Category Archives: Outdoor travel experiences

Escape Adventures Introduces 5-Day Mountain Biking Tour Across Bears Ears National Monument

Escape Adventures is introducing a 5-day mountain biking tour across the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument.

(Moab, Utah) — Escape Adventures is introducing a 5-day mountain biking tour across the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument.

The trip starts at Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding, Utah, a 19th century Mormon settlement, and climbs high into the Abajo Mountains. Highlights include an array of archaeological sites and ruins, The Notch, Duck Lake, Sego Flat, Reef of Rocks, Maverick Point Overlook, Skull and Crossbones, The Causeway, and Jackson Ridge. Wildlife is abundant, and views atop the Abajo Mountains extend for 75-miles in all directions. This first-class camping tour starts at $1,299 per person. For more info, visit https://escapeadventures.com/tour/bears-ears-mountain-bike-tour/. View the full itinerary here

“This roughly 80-mile mountain biking tour covers a broad expanse of red rock, juniper forests and high plateau, while exposing riders to early human and Native American historical artifacts,” said Escape Adventures Director, Jared Fisher. 

Named after a pair of monumental 2,000-ft twin buttes, Bears Ears National Monument is a remarkable remnant of 200-million year old sand dunes. Capped in shades of pale orange to light red sandstone, the Bears Ears formation is so distinctive it can be seen, even at great distance, from nearly every direction. Framed by Dark Canyon Wilderness and the Beef Basin to the west, Comb Ridge on the east, the Grand Gulch Plateau and Cedar Mesa to the south and Canyonlands National Park to the north, this mountain bike tour takes riders through the most unique and historical landmarks southeast Utah has to offer. 

All internal land expenses and services are covered in the cost of the tour, including all transportation, food preparation, meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, group supplies and community gear are included. Backcountry permits, licenses, park fees, reservations, and accommodations are also included, along with at least two professionally trained trip leaders, a mobile first aid and mechanic station, spare bikes, and a support vehicle(s). Trip price does not include airfare, lodging prior to trip start or bicycle rental and/or camping gear unless otherwise noted on itinerary or website.

More information at https://escapeadventures.com/

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6 Post Vaccination Vacations

Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, free annual national park pass and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences.

President Joe Biden’s recent announcement that the United States will have enough coronavirus vaccines for all adults by the end of May – two months earlier than previously thought – is promising news for travelers. Precautions will still need to be taken, of course, but domestic travel is likely to be popular again this summer, highlighted by national parks, active trips and travel where physical distancing is possible. Here are six dream vacations to take this summer once you’ve gotten your shots.

1. Long-Weekend Cycling: Adventure Cycling Association is offering a new collection of long-weekend tours close metropolitan areas to make it easy to give bike travel a try. Options include taking in the crisp mountain air and stunning vistas while cycling around the stunning Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border, or leaving behind the hustle and bustle of New York City to bike up the Hudson River valley and visit peaceful state parks. https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/long-weekend-tours/

2. Greater Yellowstone Adventures: A stay at The Wilson Hotel in Big Sky, Montana, offers the opportunity to explore the surrounding mountains, rivers and Yellowstone National Park. Go hiking through shaded forests and wildflower-filled alpine meadows, float or fly fish a clear, cool river, experience the adrenaline rush of lift-served mountain biking at Big Sky Resort, or tour the natural wonders and wildlife of Yellowstone. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

3. Explore National Parks by RV: Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, free annual national park pass and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences by connecting travelers with vetted campsites, guides and other hand-picked attractions. https://www.blacksford.com  

4. Channel Your Inner Cowboy: “Yellowstone,” the wildly popular cable television series starring Kevin Costner, has sparked newfound interest in luxury dude ranch vacations. Red Reflet Ranch, a 28,000-acre guest ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, has experienced a surge of guests booking five-figure vacations because of their love for the series. Guests stay in fully-stocked private cabins and enjoy farm-to-table cuisine while participating in equestrian programs, cattle branding, hiking, mountain biking, ATVing, fly fishing, shooting, family-friendly activities and cooking classes. https://red-reflet-ranch.net/

5. Idaho Hot Springs, Camping and Cycling: Escape Adventures is excited to offer a multiday cycling tour showcasing Idaho’s magnificent Sawtooth Range and some of the state’s most scenic natural hot springs. The tour includes five days of transfixing road rides – including over the highest paved road in the American Northwest – colorful mining towns, wild rivers and remote natural hot springs. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/sawtooth-mountains-idaho-road-bike-tour

6. Retreat to a Teton Tiny House: With sustainably built, LEED-certified “tiny house” cabins, Fireside Resort is Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s most innovative take on resort town lodging. The resort embraces modern, yet rustic design and presents a fresh approach to luxury lodging. Nestled in a wooded setting at the foot of the Teton Range, the cabins allow guests to get back to nature while enjoying the intimacy of a boutique hotel and the ambiance of their own cozy residence. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/

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REI Focuses on Domestic Outdoor Experiences With Aim to Help 3 Million Get Outdoors Annually; Discontinues International Adventure Trips

Camping in Letchworth State Park, New York. REI Co-op is revising plans for the future of its experiences business with a goal of getting 3 million people outdoors each year through its experiences programs, which will focus exclusively on U.S. domestic adventures. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SEATTLE – REI Co-op is revising plans for the future of its experiences business with a goal of getting 3 million people outdoors each year through its experiences programs, which will focus exclusively on U.S. domestic adventures.

The co-op is investing in an expanded network of experiences close to iconic U.S. outdoor destinations, building on its expertise of small group active travel and local programming currently offered across the nation. REI expects to launch at least 12 new experience centers in the next two years where customers can tap into REI’s guided tours, gear rental and instruction. As part of the announcement, the co-op will discontinue its international adventure travel trips effective May 2021 in order to invest in its domestic travel growth strategy and expand offerings in hiking and camping, backpacking, cycling, women’s only, under-35, family and weekend adventures.

With more than 100 itineraries across the United States, REI adventure travel offers one of the broadest activity assortments of any U.S.-based tour operator. Sales of REI domestic adventure trips have gotten off to a fast start in 2021. As of March, domestic trips were up by 28 percent compared to 2019, making it one the strongest years in adventure travel sales.

“REI is a leader at getting people outside. We’re the only national organization with a wide range of experiences that provide life-changing outdoor moments, whatever someone’s skill level may be,” said Curtis Kopf, who was recently named REI’s chief experience officer. “The co-op’s bold investment in our U.S. experiences will help us welcome more people into the outdoors by making nature more accessible and attainable for everyone.”

A leader with REI since 2018, Kopf’s new role is an evolution of his previous oversight over REI’s experiences and digital divisions. As chief experience officer, he will oversee REI’s acceleration of efforts to design and build differentiated customer experiences that are interconnected across the company in physical locations, digital platforms and hosted experiences.

In recent years, REI annually has helped over 310,000 individuals across the country progress their outdoor interests and explore iconic outdoor destinations like national parks. Beyond multiday adventures, REI also offers fun and educational local experiences in major markets across the country through beginner-to advanced-level classes and guided day tours for hiking, cycling, paddling, climbing and more. REI is a top provider of how to ride a bike classes and wilderness training through its long partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The co-op also operates a destination adventure center based in Scottsdale, Arizona with gear rentals, day tours and education for residents and tourists visiting the region.

As REI focuses exclusively on U.S. domestic adventure travel and experiences, the co-op will provide full refunds to any guest who was booked on an international adventure. The co-op’s final international trip will depart in early May. All camping and hiking gear provided by REI to its international vendor network will remain in country for the continued use by individual operators.

REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. One of the nation’s largest consumer co-ops, REI is a growing community of more than 19 million members. REI has 168 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.

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Lindblad Expeditions Acquires Duvine Cycling, Off the Beaten Path Adventure Travel Companies

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences has acquired majority stakes in DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., a leading luxury cycling and adventure travel company, and Off the Beaten Path LLC, a leading active travel operator with a specialization in U.S. national parks. 

NEW YORK– Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences today announced that it has acquired majority stakes in DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., a leading luxury cycling and adventure travel company, and Off the Beaten Path LLC, a leading active travel operator with a specialization in U.S. National Parks.  These acquisitions further broaden and deepen Lindblad’s platform of high-quality experiential product offerings in robust adventure travel sectors, including the rapidly growing cycling tourism and domestic expedition market.

Similar to the acquisition of Natural Habitat, Inc., Lindblad will leverage its experience and resources to accelerate the growth of these unique and profitable businesses and capitalize on the growing demand for authentic and immersive adventure travel. These best-in-class companies are also united by a focus on nature and sustainability, and will benefit from Lindblad’s and Natural Habitat’s scale, resources, marketing experience and conservation leadership. 

DuVine is an award-winning international luxury cycling and adventure company based in Somerville, Massachusetts focused on providing immersive cultural experiences across the globe through thoughtfully designed itineraries led by expert local guides.  DuVine’s trips include top-quality gear and support and are tailored to riders of all abilities with emphasis on exceptional food and wine experiences, along with boutique accommodations.  DuVine also currently runs a variety of extraordinary trips that combine sail and biking experiences, which will be further expanded as part of Lindblad.  Founded in 1996 by Andy Levine, DuVine’s diverse tour offerings include small group and private custom trips to destinations across Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia and Africa.  Mr. Levine will retain an ownership interest in DuVine and will continue as President and Chief Executive Officer of the new Lindblad subsidiary.

Off the Beaten Path, based in Bozeman, Montana, offers active small-group and private custom journeys around the world, with a long-standing focus on U.S. National Parks and connecting the heart of the traveler with the soul of the place through localized, authentic experiences.  Founded in 1986, Off the Beaten Path’s small group product offerings include unique expeditions throughout the U.S, as well as trips across Europe, Africa, Australia, Central and South America and the South Pacific.  Cory Lawrence, Off the Beaten Path’s President and Chief Executive Officer, will retain an ownership interest in Off the Beaten Path and continue in this role for the new Lindblad subsidiary.

“Bringing DuVine and Off the Beaten Path into our portfolio of brands will allow us to better serve a broader based clientele that has a diverse set of travel interests”, stated Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.  “The high level of quality and integrity of both these companies makes them perfect partners in our strategy of expanding our platform of experiential offerings.  Our proven ability to leverage our platform and effectively cross market creates the opportunity to accelerate growth across our entire portfolio, and we will continue to look for additional opportunities to broaden and deepen our adventure travel offerings, both organically and through acquisitions, to aggregate larger audiences and generate greater lifetime value from our loyal guests.” 

Ben Bressler, Founder and President of Natural Habitat is enthusiastic about the joining of forces. “DuVine offers invigorating experiences in nature for our more active guests, and Off the Beaten Path’s exceptional depth in creating custom U.S. national park adventures will appeal to Nat Hab travelers,” Bressler stated.  “These two companies provide Lindblad and Nat Hab guests a depth of choice for premium life-enhancing travel experiences within a family of complementary brands – all driven by protecting our planet and inspiring travelers.” 

Andy Levine, DuVine’s Founder and President, stated  “I have long admired Lindblad for their exceptional expeditions and commitment to responsible travel, a core value that has also guided DuVine’s philosophy. Our companies share not only a desire to sustain the world’s most compelling cultures and communities, but also the belief that authentic, deeply rooted experiences make travel more fulfilling. DuVine’s journeys offer a new perspective grounded in active travel, local flavor, and an appreciation of nature from the seat of a bicycle. I can’t wait to introduce the transformative power of bike travel to a greater audience of adventure seekers.”

Cory Lawrence, Off the Beaten Path’s President, stated “We couldn’t be more excited to join Lindblad Expeditions and Natural Habitat Adventures to further our mission to change peoples’ lives through exceptional travel experiences. With our unique style of travel, strong domestic presence, and small group and bespoke travel design offerings, we are well-positioned to have immediate impact on the newly expanded family of companies. Expanding awareness of Off the Beaten Path and its unique offerings by leveraging the reach and expertise of both Lindblad and Natural Habitat is a major opportunity for our company in its 35th year of operation. We are thrilled!”

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. is an expedition travel company that focuses on ship-based voyages through its Lindblad Expeditions brand and on land-based travel through its subsidiaries, Natural Habitat Adventures, Off the Beaten Path and DuVine Cycling and Adventure.

Lindblad Expeditions works in partnership with National Geographic to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. The organizations work in tandem to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world. The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools.

Natural Habitat Adventures partners with the World Wildlife Fund to offer and promote conservation and sustainable travel that directly protects nature. Natural Habitat’s adventures include polar bear tours in Churchill, Canada, Alaskan grizzly bear adventures and African safaris.

DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. designs and leads luxury bike tours in the world’s most amazing destinations, from Italy’s sun-bleached villages and the medieval towns of Provence to Portugal’s Douro Valley and the vineyards of Napa, California. Guests bike, eat, drink, and sleep their way through these regions and many more while sampling the finest cuisine, hotels, and wine. 

Off the Beaten Path is an outdoor, active travel company offering guided small group adventures and private custom journeys that connect travelers with the wild nature and authentic culture of their destinations.  Off the Beaten Path’s trips extend across the globe, with a focus on exceptional national park experiences in the Rocky Mountains, Desert Southwest, and Alaska.

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With Demand for RV Vacations Surging, Tracks & Trails to Start Taking 2022 Bookings in April

Driving through the wintery scenery in Zion National Park. With demand for RV vacations surging, Tracks & Trails, which specializes in packaged RV vacations in national parks such as Zion, is opening reservations for 2022 © Sarah Falter/goingplacesfarandnear.com

GRAND JUNCTION, CO – It is no mystery why RV vacations are the hottest thing going in travel today. They offer the freedom and flexibility of touring the country in a fully-equipped and self-contained unit that has everything needed for a perfect vacation. Picture it as your personal cabin on wheels going to scenic places where lodges or hotels often don’t exist.

This is the allure of RV travel, which is especially appealing during a pandemic, reports Dan Wulfman, founder and president of Tracks & Trails, whose specialty is packaging RV vacations to National Parks in the Western U.S. and Canada – not just renting the RV.

RV travel allows friends and families to be autonomous and as private as they please while enjoying the freedom of America’s open roads. Time for lunch? Just pull off at the next scenic turnout and open the fridge. Potty stop? Easy. End the day in the natural beauty of national park campsites chosen especially for Tracks & Trails travelers. 

Wulfman notes that the pandemic is turning millions of non-campers into aspiring RVers, and the trend is exploding. The RV Industry Association found that 20% of US residents surveyed are more interested in RV travel than in flying, tent camping, cruises, or rental stays amid coronavirus concerns.

“But getting in an RV and setting off without a plan can be daunting for a first-timer,” says Wulfman. That’s where the sage advice, travel tips, and insider knowledge of experts can make or break the experience. Thanks to COVID, choosing your dates 6 to 12 months in advance is now essential. Due to the growing popularity of RV vacations, Tracks & Trails is sold out for July and August of 2021, but trips in September and October are still available. 

Due to unprecedented demand, the company will begin accepting reservations for 2022 trips on April 1, 2021. 

For those savvy enough to lock in their dates early, the hard part is done. The company’s team of expert planners handles all the arrangements that make it so challenging to organize a worry-free 7-14 day, multi-destination RV trip on your own. Travelers work with their T&T Trip Wizard to select one of the 20 carefully-crafted itineraries, decide on the right RV, and pick optional excursions that suit their tastes. The company takes care of the rest: reserving prime campsites, booking guided excursions with trusted outfitters, and preparing comprehensive documentation that ensures things go smoothly on the road.

FEATURED ITINERARY:

Mighty 5: Utah & the Grand Canyon is a 13-night itinerary beginning and ending in Las Vegas that visits all 5 of Utah’s national parks – Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches – as well as the Grand Canyon. Each of these parks features fascinating geological formations and extensive hiking trails. Optional excursions include canyoneering, rafting, ATV riding, horseback riding, and Jeep tours. The base trip cost, which includes up to 4 people, ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 and is available from May 15 to October 15 (sold out July-August 2021).

Tracks & Trails created the concept of packaged national park RV vacations in 1996, providing personalized, self-drive RV trips to active couples and families from across the U.S. They help people spend quality time together outdoors while exploring North America’s iconic National Parks and other natural wonders.

For information on availability, pricing, and itineraries please visit the website at www.tracks-trails.com, email: inquiries@tracks-trails.com, or call 1-800-247-0970.

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Tracks & Trails Booking 2021 RV Vacations to National Parks in Western U.S., Canada Thru Dec. 15, 2020

Roadbear RV Camper on Route US 89 Kaibab National Forest near Jacob Lake, Arizona. RV vacations are the hottest thing in travel today. Tracks & Trails is taking new bookings for 2021 packaged RV vacations to national parks in the Western US and Canada through Dec. 15, 2020.

GRAND JUNCTION, CO– It is no mystery why RV vacations are the hottest thing going in travel today. They offer the freedom and flexibility of touring the country in a fully equipped and self-contained unit that has everything needed for a perfect vacation. It’s a personal cabin on wheels that allows exploring scenic places where hotels often don’t exist.
 
This is the allure of RV travel, which is especially appealing during a pandemic, reports Dan Wulfman, Founder and President of Tracks & Trails, whose specialty is packaged RV vacations to national parks in the Western U.S. and Canada.
 
RV travel allows friends and families to be autonomous and as private as they please while enjoying the freedom of America’s open roads. Time for lunch? Just pull off at the next scenic turnout and open the fridge. Potty stop? Easy. End the day in the natural beauty of a rustic national park campsite.
 
Wulfman notes that the pandemic is turning millions of non-campers into aspiring RVers, and the trend is exploding. The RV Industry Association found that 20% of US residents surveyed are more interested in RV travel than in flying, tent camping, cruises, or rental stays amid coronavirus concerns.
 
“But getting in an RV and setting off without a plan can be daunting for a first-timer,” says Wulfman. The insider knowledge of experts can make or break the experience, and choosing your dates 6 to 12 months in advance is now essential. Due to the growing popularity of RV vacations, Tracks & Trails is already seeing shortages of campsites and RVs for 2021.
 
December 15, 2020 will be the cutoff date for new 2021 bookings.
 
For those savvy enough to lock in their dates for 2021 now with Tracks & Trails, the traveler’s work is done. The company’s team of expert planners handles all the arrangements that make it so challenging to organize a worry-free 7-14 day, multi-destination RV trip on your own. Travelers work with their T&T Trip Wizard to select one of the 20 carefully-crafted itineraries, decide on the right RV, and pick optional excursions that suit their tastes. The company takes care of the rest: reserving prime campsites, booking guided excursions with trusted outfitters, and preparing the comprehensive documentation which ensures things go smoothly on the road.
 
FEATURED 2021 ITINERARY:
 
Mighty 5: Utah & the Grand Canyon is a 13-night itinerary beginning and ending in Las Vegas that visits all 5 of Utah’s national parks – Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches – as well as the Grand Canyon. Each of these parks features fascinating geological formations and extensive hiking trails. Optional excursions include canyoneering, rafting, ATV riding, horseback riding, and Jeep tours. The base trip cost which includes up to 4 people ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 and is available from May 15 to October 15. See: https://tracks-trails.com/rv-trips/mighty-5-utah-and-the-grand-canyon/
 
Tracks & Trails created the concept of packaged national park RV vacations in 1996, providing personalized, self-drive RV trips to active couples and families from across the U.S. They help people spend quality time together outdoors while exploring North America’s most iconic National Parks and other natural wonders.
 
For information on availability, pricing, and itineraries for 2021 visit www.tracks-trails.com, email: inquiries@tracks-trails.com, or call 1-800-247-0970.

Follow Tracks & Trails on Social Media:
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Instagram:     https://www.instagram.com/trackstrails/
Twitter:          https://twitter.com/trackstrails

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Adirondacks Covid Getaway Features Glass-blown Pumpkins in North Creek; ‘Glass Pumpkin Patch’ Weekend, Sept 25-27

While in North Creek (Gore Mt ski area) for an Adirondacks getaway, Marty takes a class with artist-in-residence glassblower Greg Tomb. Last day for classes this season is September 23, 2020. © Laurie Millman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Laurie Millman and Martin Rubin

Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

For a COVID getaway, which we just did over Labor Day, enjoy fall foliage colors and no quarantining required (if you live in the Northeast) in New York State’s Adirondacks State Park. 

While in North Creek (Gore Mt ski area), visit and/or take a class with artist-in-residence glassblower extraordinaire, Greg Tomb — last day for classes this season is  September 23, 2020.

In cooperation with North Creek’s Tannery Pond Center, Tomb has made hundreds of colorful, glass-blown pumpkins that will be sold at the “Glass Pumpkin Patch” weekend, September 25-27, 2020, from 10am – 6pm daily. Each pumpkin has been hand-blown by Tomb, giving them their unique and distinctive sizes and designs (starting price of $35). A sizable percentage of all sales goes towards the arts and operations of North Creek’s Tannery Pond Center, North Creek, NY.

For more info, visit https://tannerypondcenter.org/event/fundraiser-glass-pumpkin-patch/).

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Stanley’s Shopping List for Road Warriors, Campers as Americans Rediscover the Road Trip

As people feel comfortable taking advantage of summer weather to resume outdoor activities, many Americans are rediscovering the joys of the road trip and camping (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

As people feel comfortable taking advantage of summer weather to resume outdoor activities, many Americans are getting into their car and hitting the road. A recent survey about road trip destinations from GasBuddy shows that 60% of respondent plans to visit friends and family while 38% are opting for the beach or lake, and 24% for a national park. And whether it’s a road trip to visit family and friends, or first-time RV’ers hitting up national parks, Stanley has the gear.

Stanley has created a shopping site of the essentials for “Compact Adventures” with everything needed for road trips to backyard camping – “built for life’s (little, and not so little) adventures and Built for Life”. Here are some examples:

Road Warriors

The best co-pilots create epic playlists, can navigate highway traffic with Google Maps, find speed traps on Waze and keep the snacks coming. The Stanley 7-qt cooler ($50) can do one of those things, but we still nominate it as a perfect ‘front seat’ companion. This bad boy keeps your snacks in close proximity and cool for 27 hours, which is about 40 percent longer than your typical cooler. It also will not judge your singing voice.

Car Cup Compatible? Check. Keeps drinks cold? Check. Straw? Check. Gulp? Check. Closed? Check. Stanley Vacuum Quenchers (20- and 30-oz sizes / $20 and $28) are just about the most perfect drinking vessel for your road trip as we could imagine. This stainless steel vacuum insulated vessel keeps drinks cold for hours (iced for 40 hours!) but the real genius is its 3-position lid that has a rotating cover with a straw opening, large opening for chugging and a full cover top to reduce spills.

RV/Camping

It’s a pot, it’s a frying pan, it’s 4 plates and 4 bowls. It’s your kitchen-in-a-box. Like a Russian Nesting Doll, this is the gift that just keeps on giving. The Full Kitchen Base Camp Cook Set ($80) is a 19-piece cooking set offering all of the convenience of your kitchen into one small package that’s perfect for saving space. It’s saves on space but doesn’t skimp on performance; it’s just a capable as your ‘good’ kitchen gear (for some of you, maybe even better).

Whoever said ‘the fun is in the journey, not the destination’ clearly hasn’t tried to back-up an RV. Assuming your friendship/relationship/marriage has survived the journey, celebrate the milestone with the Happy Hour Cocktail Shaker Set ($35). The MacGyver of cocktail shakers, this all-in-one set features a removable reamer to juice and strain, 2 rocks glasses and a shaker.

Eat outside,’ they said. ‘It’ll be fun,’ they said. ‘Everything taste better in the great outdoors…’ Except when you get food poisoning because Karen’s potato salad has been baking in the sun for the past 4-hours. Say good-bye to whatever that ‘film’ is on the macaroni salad they’ve been dishing out for generations, and hello to the Stay Hot Camp Crock ($65). Yes, vacuum insulation keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold, so load this puppy up with chili or gazpacho (which, is basically running salsa, tbh). You can even use it as an ice bucket. Thanks to the durable locks and ergonomic handle, there’s no need to practice your balancing act when unloading the meal.

More at the Stanley website, www.stanley-pmi.com.

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New York State Parks Reopen Camping Reservations

Building a fire at our campsite at New York’s Letchworth State Park, the “Grand Canyon of the East.” © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is accepting new camping reservations for this season. Campers are reminded to practice social distancing, bring and wear a face covering, respect the rules, and do their part to keep the campgrounds, parks and beaches open and safe for everyone. Camping capacity is limited and visitors must make an advance reservation before arriving at a campground.

New reservations are being accepted for all available sites – including tents, trailers, RVs, cabins, yurts and cottages. Reservations can be made in advance by calling toll free 1-800-456-CAMP or http://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com. Online reservations are recommended.

State Park Police and operations staff are patrolling campgrounds to ensure compliance with social distancing and crowd control measures. Anyone who does not adhere to this guidance will be requested to leave the facility, and will not receive a refund.

Upon check-in, campers will be asked a series of screening questions to determine if they may have been in contact with anyone suffering from Covid-19, or if they have any potential symptoms of Covid-19, including fever or respiratory illness. People who may be at risk will not be permitted to camp.

Campground density reduction and social distancing measures will be in effect, including:

  • No walk-up reservations are allowed.
  • Each congregate restroom facility will be opened and cleaned per DOH protocols.
  • Rest rooms and shower buildings may have reduced capacity and may be closed periodically for cleaning.
  • Campground gatherings are limited to immediate household members only.
  • Campground events and programs have been suspended.
  • Park Social Distancing Ambassadors monitor campgrounds, picnic areas, beachfronts, lawns, boardwalks and other areas to ensure park guidelines are being met.
  • COVID related signage has been installed throughout the park system.

For a listing of campgrounds operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, visit https://parks.ny.gov/camping/. Campgrounds in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks overseen by the Department of Environmental Conservation operate on a different schedule.

Beaches and day-use areas

New York State Parks’ beaches and day-use areas are open for visitation across the state. In alignment with NY Forward, State Park beaches, day-use areas and historic sites are charging the normal entrance fee (between $6-$10). For information, visit: https://forward.ny.gov/. Entrance fees may apply beginning Saturday, June 6.

Visitors can purchase a 2020 Season Empire Pass for unlimited day-use entry. Available for $80, the 2020 Season Empire Pass is a wallet-sized card that can be shared within a household and not assigned to a specific vehicle. For more details, visit: https://parks.ny.gov/admission/empire-passport/default.aspx

Visiting State Parks during the public health crisis

To encourage physical social distancing at popular parks, beaches, trailheads, and scenic areas, several restrictions are in effect, including reduced access on high visitation days

State Parks encourage visitors to State Parks, State Lands, and other parks to:

  • Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members.
  • Maintain distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads, and scenic overlooks.
  • Bring and wear a face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Face coverings are required to be worn anytime you enter a rest room or park office.
  • Avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer.
  • Avoid playground equipment like slides and swings and other frequently touched surfaces.
  • Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls, or Frisbees.
  • If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail, or return another time/day to visit; and
  • If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas. To protect your safety and that of others, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

For information and guidance on visiting New York State Parks during the Covid-19 public health crisis, visit: https://parks.ny.gov/covid19/

See also:

Driveable Adventures: Hiking/Camping in the ‘Grand Canyon of the East’ – New York’s Letchworth State Park

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Western River Expeditions Draws on 60 Years Experience to Devise Protocols to Keep Families Adventuring this Summer

Western River Expeditions is applying decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. Here are some of many steps this company is taking to counter COVID-19 fears so families can continue to experience outdoor adventures this summer. 

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Where in the world – and how – will families vacation this summer?
 
Given months of pandemic-driven lock-down orders, stay-at-home summer vacation won’t be high on many lists. What will be attractive will be vacations that embrace fresh air and the healing powers of nature that can work wonders on family spirits and recovery.
 
Western River Expeditions (https://www.westernriver.com/ for nearly 60 years has operated top-quality river rafting vacations for individuals, families and friends. This year they are also applying their decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. Here are some of many steps this company is taking to counter COVID-19 fears. 

  • Screening Employees: Every day before work, each employee must pass both a temperature and pulse oximeter screen, and then answer a detailed questionnaire.
  • Screening Guests at Check-in: Guests exhibiting temperatures of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to travel with Western River Expeditions at the time they planned; instead, they will receive an “Adventure Credit” which allows the guest and any members of the group who were currently living at the same physical address during any of the 7 days prior to the trip to use the full paid value of their trip as a credit for a future trip at a later date.
  • Screening while on Multi-Day Trips: All trip participants and guides will have a daily temperature and pulse oximeter checks and fill out a daily review of symptoms questionnaire. 

In addition, there are new protocols in place should someone experience COVID-19 symptoms during a trip. In such case, steps will be taken to protect other guests from exposure during the remainder of that trip. There also will be protocols for toilet facilities, hand washing stations and social distancing (when feasible) as well as reduced number of guests per raft.
 
The company will also implement specific guidelines that address everything from life-jacket use and sanitation, to meal prep and service, use of shuttle vans, number of people per shuttle vehicle, sanitation of rafts, dry bags, cots, sleeping bags and all associated equipment. For more details on Western River Expeditions’ specific protocols please see https://www.westernriver.com/covid-19
 
Western River Expeditions hopes to still operate late spring and summer 2020 trips, subject to the easing of government-mandated closures. Three suggested trips ideal for families are: 

  • Desolation Canyona five-day trip through breathtaking Desolation Canyon and Gray Canyon on the Green River in central Utah. Trips are scheduled to depart June 7 through Aug. 12 with a minimum age of five years old. For details see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon
  • Southwest Samplera four-day adventure that includes an off-road Hummer Safari, Arches National Park tour and overnight rafting trip as well as a stay at Moab’s Marriott SpringHill Suites. Departures are scheduled May 26 through Aug. 26. If National Park closures affect the operation of the Arches National Park tour, guests will explore another stunning location in Moab. For details see  https://www.westernriver.com/moab-utah-vacation-sampler
  • Grand Canyon, the three-day option still has some limited space on certain dates from June 21st through September. Conveniently departing and returning to Las Vegas, NV, this 100-mile journey is suitable for families with kids as young as nine. For details see: https://www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-river-trip 

Other adventures from Western River Expeditions include:

Utah’s Cataract Canyon Classic 4 Day: Unless otherwise advised, we are currently planning to operate all scheduled departures for our 4-Day Cataract Canyon Expeditions June 2 through August 25. We are accepting reservations now for any of these dates. This spectacular 4-Day Colorado River trip runs 100 miles from Moab to Lake Powell through Canyonlands National Park. A flight returns guests to Moab over Canyonlands.

Cataract Canyon Express 2 Day: Unless otherwise advised, we are currently planning to operate all scheduled departures for our 2-Day Cataract Canyon Expeditions June 1 through August 25. We are accepting reservations now for any of these dates. This faster-paced 2-Day Colorado River trip runs 100 miles from Moab to Lake Powell through Canyonlands National Park. Large whitewater rapids are a big part of this adventure!

Upper Grand Canyon 6 or 7 Day: Trips starting June 14 and later are currently scheduled to operate. Select trips June through September have limited availability. If you are unable to find your desired date, please add your name to our 2020 Waitlist for Grand Canyon 6 & 7 Day Expeditions. The upper 188 miles of the Grand Canyon offer some of the largest whitewater rapids in North America and a plethora of side canyon attractions. 

Lower Grand Canyon 4 Day with Bar Ten Ranch: We plan to operate all 4 day departures from June 21st through September. Limited space is available on select departures in 2020. If you are unable to find your desired date, please add your name to our 2020 Waitlist for Grand Canyon 3-4 Day Expeditions. Adding one day and a night at the Bar Ten Ranch before dropping into the 3-day river expedition is a popular way to extend your Grand Canyon experience.

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the one of largest licensed outfitters in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, Western River Expedition was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past sixteen consecutive years (2004-2019).

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2020/2021 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
 

Follow Western River Expeditions:
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WesternRiverExpeditions
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WesternRiver
On You Tube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/bestraftingvacations?
On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/westernriver/

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