TODAY | June 26, 2013
>>> all right. a lot of families are getting ready for summer vacations, so in the spirit of independence day coming up next week, we wanted it check out patriotic destinati destinations.
>> jeanine is orbitz senior travel editor and has the five must-see places that are a little off the beaten tracks.
>> everyone knows about d.c., get gettysburg. here's some places you may not have thought of that are still fantastic places to see in america.
>> and affordable too, right?
>> very affordable.
>> let's start with charlottesville, virginia.
>> founding father who went on to become thomas jefferson 's home is here.
>> first vineyard in america.
>> we know all the wineries around here. university of virginia is here, and weaved into the community the history here, lots of tours and educational things to do.
>> what's your hotel pick?
>> boar's head inn, set on 573 acres. it's beautiful and owned and operated by the university of virginia foundation.
>>> next we go to houston, texas, for the johnson space center .
>> opened in 1961 , this is where the first astronauts were quarantined when they came back from the moon. there are a lot of great exhibits for the family. they have a film that puts you in the shoes of an astronaut from training, through the first mission. it's beautiful. there is a nasa tram tour that takes you through the old rocket park where a lot of the rockets are.
>> especially if kids are space minded.
>> let's go to st. louis, missouri, shall we?
>> a lot of the smaller midwest cities are often overlooked and st. louis is second only to washington, d.c. in terms of free attractions and museums. home to the gateway arch , the largest manmade monument. there is a 19th century paddle park refuge, twice the size of central park , and my hotel pick is the moon rise hotel. it's in the loop district, most rejuvenated shopping area, beautiful terrace.
>> all right.
>> nice one to stay at.
>> i love durango, colorado. this is where the old west survived and thrived. now it's a big mecca for mountain biking , outdoor activities. started in 1881 as a railroad town . mesa verde national park is nearby. it's known for the durango railroad.
>> you like the double tree there.
>> i do. it's set on a scenic river, $209 a night. you can walk to downtown or the railroad.
>> quickly, the san juan islands in the northeast.
>> might not know of it if you haven't been there. it's beautiful. there are over 450 islands. obama actually in march proclaimed it a national monument , so it helps protect some of the land, and you can take ferries. only accessible by ferry or sea plane . you can take ferries from downtown seattle in the summer, rent mopeds.
>> this is the time of year to go.
>> hotel, quickly.
>> sorrento hotel, $122 a night. everyone from the vanderbilts to bono has stayed there.