Sunset Travel Awards: FAQs

Answers to common questions about our inaugural Sunset Travel Awards program

Why is Sunset offering Sunset Travel Awards program?

Sunset has been the authority on Western travel since its inception in 1898 as a promotional magazine for the Southern Pacific Railroad to attract tourists and would-be land buyers to the American West. Throughout more recent years, our readers have repeatedly asked for a program such as this one to spotlight the very best travel experiences in our footprint.

How much does it cost to enter?

The registration fee for paid categories is $400 for the first category and $75 for each additional category entered. To qualify for the discount, the subsequent entries must all pertain to the same physical location. (For example, a chain of hotels may not receive the discount for entering multiple properties operating under the same brand name.) Registration fees will not be refunded under any circumstance, including voluntary withdrawal from the competition.

When is the entry period?

Entries will be accepted at beginning September 8, 2014. The deadline for entries is November 25, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. Late entries will not be accepted.

My business/town is located outside the West. Can I still enter?

No. Sunset and focus exclusively on the 13 Western States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) of the U.S., plus British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.  Entries for towns or businesses operating outside these regions will not be eligible.

Can I pay by check, money order, or PayPal?

Unfortunately, we can only accept credit card payment (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express) at this time. We hope to add additional payment options to next year’s competition.

Do I need to send pictures with my entry?

Yes, a minimum of one photo is a required component of your entry, and you may submit up to three. The maximum file size per photo is 10MB., and they must be .jpg format.

How long should my entry essay be? What should it include?

Entries should be between 200 and 1,000 words and should address as many judging considerations for the category or categories being entered as is possible and/or relevant.  Judging considerations will be available at starting September 8, 2014.

Can I mail my entry information or payment?

No. Only entries and payments submitted through the form at will be considered.

When will finalists and winners be announced?

Finalists will be announced by January 15, 2015. Winners will be announced by May 25, 2015.

What is the prize?

Finalists will be featured on from the time of announcement until we open for entries again in late 2015. Winners will also be featured in a 2015 issue of Sunset magazine An official Sunset Travel Awards winner digital icon will be sent to all winners for use on their own promotional materials.

Can I modify my entry after it has been submitted?

No. Once an entry has been submitted, it may not be edited. Please take care to review your entry information at each step of the submission process.

What are the Sunset Travel Awards categories?

Categories are broken into eight groups: Cities & Towns; Guided Trips & Cruises; Lodging; Food & Drink; Spas/Wellness; Cultural Attractions; Theme & Amusement Parks; and nonpaid Editorial Categories.

Cities & Towns:

  • Best Beach Town
  • Best Food Town
  • Best Ski Town
  • Best Adventure Town
  • Best Arts Town
  • Best Municipal Makeover / Reinvention

Guided Trips & Cruises:

  • Best Guided Outdoors Trip
  • Best Western Cruise


  • Best Hotel / Resort for Families
  • Best Renovation of a Hotel, Motel, B&B, Cabin
  • Best Hotel/Resort Restaurant
  • Best Hotel/Resort for Pets
  • Best Year-Round Ski Resort
  • Best Wine Country Hotel/Resort
  • Best Casino Resort Attraction
  • Best Luxury Camping
  • Best Hotel Pool

Food & Drink:

  • Best Tasting Room/Vineyard Experience
  • Best Brewery Tour

Spas / Wellness:

  • Best Wellness Destination/Resort

Cultural Attractions:

  • Best Cultural Attraction
  • Best New Cultural Attraction

Theme & Amusement Parks:

  • Best Amusement Park Ride
  • Best Animal Park/Zoo/Aquarium for Young Naturalists
  • Best Behind-the-Scenes Experience

*Editorial Categories:

  • Best State/Regional/City Park Addition/Restoration/Renovation
  • Best National Park Addition or Restoration/Renovation
  • Best Public Garden
  • The Campground We Just Can’t Stay Away From
  • Best Newly Saved Landmark/Neighborhood
  • Most Outrageous Roadside Attraction
  • Best Wilderness Guide
  • Western Icon Awards

*Editorial categories are not open for entries. Sunset’s editorial staff will nominate and vote on the winners in these unpaid categories.

Can I submit my business to more than one category?

Yes! You may submit your business or town to as many categories as you like.  Registration for the first category is $400, while subsequent entries for the same location cost $75 each.

I have a question that wasn't answered here. Do you have a contact email address for the Sunset Travel Awards?

Yes. Please email with any additional questions.

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