my boyfriend just got the Canon Powershot SX120 IS for christmas, I think it's perfect if you dont want to spend mad bucks $$, Its a step down from an SLR but it still has manual functions, it's pretty sweetlovelove,http://marissaexplains.blogspot.com
I'm a huge fan of the Cannon ELPH Cameras. Or if you're looking for something with more options Nikon's DSLRs are pretty awesome. And check out beachcamera.com for prices, they can have really good sales
Go for the Nikon D40! It's a DSLR, but it's relatively cheap compared to other DSLRs. I've had mine for about 3 years and have absolutely loved it. It takes fantastic photos, it's a good size and weight [not too big and heavy, unlike more expensive cameras] and Nikon has great lenses. I think it's worth it to spend a bit more money and get a DSLR instead of a point-and-shoot.Good luck camera shopping!
Thanks for stopping by!