Shermanstravel Blog

Sports And Adventure

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When it was announced in December 2012 that the English region of Yorkshire had been selected to host the 2014 Tour de France’s grand départ (the three-stage opening route stretches from Leeds to Harrogate; York to Sheffield; and Cambridge to London), there was shock. Not that the esteemed French bicycle race was beginning somewhere other than France — that’s actually quite common, occurring usually every other year — but that Yorkshire had beaten out contenders Barcelona, Berlin, and Florence. Nevertheless Yorkshire has been having a moment lately. Last year it was declared the Leading European Destination by the World Travel Awards. What better reason to visit Yorkshire even after the grand départ has, well, departed?

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oakland - lake merritt - michele ursino - 620

Finally, Oakland is getting the attention it deserves from travelers and media alike as one of the country’s coolest cities, having been skipped over for years for sister city San Francisco. But as Oakland enters the spotlight, it remains an extremely affordable destination for culture, food, and other entertainment. These budget activities will make any cost-conscious traveler wonder why you took so long to discover Oak Town:

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It’s no surprise that vacation rentals have stolen the hearts of savvy travelers everywhere. Great savings, extra amenities, even the chance to get some local advice…what’s not to love? The fact that HomeAway has hit one million listings — making its inventory almost twice the size of other similar companies — just comes to show how this once-alternative means of accommodation is going mainstream. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up five affordable rentals that you can book this summer and beyond, for a taste of something different:

1. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: $80/night
For the design enthusiast, this Costa Rican rental delivers on one-of-a-kind digs with a futuristic, geodesic design. Sleeping four to five with two bedrooms spread over two floors, this villa is less than a five-minute walk to Santa Teresa Beah and the area’s shops and cafes. We recommend getting out early to beat the heat, then settling in for an afternoon siesta if the rain hits. And, don’t worry, the AC units are well-equipped to keep you cool. 4-night minimum.

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Hopworks, Portland, Oregon

From scenic day trips, to breweries and wineries galore, to cycling and hiking, it would be impossible to experience all that Portland has to offer in a single day — but you can certainly try. Make a mad dash for all of these places, or space them out over a two- or three-day itinerary:

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curitiba - brazil - francisco anzola - 620There’s no way  around the fact that Brazil’s major cities are going to be crowded in the next few weeks. And we’re not talking about morning traffic crowded — we mean 4 million extra bodies in a country that has a population of 200 million to begin with. Beyond the fact that hotel rooms are starting at $700 per night, you can also expect long lines, expensive meals, and a lot of inebriation in all the World Cup host cities.

Just thinking about it is making us tired, which is why we’re pointing you to other parts of the region, beyond Brazil’s major hubs. Once you’ve paid for your expensive visa, get out of town and enjoy:

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Absolutely Chicago SegwayA Segway tour is a great way to get an overview of a new city or region. You’ll cover more ground than you would on foot, and your guide can teach you about the local history, suggest restaurants, and refer you to other great tours in the area. Plus, Segways are just fun to ride. Here are 10 awesome Segway tours to add to your bucket list.

Chicago: Several companies operate in Chicago, but Absolutely Chicago Segway offers a few unique options in addition to the standard tour past Grant Park, the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Soldier Field. We like the Chicago Gangster tour ($65) featuring the hangouts of Al Capone and other wise guys and the Chicago Haunted Tour ($65) that glides you past haunted hotels, murder sites, and even a morgue. If you are in town during Halloween, the guides dress up as ghouls for the haunted tour.

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dale ball trails - taylorandayumi - 620Summer’s the time to get out and get on the trail – but why share a popular hike with the massive crowds when there are more serene paths to follow? For an outdoors experience that truly allows you to appreciate nature in all its glory and in ultimate peace, here’s where you should go:

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Hocking Hills Canopy ToursIt’s no wonder zipline tours are more popular than ever here in the States. The sensation you get from ziplining feels like flying, and it’s a manageable way for all types of travelers (at all fitness levels) to join in an adventure activity. Some tours include guided hikes through lush landscapes before an effortless ride, while others shuttle you straight to the top. Ziplines can range from leisurely to speedy, catering to those who want to soak in the scenery, or get a rush of adrenaline.

Considering that there are currently more than 700 ziplines in the country, we’re not going to rank them all. But here’s a list of some classic rides – plus a few quirky ones to try:

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Biras Creek ResortThere’s something universally mysterious and appealing about a full moon. Across the globe, it makes its way into legends, folk traditions, and spiritual practices. And now hotels all over are beginning to feel the vibes, too, offering everything from specialty cocktails, to yoga, to sailing under the stars at the end of each lunar cycle. Don’t worry, you don’t have to believe in werewolves or astrological predictions to enjoy these activities:

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Red Mountain ResortThey say idleness is the mother of all vices – so it’s a good thing we had so much to keep us busy during a recent jaunt through rural southern Utah. Heading for St. George, a small, oft-overlooked town in the state’s bottom-left quarter that’s just under two hours from Vegas, we packed in a full three days of hiking, kayaking, outdoor yoga, and even a little art gallery browsing. And the best part: We even had time left over for some poolside lounging. Here’s how you can do it, too:

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough it may seem far off, we are already keenly plotting our winter getaways. This year, we are looking far south, inspired by this deal from Adventure Life that offers up to $925 in savings on their Wildlife and Glaciers expedition cruise through Patagonia, Chile.

Cabin rates for this four-day cruise start at $951 per person (a savings of 35 percent) and the trip includes a visit to a newly discovered elephant seal colony, Brookes fjord, Ainsworth Bay, Marinelli Glacier, Almirantazgo Bay, Parry Glacier, and Magdalena Island. Passengers depart from Punta Arenas and cruise aboard the 136-passenger Via Australis. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful trails, shores, and glaciers of the area with daily included excursions.

This offer is good until June 30th for travel September 2014 through April 2015. Book via the company’s website.

indy500 ims speedway oval glamping - indy500snakepit - 620Rejoice, race car fans! The Indy500 experience just got cooler. A few lucky members of the general public will be staying overnight inside the Speedway oval for the first time ever – a privilege reserved only for drivers and team owners in years past. The catch: visitors had to book a four-night “glamping” package.

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Talk about elevated views. We thought Canada’s Glacier Walk was exhilarating, but a new program in Colorado is taking daredevil adventures to new heights. Kent Mountain Adventure Center is helping visitors camp out up to 500 feet off – not on – the side of a cliff near Estes Park.

Here’s how it works: Groups of one to three can choose from three elevations of 100, 300, or 500 feet. You’ll learn beginner-friendly climbing basics for getting there, then help your guide set up a “portaledge” to hang over the side of the cliff, overlooking the mountains of the Roosevelt National Forest. Stay for a few hours and enjoy lunch, or even stay overnight. While the platform doesn’t have a railing, not to worry – you’ll be tethered the entire time, and your guide will be nearby in case you need help. Lunch and overnight rates are, respectively: $500 and $1,000 for one; $400 and $800 per person for two; and $300 and $600 per person for three.

Of course, you don’t have to be a fearless thrill-seaker to enjoy the great outdoors in Estes Park. Just a 90-minute drive from Denver, the region offers endless outdoor activities. Here’s what else you can do in Estes Park this summer:

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tuscany by the sea - bike tour - vbt bicycling and walking vacations - 620No one wants to be cooped up in a bus when they’re discovering a new place. Enter VBT, which offers deluxe bicycling and walking vacations for small groups in 26 countries throughout Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and here in the States. With intimate tour sizes of 14-20 and bilingual guides from the travel region, the packages especially speak to those who love immersive experiences with a healthy dose of physical activity. Even better is their seasonal sale, which is now offering up to $300 off prices that are already a good 30 percent less than similar tours on the market.

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Grenada

Last week we gave you the low-down on the new Sandals LaSource, the all-inclusive brand’s first venture into Grenada. While it may be tempting to while away all your time on the resort, and on Pink Gin beach, you shouldn’t miss getting off the property for a day of exploring. Here are a few highlights of this manageable and easygoing “spice island”:

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