a variety of unexpected natural treasures,. Among those: the world’s largest freshwater dune system.

These dunes scattered along the shores of the five Great Lakes—Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario—were formed 3,000 to 6,000 years ago (recent in terms of geological terms) when the water level of the lakes was 40 feet (12 meters) higher than it is today. Every U.S. state and Canadian province that borders a Great Lake has at least one sand dune preserve area, including Indiana where there are some wonderfully scenic dunes not far from the powerfully unscenic blighted industrial town of Gary.

Arguably the coolest place to experience the Great Lakes dunes is at the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area in western-central Michigan.

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Tintin Goes to the Museum

Brussels might be best known as the center of European Union bureaucracy and as the namesake for terrible tasting sprouts but it is also a Mecca for comic book lovers. Cartoons are arguably the Belgian national art form and world-renoun characters such as The Smurfs, Asterix, Blake and Mortimer— and, of course, the Farting Pig—have their origins in this tiny country.

The most influential, and perhaps the most famous, of the Belgium comic characters is Tintin, an inexplicably young journalist with an even more inexplicable of hair who, together with his dog Snowy, explores the world sans visa problems solving mysteries and engaging in swashbuckling adventures. He made his debut in the politically-tinged Tintin in the Land of the Soviets in 1929. From there Tintin’s globetrotting took him to such places as Tibet, the Congo and even the moon.

In the summer of 2009 a new museum opened dedicated to Tintin and his creator, Georges Rémi. The appeal of the museum to fans of comics is obvious. For lovers of travel and architecture there’s lots to like too.

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