A healthy hike

For the first time, all 50 state park systems will participate in First Day Hike programs, which encourage Americans to get out of the house Jan. 1 and take a rejuvenating hike in a state park. There are more than 645 choices nationwide. In California, close-to-home locations are coastal: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Natural Bridges State Beach, Salt Point State Park and Wilder Ranch State Park. Find a full list at www.americasstateparks.org/first-day-hikes.

The king's birthday

Elvis Presley would have turned 78 this coming Jan. 8. In Reno, the Silver Legacy's "Elvis and Friends Weekend Celebration" will celebrate early, Jan. 4-5, with "Blue Hawaii" and "Jailhouse Rock" themed parties, karaoke, impersonators and an Elvis costume contest. Details: www.silverlegacy.com.

Year ahead in travel

Myanmar, New Zealand and Gettysburg are all on the travel radar for 2013. But the best pitch might just be coming from Ireland, which is calling all Irish-bred folks in the world to the Emerald Isle for a grass-roots homecoming called "The Gathering." For details, go to www.mercurynews.com/travel.


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Contact Linda Zavoral at travel@bayareanewsgroup.com or follow her at Twitter.com/buh_byeTravel.