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5 Places That Used to be Top Vacation Spots in the U.S
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May 5, 2019
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Bradley O'Neil
americas

Once upon a time vacations in the U.S. were all about lengthy cross-country road trips to what, at the time, would have seemed like exotic beach resorts and far-flung mountain towns. Nowadays, package tours, weekend breaks, and even staycations are taking over, which have left one-time glorious destinations by the wayside. Here’s a selection of five places whose popularity may have diminished over the years, but appeal still remains.

Lake Placid, New York

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With skiing during the winter, and fishing in summertime, Lake Placid was a hotspot for many a resident in New York state and New England in the 1960s. The village’s fame skyrocketed when it was the host venue for the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. It even witnessed the "Miracle on Ice," when the U.S. ice hockey team defeated the Soviet Union and got one over on their Cold War foes. Come today and you can ski on former Olympic terrain, visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, and walk the scenic Mirror Lake trail.

Pismo Beach, California

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Pismo Beach is a sleepy coastal resort set about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. With a sweeping beach, surf breaks, and diners serving mouthwatering clam-bakes, it boasts all the right ingredients for the perfect Cali vacation spot. There’s the Monarch Butterfly Grove and Dinosaur Caves Park, too, to keep you entertained. If you’d have landed here in the mid-90s you’d have stumbled across a far livelier scene. It was even the subject of a Merrie Melodies short featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

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In the period after World War II, New Yorkers and Philadelphians came in droves to holiday in the Poconos Mountains. Many were honeymooners who basked in the pretty surroundings and romantic charm of glitzy hotels. Despite a lull in tourism, with a spectacular landscape of forested mountains, and over 150 lakes, there’s no denying that it is still pleasant on the eye. Bushkill Falls, Delaware Water Gap, and a number of ski resorts are attractions that make it worth the two-hour drive from New York and Philadelphia.

Reno, Nevada

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"The Biggest Little City in the World" proclaims the neon-lit sign at the entrance to Reno’s strip. Fueled by prospectors looking to earn a few extra bucks in their spare time, this Nevada town became the state’s gambling mecca in the 1920s. Gambling became legal in 1931, William F. Harrah established what is now Caesars Entertainment, and thousands came to give Lady Luck a try. Nowadays, much of the gambling and hedonism scene has since moved to Las Vegas, thus turning Reno into a small-scale Sin City.

Silver Springs, Florida

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Prior to the arrival of Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort, the place to be for holidays in Florida was Silver Springs. The town is home to the world’s biggest artesian spring, which is often credited with being Florida’s oldest commercial attraction. From as far back as the 1870s, glass-bottom boat and gondola rides were offered at Silver Springs Nature Theme Park. Tarzan and the original James Bond movies were filmed here. The park closed in 2013 and has now been incorporated into the equally enjoyable Silver Springs State Park.