Travel Writing by Cory Hanson

Hipmunk Hotels: Northern Fun from Renton to Niagara Falls


Northern cities offer both urban and outdoorsy fun for the adventurous traveler, with lower prices than warm-weather destinations. Find your beach, your waterpark, or your waterfall in these northern favorites.

Renton, Washington

“‘Scuse me, while I kiss the sky!”

So goes the classic line from “Purple Haze” by the charismatic Jimi Hendrix. Tragically, Hendrix passed away at a young age, leaving so much music left unsung. Today, he rests in Renton, a southern suburb of his hometown of Seattle. Each year, thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to his grave in Greenwood Memorial Park. After paying your respects, take a walk through Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park on the shores of Lake Washington and some fresh fish and chips at Ivar’s, a local seafood favorite. If you are also visiting Seattle, consider staying in Renton and commuting to save on your accommodation.

Jimi Hendrix Memorial | Image via Flickr by dherrera_96

Victoria, British Columbia

On the southern tip of Vancouver Island, just across the strait from Washington’s San Juan Islands, visit the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. Book a hotel with a view of the sea and explore this clean, friendly Canadian favorite. Visit the Royal British Columbia Museum to learn more about the natural and human history of the Canadian Pacific coast. Take an evening walk starting from Beacon Hill Park on the waterfront, finishing at the busy harbor for some shopping and a seafood snack at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Bismarck, North Dakota

Discover the history of America’s Great Plains in Bismarck. Spend some time learning about archaeology, Native American culture, and more at the North Dakota Heritage Center — and make sure the kids don’t miss the Dakota Zoo on the banks of the Missouri River. Travelers on a budget can choose from a great selection of affordable hotels like the Best Western Plus Ramkota.

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

“The Dells,” as it’s called locally, is commonly mislabeled as a tourist trap just for kids. While it is true that there are plenty of family-friendly attractions — it isn’t called the “Waterpark Capital of the World” for nothing — there is plenty of fun in the Dells for little kids and grown-up kids. Visit Noah’s Ark Waterpark for its wave pool and massive waterslides, or show your bravery on the ziplines at Heightened Adventures Aerial Park. As a popular summer playground, the Dells has a wide variety of lodging choices, and prices shift with the season. Shop around and book well in advance for the best rates.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Bring your waterproof poncho and get ready for your choice of intimate experiences with one of North America’s greatest beauties, Niagara Falls. Choose an affordable hotel on the Ontario side and consider your options. Many visitors take the traditional sightseeing cruise on one of the Maid of the Mist fleet — use caution: if you’re not careful, you might end up married before the end of the cruise. Others view the falls and the surrounding Niagara Gorge from the observation deck at the top of Skylon Tower. Hikers, divers, kayakers, and other outdoor sports hobbyists can book even more up-close-and-personal adventures.

 Niagara Falls | Image via Flickr by Oli-Oviyan

When making your travel plans, look north for some of North America’s most vibrant cities and most beautiful natural attractions. Just make sure to dress for the weather.

Cory Hanson is an American travel writer specializing in American and European travel. This is part of a series of American destination posts sponsored by travel search and booking service Hipmunk. Find more Hipmunk posts here, and a full sponsored content disclosure here

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