Tag Archives: Beaches

Stunning seaside national parks in the American Southeast

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photo by CC user BrianDBell  on wikimedia

While the front porch to the American South offers much in the way of hospitality and soul satisfying cuisine, its outdoor spaces are similarly inviting as well.

While the Appalachian Mountains are an obvious draw, the coastline of the states of the Southeast have a subtle beauty that will speak to you and your traveling companions.

If you are looking for some stunning seaside national parks in the American Southeast, the following spots will make your trip a fulfilling one indeed.

1) Assateague Island National Seashore

Situated on a series of barrier islands spread across Maryland and Virginia’s frontage on the Atlantic Ocean, Assateague Island National Seashore’s salt marshes, oceanic forests and wild beaches is an excellent place for the outdoors enthusiast that loves coastal environments.

Join region residents fishing in the surf for species that swim close to shore, or walk the park’s many trails in search of a pack of feral Chincoteague ponies, as they have roamed this sandy isle for centuries since their introduction to the wild.

2) Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Positioned well out into the turbulent expanse of the Atlantic, Cape Hatteras National Seashore experiences its fair share of storms over the course of a year.

Even when the weather is good, the winds are blowing at a stiff and decent clip, making it a spot that is ideal for those that draw energy from nature’s rawest places.

The constant and consistent wind swell here has created a mecca for area’s surfers, while those looking for something more tame to do will love the fact that this portion of the Eastern Seaboard is a haven for waterfowl on their way north or south when the seasons are changing.

3) Cumberland Island National Seashore

Georgia’s biggest barrier island, Cumberland National Seashore is located in the southern portions of the state, giving it a long warm season throughout the course of the year.

While it might be lamentable that many seaside getaways in the Southeast can get unbearably crowded throughout the summer, access to Cumberland Island is restricted to no more than 300 visitors at a time by the national park service, which maintains its serene nature even during the peak of high season.

In addition to the outdoor activities available here (which include hiking, biking and camping), there is a long human history here as well, which involved the long existence of the Timucua Indians and plantation owners during the Antebellum period.

Those into culture will love the museum on site that is dedicated to the backstory of this pristine island.

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Turkey: Why It’s the Place to Be in 2015

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photo by CC user greenwichphotography on Flickr

If your impression of Turkey runs no further than the country’s magnificent beaches then it may be time to reassess that opinion. The sun-drenched stretches of sand are just one of many major attractions in this extremely popular vacation destination.

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Lesser Known Destinations In Western Canada That Are Worth Your Time

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When you think of Western Canada, images of the Canadian Rockies and the mountains of British Columbia typically spring to mind. Additionally, one might imagine strolling the streets of Whistler or Banff, admiring the peaks with winter snow hanging on even in the first days of summer, as you hunt for the perfect souvenir that will define your trip in one sophisticated trinket.

If the touristy nature of these places is a turn-off for you, don’t despair, as there are many other places throughout the Canadian west where you can enjoy the timeless vistas that this corner of North America is famous for, without having to wade through a sea of fanny pack toting tourists to get the perfect photographic angle.

The following places are favoured by Canadian locals for their natural assets, views, and their access to amenities that ensure that you will have a relaxing getaway that won’t be disturbed by a massive wave of humanity. To really see this area at your own pace, consider traveling around in a camper. Let’s start by profiling…

1) Harrison Hot Springs, BC

Identified by Canadian Pacific Railway officials as a site for tourism in the late 1800’s due to the presence of multiple hot springs in the area, a picturesque lake, and mountain peaks that completed the area’s stunning backdrop, a hotel and community was established here. While the popularity of this place never quite reached the proportions of Banff to the east, it slowly built up a following from those living in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Today, commercial hot spring operations are complimented by a fabulous beach on Lake Harrison, boat cruises, sportfishing, opportunities for watersports, and much more.

2) Emerald Lake, BC

Of all the national parks in the Canadian Rockies, Banff and Jasper hog much of the attention and the press, leading many to overlook the stunning views and experiences one can have in BC national parks like Yoho and Kootenay. The former park contains the jade green gem that is Emerald Lake, which has an abundance of lush plant life due to its location on the windward side of the Rockies. Trails circle this under-appreciated lake, permitting views of the towering President Range, and they play host to excellent snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter.

3) Canmore, Alberta

While Banff is the most famous town in the Canadian Rockies, it comprises less than half of the population of the Bow River Valley. The town of Canmore, a former mining town that was reborn into an outdoor recreation and lifestyle destination after coal prices crashed in the 1980’s, is a place that most tourists blaze through on their way to its more glamorous cousin further up the valley.

However, the views of the front range of the Rockies are no less impressive here, as the Three Sisters make for many spectacular photos, and many trails can be hiked from town, and Kananaskis Country is a short drive away, where even more stunning treks can be embarked upon.

Quality Resort Towns in Queensland, Australia

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For those looking to head to Australia to soak up the sunshine that this continent and nation is so richly famous for, Queensland is a place that delivers warm weather no matter the time of year. While the Northern Territory and the northern reaches of Western Australia also offer tropical climes, neither of these places come close to the urban amenities and conveniences that are commonplace throughout the highly populated expanses of the Queensland coast.

Within relatively easy reach of the major Australian cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, elevated dining, accommodation, and attractions can be found in abundance, leading to a great problem (but a problem nonetheless): which resort town or city on the Queensland coast should I base myself during my Australian holiday?

There are many high quality destinations along Queenland’s seemingly endless coastal expanse, but three stand out above all the rest. These travel hubs all have their own character, so pay attention over the following paragraphs, so you might select the destination that is right for you.

1) Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a collection of beach towns and cities defined more by its forest of supertall condo towers that are strung out along the coast just south of Brisbane, the most famous of which is Surfer’s Paradise. This haven for chilled out dudes and dudettes permits you the chance to learn this exciting and zen inducing sport, and the friends you meet along the way will surely lead to a lively night at one of the many bars that line the beachfront.

If hugging a koala has founds its way onto your lengthy bucket list, a visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary does this, to say nothing of all the other fascinating wildlife that one can find on this isolated continent.

2) Cairns

Further north, trips out into the Great Barrier Reef figures heavily into what goes on in the popular traveler city of Cairns. Take a glass bottomed boat out into the colourful formations of the world’s largest barrier reef, or get into the thick of things by donning a snorkel or a dive tank.

On dry land, other adventure sports will take up your time, as whitewater rafting, hang gliding, and hot air ballooning will keep you out of your hotel room for much of your stay. Sure, it may be comfy, but that’s not why you flew halfway around the world!

3) Port Douglas

If the hectic go-go-go nature of the Gold Coast and Cairns is too stressful for you, then head north one hours from the latter city to Port Douglas, population 3,000. Not only will the slower pace of life here reduce your resting blood pressure, but the immense beauty of Four Mile Beach will immediately convince you that you have made the right choice.

Get a mind blowing view of your surroundings by ascending the gondola at the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, or join a tour group as you explore the Daintree Rainforest, which contains many of Australia’s unique wildlife species, living in their natural state.

Remote Villa Locations Worth Checking Out

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After your last experience with mass market tourist destinations, you know that you are ready for something more private, luxurious, and an all-round more relaxing alternative to the mania that exists there. You have the money, so you’re going for it.

Next time you have a craving for an idyllic paradise, you’ll be seeking out your own private villa so you can soak up the atmosphere of these slices of heaven in peace and quiet. The world is a big place though, so you’re having trouble focusing on any one place in particular.

Fortunately for you, we have profiled three special areas in the world where renting a villa in a secluded location will yield you a vacation filled with relaxation, memories, and a taste of the good life that your hard work should be providing you. Let’s go over each in detail now…

1) North Coast of Bali, Indonesia

The harried pace of life on Bali’s south coast can make one wonder if those that sing the praises of this exotic Indonesian island are aware that the paradise they promote has been paved over by touts, ugly concrete developments, and unbearable since their last visit. Good thing that Bali is a big place, as there are countless other locales where the exotic Balinese culture of this corner of Southeast Asia can still be had, along with the slower pace and friendliness of the countryside.

The beaches here are compromised of volcanic black sand, but they are often blessedly empty, and along with lush tropical vegetation, waterfalls, and the fabulous Banjar Hot Springs, staying in a remote villa on the north coast will prove to be one of the better decisions you’ll make in your travelling life.

2) West of Chania, Crete, Greece

Crete has many historical attractions and party hubs, but it also has tracts of remote coast that are unspeakably beautiful. Chania is a manic destination popular with many hardcore partiers, but the coastline west of this mecca will hold the Cretan experience you long for, with quaint Greek harbour towns and villages, some with ruins of which you’ll never have to compete with a fellow tourist to get a clean picture.

3) Pacific Coast along the Costanera Sur Highway, Costa Rica

As recently as a few years ago, access to the Pacific Coast in Costa Rica near Quepos and Dominical, a landscape marked by the precipitous drop of interior mountains straight down from their lofty heights right down to the seashore, was marred by a substandard road. This road would often be severely damaged during monsoon season, cutting off access for days, and even during the dry season, it was slow going on the old pothole rutted road.

With a new road in the area, it has opened up the area to development of remote villas, granting their renters complete seclusion of the stresses of urban life, replaced instead by the distant cry of a howler monkey at worst. If you desire, nearby national parks offer many eco-friendly activities, and the pounding surf at nearby beaches will lead your mind into a zen-like state, which just the kind of reset you so sorely need these days.

Get off the beaten track and you get to relax

If you’re fed up with big name beach resorts that market themselves as a getaway from the stress of everyday life, only to deliver stressful encounters of a different kind, it’s time to get out of these centres and into a villa in more remote areas. Surrounded by luxury, and with small authentic communities being close by, paying that extra bit of cash for this experience will prove to be one of the best travel investments that you will ever make!

Doing Aruba In The Off Season

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This winter, while your contemporaries were treating themselves to two week tropical getaways, you were busy grinding away building up your career. While the long, dark evenings spent staring out your office window into the polar abyss made you long to join them down south, you stuck to your guns, and you were rewarded for your efforts. Read the rest of this entry

Amazing Filipino Resorts Outside Of Boracay

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These days, the Philippines is experiencing a resurgence of interest, largely due to its infectious ad campaign extolling the fun-loving nature of its people, and the many natural wonders contained within its 7,000 islands.

With soaring volcanoes, a cultural heritage that is starkly different than the rest of Southeast Asia, and of course, jealously-inducing beaches , many of which are undiscovered by outsiders, people are starting to stand up and pay attention.

With respect to the last point, many people automatically default to Boracay, the best known beach resort in the country, when the time comes to plan a trip to this string of pearls in the South China Sea.  It is starting to get a bit crowded these days, so those who are truly seeking a peaceful getaway should look to other beach destinations.

Which ones you’re asking?  Because word on alternatives outside of Boracay is scant, it’s easy to draw a blank when considering a different hideout.  As such, this article will uncover some Filipino beach resorts that that will give you the same sense of paradise that Boracay does, minus the massive crowds.

Puerto Galera

Looking for a beach destination that’s a bit of an adventure to reach?  Though Puerto Galera’s many beaches are not easily accessible by air, it’s this lack of ease in travel that has kept development to a lower level than Boracay. After taking a bus/van, and then an outrigger ferry, you’ll arrive on an island with soaring peaks that the clouds cloak on some days, beaches that are more set up for Filipino tourists than foreign ones, and diving/snorkeling that ranks among the best in the world.

El Nido, Palawan

Those looking for some truly epic surrounds should set their sails for El Nido, a beach hideaway cloistered by limestone karsts that is quite deserving of the moniker “paradise”. With eye-popping natural assets, white sand beaches that will turn you into a snob on the subject, and boat trips designed to take you to your own personal spot in the sun, this location is a no-brainer for those looking for an alternative to Boracay.

Siquijor Island

Located off the coast of Dumaguete in the Visayas region of the Philippines, Siquijor island is place that precious few foreigners have heard of, which is surprising given its stunning features. When you tire of soft, powdery white sand beaches and snorkel-friendly waters, waterfalls and villages filled with friendly locals await your wandering feet on these days.

7,000 Islands To Discover

This is only the beginning of your explorations in this under-heralded archipelago, as these beach spots will open your mind to the possibilities here.  If you miss your return flight home and retire quietly to a grassy beach shack, we’ll understand!