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Jan 20th
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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for Jan. 26

Latest News, Deals & Savings for Jan. 26

This week: Whale watching from California’s state parks and festivals, Ojai Valley Inn has spring break ultimate family golf package, Furnace Creek Inn offering over-60 discounts

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Whale Watching In California's State Parks and Festivals

The annual migration of thousands of gray whales (up to 50 long and 45 tons each) is now underway. It begins in Alaskan and moves south along California's coastline to birthing and breeding waters in Baja California.

From December through March, visitors have the opportunity to view the return of the gray whale, the state's official marine mammal, in a number of prime locations in California State Parks. We have included a listing to make your selection easier.

"Whale watching along our coast is a wonderful and exciting family adventure," said Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks. "I would suggest a little research on whales along our coast to get the kids primed, and then find a safe spot where crashing waves won't interrupt your adventure. And, bring the binoculars!"

On their journey, the whales move past Point Reyes, the Farallon Islands, through Half Moon Bay and Monterey Bay, and follow the coastline along Southern California before reaching Mexico. The whales travel in small groups and stay close to the shoreline for protection from predators, such as killer whales.

Traveling 70 to 80 miles per day, the whales' spouts of vaporized water (at times reaching 12 feet high) can be seen as the whales surface every three to five minutes to breathe. Their 12,000-mile round-trip trek is the longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis. The whales' migration pattern reverses when they lead their new-born calves back to Alaska.

Following is a list of state park whale watching sites and whale festivals.

Note: It's always a good idea to call the park before your visit to check on current conditions.

State park whale watching sites include:

Humboldt County
Humboldt Lagoons State Park (Dry Lagoon), telephone: (707) 677-3121
Patrick's Point State Park (Palmer's Point and Wedding Rock) in Trinidad, telephone: (707) 677-3570
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (Gold Bluffs Beach), telephone: (707) 464-6101, extension 5300

Mendocino County
MacKerricher State Park (Laguna Point) on the Mendocino Coast three miles north of Fort Bragg, telephone: (707) 964-9112 or (707) 937-5804

Monterey County
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park (Vista Point, Highway 1), telephone: (831) 667-2315

Orange County
Crystal Cove State Park telephone: (949) 494-3539

San Luis Obispo County
Montaña de Oro State Park, telephone: (805) 528-0513
San Simeon State Beach, telephone: (805) 927-2035

Estero Bluffs State Park telephone: (805) 772-7434

Santa Barbara County
El Capitan State Beach telephone: (805) 585-1850

California Whale Festivals

Dana Point Festival of Whales

Fort Bragg Whale Festival
Mendocino Whale Festival

Point Mugu to Point Dume Whale Festival (Leo Carrillo State Park)

Redwood Coast Whale and Jazz Festival

Ojai Valley Inn Presents Ultimate Family Golf Vacation

California's Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is offering the Ultimate Family Golf Vacation, perfect for the whole family to enjoy during school spring break.

"Spring Break is a time for families to forget the economic news and focus on what's really important: their children," said Janis Clapoff, managing director, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. "And imagine taking your family to a resort which has hosted seven PGA Senior Tour events and where golf legends such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Chi Chi Rodriguez have played. Now that's what we call a memorable spring break! Who knows, perhaps this will be the start for your daughter or son's professional golf career."

The Ultimate Family Golf Vacation package includes a separate room for children (under 18), and unlimited golf. As an added bonus, guests receive a family golf lesson from one of the Resort's PGA Golf Professionals, while mom (or mad) enjoy a spa treatment. Complete details can be found at www.ojairesort.com, with prices starting at $605 per family, per night for a minimum three-night stay.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa's 220-acre campus includes an incredible golf course, and all the features that make a family vacation perfect. The golf course is one of America's premium championship courses, built by renowned architect George C. Thomas Jr.

Since 1923, vacationing guests have sought the tranquil pleasures of the historic Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, an AAA Five Diamond property located on 220 tree-shaded acres offering an incredible golf course ranked as one of the finest in North America.

Located 35 minutes south of Santa Barbara, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is approximately 90 minutes north of LAX. Affirmed by its many prestigious awards and fresh from a $90 million renovation, this legendary Inn is one of North America's unique hidden treasures. For reservations, contact (800) 422-6524 or visit

Historic Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Offering Special Over-60 Discounts

The historic Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort in California's Death Valley National Park is showing its appreciation for its over-60 guests by offering a progressive discount on the room rates.

For a one-night stay any day of the week, seniors receive a 10 percent discount off the room rate at both the Furnace Creek Inn and Furnace Creek Ranch. For two-night stays, the discount increases to 20 percent for the room for both nights, and three or more nights will result in a 30 percent discount off the room. Cabin units at the Furnace Creek Ranch are not included. Some other restrictions and blackout dates apply, and this offer cannot be combined with other offers.

"We appreciate all of our guests of course, but we think our young-at-heart guests over the age of 60 deserve a special benefit just because of their longevity," said Phil Dickinson, director of sales & marketing for the Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort. "This is especially a wonderful getaway destination for people who like their vacations to be a little of everything - physical activity, relaxation, sightseeing and outstanding food."

Travelers can book the special discount online via "Special Promotions" at
www.furnacecreekresort.com or by calling (800) 236-7916 or (303) 297-2757.

The AAA Four Diamond-rated Furnace Creek Inn, open mid-October through mid-May, features 66 rooms, two suites, the Furnace Creek Inn Dining Room, tennis courts and a secluded spring-fed pool. One mile from the Inn is the Furnace Creek Ranch with 224 rooms, general store, spring-fed pool, tennis courts, horseback riding and the Borax Museum.

Adjacent to the Furnace Creek Ranch is the Furnace Creek Golf Course, an 18-hole championship course that is the lowest golf course in the world, at 214 feet below sea level.

In addition to golfing, guests can spend their time seeing Scotty's Castle, a 25-room Moorish-style castle built by a Chicago millionaire in the 1920s; relaxing by one of the resort's pools; taking in the beauty of Death Valley from one of the park's many overlooks and viewpoints; hiking the sand dunes or one of the park's other geologic wonders; enjoying an afternoon horseback trail ride or strolling the gardens surrounding the venerable Furnace Creek Inn.