The visions invoked by the phrase "perfect vacation" are different for everyone. One person's pleasure in Belize, for instance, may be lazing on the beach with a fruit drink while another visitor chose the same area for its exquisite snorkeling and diving. Whatever your pleasure, there is a destination and price range for you. Here are some of our suggestions for short getaways and longer vacations.
Cedar Grove Mansion Inn
|Experience Southern hospitality Mississippi-style at the Cedar Grove Mansion Inn in Vicksburg, Miss.|
Elegant guestrooms and suites in the Mansion Inn and restored bed-and-breakfast cottages evoke Rhett and Scarlett in the Deep South of the past. Decorated with period antiques but improved with modern conveniences, the 5-acre complex also has a bar, gardens where visitors can stroll and an elegant, romantic restaurant. Room rates start at $100, and arrangements can be made to board pets nearby. Area attractions include casinos, museums and kids' activities.
711 Casino Magic Drive, Bay St. Louis, Miss., (800) 562-4425; www.casinomagic.com/bay
There are a wealth of gambling options at this 591-acre resort, including million-dollar keno and more than a thousand slot machines. But there's also the excellent Bridges golf course, an 18-hold championship course designed by legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. There's nightly entertainment, a hotel complex with all the amenities, a marina with water activities and Camp Magic for the kids. Rooms start at about $95.
Casino Magic Biloxi
195 Beach Blvd., Biloxi Miss., (800) 5-MAGIC 5; www.casinomagic.com/biloxi
A full-service hotel complex, all the gambling you could desire, quality restaurants and a spa and salon make this Biloxi casino a trip for the whole family. There's an arcade alongside the pool for the kids, plus nearby are lovely white sand beaches, an oceanarium and the John C. Stennis Space Center, where NASA tests space vehicles. Rooms start at about $90.
Chattooga River, Georgia
Whitewater rafting, especially with a professional guide, doesn't get much better than on the beautiful Chattooga River, rated one of the best 10 whitewater runs in the country. Southeastern Expeditions (www.southeasternexpeditions.com) offers several options for families and more expert rafters. The company also arranges camping accommodations and will set up horseback trips and other outdoor adventures. Prices vary according to day of the week and section of the river chosen.
Mayan Riviera, Mexico
|The Mayan Riviera section of Mexico offers a variety of resorts with beaches, including Royal Hideaway Resort Playacar, located south of Cancun and Cozumel.|
916 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, Miss., (228) 386-7111
The upscale resort endeavors to blend the elegance of the French Riviera with the comfort and hospitality of the South. It offers a 72,000-square-foot casino, plus a 1,780-room hotel. A huge theater currently is staging the Lord of the Dance show, and other live entertainment also is featured regularly. Hotel rooms offer views of the Gulf of Mexico or Biloxi's Back Bay. The Beau Rivage complex also has designer shops, a dozen restaurants, a salon and spa, fishing excursions and more, plus there are some 19 nearby golf courses to choose from.
Grand Casino Biloxi
265 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, Miss., (228) 436-2946; www.grandbiloxi.com
The fixed riverboat casino contains 100,000 square feet of playing space. Two hotel complexes, The Oasis Resort and Spa and the Casino Hotel have 1,000 rooms, a luxury spa, a Kids' Quest children's' center, an arcade for older children and more. Live entertainment for the summer includes Kenny Rogers, comedian Carrot Top and country superstar Wynonna.
Grand Casino Gulfport
3215 West Beach Blvd., Gulfport, Miss., (228) 870-7777; www.grandgulfport.com
A complete resort that includes a riverboat casino with 90,000-square-feet of playing space, a new 400-room hotel, complete with an indoor pool, the Belisimo spa, Kid's Quest activity center, shopping, a selection of restaurants, a teenager arcade and, of course, beaches and golf courses nearby. Live entertainment for the summer includes country performers Pam Tillis, Restless Heart, The Oak Ridge Boys and country-rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Harrah's Casino -- Vicksburg
1310 Mulberry St., Vicksburg, Miss., (601) 636-3423
Resort with a fixed riverboat casino for the adults, 117-room luxury hotel, arcade for the youngsters, babysitting services, several dining choices and attractions nearby.
- Experience Southern hospitality Mississippi-style at the Cedar Grove Mansion Inn in Vicksburg, Miss.
- The Mayan Riviera section of Mexico offers a variety of resorts with beaches, including Royal Hideaway Resort Playacar, located south of Cancun and Cozumel.