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Sports And Adventure
There are times when taking to the open road — an escape from our day-to-day life — is better suited by way of a long hike. From the cool coasts of the Great Lakes to warmer climates in Australia, here’s where you can reconnect with nature, no matter what type of hiker you are.
When it comes to horseback riding, romantic visions of cowboys tend to trot through many people’s heads. But, truth be told, all the dirt that comes along with life on the range isn’t for everyone. The good news is that there are plenty of locales where you can trade in dusty trails for ones with coastline views. Here’s where to giddy up to some of the most scenic spots in North America on horseback.
Whether you’re exploring Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park this summer or planning a winter ski trip to Jackson Hole, big adventures always require high energy. The good news for travelers to this Western-inspired, high-adrenaline destination is that its local eateries are more than just an afterthought. Rejoice in foodie treats that range from big steaks to vegan bowls of deliciousness. Here are six options for every palate in Jackson Hole.
Emerging as a city with a distinct culture of its own — thanks to an economic turnaround attributed in part to Tesla’s move to the area — Reno has come alive in recent years as an affordable playground for foodies and outdoor adventurers. There are now more ways than ever to get there, too, with a new direct flight on JetBlue from New York’s JFK, and the city earned a spot on our Top Budget Destinations of 2015 list. Even better, the thousands of hotel rooms throughout the area average less than $100 per night, offering remarkable value. Here, a deeper look at what’s on offer, with four more great reasons you should visit Reno now.
If the summer is getting too hot for you, look south. Ski season in the other hemisphere is just getting underway. And Valle Nevado, a ski resort at 17,000-feet elevation and snug in Chile’s Andes 37 miles from Santiago, is offering more than 50 percent in savings — if you can time your visit strategically.
After a relationship has tanked to the point of no return, there’s nothing quite like getting in the car — either by yourself or with a bestie or two — and taking your mind off everything on the open road. So queue up Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” and set the GPS for one of these epic post-breakup road trips.
The Appalachian Trail is an epic roughly 2,180-mile stretch between Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way up to Katahdin in Maine. For some, hiking through the trail’s 14 states is a months-long adventure filled as much with nature as new friends. “I love walking and thinking,” says Corky, 52, who’s been hiking the trail since April 5 and is expecting to finish sometime in August. “It’s stunningly beautiful here. It’s also about the people — you meet people you never would have otherwise.”
But for the rest of us — for whom tasting a smaller slice of the Appalachian is more realistic — Virginia’s Daleville, where we met Corky on a supply run, is a fantastic place to start. It’s just one of the many places were the trail crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway, a National Park that stretches 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. These parts have trails for all skill levels, not to mention a host of other outdoor activities when you want to take a break from hiking. Here, just four of the great paths you can take:
The Caribbean is a classic destination for an affordable, short getaway during the summer. Prices have dropped, flights are aplenty, and the islands are close enough for an extended weekend trip. But as we get into July and especially August, rains get heavier and heavier — unless you’re outside the hurricane belt, of course.
Of the ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao — Curacao arguably has the best mix between rugged adventure and urban offerings, so you can feel like you’ve truly escaped without the risk of getting bored. It’s the biggest of the three islands in geographic size, and sun-seeking travelers visit for the diving, hiking, and nice touch of sophistication. The Dutch influence here is strong, so you’ll rub elbows with European visitors and find colonial architecture among the humbler residences.
With JetBlue’s new twice weekly direct flights from New York’s JFK Airport, launched just this past December, there’s never been a smarter, more convenient time to plan a trip. Here’s a neighborhood overview.
When you pack all of your little black yoga pants and take off for a yoga retreat, there are a ton of upsides to being on a highly scheduled, all-veggie-grub spiritual getaway. But sometimes, you might want to order a cocktail to celebrate holding crow pose for longer than you have before or take off for an island’s famous dive bar instead of going to sleep at 9 o’clock. So, bring on the filet mignon, margaritas, and free time that lets you explore the amazing locale where your retreat is taking place: These yoga vacays offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to making your trip your own.
Chris Heuisler is the Resident RunWESTIN Concierge for Westin Hotels & Resorts. Aside from competing in 25 marathons in 20 states, he has one of the coolest jobs ever. In 2013, Chris beat more than 1,000 applicants to the finish line for this dream job after a month-long selection process and currently leads a team of nearly 50 RunWESTIN concierges around the country at various properties — and interacts with runners via social media to provide tips and tricks. Find out what a running concierge does, his favorite city for racing, and his tips for staying fit on the road. Read more
Whether you’re a veteran or novice runner, lacing up your shoes for a destination 5k is a great way to tackle your wanderlust as well as your fitness goals — and it helps you stay healthy while you explore a new locale, too. With this shorter distance, enthusiasts and trained athletes can take advantage of a great course and get a feel for a new area — without the constant worry of overexerting their legs or staying hydrated and fueled for race day. Plus, you can play it either way depending on your fitness level. As Chris Heuisler, Westin Hotels RunWestin Concierge, points out: “They’re a lot of fun and, at the same time, can be incredibly grueling if you’re running them for speed.” Here, five 5ks worth training — and traveling — for.
Tented safari lodges sure are a sight to see, but not everyone is ready to cut 100 percent loose from civilization and roam free with the African wildlife. Still, anyone can explore Africa’s safari scene — and return to their hotel room come nightfall for a night of R&R before the next day’s adventures set in. Here are three ways to ease into the safari scene, before you consider a deeper dive on round two.
St. Augustine, Florida, just a half hour from Jacksonville airport, is celebrating its 450th birthday in September. (It was founded 55 years before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock!) And while the big fanfare is happening in the fall with a week of concerts, exhibits, re-enactments, and other events, we suggest visiting now to avoid the crowds and premium hotel prices. Here, just a few reasons for why you should visit the historic town.
A long-standing destination for its copious mountain snow, the Poconos’ summer brings its A-game, too, with an array of warm-weather activities. From choice bike riding trails to a mountain coaster, there’s always something new to explore in the region. Here’s what should go on your summertime travel agenda this year.
May is National Bike Month. To celebrate and encourage people to spin those wheels, a number of Kimpton hotels are offering related packages all month long. The properties already offer complimentary bicycle rentals year-round, but they’ve tossed in a few extra perks and discounts for May, too. Book one of these and get pedaling.
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