A Snow Park In Florida? Dade City

First Florida Snow Park to Open in Fall 2020

Snowcat Ridge is the first Florida Snow Park of its kind featuring snow tubing, snow play, and an Alpine Village.

GREAT AFFORDABLE FAMILY FUN – CHEAP FLIGHTS AND HOTELS

Snowcat Ridge includes a 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long snow tubing hill, along with a magic carpet lift which will whisk riders and their snow tubes to the top of the hill. Guests will be provided with single, tandem and 6-person family tubes to slide down the snow-covered slope.

 

After a few hours on the snow tubing hill, riders can make snow men or snow castles with REAL snow inside of our snow dome. And, for the very young riders, we’ll have a child-sized version of our snow hill, located inside of our snow dome.

 

And if all of that sounds exciting, evenings will be magical at Snowcat Ridge, with a light show on both the snow hill and in the snow dome unlike you’ve seen anywhere else in Florida.

 

COMING NOVEMBER 2020!

 

Snowcat Ridge Item 1

400-Foot-Long Snow Tubing Hill!

Snowcat Ridge will feature a 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long snow tubing hill, along with a magic carpet lift which will whisk riders and their snow tubes to the top of the hill. The snow hill will feature real snow along with single, double and 6-person family tubes.

Snowcat Ridge Divider

Snow Play Dome!

Customers will be able to make snow men or snow castles with REAL snow inside of our snow dome. And, for the very young riders, we’ll have child-sized version of our snow hill inside of our snow dome as well.

Snowcat Ridge Item 2

Snowcat Ridge Divider

Snowcat Ridge Item 3

Alpine Village!

Visitors can enjoy a bite to eat or sip hot cocoa while relaxing by a bonfire in our Alpine Village.

 Snowcat Ridge Florida Snow Park in Dade City, Fla.

Snowcat Ridge is set to open in November 2020 and will feature a 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long snow tubing hill. It will be the first Florida snow park of its kind, complete with a snow dome and an Alpine village.

A magic carpet lift will take riders to the top of the hill, where you can slide down a real snow-covered slope in a single, double or six-person family tube. From the looks of the park’s renderings, visitors can tube during the day for a different kind of Florida fun in the sun or hit the slopes at night under the beautiful lights.

 

If you plan to visit at night, be sure to catch the light show at the slopes or in the snow dome, according to Southern Living.  Guests can also take in this special show and spectacular views from covered pavilions.

Would you rather build a snowman? Snowcat Ridge has a place for that inside its 10,000-square-foot snow dome, where guests can play in real snow and even the tiniest of snow bunnies can play on the child-size version of the snow hill. If relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate is more your speed, check out the shops and eateries in the Alpine Village.

The park’s goal is to stay open for 120 days of the year depending on the weather. The temperatures must stay below 80 degrees in order for the park to be open (since it will feature real snow).

 

The snow park will feature snow tubing, snow play and Alpine Village. The 400-foot-long, 60-foot-tall snow tubing hill will also feature a magic carpet lift which will whisk riders and their snow tubes away to the top of the hill. As previously mentioned real snow will be featured along with single, double and 6-person family tubes.

A snow play dome will be made available to customers to make snowmen or snow castles. Real snow will be inside the dome, too. For the kiddos, there will be a child-sized version of the larger, main snow hill inside the dome as well.

Visitors can enjoy refreshments and a bite to eat at the Snow Alpine Village.

Point Summit Inc., who own TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park on St. Joe Road in Dade City, worked with County officials to make this park construction happen. The snow park will be built right beside it.

The snow amusement park would open seasonally to offer snow-themed activities, and also would create seasonal employment for the locals.

Similar parks exist in states like Georgia and California. It would not only be a seasonal attraction, but it would also create seasonal jobs for the Bay Area as well. 

The plan to make this snow park happen in Florida has been in the making for several months at this point. There have been public meetings about it, along with letters of support and objection. Opponents of the snow park argue this would be a bad idea as traffic would increase and the overall economy of the area will be affected in a negative way. 

Snowcat Ridge

 27839 Saint Joe Rd., in Dade City, just next to TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park. 

 

 

WHERE TO STAY IN DADE CITY, FLORIDA – HOTELS 

 

WHERE TO STAY IN DADE CITY, FLORIDA – RENTALS

 

CHEAP FLIGHTS TO TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA

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TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park is the largest zip line aerial adventure park in Central Florida, located just north of Tampa, Florida. The excitement of being in the trees, the thrill of the climb and the amazing experiences are all reasons we’re confident that you have come to the right place for an adventure like no other!

 

There’s nothing like a day at TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park! TreeHoppers is the best Aerial Adventure Park in Central Florida to experience excitement and challenge in our gorgeous Old Florida forest. Reservations are NOT required, so come out on your own or with friends and family — ages 1 to 101.

Look up — You’ll see a series of platforms interwoven throughout the trees connected by cable, wood, rope and zip lines to form different elements. Each element presents a different challenge of how to get to the next platform. The TreeHoppers park equals a total of 9 different courses with over 100 unique elements, creating a series of adventures to lead you throughout the forest.

Relax — You don’t have to be a circus acrobat or Tarzan (although it’s fun to pretend)! Choose from 9 different color-coded trails, from Little Lemurs (for 1-6 year olds), to beginners (easier and closer to the ground), to intermediate, to advanced, to expert (the most challenging). Climb a different course each time, or climb the same course over and over.

Climb with Confidence — You’ll receive a harness and complete safety & equipment orientation before your climb. Our proprietary safety system helps keep your climbing harness securely attached to the safety line at all times.

Our courses are intentionally designed for your self-discovery, making lessons and guides unnecessary. However, in case of any difficulty, our park monitors and guides are available to assist throughout your visit.

To Climb at TreeHoppers You Must

With the exception of the Little Lemurs Course, you must be at least 5 years old and capable of performing safety tasks independently (5 & 6 year olds must be accompanied by an adult, at a 1 adult to 1 child ratio, with the exeception of the Little Lemurs Course)

Read and understand all instructions
Receive specific training in using all safety and park equipment (provided free of charge after registration)
Understand and accept the risks involved

Participation Agreement & Liability Release Forms

Each time you climb at TreeHoppers you must fill out a waiver
For all climbers under the age of 18, you must have a parent/guardian signature on your waiver

Supervised” means an adult (18+) guiding up to 10 children while on the ground or while climbing with the children

With Adult” means an adult (18+) climbing with up to 2 children (7 & older) or 1 young child (5 or 6 years old)

 

OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO IN DADE CITY, FLORIDA

The distance between Tampa and Dade City is 33 miles. The road distance is 38.7 miles.

Paddle Boarding in Southwest Florida

Paddle Boarding,  It’s The Best

Summertime is family time and what better way to enjoy it than on the water? Paddle boarding tops the list of the many fun ways families can enjoy the water together, while learning a new sport that everyone from eight to eighty eight can participate in. It’s easy, fun, and very affordable. A cheap engaging way to bring the family together. 

Paddleboards are designed for flat water, which Southwest Florida has in abundance, and are easy to master with very little difficulty.

A person does not have to be an Olympic athlete, or even a grown up, to learn the basics. Lessons with an experienced instructor are highly recommended to become skilled in paddle technique and safety.

Kids as young as eight-years-old can learn to paddle using equipment sized for them. It’s important to take the size and weight of the child into consideration when deciding whether or not it is appropriate for them to paddle their own board.

A child who is less than 60 pounds, no matter how strong, might find it difficult to paddle into even the gentlest breeze.

However, small children can easily ride on a properly sized board with an adult and have just as much fun as those paddling on their own.

Yoloboard Adventures Sanibel offers lessons tailor-made for families who want to enjoy the water together. Skilled instructors take paddlers through a ground and water lesson on a beautiful backwater trail beginning at Port Sanibel Marina in Fort Myers.

The trail is made up of dozens of mangrove islands that dot a shallow estuary system teaming with wildlife, including manatees, bald eagles, osprey, dolphins and more.

Families can easily navigate the trail using a map and simple instructions provided by Yoloboard Adventures Sanibel’s instructors.

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, with its numerous backwater estuary systems and miles of pristine beaches, offers numerous sites that are perfect for families and beginners looking for calm, safe flat-water paddling.

Some even offer additional options for energetic paddlers such as picnic areas, hiking trails, shelling and bike paths.

Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel boasts a safe launching spot that is located at the start of a 1.5-mile-long bayou leading to a pristine, deserted beach. Bowman’s also has parking, hiking and biking trails, shelling, picnic areas, showers, changing booths and bathrooms.

Lovers Key State Park, on Fort Myers Beach, with access to The Gulf of Mexico as well as the Estero Bay and its estuary systems, is another perfect spot for families.

Paddleboard and kayak rentals are available on site along with parking, nature trails, bike paths, picnic facilities, bathrooms, showers and a beautiful beach.

Bunche Beach Preserve in Fort Myers has a launch site where paddlers can experience a quiet backwater that leads to San Carlos Bay. The beach there is lovely as well and is a favorite spot for picnics or just relaxing.

These are just a few of many spots on The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel to paddle. For more information about paddle boarding options for families, please call Yoloboard Adventures

Fort Myers or Ft. Myers, is the county seat and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 62,298 and in 2018 was estimated at 82,254. Fort Myers is a gateway to the southwest Florida region and a major tourist destination within Florida.

Hotels in Fort Myers – Booking.com.

Vacation Houses in Fort Myers -VRBO

Activities In Fort Myers – Viator

Tours And Attractions In Fort Myers – Viator

Things To Do In Fort Myers – Trip Advisor

Most visitors flying into Fort Myers will arrive at the Southwest Florida InternationalAirport (RSW), which serves airlines making both domestic and international journeys. RSW is at 11000 Terminal Access Road in Fort Myers, and 11 airlines fly in to and out of this airport, including: Air Canada

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So Much Fun! 

Enjoy, Chris

Swim In a Hot Spring Crater UT

The Homestead Caldera, Midway, UT

An. inexpensive vacation or holiday weekend for the entire family or romantic adventure with that special person in your life.

While most swimming holes are associated with cooling off in the summer, this one offers something a little different.

Essentially a sinkhole, this mineral-rich pool is partially roofed by a 55ft high open dome.

Not that long ago visitors would have to rappel from the roof to enjoy the year-round 90-degree Fahrenheit water temperatures; thankfully now there is a tunnel.

Enjoy wallowing in this year round hot bath and soaking up the invigorating goodness from the richness of the water.

“The Crater” is estimated to be around 10,000 years old and is one of many geothermal hot pots in the Midway, Utah region.

These geological features have attracted miners and workers passing through the area as a place of respite to get a little rest and relaxation.

What was once a refuge from a life of hard work in the 20th century has now become an attraction for snorkelers and scuba divers due to the perpetually warm water.

The Homestead Resort was established in Midway because of the crater.

The dome over the 90 degree water is 55 feet high and was created when the mineral-rich water deposited enough sediment over thousands of years to create the cathedral-like dome.

Water pumps in through an aquifer with water heated by the earth’s interior at a rate of 135,000 gallons per day, keeping the water clean and warm.

The influx of water also created the mound of tufa or travertine that has been built up by the flow of the mineral rich water.

Studies suggest that rain and snow melt in the nearby Wasatch Mountains percolated into the ground, descended along cracks and fractures to depths of one to two miles to get heated and then returned to the surface and depositing that material as travertine.

Travertine is mainly composed of calcium and produces an abundance of white, porous lava-like rock that is very common in the Midway area.

The Homestead Caldera is the largest mineral dome in the area and is approximately 55 feet high and 400 feet wide at its base. The water in the crater is about 65 feet deep and an 8–14 foot deep layer of silt covers the bottom of the crater. There is an ongoing archaeological project that works to retrieve items from the silt that have been lost or thrown down into the crater over hundreds of years. Artifacts retrieved include firearms and coins.

Very affordable and fun for the whole family!

The Crater Prices

Crater Swim – 1hr approx: $13.69 – $17.18 (incl. tax)

Scuba Experience – 90mins approx: $107.35 (incl. tax)

Must be at least 10yrs old

Snorkeling equipment – 1 hr approx: $5.37 (incl. tax)

The Homestead Resort: Fond Family Memories

Averages $100 per night on Hotels.com

OTHER NICE HOTELS IN MIDWAY, UTAH

The Homestead has been in this valley since 1886 when Simon Schneitter and family first opened their doors to weary travelers looking for good food, a comfortable bed, and to soak away their cares in the therapeutic warm waters of the Crater.

Even in those early years guests of the Schneitters knew there was something more, something greater, somethings special about this place.

For years and years the Homestead has been the epicenter of family reunion and holiday traditions for vacationers from all over. Many families fondly recall their perennial gatherings to the beautiful grounds of the Homestead.

Today, you would be hard pressed to find an Utahn that doesn’t have some memory of or tie to this hallmark of Midway hospitality.

  RESERVE A STAY AT THE HOMESTEAD HERE  

OTHER NICE HOTELS IN MIDWAY, UTAH

Even when you sit in the shade of tall 100 year old trees one gets the same sensation. There is a charm, and even a magic, about this destination.. It comes from the beautifully manicured grounds of fresh flowers, green grasses and winding walking paths that make you feel like you’ve found your own secret garden. It comes from the immaculate rooms in over a dozen historic yet comfortable buildings.

It comes from the quiet sheltered serenity of the mountains that shadow the resort in the late evening hours.

This is why families keep coming back and why new families love discovering the Homestead. They know this is more than just a place to sleep for the night. It becomes the memory of the first time they swam inside a mountain in Caribbean blue waters.

It becomes the memories of father and son playing a round of golf together. It becomes the memory of laughter, storytelling, and story making around a table full of good food. 

 

  RESERVE A STAY AT THE HOMESTEAD HERE  

OTHER NICE HOTELS IN MIDWAY, UTAH

 

The Homestead Resort is one of Utah’s greatest treasures with a long legacy of hospitality.

Though it’s popular for many people, when you walk the grounds you’ll still feel like you have discovered one of Heber Valley’s special secrets.  

HOW TO GET THERE
CATCH A CHEAP FLIGHT TO SALT LAKE CITY RENT A CAR AND TAKE A SHORT 40 MINUTE DRIVE AND LET THE FUN BEGIN.

Car Rentals

Up To 70% Off On Car Rentals

UP TO 70% OFF  CAR RENTALS

About The Company When you need a car, for your vacation, adventure, or a business trip, Discover …
LET’S GO NOW, OF COURSE WE CAN’T BUT WHEN THE WORLD COMES BACK TOGETHER THE CRATER SHOLD BE ON THE LIST. NOTHING LIKE IT!
CHRIS

Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island is a two-mile journey across the Cape Fear River from Southport, North Carolina and the site of Old Baldy, the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, circa 1817.

Location

The southernmost of North Carolina’s cape islands, Bald Head Island is located at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. A pleasant 20-minute passenger ferry ride transports you from the ferry terminal at Deep Point Marina to the harbor at Bald Head Island. This is not a typical island resort town,  it’s sleepy, classy, relaxing, great for connecting with family of that special affordable romantic getaway.  GREAT DEALS TO BE HAD!

 

  THIS IS HOW YOU VISIT   ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Board the ferry, ditch your car, and head outside.

Located off the coast of North Carolina, this overgrown, nature-loving island is rich for adventure. For one, it’s the home of the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy
Its nature is also something of preserved wonder. It’s the northernmost subtropical island on the East Coast and 10,000 of its 12,000 acres are protected as preserves. It’s also the home to our 2017 Idea House—so come pay us a visit before getting back to nature on the island’s endless stretches of sandy beaches and palm-filled forests.
Getting there and getting around will require a little planning, but once you’ve arrived you’ll see why it’s such a treasured secret. Five reasons why you should pay this quiet hideaway a visit:

There Are No Honking Cars or Traffic Jams

Cars aren’t allowed on the island, so it’s actually possible to get some real peace and quiet. (Aside from the hum of cicadas of course.)

Because of this, visitors must travel there by ferry or private boat and then travel around on golf cart or bicycle. (Don’t worry, it’s mostly flat!) Cary Cart Co. has some spiffy rides available for rent so you can still cruise in style.

 

The Bald Head Island Club and the Shoals Club offer a variety of recreational options for members. The island also offers full-service marinas, a day spa to make your stay more relaxing, a recently-renovated golf course, and an eclectic assortment of small boutiques offering gifts, clothing, furniture, art and jewelry.

Getting to Bald Head Island

You can reach this subtropical island only by passenger ferry or private vessel. Amid the island’s 12,000 acres, you’ll find 10,000 untouched acres of beach, marsh and maritime forest preserves and intimate vacation rental neighborhoods that respect the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The southernmost of North Carolina’s cape islands, Bald Head Island is located at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean.

A pleasant 20-minute passenger ferry ride transports you from the ferry terminal at Deep Point Marina in historic Southport, N.C. to the harbor at Bald Head Island, a distance of two nautical miles.

By Land

Via Highway 17, Southport is 30 miles south of Wilmington, N.C. and 60 miles north of Myrtle Beach, S.C. From points west, Interstate 40 and Highway 74/76 link the region directly with I-95.

Bald Head Island’s main land ferry terminal at Deep Point Marina is located at 1301 Ferry Road in Southport, NC, just before the state-operated Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Landing. Entering Southport on Route 211 South (Howe Street), take a left on East Moore Street and then a right onto Ferry Road at the roundabout. Proceed about a half mile and then turn right into the entrance to Deep Point Marina, following the signs to the ferry terminal.

By Air

New Hanover International Airport in Wilmington, N.C., is just 35 miles north of Southport, and the Myrtle Beach Jetport is 60 miles south. Please consult your carrier or travel agent for daily flight schedules.

 

  THIS IS HOW YOU VISIT. –  ACCOMMODATIONS

 

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Additionally, Cape Fear Regional Jetport/Howie Franklin Field Airport is a public, non-commercial airport located nearby on Oak Island. Please call (910) 457-6483 for more information or visit this website.

By Sea

The Bald Head Island Marina, located near buoy #13Aat the mouth of the Cape Fear River, is accessible by boat from the Intracoastal Waterway, Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. The full-service marina can accommodate vessels up to 100 feet in length, with 7′ draft at MLW. Monthly and daily slip rates are available.

Contact the dockmaster on VHF channel 16, by phone at (910) 457-7380 or email.

Once You’re Here

Upon arrival at the Bald Head Island ferry landing, you’ll disembark the ferry and follow the signs for tram assignments or golf cart rentals. Tram service to your accommodations is included in the price of your ferry ticket. Tram reservations should be made by calling (910) 457-5003 or by booking online.

Once you’ve been given your tram assignment, you’ll need to claim your baggage and place it next to your assigned tram. The tram will then take you to your accommodations. Most rental accommodations include the use of one or more golf carts as a part of your stay. You’ll want to confirm this with your rental company.

If you’re coming to the island just for the day and won’t be needing tram service, you can rent a golf cart by the hour or by the day from Cary Cart Company’s cart hut, located a short distance from the ferry landing across from Delphina Cantina. Advance reservations are recommended by visiting bhicarts.com or by calling (910)457-3333.

THIS IS HOW YOU VISIT – ACCOMODATIONS

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GET READY TO HURRY UP AND SO NOTHING
HAVE FUN,    CHRIS

Swim With The Mustangs at Carova Beach, NC

THE WILD HORSES OF CAROVA BEACH

ON THE NORTHERN  TIP OF THE OUTER BANKS

This a must see for everyone, mingle with wild Mustangs as you enjoy the day at this magnificent beach. 

They are located in the most Northern part of the Outer Banks named, Carova. Carova has no paved roads. You need to have a vehicle with four-wheel drive to get up there.

The speed limit is 25mph. Make sure to drive cautiously, especially if a horse is nearby. You can take a tour to see them, or maybe you will get lucky to see one while you’re up there, but don’t get within 50 feet of the horses or feed them. They are protected by law. 

HOW DID THE HORSES GET TO THE OUTER BANKS?

Commonly called, Banker Horses are presumed to have descended from Spanish horses. They are a small breed of feral horse. They are very much wild and don’t have the same behavior as domesticated horses, but they pretty much keep to themselves.

It is possible that they arrived on the Outer Banks in the 16th century after surviving shipwrecks or being abandoned on the island by one of the exploratory expeditions (for hidden treasure) led by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllion or Sir Richard Grenville. It’s kind of a mystery!

WHAT DO THE WILD HORSES EAT?

 

According to the Corolla Wind Horse Fund, they eat marsh grass, which is what is prevalent in the area, along with other natural plants. It is illegal to feed them anything. Apples, carrots, or any food cannot be found in their natural habit, so it can make them sick. They can actually die from eating these foods, so be careful to not leave any food on the beach when you leave.

THE OUTER BANKS – North Carolina’s – Unexpected Paradise!

THE OUTER BANKS – NORTH CAROLINA’S UNEXPECTED PARADISE!

Also Known as OBX THE OUTER BANKS  in North Carolina is a  long thin barrier island that protects …

Fishing is part of the history of Corolla and the Currituck Banks dating back to the original native tribes and first settlers. Everything the Outer Banks fishing enthusiast needs is readily available in Corolla from fishing equipment rentals and bait and tackle outlets to Outer Banks fishing charters in the ocean and sound.

All saltwater anglers are required to buy the N.C. Coastal Recreational Fishing License. The Outer Banks fishing license can be purchased on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis or combined with other licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission.

 

 

FISHING CHARTER SERVICES IN THE AREA.

 

Children younger than 16 do not need a license. For-hire vessels and ocean fishing piers have the option to purchase a blanket license that covers all their fishing patrons, so you may not need the license to fish on a certain pier or charter boat; be sure to ask.

Outer Banks fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.ncwildlife.orgor by calling (888) 248-6834 or at many of the local tackle shops.

If part of your Corolla fishing plans involve fishing in the northern Currituck Sound, you’ll need a Freshwater Fishing License. Licenses are available at tackle shops, Wal-Mart, K-mart and at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education at Currituck Heritage Park in Corolla, or they can be purchased at www.ncwildlife.org.

 

 

CAROVA, NC

Arguably the Outer Banks’ last frontier, Carova is renowned for its miles of privacy, including clean white beaches, a scattering of rental homes, and wild mustangs that roam freely from the ocean to Carova’s small residential neighborhoods.

Carova’s seclusion is easy to explain, as there are no paved roads leading to this vacation spot, just miles of sand tracks that border the Atlantic Ocean. Vacationers who love the beach and don’t need all the extra fuss flock to the area in small crowds, soaking up private stretches of beaches, and enjoying the peace and quiet.

There are house rentals available in Carova but most people stay in Carolla just 20 minutes south or Duck another 20 minuts south.

Where to Stay in Carova

 

There are no hotels or motels in Carova. Visitors to Carova stay at vacation rental homes (4×4 access only, mind you). Homes are generally rented on a weekly basis, with last minute partials sometimes accepted, and are offered by VRBO RENTALS

TOURS AND ACTIVITIES IN THE AREA 

 

 

On cloudy days, vacationers can easily take an excursion a few miles off the sand to Corolla and Duck and enjoy an afternoon of shopping, sightseeing at the Currituck Lighthouse and Whalehead in Historic Corolla, and an evening of dining and drinks before heading back home to Carova.

For Carova day-trippers without 4WD access, guided tours are available seasonally to ride along the beaches and look for wild mustangs. Seasonal Jeep tours and rentals are also available.

Carova from the air

The ocean temperature stays consistently warm throughout the summer months and into the fall season, so body boarding, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, and ocean kayaking are certainly worth a try during your beach vacation. Many vacationers keep their camera ready for wild horse sightings, and the Carova wild mustangs can often be seen wandering along the oceanfront. Take plenty of pictures.

What to Know Before you Go

Because Carova is literally off the beaten path, it’s important to stock up on your beach essentials before you check into your vacation home. Neighboring Corolla features several chain grocery stores for food and beach supplies, and there are even several grocery delivery services that cater to the 4WD areas for vacationers who want to truly relax.

Catch a cheap flight to Norfolk International

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Corolla is a village on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, between Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Historic Corolla Park is home to Currituck Beach Lighthouse, with sea views and history exhibits. Nearby, the Whalehead Club is a restored 1920s hunting retreat with original art-nouveau decor. North, the vast Currituck National Wildlife Refuge shelters shorebirds. Wild horses roam Corolla and Carova beaches.

WHERE TO STAY IN CAROLLA NC -VRBO HOUSE RENTALS

HOTELS AND MOTELS IN CAROLLA NC.

 

DUCK NC

WHERE TO STAY IN DUCK NC –  VRBO HOUSE RENTALS 

The Town of Duck, North Carolina, is a thriving coastal community. We respect and value our delicate yet dynamic barrier island environment – clean waters and beaches, maritime forests, wetlands, and dunescapes. With an eclectic mix of independent businesses and the Duck Town Park and Boardwalk, Duck Village is a source of pride and the heart of Duck. Whether you are a resident, a first-time visitor, or someone who feels that Duck is your home away from home, we welcome you to explore the Town of Duck.

WHERE TO STAY IN DUCK NC –  VRBO HOUSE RENTALS 

HOTELS AND MOTELS IN DUCK NC.

 

Catch a cheap flight to Norfolk International

AIRFAIRWATCHDOG

Colorado Beaches? With Real Waves?

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO

A sandbox of epic proportions, the entire dune field encompasses 30 square miles and the tallest dune towers 750 feet high. The kid in every visitor loves to sled down the sandyear-round and plunge into the soft-sand tracks of those who climbed ahead of them.

THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO GET AWAY FROM EVERYONE AND STILL LIVE A LITTLE

An inexpensive way to be greatly impressed!

 

The park’s elevation (8,200 feet) and rural location make it a favorite with dark-sky-loving stargazers, and it even offers special astronomy programs many evenings May–September.

 

The Junior Ranger program has different activities for kids ages 3–12, and they earn a badge once they’ve completed the educational and fun tasks.

Aside from the dunes, you’ll find picnicking, hiking and camping opportunities, the challenging four-wheel scenic drive on Medano Pass,

horseback-riding trails, the mysteriously appearing and disappearing Medano Creek, ranger-led nature walks and a couple of 14,000- and 13,000-foot peaks to climb (Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak, Cleveland Peak and Mount Herard).

Great for families on a budget that want priceless views and natural phenomenons!

CAMPING IN GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK

There are a few options for camping in the area. The Piñon Flats Campground is run by the National Park Service, with 44 sites that are first-come, first-served and 44 that visitors can reserve in advance.

For those traveling in 4WD vehicles, there are 21 campsites along Medano Pass Roadwithin the park that are free and available on a first-come, first-served basic.

For those willing to haul their gear and everything else needed in backpacks, free backcountry permits (required) are available at the park’s visitor center. You can pitch your tent anywhere in the 30-square-foot dunefield that lies outside the day-use area. You’ll have a minimum hike of 1.5 miles over the dunes, but will experience a unique overnight setting.

Backpacking (with a permit) is also available amid the foothills and mountains along the Sand Ramp Trail within the park, where the dunes give way to the mountains.

There are also several private and public campgrounds within an hour’s drive of the park, including those at San Luis Wildlife Area, with facilities that range from primitive to luxurious (for camping!).

MAGIC MOMENT

Choose your own calf-burning path up the dunes, particularly at dusk when the light gives them a rich gold color and shadows snake across their wind-sculpted ridges. Dig your toes into the sand or feel it run through your fingers, and you’ll realize their true enormity.

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Zapata Falls

 

San Luis Wildlife Area

Close to Great Sand Dunes National Park, this peaceful park has 51 campsites with showers, electricity and laundry. Enjoy fishing, watersports, trails and wildlife viewing. Check with Park or Website for current conditions.

San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges (Alamosa and Monte Vista)

Alamosa, Monte Vista, and Baca Refuges form the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This Complex is a part of the Refuge System, a network of lands that conserve wildlife and habitat.

Fort Garland Museum

Fort Garland was built in 1858, ten years after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, during American expansion into the west. Today, visitors can explore life in a nineteenth century military fort by walking the parade grounds and touring five of the original adobe buildings. Learn about the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry who were stationed at the Fort from 1876 to 1879. Discover Colorado’s role in the Civil War in the West exhibit. Rich in military history, Fort Garland highlights the women and children who brought a bit of home to the fort. From the Fort, plan a visit to Pike’s Stockade, where Zebulon Pike and his men camped in the early 1800s.

Colorado Gators Farm

Colorado Gators began in 1977 as a fish farm to raise tilapia for human consumption. The geothermal well is 2050 feet deep and 87 degrees. In 1987, the first alligators were brought in as “garbage disposals” for dead fish. Some of these original gators are now 11 feet long and weigh over 500 pounds. There are many species of exotic reptiles on our farm, most of which come from uninformed pet owners, or are sent by police and animal control agencies. We take care of these animals as best we can and display them for education of the public.

Restaurants

PLACES TO STAY 

 

TOWNS NEAR GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK

 

Alamosa  Colorado    

Blanca  Colorado.

Fort Garland. Colorado.  

Monte Vista  Colorado.  

Mosca  Colorado.  

Westcliffe  Colorado.  

 

HOME AND CONDO RENTALS IN THE AREA   

 

THINGS TO DO AT GREAT DUNES NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO

The  Medina River It Vanishes from time to time…

 

Coloradans don’t have to travel far to get to a beach with waves, according to National Parks officials.

Medano Creek is now approaching peak flow! This is the best time of year to experience ‘surge flow’, a globally rare natural phenomenon where creek water flows in waves across the sand.


For surge flow to occur, three elements are necessary: a sufficiently steep channel, a sandy creek bottom, and plenty of flowing water. This combination only exists in a few places on Earth, and Medano Creek is considered the best place in the world to experience surge flow!

Due to unusually cold, wet conditions in May, peak flow is occurring a little later than average this year.

Every year, melting snowpack creates a so-called surge flow in the Medano Creek in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The surge can send waves up to three feet tall lapping onto the dune field, according to park official Eric Valencia.

What’s called “Colorado’s Natural Beach” draws tens of thousands of visitors during peak season. 

“The stream surge is actually quite a unique phenomenon,” Valencia said. “As the water flows through the sand, the sand begins to kind of tumble down and eventually it will create a small dam. The pressure of the water will break that dam of sand and it forms a wave.”

The underwater ridges break around every 20 seconds to create a wave.

The dunes are located in the Southern Colorado Rocky Mountains. The water from upstream spreads out at the foot of the dunes into wide, shallow water.

Medano Creek has exhibited some surge flow despite cold temperatures and slow snow melt this spring, according to the park. 

 

The pressure of the water flow is measured in cubic feet per second. As of May 31, the flow is only 22 cfs. The park calls this small surge flow. The flow typically peaks in late May or early June with around 40 cfs. 

Snowpack in Medano Pass is currently over 160 percent of normal. Because of that above-average snowpack, peak flow for Medano Creek is forecast to be sometime in the first half of June rather than the typical late May. The park also expects some shallow flow through July.

Peak flow weekends tend to bring the highest number of visitors each year to the park. Valencia said visitors play in the water, skimboard, raft and make sand castles.

Directions to Trailheads

Montville/Mosca Pass Trailhead: Drive 1/8 mile north of visitor center.

Point of No Return: 1 mile (1.6km) on Medano Pass Primitive Road, beyond Piñon Flats Campground. This parking area provides access to national park backcountry sites along the Sand Ramp Trail.

Sand Ramp Trail Access: 5 miles (8km) on Medano Pass Primitive Road, beyond Pinon Flats Camp- ground. This small parking area is accessible by high- clearance 4WD vehicles only, providing access to national park backcountry sites along the Sand Ramp Trail.

Medano Lake Trailhead: Follow sign after driving 10.5 miles (17km) along Medano Pass Primitive Road, beyond Piñon Flats Campground. This trailhead is accessible by high-clearance 4WD vehicles only, providing access to Medano Lake.

Music Pass Trailhead: This trailhead is accessible
via Pass Creek Road, CR 572, located 2 miles (3km) west of La Veta Pass on US 160. The turnof is 39 miles from the visitor center or 28 miles west of I-25. Drive 11 miles on CR 572 (unpaved) until the road turns into CR 570 (unpaved). Take a right on CR 550 (paved) and drive 5 miles (8km) to CO 69 (paved). Turn left and drive another 28 miles (45 km) until you see the “Music Pass” sign. Continue to follow the signs on several gravel or dirt roads. 2WD or AWD vehicles should park and hike from the USFS Grape Creek Campground. 4WD vehicles can continue for an ad- ditional 2.5 miles (4km) to the trailhead.

TOWNS NEAR GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK

PLACES TO STAY

Alamosa  Colorado    

Blanca  Colorado.

Fort Garland. Colorado.  

Monte Vista  Colorado.  

Mosca  Colorado.  

Westcliffe  Colorado.  

 

HOME AND CONDO RENTALS IN THE AREA   

 

THINGS TO DO AT GREAT DUNES NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO

SO UNIQUE AND SO MUCH FUN!

 

HAVE A BLAST, CHRIS

 

Big Bend National Park

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TEXAS

Big Bend National Park is in southwest Texas and includes the entire Chisos mountain range and a large swath of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive leads to the ruins of Sam Nail Ranch, now home to desert wildlife.

The Santa Elena Canyon, carved by the Rio Grande, features steep limestone cliffs. Langford Hot Springs, near the Mexican border, has pictographs and the foundations of an old bathhouse.

On the border with Mexico, separated by a huge bend in the Rio Grande river, Big Bend National Park is one of Texas’ most impressive natural wonders.

Mountains, desert, and the river combine to make this area an outstanding outdoor playground for hikers, campers, canoers, birders, and nature lovers in general.

Even if you are just up for a drive through the park, you’ll find interesting sites and scenery along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, and a quick stop at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit or a soak in the hot springs will make for an outstanding day.

If that’s not enough, take a short boat ride to Mexico for lunch, discover the best place to enjoy sunset, and stay in a luxury lodge.

HERE IS SOME GREAT INFORMATION

 

With an area this vast it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This should help. If you are not staying in the actual park, any one of the seven towns listed above will suit you fine. We like Marfa and Alpine the best (Make sure you visit The Famous Marfa Lights during your visit. Then there is Marathon, Sanderson, Dryden and Lajitas. All six of these towns are charming in their own ways.

HOTELS AND HOUSES IN THE AREA

 

MARFA,TEXAS

Hotels.                  Rental Houses

 

ALPINE, TEXAS

Hotels. Rental Houses

 

MARATHON, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

 

SANDERSON, TEXAS

Hotels.                   Rental Houses

 

DRYDEN, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

LAJITAS ,TEXAS

Hotels. Rental Houses

PRESIDIO, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

 

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Be sure to stop at one of the visitor centers for a map of the park and information on conditions, then head out to explore, using our list of things to do in Big Bend National Park.

Hike Santa Elena Canyon 

 

Santa Elena Canyon
Santa Elena Canyon 

One of Big Bend National Park’s most spectacular hikes, and certainly the best reward-to-effort ratio of any hike in the park, is the Santa Elena Canyon Trail. This fantastic 1.7-mile round-trip walk follows the edge of the Rio Grande River into the Santa Elena Canyon, where sheer, 1,500-feet-high walls rise up on each side of the river above you. When the water is low, you can wade out into the canyon from the far end of the trail. The hike ascends a total of about 80 feet, offering outstanding views above the river near the start.

 

RESERVATION AND PHONE TO  PARK

Soak in the Hot Springs

 

Hot springs
Hot Springs 

One of the most popular things to do in the Rio Grande Village area is to take a dip in the 105-degree-Fahrenheit waters of the natural hot springs on the edge of the Rio Grande River. If you get too hot, you can cool off with a quick dip in the river. The primitive pool is located just .25 miles from the parking area, along a trail running past pictographs and the remains of an old resort from the early 1900s. If you have time and want to see some incredible views out over the Rio Grande River and mountains, it’s definitely worth walking the .75-mile hot springs loop. This scenic trail runs up along a ridge above the hot springs and offers views up and down the river.

BEST TOURS TO TAKE AT BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

Drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

 

Mule Ears, Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
Mule Ears, Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

For a beautiful drive through the park, head out on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, running through some outstanding desert scenery on the way to Castalon and the Santa Elena Canyon area. Mountain views stretch out into the distance across the Chihuahuan Desert. Stop off at the Homer Wilson Ranch Overlook to see the old homestead, but also to appreciate the view. The Mule Ear Springs Trail is accessed from this highway, but even if you are not up for the hike, you can stop at the overlook to see these twin peaks, the cores of ancient volcanoes.

Learn about the Area’s Natural History at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit

 

Learn about the Area's Natural History at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit
Learn about the Area’s Natural History at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit 

On the drive down from Marathon, north of Panther Junction, be sure to stop at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit to learn about the geology of the park. Opened in 2017, this display features outdoor rooms with informative plaques and displays. The most impressive pieces are the bronze skulls of a giant alligator and a Bravoceratops dinosaur, and on the ceiling in one of the rooms, a giant pterosaur, the largest flying creature ever known. You can learn about these and other prehistoric creatures that roamed through the Big Bend region.

Walk the Nature Trail at Rio Grande Village

 

View from the Nature Trail
View from the Nature Trail

If you are looking for a short, easy, scenic trail near Rio Grande Village, you can’t beat the Nature Trail. Leaving from the campground, this trail takes you out over a pond, where you can see turtles basking in the sun or fish swimming below the low bridge that spans the water. This lush area is a stark contrast to the surrounding desert and is a good place to spot birds. On the opposite shore, the trail runs through desert scenery and provides views back over the pond and beyond to the Rio Grande River and distant mountains. The trail loops up to a lookout point. You can make this a short walk out to the bridge or do the entire walk, which is .75 miles.

Take a Trip to the Mexican Village of Boquillas

 

Boquillas, Mexico
Boquillas, Mexico

Don’t forget your passport if you want to take a quick side trip to a Mexican village. At Boquillas Crossing, a border guard will scan your passport before you walk down to the river and hail a rowboat from the far shore. The boat will pick you up and take you to the Mexican shore of the Rio Grande River, from where you can hop a ride on a horse, donkey, or vehicle. From the river, it’s about a mile up to the village. You can walk it if you like, but the trip is all uphill. You may want to pay for the ride into the village and then walk back down. A few restaurants offer beverages and food. This makes a nice little afternoon outing for lunch.

See the Sunset over the Window

 

Sunset over the Window
Sunset over the Window

The Window, a huge V-shaped notch in the mountainside, offers a glimpse to the sky and desert off in the distance. From the Chisos Basin Visitors Center, a .3-mile trail leads out to the Window View, a favorite spot to watch the sunset. You can actually do this short, wheelchair-accessible trail at any time of day for a look out over the Chisos Basin to the Window, but at night, the rocks form a silhouette, with the colorful sky in the background.

 Hit the Hiking Trails

 

Window Trail
Window Trail

Hikers will want to designate some time for hiking. Fit hikers looking for big adventures can plan multi-day hikes or embark on some of the epic day hikes, like Emory Peak or the South Rim. Day hikers looking for more modest hikes will find outstanding scenery on hikes like Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Lost Mine Trail, or the Windows Trails. If you want to add in a little history and perhaps a swim, try the Hot Springs Trails. For details and a more complete look at trail options, see our article on the best hikes in Big Bend National Park.

Spend a Night or Two Camping under the Dark Skies

 

Vermilion flycatcher at Cottonwood Campground
Vermilion flycatcher at Cottonwood Campground

Big Bend National Park is a designated National Dark Sky Park. Free from almost all light pollution, the night sky is a sea of diamonds, and the constellations are visible in outstanding clarity. Camping at any of the Big Bend campgrounds will give you a front row seat to this nighttime spectacle, particularly on a moonless night. Camping will also give you an opportunity to see some of the park’s wildlife. While javelinas and roadrunners are some of the usual visitors, if you camp in the Cottonwood Campground, you have a good chance of seeing some interesting birds. Look for vermilion flycatchers by day and listen for great horned owls by night.

Dine, Hike, or Pick Up Souvenirs and Supplies at the Chisos Basin Area

 

Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant
Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant

The Chisos Basin Area, in the mountains not far from Panther Junction, offers a full range of facilities. You can dine with a view out to the Window from the Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant and Patio, pick up everything from supplies to souvenir jewelry and clothing at the Basin Convenience store, or begin one of several hikes at the Chisos Basin Trailheads. From here, you can hike Emory Peak, South Rim, Chisos Basin Loop, Window View, and Window Trail hikes. This area is also home to the Chisos Mountain Lodge, and just below is the Chisos Basin Campground. Nearby is the trailhead for Lost Mine.

BEST TOURS TO TAKE AT BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

Canoe Trips along the Rio Grande River

 

Canoeing on the Rio Grande
Canoeing on the Rio Grande

The Rio Grande winds its way along the border with Mexico, and at Santa Elena Canyon, it has cut through the earth to create 1,500-foot-high walls. Paddling through the canyon provides a fascinating glimpse into the geology of the area and is a truly memorable experience. Trips start from the town of Lajitas and end at the mouth of the canyon. These tours typically last all day and include lunch. Trips can be arranged either in Lajitas or Terlingua, on the west side of the park. If you have your own equipment a “boomerang” trip may be in order. This involves paddling up through the canyon and drifting back down. Permits are required and are free.

Explore the nearby Ghost Town of Terlingua

 

Skeleton on a bike in Terlingua
Skeleton on a bike in Terlingua

Study Butte and Terlingua are just three to four miles from the west entrance to the park, and the Terlingua Ghost Town is six to seven miles down the road from here. For a taste of what life is like in a very small town in this area of West Texas, a quick stop for lunch in the Terlingua Ghost Town is a fun activity, particularly if you are already on the west side of the park. The Terlingua Trading Company is one of the biggest establishments in town, with a good selection of souvenirs, crafts, jewelry, and other random items. Next door, is the Starlight Theatre Restaurant, with indoor dining and live music. Nearby is the Posada Milagro, a very good breakfast and early lunch stop with a lovely outdoor patio.

Treat Yourself to a Night at a nearby Resort

Big Bend National Park offers an amazing outdoor experience, but exploring it can be a tiring endeavor. Heading back to a luxury resort or a charming historic lodge can be a welcome treat at the end of the day. The quaint little town of Marathon, north of the park, offers an authentic experience, with a couple of art galleries and the outstanding

Gage Hotel.

This historic property is an oasis and a reason in and of itself to visit this area of Texas. Built in 1927, the Gage Hotel is a wonderful place to gather around a fire pit at night with other guests, relax in front of a fireplace in one of the cozy common rooms, escape from the heat around the pool, or enjoy some of the finest dining in the region at the hotel’s 12 Gage Restaurant. This can be a great place to spend your entire trip, or even just a night at the end of a multi-day hike or a couple of nights camping in the park.

Alternatively, on the west side of the park is the western-style

Lajitas Golf Resort,

with an 18-hole golf course designed by golfing great, Lanny Wadkins. This large resort offers all kinds of activities, from horseback riding to canoe trips. It’s also just a relaxing place to hang out around the pool or enjoy a tasty meal.

No wilderness experience in Texas is quite like Big Bend National Park, more than 800,000 acres of mountains, desert, and river so stark and dreamy that it’s difficult to distinguish where reality ends and apparition begins.

Jagged peaks sheltering pine forests more typical of New Mexico or Colorado, canyons that are steeper, sheerer, and narrower than any found in the Grand Canyon, the vast expanse of Chihuahuan Desert, and the Rio Grande in its robust, untamed glory suggest that Big Bend was transplanted here from somewhere else—a feeling reinforced by posted warnings about bear crossings and encounters with mountain lions (“Pick Up Small Children”). Not for nothing is it called the last frontier.

Yet Big Bend is one of the ten least visited national parks in the country, with fewer than 300,000 visitors last year. Its isolated location far from population centers, its enormous size and widely scattered attractions, and the general public’s disdain for plants that stick, bugs that sting, and all sorts of wild varmints running loose have kept the people away.

That is all the more reason to make the effort. The prospect of all that land with so few people promises a solitude that is a rare commodity almost everywhere else.

I’ve been coming to Big Bend National Park for more than thirty years and while I think I’ve seen a lot of it, something new to explore is always over the next horizon. Like most visitors, I used to spend much of my time in the Chisos Mountains, the southernmost range in the United States and the one temperate spot in the park in the summer.

I later discovered the pleasures of floating the river through the stunning canyons. More recently, I’ve been drawn to the desert, which I once dismissed as an empty wasteland but now realize abounds with life. There’s a story behind every plant and animal that has managed to adapt to the land. Hundreds of miles of back roads are evidence of human occupation in the Big Bend before the park was established in 1944; artifacts from pre-Columbian campsites, wax factories, cotton farms, ranches, resorts, stores, villages, and mines can be found all over the place.

RESERVATION AND PHONE TO  PARK

 

Appreciating Big Bend is all a matter of preparation. If you don’t know what to see and do, you are likely to miss the magic or waste precious hours looking for a restaurant or a place to sleep. Unfortunately, while a lot has been written over the years about Big Bend’s beauty, not much exists in the way of practical information. What I’ve tried to do here is size Big Bend down to a manageable scale, whether you’re a trekker, a kayaker, an RVer, a naturalist, a photographer, a desert rat, a thrill-seeker, or a plain old city slicker on a holiday.

BEST TOURS TO TAKE AT BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

First Impressions

For me, Big Bend begins 10 miles south of Marathon on U.S. 385, past the Border Patrol inspection station, at a rest area with a marker that identifies the Caballos (not to be confused with the Deadhorse Mountains inside the park), the low barren ridge to the west with faintly pinkish rock bands running through its gentle slope.

This, the marker says, is where the Rockies meet the Appalachians, which explains why I always get the feeling of having fallen off the edge of the map right about here. Twenty-five miles farther south, the national park unfolds in all its glory at the Persimmon Gap entrance. Thirty miles straight ahead are the Chisos Mountains, the park’s centerpiece, which practically dance above the floor of the desert and dominate every panorama.

The low bare slopes on the immediate left are the forbidding Santiagos. That big mountain off to the right is Rosillos Peak. Bypass the Persimmon Gap visitors’ center (usually closed because of Washington-mandated budget cuts), and continue 26 miles to Panther Junction, the park headquarters, where the park’s three main paved roads meet.

About 10 miles from the junction, just past the Tornillo Creek bridge, you’ll notice some unvegetated hills on the right 2 miles from the road. These are the Grapevine Hills, which will bear closer inspection later.

 

HOTELS AND HOUSES IN THE AREA

 

MARFA,TEXAS

Hotels.                  Rental Houses

 

ALPINE, TEXAS

Hotels. Rental Houses

 

MARATHON, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

 

SANDERSON, TEXAS

Hotels.                   Rental Houses

 

DRYDEN, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

LAJITAS ,TEXAS

Hotels. Rental Houses

PRESIDIO, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

 

FLY CHEAP TO BIG BEND NATIONAL PARKSOUTHWEST AIRLINES DEALS

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At Panther Junction the road splits into a Y to skirt the Chisos, which divide the park into sedimentary formations to the east and volcanic formations to the west. The left fork heads down the east side of the park toward the river, dead-ending 20 miles away at the Rio Grande Village campgrounds in the shadows of the mighty Sierra Del Carmens, an almost flat-topped limestone wall in Mexico behind Boquillas Canyon that looms dramatically five thousand feet above the Rio Grande.

RESERVATION AND PHONE TO  PARK

 

The right-hand turn at Panther Junction leads to the western entrance of the park at Maverick, with turnoffs to the Chisos Basin, Grapevine Hills, and the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, a winding road with steep grades that leads to the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon, 42 miles from Panther Junction.

The visitors’ center at Panther Junction is a requisite stop. This is the place to pay the $5-a-car admission fee and stock up on pamphlets that provide information about the park’s flora, fauna, and roads. This is also one of the ranger stations where you may secure permits for river trips and backcountry camping (other ranger stations are at Rio Grande Village, Castolon, and the Chisos Basin). The Official National Park Handbook ($5.95) is essential, as are the three guides to hiking trails, paved and improved dirt roads, and backcountry dirt roads ($1.25 each).

All explain what you’re seeing and why you’re seeing it. For example, I learned that the ground-hugging lechuguilla grows only in the Chihuahuan Desert and the sotol, with its single woody stalk swaying in the breeze, is an indicator plant that flourishes at middle elevations.

The visitors’ center also has a giant relief map of the park, several dioramas about its past, updates on weather, river, and road conditions, a post office, and a short nature walk that will introduce you to desert plants. A gas station and convenience store is a quarter mile west. (For general park information, write the Superintendent, Big Bend National Park, Texas 79834, or call 915-477-2251.)

Best Sights

The vast majority of visitors to Big Bend venture no farther than the high-country basin in the Chisos, which is understandable, since you don’t see 7,800-foot mountains in Texas every day.

But you haven’t done Big Bend unless you’ve seen the river and the desert too—and driving past in your car doesn’t count. Even a short walk in the desert can be full of revelations. Take in at least four or five of the sights listed below and you’ll come away with a pretty good idea of what this vast chunk of real estate is all about.

 

BEST TOURS TO TAKE AT BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

The Chisos Mountains Basin. Three miles west of Panther Junction is the winding road that leads into the Chisos. As you climb more than two thousand feet up Green Gulch, the vegetation rapidly changes from desert to forest. Seven miles ahead lies the basin, an alpine valley sandwiched between the dramatic Window—a V-shaped gap in the almost-continuous ridge that rings the basin—on the west and the blocklike Casa Grande dominating the eastern horizon. Visiting the basin is an absolute must, not only for the scenery but also because this is where you’ll find the only lodging and restaurant in the park, as well as a gift shop, convenience store, ranger station, campground, amphitheater, and stables.

The road between the Chisos Mountains Lodge and the campgrounds is particularly good for sighting the white-tailed deer and coarse-furred javelinas scooting into the brush, both of which show little fear of human beings.

Hot Springs. This improbable resort on the Rio Grande is my favorite attraction in the park.

Built in two stages by a somewhat optimistic tourist operator named J. O. Langford between 1909 and 1927, the hot springs are easily reached from the turnoff near Rio Grande Village, only a two-mile drive down an improved dirt road. Pick up a self-guiding trail booklet for 25 cents in the Hot Springs parking lot, then start walking. It’s a quarter mile to the springs, past abandoned stone structures that once housed a post office and a motel, a small grove of palms (an excellent picnic spot), and Indian pictographs etched in a small cliff above the river. At the end of the path adjacent to the river are what’s left of the lower walls of the bathhouse and a small shallow sitting area where 105-degree mineral water flows at a rate of 250,000 gallons a day before tumbling into the much colder Rio Grande. The water attracts not only visitors but also a handful of area residents who swear by its salubrious effects. If you want solitude, go early in the morning. One full-moon night, I was joined by forty gregarious Australians taking an evening soak.

Santa Elena Canyon. The parking lot at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Terlingua Creek provides a close-up look directly into this dramatic gaping gash, with its sheer 1,500-foot limestone walls. The trail beginning at the parking lot, about 1.7 miles round trip, is among the best in the park. It crosses mostly dry Terlingua Creek, then climbs a series of improved stair-step switchbacks (with handrails) to a wide ledge high above the river. The trail drops to river level along the reed-choked sandy vega littered with giant boulders before petering out. This is a fine place to try to skip rocks into another country and watch cliff swallows flutter overhead. If you take only one hike in the park, this is the one. Allow two hours.

Boquillas Canyon. The initial part of the hike from the parking lot—over a bare, rocky hill and down to the river, then through a cutbank path—is unremarkable. But once inside the canyon, the trail rewards hikers with magnificent views that make one dizzy from neck craning. When it comes to the play of light on rocks, especially in the afternoon, nothing in the park beats the Boquillas palisades. Extra bonus: the massive windblown dune inside the canyon that is perfect for sand surfing. Allow two hours.

Grapevine Hills. A six-mile drive down an improved dirt road suitable for ordinary cars brings you to a dry canyon on the desert floor. After a one-mile hike through a valley of rock-strewn rubble, the trail ends with a short, steep scramble to a scene that appears to have been created by an infant Godzilla: a huge boulder precariously teetering atop two smaller slabs, one of the great photo opportunities in the park. Roadrunners often share the trail. Allow one and one half hours.

Dagger Flat. One of the unknown delights of Big Bend is this self-guided auto tour on a well-graded dirt road. It offers the most extensive introduction to the desert plant community seen through a windshield. Stop at the beginning of the road in the northeastern part of the park and get a guidebook for 50 cents. The seven-mile road ends at a loop in the middle of a bizarre thicket of giant dagger yucca, some more than ten feet tall, which should be at peak bloom in late March. Although the loop area is identified as Dagger Flat, the actual flat is at least a quarter mile away, according to topographical maps. Allow about an hour, two hours if you plan to walk.

Dugout Wells. Just off the main paved road to Rio Grande Village is another underrated destination that is a quickie introduction to the desert on foot. Hardwood trees, a windmill, and abundant wildlife that show up to drink from a spring around sunrise and sunset suggest an oasis. The adjacent Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail, a half-mile walk with interpretive signs identifying and describing representative desert plant life, underscores the harsh reality surrounding the spring. Allow 45 minutes.

The Window. A twenty-foot opening between solid rock polished slick by water erosion, the Window is where all the rain and snowmelt in the Chisos Basin drains out. Although the rock is too steep and slick for anyone to risk peeking over the edge, you can see the desert below through a narrow rock formation appropriately called the Gunsight. But you don’t need to get up close to the Window to appreciate it as a natural stage for sunsets in the basin. One of the best perspectives is from the bench at the end of Window View Trail, three tenths of a mile from the convenience store. The Window Trail, a two- to two-and-one-half-mile hike (depending upon where you start) to the actual Window opening, follows a tree-shaded drainage and a running creek to the pouroff. Allow two and one half to three and one half hours for the hike and remember that the walk back is uphill.

The Lost Mine Trail. Though a steeper grade than the Window Trail, this is the least strenuous hike in the high Chisos. The trail follows a series of shaded switchbacks to several breathtaking views of the basin below and Casa Grande above. Its popularity is evidenced by the recently expanded parking area, where guide booklets are available for 25 cents. Deer, kangaroo rats, mountain bluebirds, giant ravens, and even peregrine falcons circling in the sky are easily spotted from the trail; sightings of black bear, which have recently returned to the park, have been reported here. In March, this is also a prime location for observing migrating hummingbirds. The short trail to the Juniper Canyon overlook is about two hours round trip; the whole trip takes about four hours.

 

The South Rim. The view from the top of the Chisos is the grandest in the park and perhaps in all of Texas; unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest to reach, requiring either an all-day horseback ride or an arduous twelve- to fifteen-mile hike, depending on which route you take. The reward at the precipice is a series of incredible vistas that are some of the most expansive on the North American continent, extending more than 200 miles on a clear day.

From here, the eye can effortlessly follow the river on its entire 107-mile, three-canyon bend through the park. The Laguna Meadow Trail is the more gradual route up, although it is one and one half miles longer than the treacherously steep Pinnacles Trail, which is best negotiated on the way down. Either way, seeing Big Bend from its figurative rooftop is worth the effort. Plan to pass through Boot Springs for a respite by a placid brook. This quiet refuge is a feeding station for Colmia warblers, which are rarely seen in the U.S.

Where to Stay (Indoors): A big issue on almost every Big Bend trip is whether to stay inside or outside the park. The sole choice inside the park is the Chisos Mountains Lodge at the basin (477-2291). Its central location is certainly more convenient to most park activities, but if you feel the need for a telephone, a choice of restaurants, and such valuable amusements for kids as in-room TV and an on-site swimming pool, stay outside the park.

BEST TOURS TO TAKE AT BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

RESERVATION AND PHONE TO  PARK

The lodge has 72 rooms ($65 for a double) that are somewhere between a Motel 6 and a Holiday Inn but in a much prettier location. A cluster of six rustic cottages is tucked in the pines several hundred yards from the motel units ($69 for two). Demand is so heavy that booking cottages a year in advance is a must. Hope you get number 103, which has the choice back-porch view of the Window. Though the lodge is already booked for most of spring break and Easter weekend this year, you can call to check on last-minute cancellations and no-shows.

There are motels to the west of the park in Study Butte (24 miles from Panther Junction) and Lajitas (41 miles) and to the north in Marathon (69 miles). In Study Butte (pronounced “Stewdy Byoot”), a haphazard settlement two miles from the western park entrance, at the intersection of Texas Highway 118 and Farm-to-Market Road 170, are the Big Bend Motor Inn and the companion Mission Lodge across the highway (371-2218; 800-848-2363), two plain but clean motels with a gift shop, a pool, and a combination gas station, convenience store, and cafe.

The TVs are hooked up to a satellite and, true to Big Bend’s nonconformist bent, carry channels from New York City and Raleigh, North Carolina. A standard double is $63 a night. Less than a mile west is Easter Egg Valley (371-2430), a.k.a. the Chisos Mining Company Motel, whose pleasantly decorated rooms are housed in a string of connected prefab buildings.

A double is $48 a night. The motel at the Terlingua Ranch (371-2416), about 30 miles north and east of the Study Butte intersection, has a restaurant, a pool, and modern rooms that start at $33 for a double. The secluded Longhorn Ranch Motel (371-2541), 12 miles north of the Study Butte intersection, has 24 homey, tastefully appointed units laid out like a cavalry outpost. It has TVs, a swimming pool, and a restaurant but no in-room phones. A double is $50.

The erstwhile resort town of Lajitas has the widest array of lodging choices west of the park—81 motel rooms, a bunkhouse, cabins, and condos, most furnished with antiques and equipped with a telephone and satellite TV, along with access to a pool (central reservations 424-3471). Doubles are $65 a night; a two-bedroom condo that sleeps up to six runs from $148 a night to $740 a week. Lajitas is dubbed “the Palm Springs of Texas” by its boosters and “Wally World” by its detractors, the latter in honor of Houston developer Walter Mischer, who dreamed up this ersatz Dodge City twenty years ago.

Complementing the lodging are convention facilities, a bar and restaurant, a nine-hole golf course, an airstrip, stables, tennis courts, mountain bike rentals, and the Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center desert museum and gardens. The covered faux Western town boardwalk is Lajitas’ commercial center, with a drugstore and soda fountain, a liquor store, the offices of Big Bend River Tours, an art gallery, a gift shop, and the Badlands Hotel, the check-in desk for all Lajitas lodging.

Where to Stay (Outdoors): Big Bend has three campgrounds in the park—the Chisos Basin, with 63 sites; Cottonwood, 35 miles from Panther Junction, near the historic Castolon store in the western part of the park, with 35 sites shaded by a huge grove of cottonwood trees; and Rio Grande Village, 20 miles from Panther Junction, on the east side of the park, with 100 sites and an overflow campground, as well as a smaller trailer park with hookups ($12.50 a night), a store (one of the two places in the park that sell beer), a gas station, a self-service laundry, and the park’s only public showers (75 cents for 5 minutes).

During busy periods, the only openings may be the primitive campsites near Mariscal Canyon and Talley, down by the Rio Grande in the park’s southern extreme, reached only by four-wheel drive vehicles on the extremely rough River Road, or sites around Dagger Flat and Persimmon Gap in the north. Backcountry campers must be at least a half mile from any road, a quarter mile from any spring or historic site, and one hundred yards from any trail, and must possess a backcountry permit.

With an area this vast it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This should help. If you are not staying in the actual park, any one of the seven towns listed above will suit you fine. We like Marfa and Alpine the best (Make sure you visit The Famous Marfa Lights during your visit. Then there is Marathon, Sanderson, Dryden and Lajitas. All six of these towns are charming in their own ways.

HOTELS AND HOUSES IN THE AREA

 

MARFA,TEXAS

Hotels.                  Rental Houses

 

ALPINE, TEXAS

Hotels. Rental Houses

 

MARATHON, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

 

SANDERSON, TEXAS

Hotels.                   Rental Houses

 

DRYDEN, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

LAJITAS ,TEXAS

Hotels. Rental Houses

PRESIDIO, TEXAS

Hotels.Rental Houses

 

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HAVE A BLAST AT THE BEND!

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SWIM WITH PIGS IN PARADISE

 Swim With The Pigs in The Amazing Bahamas

 

You float across the shimmering waters of Exuma’s 365 cays and islands, and the view reminds you that things just can’t get any better.
Like the ice in your crisp and cool tropical beverage, your heart begins to melt.
But as your boat approaches Big Major Cay, you’re awoken from this daydream by some rather boorish inhabitants
Loud, snorting pigs paddling out to greet you like a jolly bunch of golden retrievers rushing to the door when their owner finally gets home from a long day of work.

Welcome to Pig Island… Where all pigs go to heaven.

What started out as five baby piglets (four females and one lucky male) in the early 90s, is now the enduring reason why millions of tourists flock to the Bahamas annually, for a bit of pig-cuddling therapy.

In the middle of paradise, with billionaires and celebrities for neighbors, is an island populated only by swimming pigs. For decades, this archipelago of 365 islands would remain largely unknown to the world.

 

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It would not be a ruthless pirate, pioneering loyalists, a notorious drug kingpin, or the infamous Fyre Festival that would unveil Exuma to the world, but rather the most unlikely of creatures.

Appearing in magazines, videos, newspapers, commercials, TV shows, and countless selfies, the Swimming Pigs of Exuma, in the Bahamas, have become a bucket-list sensation and have been named one of the marvels of the universe.

You’ll be struck with the feeling that you’re the first to discover this remarkable corner of the planet.

Here it’s iguana tails, not human footprints, that leave marks in the sand, and stumbling upon a gleaming pink conch shell the size of your head is as common as having a new shade of blue catch your eye each time you survey the surrounding waters.

The locals at Big Major’s “Pig Beach” are transplants rather than native islanders, just like many of the people you’ll meet in the area.

 

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And though they’ve clearly taken to their tropical digs and rising popularity — spurred in part by a dramatic appearance on “The Bachelor” and more than a few well-liked Instagram posts — the rewards of fame (read: free food) have come at a cost.

Here’s what we learned on a recent visit, including how to get there, what to expect, where to stay, and, of course, how to responsibly interact with the animals.

SWIM WITH PIGS IN PARADISE TOUR TICKETS

The closest island to the swimming pigs is

Staniel Cay

Staniel Cay is an island located in The Exuma Cays, a district of The Bahamas. Staniel Cay is located roughly 120 km south of Nassau and 400 km southeast of Florida. The island has a population of less than 118 full-time residents and has an area of less than 5 km

How to get to Staniel Cay

 

 Fly across the aqua blue waters of the Bahamas directly into Staniel Cay from Ft. Lauderdale! Staniel Cay is accessible by boat, regularly scheduled flights, charter airplanes and private planes. For scheduled flights and charter services, Staniel Cay recommends Makers Air. 

Or From Florida, the easiest way to get to Staniel Cay is to take Makers Air or Staniel Air flight from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The cost of a round-trip ticket is around $650. Another option is to fly to Nassau and then from Nassau to Staniel Cay via Flamingo Air or Titan Air.

 

How to get to the Piggies From Staniel Cay

A Staniel Cay boat rental will allow you to explore fascinating destinations such as the Exuma Pigs., just 10 minutes away. As your speedboat pulls into the bay, dozens of Exuma Pigs will swim out to meet you in the hopes that you brought them something to eat. These Staniel Cay pigs alone make all flights to Bahamas worthwhile, as long as you ensure that you visit them.

 

Staniel Cay Hotels

Staniel Cay Hotel Deals

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THIS IS DEFINITELY A BUCKET LIST TYPE OF THING, LET GO LATER BUT SAVE A BUNDLE NOW!

HAVE A BLAST,

CHRIS

Atlantis Paradise Island Resort The Bahamas

Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas

Coronavirus Travel, Is This Your Chance To Book The Cheapest Vacation Ever?

Then, Go When You Like.. 

IT’S ALWAYS SUMMER HERE BABY!

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PER NIGHT

The myth of Atlantis goes back to the dialogues of Greek philosopher Plato, who told a legend of an advanced island civilization somewhere west of the Mediterranean Sea that went on a binge conquering

European countries until it suddenly and mysteriously sunk into the sea some 11,000 years ago. The myth has been used a springboard for all kinds of utopian philosophers and contemporary science fiction writers, who have envisioned Atlantis as an enlightened society that fell victim to foreign invaders or natural calamity.

With that kind of romantic history, it was only a matter of time before someone set about to recreate Atlantis for real.

Atlantis began back in 1994 when  Saul Kerzer a hotel developer acquired several hotels owned by Merv Griffin on Paradise Island, directly off Nassau.

An elaborate water park, two more hotels, and a marina village all followed over the next few years, making the complex the top family vacation resort in the Caribbean and one of the most popular family theme parks in the world.

The resort is less of a ruined ancient city, and more of a mix of Vegas and major amusement park, sitting on the azure blue of the Caribbean. The initial experience is nothing short of overwhelming, with a seemingly endless maze of hotels, beaches, pools, aquariums and waterslides all circling around the soaring trademark pink towers, connected by a bridge that forms the center of the resort.

Once you get your bearings, however, it’s easy to literally find something for every age group and interest, from thrilling inner tube roller coasters to elaborate kiddie pools;

from casual outdoor eateries to restaurants helmed by some of the world’s best-known celebrity chefs (Nobu, Jean-Gorges and Bobby Flay among them); from adults-only casinos and nightclubs to one of the best kids’ programs anywhere in the world.

To orient yourself in the resort, it’s best to think of it as an interconnected line of five hotels with the marina in the middle — from north to south, the resort starts with the Beach Tower and Coral Towers, the original hotels on the property; next comes the Royal Towers.

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 The iconic main hotel; and the marina with its Harborside Village timeshares and shops. Finally, in the last two years the resort has dramatically expanded with two entirely new hotels, The Cove and The Reef, designed to appeal to more sophisticated clientele.

Along with the newest hotels came an entirely new water park complex in which the various slides and pools are all connected by a river raft system allowing visitors young and old to explore the attractions without ever leaving the water.

Other highlights include a dolphin park where guests can literally swim with dolphins; a shark tank where they can walk among sharks with the help of a trained diver.

And the recreation of the partially submerged city of Atlantis at the core of the resort, transformed into an 11-million gallon fish tank filled with giant manta rays, groupers, and other impressive giant fish.

TOURS TO TAKE WHILE YOU ARE ON PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS

Family Activities

 All activities and attractions are available when staying at any of the six Atlantis hotels.

Aquaventure
Most kids big and small will want to make a beeline for the waterslides. There are two interconnected water parks at Atlantis — the Mayan Temple complex next to the Royal Towers, and the Power Tower near The Cove hotel.

The two are connected by the Lazy River and The Current, a river rafting ride combining both peaceful stretches and exciting rapids. The water park is 141 acres but the kids will most likely spend most of their time at the 120-foot Power Tower with the Abyss body slide, which is a 50-foot near-vertical drop in the dark through a 200-foot-long tunnel.

Pools
Interspersed between the waterslide complexes are several kids’ pools, including the Splashers kids’ pool, an area with several kid-sized waterslides on the backside of the Mayan Temple, and two zero-entry pools with shallow areas perfect for youngest kids.

In addition, there are several other pool areas in the other hotel areas, including the Poseidon kids pool at the Beach Tower, and the lagoon next to Royal Towers that has paddleboats and other watercraft for rent.

Cascades Family Pool is exclusive to guests of The Reef and The Cove. The best beaches at the resort, meanwhile, are off Coral Towers.

 

Aquariums
Apart from the water activities, kids have many other options for fun. Each hotel has its own unique aquarium, from the Ruins Lagoon at the Royal Towers, to the Predator Lagoon at Beach Tower, and the sea turtle river at Coral Towers.

The main aquarium, however, is The Dig, where archeological Atlantis treasures are immersed in a marine habitat to create a feeling of discovering the lost city.

TOURS TO TAKE WHILE YOU ARE ON PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS

 

The Ruins Lagoon is the largest outdoor marine habitat in the world with more than 20,000 marine life.

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KIDS CLUB

The main kids’ club, Atlantis Kids Adventures, or AKA, is located in the center of Royal Towers, and includes both onsite programs such as culinary programs and a Rock Band stage and field trips to other parts of the resort.

Kids are divided into two age groups: 3 to 5 and 6 to 9. The club costs $45 for a morning or afternoon session, and all-day will cost $90 plus $17.50 for lunch. It’s open 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with Culinary Adventures offered from 9 a.m. to noon or 2 to 4 p.m.

For rainy days, the Beach Tower also has a movie theater showing complimentary family movies day and night.

Teen Clubs
In addition, the resort has two clubs catering to older kids — Club Rush, which features both videogames and dancing for pre-teens, and the brand new Club Crush for teens, decked out with the latest video games and touch-screen entertainment.

Club Rush is open to children 9 to 13 from 7 to 11 p.m., offering Wii, PS3, Xbox, dancing and a live DJ. For the teens, the nightclub was created at the tune of $11.8 million and provides a family session from 5 to 8 p.m. where parents can see what the teens get to do when mom and dad are away.

Which is plenty! The nightclub — better than most adult nightclubs — features a dance floor, Internet lounge, gaming stadium and cafe and “bar.” Security cards are everywhere and staff works hard to maintain a friendly, safe environment for the teens who can party from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $20.

Dolphin Cay
One of the most popular attractions at Atlantis is Dolphin Cay, home to bottlenose dolphins and sea lions.

The 14-acre facility allows families to wade in waist-deep water to experience a Shallow Water interaction of glide alongside the dolphins in the Deep Water Swim.

Backstage tours introduce kids to sea lions. The Cay has a private beach, access of which is available by purchased day pass.

Ardastra Gardens & Zoo
While it’s easy to spend an entire week at the resort itself, families should also consider getting off Paradise Island for activities during the time of their stay.

One of the best options for an excursion is Ardastra Gardens & Zoo, a small but interactive zoo with a jaguar exhibit, trained flamingo shows, and popular parrot feedings in which young kids can hold apples while Amazon parrots perch on their hands (and heads) and nibble away.

Pirates of Nassau Museum
Another fun excursion off resort is the pirate museum.

Kids can explore below-decks on a recreated pirate galleon as well as exhibits on Blackbeard and other famous swashbucklers.

Water Adventures
In addition, Atlantis can also coordinate off-site adventures such as deep-sea fishing, snorkeling and diving.  

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Or you can find private companies in Nassau such as Chubasco Charters (Harbour View Marina) or Lyford Lure Yacht Charter (Lyford Cay Marina) for fishing, and Stuart’s Cove Dive Bahamas (South West Bay Road) for dive trips.

Atlantis Adventures
Atlantis offers one-of-a-kind adventures at the resort, including a Sea Lion Experience where kids can go face to face with a California sea lion.

Snorkel the Ruins of Atlantis alongside the lagoon’s sharks, rays and tropical fish in another adventure.

A new Stingray Experience brings kids hands-on with more than 100 stingrays, feeding, petting and swimming with the graceful creatures.

Another new program is the Ultimate Trainer for a Day, a non-stop, seven-hour day with the professional animal trainers and marine specialists, feeding, training, caring for and interacting with the marine animals. All are at an additional fee.

Climbers Rush
A state-of-the-art rock climbing facility located within the water park provides 12 different climbing challenges in one-on-one or group sessions.

Children must be 6 or older to participate.

Atlantis Pals

 


Atlantis’ own version of Build-a-Bear, kids can select from a variety of stuffed animals and style it in clothing and accessories before an official adoption takes place for kids to take home their new pal. Located in the Beach Tower.

Earth & Fire

Located in the Beach Tower kids can paint their own pottery or fuse their own glasswork in the Atlantis pottery studio, lead by trained artists.

Fantasy Camps
During the slower summer season, Atlantis keeps things exciting with special “fantasy camps” for kids ages 7 to 11 to learn a variety of skills in a fun environment.

They might include Kids Culinary Adventure, in which kids learn how to cook dishes culminating in their own birthday cake; LEGO Fantasy Camp, where kids learn how to build incredible large-scale LEGO structures, including of course Atlantis LEGOS.

And Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Fantasy Camp (stop what you are thinking, Dad), in which kids learn how to follow cheers and choreographed cheerleading routines directly from the masters of the trade.

Mandara Spa
Teens and pre-teens are able to partake in special treatments at Mandara Spa starting at age 9 (parents must accompany kids under 18).

Treatments range from “beach babe hair” to “acne attack facial,” and parents and teens can undergo treatments together in special dual treatment rooms.

 

Family Dining

Family dining is present throughout the resort with more than 20 separate eating establishments, it’s not difficult to find something for every taste and appetite.

Anyone staying at any of the resort’s six properties may choose to dine in these restaurants. Best restaurants for smaller children are the buffet-style Marketplace (Royal Towers) and Mosaic (The Cove), where they can pick from dozens of different options and follow it up with a substantial dessert buffet.

A similar buffet style experience is available at Seagrapes at Harborside Village. Nearby Marina Village also has a handful of family dining options, including retro burger joint Johnny Rockets, family-style Italian restaurant Carmine’s, and casual Murray’s Deli.

Older kids or those with more adventurous palates will enjoy Bimini Road, a fun, tropical-themed eatery. Kids are also allowed for early seating at the more upscale restaurants such as Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and French-Caribbean Cafe Martinique.

Guests should definitely consider signing onto one of the resort’s dining plans, as a la carte and even buffet prices could quickly add up. (A meal at Mosaic, for example, is $60 for adults.) Atlantis currently offers two dining plans.

The Value Dining Plan ($50/adult, $25/child) includes breakfast and dinner at Seagrapes and Marketplace only (though a new BBQ joint opening in summer 2011 will also be added for dinner). The Atlantis Dining Plan ($95/adult, $35/day child) will include breakfast and dinner at any of the resort’s restaurants with the exception of Cafe Martinique, Nobu, Seafire Steakhouse, Courtyard Terrace, and Dune. For families on the dining plan, kids under 7 eat for free; for families not on the plan, kids under 3 eat for free.

 

Temperatures during the dry season, between December and May average between 60 and 80 degrees, with less chance of rain. Atlantis drops its rates slightly during spring when demand is lower, and you can sometimes find bargains on room rates. Truth be told, however, this is a popular destination year-round, so don’t go expect to find real cut-rate deals.

Thankfully, the sheer size of the resort ensures that it never feels crowded, even when hotels are at capacity. The only exception to this is lines at the most popular waterslides, which are likely to be long at any time of year. Visit early in the morning or at the end of the day — especially at the Mayan Temple — for your best chances of a quick ride. Even though its slides are arguably better, the Power Tower tends to be less crowded than the Mayan Temple.

Getting There
The closest airport to Atlantis is Nassau International Airport (NAS), which is approximately a 45-minute drive from the resort. (Note: when booking, be sure to select Nassau, and not Grand Bahamas, which is 150 miles away!) Transportation to the airport can be arranged through the resort for a charge of approximately $100 each way; it’s more economical to hire a taxi, which costs about $40 each way. Once at the resort, complimentary shuttle services is offered between the various properties, with waits of never more than half an hour, and frequently less.

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For Mom and Dad
Despite Atlantis’s reputation as a family resort, there are many perks that adults will enjoy without their children. Chief among them is the Atlantis Casino, which is open only to guests over 18 years old, and offers 90 table games and almost 900 slot machines in a high-energy setting.

The casino is anchored by two amazing sculptures of twisted glass, called the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon respectively, each of which cost $1 million. Interestingly, the casino is the only one in the world that allows natural light onto the gaming floor.

It’s a strange experience to be playing slots or blackjack while light is streaming in the window, but Atlantis officials insist that it does nothing to dampen business.

Guests of The Cove also enjoy access to Cain at the Cove, an adults-only Miami-style pool lounge, complete with cabanas and poolside casino tables, which are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during high season.

The Cove also has a separate (and somewhat smoky) indoor lounge called Seaglass that sometimes also has casino tables in operation in the evenings.

TOURS TO TAKE WHILE YOU ARE ON PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS

IT’S ALWAYS SUMMER HERE

BOOK BY 04/30/2020

TRAVEL FROM 03/10/2020 – 04/30/2021

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RATES FROM
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THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY AND A GREAT DESTINATION

ENJOY, CHRIS

The Landmark Oceanfront Hotel Myrtle Beach South Carolina US

LANDMARK RESORT THE MOST EXCITING FUN FILLED AND ENJOYABLE VACATION EXPERIENCE EVER!

BOOK NOW GO LATER WAS $169 NOW $39 JUST GO BEFORE

 JANUARY 1ST 2021

Landmark Resort, located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the perfect destination for your next family vacation, corporate retreat or couple’s getaway. Conveniently situated oceanfront on the south-end of Myrtle Beach, Landmark Resort features rooms, efficiencies, suites and penthouses and is just a short drive from endless attractions, dining and show options.

Those looking to stay on property for some fun during their vacation can enjoy year-round dining, newly renovated indoor and outdoor pools combined with our on-site waterpark, totaling 17 water attractions, summer activities, our nine-hole mini golf course and so much more.

Golfers can take advantage of our knowledgeable on-site golf and entertainment department while groups and conferences will find peace of mind with our on-site catering and group coordinators who can assist with planning the perfect Myrtle Beach event within our 20,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. Come see why Landmark Resort is such a well-known vacation destination among generations of Myrtle Beach visitors.
*Select amenities are only available to Landmark main building guests.

 

Landmark Resort AMAZING AMENITIES

With a variety of year-round and seasonal amenities, Landmark Resort is the perfect place for a family vacation, couple’s retreat, or group meeting any time of the year.

Learn more about our resort, named a Top Myrtle Beach Resort with Water Parks by Trips to Discover, below!

*Select amenities are only available to Landmark main building guests.

Landmark Resort offers an array of accommodations in Myrtle Beach ranging from rooms to penthouses. Whether you are looking for a budget-friendly standard room or are traveling with a large family and need accommodations that sleep up to ten, we have what you are looking for in your Myrtle Beach vacation.

Our resort is set oceanfront in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  What makes Myrtle Beach so popular?  Check out all of the wonderful Myrtle Beach attractions the area has to offer that makes it the vacation destination for over 14 million visitors each year:

Beautiful white, sandy beaches

World class dining featuring fresh seafood

Family fun amusement and water parks

 

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Live Broadway caliber entertainment theaters and exciting nightlife

Myrtle Beach has long been known as “The Golf Capital of the World” with nearly 100 championship golf courses

Cultural activities and historic sites

Great shopping ranging from outlet malls to specialty boutiques and shops

Freshwater, ocean and deep sea saltwater fishing

and so much more!

THINGS TO DO WHILE IN MYRTLE BEACH

REMEMBER BOOK NOW GO LATER WAS $169 NOW $39 PER NIGHT JUST GO BEFORE  JANUARY 1ST 2021

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PREVIOUS REVIEW ON MYRTLE BEACH South Carolina USA

 

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WE WILL GET THROUGH THID TOGETHER

CHRIS

Self Isolation and Camping

ARE YOU GOING CRAZY YET OR HAVE A CASE OF CABIN FEAVER

Our National Parks are waiving admission costs in hopes people that are going crazy being locked in their homes. its a way to self isolate in wide open spaces.

Why You Should Rent an RV

Traveling the United States can be just as rewarding and fun as traveling the globe, especially if you’re in an RV. RV travel is the best of both worlds; you have the freedom and flexibility of being mobile, but the conveniences and comforts of home. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money if you’re not flying all over the country and staying in hotels.

Now you’re starting to think, right? You’re probably wondering if it’s possible for you to go on your own RV journey. Well, it is, and here’s why – You don’t need to own an RV to take off on an adventure! You can rent an RV for weeks or even months at a time. So, pack your bags, get your “US passport” out, and get ready to get stamped in every state!

National Park Service to waive entrance fees at open parks to aid social distancing

Washington (CNN)Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has directed the National Park Service to the waive entrance fees at all national parks that remain open during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to aid public social distancing.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” Bernhardt said in a news release Wednesday.
“Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.”
The step comes as more than 7,500 people have been infected by the virus in the US, and at least 125 have died. In response, states are ordering new shutdowns and restrictions every day and public health officials are encouraging the public to stay home and practice social distancing to contain the spread of the virus.
Still, while the National Park Service has temporarily closed some parks, the vast majority remain fully or partially open — though “many facilities will be closed.”
In an open letter released earlier this month, an organization representing National Park Service retirees called on the agency to introduce broader closures to protect the staff and the public.
Chair Phil Francis of The Coalition to Protect America’s Parks argues that “to suggest to the public that gathering at national park sites is acceptable.

Where to Rent A Camper

 

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS – PEER TO PEER NETWORKING

RV rentals have become tremendously popular over the last several years. RV ownership is growing faster than it ever has before, with more than 400,000 people buying RVs each year. Unfortunately, about 90% of those RVs sit in driveways or storage for most of the year. What’s the solution? Renting your RV to someone who wants to use it!

Enter peer to peer networking. Thanks to sites like Airbnb, people are now connecting with one another renting out their homes, RVs, cars; what have you. It’s the perfect solution for RV owners who don’t have the time to travel in their RV – and it’s the perfect solution for travelers who don’t want to buy an RV! RVshare is one such site. In fact, it’s the largest P2P RV rental network in the world. Here’s how it works:

Owners snap a few photos and upload them to the platform. They set whatever nightly rate they want, along with any rules they have for using their RV.

Renters search through a huge marketplace of RVs, based on their travel dates and location. You’ll see RVs of all shapes, sizes, and ages.

When you find the RV you want, you’ll submit a reservation request. The owner will do a background check on you before they decide. In the meantime, you can message them through the platform if you have questions.

 

Once approved, you’ll pay a security deposit (just like you would with a chain rental service). This may go toward your rental cost at the end, or it may be a refundable damage deposit, depending on the terms in the listing.

When you go to pick up the RV, the owner will walk you through it and go over everything. They’ll show you how to use everything and answer any questions you might have.

Both you and the owner are covered by liability insurance while you’re traveling. You’ll also have free 24/7 roadside assistance. You do, however, need to have your own auto insurance. You can get this through your current auto provider. In some cases, you can purchase coverage via the owner along with your rental (it will say so in the ad).

Once your trip is over, just refill the gas tanks and return the RV. It couldn’t be easier. Don’t forget to leave a review on the site and tell other renters about your experience!

Renting an RV or campervan is one of the best ways to experience a location without being restricted to a particular area! If you don’t like the RV campground you’re staying at, you can always move elsewhere.

Plus, the cost to rent an RV is much cheaper when compared to most hotels and resorts. You’re able to experience an incredible vacation for far less than you otherwise might be able to.

Depending on the RV you rent, you can get a full kitchen equipped with a fridge, stove, oven, and more (unlike hotel rooms which only have a microwave).

Where to Rent A Camper

 

RVRENTALS
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Finally, RV camping puts you more in nature, with a lot more to do. You can go hiking, kayaking, sight-seeing, fishing, and so much more! Try doing that in a city!

WHY RENTING AN RV IS AN AWESOME IDEA

Renting an RV is not only easy; it’s also surprisingly affordable. Sites like RVshare have rentals as low as $10 per day. You’re just not going to find that anywhere else! There are other benefits as well:

You’ll save a ton of money than you would traveling in other ways. Vacationing in an RV can save you up to 60% on travel costs!

You’re not limited to staying in one place for a set amount of time. You can pick up and go whenever you want.

You’ll see the United States the way they’re meant to be seen. America is full of beauty and culture. Ditch the tourist traps and get out there and really explore!

Renting from a site like RVshare supports small businesses! You’re renting from an individual or family who loves RVing themselves – what better way to support your fellow traveler? Plus, P2P rental rates tend to be a lot lower than chain rentals and dealerships.

You can get some pretty great deals on P2P rentals. Look for discounts on longer reservations (like a few weeks or months) and off-season discounts. You may be able to find some one-way deals as well. If that’s not enough, you can always message the owner through the system and try to negotiate a deal! 

You get all the bells and whistles that you would with a big chain dealership: liability coverage, an orientation, and walkthrough when you pick up the rig, roadside assistance, and more.

Campgrounds are less expensive than hotels as it is, but if you want to save even more money, you should try out dry camping! Camping without hookups is exciting, adventurous, and often free. Plus, you’ll be able to camp in some of the most beautiful places in the States.

Where to Rent A Camper

 

RVRENTALS
OUTDOORSY
CRUISE AMERICA

RV Rental Costs

We recently did a study with Outdoorsy on how much it costs to rent an RV across tens of thousands of rentals in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Here are the average RV rental prices we found:

RV Type

Average Rental Prices

Class A

$175 to $275 per night

Class B

$100 to $200 per night

Class C

$150 to $200 per night

Travel Trailer

$50 to $125 per night

Fifth Wheel

$100 to $200 per night

Pop Up Camper

$50 to $100 per night

Toy Hauler

$100 to $200 per night

Campervan

$100 to $175 per night

Of course, rental rates vary based on location, model, time of year & more. And if you’re using a rental company like Cruising America, costs will also be different. Click here to browse rentals and see more accurate pricing.

How to Choose Which Type of RV to Rent

If you didn’t already know this, there are nearly a dozen different types of RVs. Let’s break them down!

Here’s a quick navigation if you want to jump to the one you’re interested in:

Types of RVs

Class A

Class A motor homes are the biggest kind of RV next to fifth wheels. They have the most interior space and storage, with a giant windshield in the cab.

Class A Motor Home Rental

Class A’s are best if you want luxury and plenty of space to move around. However, they are also the most expensive and have the lowest MPG of all RV types.

 Class C

Class C motor homes are also fairly big, with a few smaller options as well. You can tell these by the sleeping area over the cab.

Maui Motor Home Rental

Class C’s are great all-around RVs. They have plenty of sleeping area and decent living space. You really can’t go wrong with them—they’re a classic!

 

Class B / Camper Vans

Class B’s and Camper Vans are the smallest types of motor home. (Don’t ask me why they didn’t go in ABC order.) If you’re comfortable driving a van, these are pretty much equivalent.

Class B Motor Homes & Camper Vans

If you’re going on a solo vacation or as a duo and don’t mind close quarters, camper van rentals can be a great way to save money and give you stress-free driving!

 Travel Trailer

Travel trailer rentals are sort of a mixed bag. You can have everything from tiny pop up campers to massive 42′ trailers and toy haulers (which have space inside for a “toy” like a quad or dirt bike). These types of RVs must be towed!

Travel Trailer Rental

Many RV owners offer a delivery service for towable RVs, since the average person doesn’t have an adequate tow vehicle. If you’d rather just drive to your campground and have the camper set up for you, these are a great option!

There are also multiple variations of travel trailers, such as pop up camper rentals, teardrop trailers, and toy haulers.

Fifth Wheel

Fifth wheels (aka “5th wheels”) are also massive. They offer the most luxurious living spaces of all the types of RVs, often with fireplaces and two-tiered bedrooms.

Fifth Wheel Rental

If you just want a big, luxury RV rental and don’t mind paying extra for it, go with a fifth wheel. They’re awesome, just not that fun to drive!

Truck Camper

Truck campers are trucks with campers attached to the truck bed! Every bit as awesome (and as small) as it sounds.

If you want to save EVEN MORE money, and potentially go off-roading, a truck camper rental is the way to go!

Where to Rent A Camper

 

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GET OUTSIDE AWAY FROM IT ALL
ALL THE BEST
CHRIS

Camping and the Coronavirus

How To Camp The National Parks During The Coronavirus Outbreak

 

THIS JUST IN>>>

National Park Service to waive entrance fees at open parks to aid social distancing

Washington (CNN)Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has directed the National Park Service to the waive entrance fees at all national parks that remain open during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to aid public social distancing.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” Bernhardt said in a news release Wednesday.
“Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.”
The step comes as more than 7,500 people have been infected by the virus in the US, and at least 125 have died. In response, states are ordering new shutdowns and restrictions every day and public health officials are encouraging the public to stay home and practice social distancing to contain the spread of the virus.
Still, while the National Park Service has temporarily closed some parks, the vast majority remain fully or partially open — though “many facilities will be closed.”
In an open letter released earlier this month, an organization representing National Park Service retirees called on the agency to introduce broader closures to protect the staff and the public.
Chair Phil Francis of The Coalition to Protect America’s Parks argues that “to suggest to the public that gathering at national park sites is acceptable … is irresponsible to the visiting public and employees.”
“National parks welcome visitors from around the world,” Francis writes. “Many National Park Service employees interact with members of the public daily.”

Many of the strategies you should employ are the ones you normally should consider whenever you head to the parks. After all, with some parks heavily crowded during peak seasons, you should have a good plan for avoiding those crowds.

What follows are some suggestions to consider anytime you head to the parks, let alone during the current COVID-19 epidemic. Just be sure to check a park’s website for latest trail and road conditions before heading out so you’re not surprised by closures.

Avoid Crowd Magnets

This is good advice any time you head to a park. For instance, at Yellowstone National Park the Old Faithful Geyser attracts hundreds of viewers along the boardwalk on the west side of the geyser.

You could still enjoy the whoosh of steam and hot water by going to the trail near the east side, or viewing it from the trails on Geyser Hill. Of course, the roads to Old Faithful aren’t scheduled to open until mid-April.

Visitor centers are definitely crowd magnets. Think of the Byrd Visitor Center in Shenandoah National Park, Sugarlands Visitor Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Valley Visitor Center at Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on that park’s South Rim, or the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park.

You can find yourself squeezing past others in aisles during busy times; no way to keep 6 feet apart, as the Centers for Disease Control recommends.

Though it’s nice to stop in these facilities and peruse their collections of interpretive materials, watch the park video, or simply stamp your Passport To Your National Parks®, skip this stop and instead head to a hiking trail or scenic overlook and circle back during the dinner hour when the center might be less crowded.

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park is a good spot to spy desert bighorn sheep/Kurt Repanshek file

Zion Canyon is most definitely the magnet for Zion National Park in Utah, but you can still find the park highly enjoyable and scenic if you instead head to the Kolob Canyons entrance, cruise down the Kolob Terrace Road, or explore Checkerboard Mesa on the eastern side of the park.

At Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, avoid the hike to Old Rag or to Whiteoak Falls. Instead, consider the Pass Mountain Trail at Milepost 31.6 on Skyline Drive. This 3.4-mile trail weaves through the forest and leads you to a hut. With spring progressing, it soon could offer some nice wildflower blooms and bird-watching opportunities.

Skip Yosemite National Park and instead head a bit south to Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks. Enjoy the fresh air in these stunning parks while stretching your legs with a hike. Consider the Grant Tree Trail in Kings Canyon, or visit the Red Mountain Grove of sequoias. According to park staff this grove, in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon, can offer a kaleidoscopic burst of wildflowers along the ridge trail and near Redwood Creek.

The Muir Grove in Sequoia, two miles in from the Generals Highway, is reportedly one of the lesser-visited groves in the park, no doubt because of the hike involved.

“The Muir Grove features a high density of mature sequoias as well as a dramatic approach and entrance to the grove, with views across a creek gorge of the impressive giant sequoias on the grove’s east side. The trail to this grove continues further into the grove for those who want a longer hike,” the park’s website notes. The trailhead is in the Dorst Campground.

Save the hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park for another time and head down to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park and the Chesler Park Trail, or head to the Horseshoe Canyon Annex of Canyonlands and hike down to the Great Gallery. You won’t be disappointed.

Visit Lesser Known Parks

This is a longstanding recommendation. With 419 units in the park system, there are so many options and opportunities to take advantage of. And many parks have few or no central gathering places where you might encounter crowds. Some possibilities:

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

This is truly a jewel, with only one road running through it and a number of trailheads and overlooks where you can park and head out into a landscape bejeweled with multicolored petrified wood. Skip the visitor centers at either end of the road and enjoy this incredible setting.

Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.

This relatively small (barely 34,000 acres) park features a loop road that circles the park and which you can drive in half a day or less, depending on how often you stop to take a hike or gaze at the park’s bison herds.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.

 

True, this is a widely known and popular park, but you can park your car and walk for miles along the beach without being surrounded by crowds. The same can be said for Cape Lookout National Seashore just to the south, but you do need to take a ferry to its barrier islands that offer incredible solitude.

Sunsets at Theodore Roosevelt National Park can be breathtaking/NPS

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

Theodore Roosevelt no doubt would be disappointed that so few people visit his namesake park (691,658 in 2019), but that lack of crowds is to your benefit. Head first to the North Unit and the Riverbend Overlook. From there you can hike over to the Oxbow Overlook. Or you could park at the Oxbow Overlook and hike down to Sperati Point, a 2.4-mile roundtrip. Again, be sure to check park conditions before heading out.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas.

The official visitation tally for this unit in 2019 was just 33,750, so you can be sure of some personal space during a visit to this not quite 11,000-acre unit. Not only will you find one of the last stands of the country’s tallgrass prairie here, but there’s also a herd of bison.

Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia.

This rich-in-history battlefield provided some background for the Cold Mountain novel, and you can easily visit the inspiring setting today (though the crater created by the explosion isn’t as raw and exposed as it was on July 30, 1864.The blast created a crater 170 feet long, 60-80 feet wide, and about 30 feet deep, killing 250-300 Confederates in the process). Stroll the grounds and you can spot earthworks created by Confederate troops and various spots were key points of the Petersburg siege played out. 

Things To Keep In Mind On Your Travels

Most places in the National Park System are not sprawling across big, open, Western lands where it’s easy to avoid other visitors. Many, many parks have close visitor situations: the monuments in Washington, D.C., Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, the Statue of Liberty, Independence National Historical Park, various boat transportation systems, forts, historic home tours, etc. Plus, even the big parks have crowded visitor centers, restrooms with lots of visitors who cannot be disinfected regularly (not enough staff for that) shuttle systems, etc. In other words, parks are not necessarily places where social distancing (remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance of approximately 6 feet, according to the Centers for Disease Control) from others when possible is easy.

Prepare yourself for some of these settings with hand sanitizer (if you can find some) and wipes (ditto). You could even make your own sanitizer if you can’t find any (and if you can find the ingredients, which also seem to be proving popular). To do so, according to a story on CBS News, you need:

* 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol 

* 1/3 cup aloe vera gel

* Mixing bowl

* Container of some sort

Combine those ingredients, add 5-10 drops of essential oil to override the smell of alcohol, and you should be good to go. Key is that your product contain 60 percent alcohol by volume, according to the CBS story.

Envision The Parks At Home

If you can’t head out to the parks, you still can enjoy them. Pull out Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan’s documentary on the parks (The National Parks: America’s Best Idea), or grab a book on parks; there are many very fine ones out there. 

The Grand Canyon: Between River And Rim

The Capitol Reef Reader

Granite And Grace: Seeking The Heart Of Yosemite

Birds Of The West: An Artist’s Guide

Civil War Places: Seeing The Conflict Through The Eyes Of Its Leading Historians

Ramble On: A History Of Hiking

You can find many more in our Fireside Reads section.

As conditions dictate, the Traveler will continue covering the coronavirus epidemic and the parks, so check back regularly. 

STAY SAFE, WE ARE AMERICANS AND LOVE OUR FREEDOM

CHRIS

Top Ten Worst Hotels In The US

The 10 Worst-Reviewed Hotels In America

If you have any horror stories please share in the comments section and we’ll add them to the list.

 Because a painful experience should make a good story, or at least help others. 10 of the worst reviewed hotels according to TripAdvisor users.

Featuring an all-star cast of complaints, including roaches, cigarette butts, and paper-thin walls

If you’re planning on traveling this summer, you might have already started browsing TripAdvisor for reviews of local spots, getaway destinations and, perhaps most importantly, hotels. After all, the quality of a hotel can be the difference between a Wes Andersen dream vacation and a Lars Von Trier nightmare exile.

Thankfully, there’s the internet and these days, travelers can experience the blessing of other people’s 20/20 hindsight thanks to TripAdvisor. Here are some of the country’s worst-reviewed hotels, featuring real-life American travel horror stories. Some might deter you, some might seem like a challenge.

1. Boulevard Hotel

The Boulevard Hotel in Miami Beach is said to lure unwary travelers with the promise of two-for-one drinks and its enviable location. But as one reviewer found out the hard way, sometimes when things seem to be to good to be true, they just are. “It is the light at the end of the journey. But when the light does not go on it is not good,” says one business traveler on TripAdvisor.

Apparently the hotel is notorious for its thin walls, unkempt rooms and a no-refunds policy that may or may not violate the booking site’s terms of use.

boulevard hotel miami reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF BOULEVARD HOTEL

Econo Lodge Jersey City

Sometimes, place names are so evocative you almost don’t need to say anything more. Cannes. Venice. Kyoto… and then there’s “Econo Lodge Jersey City.” Which, according to TripAdvisor reviews, is everything it seems to be, and more.

An advertised “free breakfast” here apparently consisted of a single mini-donut. A recent TripAdvisor review sums it up by saying this hotel “is trying to meet customer’s needs at a reasonable price, but hasn’t had much money spent to maintain it for years.” An employee here also seems to be tasked with posting apologies to each and every negative review – an unenviable job.

Econo Lodge Jersey City reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF ECONO LODGE JERSEY CITY

Polynesian Oceanfront Motel

Cockroaches and loud noise are among the list of many complaints leveled at this “drug-infested rat’s nest,” in Myrtle Beach. While some reviewers do praise the motel’s location and relatively low rates, others seem quite traumatized. “The sheets had stains and blood on them, [and] your feet became black from walking across the floor,” says a TripAdvisor user from Staunton, VA.

Polynesian Oceanfront Motel reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF POLYNESIAN OCEANFRONT MOTEL

Town House Motel

The Town House Motel of Tupelo, MS, had one reviewer earnestly wishing they’d slept in their car. Another helpfully includes pictures of the flourishing mold colonies in their room’s bathroom. In real estate terms, this one seems less like a town house and more like a “rustic” fixer-upper. “Stay Away. Far, Far Away,” warns TripAdvisor reviewer Jeff from Birmingham, AL. “The bedspread had cigarette (at least we’ll speculate it was cigarette and not crackpipe) burns. The walls had stains and cracks throughout.”

Town House Motel reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF TOWN HOUSE MOTEL

 Jack London Inn

Oakland’s Jack London Inn, named for the Bay Area native writer and notorious alcoholic, does, to its credit, live up to its name in the sense that, well, Jack London is famous for his stories about people subjected to harsh, miserable environments on the gold rush frontier or out at sea. A TripAdvisor reviewer from Wellington, NZ writes that her room here, “had a thick layer of furry mold growing in it.” Another review notes, “the heater was broken, the toilet leaked upon flushing, the window drapes were broken, the hotel was consistently filthy and disheveled.” Perhaps indeed too close for comfort to the conditions found in Jack London novels.

Jack London Motel reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF JACK LONDON INN

Midtown Inn

The Midtown Inn in Springfield. Sounds like the kind of generic place you’d see on a sitcom where that was the joke. Or perhaps an episode of The Twilight Zone which conveys the quiet horrors that can lurk beneath the placid surface of a nondescript American community. Indeed, one poor TripAdvisor reviewer says the manager here, “used language I wouldn’t use on my worst enemy,” including a horrific racial slur.

Midtown Inn reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF MIDTOWN INN

 Parisian Hotel

The Parisian of Miami Beach may have a romantic name, but its TripAdvisor reviews are anything but a love story, with at least one international reviewer urging the local authorities to step in. Another reviewer states, “We stayed here for one night and it was the most horrific experience. The sheets were dirty, no hot water and noisy lift and people next door made so much noise.”

Parisian hotel miami reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF PARISIAN HOTEL

World Hotel

According to intrepid TripAdvisors, those who stay at the World Hotel on Bowery in New York City may be in for a world of disappointment, not to mention grossness. Highlights include rooms described as “smaller than walk-in closets,” plenty of cockroaches, and a memorable allegation of “fecal matter” on sheets.

World Hotel new york reviews

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF WORLD HOTEL

Pocono Plaza

One recent TripAdvisor reviewer’s experience at the Pocono Plaza of Stroudsburg, PA began with a snowstorm and ended in disappointment. Another, even worse, began with what was presumably a budget-friendly choice, and ended with bedbugs. One review points out the irony behind the name change of this former Quality Inn franchise: “From the minute we got there, it seemed shady. The ‘Quality Inn’ sign was hastily painted over with black paint.”

Pocono Plaza Inn

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF POCONO PLAZA

Siegel Slots and Suites

Apparently once a reliable and even glamorous place to stay, this Vegas hotel has reviews that are full of Fear and Loathing, with one reviewer from Reno calling it, “the motel from Hell.” Food poisoning, a room with a previously kicked-in door and piles of trash are among the indignities travelers have mentioned on TripAdvisor.

One reviewer notes, “This is not a place for travelers: it’s neither safe nor hospitable,” and another says, “We had the misfortune of having to stay here for a while and witnessed things I don’t want to see again…drugs, violence, suicide, bed bugs.” Indeed, “bat country. Bad vibes were everywhere.” Well that was Hunter S. Thompson, but you get the idea.

Siegel Slots and Suites

 

SEE ALL REVIEWS OF SIEGEL SLOTS AND SUITES

CARIBBEAN DESTINATIONS – Cheap – Cheap – Cheap

– Cheapest Caribbean Islands –

32  Destinations Best prices in 2020

Extremely popular with both North Americans and Europeans during the winter months, the Caribbean is filled with islands and destinations that range from cheap & basic to posh & exclusive. You’ll also find islands where English dominates, but also where Spanish, French, or Dutch are far more common.

This list has been totally updated for 2020 and nearly all islands have now recovered from the devastating 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria. Puerto Rico is mostly back open for business, as most of the hotels have reopened. The Virgin Islands (US and British) remain the hardest hit as very few of the cheaper hotels and resorts have reopened as of late 2019.

Ranking Caribbean islands and destinations by price is challenging for a variety of reasons, so we simplified it by including only a cheaper 3-star hotel room for a week. 

 

GRAB A CHEAP FLIGHT

AIRFAIRWATCHDOG

 

 

 

Airfares to Cancun are spiking at the time of research, so the Dominican Republic seems like a better bargain. Some low-cost airlines have pulled out of the Caribbean and now a couple smaller islands are much lower on this list because they are much more expensive to reach again.

 

Below are the 32 most popular Caribbean destinations 

Caribbean islands and Destinations ranked by price during the High Season

 Cancun/Playa del Carmen/Cozumel, Mexico

 

By far the busiest destination in the Caribbean, Cancun is obviously not an island so it might not count for some people. But Greater Cancun also consists of Playa del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya area as well as the nearby island of Cozumel, so it’s a huge cluster of resort areas all served by one busy airport.

With cheap flights from almost everywhere and hotels starting at suspiciously low prices, Cancun is easily the cheapest Caribbean destination and a great choice for the Spring Break crowd.  It’s worth noting that the cheapest hotels in Cancun won’t be within walking distance of the beach, although most will have a pool. The new hotels along the Hotel Zone tend to be good value compared to Caribbean islands. If you want to stay in a lovely town rather than along a strip of new hotels, look for places down in Playa del Carmen or Tulum, which are only an hour south of the airport by taxi or shuttle.

 Cancun/Playa del Carmen/Cozumel, Mexico

 

 

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

 

Punta Cana has some modestly priced hotels that include breakfast, but it’s much better known as the best and cheapest place for luxury all-inclusive resorts at amazing rates. In fact, some of these all inclusives only cost a bit more than the ones that only include breakfast. There are really good air+hotel packages available that can keep prices down and offer fantastic value for the Caribbean. 

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

 

 La Romana, Dominican Republic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Romana does have just enough inexpensive hotels to make it this high on the list, but the area is mostly known for larger upscale resorts. The famous Casa de Campo Resort started the trend, and it’s still almost exclusively a package resort area for the upscale crowd. La Romana is often included in the Punta Cana market when you search for hotels, so you can fly into that airport if it’s cheaper, and take a shuttle to your resort on the brand-new highways between them. In fact, flights into Punta Cana Airport are almost always cheaper so that is what we used for this entry.

 La Romana, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

 

Puerto Plata includes several clusters of resort beaches along the northern shore of the Dominican Republic. The hotels here are among the cheapest in the Caribbean, and this area is also known for very affordable all-inclusive packages. The diving and snorkeling aren’t top-notch, but at least it’s good value otherwise. Flights to the nearby airport aren’t as cheap as they used to be, and the Santiago Airport a bit further south is 90 minutes away by road. Those looking for a luxury all-inclusive at an appealing price would probably be happier in Punta Cana (see above).

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

 

Curaçao

 

Thanks to some surprisingly cheap JetBlue flights Curacao can be an excellent value for some travelers. Officially part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao has excellent diving and some of the cheaper hotels in the southern part of the Caribbean. It also has a large and busy airport which helps keep airfares reasonable from North America and several key European cities. Curaçao is also seldom in the path of hurricanes, so autumn trips are a great value here and come with greater peace of mind.

Curaçao

 

Samana, Dominican Republic

 

Samana has quite a few posh and expensive resorts, but it’s also got a nice mix of more affordable simple hotels near the beach. This is a newer resort area that is expanding at a fast clip, with a new airport and increasing services as well. Samaná is the whale-watching capital of the Caribbean with some very nice beaches to boot.

Samana, Dominican Republic

Varadero, Cuba

 

For a couple years Americans were allowed visits to Cuba for “cultural tourism”, and cruise ships started coming as well. But Americans still can’t legally sun themselves in Varadero or any other Cuban resort city and that doesn’t look ready to change anytime soon. Still, Canadians and Europeans are very fond of this commercialized stretch of beach out on a restricted peninsula. You’ll find mostly larger all-inclusive resorts here built specifically for the package crowds. Varadero is relatively cheap and good value for the Caribbean, and quality in its beachfront resort hotels is fairly high. Once Americans can visit Cuba solely for leisure, things are bound to change quite a bit.

Varadero, Cuba

 

GRAB A CHEAP FLIGHT

AIRFAIRWATCHDOG

 

Aruba

 

Almost completely flat, Aruba is another Dutch island without a striking volcano at its center. Still, it has a well developed tourist infrastructure and a busy airport with cheap flights from Europe, so it’s a popular choice for northern Europeans as well as Americans. Most hotels on Aruba are in the mid-range and upper end, but there are enough affordable places that get good reviews to make it pretty high on this list.

Aruba

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

About 90-minutes east of Montego Bay Airport on Jamaica’s northern shore, Ocho Rios is similar in price to Montego Bay and Negril (see below). It’s also a very popular cruise port, so the local waterfalls and other attractions can be jammed or nearly empty depending on the day. There are large and impressive resorts all along the north shore between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, including many all-inclusives. But similar to Montego Bay, the actual town of Ocho Rios is underdeveloped, unimpressive, and somewhat annoying, filled mostly with nearly identical souvenir shops and a few jewelry malls. If you want to stay in a small hotel and try different restaurants and bars along a beach, go to Negril and stay clear of Ocho Rios.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Jamaica’s busiest airport is near the heart of Montego Bay so visitors can be checked-in sooner here than if they went to Negril or Ocho Rios nearby. This is a very well developed and touristy area along Jamaica’s north shore, with plenty of large all-inclusive resorts all the way up the price scale. All along the north shore you’ll find a string of large hotels (many all-inclusive), and there are a few good activities as well. But the actual town of Montego Bay, centered along the so-called “Hip Strip” is disappointing. In other words, if you want to stay in an independent hotel and try many nearby restaurants and bars, go to Negril. Montego Bay is really only good for its larger resorts.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

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Negril, Jamaica

 

Negril, which is about 90-minutes from Montego Bay Airport by road, has a beautiful west-facing beach and an abundance of cheaper 2-star and 3-star hotels, making it among the Caribbean’s best value destinations for hotels that are actually on the sand. There are also many all-inclusives and upscale & pricey 4-stars, so it’s a good mix rather than just all down-market. The gorgeous area along 7-Mile Beach is lined with smaller hotels and a few larger ones plus a few all-inclusives. THIS is where you want to go in Jamaica if you want to visit the country rather than just visiting the grounds of a hotel.

Negril, Jamaica

Trinidad and Tobago

 

About 95% of the population lives on Trinidad, but about half the resorts are on Tobago and usually people just visit one island or the other since they aren’t close together. Slightly cheaper flights go into Trinidad, but we are using data for Tobago here since it’s more popular with resort-goers. The hotel markets are listed separately as well, but prices and the overall range are quite similar and both offer good value. In other words, if you are considering a first visit, it’s probably best to book on Tobago unless you want to specifically explore the culture (and oil fields) of Trinidad.

Trinidad and Tobago

 Barbados

 

While it’s a bit farther than other cheap Caribbean destinations, there are sometimes good airfares from the US to Barbados. This island has many good-value 3-star beach resorts towards the south, and a long line of exclusive and luxurious hotels and resorts in what might best be described as the Beverly Hills of the Caribbean. Barbados has a well developed hotel scene so it won’t feel as exotic as some of the smaller islands nearby. Some of the diving here is excellent so it can be great value for the scuba set.

 Barbados

San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

Cheap and direct flights from many cities help make San Juan a good budget choice, even if hotel prices here start higher than other destinations near the top of this list. The Old San Juan area is gorgeous and there are many surprisingly affordable eating and sleeping options there. Starting just next door you’ll find a long string of tourist-oriented areas with some of the best city beaches in the world. There are virtually no all-inclusive resorts on Puerto Rico, so this is a pay as you go destination. If you want a bit of culture and don’t need nonstop buffets, then San Juan might be the best option in the Caribbean at a modest price. San Juan can also be a great choice for trips of only a few days because airfares are low even if hotels aren’t quite so cheap.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

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Rincon, Puerto Rico

 

If you are a serious surfer and want to give it a try in the Caribbean then come to Rincon, on Puerto Rico’s west coast. Others are probably better off in the more developed San Juan area, but surfers love it here and often rent local houses rather than staying in the somewhat pricey hotels. Flights to the local airport are cheap, and the sometimes-cheaper San Juan airport is also an easy drive.

Rincon, Puerto Rico

 St. Lucia

 

Arguably the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, St. Lucia is an interesting mix of options with some surprisingly good deals at hotels combined with rather expensive airfares. Flights aren’t always expensive though, so this is a good island to put in an airfare alert and pounce when a bargain appears. This is a popular stop for cruise ships and there is also a great mix of upscale resorts, so St. Lucia is justifiably popular for many different groups.

 St. Lucia

Bonaire

 

You wouldn’t come to Bonaire for the beaches, because this small and mostly-flat island isn’t blessed with sandy shores like most of the Caribbean, but it does have excellent diving and wind surfing as well. This all contributes to more of an informal atmosphere on Bonaire, with a nice selection of cheap hotels available. Flights aren’t cheap, however, so it’s not ideal for most.

Bonaire

Grenada

 

Known for its beautiful volcanic views and for not being overly developed, Grenada is a good choice for English-speaking folks looking to get away from the package crowds. Prices at the resorts are mostly in the middle range, but a few top-end places are here as well. Flights can sometimes be cheap, though be sure to check hotel prices before you book the airfare.

Grenada

 Antigua & Barbuda

 

Antigua is one of the more accessible Caribbean islands that is known as a playground for the rich and famous. It’s a beautiful place and flight deals are often available, but resorts here range from moderate on up to shockingly expensive. Several celebrities have homes on the island, which tells you something about the crowd that books here. Still, there are some modestly priced hotels that get very good reviews, so it’s a possibility for budget visitors.

 Antigua & Barbuda

 

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Guadeloupe

 

Still an official part of France, Guadeloupe is very unusual in that it’s sometimes actually cheaper to reach by air from Paris than from New York. In other words, this is a very French island that caters nicely to budget and mid-range Europeans, but it can be expensive and difficult to reach from North America if you aren’t starting in the right city. Hotels here can be good value if you can get an airfare bargain.

Guadeloupe

St. Maarten/St. Martin

 

Famously divided with a French half in the north (Saint Martin) and a Dutch half in the south (Sint Maarten), this island otherwise treats itself as one destination. Almost all (cheap) flights are into the airport in the Dutch area, and hotels are grouped together as well, with both halves being mid-range choices with almost nothing in the low-budget category.

St. Maarten/St. Martin

St. Kitts and Nevis

 

The twin islands of St. Kitts and Nevis are among the smaller and more modest tourist markets, and this can make them ideal for those not interested in crowds and shopping centers. In fact, even the more populous St. Kitts feels mostly empty with wide-open land, with Nevis even more empty. There are almost no cheap hotels on either island though. Scuba diving is very good here, with some notable shipwrecks and underwater caves. Flights are a bit pricey too, so this is a good choice for scuba visits for upmarket guests.

St. Kitts and Nevis

 

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 Martinique

 

A favorite of French-speakers from Canada and Europe, Martinique has a relatively large population without a great number of resorts, so it doesn’t feel as touristy as many other islands. You’ll find great cuisine here, and quite a few budget hotel options as well. Norwegian Air flew into Martinique for a couple years, but the low cost airline ended that in early 2019 so airfares are much higher again.

 Martinique

Grand Bahama, Bahamas

 

Freeport is the second-largest city in the Bahamas and its location on the island of Grand Bahama is also the second-busiest tourist destination in the island chain. While popular as a cruise destination, hotels here are mostly in the mid-range for the Caribbean, and it’s a common short getaway for those coming from nearby Florida. Hurricane Dorian DID hit parts of Grand Bahama Island and some hotels and resorts were damaged, but many others were not. If you are interested in visiting you can see what is open and available for your travel dates, and they need all the visitors they can get in the wake of the storm.

Grand Bahama, Bahamas

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

 

Larger than nearby St. Thomas, the island of St. Croix is also harder to reach, with very few direct flights from far away. There are also fewer cruise ships stopping in St. Croix, so it really does have a bit more of a remote and isolated feeling, for better or for worse. Hotels are quite expensive in general, though flight deals are sometimes available. All of the Virgin Islands were hit hard in the 2017 hurricanes and many of the cheaper hotels have yet to reopen as a result.

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

 

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 Nassau, Bahamas

 

Nassau is another very popular stop for cruise passengers, and it’s also well known for Paradise Island just over the bridge, which is home to the famous Atlantis Resort and Casino complex. Flights are cheap from most places, but hotels in the Nassau area start in the mid range and go way up from there. There’s great shopping and nightlife here, at least for the Caribbean. Nassau was also mostly out of the path of the 2019 hurricanes so it was completely spared.

 Nassau, Bahamas

Grand Cayman, Cayman

 

If you’ve heard of the Cayman Islands then you might be a banker because this territory of the UK has nearly as many banks as it has people. It’s also a fairly luxurious resort island that is geographically off on its own a bit, with prices starting in the mid-range and going way up from there. Cheap flights are often available so package deals might be good value.

Grand Cayman, Cayman

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

 

Known largely as a stop for cruise ships and a Caribbean shopping mecca for inexpensive jewelry, St. Thomas also has great scuba diving and all the usual water sports available. Hotels here are quite expensive compared to others higher on this list, but at least cheap flight deals are possible, making this a good-value option for visits of only a few days. St. Thomas was also hit hard by the 2017 hurricanes so some of the cheaper hotels are no longer on the market.

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

 

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Bermuda

 

Though it’s technically a long way from the Caribbean, Bermuda gets included here because it’s a good alternative, especially from April through June when it’s warm enough. This is a very British island still, and quite expensive as well, with not a single cheap hotel available online. Flights from the US can be cheap though, so it’s still a decent budget option for a short visit.

Bermuda

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

 

Tourism in the British Virgin Islands is mostly restricted to 2 islands, Tortola and Virgin Gorda. They are beautiful and very low key, partly because there are no long-haul flights coming in so everyone has to change planes at least once. Hotels here start quite high and go up from there, so it’s only a good choice for well-heeled folks escaping the crowds elsewhere. As of 2015, Tortola began to welcome more cruise visits with its new port and pier, so development here will increase as well, for better or worse. Tortola was also hit by the 2017 hurricanes so some of the cheaper hotels are still knocked out.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Turks & Caicos

 

A bit north of the real Caribbean, Turks & Caicos has a drier climate than most other islands, giving it a longer in-season range. There are some extremely posh resorts here, including some all-inclusives, but there are some modestly priced hotels as well, making it a mid-range option overall. The cheap flights often available make it good for late-season or shorter stay.

Turks & Caicos

 

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Anguilla

 

Only a few miles off St. Martin, Anguilla is a small and beautiful island that is near the upper end of the price scale for all of the Caribbean. Flights are expensive, though you can get here by ferry from St. Martin, but hotels are all very expensive as well. A few of the resorts here are among the priciest in all of the Caribbean.

Anguilla

Saint Barthélemy

 

Saint Barthélemy (AKA St. Barts) is an outlier because it’s not only the most expensive Caribbean island, it also has only a handful of small hotels, and most guests rent villas and condos instead. In reality, there are a few cheaper hotels here, but in-season this is really a scene best suited for the rich and/or famous. Flights are also expensive because you have to change planes nearby just to reach it.

Saint Barthélemy

 

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HAVE FUN ON THE ISLANDS

CHRIS

Get Your Bags Checked For Free

A Credit Card That Will Get Your Bags Checked Free

When airlines first introduced checked bag fees, it was originally said to be a temporary measure to combat high fuel costs. But these companies quickly became addicted to the additional revenue, and now Southwest is the only airline that doesn’t charge for checked bags.

Another reason that airlines seem to charge for checked bags is so that they can promote their frequent flyer credit cards that offer a free checked bag. For better or for worse, this strategy works, and the best way to avoid these charges is to have the right credit card.

This card offers you and a companion a free checked bag, but only when you use it to pay for your tickets. Other benefits include up to $100 credit towards the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, priority boarding, and 25% back on your United in-flight purchases. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year.

These Credit Cards May Provide Travel Insurance You Didn’t Know You Had

 

These days, it’s pretty hard to buy an airplane ticket without the carrier trying to sell you additional insurance with your ticket. In fact, some carriers, like United, literally won’t let you complete your purchase until you’ve accepted or declined the optional travel insurance policies that they offer through a third party.

But what most travelers don’t know is that their credit card may already include numerous travel insurance protections, making it unnecessary to purchase the optional insurance. Here’s some of the credit cards that offer you the best travel insurance, so that you can decline to pay extra for the same coverage.

In addition to offering outstanding rewards, this card also comes with very strong travel benefits. Most importantly, it offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance, that provides a benefit if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations. It can reimburse you up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels. Other benefits include baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, which currently offers 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.

Mastercard® Titanium Card™

 

This card offers a surprising array of travel benefits including trip cancellation and interruption coverage that works if your covered trip is canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason. This benefit can reimburse you up to $5,000 per trip and $10,000 per 12-month period. You also receive baggage delay insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver insurance. There’s a $195 annual fee for this card. You also get the same coverage from the $495 Mastercard® Black Card™ and the $995 Mastercard® Gold Card™.

United℠ Explorer Card

 

You can feel comfortable declining the optional insurance offered by airlines with this card, because it includes trip cancellation/interruption insurance. This will offer you a benefit if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations. It can reimburse you up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels. Other benefits include baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year), which currently offers 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening. (See rates and fees)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

This card offers several different airport business lounge memberships. You can visit a Delta SkyClub when flying Delta the same day, or visit over 1,000 lounges with the Priority Pass Select membership. Then there are the luxurious American Express Centurion lounges at select airports. This card also offers you a $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (requires enrollment) and up to $100 in credit towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. There’s a $550 annual fee for this card. (See rates & fees).

 

United℠ Explorer Card

 

If you just need occasional lounge access, this card may be for you. It offers you two day passes each year to the United Club lounges. It also offers you 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. You earn 2x miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on hotel stays, and on United purchases. You also receive up to a $100 credit towards the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Other benefits include priority boarding,  25% back on United inflight purchases, and one complimentary checked bag (for the cardholder as well as a companion) when you use your card to purchase your ticket. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year.

 

How to Get a Refund When Your Flight Price Drops After You Buy

What happens when you buy an airfare and then discover that sometime before take-off the fare has dropped in price?

A Look at Price Drop Refund Policies by Airline

If the price dropped for the exact same travel dates, flight times, and the same class of fare, then some airlines will issue a travel credit for the difference in fare. However, most of those that will issue a refund are going to charge a fee for doing so.

If you happen to stumble upon a lower fare within 24 hours after you booked your flight, you can take advantage of the 24-hour rule for flights from or to the U.S. and get a full refund as long as your flight is at least 7 days away. This is the official Department of Transportation policy, but some airlines and third-party sites allow you to cancel for free even if it is less than 7 days prior to departure.

After 24 hours have passed since the original booking, only a few U.S.-based airlines will issue a full refund, in the form of a travel credit, depending on when the ticket is rebooked or canceled; and only one of those will issue a travel credit anytime up to 10 minutes prior to departure. The others charge anywhere from $50 (for a domestic fare) up to $750 (for an international one), which often wipes out any savings. And if you’ve purchased a Basic Economy fare, then you’re out of luck.

Any travel credit issued is valid up to one year from the original date of purchase.

Note: This information applies to non-refundable fares only; fully refundable fares can be rebooked at any time, almost always without a fee, if the fare goes down.

Related: Strategies to Get a Refund on a Non-Refundable Airfare

Alaska Airlines

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Will Alaska Airlines Refund if Price Drops?

Yes, for Main class fares and above. If a lower fare is available more than 24 hours after booking, a travel credit is given if there is any remaining value after fees. Saver fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

No fees for flights wholly within the state of Alaska.

$125 change/cancellation fee on all other routes.

Alaska Airlines used to have one of the simplest and best policies in the industry, but have now adopted fees for the majority of its route network. Unless you are flying wholly within Alaska, the price will have to drop more than $125 for you to receive any sort of refund credit. Alaska also has a price guarantee, which issues a refund equal to the price difference (if greater than $10) if you find a lower fare on the exact same itinerary somewhere else within 24 hours of booking.

Allegiant

 

Will Allegiant Refund if Price Drops?

Yes, a credit voucher good for future travel will be issued for qualifying changes/cancellations. For bookings made without Trip Flex, any changes must be made at least 7 days prior to scheduled departure.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$75 per person, per segment for bookings without Trip Flex.

If Trip Flex was purchased during booking ($8-$20), no fee applies and changes can be made up to 1 hour prior to departure.

Electronic Carrier Usage Charge (online booking fee; $18 per passenger, per segment) is not refunded with or without Trip Flex.

Although Allegiant’s policy states that a travel credit will be issued if there are any remaining funds, there would have to be a significant price drop for this to happen after all the associated fees. Since Allegiant’s fares are already very low, it’s unlikely you’ll ever actually get a travel credit.

 

Questions You Should Ask Before Accepting an Airline Voucher

American

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Will American Refund if Price Drops?

Yes, for Main Cabin Economy fares or above. Basic Economy fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$200 for domestic travel.

Up to $750 for international travel.

Since the fees are so high, you’ll rarely see any refund unless there is a drastic price drop.

Delta

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Will Delta Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, for Main Cabin Economy fares or above. Basic Economy fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$200 for domestic travel.

Up to $500 for international travel.

Delta also has a Best Fare Guarantee for flights originating in the U.S., which states that if you find a lower fare by 12 midnight Eastern Time on the same day you purchased a ticket on Delta, you will receive a refund for the difference in fare (must be at least $10 less). If the lower fare is for the exact same itinerary and only found on another site and not on delta.com, you will also receive a $100 travel credit voucher.

Frontier

Will Frontier Refund If Price Drops?

No, Frontier will charge you a fare difference if the price is higher, but will not issue a travel credit for a drop in price. However, if you’ve purchased the Works bundle during the initial booking, the ticket is refundable and a new ticket can be purchased at the lower rate.Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

Although Frontier doesn’t issue any travel credits if you find a lower fare, it no longer charges a flight change fee for any changes made 60 days or more before departure.

 

New No Change Fee Policy on Frontier Airlines

Hawaiian

Will Hawaiian Refund If Price Drops?

No – Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

Hawaiian’s fare rules state that a “refund or credit will not be provided if a flight change is made and the applicable new fare is less than the original fare paid.”

JetBlue

 

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Will JetBlue Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, tickets changed within 5 days of the original booking date do not incur a change fee as long as there are no changes to the origin/destination, stopover points, flights, and travel dates. A voucher will be issued for the difference in fare, which is good for future travel up to one year from date of issue. This lower fare policy will only be honored if you find the lower fare and call JetBlue Reservations at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) to get the refund credit. Any changes made more than 5 days after booking will incur a change fee.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

No fee if the flight is changed within 5 days of booking.

If more than 5 days from booking, $75-$200 depending on the price of the fare.

JetBlue also has a Best Fare Guarantee for flights originating in the U.S., which will issue a $50 credit if you find a lower fare for the exact same itinerary on the same day of purchase. The lower fare must be at least $5 less than what you paid and what is currently available on jetblue.com in order to receive the credit.

When Is the Best Time to Book Your Flight?

Spirit

 

Will Spirit Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, surprisingly, Spirit states that if a new fare is less than the original fare, a future travel credit will be issued to be used within 60 days. Of course, the fare will have to drop more than the modification or cancellation fee in order for a credit to be issued.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$90 per customer, per booking for modification or cancellation made online.

$100 per customer, per booking if made over the phone or at the airport.

Southwest

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Will Southwest Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, the simplest policy there is. Just rebook your fare and a travel credit will be issued for any difference in price to be used up to one year from the date of the original purchase.Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

Southwest is the only airline that truly gives a full refund credit any time a fare drops in price up to 10 minutes prior to departure.

Sun Country

 

Will Sun Country Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, if the price of the new airfare is lower, the difference is given in the form of a travel credit good for one year from the original date of purchase. The fare drop must occur at least 60 days prior to departure to get a full refund credit for any price difference. If it is within 60 days of travel, a change fee will apply.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

No fee if the change is made 60+ days prior to departure.

$50 per direction, per traveler for changes made 59-14 days prior to departure.

$100 per direction, per traveler for changes made 13-0 days prior to departure.

Sun Country changed its ticket change fee policy in July 2019 to become more customer-friendly. We hope that other airlines will follow.


Related: New No Change Fee Policy on Sun Country Airlines


United

Will United Refund If Price Drops?

Yes, there have been multiple reports of an unofficial price drop refund policy on United. If the price drops within 30 days of booking the ticket, call a United Reservations agent to ask for a refund credit. Some agents may not know about this policy so ask for a supervisor or try calling again if your first attempt does not succeed. Basic Economy fares cannot be changed more than 24 hours after booking.

Charges/fees taken before travel credit is issued

$50 processing fee for price drops within 30 days of booking (unofficial policy).

For price drops more than 30 days after booking, a $200 change fee for domestic travel and up to $400 for international travel will apply.

While United doesn’t officially state its price drop refund policy anywhere online, it has worked for many travelers who have called United after a fare has dropped. Some have even mentioned having the $50 processing fee waived, though it seems lately that is not happening anymore so the price drop will likely need to be more than $50 for any refund credit to be issued.

It never hurts to try calling an agent and asking for a refund if you notice a significant drop in price for your flight. If you are courteous and you get an agent in a good mood, you may even be able to get a refund outside of the airline’s official policy. Just don’t have high expectations or demand any sort of refund that you are not entitled to, because an agent is less likely to do any favors for an angry customer.

NOTHING WRONG WITH KNOWING!

HAPPY TRAVELS, CHRIS

COVID-19 Flight Waivers and Refund Policies for all Major Airlines

AIRLINE CARRIERS LATEST UPDATES

Here’s the latest news on the outbreak.

13 March 23:00 GMT — US President calls ‘national emergency’

US President Donald Trump called the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency on Friday afternoon. This gives the administration broad authority in its response to the disease, including access to up to US$50 billion in federal funds to combat the epidemic. Trump said that up to half a million tests would be ready by early next week.

Earlier that day, the president also announced plans to speed up testing in the United States, including funding for developing rapid tests and appointing a new federal coordinator to oversee the efforts.

More than 1800 people have tested positive for the virus in the United States and at least 41 have died, according to the New York Times. The virus has now been detected in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

13 March 22:10 GMT — Harvard University orders research labs to shut down

AIRLINE CARRIERS LATEST UPDATES

 

Research laboratories at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have been ordered to prepare to shut down research operations amid the growing coronavirus outbreak. Harvard is one of the first major research universities to announce that it will wind down laboratory research. Dozens of universities worldwide have already moved teaching activities online or been closed in a bid to control the spread of the virus.

However, labs doing direct research on coronavirus will be able to continue their operations, a representative of Harvard Medical School told Nature.

All labs must begin implementing a plan to stop all laboratory research activities by 18 March, said e-mails sent from deans to students and staff members in the faculty of arts and sciences and the medical school on 13 March. The suspension is expected to last at least 6–8 weeks, the e-mails say. Labs that work with live animals will be able to designate staff members for essential animal care, but microbial labs have been ordered to “freeze everything down”, says Tanush Jagdish, a Harvard evolutionary biologist.

Exemptions will also be made for essential experiments that “if discontinued would generate significant financial and data loss”, according to the e-mails.

AIRLINE CARRIERS LATEST UPDATES

 

The announcement caught everyone in his lab off-guard, Jagdish says. “For labs to be shut down in general was something we did not expect.” The labs that Jagdish works in had already implemented measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19. These included alternating shifts and more strenuous cleaning protocols, in addition to extra cleaning that was instituted at the department- and university-levels. Until lab work can resume, researchers are devoting their time to grant proposals, thesis-writing and other remote work, he says.

On 10 March, Harvard had mandated that gatherings of more than 25 meet remotely, but the latest guidelines state that all meetings and courses do so, regardless of size. In addition to holding lab meetings by video chat, people have been discussing holding daily or weekly remote social hours, Jagdish says. “It helps to know that we’re all in this together.”

13 March 22:00 GMT — Europe now centre of pandemic, says WHO

Europe has now become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

More cases are now being reported in Europe every day than were reported in at the height of China’s epidemic, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an 13 March press briefing. There are more reported cases and deaths in Europe than the rest of the world combined, apart from China, Tedros said.

AIRLINE CARRIERS LATEST UPDATES

 

Italy, which has the largest outbreak in Europe, reported 2651 new cases in the past day.

More than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported from 123 countries and territories, according to the WHO.

Coronavirus captured. This image shows a collection of particles (coloured pink) of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, emerging from an infected cell in a scanning-electron-microscope image. The coronavirus causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, which is spreading rapidly around the world and has infected tens of thousands of people worldwide. The virus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, belongs to the same family as the pathogen that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

AIRLINE CARRIERS LATEST UPDATES

 

STAY SENSIBLE, WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS

CHRIS

Bed Bugs on Planes? Unfortunately Yes…

Bed Bugs on Planes?

 

I’ve got a bit of bad news. Even though they’re called bed bugs, the nasty little critters don’t actually need a bed to call home. While the vast majority are found in untidy rooms and mattresses, these bloodsuckers have taken their show on the road. The boldest biters have even leeched their way into upper-class cabins.

On a 2018 flight between New York and Mumbai, one business class passenger even tweeted out pictures of bedbugs onboard, leading to the temporary grounding of two Air India planes.

Even worse, customers on a 2017 British Airways flight reported seeing bed bugs creep out of their seatback screens like a scene from a horror movie. If that’s not enough to make your skin crawl, the nightmare these pests cause can ruin a trip even before you land and long after you’ve made it home. For flyers looking for a little reassurance that the unpleasant insects won’t bother them inflight, here are some helpful precautions for avoiding bedbugs on an airplane.

How to Spot Bed Bugs

If you’re unfamiliar with what bed bug looks like, think of a small reddish-brown oval-y shaped insect about the size of an apple seed according to the experts at Terminix. Still, spotting these suckers isn’t as simple as catching ants inching across the picnic blanket. Bed bugs are reclusive and nocturnal so odds are they’re tucked away in the crevices of the cushions. Much like vampires, they won’t come out to bite until night…or when the cabin lights dim. And that’s what makes these bloodthirsty buggers so tricky to discover. You might not notice them until after you’ve been bitten.

If you do spot a bed bug on your seat in plain sight, alert a cabin member immediately and let them assess the situation. Don’t ever sit down or place your bag near one, if spotted.

The One Thing You Should Always Do On a Plane? Sanitize Your Seat

The  most unlikely and certainly most important lesson for travelers is how to properly clean an airplane seat.

Here is a video that Naomi Campbell posted last summer

HOW TO SANATIZE YOU’RE SPACE VIDEO.

What Naomi knows, and what endless studies have confirmed, is that airplane seats are shockingly filthy places. 

 

The Dirtiest Places on an Airplane

The results are just as dismal for tray tables, seatback pockets, air vents, and other airplane surfaces that rarely if ever get cleaned. While the average household toilet may contain around 30 colony forming units (CFUs) of bacteria, an airplane tray table swab turned up 11,595 CFUs in a 2018 study. Strains of bacteria responsible for strep throat and staph have also been found on airplane surfaces.

Antibacterial Wipes for Airplanes

If this all sounds like something you’d rather avoid, take a tip from Mother Naomi. Always bring antibacterial wipes in your carry-on, and always wipe down surfaces around your seat. It’s your best defense against getting sick and ruining your trip.

Travel-sized surface wipes are easily found online from brands like Clorox and Lysol, and in an array of scents. If you’re concerned with assaulting your seatmate with wafts of lemony bleach, go for something more clinical with these medical-grade SONO disinfecting wipes.

As many of the product reviews note, it’s important to allow surfaces time to properly dry after you wipe it down. “Although our wipes have a four minute contact time, we recommend letting the device sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping off the residue left behind..,” explains a SONO rep. “This will ensure that all the EPA registered pathogens are killed and removed.”

Seatback Pockets Have More Germs Than You Think

Reaching your hand into the bacterial abyss of a seatback pocket is on par with using a gas station toilet for a finger bowl. Both are something to be avoided at all costs. Passengers have been known to stash dirty diapers, snotty tissues, and used sick bags in seatback pockets, and you can be sure the airlines aren’t thoroughly cleaning these things between flights.

If you’re the type of flyer who needs a place to store a water bottle or phone mid-flight, consider taking along a hanging airplane seat organizer that can hook on the seat in front of you. Many are sold in sets that also include tray table covers. Another bonus of using your own hanging caddy is you won’t have to worry about losing items to the seatback pocket anymore.

Airplane Seat Covers and Travel Blankets

Speaking of your seat, you’re pretty limited in what you can do in terms of cleaning the upholstery itself. If your worry level is tilting towards Howard Hughes germaphobe, there are seat covers made especially for airplanes. You might get some looks from your fellow seatmates, but who cares what they think? As Naomi says, it’s your health. But for the sake of your carbon footprint, skip the disposable airplane seat covers for something more eco-friendly or washable.

Again, Naomi has the right idea by bringing her own travel blanket to drape over the seat. Choose something soft and plush, like a microfleece travel blanket, and give your seat a little extra cushioning while you’re at it. Plus, it’s washable, so you can use it again and again.

Whatever you do, resist the temptation to use the airline-provided blanket. It may be wrapped in plastic, but that doesn’t mean it’s clean. On average, airlines clean their blankets every five to 30 days, so there’s a very good chance yours has been pre-cuddled (or worse) several times over by the time it gets to you.

Seriously, Don’t Forget the Hand Sanitizer

Congrats! Now your little slice of the aircraft is clean and germ-free! The bad news? At some point, you’ll probably have to venture down the aisle and into–gulp!–the lavatory. Unless you have an open hydrant of bleach at your disposal, there’s no way you can disinfect that whole mess of a bathroom. Instead, go bananas with the hand sanitizer. Most come in travel sizes that meet TSA liquid requirements, or you opt for a sanitizing wipe that’s safe to use on hands. Just don’t sanitize before having to balance yourself on all those germy headrests as you navigate the aisle.

Avoiding Bed Bug Bites Onboard Airplanes

Pick Daytime Flights

It’s not a surefire way to avoid these pests from hitching a ride on your clothes or your suitcase, especially if tucked away in a dark overhead bin. But since bed bugs are nocturnal, the likelihood of them coming out for a feast during the daytime is relatively lower.

 

Choose the Right Seats

Aim for airlines with vinyl or leather seats. Planes with cloth and fabric upholstery make better breeding grounds for bed bugs. The less seams and cracks the better, as they offer fewer folds to hide in.

Cover Your Seat

If you’re not sure what type of seats are onboard your plane or you want to avoid the germs left by the previous person in your seat altogether, opt for a sanitary seat cover like this one from Seat Sitters. Not only will it create a barrier against bugs, but they won’t be able to bite through the fabric.

Bring Your Own Pillow and Blanket

Do you know where those airplane-issued pillows and blankets came from before you boarded the flight? For sure, not. So, to take out the guessing work and catch Zzz’s more comfortably by bringing on your personal travel pillow and blanket like this set from Well Traveled that are guaranteed to be bug-free.

Disinfect the Danger

We’ve talked about all the health benefits of sanitizing your seat but doing so can also help kill any bed bug babies or eggs in seatback pockets and cracks. These travel-sized Lysol wipes are perfect for the job.

Bring the Right Baggage

Reduce opportunities for bed bugs to set up shop by traveling with hard-cased luggage.  Because these pests prefer fabrics, shell suitcases with no creases to hide are best for combatting these critters. For added awareness, buy a bag that is lighter in color so you can quickly identify an insect trying to hitch a ride. If you’re happy with the luggage you already own, adding another layer of protection like this bed bug proof liner can put you further at ease.

Dress to Get Noticed

Similar to baggage, lighter colored clothing with less excess fabric, and form-fitting clothes make it easier to see a stowaway. Also, cover up. They can’t bite through fabrics to draw blood, so it’s exposed skin that’s a bed bug buffet.

What to Do if You Notice Bed Bugs After Your Flight

If you notice bites or bed bugs in or around your suitcase, whatever you do, don’t bring your luggage into your house. Place luggage and clothing items in sealed plastic bags to prevent an infestation from spreading. Isolate your belongings to a region where you can quickly remove items and wash and dry them in the highest possible temperatures. Make sure to check every nook and cranny of your garments, including zippers and folds.

Spraying affected items with a proven bed bug blasting spray can also help both before and after to prevent infestations for up to 90 days.

If you’re not entirely confident you’ve eradicated all the bed bugs or continue to notice new bites appearing, treat them with  BugBiteDr relief oil and get on the phone with a pest control company pronto. The longer you wait, the larger the window for the creepy creatures to multiply, along with your problems.

 

Zap Bug Oven II$349

 

Stay safe and enjoy!

Chris

The Best Hotels with WaterParks

Waterpark/Hotels Across America

Cross check the luggage for all the essentials: swimsuits, sunscreen, pool noodles & water wings: We’re off to see the best hotels with waterparks!

Oh, the sweet smell of sunscreen and chlorine bringing back memories of time spent in the sun, pushing past siblings to be the first atop the waterslide staircase. What could be better than a hotel with a swimming pool?

Nothing less than hotels with waterparks! These extravagant complexes are an easy vacation for parents and kids alike. While you indulge in some backstroke in the adults-only pool, the kids can dodge splash buckets or learn to take their first swim without water wings.

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Anaheim, California

 

 

The hotel’s Surfside Waterpark not only has a view of Disneyland, including their fabulous fireworks but also two 30-foot waterslides, drench buckets, swimming pools and hot tubs encased in expansive sun decks.

Suites can accommodate up to 8 people and come with free WiFi and a Netflix connection for watching your fave Disney flicks.

The Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance

 

Check Out Disneyland

 

Fajardo, Puerto Rico

 

Without a doubt, the most kid-enticing amenity is the onsite waterpark. From the 60-foot high beast Torre de Yocahu to the high-speed hijinks of the El Gigante Dormido and the body-turning curves of the Huracan, these are the slides you will brag about taking for the rest of your life.

There are also seven 24-hour pools, a tubing river and plenty of hammocks to go around for those who can’t take the heat of the waterslides. Take a water taxi over to the resort’s private Palomino Island for some snorkeling, sailing, horseback riding or getting beauty treatments right on the soft sand of the private beach.

As the biggest provider of hotels with waterparks, the Great Wolf Lodge family knows a thing or two about the art of the waterpark craft.

With the indoor parks sitting in a temperate 84-degree climate year round, no matter what the weather, you don’t have to miss out on some slippery fun.

At the Kansas City Great Wolf Lodge location, the Howling Wolf swings outside and back inside before dropping you in the plunge pool and the Triple Twist throws you into a series of different funnels and is a fave among thrill seekers.

 

There’s also the much calmer lazy river float, multiple pools and a huge water fort treehouse and a zero-depth Cub Paw Pool for the tiny tots.

At the Great Wolf Lodge Cincinnati, the Alberta Falls is four stories of tandem tube riding as a pair and the North and South Hot Springs are perfect for taking a moment to relax and steam your cares away.

 

Without a doubt, any of the Great Wolf Lodges you visit are sure to have a bevy of slides, pools, and activities to maximize your watery fun.

Great Wolf Lodge Cincinnati – Book Here

THINGS TO DO IN CINCINNATI

 

 

From the 5,000 sqft. paradise pool with the longest waterslide in Waikiki, lava rock formations, and waterfalls to the 10,000 sqft. Super pool and its adjacent shallow Keiki Pool, the opportunities to get your feet wet here are endless.

The resort is the only one located on the stunning Waikiki Beach and with its lush gardens, lei-making classes, and ukelele lessons, you’ll fall hard for this piece of watery paradise.

 

THINGS TO DO IN WAIKIKI, HAWAII

 

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You’ll also find both a lazy and a rapid river, perfect for those who love the adrenaline rush of the Volcanic Vertical and Tubestone Curl where riders are thrust through a series of single and double pools.

An infinity pool and a separate adults-only pool are also here to please romance seekers. As an added bonus, there’s always some Disney characters making an appearance at the Shake-a-Shaka pool parties.

The opulent Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa meets its own commitment to being the grandest hotel in Wailea. From its $30 million art collection to the decadently oversized guest rooms and its maze of lavish pools rumored to be the best in Hawaii, guests looking for that “Wow” factor need not look any further.
The resort’s pool complex includes multiple waterslides, an activity pool twisting with whitewater rapids, rope swings, a man-made volcano and a series of caves will keep kids occupied for months with their exploration plans.

For adults looking to relax, the stunning Hibiscus Pool, reserved for guests over 18 is made up of 2.2 million individual glass mosaic tiles that glisten in the sun. It also has a delectable poolside snack menu including Ahi Poke Nachos, a Vegan Life burger inserted with the sweet Hawaiian life ℅ the mango BBQ sauce and grilled pineapple on it as well as a ton of tropical drinks.

Further afield but still water-related is the Fishpipe, a rotating barrel ride that mimics the sensation of going down a mile long waterslide- the Grand Wailea has the first one in the world. Plus, you have direct access to Wailea Beach and all its stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling glory.

Join other guests for the Splash & Screen in movies or anticipate the potential of meeting your favorite Dreamworks character like Shrek himself.

Work up the courage to try out the 35-foot freefall plunge from the Florida Free Fall drop- we bet once you try it once, you’ll be up there again for a second go!

THINGS TO DO IN KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA

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The 50,000 sqft. indoor/outdoor park has options for every swimmer starting from the wee ones with the Tiny Timbers pool, full of small slides and gentle mushroom waterfalls, all the way up to the Tarzans of the activity pool rope climbs and water basketball slams.