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National Travel & Tourism Week: Oh, The Understated Places You Should Go

Explorer B
Earlier this week, we asked our Facebook faithful about the quirkiest places they've traveled to from a Southwest city. 

If you’re a clam chowder-a-holic like I am, it’s all but confirmed that Fisherman’s Wharf in the heart of San Francisco is your motherland.  If bread bowls are your scene, then allow me to keep you from making a rookie mistake on your next trip to the Bay. Avoid the touristy spots and head straight to the diviest of dives….Tait’s! 
While internet rumors are swirling that the rent got too high and it has been turned into a parking lot (say it ain’t so!), I personally cannot confirm and will therefore choose to ignore these musings with hope that it still exists. While the flies are aplenty, the tables and benches a bit rickety, and the employees slightly rough around the edges, their clam chowder is hands down the best you’ll find on the Wharf (not to mention the cheapest!). Since my first visit to San Fran as a middle schooler, I’ve returned time and time again to chow down on chowder at Tait’s and it has yet to disappoint. Various family members, including my husband the picky-eater, along with several Southwest Airlines’ co-workers also agree. So look for the sign (you can’t miss this beauty), avoid the well-fed seagulls (as you can see, they’re fans too), leave your pre-conceived notions behind and enjoy the best of the best for a bargain price at one of San Francisco’s most ‘off the beaten path’ institutions.
But enough about my quirky travels, let's check out some of your adventures:
Andrew G. - Panama City, FL Airport - Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. Home of one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, this park plays host to an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds. The Wakulla Springs Lodge was built in 1937 by financier Edward Ball the DuPont family financial manager. All rooms have a telephone and data port. For a quiet and relaxing stay, rooms have no televisions. Located on the second floor, guestrooms are accessible via the elevator or numerous staircases. The Ball Room Restaurant, located on the ground floor, overlooks Wakulla Spring and features daily specials and fresh seafood. A true hidden treasure.

Mickie O. - White Rocks, Utah beautiful drove there via Steamboat Springs from Denver, oddly enough on Southwest's birthday taking our grandaughter to see horses for her birthday. A wonderful trip!

Mary-Theresa B. - In the High Desert of Arizona, we chanced upon Arcosanti a few years back--a communal living project from years back! Cool! (From the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport)

Deb D. - Thanks to Southwest, my husband and I took two incredible trips that gave us an awesome view of the Western U.S (we are in New England). In the first, we flew to Omaha and rented a car to do a loop trip through South Dakota (Badlands), Montana, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Grand Tetons National Park, and back through Nebraska. The second trip, we did "Amazing Race"- style. I did not know where we were going and had to open clues around the way. We flew from Hartford to Albuquerque, drove up through New Mexico, Colorado (Rocky Mountains), Nevada, over to Yosemite, to San Francisco, and flew home from Oakland to Hartford. Thank you SWA!!

Aileen W. - Sunspot, NM, 2 hours from ELP. A national scenic highway takes you to the National Solar Observatory. Gorgeous forest and great views down on White Sands. Be sure to stop in Cloudcroft on the way coming or going.

Kim F. - Virginia City, Nevada - got lost on the way to Lake Tahoe due to road closures and detours and ended up in this most charming city in time for a parade! What an unexpected fun day - never made to Tahoe...

Barbara L. - Outside of Providence, in old stagecoach that is now a great restaurant....Duffy's Tavern,that serves the freshest shrimp for $.10 apiece, and phenomenal lobster caught from their own boats....

Melissa H. - Joe T Garcia's Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth, TX. The food is AMAZING! They wont give you a menu - they simply tell you what they are serving. You are bascially given two choices (A family style dinner or Fajitas). The restaurant was established in 1935. The walls are lined with autographed photos of famous people who have eaten there. If you are in Fort Worth - you must try it. Such a great atmosphere for an evening out or evening with friends.

Gerald B. - Fly to Manchester, New Hampshire. Travel 2-3 hours north into the remote area of the Great North Woods, where you will find the highest peak in the Eastern United States, Mount Washington, with the 2nd highest ever recorded wind speed on Earth, the highest elevated town between Maine and Colorado, Bethlehem, and an area that is so remote that you can go snowmobiling for 40-50 miles without seeing anything but trees and wildlife. Ski resorts abound. It's almost as if you were in Alaska in the lower 48. Travel an hour south of Manchester and you'll run into Boston, go an hour north and you're on one of the most beautiful lakes, Lake Winnipesaukee. Go northwest and you'll be in the rural towns of Vermont, where you'll still find family farms, maple syrup as an industry, and some of the most beautiful land in the east.

Ranger L. - PDX. Voodoo Donuts (Home of the Bacon Maple Bar) and Powell's bookstore (the finest used and new book store I've ever been to - It is it's own city block).

Ryan D. - Mexican Hat Rock, UT, near Monument Valley at the Utah/Arizona border. Flew from Nashville to Las Vegas and then took a huge trip through canyon country to lots of national parks!

Jyl D. - Flew into Pittsburgh last month and had to stop by The Worlds Largest Teapot in Chester, West Virginia. 🙂