Tagged: usa travel

A Florida Holiday

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Need a break from mountain living? If you fancy a beach holiday, Florida has miles of beautiful beaches like Lake Worth Beach in Palm Beach County. Photo credit: Palm Beach County CVB.

Charlotte wrote this post about seeing the real Florida.  She writes for Ocean Florida and blogs about travel, beauty, food & drink, covering everything from the latest fashion to food trends.

If you’re looking for the ‘real’ Florida, a holiday exploring some of its many natural parks and preserves could be just the holiday for you.

Of course, it’s not the usual choice of holidays which typically send you to the theme parks or the coast. One of the things you’ll notice about Florida is that it is devoid of hills in the main part. Its geography is definitely closer to flat than anything else. Surrounded on three sides by sea, it also has plenty of water inland too.

Water, water everywhere

Florida boasts a coastline of almost 2,000 miles of which 663 miles are some of the most beautiful beaches. It has almost 8,000 lakes of 10 acres or more, the largest being Lake Okeechobee which covers 700 square miles. Florida also has 11,000 miles of rivers and waterways. No wonder at every turn there are opportunities to fish or kayak or take part in other water sports.

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In Florida’s St. Petersburg/Clearwater area, there are thirty-five miles of white-sand, island beaches. Photo credit: VISIT Florida.

Parks and preserves

Florida also has more than 160 state parks and preserves, where you can get a real feel for the Sunshine State, whether it is inland and near a lake or on the shore. The biggest preserve is of course, The Everglades. There are many ways to explore this great expanse of natural Florida swamps and prairies.

Florida villa holidays offer you the opportunity to visit The Everglades and see this amazing landscape, its flora and fauna such as American crocodiles, the Florida Panther and manatees. There are many tours you can take. You can explore the Everglades in airboats which skim the surface of land or water to ‘show you round’. Or on a fun swamp buggy, or by canoe or kayak. If you’re a keen walker, then there are many self-guided hiking trails, which will give you a good tour of the preserve. Two shorter trails which are great for wildlife spotting are the Gumbo Limbo and the Anhinga. You can find out more about these at one of The Everglades four visitor centres.


Hills are less easy to find. The highest point in the state is in the North West at Briton Hill in Lakewood Park. Briton Hill rises to 345 ft above sea level. It’s true to say that many of Florida’s skyscrapers are taller than this!

It has no real competitors either. One that doesn’t even come close is Caldwell Point which sits on the northern edge of Lake Jesup just over 20 miles north of Orlando. Caldwell Point is essentially a cliff which rises a whole 6 ft above the lake. The lake itself is home to a huge population of alligators, osprey and bald eagles.

One thing is for sure, wherever you choose to take your Florida holiday you will have plenty of opportunities to take in the natural scenery.

Learning Colorado

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Want to learn how to mountain bike? Colorado may be the perfect mountain destination to start. Photo credit: Colorado Tourism.

Mountain destinations can be the perfect places to go on learning holidays.  Whether you’re a lifelong learner or just crossing items off your bucket list, you might want to head to the hills.

In USA,  Colorado is a four-season mountain destination known for its ski areas and resorts, natural hot springs, rivers and lakes, 12 national parks and monuments, 54 mountain peaks (at 14,000 feet) and more.

This Rocky Mountain state also has endless opportunities for learning from independent to organized holidays.  Learning holidays are often relaxed, slower-paced, perfect for retired mountain travelers who need only book their travel plans.

Here are 4 Learning Holidays in Colorado:

  • TELLURIDE: Interested in health and wellness?  Then look at the Telluride Yoga Festival (July) which aims to give yoga students enriching experiences. Every  year, the festival donates 25 percent of its net proceeds to a local non-profit.
  • CORTEZ: Culture vulture?  Then head to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and learn about the lives of the ancestral Pueblo Indians who inhabited the Mesa Verde region for 1,500+ years.  Check out the week-long Archaeology Research Program.
  • VAIL: Beer lover? Then the For the Love of Beer AND Food program at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa might be to your taste. The program offers craft beer enthusiasts the chance to sample and learn A-Z about craft beer – trends, recipes,  ingredients and characteristics.
  • BOULDER: Lifelong learner? At the city’s Lifelong Learning, you can take a range of classes. Class topics include how to build a greenhouse using recycled material; planning green weddings and events; artisanal cheese making and Colorado artisan spirits.

Trail Explorer App

 Trail Explorer App

Seeking outdoor USA adventures?  If you’re an iPhone mountain traveler, then look at downloading Trail Explorer (above), the Sierra Club app.

Designed for Americans, the Trail Explorer app offers ideas they can use in exploring wilderness in their backyards and across the USA.

The Sierra Club is an American environmental organization with 1.4 million plus members and supporters nationwide.  Sierra Club works to create “opportunities for people to have meaningful outdoor experiences and safeguard the health of communities, protect wildlife, and preserve wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying and litigation.”

 Trail Explorer App

Trail Explorer app for iPhone. Photo credit: Sierra Club.

The Trail Explorer app enables users to find, record and share information about 40,000 North American trails easily on their iPhones. There are also thousands of Sierra Club outings featured on AllTrails.com.

This year, Sierra Club is holding a special contest to win a trip for two to the North Cascades in Washington State.  Trip winners will go on colorful, rustic fall walks to see the 312-foot Rainbow Falls, Agnes Gorge, and the glacier peaks and mountainside from the shoulder of 8,000-foot McGregor Mountain.

This special package includes airfare, car rental, meals, seven nights of accommodations and Borealis Backpacks from The North Face filled with Sierra Club gear.

For more info on trails and events, visit the Sierra Club site.

The Epic Pass

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Lindsey Vonn with Ski Girls Rock. Photo credit: Vail Resorts.

Like many ski resorts, every year, Vail Resorts sells its popular ski and snowboard season passes for the next winter season.

The ski and snowboard season passes are for eight resorts across three states and 24,980 acres, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California/Nevada.

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Town of Vail at twilight. Photo credit: Vail Resorts.

The Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic 7-Day, Summit Value Pass, Tahoe Local Pass and Tahoe Value Pass are designed to provide our guests the flexibility to choose the best pass option for them and the opportunity to experience eight truly iconic resorts next ski and snowboard season,” says Kirsten Lynch of Vail Resorts.

The Epic Pass offers skiers and snowboarders unlimited, unrestricted skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin.

The Epic 7-Day offers a total of seven unrestricted days of skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, and Northstar plus Arapahoe Basin anytime.

The Epic Local Pass offers unlimited and unrestricted skiing or riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with limited holiday restrictions at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.

For more info on all the ski and snowboard passes, visit EpicPass.com.

The Denver Food Blog

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Denver, Colorado, an emerging foodie travel destination. Photo credit: VISIT DENVER, The Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Foodie and mountain traveler?  If you head to Denver, Colorado, the city has an exciting culinary scene with microbreweries, farm-to-table dining and new restaurants.

After booking your hotel and flights to Denver, research Denver dining at new blog EatDrinkDenver.com, launched by VISIT DENVER, the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The new blog is devoted to “all things food and drink” in and around the Mile High City. On this interactive website, readers can share their Denver food tasting adventures and discoveries.

Well-known Denver food expert Lori Midson is the editor of EatDrinkDenver.com.  She will collaborate with Denver food writers and bloggers who will provide content for the blog.

The site offers comments and information (not restaurant reviews) about Denver and Colorado food products; food, beer & wine festivals and food-related experiences.

Culinary tourism is on the rise because visitors want to eat and drink local – they want to shop at farmers’ markets, taste local cheeses and breads, or sip a local beer,” says Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER

“Visitors and locals alike want to know about the innovative local chefs and regional specialties…Denver has had a boom in the distillery and brewery scene, and many of the products can only be sampled in Colorado tasting rooms and bars. EatDrinkDenver tells you where to find these one-of-a-kind locales.”

Tours of farms where goat cheese is made or buffalo ranches where bison roam free are an interactive – and educational – way for visitors to immerse themselves in the region’s culture.”

The Denver food blog has five categories:

  • Farm Fresh / Specialty Food Stores: Highlights produce and dairy products in Colorado, including tips on where to get the best items;
  •  Beer / Wines / Spirits: Features the world of Colorado microbreweries, wineries and distilleries;
  •  Food Festivals / Events: Highlights Denver’s best food events from signature events like Denver Restaurant Week to cultural/culinary festivals like the Greek Festival;
  • Chefs: Profiles the chefs behind Denver’s best restaurants, including Q&A’s, recipes and
  • Street Food: Covers Denver’s lively street food scene, including local food truck events such as Civic Center EATS.

For more information, visit EatDrinkDenver.com.