Summer is traditionally a time for road trips, camping and lounging by the shore. But travelers seeking a more A-list getaway can spend their vacation time at high-profile, celebrity-owned destinations, which draw thousands of visitors every year. You can bet many of these visitors are hoping to write home about their brush with fame, even if they don't spot their sought-out celebrity. Here are some of our picks of destinations made famous by their owners.
Dolly Parton In 1986 singer and actress Dolly Parton bought a stake in a theme park called Silver Dollar City in her home state of Tennessee. She expanded the theme park, hired famous acts to perform concerts there and renamed it after herself, as Dollywood. The larger-than-life Dolly grew the park to twice its size and doubled its annual patronage. Each year 2.5 million people visit the park and hope to spot its star. The local town, Pigeon Forge, hosts an annual Dolly Parade, with extravagant floats and marching bands, but the biggest draw is the Grand Marshal herself, Dolly Parton. Additional country music and television idols up the star power and make this a guaranteed celebrity-sighting opportunity.
Justin Timberlake In the opposite corner of Tennessee, in Memphis, is a tourist attraction owned by another entrepreneuring hot shot: Justin Timberlake’s Mirimichi golf course. Like Dolly Parton, the crooner and film star is a native of the Volunteer State. He created an environmentally-friendly golf course there, which doubles as an Audubon Society-approved sanctuary, as a nod to local Native American principles and conservation practices. While the thousands of visitors each year are probably there to play golf at the world-class course, some will see the owner himself wandering the grounds, sometimes accompanied by his famous fiancee, Jessica Biel.
Francis Ford Coppola An A-list star on the other side of the camera, Francis Ford Coppola hosts visitors at an entirely different kind of tourist attraction: his winery in the American wine capital, Napa Valley. The acclaimed director, producer and screenwriter invested in winemaking as a family business in 1977. Since then, the site has developed far beyond the vineyards and now includes a restaurant, pool and park grounds. The Francis Ford Coppola Winery doesn’t shy away from flaunting its famous ownership: Coppola’s personal movie memorabilia are integrated throughout the vineyard buildings.
Jay-Z On the other side of the country, a nightclub attracts fans hoping to get a glimpse of hip-hop royalty. The first location of the 40/40 Club, now a chain, was established by rap star Jay-Z in New York City’s Flatiron district in 2003. It has since expanded to Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and will soon have a new location in the new Nets arena in Brooklyn. The club has served as party central for an eclectic range of celebrities that includes singer Ashanti, New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and business mogul Warren Buffett. Blue Ivy Carter’s parents, Beyoncé Knowles and Sean “Jay-Z” Carter have participated in the revelry there also, especially at club events like its 2012 re-opening after renovations and the afterparty for Jay-Z’s sold-out charity concert at Carnegie Hall.
Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian Globetrotters who like to indulge in a little retail therapy and celebrity-spotting head to Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian’s Miami clothing boutique, DASH. The reality television stars were first made famous by appearing on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but their work at DASH earned them their own spin-off series, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. That led the family to yet another spin-off, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, about the sisters opening up a DASH location in Manhattan’s trendy SoHo neighborhood. The boutique employees, called Dash Dolls, work the floor and sell pricey, contemporary threads, but the Kardashians themselves pop in unannounced for visits with camera crews not far behind.