Don’t miss these highlights on your Florida holiday

Panama City Beach should be one of the highlights on your Florida holiday

Photo by CC user 11018968@N00 on Flickr

Ready to reward yourself after enduring the gloom of a winter in Britain? There’s no better way to inject energy back into your life then to spend a few weeks in the Sunshine State.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in America, Florida offers everything from dream beaches to some of the best theme parks in the world.

If you are looking to visit some of the best American attractions, spending your entire holiday in the state of Florida will enable you to visit a decent chunk of them.

Below, we’ll share our favorite spots to hit, from north to south.

1) Spend time on Panama City Beach

Well-loved by college kids during March Break, Panama City Beach is significantly quieter during the rest of the year, making it a great place for families looking to enjoy a seaside holiday along the picture-perfect shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

Its powder white sand stretches on for miles, making it easy to find a spot where you can enjoy this destination with your friends and family without being disturbed by others.

After a day spent soaking up the bright sunshine, return to its robust commercial centre, where there are plenty of amazing restaurants and bars where portion sizes will ensure that everyone goes away from their establishments full and tipsy.

2) Visit all the theme parks in Orlando

If you are travelling as a family or if you are young at heart, you can’t come to Florida and not call on Orlando.

The biggest dog on the block is Walt Disney World, as it consists of several different parks where you can meet Mickey and the gang, learn about how they create their films, and enjoy some of the most innovative rides in the industry.

There are many other parks worth visiting other than WDW, though, as its chief rival Universal Studios offers many of the same attractions related to its media properties (the Simpsons, Snoopy, etc).

Additionally, SeaWorld offers visitors the chance to learn about Florida’s aquatic species, and Wet n’ Wild will give you the chance to cool off if the Central Floridan heat has begun to get to you.

3) Enjoy the best of what Miami has to offer

Heading further south, Miami is Florida’s largest and most exciting city. Known unofficially as the business capital of Latin America, there is plenty of affluence and cultural diversity to go along with its flawless white sand beaches for which it has become rightly famous for over the years.

While many visitors spend the bulk of their time on the barrier island where Miami Beach sits, take care to not neglect the city proper.

There are many worthwhile points of interest, from the Perez Art Museum to the flavor that neighborhoods like Little Havana and Little Haiti have.

Discover the best beaches in the Turks and Caicos

Grace Bay is among the best beaches in the Turks and Caicos

Photo by CC user RoadTripWarrior on English Wikipedia

Want to get away to the Caribbean before winter is over, but don’t want to have to deal with the crowds that established resort areas like the Mayan Riviera and the Dominican Republic attracts? Give the Turks and Caicos a try.

An often overlooked chain of islands that lie due south of the Bahamas, there are many outstanding beaches that can be found throughout the archipelago. Thanks to the off-the-radar reputation this place has, Turks and Caicos villas offer their guests a relaxing experience that is hard to duplicate elsewhere in the region.

Have no idea where to base yourself? Below, we will break down what each of the best beaches in the Turks and Caicos has to offer…

Grace Bay Beach

Need to be where the action is at? Of all the beaches on the Turks and Caicos, none have the buzz that Grace Bay does. It’s not hard to understand why this is the case, as your first walk along the beach will introduce you to some of the whitest sand you’ve ever seen, and water that glows with a baby blue hue that will capture your imagination at first sight.

Despite the fact that it lies in the most populated district from a tourism perspective, Grace Bay Beach stretches on for miles, allowing you to find the privacy you are seeking on your Caribbean holiday.

Long Bay Beach

While Grace Bay is a top choice for many travellers, Long Bay Beach is another excellent option, especially for those who consider themselves to be active travellers. With consistent winds blowing offshore, Long Beach has become a popular destination for avid kitesurfers.

During your days here, you will see many practitioners ripping it up on the waves and across the water; if you work up the courage, there are many operators that offer lessons, but if you opt to stick to shore, the swimming here is just as great, and a walk along the beach will yield many conch shell finds.

Malcolm Bay Beach

Looking for that fabled deserted beach we all dream about a bitterly cold day? On the Turks and Caicos, Malcolm Bay Beach is that spot. While it is not nearly as flawless or as big as Grace Bay, it makes up for this shortcoming with its rugged beauty and seclusion.

While coral rocks make it difficult to wade, it has created an ideal environment for snorkelers, so don’t forget to bring gear from town before heading out to Malcolm Bay.

Pine Cay

Those craving an exclusive environment in which to soak up the sun will have no issues shelling out the $85 USD it costs to purchase a day pass for Pine Cay. The beaches on this island are nothing short of stunning, as there is a delicate balance kept between the wildness of its grasses and dunes and the maintained properties of the resorts on the island.

With a lush jungle in its interior, overwater bungalows, and a reef filled with brilliant marine life all found here, this getaway will be worth every penny you’ll pay for access to it.

Chalk Sound National Park

Although this isn’t a beach in the strictest sense, this shallow lagoon is one of the quietest spots on the island for swimming and snorkelling, largely due to the absence of a significant sandy shore in the area.

Additionally, the immense beauty of the fluorescent water and the rocky islets in the middle of this bay make an excellent spot to go kayaking as well.

If you want to lose the crowds for a day, but still want to check out a place that will stay in your dreams months afterwards, make room in your travel itinerary for Chalk Sound.

Whitby Beach

Staying on North Caicos Island? If you are, make an effort to head out to Whitby Beach at least once during your time there.

As the longest beach on the island, there is plenty of room to find your private piece of paradise, and with a bottom that is mostly free of coral, you won’t have to risk an unpleasant surprise when you head out for a swim.

Pillory Beach

Those staying on the underrated island of Grand Turk will likely find themselves spending some serious time relaxing on the sands of Pillory Beach.

In addition to possessing the beauty that all the other entries on this list have, the snorkelling at this location is incredible, with sea urchins, brilliant coral, and plenty of tropical fish visible in the reefs just offshore.

When you require refreshment, a beach bar operated by the Bohio Resort stands ready to serve up a variety of drinks that will make your day here a pleasant one.

Governor’s Beach

Pillory isn’t your only top option on Grand Turk, as many past visitors have written rave reviews about Governor’s Beach as well.

Beachcombers will love the abundance of sea glass and sand dollars that can be found onshore, as well as the presence of a rusting shipwreck halfway down the beach, while more casual types will appreciate the vibe at Jack’s Shack, a beachside restaurant run by locals.

Best ways to enjoy a glorious summer day in the Big Apple

Central Park is always a good idea on an amazing summer day in the Big Apple

Photo by CC user Ingfbruno on Wikimedia Commons

Although some write-off New York City during the summer months, others can’t get enough of the heat and bright sunshine during this time.

If you are looking to make the most of great weather while you are in the Big Apple, the following suggestions will help you enjoy it alongside this city’s locals.

1) Hang out in Central Park

There is no better time to experience Central Park in its full glory than on a summer day. The trees are lush with leaves, the flower beds are exploding with colour, and the lawns are filled with locals socializing and enjoying each others company.

If you’d rather be by yourself, though, there are plenty of paths to follow which will take you past ponds, through forested glens, and to structures which have been here long before the first skyscraper in Manhattan reached towards the heavens.

2) Go to the beach

The beach? In NYC? Yes, it is possible to find an expanse of sand on which to sun yourself, and you can even go for a dip in the ocean.

While the sounds of the city will be present at places like Coney Island (sounds of the midway, throngs of kids, business flights to New York soaring overhead on their way to JFK), those seeking peace and quiet need only rent a Zipcar and head out to Jones Beach State Park, or hop on the ferry to Fire Island.

Surfers looking to get in some waves should head to Rockaway Beach in Queens, as it gets the most consistent swells from the Atlantic.

3) Grab some ice cream

Nothing goes together better than a summer day and ice cream; this fact is no less true in the Big Apple. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream on the Lower East Side is a great choice for traditionalists, as they scoop up ice cream just like you remembered it as a kid.

Those who are more open-minded will still love this place, as they serve flavours like green tea alongside chocolate, but if your group is comprised of uncompromising hipsters, then you’ll have a better time cooling off at Black Tap.

Creating gaudy milkshakes topped with massive amounts of candy and ice cream, your diet will suffer, but your Instagram account will pop with enough likes and comments to make a visit here a worthy sacrifice.

4) Catch a rooftop movie

End your ideal summer day in New York City by catching a rooftop film. Put on by a non-profit organization on rooftops ranging from Trilok Fusion Center For The Arts to The Old American Can Factory, you could be exposed to anything from documentaries to old classics at the show you end up checking out.

Vegas beyond the casinos: things to do to entertain yourself


There is a Vegas beyond the casinos

Photo by CC user tedmurphy on Flickr

Of all the things people do when visiting Vegas on holiday, spending time in the pits playing blackjack and roulette is a stereotype that endures to this day.

However, there is so much more to do in 21st century Las Vegas, that you could spend your entire holiday entertaining yourself here without dropping a single silver dollar in a slot machine.

If you want to experience Vegas beyond the casino, spend some time visiting the attractions listed below…

1) Check out the Hoover Dam

The electricity to run all those twinkling lights on The Strip has to come from somewhere. In the Las Vegas area, the source of the juice that powers its economy comes from the Hoover Dam, a massive piece of infrastructure that has been lauded as one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects in American history.

Started during the Great Depression as part of an infrastructure program designed put mass amounts of unemployed citizens back to work, its massive turbines now generate 4.2 billion kWh of power annually, although drought has limited its usefulness in recent years.

Tours will take you to see turbines are larger than you could ever imagine, making it well worth the price of admission.

2) Attend a pool party

Starting in March and ending in October, many of Las Vegas’ finest resorts host regular pool parties that attract beautiful tourists and local alike to frolic under the warmth of the desert sun.

Accompanied by tunes spun by established and up-and-coming DJ’s, these events are create a fervor that only builds as opening dates approach in the spring.

Mandalay Bay’s Daylight is especially famous, as its weekend parties have crammed in 5,000 people to see acts such as Skillrex in the past.

3) Go indoor skydiving

Want to start pushing the envelope a bit more in your life, but afraid to make the huge jump to activities like bungee jumping and skydiving?

In Vegas, you can ease yourself into these sports by visiting Vegas Indoor Skydiving. Situated inside a vertically-aligned wind tunnel, people that want to experience this sport in a safe manner will have the opportunity to do so by jumping into 120 mile per hour winds.

Directed towards the roof of the silo, the person that jumps will instead float in the air, and will be slowly brought down to the ground as the fans beneath them slow down.

4) Play the machines at the Pinball Hall of Fame

Remember when the pinball machine was the king of the arcades? You can re-live this aspect of your past by dropping by the Pinball Hall of Fame.

More than just a museum for these popular games, you can actually drop a quarter in many of these machines and demonstrate your superior skills to amazed onlookers. Come on, you know you want to!