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Spring has finally sprung and with beautiful weather comes the welcome excuse to get outside, just in time for Mother’s Day! Before you get mom any ordinary plant, check out our top ten list of the most beautiful gardens around the world for some inspiration. Take mom along for the day or make a future getaway out of these. Happy Mother’s Day! Read more
Chefs are flocking, new hotels are opening, and the film festival is rapidly growing: The city of Toronto now has more reasons to visit than ever. Find out what to see, do, eat, and drink while in this booming Canadian city! Read more
Itching to get away before the summer crowds flock to the nation’s most popular destinations? We’ve rounded up the best last-minute deals to urban centers across the U.S. and Canada, so you can explore the continent’s most popular cities while saving big bucks this spring. Read more
Rather than trying to escape the chilly weather this season, why not embrace it? Even in high season, many ski resorts offer lodging deals now, especially for travel on weekdays or toward the end of the season (late March and early April). Winter is also the cheapest time to travel to many cooler-weather metropolitan cities, both in the U.S. and abroad, so, if you can brave the lower temperatures, you’ll also enjoy reduced airfare and hotel rates.
Ski on fresh powder out West at major Colorado ski resorts like Breckenridge and Keystone, where individual condos through ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals start from just $119 per night. Most of Fairmont Hotels‘ 4-star properties throughout Canada offer rooms for 20 percent off this season, including the Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, which sits at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Not only can you ski at the nearby Marmot Basin, you can also enjoy ice skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding. Read more
Temperatures may be chilly at the moment, but the winter festival scene is certainly heating up. Across North America, outdoor adventurers can choose from all sorts of snow-centric gatherings that feature everything from ice sculpting to costumed ski jump competitions to a lively pub crawl – on skis, of course.
Choose from any of these fun, family-friendly festivals for the perfect antidote to cabin fever.
The action starts this holiday weekend, with the fourth-annual Estes Park’s Winter Festival in Estes Park, Colorado, held January 18-21, which has become one of the fastest growing festivals in Colorado. Read more
Looking for a 2013 cruise adventure that won’t break the bank? Set sail into the New Year and save with one of these five budget-friendly cruise picks. Cruising from close-to-home cities to popular ports in Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and beyond, these great-value 3-, 4-, and 7-night cruises all ring in from under $409/person – and one from as little as $199.
Just hurry up and book – prices are sure to spike soon, so don’t miss the boat on these priced-to-go sailings. Read more
Winter time can prove to be an even bigger headache than usual for air travel. Blustering winds and pesky snowstorms regularly clog major air-hubs from New York City to Chicago (and everywhere in between), causing frustrating flight delays and cancellations. Spare yourself the stress of lengthy, invasive security procedures, and unreliable service by taking the train for your next getaway.
Fares for many of North America’s regional train lines are available for less this season. Here’s some of our favorite deals on rails.
Even if the cold doesn’t bother you, the trouble with winter is that nightfall arrives sooner than most of us would like it to. There is however, one good reason to venture out into the frigid winter air during the darkest months of the year: the Northern Lights. Also known as aurora borealis or the “northern dawn,” this electrical phenomena is approaching a peak period that will last until about 2016. In other words, if you haven’t seen this shimmering display before, the odds of catching a glimpse in the next few years are higher than usual. Clear skies on or around the spring equinox (March 20 in 2013) will up your chances even further. And for travelers planning a trip to see the aurora, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks helpfully posts a forecast online. Read more
Spend a weekend at a 4-star hotel in our neighbor to the north’s capital city for less. Rates at the Brookstreet Hotel, ranked by TripAdvisor.com readers as one of the Top 20 hotels in Ottawa, range from $127-$159, a savings of 20 percent off of current rates.
The best rates are found on Thursdays through Mondays, August 10 through September 3, including Labor Day Weekend.
Sprawl out in a spacious King or Double Queen room that overlooks an adjacent golf course and the Ottawa River. Each room contains a flatscreen TV, individual climate control, a minibar, and an iPod/iPhone dock with an alarm clock.
The Brookstreet Hotel earned it’s 4-stars thanks to it’s many amenities, some of which are unique to the capital region. They include an outdoor pool, an indoor salt water pool, a children’s wading pool, a hot tub, a fitness center with saunas and a whirlpool, complimentary bike rentals, access to the adjacent Marshes Golf Club, a movie and games center, and onsite dining (including a gourmet restaurant, a cafe, and a jazz lounge).
I’m still recovering from a week in Central Newfoundland, an affordable, off-the-beaten-path destination for adventure enthusiasts, with outdoor pursuits galore. Even if you can’t get away for that long, the area’s abundant hiking trails, quaint coastal towns, and friendly locals make for a great weekend getaway. But there are a few things I wish I would have known ahead of time – like the offset time zone. Here, some travel advice from my trip to help you start planning yours.
Hike with caution. As I wrote last week, Central Newfoundland is chock full of excellent hiking trails, many of which are underutilized. It’s not uncommon to finish a long hike without running into another soul, so if you hike solo like me (not ideal but unavoidable), that means a minor mishap – a twisted ankle, a bee sting – can turn into a major disaster if you don’t have a working cell phone or emergency kit. No matter how short your excursion, be sure to let a contact at your accommodations or someone at a local information center (a great place to pick up free trail maps, too) know where and when you’re headed out. Read more
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked how I wound up traveling through Central Newfoundland, I’d have a tidy little sum piled up in just a few days. Indeed, this region of Canada – part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that lies northwest of the port city of St. John’s – tends to get overlooked on tourists’ itineraries in favor of hotspots like Montreal and Quebec City and the more well-known coastal regions of British Columbia.
It’s a destination well worth a trip, though, especially for adventure-seeking travelers, as the area is loaded with off-the-beaten path opportunities for exploration on both land and sea. Hundreds of miles of spectacular hiking trails, boasting unforgettable names like the Squid Jiggers Trail, crisscross the rocky terrain. Tour boats take visitors in search of migrating whales and mighty icebergs.
And, as I discovered from a recent visit, the area is also home to Canada’s version of the Loch Ness Monster: a mysterious, eel-like creature that’s said to live in the murky depths of Lake Crescent.
Proof that Canada’s VIA Rail train is so much more than a basic commuter train? When you disembark, you’ll feel sad saying goodbye to the conductors.
Two of our favorites, who held court in touring class on VIA Rail’s “Skeena” route across mountainous, snow-capped British Columbia, were Patrick and Gilbert. They helped us with our bags, sure, but they also offered historical factoids, let us browse the library of provincial history books that they kept on board, and served wine. Gilbert even brought along flowers from his garden for the curved, vintage caboose car.
All the while, we traveled along the thundering Skeena River from Jasper, just over the British Columbia boarder in Alberta, to the charming coastal town of Prince Rupert. The entertainment, besides Patrick and Gilbert? Hundreds of miles of breathtaking scenery – untouched forest, show-capped mountains, the occasional ancient petroglyph, and the rusting remnants of Skeena River canneries. Read more
I’ve recently returned (and am still recovering) from several days in Keystone, Colorado, for the 2012 Travel Bloggers Exchange. This is the third year for this growing gathering of travel enthusiasts, from travel bloggers (such as yours truly) to tourism bureaus eager to spread the word about their destinations.
Not surprisingly, a common topic during the weekend was the explosion of adventure travel – as well as where the next hotspots are. Here, a few expert picks for places to put on your adventure travel bucket list.
Grab a friend and board Amtrak’s Adirondack Line for a long weekend getaway in Montreal, Canada’s capital of culture. Buy two round-trip tickets from New York City starting at $189 – 25 percent off seasonal rates. This discounted rate is available for travel in September.
The Adirondack Line provides service between New York City’s Penn Station and Montreal’s Central Station. This scenic ride glides along the Hudson River, making stops at some of Upstate New York’s most charming riverside towns. After a stop in Albany, the train continues on through the stunning Adirondack Mountains before crossing the Canadian border into Quebec.
September serves as an ideal time to visit Montreal with average temperatures hovering around a comfortable 70 degrees. The end of September also marks the beginning of Canada’s fall foliage.
This summer, fly to Canada on Porter Airlines with one-way flights starting from just $67. These rates slash up to half on current airline pricing and include all taxes and fees. Enjoy ideal summer temperatures in Toronto, along with restaurants, art, and nightlife in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Or, fly to Montreal, where you can experience the unique French-Canadian heritage along with the famous Montreal International Jazz Festival from June 28-July 7.
Sample one-way fares from the U.S. to Canada:
- New York City (Newark)–Toronto: $67
- Boston–Toronto: $73
- Chicago–Toronto: $89
- Washington, D.C.–Toronto: $89
- New York City (Newark)–Montreal: $125
- Boston–Montreal: $162
Book fast, because this sale ends Friday, June 1. Travel is valid from June 14-September 3. Book online at the Porter Airlines website and enter the promo code AIR.
See our Canada destination guide for more trip-planning information.
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