Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Visit Florida:Best of the Best Beaches
Off the coast of Dunedin, Caladesi Island State Park has been voted among the nation's top beaches., Credit:Visit St.Pete/Clearwater
Grayton Beach State Park
Miami's cosmopolitan South Beach from above.Credit:Visit Miami
Santa Rosa Beach
Cape San Blas, a 17-mile barrier peninsula stretching along St. Joseph Bay, offers eco-adventure and spectacular beach views., Credit: Gulf County Florida
Sunrise at Big Talbot Island in the Timucuan Preserve in Jacksonville, Florida.
Cape Florida -- Lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park with the structures of Stiltsville in the background.
Horseback riding on Amelia Island at sunset.
Lovers Key State Park is a 1,700-acre paradise, aptly named for romance, but also perfect for kayaking. Credit: The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.
Tucked on Central Florida's Atlantic coast, New Smyrna Beach, is comprised of spectacular natural experiences and a laid back atmosphere. Vacationers relish in the tranquil ambiance as well as day-trippers from Orlando.
A surfer prepares to brave the waves. Cocoa Beach is renowned among the hang-ten crowd, and even features an independent gallery showcasing surfer artwork.
The white sands of Siesta Key, Sarasota.
Beachcombers stroll along the waterline during sunset at Ft. De Soto Park in Tierra Verde.
7 outrageous American castles
Biltmore (Asheville, North Carolina)
The largest privately owned residence in the United States has 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens and, in case any French diplomats drop by, Napoleon's old chess set.
Ca' d'Zan (Sarasota, Florida)
Inspired by Tuscan villas and Venetian palaces, circus tycoon John Ringling and his wife built this 1920s Mediterranean Revival-style dream home. Not exactly a fixer-upper, but does require some maintenance.
Hearst Castle (San Simeon, California)
After inheriting a piece of property in 1919, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst told architect Julia Morgan, "I would like to build a little something." In the grand tradition of home contractors, Morgan ran with her client's instructions.
The Breakers (Newport, Rhode Island)
The 70-room Breakers covers 126,000 square feet from attic to basement to mezzanine. Ever humble, 19th-century owner Cornelius Vanderbilt II originally called this a "cottage."
Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan
Edsel Ford became president of Ford Motor Company at age 25, posing him the challenge of living up to his father's hulking legacy. No one can say he didn't live it up.
'Iolani Palace (Honolulu)
The royal Hawaiian abode was rigged out with 19th-century technological luxuries such as electric lighting -- installed in 1887, four years before the White House got hooked up.
Coral Castle (Miami)
Edward Leedskalnin never loved another after Agnes Scuffs broke off their engagement a day before their wedding. For 28 years, the artist -- as a testimony to lost love -- single-handedly sculpted a castellated compound from locally harvested coral rock. Take that, Taj Mahal.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Best Kayaking Destinations In Florida
Florida is a wonderful place to spend your time if you love water sports.The state enjoys a vast coastline with miles and miles of rivers and streams. In addition to this, you also have some really beautiful islands that make kayaking a wonderful experience. If you are new to kayaking and fear the seas, you could start off along one of the several lakes that Florida is endowed with. Of course, the experienced kayakers may enjoy the challenge offered by the beach. Whatever be your level of expertise, Florida has a kayaking destination for you. Here are some of the best kayaking destinations in Florida you must experience while you are here.
Kayaking Along The Waterways
Florida has over 4,000 square miles of water – this not only includes the popular rivers like Suwannee river and Kissimmee river, but also streams, creeks and the thousandsof miles of intracoastal waterways that surround the Everglades. For those who do not know, Everglades is a huge watershed that is home to several species of alligators, fishes and birds. Despite the wilderness around, Everglades is visited by thousands of paddlers each year.
If you find the thought of kayaking close to alligators a little discomforting, you can always pick one of the several lakes in Florida that offer paddling trails. Some of the best kayaking options can be found at the Lakes Regional Park at Fort Myers, Grande Lakes in Orlando and the Lake Worth lagoon.
Kayaking Along The Islands
Florida is home to hundreds of islands, and kayaking along the shallow seas is something that every paddler would enjoy. One of the best paddling trails can be found on the archipelago to the south of Miami called the Florida Keys. Kayakers also love the 10,000 islands in the southern tip of Florida. This place is home to dolphins and over 350 species of birds. Boat assisted kayaking tours are offered by local agents and these tours are extremely popular with tourists.
If you are traveling with kids, the paddling trails offered along the Great Calusa Blueway are a must-visit. This is a 190 mile stretch that covers mangrove islands, wildlife parks and the Hurricane Bay. Along the trail is the Estero Bay Aquatic Pre-serve that is popular among tourists for dolphins. This, along with the innumerable species of exotic birds on the Tarpon Bay make this a beautiful trail for experiencing paddling with kids and family.
Kayaking On The Beach
Florida is a peninsula with a 663 mile coastline. The most popular destinations for sea kayaking can be found along the Cocoa Beach in Brevard County, Florida. This place is most popular among the adventure kayakers. However, if you are not a pro, you can still join the guided kayaking tours that are offered by several agencies in this region. The typical price of such tours vary from $20 for minors to around $30 for adults.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Top 10 Lakes Around The World
When most people go on holiday, they immediately think of finding a place somewhere close to the sea with a great beach, or a hotel with a lovely pool, but if you’re looking for somewhere truly beautiful to relax and bathe, look at some of the world’s most beautiful lakes. Why not take a trip to one of these lakes and explore a variety of bargain holidays online, where you can select the best deal in order to get the most from your trip?
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Set in Croatia, the striking Plitvice Lakes are a deep marine blue and are surrounded by stunning, green tree covered cliffs. Beautiful waterfalls complete the scene at these lakes which are included on the UNESCO World Heritage register.
Lake Malawi, Malawi
Located in Malawi in Africa, Lake Malawi in the ninth largest in the world, with a length of 363 miles, so it feels a bit like a sea. It is home to 1000 species of fish, estimated to be more than any other lake in the world, and its crystal clear waters make it the perfect place for snorkelling.
Taal Lake, Philippines
This lake in the Philippines is a whopping 564 feet deep and is the setting for one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the Taal Volcano. Formed from a volcanic crater, this lake combines beauty with danger but is still a hotspot for tourist groups – the reward must outweigh the risks.
Yucatan Cave Lake, Mexico
This stunning lake in Mexico is located inside a cave, giving it a beautifully eerie atmosphere. Light and water pour down from the Earth’s surface into this magical lake – you will struggle to find a more impressive place to swim in the world.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Created by a freak movement in the Earth’s crust, which saw a giant glacier turn into a huge hollow, this lake in Slovenia is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful. A small island is the middle is home to a hauntingly isolated and stunning tower.
Lake Louise, Canada
This lake in Alberta, Canada is another glacial lake and reflects the surrounding mountains and pine trees delicately in its shimmering waters. Bonuses include a nearby ski resort where you can also try out the sport of heli-skiing.
Tahoe Lake, USA
This 21 mile long lake in North America is one of the world’s oldest and purest. Its greatest feature comes in the way in changes colour during different hours of daylight, making it a fantastic spectacle.
Loch Lomond, Scotland
In a truly Scottish setting, Loch Lomond is flanked by rough hills and medieval castles, and has several islands within. Some are big enough to live on, whilst others get submerged when the water level rises. Inchmurrin, the largest island, is home to a 14th century castle and 7th century monastery.
Lake Saif Ul Malook, Pakistan
This Pakistani lake is particularly beautiful at sunrise, when the light shimmers down across the surrounding snowy mountains and creates a beautiful reflection in the crisp, clear water. With its grassy banks, this lake is also a great place to relax in tranquillity.
PELICAN ISLAND San Blas, Panama
Pelican Island, or Isla Pelicano, sits amid 365 islands that make up the San Blas archipelago off the Caribbean coast of Panama. The island rises just enough from the warm, clear waters to allow palm trees to grow. During the era of brigands and pirates, this small sand island would have served nicely for marooning. Today, it’s the ultimate escape. Surrounded by a tranquil sea, Pelican Island features a quaint hut and that most rare of commodities in today’s world: peace and quiet.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Florida Sale! Free Nights, Kids Stay Free & More in the Sunshine State!
Special Offers in Florida!
Save more in the Sunshine State
Save more in the Sunshine State
Get incredible offers in the Sunshine State this fall and winter! Florida is on sale, and you can get deals like free nights, exclusive low rates, and kids stay, play and eat free! Plus, you can save up to 25% off select car rentals from Alamo, National and Dollar. It's the perfect time to explore Florida - from favorite theme parks to sugary beaches, there's something for everyone to love.
Check out the featured offers below, and get more deals in top destinations throughout Florida when you book by August 29, 2013, and travel by January 31 2014!
|OrlandoSheraton Lake Buena VistaAll-Inclusive||Exclusive 5th night free + $75 resort credit |
• Kids ages 18 and under stay free
• Offers valid for travel: now - 12/20/13
|OrlandoCaribe Royale - Suites & VillasAll-Inclusive||Exclusive 4th night free |
• Kids ages 12 and under stay free
• Offers valid for travel: 9/1 - 12/21/13
|OrlandoDisney's Animal Kingdom LodgeAll-Inclusive||30% off "DEAL" Standard room category|
• Up to 3 kids ages 17 and under stay free
• Select a DEAL Pool View Bunk Bed Room featuring 1 Queen bed and a bunk bed for the kids with a view of the pool or flamingo pond
• Offers valid for travel: 9/29/13 - 12/23/13
|OrlandoWalt Disney World DolphinAll-Inclusive||6th night free + $100 resort credit |
• Complimentary room upgrade to Resort View
• Offers valid for travel: 8/13/13 - 12/21/13
|MiamiFontainebleau Miami BeachAll-Inclusive||Exclusive Rates|
• 4th or 5th night free depending on travel dates
• Offers valid for travel: Now - 12/19/13
|MiamiHoliday Inn Miami Beach OceanfrontAll-Inclusive||5th night free |
• Kids ages 17 and under stay free + kids ages 12 and under eat free at Paradise Cafe
• Offers valid for travel: Now - 12/12/13
|Fort MyersPink Shell Beach Resort & MarinaAll-Inclusive||Exclusive 4th night free |
• Kids ages 16 and under stay free + complimentary daily breakfast for 2 & welcome gifts
• Offers valid for travel: Now - 1/31/14
|St. PetersburgSirata Beach ResortAll-Inclusive||4th or 5th night free depending on travel dates• Offers valid for travel: 8/18/13 - 1/31/14|
|ClearwaterMarriott Suites Clearwater BeachAll-Inclusive||4th night free• Offers valid for travel: Now - 12/24/13|
|Fort LauderdaleSheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach HotelAll-Inclusive||4th night free + $50 food and beverage credit • Kids ages 17 and under stay free|
• Offers valid for travel: Now - 12/31/13
|Key WestHyatt Key West Resort & SpaAll-Inclusive||4th or 5th night free depending on travel dates |
• Kids ages 17 and under stay free + exclusive welcome amenity
• Offers valid for travel: Now - 1/31/14
|Key LargoOcean Pointe Suites at Key LargoAll-Inclusive||Exclusive 4th night free + complimentary use of kayaks |
• Kids ages 15 and under stay free
• Offers valid for travel: Now - 1/31/14
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