Tag Archives: summer travel

New York State Forms Partners with Tentrr for Glamping Sites in Four State Parks in Hudson Valley

Tentrr camping site at the Sebago area of Harriman State Park, New York. The tenting service has a partnership with New York State to provide 45 glamping sites at four state parks in the Hudson Valley.

New York State is partnering with a tent camping service to provide 45 glamping sites at four State Parks in the Hudson Valley. Tentrr’s fully outfitted campsites are available to reserve at the Sebago and Silver Mine areas of Harriman State Park in Orange and Rockland Counties; Taconic State Park and Lake Taghkanic State Park in Columbia County; and Mills-Norrie State Park in Dutchess County.

The service provides tents, sleeping accommodations and an array of equipment needed for camping at each site. All items are set up and ready to use upon arrival for added convenience and sites are maintained by Tentrr staff.

All locations include a 10-foot by 12-foot, canvas-walled tent atop a raised platform. Each site is outfitted with a queen-sized bed and memory foam mattress, a propane heating source, a solar-powered “sun” shower, a camp toilet, water container, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, grill, and a picnic table with storage and benches.  

Guests have the option of single, double, and triple sites. Singles sleep up to six (two occupants in the main tent and four occupants in a provided pop-up tent). Double sites – or buddy sites – sleep up to 12 (two occupants in each of the two main tents and four occupants in each of the two provided pop-up tents) and triples can accommodate group camping. 

“Camping at a State Park is an ideal way to explore the great outdoors with friends and family,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This partnership continues our work to create diverse and exciting destinations to attract visitors to New York’s great outdoors, enhance our tourism economy, and help people experience all that the State has to offer.”

“The partnership with Tentrr is an opportunity to reach new visitors and encourage more New Yorkers to get outside and be active,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “We look forward to kicking off this summer and connecting people with the Hudson Valley’s many outdoor offerings. Not everyone has the equipment or the knowledge to enjoy camping in a state park, and this partnership is a great way to introduce this classic outdoor experience to more New Yorkers.” 

“As a New York City-based company, it is great to partner with our home state supporting its incredible park system across the region,” said Todd King, Vice President of Marketing at Tentrr. “Through Tentrr, we hope New Yorkers and out-of-state visitors alike will explore the incredible natural resources and parks the state has to offer. Tentrr makes it easy to find an amazing site to enjoy the state’s vast landscapes and inspiring scenery.”

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said,”Camping is a terrific way to experience New York State’s great outdoors, and this new service will make it easier than ever to enjoy New York’s unparalleled State Parks. I LOVE NY looks forward to promoting the availability of these extensively outfitted sites as part of the wide variety of camping offerings available across the state to residents and visitors alike.”

While Tentrr’s sites are naturally socially distanced, Tentrr adheres to state guidelines for maintaining and sanitizing the sites. Tentrr will continue to keep sites clean and wiped down with high-grade sanitizers and encourages guests to follow recommended COVID requirements and protocols. For more details on Tentrr’s COVID-19 protocols, visit here

The Tentrr partnership complements Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 100 initiative, which renews the historic commitment to investing and expanding the State Park system by committing at least $440 million over the next four years. This critical period of revitalization will culminate in the 2024 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the State Park Act, which first created our nation-leading State Park system in 1924 under Governor Al Smith. NY Parks 100 will continue crucial investments in park infrastructure while enhancing opportunities to reach the full range of New York State’s recreational and cultural offerings, including local parks and trails, regional flagship parks and historic sites, and vast wilderness parks. The initiative will focus on creating places to recreate locally, relieving overcrowded parks, welcoming new visitors, and protecting New York State’s environmental and historic legacy. This new plan will ensure people from all communities and across all ages and abilities can fully experience our outdoors, our culture, and our heritage. 

For more information, visit www.tentrr.com.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram Twitter or on the State Parks blog.

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ExploreBetter Online Guide Aids Summer Travel Planning to National Parks

National Park concessionaire Delaware North launches online guide to make extraordinary outdoor adventures in America’s most iconic natural destinations more accessible for all

Hiking the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park. With travelers flocking to national parks this summer, national park concessionaire Delaware North has launched ExploreBetter.com, an online guide to aid planning © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Americans are dusting off their bucket lists ahead of summer travel season, and iconic natural destinations such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks are high on their lists. ExploreBetter.com is an online lifestyle platform that can simplify travel planning and make extraordinary outdoor adventures more accessible to first-time and even experienced National Park and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

Already, the national parks are among the most popular destinations being snapped up by travelers bursting to get out after a year of confinement. And just in time, the CDC has lifted masking and social distance requirements for those who are fully vaccinated; it is expected that the mask requirement will also been lifted for federal buildings and federal lands. At this writing, masks were still required on airplanes, trains, buses and at airports and ports.

ExploreBetter.com shares trip-planning destination insights, accommodations, activities and inspiration featuring Grand Canyon, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks as well as New York’s Niagara Falls State Park. In addition to crowd-pleasing activities such as guided tours and other sightseeing suggestions, ExploreBetter.com is also the place for inside tips on active adventures like rock climbingfishing and stargazing as well as romantic, wellness-oriented and even pet-friendly activities.

With content curated by site publisher and long-time National Park concessionaire Delaware North, ExploreBetter.com draws on insider knowledge of the parks and surrounding regions. The site plans to include contributions from members of the Bay Area Travel Writers, one of the country’s oldest regional professional travel journalist organizations, in the near future.

“First-time visits to National Parks can be overwhelming, and even seasoned visitors need fresh ideas. We’re simplifying travel planning so first-time visitors can plan with confidence and experienced visitors can always find new and exciting reasons to return,” explained Andy Grinsfelder, vice president of sales and marketing for Delaware North’s parks and resorts division. “As partners in the stewardship of many of these iconic destinations, we want visitors to experience unforgettable moments and forge deeper connections, not just with one another, but with their surroundings.”

With 2020 National Park visitation down by roughly 90 million visitors due to pandemic travel restrictions, ExploreBetter.com is intended to help encourage and restore responsible and sustainable visitation to National Parks and other iconic destinations. An upswing in National Park visitation was seen in data collected by U.S. Travel beginning in the spring of 2021, which fits with research that shows Americans continue to desire leisure trips to outdoor locations that are safe, socially distant and allow them to relax, disconnect, spend time with family and have new experiences. 

At the lodging properties it operates, Delaware North last year implemented its Rest Assured Commitment to Care comprehensive health and safety program, including re-engineered operating procedures to minimize contact risk and bolstered hygiene protocols aligned with guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Delaware North Parks and Resorts operates lodging, food, beverage and retail services, recreational activities, and educational programming at destinations in North America, Australia and New Zealand. This includes lodging in and near many iconic national and state parks, including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Sequoia & Kings Canyon and Olympic National Parks and Niagara Falls State Park, as well as at cultural attractions such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. To learn more about Delaware North’s hospitality management expertise, visit https://www.delawarenorth.com/divisions/parks

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Long Island’s Cradle of Aviation Museum is Sensational Destination on Staycation Itinerary

The world-class Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale, Long Island, is a sensational destination for a staycation – inspiring exhibits that explain the beginning of aviation to the future of space travel in the place where it happened, set in a spacious, comfortable air-conditioned facility. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Garden City, NY July 8, 2020 – On Thursday, July 9th at 10am, the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center will reopen to the public following local, state, and federal guidelines. The air and space museum has been working diligently preparing for a safe and secure experience for visitors and will begin a phased reopening approach proceeding cautiously to normal services, placing the health and safety of its visitors, employees and community first.  As a thank you to frontline healthcare workers for their courageous and selfless efforts, the museum is offering free admission until August 31, 2020 with valid employee id. 

Additionally, for reopening weekend only, July 9 – July 12th, the museum is rolling out from storage, four recently restored aircraft, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, the Grumman Agcat, the Grumman X-29, and the Fokker D-VII, for visitors to view outside for the very first time.

“The Cradle staff and volunteers are excited to be able to reopen the museum to provide visitors with a safe and exciting experience. The museum staff has worked hard to create a safe and clean environment for all visitors and we look forward to welcoming everyone to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII as well as the 50th Anniversary of F-14 Tom Cat,” said Andrew Parton, President, Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center 

Cradle of Aviation educators measure out six-foot social distancing separations getting the air-and-space museum ready to reopen to the public  © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

REOPENING PREPARATIONS  – Reopening Plan 

Reduced Services and Reduced Schedule

As of July 9th the museum’s new operating hours are Thursday – Sunday 10 am-4 pm.

Museum galleries will be open.

Theater and Planetarium, Nunley’s Carousel, and Junior Jet Club are temporarily closed as per NYS direction.  

Cafe – Open with limited light snacks and pre-packaged items. 

Admission tickets may be purchased online or at the box office. 

Safety Requirements

All Employees are required to wear face masks.

All visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear face masks while at the museum. Disposable face masks will be made available for anyone who does not have them. This is an NYS mandate; this simple action keeps our employees and fellow visitors safe, helping to stop the spread.

Certain jobs will require employees to use gloves, but gloves are available to all staff who choose to use them.

The museum has added signage about appropriate distancing, wearing masks, our cleaning procedures and best practices in sanitation behavior.

Implementing Social Distancing Standards

The museum is limiting the number of people allowed in the museum by 25% maximum capacity for the foreseeable future.

The museum is introducing socially distanced queuing at our box office, entrances, café and store registers.

Six feet is the standard, and staff are empowered to close exhibits if maintaining 6 feet of distance between people appears to not be possible.

The museum has installed plexiglass shields at all registers.

Directional floor markers and one-way flow through the museum and within galleries,

The museum is restricting group visits, guided tours, public programs, and special or private events limiting the number of participants until further notice as directed by NYS Government.

Enhancing Cleaning Procedures

The museum maintains its enhanced COVID-19 cleaning procedures (including thorough, frequent cleanings of high-touch surface areas), in addition to its daily standard cleaning services.

Bathrooms are cleaned every hour on the hour during work hours and are deep-cleaned in the evenings after the building is closed to the public.

The museum has installed hand sanitizer stations at frequent intervals throughout the museum, galleries and offices.

The museum is using the EPA recommended cleaner that is effective in killing SARS and COVID 19 for all of its sanitizing efforts along with 80% isopropyl alcohol spray for surfaces.

Health Screening and Policies

The museum is  requiring employees to do a health screening before each shift; checking for COVID symptoms; taking temperatures. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 or higher will be required to go home and we are encouraging staff to stay home if they feel unwell.

REOPENING – Top Reasons to Return to the Cradle

Free Admission for Healthcare Workers

Free Admission for Healhcare Workers until August 30, 2020 with valid employee ID.

Tickets can be ordered online or at box office. 

A thank you to our courageous heroes.

Four Recently Restored Planes on Display Outdoors for First Time One Weekend Only 

In recognition of the re-opening of the Cradle of Aviation Museum, the museum will allow visitors to see four aircraft recently restored and in storage for ONE weekend only July 9-12. 

This is the FIRST time these aircraft will have been shown to the public & will be placed back in storage after this weekend. 

Visitors may inspect the aircraft up close, barrier free, and museum staff will be on hand to answer any questions. The aircraft will be shown outdoors which should allow for excellent photographic opportunities. This viewing is free with admission.

Republic F-105 Thunderchief. Mach 2 fighter/bomber built in Farmingdale in the late 1950’s, and workhorse of the Vietnam War. Still the largest single-engine single-seat military aircraft ever built!

Grumman Agcat. 1960’s crop duster designed and first built in Bethpage. This is the only agricultural aircraft ever designed and built on Long Island. Aircraft was in a crash in the 1980’s and was recently extensively restored by the museum.

Grumman X-29. This full-scale mockup was built by Grumman prior to the construction of the two experimental jets in the 1980’s. Pioneered many advanced concepts including forward-swept wings, composite construction and fly-by-wire control.

Fokker D-VII. This vintage flyable replica is still under active restoration. German Fokker D-VII’s were the first fighters stationed on Mitchel Field in the years immediately after World War One. As the war’s best fighter, many were seized in Germany at the war’s conclusion and shipped to America. This exact replica includes many original parts. Upon conclusion of the restoration this will be the only Fokker D-VII in the world in U.S. Air Service markings.

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat (famous in the Top Gun movie, just in time for the relese of Top Gun 2) is on display, marking the 50th anniversary of the first flight © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

2020 is the 75th Anniversary of the End of WWII

Visitors can commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII visitors with  a look back at the aircraft and the people that made a difference in ending the war including such fighter planes as the P-47 and Grumman’s Avenger, Hellcat, and Wildcat. 

2020 is the 50th Anniversary of the First Flight of the F-14

Visitors can experience the F-14 Tomcat, one of the most iconic Navy fighters, ever built on Long Island featured prominently in Top Gun.  See a full size aircraft, the third f-14 ever built and oldest flying F-14 from 1971-1990, two -F14 cockpits, nose and flying suits. Learn about the plane, the pilots, and why the F-14 is  such a beloved fighter and just in time before the release of Top Gun: Maverick this December.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum is an Escape and a Place to Feel Inspired for the Future

Who couldn’t use a little of that these days?

Spacious, clean, safe, air-conditioned, and inspiring.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum & Education Center is home to over 75 planes and spacecraft representing over 100 years of aviation history and Long Island’s only Giant Screen Dome Theater.  The museum is located on Museum Row, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., in Garden City.  Call (516) 572-4111 or visit www.cradleofaviation.org      

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10 Attractions to Safely Visit in Historic Seaside Gloucester, MA

Eastern Point, one of the outdoor attractions in Gloucester, Massachusetts, an ideal driving-distance destination this summer (photo courtesy of Discover Gloucester).

Looking for destinations that you can drive to, but bring you to some level of paradise, escape, revitalization? Gloucester, Ma., fits the bill, especially in these times: It is a charming beach destination where you can spend the days outdoors, rejuvenating in the fresh sea air.

With Massachusetts under a phase II reopening (coordinated with New York and the Northeast region), visitors will find hotels and motels adhering to rigid state and American Hotel & Motel Association standards (motels are particularly popular because you can just drive up to your own door); restaurants serving outdoors; and retail shops (eight people per 1,000 square feet, or 40 percent capacity, which in many cases means just one or two shoppers at a time.  Customers will be handed gloves and there is no try-on).

And though you can’t go whale watching, cruising, or visit museums or theme parks yet, there are still wonderful attractions to discover.

Elizabeth Carey, executive director of Discover Gloucester, offers these suggestions:

10 Gloucester Destinations You Can Safely Visit This Summer

Known as “America’s oldest seaport,” Gloucester was the largest fishing port in America in the second half of the 19th century and one of the top five ports in the world at that time. In addition to its contributions to the fishing industry, Gloucester also produced granite in nearby quarries as well as a thriving art community. Founded in 1623, the city is less than one hour north of Boston, directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Gloucester is one of four communities (Essex, Rockport, and Manchester-by-the-Sea are the other three communities) that make up the Cape Ann region.

Stage Fort Park: Site of the landing of the first settlers in 1623, Gloucester became the second permanent settlement of the early Puritans in the New World, preceded by Plymouth in 1620. Enjoy the park with over 25 acres of natural beauty, including our beaches and spectacular views of the harbor and beyond. The Welcoming Center will be open to visitors to assist with brochures, maps and guides. Stage Fort Park is part of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway.

Ravenswood Park, Gloucester: Explore a shrouded landscape of hemlock groves, a magnolia swamp, and other trees species where you’ll find remnants of Colonial habitation. Ravenswood Park offers 600 acres for solitude and quiet contemplation of nature. With 10 miles of carriage paths and trails that meander through the park, you can find plenty of room to picnic, bird watch, walk and simply appreciate the outdoors. You don’t want to miss trekking to the overlook to Gloucester Harbor or traversing the boardwalk through the Great Magnolia Swamp, home to native Sweetbay Magnolias. The reservation is located along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, part of the congressionally designated Essex National Heritage Area. The area’s extensive historic, cultural and natural resources tell the story of the region’s role in the nation’s early settlement, maritime trade and industrialization. Trails: 10 miles of trails and former carriage roads. Moderate hiking. Carriage roads are covered with dense crushed stone and are generally wheelchair accessible. When to visit: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of two hours.

Wicked Tuna Captains and Vessels: In March 2020, Wicked Tuna premiered its 9th season on National Geographic TV. This “monstah” of a show landed in 2012 and brought viewers around the world to America’s oldest seaport. The show features five local bluefin tuna fishing captains who share their real-world tales and trails of the fishing industry here. Fans travel here hoping to meet the captains, see their boats, buy Wicked Tuna gear and see all that the city has to offer. You might even catch a glimpse of one of the captains in town. Their vessels are docked throughout our inner harbor.

Rocky Neck Art Colony:: America’s oldest continually operating art colony since 1850, Gloucester has played a vital role in America’s art history. Artists such as Fitz Henry Lane, Winslow Homer, John Sloan, Stuart Davis and Edward Hopper have all captured the light of Gloucester, as our many artists do to this day. This quaint neighborhood is a lovely area to stroll, shop and get up close and personal with many artisans who showcase their work with pride. You can catch some beautiful water views and enjoy an ice cream cone, fresh seafood or a nice iced cold beverage along the way.

Man at the Wheel Statue: The statue, also known as the Gloucester Fisherman Memorial, presides over Stacy Boulevard at the edge of Gloucester Harbor. Sculpted by artist Leonard Craske and modeled after a local fisherman, the monument was completed in 1925 in honor of Gloucester’s 300th anniversary. It has become the symbol of the city and a place to remember the 10,000-plus men lost at sea during the city’s long history. Their names are recorded on memorial plaques surrounding the structure.

Visit Eastern Point, the southern tip of the peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern portion of Gloucester Harbor. Poet T.S. Eliot summered here for 20 years (“The sea is all about us,” he wrote in “The Dry Salvages”), and painter Winslow Homer lived at the lighthouse for a time. Come sunset, it’s easy to see why. Get a better look by walking or fishing on Dog Bar Breakwater, a quarter-mile stretch of granite blocks built in 1904 to keep ships from running aground and to shelter Gloucester Harbor from storms, which offers panoramic views of the water and shorelines.

Maritime History:  Nearly 400 years of history and innovation are written in the streets and buildings of this town. Wander the downtown Harbor Walk or visit Maritime Gloucester (Phase 3) to learn more about Gloucester’s past and present as one of America’s important fishing towns. Walk along the harbor to view working vessels and pleasure craft. Or get on the water, with your own vessel or a chartered fishing excursion or water shuttle. Being a mariner in Gloucester allows you to view the city and coastline from a new perspective.

Harborwalk for the best views from every angle in town. The 1.2 mile path traverses through town between The Gloucester House and Stage Fort Park. Make sure to stop at the Fisherman’s Memorial (famous for the statue and sobering list of fishermen who died at sea) and the Fishermen’s Wives’ Memorial. The walk is defined by 42 granite pillars which tell the stories of important people and events of Gloucester’s history.

OutDoor Dining: Here are a few restaurants that are providing out-door dining that coincides with the Massachusetts regulations as we enter Phase 2, but for a more comprehensive list, visit the site.

Minglewood Harborside for large portions, several gluten-free choices, tons of open space for families, and attentive service.

Mile Marker One is a beautiful setting right along the Annisquam River. You can sip a cocktail and enjoy their menu selections while watching the activity on the river.

Castle Manor Inn Restaurant on Essex Avenue offers outdoor dining under a tent surrounded by the perfectly groomed landscaping at the inn. Laura and Don are gracious hosts.

Check out Blue Collar Lobster for downtown water views and great seafood. Amazing array of choices on the menu to bring to your outdoor table. The restaurant is walking distance to many shops, museums, boat tours, and the Harborwalk path. And if you see Lenny, whose family has owned the restaurant since it opened in 1957, ask him to pull up a seat – he’ll be glad to share local folklore and history.

1606 Restaurant at the Beauport Hotel for outdoor seating on the waterfront and distinctive takes on traditional favorites. The stunning views are the perfect ambience for date night and special celebrations. Children are welcome. The outdoor patio has a large deck with comfortable seating. An outdoor fireplace and blankets are available should your evening get cooler.

Shopping: Gloucester’s charming Main Street features some favorite recognized brands, along with many unique locally made items handcrafted by resident artists and craftsmen -antiques, art, pottery, books, jewelry, toys, clothing, shoes, home goods and souvenirs for that one of a kind item to take home. Food lovers will also delight in the offerings in Downtown from charming coffee shops, to unique olive oils, fresh pasta, chocolate and cheese, homemade Italian bread and pastries to Wicked Tuna tee shirts.

DiscoverGloucester.com is a great resource for “charting” a trip to the area. There are comprehensive lists of lodging options (from motels and hotels, to inns and bed and breakfasts, to campgrounds and vacation rentals) to lists of activities for every hobby and interest (both indoor and outdoor!)

Discover Gloucester, discovergloucester.com, 978-675-1818.

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Escape Adventures Offers 6-Day Camping + Cycling Tour of Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

Escape Adventures is offering a six-day camping and cycling trip in Grand Teton National Park & Yellowstone National Park. This tour is designed for travelers of all fitness levels and appropriate for families with older children.

(Las Vegas, NV) – Escape Adventures is offering a six-day camping and cycling trip in Grand Teton National Park & Yellowstone National Park. This tour is designed for travelers of all fitness levels and appropriate for families with older children. Guests will witness magnificent peaks, enormous canyons, glacial lakes, lots of wildlife, and American West icons like Old Faithful. Daily cycling routes range in length from 14 to 59 miles. E-bikes are available upon request. Tours are being offered June – September 2020 and start at $1,695 per person.

Highlights include:

Riding Geneva Pass, Salt Pass, and Teton Pass

Visiting Intermittent Spring, the largest rhythmic spring in the world

Cycling through Star Valley and Snake River Gorge

Spotting grizzly bear, bald eagles, elk, bighorn sheep, bison and more

Viewing Isa Lake at 8,262 ft.

Hiking from Artist Point down to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Riding from Teton Village to the quaint, Old West town of Wilson, WY

“Guests will cycle through a geothermal Disneyland, sweeping past a phantasmagoric succession of percolating mud pots, hot springs and belching fumaroles, including Morning Glory Pool, Biscuit Basin, and the Grand Prismatic Spring,” said Escape Adventures Director, Jared Fisher.  

Specialized bicycles are provided and equipped with carbon fiber frames and disc brakes designed for a smooth, comfortable ride. For those who may not be as fit or need a little help up the hills, electric pedal assist bikes are available. All road bike trips include a Garmin GPS device to help navigate through each day safely and smoothly.

Escape Adventures utilizes high-quality camping gear, including a tent, sleeping pad, raised cot, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, full size pillow, and ground tarp. Trip Leaders will ensure equipment is set up properly each night. Most campgrounds feature indoor facilities and showers.

Expect three delicious meals a day consisting entirely of freshly prepared foods, including organic fruits and vegetables, as well as meats. Escape Adventures also offers energy snacks aboard its support vehicles and can accommodate vegans or vegetarians.

“There is nothing better than rolling into camp to fresh made chips and salsa, homemade guacamole, and Dutch oven enchiladas,” said Fisher. “Then making your way to a sweet and inviting campfire, sharing your favorite anecdote or image from the day’s activities while marshmallows roast.”

Escape Adventures has operated adventure travel vacations through some of the most awe-inspiring natural destinations in the world since 1992. Building on over 100 destinations, Escape Adventures caters to the full spectrum of active traveler, respective to fitness level and activity type, from road cyclist to mountain biker to electric biker, hiker, and multi-sport enthusiast, and from first timer to friends and family groups of all ability levels.

For more information visit, https://escapeadventures.com/tour/grand-tetons-yellowstone-road-bike-tour/#overview or contact Escape Adventures at 800-596-2953.

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Western River Expeditions Re-Opens with Limited Availability on Previously Sold-Out 2020 Grand Canyon Rafting Trips

Western River Expeditions is offering limited availability on previously sold-out
2020 Grand Canyon rafting trips.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – With the official announcement from Grand Canyon authorities that river operations will again resume on June 14, many are looking to get a spot on an epic outdoor adventure this summer.
 
Snagging seats on 2020 Grand Canyon rafting trips was impossible just a few months ago. However, pandemic-driven cancellations by international travelers has opened up seats for some of Western River Expeditions’ 2020 departures.
 
“Select departures June through September of 2020 now have limited availability,” said Brandon Lake, company CMO. “Normally last-minute inquiries would be directed to 2021 or even 2022 selections. This is an incredible opportunity for those who are making last-minute plans and feel like an outdoor adventure may be the best choice for a summer adventure this year.”
 
Vacations that embrace fresh air and the healing powers of nature can work wonders on pandemic-driven nerves. “On these iconic expeditions our guests immerse themselves in a remote world that provides a much-needed escape from civilization,” explains Lake. “A trip through the Grand Canyon becomes not only a celebration of the river and its untamed surroundings, but of life, providing a way to reconnect and refresh.”
 
This is Western River Expeditions’ promise for a true trip-of-a-lifetime far removed from the stress and challenges of today’s world. The more time spent on the river, the more the canyon reveals its sublime mysteries.
 
Western River Expeditions’ 6 or 7 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Vacation carries guests 188 river miles in custom-designed J-Rig rafts, maneuvering Class III-V rapids and each day descending deeper into geologic time, before a helicopter transports them back to the rim.
 
Their Grand Canyon 4 Day River & Ranch Tour and Grand Canyon 3 Day Lower Canyon Trip brings visitors down 100 river miles over Class II and III rapids. But first there’s a scenic helicopter ride to access the put-in. Guests on the 4-Day tour enjoy a pre-excursion overnight at Bar 10 Ranch on the North Rim of the Canyon, complete with horseback riding and optional ATV adventures.
 
Western River Expeditions for nearly 60 years has operated five-star-quality river rafting vacations. This year they are also applying their decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. (For more details on Western River Expeditions’ protocols see https://www.westernriver.com/covid-19.)
 
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 one of the 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/).
 
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, 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 http://www.westernriver.com/.

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Backroads Unveils Robust Program to Most Popular Family Travel Summer Destinations

Iceland is one of the most popular destinations for family adventure travel this summer © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Alaska, Yellowstone and the Tetons, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and Italy’s Dolomites top the list of the most popular summer travel destinations for families, according to Backroads, one of the world’s leading active travel companies that has focused more intently on family travel in recent years.

“The trend of immediate and extended families traveling together continues to grow, as families of all ages look to collect shared authentic experiences, while also doing more with limited vacation time,” the company stated.

This summer Backroads is offering nearly 450 family trip departures. This summer’s top-selling Backroads trips include easily accessible domestic destinations for those looking for an immersive vacation that is a quick flight or short drive from home. Following last year’s centennial celebrations in the US National Parks, the company’s camping trips continue to sell well.

The strong US dollar is also positively impacting growth in Europe with must-see regions like the Loire Valley, and off-the-beaten path destinations, including Sweden are trending hotter than ever.

Backroads top trips in the US this summer include:

Alaska: Family: Alaska’s Prince William Sound to Denali Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Adventure Tour

Utah & Arizona: Family and Family Breakaway: Bryce, Zion & Grand Canyon Multisport Adventure Tour; Yellowstone & Tetons; Family: Discover the Wonders of Wyoming’s Wild Preserves Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: Exploring the Wyoming Wilderness Walking & Hiking Tour

For families looking to travel internationally, Backroads offers many departures from European gateway cities for easy travel and extended stays on either end of a trip.

European top-selling Backroads trips to international destinations include:

Croatia: Family: 101 Ways to Play in Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands Multisport Tour; Family Breakaway: From Split to Dubrovnik via Croatia’s Island Paradise Bike Tour

Iceland: Family: Exploration at the Edge of the Arctic Circle Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: Coastal Fishing Villages of Northern Iceland Walking & Hiking Tour

Spain and Portugal: Family: From Barcelona to Catalonia’s Peaks & Beaches Bike Tour; Family Breakaway: A Taste of Camino de Santiago Walking & Hiking Tour

Switzerland: Family: Massif Thrills in the Swiss Alps Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: A Summer Adventure in the Swiss Alps Walking & Hiking Tour

“There is something very special about the tradition of family summer trips. Not only are they a chance to explore and discover new or favorite locations, but they are also a chance for families to spend unforgettable quality time together,” said Tom Hale, Backroads founder and president. “Our goal at Backroads is to enable people to take full advantage of their vacation time and not sweat any of the details. In many cases we have spent years in these regions and know the most beautiful hikes, the best bike rides, and which campground has the most spectacular view. We offer family trips people often dream of, but in reality know they are typically too difficult to plan on their own.”

A leader in family travel, Backroads has been designing active vacations for almost 40 years and offers Family Trips for kids of all ages all the way up to older teens and 20-somethings. With daily route options and a range of activities, including those designed just for kids, Backroads adventures are geared toward multigenerational travelers and for families of mixed ages, interests, and abilities. The company emphasizes fun, dynamic and safety-focused travel crafted to immerse guests in a place and culture with authentic interactions and highly skilled leaders.

Backroads has nearly 450 family and family breakaway (designed for families with older teens and 20-something aged kids) departures available this summer, including options for private trips. Trip Consultants help match families with kids of similar ages and provide details on activity age restrictions and recommendations.

For more information, visit www.backroads.com or call 800-462-2848 daily, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pacific time.
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Austin Adventures Facilitates Vacations in America’s Over-Popular National Parks

Hiking up the Mist Trail alongside Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park. National parks are ideal for summer family vacations, so much so, they are overrun. Tour operator like Austin Adventures not only has hotel space, but can facilitate the visit to minimize crowds © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Last year, a record setting 331 million people visited a national park in the U.S.  2015 had earlier set the record at 307 million visitors. Over the last two years there has been a 13 percent visitor increase overall. This is a trend that experts say is here to stay.

The good news is that more and more people are enjoying America’s “best idea.” The downside is that roads, pull-overs and entrance stations are more crowded than ever, parking is hard to find, campgrounds are booked full by noon, restaurant reservations are difficult to secure and for those waiting too long to book lodging, there’s no room left at the inn.

Because vacation time is too precious for such factors as frustration and anxiety, advance vacation planning that includes putting a professional tour operator in charge of the logistics can help buy peace of mind and a better overall experience.

“When a national park is in the equation, a good tour company can give you the kind of quality park vacation that just might not be possible on your own,” said Dan Austin, President of Austin Adventures, a leader in family-focused, multisport vacations here and abroad.

Austin’s company offers a good reason of why one should consider a tour operator for a national park vacation. “We have stayed ahead of the growth curve by adding capacity and trip departures. We also work hard to block the best rooms inside a park, a year or more in advance.” This is an investment (and risk) to the tour operator, having to secure everything so far into the future. But in Austin Adventures’ case, it has been a winning strategy.

Where an individual or family may find frustration going it on their own, booking through an operator can make the process pain-free. A tour operator has the rooms, the restaurant reservations and sightseeing logistics all worked out. They alleviate parking woes by dropping guests off at a trailhead and picking them up at a different spot later. They can also avoid the masses because they know where the crowds aren’t as well as the best times to be there (on Austin’s Yellowstone Park trips they often avoid the crowds at Old Faithful by visiting at sunrise – a short walk from their lodge).

“Guests benefit from our expertise, ‘insider’s knowledge and long-standing park connections,” Austin said.

Tour operators know the area, inside and outside the park, as well as the best places to stay, eat, view wildlife, etc. They have highly trained guides who are focused on customer service, safety and security, as well as having fun, said Rick Hoeninghausen, Director of Sales & Marketing for Yellowstone National Park Lodges.

Quality tour operators often build in special touches that enhance the experience for their guests. For example, Austin Adventures will surprise their guests with fresh made ice cream and fruit parfaits served along the hiking trail.

Some of Austin Adventures’ most popular National Park family itineraries include Yellowstone Family Adventure, Yosemite National Park Multisport, Grand Canyon Family Vacation & Tour, and the Bryce and Zion National Park Tour in Utah. For information on all of the company’s National Park adventures, see: http://www.austinadventures.com/national-park-vacations/

Based in Billings, MT, Austin Adventures has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, pre-set and custom-designed small group tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. In 2013, Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings that includes operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park; and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also owns and operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel in Williams, Ariz., the Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., Windstar Cruises, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Country Walkers and Austin Adventures.

For information on Austin Adventures, www.austinadventures.com, call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com.

 

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Favorite Travel Adventures to Beat Summer Heat

Iceland is one of best places for a 'beat the heat' adventure © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Iceland is one of best places for a ‘beat the heat’ adventure © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With summer temperatures rising, many travelers have started looking for ways to escape the heat. Below are six favorite “beat-the-heat-adventures” for 2016.

  • Lofoten Islands & Western Fjords of Norway – Experience the midnight sun in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos. Explore dramatic scenery north of the Arctic Circle. Embark on a Midnight Sun Cruise and search for whales and other life. Visit millennium-old archeological sites, tour a reconstructed Viking longhouse and kayak quiet waters north of the Arctic Circle. http://gondwanaecotours.com/tour/the-lofoten-islands-and-western-fjords-of-norway/
  • Explore Chile North to South – Experience Chile’s main highlights on this journey starting in the North and ending in the South of the country. Explore the arid Atacama Desert, stroll Santiago’s streets, and adventure in the Lakes District near Puerto Varas. Finish your Chile tour with hiking in the remote Torres del Paine National Park. Add on an extension to Easter Island to round out your Chilean exploration. http://www.adventure-life.com/chile/tours/3801/chile-north-to-south#dates
  • Iceland and The Diamond Circle – Visit incredible waterfalls, lakes, mountains and experience stories of trolls and elves. This six-day tour travels by 4WD car from Reykjavik through the Skagafjordur Region to the highlights of the Diamond Circle in the north, returning to Reykjavik by plane. Long nights and clear skies provide high chance of Northern Lights sightings. http://bigchilladventure.com/trips/iceland-sep2016/
  • Nova Scotia Bike/Hike Tour – Enjoy scenic rides and hikes amid pristine beaches, marshland, quaint villages, and beautiful vineyards. Highlights include: absorbing the region’s history at UNESCO World Heritage Sites; cycling a variety of picturesque paved roads and trails; wildlife viewing opportunities; exceptional local cuisine and fresh seafood; and four-star accommodations. http://ciclismoclassico.com/trips/nova-scotia-bike-tour/
  • Fly Fish Alaska – Bristol Bay Lodge offers fishing for all five species of Pacific salmon, leopard-spotted rainbow trout, Dolly Varden trout, arctic char, grayling and northern pike. The most unique aspect of this operation is the exclusive overnight out-camps. No other lodge can offer this unique rotation schedule which combines day and overnight fishing trips, first-class accommodations and attentive service. http://www.frontierstravel.com/bristol-bay/

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