Category: Vacation

3 Amazing Things To Do In North Carolina

Living in North Carolina, I’m lucky enough to experience all of the beauty that the state has to offer. But sometimes, I forget that most others have never even been to North Carolina before, let alone the east coast. That being said, I would like to share some of the beautiful things that visitors can see and do when in the Tar Heel State. Here are, in no particular order, three things to do when visiting North Carolina.

 

Visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens

For those of you who are curious about the flora of the Old North State, be sure to visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Bringing in over 300,000 visitors each year, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens are located in the heart of Duke University. The Gardens’ Blomquist Garden is undoubtedly its most unique and enticing attraction. Featuring over 900 species of regional native plants, a wildlife and carnivorous plants section and a relaxing bird watching area, the Blomquist Garden is a botanist’s dream. The Gardens also feature an 18-acre Asiatic Arboretum, a series of historic gardens, a cafe and a souvenir shop. Bring the family for children and adult-oriented educational programs. With so much natural beauty to experience, Sarah P. Dukes Gardens are definitely a must see for North Carolina visitors and natives alike.

 

Family Fun at Carowinds

One of North Carolina’s more adrenaline-fueled attractions, Carowinds is an amusement park that packs as much of a punch as Six Flags or Universal Studios. With 10 heart-pounding rides—Afterburn and Hurler are standouts—Carowinds is guaranteed to prove a much needed escape from a stressful work week. And, for those that are not as keen on losing your lunch, Carowinds offers a bevy of family friendly rides, including Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena and the Do-Si-Do. If you’re visiting during the sweltering summer months, make sure to visit Carolina Harbor, Carowinds’ water park. With food, fun and thrills, Carowinds is sure to offer an exciting trip to North Carolina, for both families and singles.

North Carolina Zoo

For those more interested in fauna, North Carolina’s got you covered. Visitors can enjoy a trip through Africa, with a multitude of wildlife that populates the African plains, featuring lions to elephants to sitatungas. From there, visitors can take a stroll through the R.J. Reynolds Forest Aviary which contains more than a whopping 3,000 exotic plants and several birds, from the Chilean flamingo to the amethyst starling. Finally, visit familiar yet exciting territory at the North America exhibit. Featuring animals from arctic tundras to swampy marshes, the North America exhibit features the most eclectic mix of animals throughout the zoo. The zoo even features several kid-friendly attractions and events and a 4-D theater that takes visitors on an exciting prehistoric adventure. All of this combined makes the North Carolina Zoo one of the nation’s greatest.

5 Best Hiking Trails Around the World

While the majority of this site focuses on North Carolina’s great outdoors, I appreciate all outdoor spaces and environments. That being said, I figured it would be nice to take a look at some hiking trails that the rest of the world has to offer. This list ranges from the scorching deserts of Israel to the frozen landscapes of Nepal, so hopefully there is a trail on the list that peaks your interest.

 

Seoraksan National Park-Seoraksan, South Korea

Located in the countryside of the Gangwon Province, this national park is a cornucopia of flora and fauna. The park features over 2,000 species of animal and 1,400 different species of plant. Not only that, but the park also spans through the cities of Sokcho, Inje, Goseon and Yangyang.

 

The trail itself features hot springs, valleys full of flowers and gorgeous waterfalls. The trail even includes a view of Jujeongol Valley, which leads to the Seongguksa Temple. And for those looking for higher altitudes, the trail climbs up Daecheongbong which is the third highest peak in Korea.

 

Israel National Trail-Dan to Eilat, Israel

This trail is definitely not for the faint of heart. Spanning the entirety of the country of Israel, from Dan to Eilat, the Israel National Trail is approximately 620 miles long. For those seeking a more spiritual journey, the Israel National Trail is perfect, as it runs through several biblical sites including: the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee. The trail even features a “Jesus Trail” which runs from Nazareth to Capernaum. And if that isn’t enough, the trail is famous for its trail angels, Israelis who live along the trail that invite hikers into their homes for food and rest.

 

Everest Base Camp Trek-Kathmandu, Nepal

One of the hiking world’s most sought after prizes: climbing Mt. Everest. Climbing the astronomically tall, 29,029 foot high mountain is, as history suggests, no easy task. However, simply climbing to Everest’s base is no small feat either. That is why many choose to simply make the 17,590 foot hike. The hike begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal and last two weeks. Hikers can enjoy the culture of the local sherpas and learn about ancient Tibetan Buddhism through mani stones.  

 

Inca Trail-Cusco, Peru

Past the thick jungles of Peru, lies the Inca Trail. The trail, which lasts about four days, starts in Cusco and ends in Machu Picchu. In Cusco, hikers tour the Andean peaks, and afterwards, in Machu Picchu, hikers are able to witness the city left behind by the Incas, full of stone temples and palaces. Hikers also get to visit “The Town in the Clouds”, also known as Phuyupatamarca.

 

Tour du Mont Blanc-France, Italy and Switzerland

This 104-mile journey features breathtaking snow-capped mountains, glassy blue lakes and an abundance of greenery. The trail goes through three different countries: Italy, France and Switzerland. While trekking through Italy, hikers can experience the Aosta Valley, including some of the highest peaks in the Alps. The piece of the trail running through France passes by the famous Church of Notre Dame. For anyone looking to experience some of the most gorgeous natural and man-made structures on earth, look no further than the Tour du Mont Blanc.

5 Valentine’s Day Outdoor Excursion Ideas

February is a month associated with love and romance. And while many celebrate Valentine’s Day with a traditional movie, restaurant or nice home-cooked meal, there are so many other ways to celebrate the day of love with your significant other. If you really want to think outside of the box and surprise your partner, why not try an outdoor excursion? With that in mind, here are five beautiful and romantic places to visit around the world that are sure to create some of your most fond memories.

 

Tuscany, Italy

This probably comes as no surprise to most of you, seeing as how Italy is usually associated with romance, and rightfully so. The region’s three popular cities—Florence, Siena and Lucca—feature a bevy of gorgeous getaways and attractions, like vineyards, intimate towns and breathtaking vistas. Other activities include bathing in the various natural hot springs or trekking through the Chianti countryside. Regardless of what you choose to do, you will undoubtedly enjoy your stay in Tuscany.

 

Swiss Alps

If you and your significant other enjoy winter sports, then the Swiss Alps are for you. You can schedule an adrenaline-filled ski trip at the top of the Swiss Alps. And, once you’ve gotten your fill of winter sport fun, you can fill up on exquisite food at Le 3842, Europe’s highest restaurant, which features a remarkable view of Mont Blanc. Afterwards, relax and pamper yourselves with a day at one of the many spas.

 

African Safari

While this one may seem a bit extreme at first, it can certainly prove to be romantic. If you are an adventurous couple, traveling to the African wilderness will surely whet your appetite, and even take a romantic turn come nightfall. If possible, head over to Namibia or Mozambique at night and lay down on the grass. Gazing up at the billions of stars shining light years away is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience so make sure to spend it with a loved one. Of course, there are plenty of other sights and sounds in Africa to keep you interested, like raging waterfalls, diverse wildlife and cave paintings from some of the earth’s earliest humans.

 

Southeast Asian Islands

Perhaps you and your loved one are constantly surrounded by others, living in a populous metropolitan area, and your ideal getaway is a mostly remote beach. Luckily, there are places around the world that accommodate your needs. One area in particular is the Southeast Asian islands. With their crisp and clean blue waters and white sandy beaches, these islands should definitely relax even the most stressed individuals. And, if you do feel the need to do something other than bathe in the warm rays of the sun, you can participate in several aquatic activities like scuba diving, snorkeling or kayaking.

 

Paris, France

While this list truly is in no particular order, it seems as though I am saving the best for last. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities on earth, housing some of the world’s most revered landmarks. Enjoy an intellectual and enlightening tour of the world famous Louvre, which features historically significant art pieces, or simply climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and peer out over the Paris landscape. Even better would be a leisurely stroll along La Seine, enjoying the night time lights of Paris. With so many romantic attractions it’s no surprise why it’s called the City of Love.
Now, I know that all of these trips are rather pricey and could probably take more than a week to organize, but if you can manage to schedule a trip before this Valentine’s Day, I strongly suggest you do so.  Also, obviously, these places will require more than one day to truly experience everything they have to offer, so why not make a vacation out of it? And if you cannot do it this year, there’s always next year!