Don’t Visit Florida Without Doing These

If you are thinking of going traveling to Florida, you will probably already have some keen ideas in mind as to what to do. But the truth is that there are probably one or two things which you have not even considered, and yet which you could find yourself enjoy hugely if you do visit this state. Florida has so much to offer that it is hard to know where to begin, but there many sides to traveling there which are little-known wonders, and it is these which are worth looking into. Let’s have a look at some of these now, to get you inspired for your own trip.

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Rent A Boat

One great way to get around Florida, as with many similar destinations, is to rent a boat. There are many reasons you might want to do this, not least that it is a quick and easy way to add some instant style, luxury and comfort to your trip. Boat rental is one of those simple things that can add so much glamor to a holiday that you can hardly believe it. You probably won’t appreciate it until you try it yourself, so just give it a go when you are due to be traveling to Florida. You will be amazed at how much this simple act can add to your overall journey, and you won’t have to spend a great deal of money to do it either.

Cast A Spell

This next one is great for family traveling with kids, or even for any adults who enjoy a little sprinkle of magic in their holidays. Florida is home to the great Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a sprawling amusement park in the design of the famous Hogwarts castle. As you can imagine, this is something like a more modern Disney World, and yet much more enjoyable for people of all ages. If you are in Florida as a family and stuck for ideas as to what to do, you could do much worse than to go to the set of Hogwarts. The attraction routinely receives five-star reviews, and it is not too pricey to enter, so it’s well worth a look if you’re in the area.

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Hit & Swing

Are you a big golf fan? As it happens, Florida is one of the very top destinations not just in the US, but in the world, for ardent golfers. With some two hundred plus golf courses to choose between, there is hardly any surprise in that, so if you are a keen golfer you might not want to leave Florida before having a swing at one of those courses. If you have always wanted to play golf in one of the most beautiful settings on earth, then you need look no further than Florida itself – and it could be the ideal way to wrap up your holiday too.

These suggestions are a great way to get started in Florida, but bear in mind that there is much more besides. Take a look around and see what hidden gems you can discover too.

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Get Off The Plane: Other Ways To Explore America

America is a huge country – Texas alone is the size of most of Europe – and there is too much to see in a single trip. Unfortunately, most people restrict their exploration of this vast country because, although traveling by plane covers a lot of distance, it can get expensive flying from one state to another. Fortunately, there are ways to travel that are easier on your budget, and let you see more of the country. Get off the planes and try these different methods of travel.

By Train

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Few people know that you can travel around the whole country by rail with a train pass from Amtrak.com. Amtrak offers USA Rail Passes for 15-day, 30-day or 45-day trips. If you’re savvy about using public transport in each stop on your tour, they’re an affordable way to see the country. The most scenic route is the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco, which is one of world’s greatest train journeys. In around 48 hours you will cross the farmlands of Nebraska, scale the Rockies beyond Denver while you eat egg & bacon for breakfast in the diner, snake through rocky river valleys in Colorado and pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains to reach Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area.

By Boat

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You might not believe it, but there are some fantastic things to see along the coastline of the country. You can plan your perfect trip around the coast by buying a boat with help from boatfinancing.co, or you could get some friends together and split the cost of hiring a chartered boat for the duration of your travels. If you’re charting the course, you have full control over where you go, and how long you stay there. Alternatively, there are some amazing cruises that let you see more of the country; cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, or the Caribbean are popular, but you can also dock in New York or New Orleans. Not to mention the cruise itself has a lot on entertainment and activities on board, so you never feel bored while you’re traveling.

By Road

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The American road trip has been a popular genre in literature, and it features many coming of age stories, Unfortunately, some of the best routes have been forgotten in favor of the interstate or flying. It’s time to bring back this mode of travel and explore parts of the country you might never have seen before. When you’re planning your road trip, you can schedule as many pit stops as you want, change your route whenever you’re bored, and stay in a single place for as long as you like. The beauty of a road trip is that you can dance to the beat of your own drum. Just make sure you stay safe on the road.

If you don’t feel like driving, you can also take the bus. Book the Great American Crossing tour, and you’ll experience New York, Detroit, Mount Rushmore, and many more cities over the course of 21 days.

USA Theme Parks For All Ages

Theme parks are quite literally fun for all the family – they’re the very definition of it, in fact. No matter what the age of your kids, there’s something for everyone to enjoy – be it white-knuckle rides or a more sedate, quaint experience.

There’s literally hundreds of theme parks in North America, and particularly in the USA; the land of freedom and fun. If you’re a fan of a holiday that involves taking in a theme park, the biggest hurdle you’ll have to overcome is deciding where you should actually go.

So let’s break it down. Rather than comparing rides, amenities, what the shows are like – let’s focus on the overall vibe. While each theme park undoubtedly has something to offer the whole family ensemble, there are some that are best suited to particular ages.

Young Children (Ages 0 – 4): Dutch Wonderland, PA

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You might not have heard of Dutch Wonderland before, but if you’re a parent with very young children, then it’s the dream destination you have been waiting for. Located in Pennsylvania – the Dutch is as in Amish, not Holland –  the park is a cornucopia of delights with a good old-fashioned sense of family fun. It’s simple enough to find good family-friendly hotels near Dutch Wonderland too, meaning you can explore the local area and spend as long as you want at the park itself.

Must Do: The show ‘A Royal Fiasco’ is a romp of humor that kids will love, as a Princess tries to plan a Royal Ball with the help – and hindrance – of inexperienced aides.

Older Children (Ages 4 – Tween): Water Country, VI

As the name might suggest, Water Country in Virginia is a water park. It’s a perfect summer holiday trip, when the sun is high in the sky and there’s plenty of fun to be had on the rides. It’s best to save this trip for when your children are older; they’ll want to be able to swim confidently to take advantage of the rides and attractions inside the sprawling park. You can stay on-site in the private cabanas, or in nearby history-rich Williamsburg if you prefer.

Must Do: ‘Rock And Roll Island’ has a multitude of different experiences in one area, from huge slides to a pool to paddle in while you watch the kids have fun.

Tweens & Up: Cedar Point, OH

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As the above image shows, when it comes to white knuckle rides, you can’t go far wrong with Cedar Point in Ohio. Once again, you can stay on-site if you prefer, though there’s plenty of surrounding accommodation if you’d rather stay for a single day. With that said, there’s so many exciting thrill rides here that you might be tempted to linger a little longer!

Must Do: Corkscrew – in the image – was the first ever rollercoaster in the world to feature three inversions. It’s still a thrill today, and is a nice piece of theme park history to enjoy.

So whatever the age of your group, there is a theme park out there in the USA that is ready and willing to welcome you.

 

Homesick for no reason

Its been about 5 months since we moved to Belgium. At first I didn’t want to go back to the States, because I was just enjoying this life abroad too much. But after being here for few months now, I must admit I miss my home badly. I mean, I am extremely missing everything about America. My home, my neighborhood, my work, the surroundings, familiar faces, speaking English, last but not least TACO BELL (their Mexican Pizza and chalupa) …. everything. We came to Brussels for 2 years (well, atleast 2 years, may be 3/4 years… who knows) but now it seems too long. Even my 6 years old daughter is homesick sometimes. She is enjoying her school way more than I expected here in Tervuren, Belgium. But when she comes home, she keeps talking about how she could do things back in the States that she can’t do here. Also, We have visited too many places in a very short time after moving here (we are very lucky in that sense). But even that is enough for now. I forgot some of the places we have gone to earlier this year or even middle of this year. My daughter already hates going to the airport and flying a plane. I can’t blame her. She went to places with us that sometimes don’t even interest her. Other than flying, luckily she does like visiting new cities, staying in the hotels, eating out, and buying souvenirs (just like her mom :)) Also, as everyone says, and I know it too, she is being exposed to so many different cultures, religious, and people, that it will shape her personality in a very unique way. Hopefully that will make her someone who is very flexible and open to everything.

But back to what I was saying, I am really, really missing my home in Portland, OR. Then again, that’s what happens when you move to a new place. I remember when I moved to the States in my early teen years. First couple months I liked everything about America… the school, the stores, people, the fact that I could drive at 16 years of age, all the junk food from the menu of American fast food restaurants, and finally, the freedom that came without any costs and boundaries. Then a phase came, when I was missing Bangladesh so much that I wanted to leave my parents, siblings behind and just go back to Bangladesh where I grew up. That period didn’t last for too long either. I still missed Bangladesh at heart, but at the same time I started enjoying all the things that America had to offer me. I was young and reckless, wanted to do anything and everything to see how much I can spoil myself. And America was THE place for it. Then as time passed by, the childhood time in Bangladesh were nothing but sweet memories. I missed that country but didn’t want to go back there again.

So now… I don’t want to visit new places anymore, don’t want to learn French , don’t want to memorize anymore new Dutch words, don’t want to be too far away from my home, don’t want be an ex-pat anymore… Uhhh, fortunately, I know these feelings will change shortly 🙂 I will give it about couple more months, then I know, I will enjoy living this European life again. And that will be a permanent feeling. Then a time will come when we have to go back to the States and I will miss this present life of Belgium very much. Yep, that’s life. We don’t know what future holds for us, that’s why we keep missing our past, thinking our past was the best thing that ever happened to us. If we only knew that may be, just MAY BE, future is better than the past, then we don’t have to go through this feeling of emptiness.

Ok, Ciao for now

Best Lebanese food in France?

Ok, so we still haven’t visited Lebanon yet. But I have tried shwarma, kebap, kefta kebab many times in USA. But nothing comes close to what we had tonight in a small village of France in between Grasse and Cannes, called Mougins. We came to Marseilles this afternoon, then drove about 2 hours to come to our hotel in Mougins. After checking in, we all were very hungry, since the tasteless French pizza and pasta didn’t really fill us up for lunch. The reception guy told us to go to the old village center of Mougins and try out some cafes there. So we did. The streets to go to the old town were very quiet and beautiful, also enjoyed the view of some villas while driving up the hill. The GPS told us to make a turn at one point, but the streets here are so narrow that our car kinda got stuck while trying to make that right turn. Anyway, we just parked the car and decided to walk. Then walked up the small hilly alleys to go the “old village center”, which is barely just a block or two. No tourists were seen since its not really popular spot for visitor during the winter season. But this has to be one of the coziest, and most beautiful villages I have seen so far. The town kept its 16th or 17th century (may be older) look, and it felt awesome to walk up the tiny alleys, surrounded by old buildings and villas. The best part was that you get a night view of whole city once in a while from few of the beautifully decorated alleys.

Anyways, we went to this Lebanese restaurant that looked very nice inside and out.  The waiter was even nicer and after we tasted our shwarma and kebaps….we just went WOW. My husband was joking that shwarma (“chwarma” in French) tastes better here since we are so close to Lebanon. But whatever it is, couldn’t have a better evening than this. Later we were told by a local that this was one of the best Lebanese chain restaurants in France.

Next couple days we are planning to go to Grasse (world’s perfume capital) for a day, then Monaco for a day to see Monte Carlo Casino and famous Grand Prix racing area which attracts thousands of race car fans each year, then finally Cannes to check out the beaches. Hopefully we will get to enjoy more yummy food and pretty French Riviera all at the same time. If you want to visit these places check out the pages for these cities, Monaco and French Riviera.

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