MapQuest Unveils 10 Top Destinations of 2013

B3BA9T Las Vegas Strip at Dusk, Paradise, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Alamy

Las Vegas, Nashville and Orlando were the top three searched for cities on MapQuest in 2013. The results are a compilation of destinations searched for on both MapQuest’s website and its recently updated-and critically acclaimed-iPhone and Android apps. [Full disclosure: AOL owns both MapQuest and Gadling.]

Texas was the only state with two cities in MapQuest’s top 10 list: Houston was eighth and Dallas was ninth. Feel free to criticize these travelers for not going to Austin instead in the comments.
Here are MapQuest’s top 10 most-searched for destinations of 2013:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. Nashville, Tennessee
  3. Orlando, Florida
  4. Atlanta, Georgia
  5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  6. Chicago, Illinois
  7. Denver, Colorado
  8. Houston, Texas
  9. Dallas, Texas
  10. St. Louis, Missouri

Haunted Hotels Are In Full Swing

If luxury horror is your thing, look no further than haunted hotels this Halloween. As rounded up in a spread on USA Today, several hotels across the country are incorporating their own tales from the crypt into their businesses this time of year. A couple examples of haunted hotels participating in the spooky season:

The Biltmore Coral Gables in Miami has been everything over the years from a speakeasy during Prohibition to a hospital ward for World War II soldiers to the murder scene of a gangster. Guests have complained of visions and other kinds of ghostly disturbances-including getting dropped off at the 13th floor form the elevator despite the button not being pressed-since the building reopened as a hotel in the 1980s.The Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans once served as a ballroom and theater, but was then turned into a girls’ school, orphanage and medical ward. Guests routinely complain of hearing voices that sound as though they belong to children.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And if you can’t convince them your hotel isn’t filled with ghosts, convince them of the opposite instead.

Halloween Destinations
More on Halloween

Slow-Thinking Drivers To Get More Time With Longer Yellow Lights

driversA careful driver approaches an intersection and the green light turns yellow. Red is next. What does the driver do? Hit the brakes, or floor it and hope for the best? It’s a split-second call. Soon, Florida drivers will have more time to make that decision as the sunshine state lengthens the time before yellow turns red.

Research indicates that we make up our minds in about a second and that lengthening yellow light time will prevent more drivers from running red lights. Called the perception/reaction time, the state hopes to make that an easier decision with more yellow light time.

But let’s think about this. You are driving along, approaching an intersection and the light turns yellow. If you know the light will remain yellow longer, will you stop?

You probably should, at least in Florida. While aimed to address the concerns of red light fine critics, each citation brings a fine of $158 and adds up to big money for local cities who split the fine with the state.”We don’t play around with the times,” said Jay Davoll, city engineer for Apopka, Florida, in an Orlando Sentinel report. “But people say we do.” A suburb of Orlando, the city of Apopka alone has collected about $2 million in red-light fines so far this year.

Guide to a Perfect Everglades Weekend Escape

Alligator1
Crow 911, Flickr

One of the great dualities of Florida is the presence of spectacular natural places and wildlife within easy striking distance of the most people-packed urban areas. And Everglades National Park – covering more than 1.5 million acres in South Florida – is as off-the-charts-wild as U.S. parks get. While the most remote areas of the park are largely inaccessible, there are plenty of spots within a stone’s throw ofMiami and Naples (around the small towns of Florida City and Everglades City) where you can get a real feel for the “River of Grass.”

The Everglades was originally given protected status in 1947 in order to preserve its extreme biodiversity, and the vast sub-tropical wilderness here continues to flourish as a habitat for alligators, Florida panthers, manatees and crocodiles as well as hundreds of species of plants and birds. For one of the wildest Florida escapes, this is the place.

See the full itinerary on MapQuest Discover>>

South Florida Tries A New Way To Stop Speeding Drivers: Magic

low angle view of a signboard with the speed limit on it
Getty Images

South Florida transportation officials want drivers to slow down, but rather than relying on radar guns or speed traps, they’re trying a new trick: an optical illusion. The Sun Sentinel reports that the state has painted the road with hash-marks (think football field yard lines) that get closer and closer together. This creates the illusion that a driver is going faster, and will (in theory) cause them to hit the brakes and slow down.You can see a diagram of the new system here.

This isn’t the first time “magic” has been used target speeders. Oregon installed a similar system last year to save money, and Virginia, Texas, Kansas and Mississippi have all tested the program as well. In Vancouver, a more chilling pavement image was added to the road a few years ago:

What do you think? Are pavement illusions the magical solution to heavy-footed road warriors?