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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Adventures’ Category

Jun
20

6 Most Beautiful Places to Take a Leap of Faith

Craving a rush of air, adrenaline and great views? Check out these stunning jump-off spots that will leave you breathless in more ways than one.

1. Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Located between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world – so it should go without saying it is an ideal place to fall 111 meters with a cord attached to your ankles. We wonder if the fall’s namesake Queen Victoria ever felt the rush of plummeting off this waterfall? We guess not.

Image: On The Go Tours/Flickr

2. Base jumping from the Sky Tower, New Zealand

People from all over congregate to the 328m Sky Tower, distinguished as one of the tallest free-standing structures in the Southern hemisphere. Feeling the need for speed? This base jumping spot is the place for you – jumpers reach up to 85km/hr while on their way down. On top of this fast and extremely high fall, you also have to worry about wind entering your equation. Fortunately, base jumpers use a guide-cable-controlled to avert the jumper from bumping into the building.

Image: Andy Beal Photography/Flickr

3. Skydiving over Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Take skydiving to the next level by flying above one of the last active volcano regions in New Zealand. It is very popular for people to experience one minute of freefalling in this 15,000 feet drop. Also, if you are a skydiver on a budget, skydiving over Lake Taupo is known for low-cost jumps. We’re not sure if this is a good thing or not.

Image: Antoine Hurbert/Flickr

4. Hang gliding the mountains of Bariloche, Argentina

Hang gliding in Bariloche, Argentina is said to be an incredible experience any time of the year, but summer has been recognized as the truly best time.

Image: patrícia soransso /Flickr

5. Zip lining the treetops of Durango, USA

If you are an adrenaline junkie jonsing for the great outdoors, then it is time for you to zip line through the treetops of Durango, Colorado. As you travel high up amongst the trees, you can spot reptiles and birds from an incredible vantage point. Sounds like an ideal day to us.

Video: Gary Gaurdreau/Vimeo

6. Paragliding Babadag Mountain, Turkey

In October the small resort town of Oludeniz hosts an annual Air Games week for all the air lovers around the world. Located at the foot of Babadag mountain, be one with nature as you para-glide through the mountains, cedar forests and shores of the Mediterranean.

Image: babadag.com


Love this topic? Read the whole post on the NileGuide blog

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May
14

Photo of the Day: Mammoth Lakes, CA

Mammoth Lakes is part of Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in east-central California. Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves and biological diversity.

Mammoth Lakes, CA (image credit Flickr)

Mammoth Lakes, CA

Mammoth is famous for its stunning hiking trails and crystal clear lakes, excellent skiing in wintertime, and a vibrant music and arts scene year-round. Physically fit travelers will enjoy hiking Yosemite’s many trails and footpaths. Check with rangers for trail conditions; snow and hazards from falling rock close many trails in winter. No permits are required park-wide for day hikes. The valley also offers some of the most challenging and spectacular rock climbing in North America, with vertical faces more than 3,000 feet tall.

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Oct
25

Every year, Frommer’s releases their must-do travel list, and it’s always sure to include at least a few eyebrow-raisers. Beirut, Lebanon? You might not know that it’s a sophisticated coastal city bustling with energy. Kansas City, MO? The world-class Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts just opened, attracting some of the biggest names in dance and music.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Check out the full list here for some other surprising – and not so surprising – travel ideas.

Sep
23

The turbulent economy has many families taking a long hard look at future vacations. To take them or not, is often the question they face. But even if the decision is made to enjoy a staycation over a vacation, a staycation should in no way signify staying indoors. Especially when there is an abundance of places to explore and myriad new things to discover just outside our front steps.

Such is the philosophy of one pioneering outdoor parent-child nature program, Tiny Treks. Founded by Pam Worth long before the No Child Left Inside Act made it trendy, Tiny Treks was hitting the trails with families, encouraging a love of the outdoors in youngsters. The preschool program has been unplugging this generation of children and connecting them with nature for 13 years.

Tiny Treks Creek Journey

Creek journey. Photo courtesy: Tiny Treks

Instead of watching videos or playing Plants vs. Zombies on iPads, kids can watch migratory birds, play in meadows, splash in creeks or fly kites. Throw in arts, crafts and songs, and families now have souvenirs from their staycations as well. So when you plan your next staycation, keep in mind there may be discoveries waiting for you right in your backyard. Now, log off your computer and go outside!

Find a Tiny Treks near you, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Guest post by Sue Fliess.

Find other family friendly things to do in San Francisco, Chicago or Seattle on TravelMuse.com.

Jul
08

Come to Aruba, Dushi

If you’re looking for a sweet spot on a Caribbean island with plenty of fun, sun and bathtub-warm water in which to float, Aruba more than meets your requirements.

First off, the small island nation is easy to navigate and everyone is extremely helpful and friendly. Not friendly just because you’re a tourist, but genuinely friendly as in, “Your car broke down? Come wait in my house to get out of the sun. Would you like a cold beverage?” The local language, Papiamento, includes the word dushi (sweetheart). It’s featured in everything from hot-dog stands to menu items to boat tours, and the word’s prevalence and simplicity serve as a soothing influence.

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Photo courtesy of Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

My home base was the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, right on Palm Beach. The hotel finished a $50-million renovation last year, and the room décor is modern and luxe, while retaining a feeling of island simplicity. The eight-story complex includes 411 rooms (including 23 oceanfront suites), a pool with cascading waterfalls, seven bars and restaurants (such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, La Vista, Simply Fish and Waves Beach Bar), the Stellaris Casino and Mandara Spa.

Room rates start at $279 per night, and depend on season and type of room. I had a pool ocean view room, with ample space to lounge and also get work done. If you must work on your Aruba vacation, it’s easy to do so with the hotel’s Jack Pack—a device allowing guests to plug in laptops or iPods to 37 inch-wide TVs in each room. My room’s refrigerator kept my drinks cold, and the in-room coffee maker gave me hot java each day, until the thing fell apart in my hands. (It didn’t take long to get another one, though.)

Harnessing the wind in Aruba. Photo: Jill Robinson

Harnessing the wind in Aruba. Photo: Jill Robinson

If you want an exclusive feel to your island getaway, stay in the Tradewinds Club, on the eighth floor of the Marriott. The upscale amenity includes a private lounge with breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and cocktails. In addition, you’ll have a secluded beach area to camp out under an umbrella and forget all about the stresses back home. Room rates for Tradewinds Club guests start at $504 per night.

On Palm Beach, home to high-rise hotels, I never found it too crowded. It was easy to get around the sun-worshipers when I wanted to hoof it down the beach. In the water, even though the kiteboarders zip by with speeds that make your jaw drop, it was never close enough for me to worry. Easy to relax? Check.

Just lounging on the beach not for you? Take a class at the nearby Dare2Fly kiteboarding center. For three lessons (kite mastery, “body dragging” and board lesson), the cost is $375. The Aruba Marriott also offers a special “Surf in to Luxury” package that includes accommodations at the Tradewinds Club and a free windsurfing or intro kiteboarding class.

Even kids enjoy beach tennis. Photo: Jill Robinson

Even kids enjoy beach tennis. Photo: Jill Robinson

If you’re looking for something in between, play beach tennis at the Moomba Beach Bar, right next to the Marriott. As instructor Sjoerd de Vries told me, “it’s a relaxed sport; you can play with a beer in your hand.”

Adventure seekers can take a tour of the island with De Palm Tours. The Natural Pool Jeep Adventure ($92) is a half-day trip covering such sites as the California Lighthouse, a natural bridge, the ruins of an old gold mill and a natural pool that’s perfect to swim and snorkel in. In fact, I didn’t want to leave the pool at all. I guess I’ll have to put it on my list for my next Aruban adventure.

I was in Aruba as a guest of the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, but the opinions in this article are my own.

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Jun
17

Even though yoga isn’t an activity that is necessarily synonymous with adventure travel, there’s something exhilarating about the thought of traveling to a foreign country to study and practice yoga. Yoga vacations and retreats are an increasingly popular way to spend those hard-earned vacation days, and there is certainly no shortage of options to choose from.

Yoga vacations and retreats are just as diverse as the people who practice. With a little determination and a lot of research, you can inevitably find a yoga vacation or retreat that is tailored to your needs; just make sure you are asking yourself the right questions.

Photo: lululemon athletica

Photo: lululemon athletica

1. What level of yoga are you currently practicing?
If you’re new to yoga or practice infrequently, chances are you won’t want to go on the 15-day intensive yoga retreat in the mountains of Nepal. Some retreats even require that you’ve practiced yoga for a year or more. Look for shorter retreats that specialize in instructing beginners. Also, picking a resort that offers a few yoga classes a day might be a suitable option if you are not ready to dedicate your entire vacation to yoga.

Check out: The Tides Zihuatanejo
Where: A Luxury Mexico Beach Resort in Zihuatanejo
What: Specialized sun salutations are offered daily and guests can book private yoga appointments—perfect for those who may be intimidated by a large class setting.
Why: Yoga isn’t the sole focus of this resort; there are many other activities to partake in, such as organic cooking classes, surfing, golf, fishing and zipline adventures.

For prices and more specifics, visit The Tides Zihuatanejo at www.tideszihuatanejo.com.

Plan a yoga vacation to Mexico on TravelMuse.

2. Where do you want to travel?
Yoga retreats and vacations are available in most places you can think of, so deciding where you want to go is an easy way to narrow down your options. If you live in the United States, don’t think you have to travel abroad to get an incredible yoga experience. In fact, some of the most celebrated yoga retreats are located stateside. If you’re looking to add to your collection of stamps in your passport, there are many exotic and incredible countries that offer amazing yoga vacations.

Check out: The Sewall House Yoga Retreat
Where: A quaint and celebrated retreat house in Maine that offers a personal and intimate yoga experience.
What: Daily morning Hatha yoga and meditation class and an afternoon Kundalini yoga and meditation class, with the option for an evening meditation. Three meals a day are also included. For those looking for a little excitement on the side, hikes, lake tours, massages and other activities are also available.
Why: The Sewall House encourages the exploration of self. Your free time is a great way to get even more out of your practice, through reading, journaling and exploring nature.

For prices and more specifics, visit The Sewall House Yoga Retreat at www.sewallhouse.com .

Plan a yoga vacation to Maine on TravelMuse.

3. What type of yoga vacation or retreat do you want to take?
There are many niches within the greater yoga community. If you are looking for a specific type of retreat or vacation, it’s pretty plausible that you can track one down. From women’s only retreats to yoga classes offered at resorts for gay men, the spectrum is wide and can provide you with another angle at which to approach your yoga practice. A popular retreat/vacation focus is on social contribution and environmental awareness.

Check out: Shreyas Yoga Retreat
Where: A retreat center in Bangalore, India.
What: A stay at Shreyas allows you the option to give back in the following ways: learn to cook, work in the organic agricultural garden or interact with local village school children.
Why: For those participating in the yoga retreat, the following is included: a wellness consultation on arrival, gourmet vegetarian meals, twice daily group yoga classes, daily group chanting / sound meditation class, use of all recreational facilities (pool, Jacuzzi, steam bath, gym), personalized yoga instructional classes, personalized Pranayama class, personalized meditation class, personalized yogic Kriya and a rejuvenation massage.

For prices and more specifics, visit Shreyas Yoga Retreat at www.shreyasretreat.com.

Plan a yoga vacation to India on TravelMuse.

A couple other questions to consider are is there a particular teacher who you’ve wanted to learn from and what style of yoga do you prefer practicing. Undoubtedly, a number of questions will arise when planning your yoga excursion, but regardless of where you end up, it’s bound to be a rewarding and memorable experience.

Namaste.

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Jun
03

I’ve always been a daddy’s little girl. In fact, I credit him with instilling in me my love for travel and adventure. At as young as four, I would accompany my dad on day hikes in Point Lobos, located three miles south of Carmel, Calif. At the age of 12, he had put me through scuba diving certification classes and was taking me wreck diving in the Cayman Islands. Father’s Day is the perfect day to thank him for all he’s done for me.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tress. Photo: mikebaird

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Photo: mikebaird

With the date fast approaching (mark your calendars: June 20), the pressure is certainly on to start planning your Father’s Day agenda. Here are four great Father’s Day ideas that can be shaped to fit your budget and needs. So whether you’re planning a fanciful foreign affair or keeping it low key and local, your dad is sure to recognize how much you appreciate him.

Wine Tasting

Sometimes, there is no better way to bond than over a glass (or a bottle) of exquisite wine.

  • Extravagant: Take your father to Napa County for the ultimate wine-lover’s getaway. With an ample amount of first-rate hotels, spas, restaurants and, of course, wineries, your father will enjoy the good life this Father’s Day.
  • Budget: Napa may be one of the premier destinations for wine lovers, but there are incredible wineries across the world. Check out the local wineries in your area or in a near-by town. Some offer free wine samples, while others charge-but even if you shell out some cash, at an average price of $30 per tasting, you’ll still be giving your father an affordable and enjoyable experience. Be sure to search for wineries that offer wine tasting dinners for a special treat.

Plan your wine tasting vacation on TravelMuse.

Camping
Taking your dad camping will not only make for a great Father’s Day gift, but it will enable you to bond and rehash all of those camping trips he dragged you on as a youngster.

  • Extravagant: Enjoy the great outdoors at Yellowstone National Park. Reserve a campground, dust off your camping gear and be ready to hike and explore with your father. Don’t miss Old Faithful! For some bonus points, surprise him with a cool camping gadget or a day of fly-fishing.
  • Budget: Wherever you are, a great state park or a near-by campground is never more than a drive away. Pack up the car, pick up some BBQ essentials and fill the cooler with some ice-cold brews for a relaxing and memorable Father’s Day.

Plan your camping vacation on TravelMuse.

Sailing
There’s nothing that makes a person feel more alive than the open water. This Father’s Day, plan a sailing adventure for your father.

  • Extravagant: The capital of the British Virgin Islands, Tortola, is a water lover’s paradise. Its pristine waters are perfect for all sorts of aquatic activities, but Tortola is known for being a sailing haven. Stay at the luxurious Nanny Cay Villa in the marina, the perfect outlet for popular sailing areas that include The Baths, Jost Van Dyke, and The Bight.
  • Budget: Plan a day trip to your nearest body of water. Investigate local companies that offer sailing lessons if you and your father aren’t exactly the seafaring types. Learning a new skill with your father will bring you closer together and provide fun memories for years to come.

For more tips on sailing in the British Virgin Islands, read “Learning to Sail in the British Virgin Islands.”
Plan your sailing vacation on TravelMuse.

Golf
Dads and golf go hand in hand, so why not hit the links this Father’s Day for a little friendly competition.

  • Extravagant: Orlando has certainly made a name for itself within the golf community. With more than 125 golf courses within 45 minutes of downtown, there will certainly be no shortage of places to impress your father with. Take him to play at some of the best known courses in the Unites States, such as the Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
  • Budget: Most towns these days seem to have a county club for its residents to enjoy. Take your dad out to hit 18 holes (or even just the driving range) early in the morning and follow the game up with brunch and mimosas at the clubhouse.

Plan your golfing vacation on TravelMuse.

What are you planning on doing for your dad this Father’s Day?

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May
27

I just got back from my first-ever excursion to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I am still in awe. Few U.S. cities have the character, history and uniqueness that the City Different does. So in honor of my trip (and to prolong my vacation high), I present you with eight amazing attractions you must check out while visiting Santa Fe.

The view from the top of Tent Rocks. Photo: Jessica Skelton

The view from the top of Tent Rocks. Photo: Jessica Skelton

Jackalope
This open-air international marketplace is a blast to stroll around in. You can pick out unique Santa Fe souvenirs (pottery, turquoise jewelry, art), grab a bite at the café or visit the animal barn. My favorite part of Jackalope? The prairie dog village—amazing.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Hiking at Tent Rocks was easily one of my favorite parts of going Santa Fe. It is an extremely easy hike and the scenery is unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. It’s called Tent Rocks because the rock formations are shaped like cones—a product of volcanic eruptions and severe wind and rain.

The Lensic
I was lucky enough to catch a three-minute film festival at the Lensic while I was in Santa Fe. Originally opened in 1931 as a vaudeville stage, the Lensic is a non-profit performing arts center that features both national and local acts. If you can’t manage to sneak in a play or a film, it’s still worth poking around this historic and gorgeous venue.

The Santa Fe Plaza

At the center of the historic Plaza there is an incredible tree-lined park. It’s a great place to people watch and first-rate shops and restaurants are just steps away. I really enjoyed strolling through the Plaza at night, when the tress are adorned with lights.

St. Francis Cathedral. Photo: Jessica Skelton

St. Francis Cathedral. Photo: Jessica Skelton


Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The Georgia O’Keeffe museum opened in 1997 and has quickly become one of the dearest treasures to the City Different. The museum’s permanent collection of O’Keeffe’s work is larger than any other in the world. It also features art work from many other established artists.

Canyon Road

Once a residential area for early Spanish settlers, Canyon Road features some of Santa Fe’s most upscale shops, galleries and restaurants. Being a frugal traveler,  I didn’t buy anything while I was there, but I enjoyed the walk and looking at all of the art galleries.

Palace of the Governors

The Palace of the Governors is registered national historic landmark that features an extensive collection of Santa Fe and Southwest history. Outside, Native Americans line the walkway selling arts and crafts-a tradition 400 years in the making. This is a great place to pick up unique gifts for everyone back at home.

Saint Francis Cathedral
I’ve always been captivated by a city’s churches. They possess a timeless quality that really allows you to a deeper look into culture and tradition. Erected in the late 19th century, the St. Francis Cathedral was built in a Romanesque revival style. Past the beautifully sculpted doors, there are vast stained glass windows, beautiful arts and an alter like I’ve never seen.

Plan a trip to Santa Fe On TravelMuse.

Check out my trip plan to Santa Fe.

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May
13

I think biking to work is a great idea: you can help reduce your environmental footprint (yes, one person can make a difference!) while getting trim for beach season. It’s a win-win for everyone, except maybe oil companies.

Today is the San Francisco Bay Area’s 16th Annual Bike to Work Day. All nine Bay Area counties will be participating in the festivities. The celebration takes place one week before National Bike to Work Day, which happens on May 21. Check out your area for Bike to Work Day deals and steals—a few shops in my town offer free breakfast, trendy water bottles or coupons for various goodies.

Use Bike to Work Day as your launching pad to train for a cycling vacation. Exploring a city by bicycle allows you to experience it through the eyes of a local. You’ll see areas that you would miss if you were traveling by tour bus or taxi, and you might even make some new friends along the way. Beijing, Chicago, Montréal and Amsterdam are just four amazing cities that are bicycle friendly.

Novara’s award-winning Transfer ($649). Photo: Courtesy of REI.

Novara’s award-winning Transfer ($649). Photo: Courtesy of REI.

Need a bike to jumpstart your lifestyle change? REI has launched a new collection of Novara bikes to complement their Bike Your Drive Web page, which allows you to log the calories you’ve burned, the CO2 emissions you’ve reduced and the gas money you’ve saved by riding your bike.

And just to give you an idea of how big of an impact one person can make, here is what one-month of biking to work can do:

1.    Burn 18,800 calories
2.    Save $88.00 in gas money
3.    Attain a CO2 reduction on 383 pounds
* Calculations according to REI and based on a total distance of 400 miles over a one-month period

Read about how to plan cycling vacations.

Read more articles on cycling.

Plan your cycling trip on TravelMuse.

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May
07

Trip Photos: Sedona

Spending a majority of my life on the California coast, I have become accustomed to a moist, moderate climate. I can’t really imagine any type of landscape more opposite of the coast than the desert. And in week and a half, I will be making my way to the Southwest for the first time in my life: Jessica versus desert. In honor of my upcoming jaunt, I chose to feature a gorgeous photo taken in Sedona, Arizona, by Thales that was recently added to the TravelMuse Flickr group.

Hot Air Ballooning in Sedona. Photo: thales

Hot Air Ballooning in Sedona. Photo: thales

What is your favorite thing to do when you visit the Southwest?

Plan your trip to Sedona on TravelMuse.

Want to share your recent trip photos and have them featured on TravelMusings? Add your photos to our TravelMuse Flickr group or TravelMuse Facebook page, and we’ll publish our favorites.

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