Shermanstravel Blog

Sports And Adventure

Daytona Beach2

After shedding an unfortunate reputation for being a go-to destination for raucous spring breakers in the ‘90s and early 2000s, Daytona Beach has become a year-round destination for couples and families. And it’s more than just sand and strip malls — there’s visiting the Museum of Arts and Sciences, working on your swing at the many mini golf courses, tackling a zipline course, and getting suited up like a professional racecar driver during the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Daytona International Speedway.

As guests of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, we recently got the chance to taste the destination’s revival for ourselves. Here are the highlights of what we found:

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DIStop

For decades, race fans have flocked to the Daytona International Speedway to watch history being made, from moments of speedster glory as well as tragedy — most notably the passing of legendary driver Dale Earnhardt in 2001. (Since his untimely death in 2001 after crashing in the Daytona 500, he’s been immortalized with a statue that stands proudly at the front of the Speedway’s Visitors Center.) Even for the biggest racing fans, though, attending an event has largely been a day-trip affair, thanks to a lack of on-site lodging as well as other entertainment options.

That’s all about to change in the next year or two. Two major projects, slated to be completed by 2016, will transform the Speedway into its very own multi-day destination with much more beyond the nearly mile-long stadium.

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Morgans Rock beach - 620

Long known as a mecca for surfers and sun-seekers, Costa Rica is, has been, and always will be a hotspot. But what many travelers are only just starting to discover is that Nicaragua, its central American neighbor to the north, offers much of the thrill, scenery, and sizzle — with a culture all its own. The fact that Nicaragua is an affordable destination, given its off-radar status, is a great reason to fold it into a Costa Rica itinerary. After all, both countries deliver their own brand of charm, and crossing them off your bucket list in one trip is both practical and illuminating when it comes to getting a feel for the region. Here’s how to create such a Central American tasting menu:

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xtreme experience

Ever dream of driving a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren at warp speed on a racetrack? Track experiences are popular for their pure adrenaline rushes and frequently top bucket list items. They typically begin with some classroom instruction from pro race drivers about understeering, oversteering, down-shifting, and anticipating turns. You then get to feel the throaty roar and ridiculous horsepower of a six-figure supercar on a twisty racetrack for yourself.

We dug up the top three racecar offerings for your next daredevil adventure. While they aren’t the cheapest of thrills, the bragging rights are priceless. Ditto for the value of your lessons, which are bound to make you a safer, smarter driver in any car. 

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tourism fiji

As the days continue to get colder, you may find yourself fantasizing about your next tropical getaway. While the Caribbean islands are a popular choice, it’s worth the extra hours on the plane to head to the South Pacific instead.

Of the thousands of postcard-perfect islands in this vast region of the Pacific Ocean, it quickly became clear to me on a recent trip why Fiji is one of the most popular tourist spots here. You’ll discover the white sand beaches, turquoise waters, top rate scuba diving and snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs — and so much more. With 333 islands, only a third of which are inhabited, Fiji is diverse not only in its environment, but also in its culture.

Here are some reasons to consider Fiji the next time you’re craving a real escape.

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uluru - northern territory - australia - flickr-nosha - 620

You won’t find too many Americans in Australia’s Northern Territory, and there’s a good reasons for it. Considering the high cost of air travel and the time that it takes to get there, most travelers are content on staying in Sydney or one of the country’s other southern cities. If they do venture out, it’s typically up the east coast to Queensland, one of the most popular launching pads for the Great Barrier Reef.

But the draw is that the area is very remote, putting visitors in the prime position to see the stunning formations of Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta — known collectively as Uluru. Australia is 70 percent desert, after all, with Central Australia and the southern half of the Northern Territory receiving less than 10 inches of rain per year.

Unfortunately, Uluru’s remoteness and adventure-oriented atmosphere don’t make for the cheapest trip. In fact, it’s the most expensive destination in Australia and the third-most expensive in the world. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that the Ayers Rock Resort — which really consists of four hotels — has a monopoly on all the rooms, restaurants, and shops in the area. As a result, rates start at 340 AUD (297 USD) a night even at the cheapest property, the Outback Pioneer. Yikes.

So what to do? Here are a few tips to make the trip more affordable.

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Peak Walk

Some of the world’s best views come from the middle of the world’s scariest bridges. That’s not to mention the adventure you’ll get from crossing these sometimes rickety but always thrilling expanses. Here are our picks for the world’s 10 scariest bridges with amazing views, sure to get your heart pounding.

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Red Mountain Resort Utah

They 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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autumn - pixabay - 620Blazing red and orange leaves are some of the best reasons to travel in fall, and this year we wanted to find some unexpected foliage spots. So, of course, we turned to Instagram. After all, what other platform draws users who love to take beautiful photographs in the most picturesque parts of the world? We tapped into a few avid photographers’ feeds to bring you seven places to view vibrant foliage. Get ready to charge up your smartphone and hit the road…

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iStock - IndyCar LouisianaIn a city chock full of traditional festivals, the addition of a new one is a big deal. So it’s big news that New Orleans has been granted next season’s inaugural IndyCar Grand Prix of Louisiana. The dates have been announced for April 10-12, 2015.

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iStock/SydneyYou may have dreams of visiting Sydney, the Australian city that’s home to the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but if you’ve done even a little bit of research, you know that this is one of the most expensive places to visit in the world for U.S. travelers. Factor in flights (think $1500-$2500) and the costs can be prohibitively high. But you can keep to a budget if you know where to go, and where to cut costs. For example, don’t be afraid to splurge on once-in-a-lifetime experiences like the Bridge Climb, but save on eating out and other activities. Here are some more suggestions…

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Apple_Pay

This year’s edition of Apple’s now-famous annual smartphone release introduced two exciting devices: the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple made no bones about the fact that this year’s updates were the biggest improvements yet, but what’s in it for travelers? We’ve distilled the 2+ hour keynote into a few ways the new features can enhance your jetsetting lifestyle.

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Aspen_SkierCornice

Need an affordable excuse this winter to return to a favorite mountain or try a new one? You can now opt to ski or snowboard more than 200 lifts on 15 mountains in the US and Canada with one money-saving pass. The Mountain Collective offers up more than 38,000 acres of epic terrain at Alta/Snowbird, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows in the USA, plus Whistler/Blackcomb and Ski Banff-Lake Louise/Sunshine/Norquay in Canada.

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IslandsintheSunCousteau

Ready to book your bucket list getaway? Try this one on for size:

Explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, eldest son of Jacques Cousteau, is encouraging North American families to follow in his footsteps and explore the Great Barrier Reef. Through a partnership between Stella Travel Services and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, travelers can choose from a selection of Cousteau-endorsed itineraries featuring scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef, diving expeditions, rainforest visits, and cultural experiences.

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charleston, sc - flickr-pfarrell95 - 620

If there’s one responsible thing you do over Labor Day weekend, let it be solidifying your Thanksgiving plans. We know it’s difficult to think ahead to the next big holiday while you’re still working on taking advantage of the current one, but we hear from our friends at Hipmunk that airfare is expected to rise significantly after the holiday. If you don’t already have a destination in mind, consider some of our favorites for Thanksgiving.

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