The Most Magical Family Vacation Destinations in Europe

Traveling across the Atlantic may be the most magical experience you’ve ever had in years.  Not only is Europe the destination of choice for honeymooners or singles in search of a little romance, but it’s become the choice for wide-eyed, dropped jawed parents with kids.

Let’s look at just 5 exquisite destinations in Europe that will you’re your trip from mediocre to unforgettable.

1. Copenhagen, DenmarkCopenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital, as it’s filled with magical wonders and ‘under the sea’ adventures. The Blue Planet is the National Aquarium and the largest aquarium in Northern Europe. Instead of mindless wondering, your kids will experience an educational tour that stimulates their young scientific minds and will also have you captivated. Then there’s the National Museum, Rosenberg Castle, Tivoli Gardens and the iconic Little Mermaid bronze sculpture.

2. Amsterdam, NetherlandsAmsterdam, Netherlands

The first thought that runs through the minds of adults is ‘no-way’!  It may surprise you but Amsterdam is a quiet city to enjoy as a family.  It a good option to hop on a tram and head towards the Rijksmuseum.  This spectacular museum comprises of the largest collection of Dutch art.  Get off the road and onto the Canal Cruise for a different perspective of Amsterdam.  Observe the houseboats and narrow side-by-side homes that line the canal on all sides. Then there’s Rembrandtplein; Jordaan neighborhood and Dam Square.  The infamous Red Light District might not be a good idea after dark especially if you have kids with you.  However, the attractions of the previous sites would be enough to have your kids exhausted by nightfall.

3. Paris, FranceParis, France

Visit the famous Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Chateau de Versailles.  Luxembourg Gardens will provide your kids endless fun with boat rides and carousel rides.  All these mind-boggling sites will make you wish you were a kid again.  You can also take advantage of booking e-tickets or simply plan your program with the Welcome to Paris multilingual program available in the App Store and Google play.  Finally, Paris is known as the ‘City of Love’ so wind down your visit to this city with a glass of wine and a lot of romance.

4. Reykjavik, IcelandReykjavik, Iceland

Being the world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavik offers fascinating geographic wonders.  It’s a place to experience geothermal springs, dress up in Viking armor or even view some of the largest mammals on Earth close up.  This city is a dream for parents as Reykjavik is known to be safe, clean and family friendly.

5. London, EnglandLondon, England

Childhood memories are brought back to life in London, the birthplace of classics like Peter Pan, Paddington Bear, and Winnie-the-Pooh.  When you think you’ve gotten over the dizziness of your childhood memories, turn your attention to the London Eye (the iconic riverside observation wheel), Buckingham Palace (home of the British Queen), Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.  The entertainment list in London is endless from Trafalgar Square to National Galleries and don’t forget the London Bridge Experience.

To wet your appetite, let me just leave you with the thought that your journey does not have to end here.  There is still Barcelona (Spain), Vienna (Austria), Rome (Italy), Berlin (Germany) and Lisbon (Portugal) that fall into the balance of the top 10 cities to visit in Europe.

The 10 Travel Destinations you Need To Put on Your Bucket List

It’s a great big, beautiful world out there, with so many choices of stunning travel destinations that it’s not easy deciding where to set your sights when seeking the adventure of a lifetime. Not everyone has the luxury of regular travel to glamorous destinations, so for those of us who aim to see at least one magical place before it’s too late, narrowing your options down to just one or two choices can be quite tough. If indecision is standing in the way of your dreams then let’s simplify the choice for you; we’ve handpicked 10 breathtaking destinations which you absolutely must see in your lifetime.

1. Touring Through the Alhambra in Granada, SpainAlhambra in Granada, Spain

The Alhambra is a palace in Granada which dates as far back as 889 AD. The Moors gave it a renovation in the 11th Century, making it a rich historical and cultural experience. This historical monument’s architecture is beautifully intricate and lavishly decorated, guaranteed to both fascinate and inspire.

2. Sledding or Snowboarding down an Active Volcano in NicaraguaVolcano Boarding

Are you a sledding or snowboarding enthusiast? Well, you haven’t lived until you have tried your hand at volcano boarding at Cerro Negro, an active volcano located just outside of León in Nicaragua. The volcano requires a 2388 foot hike up loose, penny-sized volcanic rock, which you then sled or snowboard downhill at a thrilling 30 mph!

3. Go Swimming In Iceland, in the Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon

In a lava field in Southwest Iceland found approximately an hour away from the capital Reyjavík is a geothermal 100°F spa known as the Blue Lagoon. The man-made lagoon appears blue when the sunlight hits it due to its rich silica content, and it also contains algae and mineral contents which are purported to have many healing properties. It is fed by geothermal seawater. 279

4. Releasing a Candle in Thailand during the Yi Peng FestivalYi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai

The Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand is a religious ceremony celebrated by the Thai people in which they release glowing lanterns into the sky and make a wish as they pay homage to the Buddha. A week later a second lantern release festival is hosted to give the foreigners a turn to participate, along with fireworks and colorful parades running through the city all through the weekend.

5. Diving with Crocodiles in Wild AfricaDiving with Crocodiles in Wild Africa

If you’re looking for a destination that offers you the chance to be really brave, then travel down to South Africa and meet one of the most terrifying ancient creatures on earth. Crocs have 4 times the bite pressure of the great white shark, getting up close and personal will be the most intense things you will ever experience. You can dive with Nile crocodiles in a bite-proof cage at the Cango Wildlife ranch in Oudtshoorn, South Africa.

6. Exploring the Wildlife of the Galápagos IslandsGalapagos Iceland

The Galápagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Island. Charles Darwin, the evolutionary theorist, spent many years in Ecuador studying the Islands’ vast number of species which are totally unique to the island. See creatures you won’t find anywhere else, like giant tortoises, tiny penguins, and blue-footed boobies.

7. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, TurkeyHot Air Ballooning

How better to enjoy Turkeys panoramic vistas, the charming hoodoos, and the balmy weather than in a hot-air balloon floating in the sky? In Cappadocia the sky is littered with them.

8. Wondering Through Japan’s Sagano Bamboo ForestSagano Bamboo Forest

Japan’s Sagano Bamboo Forest sits just outside of Kyoto. Take a walk through a magical world of the bamboo stalks towering abundantly and majestically above you, creaking spookily in the wind.

9. Swinging in Ecuador at the End Of The WorldSwinging in Ecuador

The ‘end of the world’ refers to La Casa del Arbol in Baños, Ecuador. Here you’ll find a tree house, which is actually a seismic monitoring station, with a non-acrophobes swing which hangs over the crater of an active stratovolcana called Mount Tungarahua.

10. Cruising through Vietnam’s Hạ Long BayCruising through Vietnam’s Hạ Long Bay

Picture a bay of emerald green waters dotted with towering limestone rainforest islands. The Gulf of Tonkin’s Hạ Long Bay features over 1600 generally uninhabited islets and islands, making it an ideal tourist destination for outdoor appreciators such as hikers, rock climbers, and scuba divers.

The 10 Best Getaway Beach Resorts around the World

Everyone fantasizes about the ultimate beach holiday; the stuff dreams are made of. The perfect pearly white sands, crystal clear blue waters, the scenery set with perfect palm trees blowing in the wind near rustic beach huts.

We have compiled a list of some of the most inviting beach resorts that have caught the eye of many a dreamer.

Rosalie Bay Resort, DominicaRosalie Bay Resort, Dominica

Perfect surroundings from gardens to mountains and miles of coastline – it doesn’t get any better. Here you can hike to the second largest volcanic heated body of water, enjoy a relaxing spa treatment and take sunset walks along the shore. This is one of the most spectacular beachside resorts on the Atlantic Ocean.

Peter Island, British Virgin IslandsPeter Island Resort

Peter Island Resort is the only one on the entire island, if you are looking for a break from anything remotely resembling city living then this is definitely the place to for you. The resort boasts a one of a kind spa for those looking for a relaxing massage, cleansing, and some aromatherapy as well as private plunge pools when you are looking to cool off.

Costa Alegre, MexicoCosta Alegre

It is no coincidence that the name translates to “cheerful coast.” This getaway at El Tamarindo resort is breathtaking. Few places can compete with the pristine green lawns, brilliant blue waters, and pure white sand. This stunning resort boasts a purifying treatment spa as well as some of the best seafood available to tantalize your taste buds.

Gold Coast, BarbadosSandy Lane Resort

Lavish resorts don’t come close to the Sandy Lane Resort on the Gold Coast of Barbados. Here there are stretches of beachfront as far as the eye can see, water as clear as glass and luxuries as you have never experienced before. They even have their own full golf course carved out a limestone quarry. Need we say more?

Four Seasons Resort, BaliFour Seasons Resort

What would a holiday be without the Four Seasons Group? Boasting Infinity Jacuzzis and their own cooking school you can have your cake and eat it, on the holiday, in Bali. How perfect could it get?

Rayavadee Krabi, ThailandRayavadee Krabi, Thailand

Who would have thought that your beach holiday could include elephant rides? Well here is one resort that can make that dream come true. Aside from that, you can climb 1000 steps to the temple at Tiger Cave or just simply drink in the sunshine while lying on the sandy white beaches enjoying the scenery of the mangrove forest engulfing the island.

Letaha Island and Resort, Raiatea, French PolynesiaLetaha Island and Resort

Enjoy spending time in the luxury cabins that are built over the turquoise ocean waters. Submerge your life in the ocean lifestyle and explore incredible pearl farms and snorkel through coral forests; this is the full package, you won’t find anywhere closer to the sea!

Hacienda Encantada Resort and Spa, Cabo, San LucasHacienda Encantada Resort and Spa

This stunning resort boasts a lost city feel with gorgeous stone-faced buildings, perfect dipping pools, and awe-inspiring scenery. The resort has five unique on-site restaurants so you will never feel the need to leave the comfort of the resort in this all intoxicating paradise, though Cabo does have some amazing experiences awaiting the wander lusting traveler.

Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa, PhilippinesShangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa

This optimizes all that a beach resort holiday should be. Only accessible by sea and the only resort on the island with everything you could possibly need, sun beds, seashells, day spas and absolutely delicious food. Who said perfect wasn’t possible?

Couples Swept Away Resort, Negril JamaicaCouples Swept Away Resort, Negril Jamaica

With everything aimed at sun and water this resort has it covered. Their incredible pool scenery is something out of a fairytale. You won’t believe it with your own eyes. Gorgeous! There is just no other word to describe it.

The 6 Most Spiritual Journeys Around the World You Can Embark On

If you are in a place in your life where you need to take some time off to assess where you are and who you are in life and where you fit into this big wide world, then you are ripe for a spiritual journey. The aim is not to find the answer but rather to keep asking questions, to keep seeking the next adventure. Each journey is unique and there is no wrong way to get it done but we have selected some good places to start.

If you are ready to embark on a life-changing pilgrimage then fear not, there are destinations that will blow your mind and need not kill your bank account. You can go on the most spiritually significant trip you will ever experience with memories you will never forget. Here are 6 stunning metaphysical destinations for you to set your sights on.

1. IndiaIndia

India is a spiritual hub of many major religions and can be a spectacular experience for the spiritually-minded, giving you an opportunity to learn about Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. One awe-inspiring place to check out is Rishikesh, a city which sits alongside the Himalayas, which has attracted many spiritual leaders who have established yoga retreats and ashrams.

You can also travel to the Source of the Ganges, the holiest river of Hinduism, which begins in Uttar Pradesh in the Himalayan peaks and runs all the way over 2000km into the Bay of Bengal. Regarded as the Holiest of Holies, many thousands of Hindus make their way to the source near Gangotri every year on a spiritual pilgrimage.

2. JapanJapan

Japan is the home of many zen gardens, shrines, and temples and makes a stunning spiritual journey destination if you are looking for inner peace. Take a look at the 88 Temple Circuit on Shikoku Island. The island houses 88 temples, representing all of the evil human passions which Buddhist doctrine outline. The aim of traveling this circuit is to free yourself from each of these passions one by one.

The circuit, which begins at Tokushima, is a 1500km route and was traditionally walked, despite the fact that some of the temples are as many as 100kms apart. These days however, it is totally acceptable to complete this pilgrimage on the tour bus, most of which do the circuit clockwise.

3. PeruPeru

Travel to Peru to see Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Here you will get a glimpse into the legendary Incas and their link to star travelers. You odyssey can include a chance to see some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world, like Ollantaytamo, Saqsayhuaman, the Andes Mountains, Lake Titicaca and the magnificent Amazon Rainforest.

4. StonehengeStonehenge

Stonehenge is regarded as one of the greatest mysteries of mankind and is one of the most magnetically charged locations on the globe. No other place in history has ever generated as much mystery and speculation as these stones, the sheer size of which will have you in complete awe.

5. BaliBali

Bali can be one of the most spiritually rewarding and renewing destinations you can embark on a spiritual odyssey to. Known for its yoga retreats, healthy organic eating, and spiritual healers, your spiritual journey offers you a chance to heal, to release, to grow and to surrender your stress on a beautiful island firmly rooted in the quest for continued spiritual growth and the practice of mediation.

6. SedonaSedona

Known for its spiritual energy, Sedona in Arizona, USA is home to many shamans, reiki healers, and psychics. If you love hiking, star gazing and getting as close to nature as possible then Sedona is just the place for you.

Backpacking Through Asia – The Adventure of a Lifetime

Asia is a continent that is truly remarkable for a number of reasons. The abundance of culture and amazing landscapes make it the perfect place to go backpacking. On top of that, backpacking in Asia is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to travel. Finding a starting point for your adventures will be the least of your concerns as there are numerous spots that have peaked interest across the world. Here are a few backpacker favorites:

Thailand Thailand

Thailand is known for offering a top class backpacking experience. It will most certainly be easy to travel lightly there as the weather conditions in this tropical paradise call for minimal layers. There are few people who have any critiques of their experience in Thailand as there is plenty of things to do no matter what type of activities you enjoy.

People who are out there for the cultural experience can visit mesmerizing ancient temples. There is also a number of fascinating museums like the National Museum of Royal Barges in Bangkok. On the other hand, one can spend countless hours swimming in the warm ocean if they have a bit more energy to kill.

VietnamVietnam

Just next door to Thailand is scenic Vietnam. One of the perks of traveling in Asia is that traveling from one country to the next is not much of a hassle. This is because many of the south-eastern countries of Asia are incredibly small in comparison to the likes of America. To put that into perspective a single state in the US, Texas, is larger than the whole of Vietnam. That does not mean that Vietnam has nothing to offer.

An interesting aspect of the Vietnamese experience is traveling on a motorcycle. This has become a popular form of transport in the country. Backpackers often travel from Hanoi to Saigon and whether they are on a motorcycle or not, the mountains, waterfalls and friendly locals make it a worthwhile experience.

ChinaChina

Thailand and Vietnam are two of the most visited countries for backpackers because of their beauty and affordability. However, China might be a good idea for a backpacker who wants a truly world class adventure and has a bit more money to spend. China’s capital, Beijing, is home to the legendary Great Wall of China.

Hiking this world-renowned landmark would be a life changing experience for anyone trying to have a memorable trip. Nevertheless, backpacking isn’t all about the outdoor experiences. China’s cosmopolitan lifestyle is just as inviting for any shoppers out there. The Beijing Yintai Center, one of China’s most popular malls, is over 1 million square feet.

Being aware of the amazing places to backpack in Asia is truly exciting, but in order to make sure you have the best time possible remember to consider your options. If you want your adventure to last a couple of weeks, or even months, then consider staying in hostels or camping as a form of accommodation. Some of the best experiences come from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and if that means sleeping under stars once or twice it can still be a wonderful time.

Another seemingly obvious idea is to maintain a budget. Each day in Asia will be so much better if you have allocated enough money towards it. On the topic of planning it’s best to be sure of what you will be doing each day. If you doubt you’ll be able to do it on your own, then consider joining a planned tour with a travel agency.

7 of the Best Shopping Vacation Spots you can Visit

Very few things in life are as satisfying as a vacation. Well deserved (or not), nothing quite beats packing your bags and being on your way to your holiday destination. The only thing that tops going on vacation, is shopping while on vacation. So if you always leave extra room in your luggage or are blessed enough to come back home with an extra bag- then here is a quick guide to the world’s seven best shopping vacation spots you can visit.

5 Winter Sports Destinations to Die For

It’s never too early (nor too late) to start planning your next winter break, and lovers of all things white and wonderful are in for a treat when they visit any of these top worldwide winter sports destinations.

North America
Park City Mountain ResortPark City Mountain Resort

According to ZRankings, the authority on such things in the United States, Park City Mountain Resort in Utah topped the list of desirable ski destinations for 2016. This winter favorite is nestled in 7300 acres of prime snow-sports real estate with opportunities for both slope and cross-country skiing. Add to this, wonderful scenic beauty, easy accessibility from Salt Lake City International airport and thrilling off-piste activities and you have a winning formula for your next winter vacation.

Apart from skiing, activities include a unique zip line, sleigh rides, cross-country snowshoe trails and thrilling coaster rides through the snow.

RevelstokeRevelstoke

Across the border in Canada, you can’t go wrong at rustic Revelstoke, where steep and open powder faces beckon to the skiing enthusiast. The pistes are long and well maintained and you can even try out over 500 000 acres of pristine heli-skiing terrain, or some awesome tree skiing.

Revelstoke town is a laid-back place to relax after a thrilling day on the slopes where you can choose from a small selection of friendly bars and restaurants to while away the evenings.

This resort is remote and exclusive, perfect for those who dislike queues and crowds.

Europe

This chilly continent is well known for winter-sports destinations par excellence, and it is difficult to choose just a few from the many wonderful resorts available.

Meribel, FranceMeribel

Located in the famous Three Valleys ski domain, this area is a delight for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, with a fantastic range of terrain, and great opportunities for après-ski adventures.

Several bars and restaurants dotted along the slopes offer refreshment and amusement for those who want to tag along on foot, or by means of the gondolas, with their skiing-buddies. Nearby, the Olympic district of Chaudanne also offers a full-size ice rink, spa, indoor climbing wall and swimming pool for non-skiing days. You will find no shortage of places to sample fine French cuisine or enjoy a night on the town here either.

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland

What better way to spend your winter vacation than in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn, which lends its silhouette to Toblerone chocolates? Zermatt is awash with winter sporting adventures from advanced skiing to sightseeing from thrilling lookout points high up on the slopes.

Staying at this exclusive ski-resort can be expensive, but it is well worth saving your pennies to partake in the ultra-luxurious in-house facilities such as shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, spas, swimming pools, squash, indoor tennis courts, ice rinks, bowling alleys, and gyms.

St Anton, AustriaSt Anton, Austria

St Anton is famous as a party paradise for winter-sports lovers. Here you can let your hair down to the tune of local oompah bands, DJ’s and live acts, dine in jovial restaurants and shop until you drop in quaint tourist stores.

When you take to the slopes however, this resort means business. Try out the challenging routes on the slopes of the well-known Gampen and Kapall Mountains or the notorious peaks of Galzig and the Valluga for some of the world’s most exciting skiing challenges.

These are just a few of our best options for a winter vacation beyond compare, what are your favorites?

Why Key Largo is better than Key West for Scuba Diving

Key Largo, Florida is the first of the many Florida Keys and often overlooked by tourists. Perhaps it is because of the news media and Hollywood productions that highlight Key West more than Key Largo, but everyone thinks that Key West is the place to go for diving. There are certainly lots of reasons to visit Key West.

    • Ernest Hemingway
    • Wyland Gallery
    • The few Florida Keys beaches
    • 20 annual events
    • Old Town architecture
    • Diving
Key West Scuba Diving

Key West Scuba Diving

Key West is also full of various bars, restaurants, and an accepting population of all people. Fort Zachary Taylor, Key West Lighthouse, and West Martello Tower are just a few of the attractions.

For scuba diving, you need to know your stuff. The reefs in Key West are on walls, which can be over 200 feet deep. As a diver, you need to be able to keep your wits about you, pay attention to your depth and enjoy the beauty. While beautiful, Key West is also over populated with divers. For decades, everyone traveled to the reefs as the only Florida Keys dive place to truly go. Now, you have hundreds of visitors a year, some damaged areas of the reef walls, and most wreck dives are below 80 feet.

If you want to scuba dive with nothing in mind, but the beauty, then it has to be Key Largo. Sure, you are going to check your gauges to determine if you are going the proper direction, have plenty of air, and dive safe. But, with diving in Key Largo, you have more time underwater. Many of the dive locations are 20 to 30 feet down to the bottom when you want to dive reefs or wrecks.

You can choose the USS Spiegel Grove or USS Duane for deep dives, but Eagle Ray Alley, Benwood Wreck, Christ of the Abyss, and City of Washington are all within 20 to 30 feet depths.

The water is so clear in Key Largo, on most days that you can see the dive boat without having to go to the surface, in the event you get a little disoriented in the alleys or along the wrecks’.

There have been days, when the head of the Christ Statute is almost above the surface, as well as some of the reefs.

Since everyone tends to overlook Key Largo for diving and heads straight to Key West, you can expect plenty of days when you can dive with 10 to 20 people on your tour boat, and maybe 100 in the water versus triple that number in Key West.

Besides the scuba diving, Key Largo has its own charm. As a beautiful town, where the highway is often surrounded by water and mangroves on both sides, you can truly see the ocean, gulf, and the beauty of living on a strip of land. There are plenty of equally great restaurants for dining that are more affordable than Key West, ensuring you can fulfill your craving for seafood and fish after your morning and afternoon dives. You can even throw in a night dive because you know you will have the dive time left over after the shallow 30 foot dive you do earlier in the day.

Visiting San Antonio – You Can See More Than The Alamo

San Antonio, Texas is known first and foremost for the Alamo. The Battle of the Alamo, which occurred in 1836, was an important event in Texas history. In fact, the Texas army was able to defeat the Mexican army due to the Battle of the Alamo. It was a fight that ended in Crockett, Bowie, and Travis dying and perhaps becoming three of the most famous men in this period of history. Bowie is known for the knives named after him and Crockett was known as a folk hero and adventurer.

The Alamo has since been repaired after the fight left it nearly decimated. You can take tours of the inside and outside landscape, enjoying the history as told by Texans. But, there is much more than just the Alamo to see while you are in San Antonio.

Here are the top three places you will also want to go:

  1. Fiesta Texas

    Fiesta Texas Park

    Fiesta Texas Park

    This is an adventure park and part of the Six Flags brand name. Fiesta Texas has had a reputation as one of the best parks in the United States for roller coasters and they have not lost this deserved praise. In 1992 the Rattler was opened as the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the entire world. It stood 179 feet tall at the highest point, with a first drop of 166 feet, and a speed of 73 miles per hour. In just two years, it had to be reduced to 124 feet for the drop, to lessen the speed to 65 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the wooden coaster is no longer, having been replaced by the Iron Rattler. Today it has a 171 foot drop, returning it to its former glory, as well as 70 miles per hour. It is safer, but still an amazing ride. Besides the numerous roller coasters, there are water rides, and special Texan based entertainments like 1800s style restaurants.

  2. Sea World

    SeaWorld San Antonio

    SeaWorld San Antonio

    for those who want to learn about the ocean and its many creatures, there is Sea World. Here, the folks take care of their animals and love what they do. San Antonio has been the top go to park for Sea World Camps for young want to be biologists, as well as hundreds of visitors wishing to know more about sea life.

  3. The Riverwalk

    The Riverwalk san antonio

    The Riverwalk san antonio

    Downtown San Antonio is home to the Riverwalk, where you can find numerous restaurants, shops, and an unrivaled ambiance. The city offers canal tours of the river, which runs through and under the Riverwalk Mall. Along the river is the Aztec on the River, International Center, Arneson River Theater, and Torch of Friendship. You can also enjoy a stop at the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum Texas Ranger Museum, which is just one block from the river on the corner of College and North Presa.

San Antonio has a different charm than other Texan cities. It has a sophistication that rivals Charleston, South Carolina, and Savanah, Georgia.

Vancouver, BC – When to Go and What to See

Vancouver, British Columbia is a city filled with history, beauty, and activities for all ages. Whether you wish to take a tour of the city by horse drawn carriage or a harbor cruise to get a different perspective, you can. For your holiday to Vancouver, it is important to plan correctly.

Vancouver’s northwestern location makes the winters cold and snowy, and the summers warm and enjoyable. However, it is also a part of the North American temperate rainforest, so there are many gray, drizzly days. The best time to visit to avoid most of the rainy weather and have a sunny day or three is late spring/early summer. In May, June, and early July you can expect the days to be filled with more sun than sprinkling rain. If you wish to avoid the many tourists who flock to Vancouver and find a more affordable trip to Canada, consider September. You may find more gray days, but fewer tourists will be around than in the spring and summer months.

Where to start? There are too many beautiful places to see in Vancouver to enjoy it all in one week or even two, but perhaps these highlights will solve your desires to enjoy Vancouver until your next vacation.

  1. Capilano Suspension Bridge

    Capilano Suspension Bridge

    Capilano Suspension Bridge

    Even if you have a dislike for heights, this is a must see. The suspension bridge is 450 feet long and 230 feet above the Capilano River. The canyon is filled with lush fir trees and fern plants. The bridge is just a part of the Treetops Adventure and a Cliffwalk you can take.

  2. Vancouver Aquarium

    Vancouver Aquarium

    Vancouver Aquarium

    This next adventure is perfect for anyone who loves ocean mammals, whether you are a kid or an adult. The aquarium has more than 50,000 species from the Amazon to the Arctic. They offer a dolphin, beluga whale, and sea otter shows, as well as some hands-on animal encounters.

  3. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

    Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

    Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

    The Chinese Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens created in North America, bringing a piece of Chinese history and meditation to the continent. It is an authentic garden and well kept. Here you can walk along beautifully manicured pathways, feel relaxed with the many water, rock, and plant features, as well as the Chinese architecture.

  4. Science World

    Science World

    Science World

    It is more than a science museum. In fact, it is one of the coolest science based activities in the world. Their exhibitions offer science demonstrations, immersive IMAX films, and shows in the Science Theater. They have a dome that hosts science and technology exhibits for all ages. You can also explore Nanoscience.

  5. Grouse Mountain

    Grouse Mountain

    Grouse Mountain

    if you take a land tour and a harbor tour, then you don’t want to miss out on the Grouse Mountain tour. It is a memorable adventure using a tram that starts 20 minutes outside of downtown and takes you up to the top of the mountain.

Vancouver, BC has more attractions than just these, from skiing in winter to numerous museums that you may also want to add to your list.

Touring the US to See Wyland Whaling Walls

For years Wyland has been a well-known name in the USA, with regards to ocean inspired art. Wyland is an environmentalist, and scuba diver. Before he began his artistic endeavors, Wyland spent 14 years diving around the world. He has brought these images to life in sculptures, paintings, prints, and his whaling walls.

Wyland Whaling Walls

Wyland Whaling Walls

Wyland was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1956 and first started making paintings of dinosaurs when he was four. On a visit to California in 1970, he saw his first gray whale migration. Two years later he started painting dolphins and whales. In 1974, he painted his first mural called Alps Mountain in Royal Oak Michigan.

Since 1977, Wyland has toured the world painting what are known as his “whaling walls.” Several of his walls are in California. Depending on your desires, you could start at his first mural in Michigan or travel to California to see the dozens of walls he has painted in the state before traversing other areas of the USA.

The “Whaling Wall” concept was started because Wyland wanted a larger canvas for his work. He finished the first official Whaling Wall in 1981 in Laguna Beach, California. It is 140 feet wide and 14 feet high.

His next wall was completed in Dana Point, California. One of the easiest to see is at Sea World in San Diego California. It is called One Man Show.

In 1984, he unveiled four new whaling walls. The first was Walling Wall III in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Two were completed in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. His fourth for the year was completed as Whaling Wall V and is located in Seattle Washington.

For a tour of his whaling walls, you might start in California, drive up through Oregon, stop in Tacoma to see his XXI whaling wall and visit Seattle to see the 1984 wall, before crossing the border into Canada.

For some of Wyland’s walls you will need to travel to Hawaii. If you have a desire to see Hawaii and need another excuse to plan the holiday, then make certain you stop in Honolulu, as well as two other locations on Oahu, Hawaii.

For a southern vacation, traverse various cities of Florida. There are two whaling walls in Orlando, as well as one in Sarasota on the Mote Marine Laboratories building, which is a local aquarium dedicated to preserving the oceans and the lives that depend on it. To finish your tour of Florida, head to Marathon Keys, and Key West.

If you wish to broaden your trip to see Wyland whaling walls, you’ll have to expand your trip out of North America. Wyland has also produced work in Japan and Australia. A tour of Wyland’s work in Japan would take you to Funabashi and Osaka. He produced two walls in Australia located in Bundaburg and Sydney. There is also a wall in Nice, France.

His art truly takes you below the ocean waves, as well as on the surface, where the whales come up to breathe. It is work that makes you feel a part of the scene because of the detail and near 3D quality of the images.

Touring North Carolina’s Coast – Looking for Pirate History

North Carolina is known for its pirate lore and history. The coast was perfect for treacherous pirates to do their work during the height of the pirate period. Although, at the same time the coast was extremely dangerous for those who didn’t know where the dangerous rocks resided. North Carolina is known for its “Graveyard of the Atlantic” where many ships fell, not because of war, but because of the dangerous rocks barely covered by the ocean. Those who charted the area could slip in during the dark hours and bring their stolen loot onto the shore.

Blackbeard

Blackbeard

North Carolina was home to Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, one of the most feared pirates. But, he was not the only one to leave his mark on the Outerbanks and areas such as Bath. Plenty of pirates learned the treacherous pathway to make it ashore and protect, even sell the items they stole from the East and West India companies, as well as other ships sailing from Europe, South America, and the world.

Blackbeard

Blackbeard is the most famous pirate, perhaps because he has a movie about him, as well as plenty of books and other media. North Carolina does its part to bring forth his history to anyone who will listen and travel to Beaufort, Bath, and Ocracoke.

Edward Teach began his career aboard the Queen Anne’s War, joining the pirate crew and eventually taking over a French ship. He renamed the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge, and began his infamous captaining as a buccaneer. He ran a blockade in front of Charleston, South Carolina’s harbor. He also ran his ship aground in Beautfort Inlet to take his treasure to a safe place. However, his actual home was in Bath. Captain Robert Maynard was responsible for Teach’s end, when Maynard drew him onto his ship and laid in wait to kill Teach and his crew.

Stede Bonnet

Bonnet was almost as notorious as Edward Teach. He was known as “The Gentleman Pirate” because he was born to wealth. He also owned a plantation on Barbados prior to becoming a pirate. In 1717, bonnet joined Blackbeard’s fleet naming his ship Revenge. Bonnet did not last long with Teach, as Blackbeard turned against him in the Beaufort Inlet incident. Bonnet was able to get a pardon in Bath, get a new ship, and started sailing with revenge in mind, under the name Captain Thomas. He was only a pirate for a year before he was hanged for his buccaneer ways.

Charles Vane

Vane spent most of his time in Ocracoke. He was notorious as a cunning, cruel captain, who would cheat his men of their part of the treasure. He would run ships to ground, seize their goods and often capture their crew. He also took the port of Nassau, rejected a royal pardon, and shot the new governor. Unfortunately, his career came to an end when a hurricane marooned him on an island and the only rescue came from a ship that recognized him as a pirate.

On a tour of the Outerbanks, you can enjoy more of this history by visiting Ocracoke, Money Island, Beaufort, and traveling inland to Bath.

Tour the US National Parks

The 100th anniversary of national parks is on most US residents’ minds, if they live near a national park or traveled for summer 2016. These beautiful places were established because of a few men’s belief that the landscape should be protected and preserved for future generations. But, which National Parks should you make time to see on your holiday or vacation? Is there a way to tour more than one national park, while you have a week or two weeks off from work? Discover some of the best national parks to tour, when you have two weeks.

 Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Most of the US National Parks are in the western states. A start in Yellowstone can bring you two weeks of amazing views, stunning natural geysers, and wildlife. Bison, moose, elk, deer, and small mammals can be spotted with a trip through Yellowstone. You have four entrances to choose from, depending on where you are driving from or flying into. Yellowstone is a great two-week tour on its own, or you can take a week there and head south through Utah. Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and the Arches are all on the southern border of Utah, near Colorado, which is close to four National Parks.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and the Arches are in the desert of Utah. Here you are going to see striking rock formations like the Chimney Rock pillar, Hickman Bridge, and the white sandstone domes. Capitol Reef is sixty miles of park land from the north to the south. Canyonlands National Park is known for its flat-topped mesas and Horseshoe Canyon, which has a Native American rock painting on it. Canyonlands has a total area of 527 square miles, but you can enjoy the main road in a day, depending on whether you wish to stop and hike any of the trails. The Arches are also in the desert of Utah and known for their red sand formations. With three days in this area, you would still have time to see the four parks in and around Colorado.

Gunnison National Park

Gunnison National Park

You will want to start with Black Canyon of the Gunnison. You will be taken from the desert landscape to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which stretch from Mexico up to Canada. The Black Canyon is named for the black cliff walls, the river that runs through the canyon and the beautiful waterfalls. Roads and trails will take you through the north and south rims of the canyon where you can see Precambrian rock and the Painted Wall cliff. Golden eagles, elk, deer, and other birds are often spotted in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde, which is further south, is the home to an ancient Anasazi site. It will leave you speechless and be the perfect way for you to turn northeast towards the Great Sand Dunes, before you head up to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a plethora of wildlife from bears and moose to coyotes and mountain lions. In this park you can take one of the highest trails in the mountains over the top from Estes Park to Grand Lake.

The Grand Tour Of The US – What Spots You Should Really See

One might argue that there are too many places in the United States to see. In fact, depending on who you ask, you are going to receive at least ten different answers. Sure, this list could begin with things like Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but really? It’s that a known answer, if you have kids. Rather than go with the spots everyone wants to see, this list is going to tell you about the spots you should really see because of the beauty or wonder they impart. It is not about the most popular tourist destinations like Niagara Falls, NY and Canada. It is about the locations you might not think about.

1. Mendenhall Glacier and Caves, Juneau, AK

Mendenhall Glacier and Caves, Juneau, AK

Mendenhall Glacier and Caves, Juneau, AK

Mendenhall Glacier has changed in the last 12 years. Global warming has taken a lot of the glacier away, but the glacier is still there and so are the ice caves, which are more reachable now. In the Mendenhall Valley of Juneau, Alaska you can see the 12-mile glacier that allows you to see inside of it. Walk the West Glacier Trail and with safety in mind, you can get inside the caves without any climbing equipment or dangerous maneuvers.

2. Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Going from the extreme Alaskan ice to one of the hottest places in the USA, you can find Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. The canyon is beautiful in its reddish brown colors. Here you can walk through tall canyon walls, which used to be underwater. The rocks have strata that help you determine the time frame of when they were underwater, as well as how long ago they were formed. You may want to book a stay in a Lake Powell campground and drive a few miles to Page to see these red-orange canyon walls.

3. Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Bells, Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, Colorado

Snowmass Wilderness is certainly a popular location, with its proximity to Aspen. However, the Maroon Bells are big enough for you to lose yourself in the beauty of Colorado. It is 181,000 plus acres of wilderness land that is part of the Gunnison and White River National Forests. The aspens provide a beautiful ambiance in the fall months, with the changing of the leaves, as well as the snowcapped mountain in the background.

4. Oneonta Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Oneonta Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Oneonta Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Perhaps your holiday will take you from the wilderness of Colorado to Oregon for a quick stop at Oneonta before heading to Alaska. No matter, how you plan your trips around the US, you do not want to miss Oneonta Gorge in Bridal Veil, Oregon. Multnomah Falls is often a busier location in this region, so Oneonta trails are typically overlooked. The trails will take you through a creek bed, waterfall areas, caverns, and close to the Oneonta Gorge scenic area.

Consider, going from Arizona, to Colorado, up to Oregon, through Washington’s Snoqualmie Falls, and up to Bellingham for a ferry trip up to Alaska. Your Grand Tour can also take you east for stops at Whitaker Point in Arkansas, the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and up to Watkins Glen State Park in New York.

The 1,000 Lakes of Minnesota – Which Lakes Should be on Your List

Minnesota has 1,000 lakes, and yet not all of these beautiful lakes is equally worth visiting. Many of the lakes are small, offering little recreation, or off the beaten path in the protected forest land. The lakes that make the list are definitely places you can go and enjoy, without breaking laws by going into restricted areas or being bored because there is nothing to do in or on the lake.

  1. Rainy Lake:
    Rainy Lake

    Rainy Lake

    The party potential of this lake is low, offering you a quiet place to fish and take out your boat. It is one of the best lakes for canoeing. Anglers are going to find the bass are superb.

  2. Lake of the Isles:
    Lake of the Isles

    Lake of the Isles

    Quiet is also the name of the game here. You won’t find people partying late on this lake, but more likely fishing and paddle boarding in summer. Lake of the Isles is known for its stately houses surrounding it and the least busy lake in the chain since there are no beaches.

  3. Deer Lake:
    Deer Lake

    Deer Lake

    Located in Itasca County, Deer Lake is known for its boat access, fishing, canoe, and kayak options. The lake is mineral based ensuring it is a magnificent turquoise shade. There are a few country bars in the area, but the party level is also low.

  4. Lake Winnibigoshish:
    Lake Winnibigoshish

    Lake Winnibigoshish

    Here you are going to find an increase in the party level, meaning it is moderate. There are fishing lodges, resorts, and campgrounds , so there are nightly entertainments the other three lakes mentioned do not have. You are going to be near Chippewa National Forest for hiking. There is a perfect balance of wilderness and lake in this north-central lake. You might know this lake better as Lake Winnie. Bemidji is also close by for more civilization if you need it.

  5. Lake of the Woods:
    Lake of the Woods

    Lake of the Woods

    Another moderate party lake, Lake of the Woods, provides canoeing, kayaking , paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, and boating. This country lake is a “self-declared walleye capital of the world.” It certainly provides a high number of walleye for you to fish, if that is your favorite thing. Besides fishing, you can take out an ATV, sled, or 4×4 to explore the country landscape. You might wish to be careful or you could wind up in Canada!

In terms of beauty all five of these lakes deliver. They also offer a different level of business, entertainments, and good ole’ fashioned relaxation. Yes, Minnesota has 1,000 lakes, but if you can find what you love with a few, without damaging the scenery, then why not take a minute to add these five lakes to your tour around Minnesota.

For those who are looking for a higher party potential, you can also find plenty of options throughout the state. Pokegama Lake is one of the busiest and most party central lake in the state. Swimming, fishing, and boating are the top three activities, but you also have rental cabins, giant homes to view, and party pontoons to rent.

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