Our guest post and monthly column comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association's annual international writing contest. His prize winning story, Houseboating with My Pirate Pals, was in the Intergenerational Travel category. In 2010 he also received a second place award in the Cancun International writers competition for his feature, Quintessential Quintana Roo. Hian was recently named as the San Diego Hotel Motel Association's "Allied Member of the Year" for 2011 for his ongoing contributions to the city's tourism industry through his travel writing. 

San Diego - Think nautical. Balboa Park's San Diego Natural History Museum marks the 100th. anniversary of the Titanic's maiden voyage and its sinking. Titanic: The Artifact Collection runs through September 9 and includes the ship's design and construction, the voyage and onboard life, continuing through the disaster and its aftermath. The show features 200 artifacts retrieved from the wreck site. Entrance includes admission to concurrent exhibitions and movies in the 3-D Theater. For tickets and discount information, logon to www.sdnhm.org.

The historic USS Midway, www.midway.org, is located downtown at the Navy Pier on San Diego Bay. Its history began shortly after WW II and stretched 47 years through Operation Desert Storm. It's the most visited floating ship museum in the world and features more than 25 restored aircraft and 60 exhibits.

The Maritime Museum is building a replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's flagship, the San Salvador, which was the vessel that first sailed into San Diego Harbor in 1542. It will be on exhibit as part of the Museum's fleet of historic ships. Fun facts: The cost is approximately $6 million to build and it will weigh 200 tons, including 175,000 pounds of lead for ballast (Cabrillo used rocks). It will be 92' long and measure 33' from the bottom of the keel to the top of the poop deck. During construction, it can be visited on Harbor Drive near the airport. Note: If you have an interest in volunteering to build the ship, call 1-949-289-8400. For more, go to the San Salvador page at www.sdmaritime.org.

Irvine - Located in the center of Orange County, vacationers can enjoy golfing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, shopping, arts, dining, special events and the city's proximity to the beaches and world-famous attractions. 41 things to do in Irvine can be found at www.destinationirvine.com. Through August, some hotels are offering specials and discounts ranging from credits to gas cards. The Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial is the nation's only tribute dedicated to remembering by name all the fallen American service members in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. More can be found at www.northwoodmemorial.com.