Florida Parks: The Best Way to Explore the Florida Keys

Lots of visitors to the Florida Keys rave about the food, the nightlife, and the welcoming atmosphere, but the best way to experience the Keys is through Florida’s state and national parks. These are some of the most beautiful and unique public lands in the continental U.S. People travel the world over to swim, snorkel, and fish here. Read on to find out why.

Bahia Honda State Park

Located on Bahia Honda Key north of Key West, this park is best known for two of its beaches. In fact, you might even recognize them from photos. One’s on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island and one’s on the Florida Bay side of the island. Beach equipment rental is easy at the island concession stand, which also offers food service and a small gift shop. Visitors enjoy hiking, fishing, biking, as well as birdwatching. You can pitch a tent or park your RV in designated areas, with reservations; marina slips are also offered for overnight docking. No trip to Bahia Honda State Park would be complete without snorkeling – reserve your spot on the snorkeling tour of Looe Key Marine Sanctuary in advance by phone or online.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Get a real feel for American history while enjoying some great outdoor activities at this landmark fort on the southern part of Key West. Tours of Fort Zachary Taylor are offered every day. Learn more about how American troops served during the Civil War and the Spanish American War by walking the same paths, looking through the same gun ports, and watching re-enactors bring history to life. Nature trails offer hiking and scenic views; bring a bike for the bike trails. Swimming at the sandy beach here is popular; you can also rent umbrellas, beach chairs, and snorkeling gear. The picnic areas here have grills, so consider stopping by a grocery store for supplies on your way in; if you’d rather let someone else do the cooking, visit the park’s cafe for light refreshments in the shade. If you have a fishing license, there are also designated fishing spots here.

Biscayne National Park

Another of the Florida Keys’ parks with expansive underwater acreage, this one is located at the northernmost part of the Keys. Initially created to preserve the last of the undeveloped Keys, today, tourism is the primary draw. See the best of Biscayne National Park on a guided tour from the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. View some of the historic shipwrecks that are part of the Maritime Heritage Trail and the colorful marine life that’s grown up around them. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent, and guests can take a self-paced tour around the key, exploring mangrove-sheltered shallows. The park’s shorelines are home to wading birds and shore birds, as well as dolphins and turtles, so be sure to pack binoculars. Don’t miss Jones Lagoon and Hurricane Creek. Feeling adventurous? You can camp at Biscayne National Park, too, at Boca Chita and Elliott Key. These campsites are pack in/pack out, and offer trails and swimming; however, the amenities are pretty basic. And be sure to try the fishing here. The area is especially well-known for bonefish, grouper, tarpon, and spiny lobster. Seize the Day Charters  can ensure any required licensing is in place for a relaxing trip.

Florida’s state and national parks offer visitors a unique and up-close look at the Sunshine State’s natural beauty. From snorkeling and diving to fishing, birdwatching, kayaking, and more, it’s easy to immerse yourself among the plants and animals that make the Florida Keys such a special place to visit in these parks.

 

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3 must-visit driving destinations in Australia

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You can hear all sorts of references about Australia’s undeniable beauty on the internet and top travel magazines. No wonder more than 8.8 million people flew from different parts of the world to this famed holiday destination in 2017.

From Cable beach to Byron Bay, you can expect nothing but clear waters and perfect waves for surfing enthusiasts. Indeed, one of the country’s best attractions is its coastline. What makes it perfect is that you can travel by land to enjoy incredible landscapes and it doesn’t have to be a rugged road trip at all.

You wouldn’t want to miss any of the places you can go to in this amazing country. The best way to do that is with a car hire service.

A drive through Australia

The best way to explore Australia is going for a drive from key cities. From these starting points, you can drive off and explore some of the best places around. To help you get started, here’s a quick guide on the places you can visit during your stay. Pack your bags, prep your car, and let’s go!

From Perth to the Margaret River

If you’re a lover of wine, then a visit to the Margaret River is just right up your alley. There are more than a hundred wineries in this small town, giving you the perfect opportunity for a wine tasting weekend with your buddies. Some of the wineries you should visit along the way include:

  • Brookwood Estate. Established in 1996, visitors are treated to a panoramic vineyard view along with unique single vineyard wines. Brookwood Estate is a family-owned business hailing from the pioneer farmers of the region. Wine tastings are available daily from 11am to 4.30pm.
  • Cullen Wines and Restaurant. Toast to an unforgettable holiday in a panoramic view of Cullen Wines and Restaurant’s historic vineyard. Apart from tasting one of the best wines in the region, you can also eat to your heart’s content in their restaurant.

If you are not into wine tasting, there are many activities you can also try. Spending time with nature is one of them.

  • Fishing and boating. If you want to get away from the noise, then boating and fishing are perfect for you. The Margaret River offers fishing tours that will take you out to catch some fish and crabs. If you’re lucky, you might even end up snagging a West Australian Dhufish! There are also boating tours specifically for sightseeing.
  • Rock climbing, high ropes, and zip lining. Everyone needs a good challenge every now and then. The Margaret River is the perfect destination if you want to try something new and physical. There are high ropes, rock climbing and zip lining adventures waiting for you to try.
  • Mountain biking and road cycling are both popular sports in Australia. If you’re on the fence about steering your bike, then you should know that the Margaret River has a mountain bike trails for you to try.

From: Gold Coast to Byron Bay

Gifted with pristine natural beaches, it’s no wonder that surfing is a favourite sport in Australia. There are over 2.5 million recreational surfers in the country and there is no shortage of waves for each one of them.

One of the famous road trip and surfing destination is Byron Bay. It’s a coastal town located on the far north coast of New South Wales. Apart from the beaches, scuba diving sites and surfing spots, it is also home to the country’s most easterly point and the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse. An unforgettable holiday awaits you and your family in this renowned destination.

  • Watch the sunrise. Start the day right by watching the sunrise from the Byron Bay Lighthouse. Wake up early and follow the trail up to the lighthouse for the best sunrise view from Australia’s most easterly point. Satisfy not just your need for a good snap for the ‘gram but also your need for a quick workout during your holiday.
  • Visit hidden beaches. Byron Bay is a beach town and there’s always a new beach to see every day. After watching the sunrise up at the lighthouse, take the time to visit some of the other lesser known beaches in the area like Wategos Beach and Tallows Beach. There are relatively fewer people in these parts, the perfect place for a romantic picnic by the beach.
  • Catch some waves. Of course, you can’t come to Byron Bay and not surf or learn how to surf. There are plenty of places that cater to beginners, and they’ll make sure you can handle yourself around a surfboard by the time your lessons are up.

From: Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road

Your Australian road trip adventure won’t be complete if you don’t include the Great Ocean Road on your itinerary. Part of what makes it a popular destination is the fact that you can drive along and stop by the many landmarks along the way.

The Great Ocean Road is Australia’s most treasured coastal route and it is also considered the world’s largest war memorial. The soldiers that returned from World War I worked on this route from their return in 1919 to 1932, intending to connect isolated settlements along the coast.

When you drive along this road, you will not only treat yourself to a gorgeous scenery along the way. You can also learn a bit of history with each kilometer traveled as you remember the great men who helped build this road. Some of the places you should stop by are:

  • Bells Beach. A lot like Byron Bay, Bells Beach is a popular surfing destination. Travelers and surfers that are looking to catch the next big wave stop by here to hone their skills in time for the next competition. If you’re planning to stop here, don’t forget to bring your surfboard to test out the waves for yourself.
  • The Otway Vista. What’s a better way to complete your holiday than a nature trip to Australia’s best rainforest scenery? Discover hidden waterfalls, tall trees and ancient plant and lush ferns in the morning and end your day with a camping trip. If you’re up for more adventure, the secluded Cape Otway is also a place you shouldn’t miss.
  • 12 Apostles. Along your drive, you will pass by the famous 12 Apostles. The name suggests otherwise but they’re not people. It’s a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. It’s one of the must-see destinations and the best way to wrap up your Great Ocean Road trip.

Driving on a road trip is always a great idea to explore Australia. Whatever place you pick, you’ll never regret travelling to each destination by land and enjoy what each has to offer, more than enough to make your holiday an unforgettable one.

5 Essentials For Camping This Summer

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Picture by Tegan Mierle

The tapestry of camping has changed over the years and branched into multiple dimensions for all different travel tastes in terms of accommodation and settings that each and every person can adore. You can test yours and your families limits as a survivalist camper, rent a cushy RV and use as your accommodation while camping or take the traditional route of camping, which usually conjures thoughts of building a flat pack tent and sitting around a fire to the tunes of folk music cooking smores.

Camping is a travelling technique that can be adored by all, you just need to tailor your trip to suit you, your companions and pets.

There is an abundance of benefits you and your family/friends can gain from camping such as; large doses of fresh air are sure to knock out the kids and you after a day of hiking through one of the worlds most beautiful national parks before heading back to your camping pods. And going off the grid for a while generally does a lot of good for most, as some make the conscious decision to disconnect their electronics, take life back to the essentials and unwind from the daily stressors that are work, home life and school for the children/teens. The lack of noise pollution allows you to sit in blissful peace and quiet, reconnect with nature and escape the shrill sounds from city life.

Convincing anyone of camping to a degree is never truly difficult, with so much to offer each and everyone, what you really should be focusing on is what you’re going to take. Here are 5 necessities to get you started.

Shelter

You are likely to need some form of accommodation, (or tools that can help you build a shelter at least) to protect you from the harsh elements, mainly when weather conditions are at their extreme.

In terms of a tent, this might mean searching for something to fulfill defending you against the expected weather of where you are going to travel. For instance, a voyage up Mount Kilimanjaro will require a different shelter to the one you might need on a camping resort in Verona. Looking at waterproof options is usually an excellent place to start, but also check for windproof and UV protection materials too to shield you and your family/friends from the sun.

Alternatively, there are RV’s, cabins, Minivans, campers and so forth. You literally are spoilt for choice, it seriously just depends on your budget and the kind of experience you want to create on your vacation.

 

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Picture by Scott Goodwill

Bedding

If you’ve ever slept on the hard ground before when camping, you’ll know you didn’t get the best nights sleep and longed for the luxury of a cushy surface, which is why you should pack lots of blankets/sleeping bags to keep you cosy, comfortable and warm as the night draws in and the evening becomes chilly.

Assuming you want to be well rested for your trip, pack a few pillows too. Unless you’re roughing your trip entirely with the bare minimum, a little bit of comfort from a good sleeping bag will go a long way in giving you a spritely mood and get-up-and-go attitude for your days ahead outdoors.

Knife

One too many uses available from one tool makes this a difficult item to ignore adding to your packing list for your camping holiday. For survivalists, campers on resorts, and even those camping in RV’s a knife has a multitude of uses that make this a necessary item for all, here are a few;

  • Cutting/chopping food
  • Shaping bandages from the first aid kit
  • Snapping wood from trees for a fire
  • Cutting rope and fishing wire

So don’t forget to search an assortment of knives available and consider to buy Zero Tolerance Knives. This goes without saying, but keep out of the reach of children where possible.

Food And Drink

Of course, you will need non-perishable food for your trip. This is especially true if you don’t have an electric supply to cater to fridge/freezer gadgets to keep your food fresh, which is why canned and packet food is usually a good bet. Meats will require refrigeration, so consider whether you have these facilities before you take any meat.

Ultimately, you should always carry plenty of water especially a running water supply is not available on your camping grounds. It’s great for drinks, cups of coffee, cooking with and washing things with too. If you’re attempting wild camping, it may be wise to take fresh water for your own safety, to prevent dehydration or to prevent drinking water from untested sources, such as streams.

Flashlight And Lanterns

Pack plenty of flashlights (and batteries) perhaps even solar lights to illuminate the outside of the tent at night time when you might need to journey to natures toilet.

Having a few lights handy on your person and inside your shelter will help you in a variety of scenarios at night time such as playing cards in the dark, guiding you to pick something up out of the car, or perhaps going for a nighttime stroll.

Camping lanterns, in particular, are handy as they will stand on their own and shed light in every direction. This is better when you need a stable, bright light without having to hold it consistently as you would a torch.

Yet be wary of bugs swarming to the light and keep your fly net down on your tent where possible to avoid creepy crawlies getting inside.

The prospect of camping is one that will fill you with excitement, adventure, peace, and quiet and the ability to connect better with a partner, friends, family at your own pace. However, packing the essentials for the style of trip you want to achieve is vital, to prevent your stay from becoming uncomfortable or even painful. The above items and tools are essential. However, you are able to expand on this so long as you have the equipment or vehicle to carry your extra luggage. For instance, you may wish to delve further in and look at camping pots and pans to cook with, toiletries to take. Perhaps even activity equipment such as fishing rods and bicycles, although these are not essential, they will make for a fun trip.

 

Best Outdoor Adventure Festivals in America

Are you searching for the best outdoor adventure festivals in the USA? Well, look no further because here, we’ve gathered the most popular musical camping festivals, designed to nurture the spirit of community as well as adventure in every traveler.

It’s no secret that we all enjoy the feeling of connection and community. After all, there’s not much which brings humanity together as compared to a shared experience. An outdoor adventure trip or festival tour in America will give you the appeal and spirit of togetherness in a highly concentrated form.

To make sure that you have the most enjoyable time, we have put together some of the best outdoor adventure festivals USA. From camping festivals 2019, to cool musical shows, we have a variety of ideas to brighten the hearts of every enthusiastic traveler.

  • Tasty Food in Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago is popularly known for its delicious foods, for instance, visiting the Michelin-star hotels. So, if you wish to sample these tantalizing foods, take an outdoor adventure tour to one of the largest food festivals not only in the U.S.A but across the globe. Some of the exciting things which also happen here include:

  • Live music
  • Lots of family fun-filled activities
  • Public art galleries

Other crowd favorites are bakeries, Famer’s Fridge kiosks, and even Connie’s Pizza. Lastly, the place offers comfortable accommodations for all those travelers who want to stay close to the fun-filled foodie festivals!

  • Enjoy the Best Music Shows in Austin, Texas

You may not know, but west coast festivals are not the only exciting events we have in the country. The city of Austin also has some remarkable music festivals, and artists love to flock to this place. The Austin City Limits (ACL) show is one of those extraordinary events for its impressive lineup plus it’s effortlessly cool. What’s more, here, you will get a diverse collection of music, even those in Indie.

There are also exciting food and arts markets which further make this event one of the largest and most popular outdoor adventure festival. The 2016 one, in particular, is mainly remembered for its ‘superstar’ collection of artists with personalities like

  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Radiohead
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Alabama Gulf Shore’s Hangout-the best of Musical Festivals

There are quite a few remarkable reasons why you should attend this outdoor adventure festival. Where else would you get chance of listening to great music from amazing and award winning artists as you enjoy the serenity of a sandy beach? Yes, this captivating festival is filled with fun and memorable moments with every single turn you take.

You’ll get to enjoy different rides, excellent foods, arts, tasty drinks, and beach volleyball. If this is not enough, take a trip down to the Gulf shores, an area filled with tons of mind-blowing activities. Once you’ve had your fun, the Beachside Resort Hotel is the best place for you to take a rest.

  • Michigan’s Rothbury Outdoor Adventure Electric Forest Festival

This hippie fest Michigan event is known for its sense of community sustainable initiatives. The organizers use it as an effective way of giving back to the society. However, it’s not only just another charitable event.

No! Instead, once you are here, feel free to relax at the Gold Rush Water Park, make some friends as you enjoy the attraction of the natural park to take over you. You can even decide to stay up and enjoy its late night parties!

  • American Folk Camping Festival in Maine

Bangor offers a perfect American camping festival as it appreciates the different cultures in America. Arts, historical narrations and music are among the activities you’ll enjoy in this event. You will also learn a great deal about the rich food groups, handmade arts and crafts as well as traditions.

Once you decide to take a couple of minutes from the festival, explore Bangor Museum’s local culture collection or visit the Opera house and see some memorable theatre performances. The Fairfield Inn will offer the best accommodation spot and feel free to take advantage of the hotel’s swimming pool!

  • Conclusion

Above are our recommended camping festivals 2019 to excite and inspire the spirit of adventure in every traveler. Now, we know that every outdoor adventure trip should be packed with highly engaging and exciting events. With these locations, you have the best chance of getting the most out of your trip.

So, from this list, which of these best outdoor festivals USA do you feel you should attend in 2019?

About the author: Catherine Wiley is an experienced hiker and traveler. She had an overnight hiking in Yosemite National Park, California. When she is not traveling, she is working on her main project https://gearexpertguides.com/

 

5 of the most beautiful national parks around the world

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If you want to see some of the most beautiful natural sights in the world, then you’re going to want to head to national parks. Pretty much every country in the world has its own national park, which is an area that has been protected by the state for people to enjoy – and to preserve wildlife in some cases. Want to know where the best national parks are in the world? Here are just five of them.

Joshua Tree National Park

Over Thanksgiving weekend this year, my children and I went to Palm Springs in California, where we got to visit the stunning Joshua Tree National Park. There are so many things to see and do in this national park that we stayed from 10.30am until 3.30pm – although we could have stayed a lot longer! Grab a map and make your way to all of the best spots in the park, including Ocotillo Patch, Cholla Cactus Garden, and the Jumbo Rock Campground. Oh, not forgetting Skull Rock, of course! There really is so much to see here; I’d recommend staying all day if you have the energy.

Serengeti National Park

If you want to see some of the most jaw-dropping wildlife on the planet, you simply have to head to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. One of the must-sees here is the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest and zebra make their way across the plains to seek new pastures. You can go on a safari trip much more affordably now than in the past, then finish off with a trip to some of the gorgeous beaches of Zanzibar in Tanzania.

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Yellowstone National Park

Often considered one of the best national parks in America, Yellowstone is a sight to behold. As the first national park in the U.S. (established back in 1872), this is the place to come if you want some history with your nature. Make sure you head to the Old Faithful Geyser and also keep an eye out for the local wildlife. Many people report to see antelope, bison, bears, elk, and wolves here.

Khao Sok National Park

If you ever find yourself in Thailand, it is definitely worth checking out Khao Sok National Park in the southern part of the country. The dense jungle is unlike any of the other national parks on this list, and it’s also home to the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia. If you’re really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a majestic tiger or two while you’re here as well. One top tip if you’re visiting Thailand is that insurance is a legal requirement, so make sure you’re covered before you head off.

Fiordland National Park

Located in the southwest of South Island in New Zealand, Fiordland National Park is a true beauty. Head to the glacier-carved fiords of Doubtful and Milford sounds, look up at the stunning Mitre Peak, and see the reflections of the Earl Mountains in the Mirror Lakes. There are plenty of walks and activities here that could keep you busy for days.

It was hard to pick just five beautiful national parks around the world, but I think this is a good selection. What do you think? Do you have any others to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

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