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Glory Days 

Vacations and Getaways to Remember

The visions invoked by the phrase "perfect vacation" are different for everyone. One person's pleasure in Belize, for instance, may be lazing on the beach with a fruit drink while another visitor chose the same area for its exquisite snorkeling and diving. Whatever your pleasure, there is a destination and price range for you. Here are some of our suggestions for short getaways and longer vacations.

Cedar Grove Mansion Inn

Experience Southern hospitality Mississippi-style at the Cedar Grove Mansion Inn in Vicksburg, Miss.
2200 Oak St., Vicksburg, Miss., (800) 862-1300 or (601) 636-1000; www.cedargroveinn.com

Elegant guestrooms and suites in the Mansion Inn and restored bed-and-breakfast cottages evoke Rhett and Scarlett in the Deep South of the past. Decorated with period antiques but improved with modern conveniences, the 5-acre complex also has a bar, gardens where visitors can stroll and an elegant, romantic restaurant. Room rates start at $100, and arrangements can be made to board pets nearby. Area attractions include casinos, museums and kids' activities.

Casino Magic

711 Casino Magic Drive, Bay St. Louis, Miss., (800) 562-4425; www.casinomagic.com/bay

There are a wealth of gambling options at this 591-acre resort, including million-dollar keno and more than a thousand slot machines. But there's also the excellent Bridges golf course, an 18-hold championship course designed by legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. There's nightly entertainment, a hotel complex with all the amenities, a marina with water activities and Camp Magic for the kids. Rooms start at about $95.

Casino Magic Biloxi

195 Beach Blvd., Biloxi Miss., (800) 5-MAGIC 5; www.casinomagic.com/biloxi

A full-service hotel complex, all the gambling you could desire, quality restaurants and a spa and salon make this Biloxi casino a trip for the whole family. There's an arcade alongside the pool for the kids, plus nearby are lovely white sand beaches, an oceanarium and the John C. Stennis Space Center, where NASA tests space vehicles. Rooms start at about $90.

Chattooga River, Georgia

Whitewater rafting, especially with a professional guide, doesn't get much better than on the beautiful Chattooga River, rated one of the best 10 whitewater runs in the country. Southeastern Expeditions (www.southeasternexpeditions.com) offers several options for families and more expert rafters. The company also arranges camping accommodations and will set up horseback trips and other outdoor adventures. Prices vary according to day of the week and section of the river chosen.

Mayan Riviera, Mexico

The Mayan Riviera section of Mexico offers a variety of resorts with beaches, including Royal Hideaway Resort Playacar, located south of Cancun and Cozumel.
Luxury and service, along with beautiful sights and plenty of entertainment are synonymous with the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. South of the popular sites of Cancun and Cozumel are a series of resorts with fewer close neighbors, where visitors can swim with the dolphins, enjoy beautiful white-sand beaches, explore underwater caves, enjoy spa services, explore an ancient Mayan city, hike through a jungle, or take in a host of other attractions in the area. Some of the resorts are all-inclusive, others are adults-only. Check out the just-opened Spa Palace or Xpu-Ha Palace luxury resorts, the whimsical luxury Royal Hideaway Resort and Spa Playacar, or the moderately priced beachfront Club Oasis Puerto Aventuras. For more information and prices, contact Two Lanes Travel, which specializes in South and Central America, at 899-8040 or (800) 809-1301; www.twolanestravel.com.

Beau Rivage

916 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, Miss., (228) 386-7111

www.beaurivage.com

The upscale resort endeavors to blend the elegance of the French Riviera with the comfort and hospitality of the South. It offers a 72,000-square-foot casino, plus a 1,780-room hotel. A huge theater currently is staging the Lord of the Dance show, and other live entertainment also is featured regularly. Hotel rooms offer views of the Gulf of Mexico or Biloxi's Back Bay. The Beau Rivage complex also has designer shops, a dozen restaurants, a salon and spa, fishing excursions and more, plus there are some 19 nearby golf courses to choose from.

Grand Casino Biloxi

265 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, Miss., (228) 436-2946; www.grandbiloxi.com

The fixed riverboat casino contains 100,000 square feet of playing space. Two hotel complexes, The Oasis Resort and Spa and the Casino Hotel have 1,000 rooms, a luxury spa, a Kids' Quest children's' center, an arcade for older children and more. Live entertainment for the summer includes Kenny Rogers, comedian Carrot Top and country superstar Wynonna.

Grand Casino Gulfport

3215 West Beach Blvd., Gulfport, Miss., (228) 870-7777; www.grandgulfport.com

A complete resort that includes a riverboat casino with 90,000-square-feet of playing space, a new 400-room hotel, complete with an indoor pool, the Belisimo spa, Kid's Quest activity center, shopping, a selection of restaurants, a teenager arcade and, of course, beaches and golf courses nearby. Live entertainment for the summer includes country performers Pam Tillis, Restless Heart, The Oak Ridge Boys and country-rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Harrah's Casino -- Vicksburg

1310 Mulberry St., Vicksburg, Miss., (601) 636-3423

www.harrahs.com/tour/tourvicksburg.html

Resort with a fixed riverboat casino for the adults, 117-room luxury hotel, arcade for the youngsters, babysitting services, several dining choices and attractions nearby.

click to enlarge Experience Southern hospitality Mississippi-style at the Cedar Grove Mansion Inn in Vicksburg, Miss.
  • Experience Southern hospitality Mississippi-style at the Cedar Grove Mansion Inn in Vicksburg, Miss.
click to enlarge The Mayan Riviera section of Mexico offers a variety of resorts with beaches, including Royal Hideaway Resort Playacar, located south of Cancun and Cozumel.
  • The Mayan Riviera section of Mexico offers a variety of resorts with beaches, including Royal Hideaway Resort Playacar, located south of Cancun and Cozumel.
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