Scuba Diving in Thailand: An Epic Solo Adventure

Up at sunrise and en route to the harbor, my stomach fluttered with both nerves and excitement.

I had booked an all-day boat dive through my hostel in Phuket, though I hadn’t been scuba diving in years.

Despite the quick refresher course I’d completed in preparation for the trip, I still felt unsure. I hoped I wouldn’t be a nuisance to my dive master or the other divers in my group.

You see, this was also my first solo trip and I was alone – no dive buddy to lean back on this time. Still, my worries weren’t enough to sway me. Nothing beats the feeling of breathing underwater… especially when the water happens to be crystal clear and a balmy 89° Fahrenheit. While the Thai island of Koh Tao is well known for its world class diving, I had no idea what to expect in Phuket. I simply wanted to revive my scuba skills and have a fun day out on the water, even if we didn’t see much sea life.

See also: Top Koh Tao Diving Sites

Arriving at the harbor, I was introduced to my dive master Praew (a local to the island), and another diver from Germany who would join us for the day. Praew briefed us on the dive sites we’d be visiting and patiently answered all of our questions. Approaching the first dive site and feeling just a tad queasy from the boat ride out, we slipped into our gear and (after a quick safety check), slid into the water.

Here goes nothing!

As we slowly and quietly descended, my pre-dive jitters melted away and my breathing relaxed. A whole world opened up before me. Schools of fish darted before my eyes, a turtle swam in the distance, a sea snake slithered above the sand and huge boulders formed mini underwater canyons to swim through. In the distance, my dive master pointed out a reef shark darting in and out of view. This dive was proving to be one of the best of my life. We caught up with a sea turtle and swam alongside it (at a respectful distance), and I soon lost track of time.

Before I knew it, our tanks were running low and we had to ascend. Back on the boat, we enjoyed fresh watermelon and fruit juice as we recounted all that we had seen while moving towards the next dive site.

Over the next two days, we encountered countless more turtles, reef sharks and fish, including my favorite – the batfish. I even swam through my first shipwreck and schools of sea life inched out of my way while I explored the various corridors.

It was, to put it lightly, the experience of a lifetime and one I’ll never forget.

After our final dive, Praew was kind enough to share his GoPro footage with us (free of charge!), and I now have hundreds of beautiful photos to remember the trip.

Back in my room that evening, I drifted to sleep exhausted, but ever so content and happy. I vowed to return to Thailand the following year for another solo dive adventure – and I did – this time in Koh Tao. I now plan to continue to return for years to come.

Scuba diving in Thailand offers everything one could hope for in terms of service, climate, sea life and diversity, and truly caters to all skill levels. In fact, there’s no better place to get certified if you’re interested in becoming an open water diver.

To book your own scuba diving adventure in Phuket, keep your eyes peeled for dive trips departing to Racha Noi and Racha Yai. Trips are typically all-day excursions and your chosen provider will pick you up directly from your hotel. In 2017, my trip cost $105 USD (3,700 Bhat) and included breakfast, lunch and gear.


Traditional Beer and Food in Cologne

Thinking about what food you’re going to eat in Cologne, Germany? You’re in luck, there are some pretty delicious dishes to try out!

One can eat pretty well in most traditional-style Kölsch restaurants, and as a visitor, you should try some of the local food in Cologne, which is quite rustic, but tasty, hearty fare.

The brewery taps (Früh, Sion, Pfaffen, Malzmühle etc. in the old town south of the Dom) are worth taking note of to that respect, although they tend to be expensive for what you get (but still worth the experience).

See also: Off The Beaten Track Tip: Belgian Quarter Cologne

Restaurants in Cologne

When looking for restaurants in Cologne, places out of the way such as Schreckenskammer and Max Stark (north of the train station, the former being within crawling distance of the Station Backpackers Hostel), Päffgen (Friesenstrasse) and both of Cologne’s independent brewpubs (Hellers Brauhaus on Roonstrasse and Braustelle in Ehrenfeld) offer cheaper and better food than the old town tourist traps. Besides, most of these places have tons of atmosphere, which doesn’t hurt!

You may also experience the deadly dry wit of the Köbes (traditional name of the blue-clad waiters) in most of those places. If it happens to you, don’t get upset, just enter the game, send the Köbes packing with a dig and a smile and you’ll be all right. You’ll mostly find typical Rheinland dishes in those traditional Kneipen.

Local food in Cologne, Germany
Where to get local food in Cologne, Germany – depositphotos.com

Traditional food in Cologne that you have to try

Here are a few local foods in Cologne to try out:

  • Halver Hahn: a nice big slab of dutch gouda with a rye roll (Röggelchen)
  • Himmel und Äd mit Flönz: fried black pudding with mashed potatoes (“earth”), apple sauce (“heaven”) and fried onions. 
  • Soorbrode /Sauerbraten: a joint marinated in vinegar with raisins, usually served with red cabbage and a kloss (potato dumpling). The joint may be beef or horsemeat, so you may want to ask first…
  • Dicke Bunne mit Speck: boiled white beans with hefty boiled bacon slices on top. 

& my favorites

  • Schweinshaxe aka Hämchen: pig’s leg, usually a bit of a monster (ranges from 600 to 1400 grms, including the bone)
  • Rievekoochen / Reibekuchen: flat fried potato cakes usually on offer once a week, and served with a variety of sweet or savoury toppings, which may include apple sauce, Rübenkraut (the beet-sourced equivalent to black treacle) or smoked salmon with horseradish cream.

Cologne is famous for its Kölsch (beer)

When in Cologne, you have to try the beer!

Typical Cologne beer is called “Kölsch” and served in bars around town in small glasses, called “Stangen”, of 0.2l. That way the beer is always fresh and cold.

Don’t worry, waiters will quickly bring you a new one once your old one is (almost) finished. In more traditional bars and especially the breweries, the waiter (called “Köbes” in local language) will even hand you a fresh Kölsch without being asked, so it is easy to lose track of how much you drank. He will put a pencil line on your coaster for each beer that you drink, this will be the basis for your bill, so do not lose it!

To stop the beer from coming, put the coaster on top of your empty glass. You may also experience the deadly dry wit of the Köbes (traditional name of the blue-clad waiters) in most of those places.

If you buy bottled Kölsch, take either “Reissdorf”, “Früh”, “Gaffel” or “Mühlen”, which are rated highest by Cologne citizens (there are about 30 more brands). There are so many bars and pubs to choose from that you could spend most of the night going from one bar to the next.

Beer in Cologne, Germany
Beer in Cologne, Germany – depositphotos.com

Where to get beer in Cologne

For traditional breweries, head to the Altstadt around the Dom, where the “Früh Kölsch” brewery is the most authentic place, famous both with visitors and locals.

A few of the restaurants that we mentioned above are also great for beer.

You will find a younger crowd at “Hellers Brauhaus” on Roonstraße, near metro station Zülpicher Platz or “Brauhaus Pütz” on Engelbertstraße close to Rudolfplatz.

Furthermore the “Päffgen“, on the all-bar street Friesenstraße close to the Friesenplatz, and the “Mühlen” near Heumarkt are traditional brewery pubs but less touristy than the “Früh“.

Früh brewery in cologne
Früh – Famous Brewery and pub in Cologne. Depositphotos.com

Also recommended is Sion, which is a lesser known brand, but hailed to be very good, although some beer enthusiasts have found it lacking character from 2007 onwards.

Most Altstadt pubs are somewhat scorned as “tourist traps” by locals, however: prices here are usually higher on Zülpicher Straße. The breweries also serve you great meals from the typical local cuisine, and they are famous for its large portions.

DO NOT order another beer than Kölsch in a brewery (especially not Alt beer from Düsseldorf)! It’s very unfriendly and it might happen that you get kicked out in a brewery! Ok, if you don’t speak German, I guess you might be lucky…but if you are German…you will be kicked out! It’s because of the rivalry between both cities.

Also, if you order a glass of milk, it might take more than 30 minutes till you get it. Your friends will have a few glasses of Kölsch in that time already.

There are a lot of modern bars and lounges all around town. More mainstream ones are on Zülpicher Straße. For something more independent and funky on this street, try Umbruch (funky) or Stiefel (punky). The Low Budget on Aachener Straße next to Moltkestraße metro is a nice, unassuming, punky bar which features a fine selection of drinks and often hosts concerts, poetry or cabaret sessions.

A lot of stylish places are in the so-called Belgian quarter between Aachener Straße and the Ring, e.g. famous M20 or the Hallmackenreuther.


Where to Stay in Dubai

Dubai is one of the top destinations in the Middle East, with a massive landmass and population of around 4 million. It’s more well known for its exuberant buildings and hot climate, which averages approximately 15 million visitors per year in non-pandemic times.

One of the defining features of Dubai is space and you’ll need a vehicle to traverse the cities, neighbourhoods and top destinations. Because of this, figuring out where to stay in Dubai is an important part of your planning! You’ll find vastly different areas when travelling to the different regions of Dubai, including many landmarks, activities and price points for accommodation.

Below, we talk about where to stay in Dubai, including the best areas to stay in Dubai and the top accommodation you could imagine! 

See also: All You Need to Know about Dune Bashing in Dubai

The best areas to stay in Dubai

As we mentioned before, Dubai is quite a diverse city, and each district feels a bit like a different place! Luckily, Dubai’s skyline helps keep one grounded, no matter which area you choose to visit. Here are best areas to stay in Dubai with accommodation options in each.

Old Dubai

Areas like Al Seef and Al Fahidi represent traditional Dubai, with great museums, wind towers, colourful souks (markets) and the majestic Dubai creek.

Old Dubai is one of the best places to stay in Dubai for a glimpse into the tradition and culture of Dubai, which is sure to be one of the most exciting and unique parts of your trip.

See also: Explore the Culture and Traditions in Dubai

Al Seef Heritage Hotel 

Are you wondering where to stay in Dubai in the ‘old’ part of the city? Al Seef Heritage Hotel by Hilton is a great choice. Set overlooking the Dubai Creek (where you can join a Dubai dhow cruise) and located next to the Museum of Illusions, this four-star hotel offers a luxury visit. The Burj Khalifa is relatively close, with many malls, the Dubai International Airport, and the Dubai World Trade Centre not far behind.

Book your stay at Al Seef Heritage Hotel

Where to stay in Dubai - Heritage Hotel by Hilton
Heritage Hotel by Hilton

Jumeirah Beach Residence 

Many resorts around the Jumeirah Beach Residence area offer a fantastic array of watersport activities, including jet skis, parasailing, paddle boating, and kayaking (check out these crazy things to do in Dubai). 

Other resort activities in the area include hot air balloons, quad biking and camel rides, which you can arrange before arriving in Dubai. This area is one of the best places to stay in Dubai if you are looking for family fun and water sports or other physical activities.

Additionally, you can find Jumeirah Beach (also known as JBR) in this region, making it a delightful holiday destination. 

See also: Fun Things to Do in Dubai With Kids

Beach Walk Hotel 

Need to find where to stay in Dubai in the Jumeirah Beach area? Beach Walk Hotel is a great choice! This four-star hotel offers an outdoor pool, modern design and clean furnishings and finishes. You’ll also get access to the fitness centre located within the hotel.

The Miraj Islamic Art Centre and Kite Beach are in the immediate area, a kitesurfer’s paradise.

Book your stay at Beach Walk Hotel

Beach Walk Hotel in Dubai
Beach Walk Hotel 

Park Regis Boutique Hotel 

Were you looking for something a bit different than your average hotel for your next trip to Dubai? You’ll enjoy the Park Regis Boutique Hotel in JBR, Dubai. This unique hotel is near Umm Suqeim beach, Suqeim park and the Wild Wadi Waterpark. 

We think active families would love this location for its hot tubs, water sports, babysitting services and dedicated family room. 

Book your stay at Park Regis Boutique Hotel

Park Regis Boutique Hotel
Park Regis Boutique Hotel

Dubai Marina

The Dubai Marina is one of the best places to stay in Dubai for nightlife. Surprisingly, Dubai is one of the more relaxed Arab nations regarding drinking and alcohol. Still, you’ll find a strict zero-tolerance policy for public drunkenness, and alcohol is heavily taxed in the city.

Despite this, Dubai Marina is the best of all answers to the question ‘Where to stay in Dubai for the best nightlife?’ You will find alcohol in licensed restaurants, bars, hotels and nightclubs. In this area, you’ll find trendy nightclubs on the rooftops of high-rises in the city.

Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa 

Want one of the best places to stay in Dubai’s marina area? Look no further than Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa. This luxury resort includes spa access, three outdoor pools for guests, as well as a private beach complete with sun loungers and umbrellas. There’s even a children’s play area for families, as well as breathtaking decor throughout. 

The hotel also offers 4 bars and seven restaurants for the most discerning guests. 

Book your stay at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa

Places to stay in Dubai - Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa
Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa

Sparkle 405 – Merida

If you are a single traveller or perhaps a couple, you may enjoy Sparkle 405 – Merida, a studio apartment in the Dubai Marina district. You’ll indeed have a more cosy experience when staying at your apartment instead of a hotel! 

Featuring an open-plan kitchen, this fully-equipped studio offers quick access to the Beach Mall, Bluewaters Island, Skydive Dubai and more. 

Book your stay at Sparkle 405 – Merida

Bur Dubai

Bur Dubai is arguably one of the best areas to stay in Dubai for sightseeing and shorter stays, as it offers a lot to see and do without travelling too far! 

This area is one of the most central in all of Dubai, meaning that you won’t spend hours travelling to and from your chosen destinations every day. Bur Dubai offers ample public transport and metro stations for more distant locations. You’ll also find many taxis in the streets and in proximity to authentic bazaars, traditional boats, floating restaurants, and historic neighbourhoods. 

Green House Hotel Apartments 

Are you wondering where to stay in Dubai that offers central access to the city, as well as a modern experience? Green House Hotel and Apartments might be the perfect choice for you! 

The best part about this hotel is that it offers a choice between standard hotel rooms and apartments, with over 98 rooms. Secondly, a rooftop pool, gym, and breakfast buffet are included for every guest. 

Additionally, features include a dedicated children’s pool and proximity to BurJuman Mall, Dubai Museum and Grand Mosque. 

Book your stay at Green House Hotel and Apartments

Where to stay in Dubai
Green House Hotel Apartments

Downtown Dubai 

Downtown Dubai is one of the best places to stay in Dubai for those visiting Dubai on a work trip. Downtown Dubai and Business Bay contain many office blocks, apartments and luxury hotels. It’s located about halfway between old and new Dubai, and the area is most well known for the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world. 

It’s also home to Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping centres in the world. It’s also reasonably convenient to reach via metro or taxi services that connect to Dubai international airport. 

See also: A Guide to Shopping in Dubai

Vida Downtown 

Do you want to discover where to stay in Dubai in the middle of the central district? We think you’ll love Vida Downtown, a 4-star hotel in Dubai’s Downtown district. 

This hotel features over 150 guestrooms, an outdoor pool and lounge area, a business centre, modern lounges and gym and bicycle services for guests.

This beautiful hotel is close to the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, Dubai Ice Rink and Burj Park.

Book your stay at Vida Downtown

Vida Downtown hotel
Vida Downtown

Dream Inn Apartments – Claren Downtown 

Want to discover where to stay in Dubai where you can have your apartment yet feel like you’re living in a hotel? Dream Inn Apartments is located in the heart of Dubai and offers bright, comfortable apartment stays for families of different sizes.

Here, you’ll find everything you could expect in your apartment – including a lounge, dining area, patio, modern kitchens, large bedrooms and sweeping views of Dubai.

Book your stay at Dream Inn Apartments

Dream Inn Apartments
Dream Inn Apartments

These are the best places to stay in Dubai

Regardless of your personal favourite best areas to stay in Dubai, we know that you’ll find something you love in Dubai when it comes to your next trip. Whether travelling for work, family time or leisure, we think you’ll find your own best places to stay in Dubai when you visit next.

Choose from some of the most popular places in Dubai, such as Downtown Dubai, Bur Dubai, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach and Old Dubai. Of course, there are plenty of other places to find in Dubai which we haven’t mentioned!

We hope you have a better idea of where to stay in Dubai when you are due for your next trip. 


Celebrating Christmas in Barcelona Like a Local

Thinking about spending Christmas in Barcelona? Keep reading for more on what to expect.

Winter in Barcelona descends from late November to early March, and it is considerably mild compared to other places, reaching lows of around 5℃. Basically, if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a white Christmas in Spain, Barcelona probably isn’t the place for you. 

However, if you want to celebrate Christmas with blue skies, surrounded by carollers, inspiring religious buildings, and incredible Christmas markets, without feeling the need to shiver your way through it all, Barcelona is the place for you. 

Celebrating Christmas in Barcelona like a local makes it all that much more exciting, so let’s talk you through everything you need to know how to celebrate Christmas like a local here in Barcelona. 

See also: Guide to Experiencing the Best of Christmas Around the World

Local Christmas markets in Barcelona

A large part of spending Christmas in Barcelona is visiting the many Christmas markets.

See also: New Year in Barcelona

La Fira de Santa Llúcia

This is one of the largest, most well- known and oldest markets in the city, this year will be its 235th edition, filling the area outside of the famous Gothic Cathedral with over 283 stalls selling everything from figurines to plants, to crafts and even Simbombes. 

At this incredible market you must be sure to keep a look out for the cheeky ‘caganer’ figure, which is a traditional catalan figurine with his trousers down, he is said to bring luck by fertilising the earth. 

This place dates all the way back to 1786, taking place on the day of Santa Llúcia, December 13th, this is a historic and exciting place for you to check out this winter! 

Opening dates: November 30th until December 23rd 10:00-21:00

Christmas market in Barcelona - La Fira de Santa Llúcia
La Fira de Santa Llúcia

La Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia

These Christmas markets are slightly smaller than the Santa Llúcia markets, but they are positioned right outside the incredible Sagrada Familia, which you must visit if you haven’t before (it’s one of the top Barcelona attractions). 

They have a little of everything here, but most importantly they serve incredible tasty christmas treats, such as roasted chestnuts, baked sweet potatoes and churros with thick hot chocolate! 

Opening times: November 24th to December 22nd 10:00- 21:00

La Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
La Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia La Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Familia

La Fira de Reis

This Christmas market in Barcelona surrounds the idea of the celebration of the three kings in Spain (don’t worry, this will be further explained shortly), the day in which the Spanish give out their main presents. 

Stalls at the Fira de Reis sell mainly kid’s toys and presents, making it a pretty ideal place to go find a Reyes gift for everyone who you need to buy for. 

Opening times: 21st December- 6th January 10:00- 21:00 

La Fira de Reis - Christmas market in Barcelona
La Fira de Reis

Traditional Spanish Christmas Meals

Escudella

Escudella is a traditional christmas warmer, a kind of stew which contains everything. It has chicken, beef, pork backbone, ham bone’s bouillon, veggies; carrots, potatoes, cabbage. It’s a pretty hypercaloric dish, but there’s nothing wrong with that when it’s cold outside!  

The perfect dish to warm you up this winter. 

Sopa de galets

Sopa de galets include huge pieces of pasta, with which one will fill your spoon. The galets are the large pieces of pasta which are filled with veggies or meats. The soup itself is a traditional soup made with bouillon, making it a very comforting cold winter dish. 

This is usually eaten as a first course as part of Christmas day lunch, on the 25th of December. 

Canelons

Canelons, or Cannelloni, is one of Catalonia’s favourites, usually eaten on the day of Sant Esteve, celebrated on December 26th. This dish includes Cannelloni stuffed with either chicken or meat and bechamel sauce, the difference between this and your traditional Italian Cannelloni is that this dish does not use tomato sauce. 

Traditional Spanish Christmas Treats

Turrón

Turrón is one of the most well known Spanish Christmas foods that you will find in Barcelona, as well as being found in Italy and parts of South America. It dates back to the 16th century, and is enjoyed all over the Catalan capital during the holiday season. Turrón tastes almost similar to malteser chocolate, it is made with honey, sugar, egg white and toasted almonds or other nuts. 

This chocolate is extremely tasty and can be found in just your average supermarket at any time during Christmas. 

Mantecados and Polvorones

Mantecados and polvorones can be found all over supermarkets and department stores in the months leading up to Christmas. They are little baked and crumbly Christmas cookies served with “Moscatel”. The difference between mantecados and polvorones is the shape, polvorones are oval and mantecados are round. They are both similar to shortbread, but just tend to crumble much more easily. 

These sweet treats are super popular throughout Catalonia, you’ll find them everywhere! 

Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana is pretty much the Catalan recipe for a Crème brûlée, first found in Catalan books in the 14th century. The recipe includes the use of custard cream, over which sugar is poured and burnt with a hot iron rod to create the trademark burnt crust. 

This differs from your average Crème brûlée through both its cooking method & consistency, as well as its cinnamon and lemon zest flavour as opposed to your usual French vanilla. 

Spainish Christmas dessert - Crema Catalana
Crema Catalana

Getting Your Christmas Shopping Done Right

Barcelona is home to some of the biggest shopping centres in Spain, and during Christmas there are a load of great sales and deals to get you in the Christmas mood. These places are also perfectly happy to wrap your gifts for you. 

See also: Where to Find the Best Vintage Shops in Barcelona

The Diagonal Mar

A shopping centre split into three floors, to accommodate their 200 stores and 17 cinema screens, and even a bowling alley. This is one of the biggest in Barcelona, and is recognised as an environmental model due to their promoted values of environmental sustainability. 

This is the perfect place for your Christmas shopping as everything is in one place, as well as this the shopping centre is just beside the Parc Diagonal Mar and Museu Blau, two very ideal locations for spending the day as a family. 

The Diagonal Mar
The Diagonal Mar

Glòries Shopping Mall

The Glòries shopping mall is located in the Plaza de las Glorias Catalanes, surrounded by the incredible Torre Glòries (a huge skyscraper which changes colour day and night, it’s incredible!). 

This place has 75 major stores, restaurants and cinemas, with plenty free parking, charging points, and they even have a kids club play area! 

Glòries Shopping Mall
Glòries Shopping Mall

Las Arenas Shopping Centre

For shopping like a real local, why not go to a shopping centre that used to be a bullring! They have over six floors, 115 shops, a fitness centre, 12- screen cinema, events hall and several bars and restaurants. They even have a huge terrace in which you can get a 360° view over Montjuïc. 

Las Arenas Shopping Centre
Las Arenas Shopping Centre

Celebrating the Three Kings like a Local in Barcelona

Towards the end of December most people around the world begin to relax and finalise their Christmas celebrations, however here in Spain, that is not the case. The first week of January is one of the most exciting times to visit Barcelona. People in Catalonia, in fact, will still be buying gifts and preparing their Christmas dinners, whilst you can still admire the beautiful Christmas lights across the city and prepare yourself for the arrival of The Three Kings or Los Reyes Magos. 

Christmas in Barcelona, Spain
Christmas in Barcelona, Spain

These biblical characters come to Spain on the 5th and 6th of January to give gifts of presents and sweet treats to the children. On January 5th there is a parade dedicated to the three kings in which the Kings themselves arrive at the Av. Del Marquès de l’Argentera and travel 5km around the city, ending at the Montjuïc Magic Fountains. 

Traditionally, locals in Barcelona will leave food out for the three kings and water for their camels, and a pair of shoes outside their doors or windows for the three kings to fill with gifts after the three kings parade. The morning of the 6th will provide for the children an array of gifts, as long as they’ve been well behaved! 

For more tips on Barcelona, check out the below posts:


Recommended Day Trips from Darwin

Darwin is the gateway to the rest of the Northern Territory. There are many day trips from Darwin that are well worth exploring. The city provides a base for day trips to explore the ‘Top End’ of the Australia.

While there are many things to do in Darwin, there are also many nearby attractions to explore.

Keep on reading to find out more.

Take your pick of the below day trips from Darwin

Darwin is the perfect base for exploring North Australia, here are the top day trips from Darwin

Berry Springs Nature Park

Berry Springs Nature Park is a popular and picturesque area for picnics and is a great swimming spot. Use goggles to spot native fish and other aquatic life that live in the clear pools. The picnic area is a good base from which to take a walk through the monsoon forest and woodlands. Bring your binoculars if you’re keen on bird watching. This park is located around 50km south of Darwin. It has a kiosk. It can be closed for swimming during the wet season.

Litchfield National Park 

Litchfield National Park is 1,500 square kilometres situated an hour-and-a-half drive from Darwin. The Park includes a lot of the Tabletop Range, which is a wide sandstone plateau mostly surrounded by cliffs. Stay for the day or for the more adventurous stay for two or three days. The monsoon season lasts from October to May, the rest of the year is a good time to visit as the waterfalls flow more gently, making the waterholes perfect spots for a cool dip.

Main attractions include permanent spring fed waterfalls (Florence, Tolmer and Wangi), cascades at Buley Rockhole, magnetic termite mounds, and a wildlife cruise along the majestic Reynolds River.

Join this full day tour to Litchfield National Park from Darwin.

Territory Wildlife Park

Territory Wildlife Park is a world acclaimed attraction, only 45 minutes drive from Darwin. Highlights include an impressive aquarium, a daily birds-of-prey display, nocturnal house and the bird walk. Learn fascinating facts about reptiles at the reptile display and explore a representation of Darwin’s river systems, from the escarpment to the mangroves on the coast. 

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is the largest national park in Australia. It contains one of the highest concentrated areas of aboriginal rock art sites in the world, the most famous being at Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr. 

Join this day trip to Kakadu National Park from Darwin.

Kakadu National Park - day trips from Darwin, Australia
Kakadu National Park

Katherine 

Where the outback meets the tropics. Situated about 300km south of Darwin. The township is situated on the banks of the Katherine River, which flows down from the world-renowned Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk National Park). There are incredibly diverse landscapes and unique ecosystems set the scene for outback adventure activities like fishing, canoeing, bushwalking, birdwatching, camping and four-wheel driving. 

Join this Katherine Gorge & Edith Falls full-day tour from Darwin.

Day trips from Darwin - Katherine River
Katherine Gorge, Australia

Casuarina Coastal Reserve 

Just 20 minutes drive from the city, the Casuarina Coastal Reserve comprises sandy beaches fringed by Casuarina trees and sandstone cliffs. The Reserve protects areas of cultural significance, including Old Man Rock, a registered Aboriginal sacred site. The Reserve also features a large grassy area with barbeques and tables.

There are many day trips from Darwin to explore the many wonders for North Australia! While you’re in Darwin, make sure to visit Darwin’s Popular Roadkill Cafe.


Top Things to do in Darwin, Australia

Darwin is a small yet cosmopolitan city. People from more than 50 nations make up its population of 110,000. It is on the Timor Sea (a branch of the Indian Ocean) in north-central Australia. Darwin is the tropical capital city of the Northern Territory.

Darwin is notable amongst the capital cities in Australia for its relaxed lifestyle and unique multiculturalism, where people from over 50 different cultures live and work side by side.

The regular Asian-style markets that form an instrinsic part of the everyday Darwin landscape for local residents see food, music, language, and culture from just about every Asian nation, alongside crocodile hunters, local Aboriginal artists, musicians of every genre, sports fishing operators, sunset sails, and families with children playing on the beach.

Thanks to this diverse mix, there are many things to do in Darwin.

See also Darwin’s Popular Roadkill Cafe

Top places to visit in Darwin, Australia
View of Darwin Waterfront, which is a popular area for locals and tourists in Northern Territory of Australia – depositphotos.com

A brief history of Darwin

Darwin’s unique cosmopolitan makeup has been recognised as an “multicultural icon of national significance” by the Australian National Tust. Darwin’s tropical climate has two major seasons, the ‘dry’, from about May to October, and the ‘wet’, from November to April. Major cyclones have occurred approximately once every three decades. Much of the city was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

Darwin is also the only Australian capital city to have come under substantial attack during a war. On 19 February, 1942, Japanese planes made two major air raids on Darwin from the aircraft carrier fleet that had attacked Pearl Harbor less than 3 months earlier. These were the first of 64 air attacks experienced by the city during World War II, the last being on 12 November, 1943. (Other areas in northern Queensland and northern Western Australia were also bombed by Japanese aircraft.)

Natural sights of Darwin, Australia

Among the top things to do in Darwin are visiting the many beautiful natural sights.

Berry Springs 

The perfect swimming spot is only 45 minutes from Darwin city. Berry Springs Nature Park has shaded picnic and barbecue areas and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for local birds and wildlife. Bring along your goggles to explore the underwater world in the crystal clear pools.

Territory Wildlife Park

The Territory Wildlife Park is a popular attraction, home to monsoon and paperbark forests and a wetlands walk. You can stand nose-to-nose with a 3.7 metre saltwater crocodile on a walk through the aquarium tunnel. Don’t miss the twice-daily birds of prey show or animal encounters presentation. 

Bicentennial Park

This scenic stretch of parkland along The Esplanade overlooks Darwin Harbour. It’s a great place to kick a footy, soak up some rays or have a picnic while watching the sun set. 

George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

A stone’s throw from the city centre are 42 hectares of gardens that showcase local flora and that of other tropical habitats around the world. Explore monsoon forests, coastal foredunes and open woodlands on a stroll through the botanic gardens.

Places to visit in Darwin, Australia
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

Lake Alexander

An ideal spot for swimming all year round, Lake Alexander is popular for picnics and barbecues. Spend the day by the water, have a game of volleyball and tire the kids out on the playground. 

Casuarina Coastal Reserve

The Reserve encompasses 1500 hectares, including 8 km of sandy beaches bordered by dramatic cliffs. Stretch your legs on one of the walking paths or grab a table and settle in for a barbecue under a shady Casuarina tree.

Charles Darwin National Park

Shell middens in the area indicate that it has been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years. The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the land. During World War II, this area was part of a network of military sites that formed Australia’s front line of defence, and as a result there are many bunkers and storage facilities remaining.

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park is in the Northern Territory (Australia), 69 km south of Darwin – it makes for a great day trip from Darwin!

For visitors, Litchfield National Park’s main attractions are permanent spring fed waterfalls (Florence, Tolmer and Wangi); the clear pools of water they cascade into; cascades at Buley Rockhole; magnetic termite mounds; and a wildlife cruise along the majestic Reynolds River.

During the hot dry season the park is a magnet for people looking for a refreshing swim. Crocodiles do not seem to be as much a threat in Litchfield as they are in other Darwin top end parks, such as Kakadu National Park.

Other features of the park include the termite mounds and the “Lost City”, an area of bizarre sandstone block and pillar formations which have been sculpted by wind and rain over thousands of years.

The Northern Territory supports a wide diversity of native animals including birds, insects, reptiles, marsupials and mammals. This tropical environment is prolific with barramundi and produces the most exciting sportfishing in Australia.

There is no entry fee for the National Park. Camping fees are charged per person per night.

The National Park has a network of sealed and unsealed roads. The northern end can be visited by 2WD on bitumen roads. To visit the southern end, it is necessary to have a 4WD due to several river crossings and the variable nature of the road conditions. Note that during the wet season (Dec-Mar) access by road may be not be possible as the 4WD tracks are closed due to flooding.

Historical sights in Darwin

Darwin is also packed with history, here’s where to get your history fix in Darwin.

World War II Oil Storage Tunnels

Hidden deep beneath the city is one of the most interesting historical sites in Darwin. The World War II Oil Storage Tunnels were built during World War II due to the vulnerability of standard storage tanks to aerial attacks. Delays and the failure to properly seal the tunnels from water meant that they were never used for their initial purpose. Two of the tunnels are open to the public and feature an awesome collection of photographs of life in Darwin during World War II. 

East Point reserve

East Point Reserve, just north of the city, is filled with walking trails and cycling paths. The area is also home to Darwin’s East Point Military Museum. Here you can check out WWII relics and watch footage of the Darwin bombing. Go near dawn or dusk to see Agile Wallabies. 

Darwin Wharf Precinct

At 9.58AM on February 19, 1942, the wharf was a target for Japanese bombs, which claimed the lives of many service personnel and waterside workers. Many of the historical landmarks remain and can be explored today. 

Darwin Wharf Precinct
Australia, homes on recreation area with lagoon on Waterfront precinct in Darwin – depositphotos.com

Fannie Bay Gaol

Fannie Bay Gaol operated as Darwin’s major prison for almost 100 years from 1883. Two maximum security wings were added during the 1950s and the gallows were used for executions until 1952. The building’s grim and oppressive history can be felt as you walk through.

Australian Aviation Heritage Centre

The Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, houses an impressive collection of the Territory’s aviation history and reminds us of Darwin’s frontier role in World War II. To fully appreciate all the centre has to offer, allow yourself at least an hour and a half. Take advantage of the guided tours, video presentation and range of souvenirs. entry fees apply. 

Burnett House at Myilly Point

Architect B.C.G. Burnett designed homes adapted to the climatic conditions of the Top End, which included the use of lightweight materials and natural ventilation. It is worth leaving your visit to Myilly Point until Sunday afternoon, when you can take High Tea in the shady tropical gardens at Burnett House.

Browns Mart

Browns Mart is a stone building that was opened in 1885 as the store ‘Solomon’s Emporium’. It played many roles over the years, but today has become a cultural and historic icon of the city that is regularly used for theatre and performances.

Adelaide River War Cemetery

During World War II, Adelaide River township was the site of a large military base. The war cemetery created there is now the final resting place for 434 military personnel and civilians involved in the war effort. The cemetery is set in lush surrounds alongside the Adelaide River with beautifully tended gardens providing a peaceful backdrop for remembering the fallen.

Lyons Cottage

Lyons Cottage, overlooking Darwin Harbour on The Esplanade, was built in 1925 to house staff working on the submarine cable that connected Australia with Britain. Also known as British Australia Telegraph (BAT) House, Lyons Cottage survived the Japanese bombing raids of 1942 and 1943 and escaped structural damage from Cyclone Tracy in 1974. The Cottage today houses a collection of Aboriginal and European photographic displays.

The Old Court House and Police 

Built in 1884 for the South Australian Government, these colonial style buildings made from local stone have housed criminals, the Navy and today the NT Administrator’s Offices. Restored after damage by Cyclone Tracy, these buildings are a stark reminder of the Darwin of yesteryear.


The Cutest Cabins to Rent in Banff, Canada

Banff Alberta may be known for its rugged mountain views, turquoise lakes and luxury ski resorts, but one of its most loved hidden gems is without a doubt the incredible cabins to rent in Banff. No matter where you are in this gorgeous province – whether you are taking in the magnificently wide skies or engaging your adventurous side on the slopes – Banff will indulge you in the most glorious cabin experience!

With so many incredible cabins to rent in Banff, the real challenge begins when deciding which one o make your home-away-from-home.

To help you make an informed decision, here are the 10 cutest cabins to rent in Banff, Canada.

See also 10 Cozy Cabins to Rent in Alberta, Canada

Here are some of the cutest cabins to rent in Banff

Exploring Banff National Park in the winter calls for a cosy cabin! But, if you’re visiting during the summer months, these cabins work just as well!

Storm Mountain Lodge

Do not let the name fool you as this quaint little accommodation spot is in fact a cabin, or fondly referred to by locals as the “little gingerbread houses”. Storm Mountain Lodge is an incredibly magical and rustic little place that is gently tucked away between Banff and Lake Louise, just down Highway 93. This picturesque wood-themed cabin is not only homely but a great way for you to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature. 

They also currently hold the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, which is a notable achievement.

Book your stay at Storm Mountain Lodge

Cabins to rent in Banff, Canada
Storm Mountain Lodge Cabins

The Black Bear Chalet

The Black Bear Chalets are a luxury cabin that is the perfect blend between modern sophistication and uninhibited nature coming together. This outstanding location is essentially like owning your own piece of paradise with everything you could ever need for a vacation getaway all under one roof. It is also a 2-minute walk to Main Street which is known for its exciting restaurants, well-known galleries, cafes and shops.

The chalet itself boasts the most magnificent fireplace ready for roasting of marshmallows and cocoa by the fire. There is also a large open plan dining area for entertaining as well as cosier rooms for you to retreat to at the end of a long day.

Book your stay at The Black Bear Chalets

The Black Bear Chalet in Banff
The Black Bear Chalet in Banff

Baker Creek

If you are looking to retreat to the safety of Banff’s luscious mountain ranges, then you might want to consider renting a cabin at Baker Creek. Fondly named after a historical search for gold back in the 1880s, this intimate accommodation spot pays homage to its historical background and even has a Heritage Executive Retreat Centre on site. Located along the unbelievably scenic Bow Valley Parkway, from the moment you step outside of your cabin you are immediately engaged in mother nature in all of her glory!

Book your stay at Baker Creek

Baker Creek Mountain Resort in Banff, Canada
Baker Creek Mountain Resort

Banff Bear B&B Suite

The Banff Bear B&B Suite is an exquisite cabin to rent in Banff as this location continues to receive superb reviews – all-year-round. This mountain spot is a quick walk over to Banff Avenue where you can enjoy the Bow River and Cascade Gardens.  What adds to the charm of this cabin is the private deck which overlooks the wildlife in the area – which is a bucket-list must-see! It is also the ideal private retreat for adventure seekers as you can engage in a full day of hiking or skiing within the area too.

Book your stay at Banff Bear B&B Suite

Cutest cabins to rent in Banff, Canada
Banff Bear B&B Suite

Mountains Calling Chalet

The Mountain Calling Chalets are a traveller’s dream where rustic living meets contemporary stylings. Situated 2 short blocks to Banff Avenue this mountain home is has a number of luxuries that will help you ease into life in Banff. Simply enjoy your morning coffee or watch the sunset over Mount Rundle whilst socialising and grilling out on your deck. The rooms are also the epitome of relaxation as the windows look out onto the goosebump-inducing views.

Book your stay at Mountain Calling Chalets

Mountains Calling Chalet
Mountains Calling Chalet

Rocky Mountain Retreat

The Rocky Mountain Retreat is a another one of the superb cabins to rent in Banff for a family holiday, friendly gatherings and reunions as well as business retreats. This cabin easily transforms into the most tranquil and secluded Banff experience. It is also one of the best ways to enjoy an authentic log home with all the amenities you could ever dream of and more. This property also offers picturesque views of the Canadian Rockies with close proximity to local grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, skiing, golfing, and hiking trails.

Book your stay at Rocky Mountain Retreat

Cute cabins in Banff, Canada
Rocky Mountain Retreat

Castle Mountain Chalets

Castle Mountain Chalets is gently nestled in between Banff and Lake Louise, on the corner of the Bow Valley Parkway 1A and Highway 93 South at Castle Junction. For those looking to engage with all that Banff has to offer should definitely book a stay here as this location offers an authentic Rocky Mountain experience and plenty of outdoor activities right at your doorstep, such as mountain biking and cross-country skiing. There is even a licensed general store on-site for those of you looking to grab a few goodies!

Book your stay at Castle Mountain Chalets

Rent a cabin in Banff, Canada
Castle Mountain Chalets

Paradise Lodge & Bungalows

Paradise Lodge & Bungalows has a number of exclusive cabin options that will absolutely delight you. The natural charm and characteristics of this accommodation spot make it an absolute must-see. Better yet this quaint spot is a family-run cabin and hotel property that boasts an impressive mountain history. The gorgeous facility also has a number of newly renovated luxury cabins that they have recently opened to the public where the natural materials used perfectly complement the natural surroundings.

Book your stay at Paradise Lodge & Bungalows

Paradise Lodge and Bungalows in Banff, Canada
Paradise Lodge and Bungalows

Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows

We have yet another heart-warming family-owned business on our list, this time it is the much-loved Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows. This local favourite has been operational ever since 1926 and has gently integrated itself into the history of the area. It is also ideally placed at the trailhead of the historic Johnston Canyon! This means that you are only a few steps away from a gorgeous Banff hike, as well as close to Banff itself where there are a number of fun activities to enjoy! Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows also has over 42 heritage bungalows and cabin accommodations options for you to choose from, each varying in size and amenities.

Book your stay at Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows

Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows
Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows

Skoki Lodge

We under no circumstances could we end this list of cabins to rent in Banff without mentioning the historic, well-known Skoki Lodge. Located in the backcountry of Banff National Park this gorgeous cabin does require a little more effort than others as it can only be reached by hiking or skiing 11km from the Lake Louise Ski Resort. That said, once you arrive at the cabin and witness its beauty and the serene landscapes surrounding it, you will know that you made the right choice.

Naturally in winter there are a number of snow-themed activities to engage in, but the summer months also offer on-site hiking trails, climbing, fishing and horseback riding. Keep in mind that it is said to be one of the most renowned backcountry lodges in the world, so book early as it fills up months in advance.

Skoki Lodge in Banff, Canada
Skoki Lodge in Banff, Canada

When it comes to finding the best, most exclusive, authentic cabins to rent in Banff, it can easily seem like a mammoth task, but you are easily spoilt for choice with incredible spots on offer that will ensure that you have one of the greatest travelling experiences of your life! All you have to do now is pick one!


10 Best Family Resorts in Florida

Florida is known as the Sunshine State for a good reason! It has two coastlines, year-round warm and pleasant weather, tropical islands at the Florida Keys and a dream family theme park at Walt Disney World.

Florida is a large state, with a ton of family-friendly resorts around to cater for all visitors. Whether you’re going to Walt Disney World or Epcot, or you’re looking for a beach lover’s holiday in Miami, there are a lot of family resorts in Florida to suit your budget and holiday needs. Florida’s perfect temperature and variety of destinations make it one of the best family-friendly locations within the United States

Let’s start planning your next trip to Florida for a family vacation! Here are the best all inclusive resorts and top family resorts in Florida, and leading family resorts in the Florida Keys as well as Miami and Orlando. There are a few different price points included in keeping your wallet in check. 

See also Best Spa Hotels & Wellness Retreats in Florida

The best family resorts in Florida

1. Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf & Marina – Stuart, Florida 

If you’re looking for family resorts in Florida that offer a fantastic summer getaway, you can stop your search right here. Not only is the Marriott Hutchinson one of the most underrated family beach resorts in Florida, but it is also only 6 minutes from the city centre of Stuart, Florida, about halfway between Miami and Orlando.

This exceptional resort offers three swimming pools, beachfront access, free parking, breakfast, BBQ facilities and outdoor picnic areas. Large rooms are available for prominent families and many outdoor activities such as swimming, cycling, water sports, tennis, and hiking.

The Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf & Marina is one of the best all inclusive family resorts in Florida while being slightly off the beaten path. 

Book your stay at Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort

Family resorts in Florida, USA
Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf & Marina

2. Tropical Disney Villa, Haines City

Do you prefer your accommodation to be a family home instead of a hotel? Look no further than the Tropical Disney Villa in Haines City, midway between Legoland and Walt Disney World in Orlando. 

This large villa home features three full bedrooms, a private pool, a unique games room for older kids and countless hours of family fun. This unique villa is located on the Southern Dunes Golf Course, providing excellent views and a nearby clubhouse for a quick lunch.

The host has even provided a pirate-themed treasure hunt activity for kids to enjoy. We think this fully-furnished destination is one of the best all inclusive family resorts in Florida for getting quality family time on lock.

Book your stay at Tropical Disney Villa

3. Islander Resort, Florida Keys 

We know that travelling with family can become expensive, so Islander Resort in the Florida Keys is a great budget-friendly option. This three-star resort includes a dedicated kids pool, beach access and bicycle rental facilities.

This destination is one of the busiest family resorts in Florida Keys, as it offers basketball, beach volleyball, fishing, kayaking and even a hot tub. You can choose from a variety of large rooms for the ultimate family-friendly summer vacation in Florida!

Islander Resort is also one of the most cost-effective family beach resorts in Florida Keys.

Book your stay at Islander Resort

Islander Resort in Florida
Islander Resort in Florida

4. The Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando 

It can be pricey staying at some of the official resorts at Walt Disney World. Still, there are a lot of other great all inclusive family resorts in Florida that don’t break the bank yet offer incredible amenities.

The Rosen Inn is an excellent choice for families as it offers a family room, kids playground, game room, garden, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. It’s also pet friendly so that you can bring your entire household along on your next vacation to Florida! In addition, there are many local restaurants and parks within walking distance to the hotel.

Notably, The Rosen Inn is only 5 miles / 8km away from Walt Disney World, making travel accessible for families wanting to visit the world’s happiest place on earth.

Book your stay at The Rosen Inn

5. Walt Disney World Dolphin, Orlando

We’re pretty sure that if you’re a parent or relative of a young child, they’ll want to go to Walt Disney World while visiting Florida. Walt Disney World Dolphin is probably the most popular of all inclusive family resorts in Florida due to its sought-after location. 

You’ll be staying within Epcot in the Lake Buena Vista district of Orlando. We expect your family won’t be disappointed when staying here, as there are a ton of exceptional amenities to enjoy after you’ve had a full day at Disney. A dedicated kids club, babysitting service, family room, playground, and easy access to Epcot theme park are available.

Other notable activities for families include karaoke, an outdoor swimming pool, table tennis and a tennis court, mini-golf, a large water park, and so much more. 

Some of the top attractions to look out for when not staying at the hotel include Disney’s Boardwalk, Walt Disney World and the World of Disney.

Book your stay at Walt Disney World Dolphin

Walt Disney World Dolphin in Florida
Walt Disney World Dolphin

6. Holiday Inn, Orlando Disney Spring Area

Do you want to stay in an official Disney hotel at a lower price point than some other options? Holiday Inn Orlando Disney Spring Area is the perfect place to enjoy a family vacation.

The Holiday Inn in Orlando is one of the family resorts in Florida that offers a hot tub, fitness centre, games room for kids with an arcade setup and family-friendly restaurant. 

Get all this while saving a bit of cash on accommodation! You’ll find lots of entertainment nearby, such as Epcot, Sea World and the Magic Kingdom. 

Book your stay at Holiday Inn, Orlando Disney Spring Area

7. Dolphin Point Villas, Florida Keys 

Here’s another fantastic option for travellers looking to experience the beauty of the Florida Keys. Dolphin Point Villas in Key Largo, Florida Keys, is one of the best family resorts in Florida Keys. 

Each neat villa offers a modern beach house vibe, a shared outdoor swimming pool, access to a secluded beach and dedicated DVDs, books, music, games, puzzles and TV for children. 

You’ll also find a dedicated BBQ area and garden to sit in a while your family enjoys the summer sun.

Book your stay at Dolphin Point Villas

Family-friendly holiday resorts in Florida
Dolphin Point Villas

8. Southernmost Point Guest House, Key West

Perhaps you are looking for more homely family resorts in Florida Keys. Southernmost Point Guest House is an excellent option if you are looking for a classic abode in the Florida Keys.

This bed-and-breakfast features manicured gardens, an outdoor swimming pool, a large breakfast including a kid’s buffet, outdoor garden and picnic area, kids TV channels and easy beach access and views from some suites. 

It’s also only a 2-minute walk to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and Dog Beach is a 6-minute walk away. We think this is one of the better family beach resorts in Florida for bringing your pet along. 

Book your stay at Southernmost Point Guest House

Southernmost Point Guest House
Southernmost Point Guest House

9. YVE Hotel, Miami 

You might be in the market for upmarket family resorts in Florida. If so, we think you’d love YVE Hotel in Miami!

This hotel offers a fitness centre and cycling activities and is also pet friendly. It’s close to Bayside Marketplace and Bayfront Park, while Miami Beach is only 10 minutes away by car. 

The YVE Hotel is one of the family beach resorts in Florida that would be a perfect choice for older kids or teens who enjoy hanging out at the beach without constant supervision.

Book your stay at YVE Hotel

Resorts for families in Florida
YVE Hotel Miami

10. The Guild Downtown | X Miami 

If you enjoy a minimalist aesthetic, even down to your resort or hotel rooms, Guild Downtown would be perfect for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if an interior decor magazine featured these modern minimalistic rooms, complete with a clean, bright feel.

On top of that, this is one of the best all inclusive family resorts in Florida as there are an outdoor swimming pool, BBQ facilities, outdoor lounge area and sun terrace, movie night activities, table tennis, and yoga and fitness classes. 

Children of any age are welcome at this beautiful hotel. 

Book your stay at The Guild Downtown

The Guild Downtown in Miami
The Guild Downtown

Summary: The best family resorts in Florida

Whether you’re going to Miami, Orlando, or even family resorts in Florida Keys, there are a lot of great family beach resorts in Florida to discover.

Bear in mind that the age of your children will impact the most suitable resort for your family. It would help if you considered a hotel with more children’s entertainment for younger kids, while older kids and teens won’t need as much of this. However, you know your family best – so choose wisely. 

We hope you have a fantastic family vacation during your next trip to one of many family resorts in Florida!

For more tips on visiting Florida, check out these posts:


20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Leavenworth, Washington

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If you’ve never heard of Leavenworth, Washington, you’re in for a treat!

Did you know that you can channel all those European vibes without leaving the US? The Bavarian-styled village of Leavenworth is the place!

Located in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth is lined with Alpine-style buildings and restaurants that offer German beer and food. The nearby lake of Wenatchee is the ideal spot for a cozy cabin getaway where you can bird-watch.

Oh, and did I mention the ski areas and wineries? Yep! This place is the ultimate winter holiday destination.

This quaint little town is the perfect Pacific Northwest winter weekend getaway, especially if you can visit during the holiday season. If you’re looking to embrace all those European Christmas market vibes without leaving the US, Leavenworth is like a little Bavaria.

While you would see the best of the town in 24 hours, I would recommend making a weekend out of it to truly get the chance to soak it all in.

Whether you’re exploring the Pacific Northwest on a road trip, looking to make a day trip from Seattle, or simply wanting to plan a cozy winter weekend in Leavenworth — definitely add this charming spot to your list.

The post 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Leavenworth, Washington appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

Save Money On Hotels This Black Friday

It’s Black Friday time! 

As we know, this day has become the ultimate shopping day every year in countries around the world.  In the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Mexico (known as “El Buen  Fin”) and others, companies, both physical and online, offer deep discounts that are generally not seen  the rest of the year. 

For travelers, this is also a great period to plan your trips for next year as everything from travel gear to hotel rooms, if you look in the right places, are being offered at discounted rates. 

Where do you want to go next year? 

For me, I’m hoping to reach Japan, the Cook Islands and East Africa. 

Take a moment to daydream. What destinations pop into your head? White sand beaches? Historic  cities of Europe? The ancient temples and pyramids of Egypt? 

If it’s beaches and warm water you’re after… 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mexico and would take any opportunity to hit up the Riviera Maya for  some time in the sun, on the sand and in the beautiful water. Mix in some historical sites and visiting a few incredible cenotes and it’s a trip that’s hard to beat. On the other hand, one of my friends just learned to surf in Costa Rica and she raved about the experience down there. And after my recent trip to the Dominican Republic, if you’re just looking to relax in a paradise setting, Punta Cana offers remarkable opportunities to do just that. 

If you’re looking for history and culture… 

Perhaps a European trip is in order, admiring the architectural masterpieces that can be found in places  such as Prague, Budapest, Rome and Barcelona. You can also combine this with some of Europe’s  lesser known destinations (Brno, Bratislava, Ljubljana and Valencia, perhaps?) to create an experience  that offers the best sights and days without any tourist crowds. 

And if you’re looking for a proper hotel or resort stay, here’s an example of potential savings. Barcelo Hotels has announced Black Friday hotel offers at their 251 properties around the world (in over 20  countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa). You’ll find up to a 40% discount plus you can get an extra 20% off with the code BF2021 at some excellent accommodations for next year. 

This ensures you get the best price guaranteed. You can also receive other discounts through their “my Barcelo” loyalty program as well, simply by signing up. 


If you saw yourself on a white-sand beach, options include: 

  • Riviera Maya: Barceló Maya Riviera – Adults Only 
  • Cancún: Occidental Costa Cancún 
  • Aruba: Barceló Aruba 
  • Punta Cana: Barceló Bávaro Beach 

If you prefer a cultural European trip, Barceló’s discounts can be found here as well: 

  • Madrid (Barceló Torre de Madrid) 
  • Rome (Occidental Aurelia) 
  • Prague (Occidental Praha) 
  • Budapest (Barceló Budapest)

Again, this is just an example. Black Friday discounts are everywhere. 

So, where do you want to go next? What type of adventure are you looking for? If you can answer that question, get ready to save and turn those travel dreams into reality! 

By the way, did you know the origin of the term Black Friday? It was apparently used by the police and bus drivers in Philadelphia back in the 1960s to describe the heavy pedestrian traffic on the day after  Thanksgiving. It’s quite a different story these days. 

*Dates of application of the promotional code are for new reservations made between 11/19/2021 to  11/28/2021 for travel between 11/19/2021 to 12/31/2022. Restrictions may apply in some hotels and  specific periods.

 

The post Save Money On Hotels This Black Friday appeared first on Wandering Earl.