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With 58 national parks to choose from, picking the park that’s the best match for your interests can be a challenge. We’ve taken 10 popular park activities and matched them to the best park for that activity, so the next time you’re wondering which one is best for you, you’ll know where to go.
Phoenix has always been a popular winter destination, but this year it will be even more so as it hosts Super Bowl XLIX and the 2015 Pro Bowl. While you’ll probably need a small fortune to attend either event, Phoenix is one of the most affordable large cities in the nation. Here’s how to get the most bang for your buck in Phoenix, whenever you go.
The Grand Circle — originally a loop to the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon national parks — covers much of northern Arizona and southern Utah as well as portions of Colorado, New Mexico, and a sliver of Nevada. Unless you have weeks to explore the area and a hefty travel budget, you can’t even begin to see it all. So how do you tackle it on a budget?
Why spend a fortune for just a few hours at a fabricated haunted house when you can explore truly spooky sites for a whole day in the wild? Some of the most haunted sites in America are part of the National Park system, with varied histories from Civil War bloodshed to tragic love stories. Here are seven with spectacularly spooky reputations:
By Reggie Nadelson for Yahoo! Travel
The secret’s out: many of us break the rules on our vacations — and we have a lot of fun doing it.
OK, fess up. I know you’ve been a dedicated traveler. Determined, you have moved from country to country, seeing the best there is: the baroque beauties of Munich, China’s stone warriors, the Alhambra of Granada. You have tasted fried flies in Southeast Asia and fallen asleep from too much of that heavy borscht in Russia. You’ve scrupulously followed the advice of all the travel guides; you’ve done all the “must do’s,” seen all the “must sees,” and eaten all the “must eats.” As far as traveling goes, you’ve followed all the rules.
But what about [whisper] … the time you ate the cheeseburger in Copenhagen instead of sampling the latest gourmet capital’s broiled bees, or essence of oak, whatever that is? Or when you spent a weekend in Paris not examining Notre Dame’s stained glass but on the back of that handsome young Parisian’s motorbike? Or take my pal, who went to Rio with a girlfriend. Instead of seeing the sights, they spent a week holed up in a great hotel ordering caipirinhas, the fabulous Brazilian cocktails, from room service and listening to bossa nova and … well, I’ll have to draw the curtain here. But they are married now and he makes a fabulous caipirinha.
Blame it on Rio or Blame it on the Alcohol — one couple decided they’d rather look at caipirinhas than Rio’s attractions (Photo: adrivdm/Flickr)
The Grand Canyon made headlines recently for a series of proposed development projects that, while aimed at helping the non-adventurous explore the South Rim, would also threaten its natural beauty. These include a variety of hotels, shops, and a gondola. As the debate continues, one important takeaway for all travelers is that if the Grand Canyon is on your travel list, you should act now — not later — to experience what is probably out nation’s most dramatic landscape in unspoiled form.
Note: This post was updated on January 29, 2015 to reflect current Amtrak deals.
There are lots of reasons to take the train: amazing views, no security lines, no need for GPS, and you can even stretch your legs or get a snack. But a big pitfall is that tickets can be pricey. That’s why we’re happy to see these Amtrak deals, which are available right now:
Nothing against Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, but some national parks can get crowded, especially during the summer. Instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists at scenic vistas this summer, head over to these often overlooked national parks.
There are plenty of ways to experience the natural beauty of the Southwest, though none will be as memorable (or as delightfully old-fashioned) as a two-night rail trip through northern central Arizona. There’s a little place there called the Grand Canyon. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
For most of the year, Canyon-bound travelers can choose from five other classes (Coach, First, Observation Dome, Luxury, and Luxury Parlor) aboard the Grand Canyon Railway, but it’s the Pullman class that offers something extra special: a fully-refurbished 1923 Harriman-style coach car with its original flip-seats, working windows, and even live musicians to provide a soundtrack to all the scenery. The only catch is that the Pullman is only available seasonally, from March through October 1. Read more
The United States maintains more than 6,000 federally-protected sites, spanning over 1 million square miles and totaling roughly 27 percent of the U.S.’s entire land area. Attracting millions of visitors worldwide, the U.S. National Park System offers tourists incredible variety, from the lush Everglades, to windswept Death Valley, to the grandaddy of national parks, the Grand Canyon.
Traveling to each, individually and together, can cost a fortune, so if you’re planning a road-trip, you can save a ton with a national parks pass, or consider showing up on one of the many free-admission days. For those still wondering where, when, and how to visit, here is our guide on planning a trip to the country’s top six national parks in 2014. Read more
Is there a better cure for a rainy day than plopping on the sofa and clicking to Netflix? Instead of indulging in two (or five) hours of The West Wing, why not enjoy a relaxing staycation and live vicariously through the adventurers around you? We’ve compiled a list of our 10 favorite travel shows currently available in the U.S. for instant streaming on Netflix. (And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out more of our favorite shows that are streaming online.)
As convenient as airlines can be, the act of flying often sucks the joy out of getting there, wherever ‘there’ might be. After enduring the endless security lines, the tedious boarding process, and the subpar airplane food, we arrive at our destination cranky, tired, and often a little disoriented. Not so with train travel. Assuming you have the luxury of time, trains can be one of the most enjoyable ways to explore a new country, with their slower pace and more civilized atmosphere.
More and more travelers are now rediscovering the magic of trains, and luckily, supply is meeting demand. Countries are investing in their rail networks as a viable source of tourism revenue, and promoting off-the-beaten-path destinations as stop-offs along the way. Want to wander through Vienna en route to Stockholm? Or spend two weeks visiting natural wonders in western USA? These new train routes could be worth looking into.
Since 1911, intrepid passengers have cruised inland along the Noyo River aboard the California Western Railroad, a 40-mile route between Fort Bragg, CA and Willits, CA. The rail service was originally created to ferry timber to and from the Pacific Coast, and indeed the route itself winds through stunning redwood forests in the Noyo River Canyon. These days, the ‘Skunk Train,’ as it’s commonly known (thanks to a pungent odor emitted by the old trains’ exhaust gases), is one of the state’s most popular train routes, despite its brevity. A tunnel collapse earlier this year forced a temporary closure, but as of this month, the one-of-a-kind historic rail service is open to passengers once more. Choose from a Saturday evening “Sunset BBQ Excursion,” ($70) which involves a stop-off in Northspur Station, or a simple 4-hour trek between Fort Bragg and Willits ($49). Read more
Updated April 2015
Since Google Street View first came onto the scene in 2007, millions of panoramic images have been taken. In fact, the team taking those shots have traveled more than seven million miles across 66 countries — and they’re not done yet. More and more destinations can be virtually accessed thanks to the technology, which has made it possible to see far-flung places or old favorites with the click of a mouse or the flick of a finger.
From the Grand Canyon to Mount Everest, here are 12 places to explore on Google Street View.
By: Nicole Fisher
The great American road trip; synonymous with unhealthy snacks, boring i-Spy games, and way too many family sing-alongs. We’ve got a solution to one of those problems: No matter what road you ride along in the USA, there’s some quirky sight for you to see before arriving at your destination. We found the top 10 roadside attractions across the country. Kill the time with these must-see stops along the way.
As the summer hits full swing in the United States, over 2,000 federal recreation sites open up to the masses. Many of these National Parks and Monuments are inaccessible during the winter, meaning travelers who wish to capitalize on the season need to choose their destinations wisely. Admittedly, road trips aren’t as affordable as they once were thanks to rising gas prices, but for those eager to load up the station wagon (or the Prius) and visit a variety of parks, the America The Beautiful pass could prove a worthwhile investment.
At $80, this pass is valid for a full year from the time that you purchase it (in fact, I’d recommend purchasing it at the start of a new month, resulting in a theoretical usage period of nearly 13 months.) If you’re planning to visit just one park this year, it’s not worthwhile, but for the right crowd, it represents an outstanding value. Here’s a breakdown… Read more
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