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Amazing Picturesque Spots in Salt Lake City

Skiing is one of Salt Lake City’s main tourist draws. Beyond the slopes and snowy peaks, however, there’s an abundance of scenic spots that you should experience no matter your reason for visiting. If you’re planning a trip to the city, find yourself a hotel near the major attractions of Salt Lake City and go outside to explore the cultural, historic, and natural sites of the area.

One thing you’ll notice immediately is the seemingly limitless natural beauty. To help narrow down your choices, here are five of the most picturesque spots to see while in Salt Lake City.

Ensign Peak

Picturesque Spots in Salt Lake City

Image via Flickr by Edgar Zuniga Jr.

If you’re looking for a stunning view of the city, Ensign Peak is the perfect place to go in the foothills by downtown. Though there are a few steep areas, it’s a relatively easy hike in comparison to many of the mountain climbs nearby. Head up for sunset and see the city by daylight and after dark when the city lights brighten the night sky.

Donut Falls

Take an early morning walk and make your way to Donut Falls, a truly unique site. Though the hike is for those of all skill levels, there are more strenuous areas when approaching the falls. The view is breathtaking as the sun and water flow through a donut-like hole overhead in the mountainside. Even if you visit in the winter, you can snowshoe your way there and witness the frozen falls and shimmering snow around it.

Mount Olympus

Probably one of the most recognizable mountains of Salt Lake City is Mount Olympus. While you’ll be able to enjoy the view of the mountain itself from pretty much anywhere in the city, the views from the summit are mind-blowing. The hike to the top is well worth it. Take the steeper parts slowly, and you’ll find the views along the trail to be beautiful and motivating each step of the way.

The Great Salt Lake

The largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, The Great Salt Lake offers some of the most picturesque scenes you’ll find in the area. This large body of water offers island and mountain views, white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and wildlife sightings. Whether you head there in the summer or winter, you’ll find beauty staring back at you. For a truly spectacular sight, stick around for sunset, and watch the vibrant colours of the sky reflected on the lake.

Alpine Loop

From spring to fall, you can find an entire circuit of scenic views along the Alpine Loop. If you take the approximately 45-minute drive around the paved road of the loop, you’ll wind your way around the stunning scenes of mountains, canyons, and forests. Along this route, you’ll get an incredible look at Mount Timpanogos, the Uinta National Forest, and Provo Canyon, as well as many other natural highlights of the area. If you’re there in the fall, the colours of the leaves create a breathtaking sight all on their own.

 

There’s really no missing the beauty of Salt Lake City, no matter your reason for visiting. While you may need to narrow down your list, you’ll want to make your way to as many of these top picturesque spots as possible!

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An Epic Quebec Trip In A Room With Many Views

One room. Transported by helicopters, trains and trucks. One couple. Opening the curtain to the room each day in a new destination, with a new view. Unbelievable? Watch it and believe it:

Exploring Quebec, One View At A Time

This was just part of the journey this couple, Glennis LaRoe and Kip Geddes of New York, took in Quebec as they were transported from location to location in a mobile room. Each time they opened the doors to their room they faced a new and amazing view in the province. From the Chateau Frontenac to the Foresta Lumina to whales in the St. Lawrence River, the sights were epic and just a glimpse of the stunning scenes Quebec has to offer.

While the two of them had no clue where they would stop, or what they would see next, taking the same route while fully aware of what is to come is as much of a breathtaking experience. If you’re planning your own trip to Quebec, you can follow along with their itinerary, or use it to springboard an adventure of your own in the vast, spectacular province that is Quebec.

The Diversity of Experiences in Quebec

What this video highlights the most is the sheer diversity of experiences, attractions, sights and adventures to be found in the province. In just ten days, Glennis and Kip travel through only a portion of Quebec but manage to delve into the culture, witness some of the incredible landscapes and enjoy so much.

Though you can find a fantastic look at the various spectacular views and facets that the couple delved into, along with in depth information, on the QuebecOriginal’s site, here’s a quick look at what Quebec has to offer including a video for each that highlights what the two of them were able to experience as they travelled along in their room with many views.

Outdoor Activities

Quebec is truly a playground of outdoor activity no matter the time of year. Each season offers incredible opportunity to partake in, or witness, a whole host of stunning landscapes and exhilarating recreational activity. In the summer there is cycling, camping, watersports and views aplenty that are equally matched by the wintertime sports and sights that can be found throughout.

Gastronomy

You definitely won’t have a hard time finding good food in Quebec. From traditional Quebecois cuisine to dishes from around the world, the province offers a truly enjoyable gastronomic experience. There’s the classic poutine (as well as the variations that have been created around it), the wines and cheeses, the breads, the meats and game and the international fare all come together to create a culinary landscape to drool over.

Culture

With centuries of history, changing political and religious landscapes and influences from various countries throughout time, it’s no wonder Quebec is teeming with French culture. Through architecture, art, music and literature, you can witness culture around every corner, breathe it in with every step.

Adventure

With so much to do and see it’s no wonder Quebec offers an abundance of adventure and whether you’re into extreme sports or softer experiences, there’s something for pretty much everyone. If jumping out of a plane isn’t for you, ziplining may be the thrill you’re looking for. Hiking, with all the views of the province, can also leave you just as breathless.

 

For Kip & Glennis, this trip in the room with many views was a once-in-a-lifetime experience but for the rest of us, it offers a glimpse into a province that has everything any traveller or tourist could want and gives us all a small taste… not enough to quench our thirst but enough to leave us hungering for more and anxious to get out and plan our own adventure to la belle province: the beautiful province of Quebec.

 

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5 Perfect Weekend Destinations in The USA

One of the toughest things about being an adult is living by a work schedule. But just because you have limited vacation days doesn’t mean you can’t use the occasional weekend to get out of town, unwind, have a great time and come back to your work life refreshed.

To get you inspired for your next weekend trip, here are five cities across the United States that you might visit, along with activities you could do to get the most out of your two-day adventure.

Enjoy Short Weekend Travels at These 5 Locations

You probably won’t be able to do everything listed for each city over the course of two days, but the ideas provided should help you get started on planning a kickass weekend trip.

San Francisco

san francisco

San Francisco isn’t a small town. Whether you’re drawn to historical sites, beautiful natural scenery or just some really good wine, this is the place to spend your weekend trip. Here are a few ideas to get you started on the planning:

  • Set up a picnic by San Francisco Bay — and enjoy a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Tour Alcatraz Island
  • Explore Muir Woods and marvel at the breathtaking giant redwoods
  • Go wine tasting — California is home to a lot of amazing wineries
  • See giant sequoias, the Yosemite Falls and other natural wonders at Yosemite National Park
  • Watch the amazing street performers of the city

Since San Francisco is such a large city, you’ll want to plan your vacation geographically. That is, if you’re interested in activities that take place on either side of the Golden Gate Bridge, you don’t want to keep driving back and forth across it. Not only is the bridge about 1.7 miles long, but it also has a toll that you won’t want to pay repeatedly if possible.

St. Louis

St. Louis is a large but modest, hard-working city. Manufacturing is vital to the city’s economy, and so it offers a lot of unique sites — and some really good beer. Here’s how to take advantage of your weekend trip:

  • See the St. Louis Arch — inside and out
  • Enjoy a tour of St. Louis’s fine breweries — the Anheuser-Busch Brewery being the most well-known
  • Watch a Cardinals baseball game or a Blues hockey match
  • Spend a long afternoon touring the St. Louis Zoo
  • Explore the city’s unique structures, like the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the City Museum or the Missouri Botanical Garden

If a sports event is on your bucket list in St. Louis, make sure to plan ahead. Pick a weekend with a home game you’d like to see, then structure the rest of your trip around the scheduled event.

Panama City

panama city florida

To many, Panama City isn’t as glamorous as some of the other locations on this list. But it has a quaint, small city charm to it. Not to mention the greatest attraction of all — the beach!

On that front, here are a few ways you can get the most out of a sunny two-day trip to Panama City:

  • Take a boat trip out to Shell Island
  • Play sand volleyball, beach soccer or simply beach bumming
  • Go snorkeling or, if you’re certified, SCUBA diving
  • Try every water sport the calm water has to offer — paddle boarding, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing and/or whatever else appeals to your adventurous side

Of course, even Panama City has its rainy days, and if your trip happens to fall on a less-than-ideal weekend weather-wise, you can still have a great time exploring the city’s other attractions. For instance, you can:

  • Visit the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum
  • Walk around the Pier Park shopping district
  • Assert your wit at a local escape room
  • Sit in at a dueling piano bar

No matter what time of year you visit, Panama City always has fun activities to offer. But to really get the most out of your trip, try to pick a nice, warm, sunny weekend!

Washington, D.C.

As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is of course going to have its own unique set of attractions. If you’re a history buff, this is definitely a worthwhile weekend destination. Here are a few things you could do there:

  • Visit the most iconic U.S. government buildings — the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court and the Lincoln Memorial
  • See a performance at the Kennedy Center
  • Tour amazing museums, like the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History
  • Explore the Smithsonian Institute Building
  • Walk through D.C.’s areas of interest, like the Tidal Basin, the National Mall and Georgetown

Since D.C. is so large, and since it’s rated as the U.S.’s number one most stressful city to drive in, the best way to get the most out of your trip is to put aside the anxiety of fighting the traffic and let a bus tour guide handle the details for you.

After all, the local professionals know their history, which sites to visit and how best to get around the city. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the incredible sites the capital has to offer.

Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone national park

Most of Yellowstone National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming, but it does bleed into Montana and Idaho as well. That gives you a lot of site-seeing options to choose from. At the park itself, you can do this and much more:

  • Watch Old Faithful and other park geysers erupt
  • Look in awe at colorful hot springs and Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon
  • Wander through the park’s versatile landscape of mountain, forest and lakes to witness wildlife activity
  • Camp on park grounds overnight

Outside the park — depending on which states’ attractions appeal to you most — you can:

If you’re an avid outdoors-person, you could easily spend the whole weekend at Yellowstone National Park. If, on the other hand, you want to see more of the surrounding area as well, it may be wise to spend one day at the park and another day exploring elsewhere.

Make Your Weekends Count

Adulting has its stresses, but it’s important not to take life too seriously. Your work and your responsibilities are important, but they shouldn’t consume your entire life.

So take a breather. Plan the occasional weekend out of town, and leave your adult life behind when you go.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


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Things To Do In Toronto In The Winter

There’s something electric about the city of Toronto that makes it a perfect place to spark a little romance. With an unending list of activities, events and experiences, it’s a city that is always bursting with activity and excitement, no matter the time of year. It’s probably this infectious enthusiasm of the city that makes it an environment perfect for all couples, whether they’ve just met or have been together for years.

Sure, warmer seasons may seem like the best time to get out and explore a city as a couple but in Toronto the winter is actually chock full of opportunities to have fun, get active or even cozy up together. You may not be aware of it, but you don’t have to look far to find those opportunities. All it takes is for you to put on your coat, throw on your hat and gloves, grab your special someone and get those winter boots out into the city!

5 Date Ideas For Some Winter Fun in Toronto

In case you need some help planning, here are some great things to do in Toronto in the winter that also make for great date ideas in the city for any couple, whether you’re looking for a day of art, nature or recreation!

Enjoy Winter Festivals in the Distillery DistrictDistillery District Light Festival Toronto

One great thing about Toronto is the steady stream of festivals that take place and the winter weather only brings more unique events to the city, especially The Distillery District. It’s one area in Toronto that never fails to offer enjoyment during colder weather.

If you’re looking to plan your date before the New Year, a visit here will see you walking through Toronto’s Christmas Market. As you stroll the cobblestone streets, you’ll see the classic wooden huts reminiscent of the European Christmas markets it is based on. Decorations and activities, food and drinks and shops along the way to duck into and escape the cold will also line your way.

After the New Year, you’ll want to plan your date night around the Toronto Light Festival an exhibit of light art throughout the Distillery District that will illuminate the city at night and blends art, colour, light, movement and architecture. It’s a unique place for a date night and will offer something special on an evening out in Toronto.

Adventure To The Islands

The Toronto islands are probably one of the last places most people think of when planning a date in the winter but that only means they’re missing out! True, it’s not the tourist hub of the warmer months but what it doesn’t offer by way of tourist comforts, it delivers in privacy and charm along with some unique winter activities.

You can easily spend an entire day on Ward’s island, skating on the water if the weather is right, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing… or even all three! After some time in the snow you can find your way indoors to warm up and enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants that are open year-round like The Rectory Café. If you really want to kick up the romance, booking a night at a B&B and heading out to enjoy the view of the Toronto skyline together at night would make the evening complete.

With regular ferries to Ward’s Island, you’ll be able to come and go as you please and plan your date around whatever schedule you want.

Take A Winter Walk Hand-In-Handgraffiti alley toronto

Embrace the romance of the outdoors by taking a secluded walk through one of the city’s parks or trails as you hold hands and have some quiet conversation. Some of the more public areas, like Riverdale Park, still offer some quiet trails but will also give you the option of enjoying winter activities like tobogganing. It’s also one of the best spots for a view of the city line so an improvised picnic outdoors, with hot chocolate or coffee, while sitting on a bench could really up the romance factor.

A winter walk in an urban landscape, like Graffiti Alley, is also a great date idea. Stroll down the alley surrounded by stunning and colourful street art before heading to one of the area’s many cafes and restaurants where you can continue the conversation and exchange hand holding for some playful under-the-table footsies!

Find Outdoor Adventure Together At The Winter Village

If recreation and adventure is more your style, heading to the Evergreen Brick Works Winter Village may be your idea of a perfect winter date in Toronto.  A free skating rink, nature trails that you can take by foot or experience while fat biking (yes, it’s a real thing!) and campfires await any couple looking to spend the day enjoying winter activities. There are over 40 acres of outdoor space to enjoy and embrace nature while having fun and looking out for some winter wildlife.

The great thing about the Winter Village is that you can combine the day of outdoor fun with some culinary treasures at the Street Food Market. Local food trucks and restaurants can be found dishing out some amazing eats and demonstrating why the city is considered a gastronomic powerhouse. After a day of activity together, winding down with some delicious food is a perfect ending to a date at The Winter Village.

Explore The Art Scene Outside & In!toronto cityscape and street art

It’s no secret that Toronto is home to some spectacular art galleries and museums but before you go inside to escape the cold and warm up on indoor displays of art and culture at places like the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Royal Ontario Museum, take a look at the winter art installations that are making the city vibrant even in the winter season.

Though the Waterfront and Lakeshore areas are prime spots for couples to flock to in the warmer weather, these areas turn into creative masterpieces in the winter worthy of a visit during any romantic outing. Make a plan to walk together to each of the five incredible outdoor art displays part of Ice Breakers. Spread out along the waterfront, you’ll pass by interactive designs meant to inspire and add to the beauty of the already spectacular area.

Winter Stations will also grace the city’s waterfront areas as lifeguard stands will be used to create temporary installations as part of an international design competition. Take some time to explore the brilliant work of artists, designers and architects as you walk along the waterfront with its own stunning views.

For some indoor winter date ideas in Toronto, check out our article on SeeTorontoNow.com: How Locals Do Date Night in Toronto: Winter Edition.

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A Selfie Tour Of Quebec City In The Winter

Quebec City has become one of our favourite cities in the world and it seems that no matter what season you visit, there is so much to do and see. Even in the winter, the city is alive with activity and with so much to do and see, and we found ourselves spending much of our days and nights simply walking the streets, visiting the various attractions and taking in as much culture and history as we could.

It was during our attempts to document our time in the city that we realized something was missing from all the videos and photos we were taking – us! So, flipping our LCD screen of our Fuji X-A3 180 degrees, we began a self-guided tour of Quebec City taking photos of the two of us in some of our favourite places around the city.

Whether you’re looking to explore the city or are just looking to see it from the comfort of your own computer screen, we’ve put together a selfie tour of Quebec City in the winter to give you a glimpse of just some of the amazing things around the city… and an even bigger glimpse of our smiling faces!

You may want to take note of the places you’ll want to see. To help, we’ve provided direction for how to find your way to each of these spots!

Exploring The City

There may have been snow on the ground but we grabbed our hats and gloves, zipped up our coats and set off to explore the city – what we found were views and streets beautiful enough to warm us up all on their own!

We loved the parliament building in Quebec City and you can catch a glimpse of it in the background!

These steps behind us are called L’Escalier Casse-Cou or Breakneck Steps and can be found in the Petit Champlain neighbourhood. This happens to be the oldest staircase in Quebec City and, as you can tell by their steepness, have probably earned their name!

Dufferin Terrace is an area of Old Quebec that we love to stop at every chance we get. The view is spectacular and there is so much history surrounding the area. This statue of Samuel de Champlain is just an example of what you’ll find there. It’s a pretty spectacular place to place a monument to the father, or founder, of the city itself!

It’s impossible to tour the city and not want to stop at one of the most iconic of buildings. You don’t have to be familiar with the city to recognize the Chateau Frontenac, arguably one of the most photographed hotels in the world. Opened in 1893, it’s also a National Historic Site in Canada and a fully operational hotel… we couldn’t miss the chance to snap a photo of us with this landmark.

Or two photos… there are great views of the Chateau Frontenac from all over!

Look past those baby blues of ours to the beautiful building behind us – Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral. It holds huge historic and religious significance for the city, the province and the country and since it’s over 350 years old, it only makes sense that it has a prominent place in the landmarks of Quebec City and is a National Historic Site of Canada as well as a World Heritage Site.

Even city hall is beautiful! The City Hall of Quebec City, or the Hotel de ville de Quebec, is a National Historic Site of Canada. Inaugurated in 1896, it is built in the heart of the Old City and it a pretty landmark to see.

Of the gates you can go through to enter the Old City of Quebec, the Porte Saint-Jean is perhaps our favourite! As part of the Ramparts of Quebec City, which are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America (not including Mexico), it is a gateway to history in the city and this one also leads to Place D’Youville, a public square that also has an outdoor skating rink in the winter!

Finding Amazing Views

One of our favourite views can be found by the Plains of Abraham and La Citadelle de Quebec, two other amazing places to spend time in Quebec City. It’s here at the Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-de Mons, where you’ll find one of the best lookouts in the city. We stayed for quite some time taking it all in and even got a chance to see ice kayakers practice for the big race that happens each winter!

Like we said, it’s not hard to find amazing views of the Chateau Frontenac and though photos can never do a beautiful view justice, this is a great spot to look up at the Old City. Find your way down to the lower part of the city and to Rue Dalhousie, near Quai Chouinard.

We mentioned that we keep finding our way to Terrace Dufferin, multiple times whenever we are in the city and here is just one part of the view. It’s a stunning look over the water and surrounded by the beautiful buildings and lively activity of this area in the Old City.

Then there are those times that we just wander and stumble upon some amazing views as we do. The city is chalk full of scenic spots – from nature to architecture, history to urban settings – it’s a pretty fantastic place to witness no matter what the season happens to be!

Enjoying Winter Activities

About 20 minutes north of Quebec City sits a winter wonderland called the Village Vacances Valcartier, or the Valcartier Vacation Village. With a whole resort available, you can find a whole assortment of winter activities – like tubing and ice skating, as well as the famous Ice Hotel itself. To warm up from the cold, you can enter the hotel complex, head to your own room, one of the restaurants or the tropical indoor waterpark!

Though the entire region around Quebec City offers unlimited options for winter activities, you don’t really have to go far to find some fun in the ice and snow. From outdoor skating rinks, to snowshoeing across the city, Carnaval festivities and so much more, you’ll be surrounded by things to do and ways to warm up outside. We especially love the Nordik Village, or Village Nordik du Port de Quebec, located in the Louise Basin that offers skating, sliding AND ice fishing! The indoor Old Port Market that is right on site also offers fresh food and hot drinks as well as artisanal goods. Best of all, if you catch trout while ice fishing, you can bring it in to be cooked and served at a small extra cost!

Experiencing Carnaval

One of the most anticipated festivals of the year in Quebec is Carnaval and it doesn’t take long while in the city to see why. The energy and excitement are contagious, the festivities and celebrations are thrilling and the city is alive with people having fun almost everywhere you look.

From ice castles to human foosball, maple taffy to caribou (a traditional Quebecois beverage), you’ll find something for everyone and enjoy all the winter has to offer – as you can see below, we definitely enjoyed ourselves!

The king of Carnaval is Bonhomme, and you’ll see him represented throughout the city – if you don’t get a chance to see him in person! We found him everywhere!


Chasing Down Ice Sculptures

Though a part of the Carnaval festivities, the ice sculptures are a force of their own. Spread throughout the city, taking on a variety of shapes, sizes and designs, we went on a walk to see all the ones that were completed, as well as watch as some were being made!

Chowing Down On Food

Quebec City has an amazing culinary scene and our stomachs took full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it. From churros at the Old Port Market after ice fishing, to an amazing traditional Quebecois meal at La Buche in the old city (now one of our favourite restaurants), we enjoyed drool-worthy fare wherever we went!

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Explore Outside Disney and Discover Orlando

Most people who visit Orlando make a beeline for Walt Disney World. While it’s a great place to spend a vacation, it won’t give you much insight into the city of Orlando itself. You’ll find that spending some time outside the kingdom of Mickey ears and beloved cartoon characters can be just as magical. It may even offer you exactly what you’re looking for in a vacation.

Since there are lots of choices for great IHG hotels near downtown Orlando, finding accommodations throughout the city won’t be a hard task. What will be difficult is narrowing down exactly what to do in a city filled with sights, sounds, food, and excitement. Here are some suggestions to help you see the real Orlando outside of Disney World.

Experience the City

orlando florida parkImage via Flickr by Joe Shlabotnik

There is so much to do in Orlando with something for almost anyone. A ride on the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye will give you incredible views of the city with a bird’s-eye view of beautiful landscapes and landmarks.

Since any visit to Florida introduces thoughts of alligators, it would only make sense to check out Gatorland. Not only will you get to see the creatures up close, but you can also ride the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line over the marshes and habitats where they live!

You may not head to the Magic Kingdom, but you can cap off your trip with the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour. Here, you can surround yourself with sweet goodness as you learn about the process of making chocolate.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Orlando is home to many natural landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities. Even in the heart of the city, you’ll find beautiful sights like Lake Eola Park. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk, watch swans swim by, or jump on a paddleboat and have some fun. You may want to try to get there on a Sunday, when the Orlando Farmers Market sells local produce, baked goods, and artwork.

If you’re looking for something more private, you can head to Harry P. Leu Gardens. Here, you can spend time walking along the winding paths of the 50 acres of gardens surrounded by flowers and plants from around the world.

A trip to Orlando wouldn’t be complete without exploring the outdoors. If you want to get a good look at all the natural beauty of the area, a hot air balloon ride would definitely give you a unique outdoor experience.

Embrace the Food Culture

Orlando has been building its reputation as a culinary destination. With so many great restaurants to choose from, it’s easy to see why. One of the more memorable restaurants is the Red Mug Diner. Great for any meal and open 24 hours a day, this spot offers some tasty classic Southern comfort foods, like fried chicken and waffles, along with regular diner fare.

Food and art often have blurred lines, and dining at Café Tu Tu Tango offers the experience of both. You’ll find some delicious small plates to share as local artists paint and display their works while you dine.

Another restaurant that’s worth fitting into your schedule is Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar. The Florida location is great for a late-night meal before you lose yourself in Orlando nightlife.

 

Planning a trip to Orlando allows you to explore a city full of wonderful attractions, natural beauty, and incredible food. You don’t need to venture to Walt Disney World to capture excitement and adventure, but you’ll probably want to book another trip to the city since you’ll find that one trip to Orlando only scratches the surface.

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Best Honeymoon Destinations for Surfers in Australia

By Marie Nieves

Planning a honeymoon can be stressful as it is, let alone when you’re looking for a place that’ll satisfy your thirst for adventure. So, what actually happens when two surf-lovers fall in love and get married? Well, they start planning a perfect honeymoon getaway in a place that might help them consolidate both their romantic and adventurous desires. Look no further from Australia, as this is the place where all your dreams come true. Being renowned as the destination with the most amazing natural splendour, romantic waterfront resorts and the best surf beaches in the world, Australia is the number one holiday retreat for anyone looking for an active honeymoon.

Where To Go For A Surf-Lover’s Honeymoon in Australia

So, without further ado, here are some of the best honeymoon destinations for surfers in Australia.

Alley to Noosa Main Beach AustraliaPhoto via Flickr by yarra64 

Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Home to magnificent beach resorts and some of the best surf spots in Queensland, the Sunshine Coast makes for the perfect surfer’s getaway. One of the most common surfing locations is the Noosa Main Beach, where the annual Noosa Festival of Surfing is held. Other popular surfing locations include Mooloolaba, Dicky Beach and the Buddina Beach. The Sunshine Coast also has more national parks than any other region in Queensland, making it a true nature-infused vacation for anybody up for the task.

Byron Bay, New South Wales

The beachside town of Byron Bay is a popular tourist destination mostly because of its amazing scenery, impeccable wildlife and beautiful beaches. Tallow Beach is one of the most favourable surfing spots, while you surely won’t make a mistake by visiting Suffolk Park or Clarkes Beach. The ocean way leading to the Byron Bay lighthouse is a great setting for a midnight walk, but the Cape Byron Marine Park is the best way to experience the open ocean and the tidal waters of the Brunswick River and its tributaries.

Whitehaven Beach AustraliaImage via Flickr by Chilli Mimi

Whitsunday, North Queensland

A collection of continental islands off the central coast of Queensland is an appealing location to many couples looking to indulge in the breathtaking sights of the Great Barrier Reef, enjoy seaway and short walks on the Ngaro Sea Trail or simply lay back and relax on the white sands of the Whitehaven Beach. Airlie Beach is the best option not only for beach surfing, but for windsurfing, kiteboarding and sailing.

Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River is the name of a small town south of Perth, mostly known for its craft breweries, wineries and several hundred caves. The humid Mediterranean climate and a charming rural appeal, it makes for a popular couple’s destination. What’s interesting is that the west coast of this alluring little town is a renowned surfing location and has acquired worldwide fame for its surf breaks.

Granite Island AustraliaImage via Flickr by Jocey K

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

Located south of Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula has some amazing surfing spots, some of the most prominent ones being Waitpinga and Middleton. The peninsula is also known for its Fleurieu wine zone with beautiful vineyards, which is a great way to add a touch of Tuscany to your Australian honeymoon. There’s a variety of charming beachside cottages, secluded beaches and captivating restaurants that’ll definitely make your honeymoon something to remember.

Sydney, New South Wales

When talking about the best surfing destinations, local cuisine, mesmerizing beaches, romantic waterfront spa resorts and beautiful scenery, we shouldn’t fail to mention Sydney. One of the largest and definitely one of the most famous cities in Australia offers a wide array of activities, suitable for anyone’s taste, which is why this is one of the best places for planning an active honeymoon. Sydney is very well known for its rich cultural content, as well as entertainment with the Sydney Opera House, The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as well as the Royal Botanical Garden being located here.

The North Shore and northern beaches of Sydney are especially appealing, but nothing more than the eastern suburbs where some of the most affluent resorts are found. Manly Beach is one of the most popular holiday destinations, but if you want something more secluded the Maroubra Beach in Randwick is the best pick for you. This suburb has an enchanting aesthetic appeal known for its rich history and fine, heritage buildings. Booking a Randwick boutique hotel is a great choice, as its charismatic surroundings makes a perfect setting for an active honeymoon, with a variety of surf beaches in close proximity.

 

Australia is, without a doubt, an undisputed champion when it comes to romantic holidays, permeated with lots of action and adventure. If you’re feeling adventurous and are looking for a heavenly destination that’ll satisfy all your needs, then you can rest assured, knowing that they’re all listed right here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mmary nieves profile picarie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest or HighStyLife where she is a regular author.


 

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Planning A Romantic Vacation In London

As a major holiday destination and a travel hub, London is the perfect place for a romantic vacation. With a variety of things to do and see, it’s a city that can speak to any couple looking to get away. Though just being with the one you love sounds romantic in itself, finding a way to make romance a reality can be a challenge as you plan a trip, especially when you travel someplace new. To get you on the right track, we’ve put together some tips to help you plan a romantic vacation in London.

Eliminate the Stress to Focus on Each Other

While you’ll find that public transportation in London is an excellent way to get around the city, you’ll also discover that with a city so large, it’s easy to get lost. This can lead to stress. If there’s one thing that can kill the mood of a vacation, it’s stress. To reduce this possibility, there are several ways to make sure you are able to navigate London easily.

First, you’ll need to make it to the city from the airport. By using GoEuro’s London Airport Infographic, you’ll be able to find the fastest and cheapest way to get from the airport to the city center. Once there, downloading apps such as City Mapper or Google Maps will help lead you through the city itself, from stop to stop. You can plot your destinations beforehand or use the apps as you go. With these in your travel arsenal, you’re likely to focus more on each other and where you’re going rather than thinking about how to get there.

Set the Mood With the Right Accommodations

After a day exploring the city with romance in mind, you’ll probably want to return to a hotel that helps enhance the mood. There are lots of romantic hotels in London, and where you choose to stay depends on what you’re looking for during your time together.

You can choose to stay at a quaint bed and breakfast, a luxury hotel that takes care of all your needs, or a short-term apartment rental that offers ultimate privacy. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to make sure that at the end of the day, you return to someplace that’s the definition of romance for both of you.

Pair Off With London’s Top Attractions

london eyeImage via Flickr by pedrantos

Many of London’s top attractions offer a romantic experience. Try a turn on the London Eye at night as the city lights illuminate and create a stunning view. Take a stroll through Greenwich Park and gaze together over Central London and the Thames. Picnic on Hampstead Heath, an ancient park with some of the best views of the city. You can also spend some quality time together in Queen Mary’s Gardens in The Regent’s Park, where you’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of fragrant roses.

Find Romance Away From the Crowds

The Ruins of St. Dunstan-in-the-East may not be unknown, but this isn’t one of the first places that comes to mind when visiting London. Hidden on a side street, it’s a parish church left in ruin after being bombed in the Blitzkrieg during World War II. With its overgrown vines and trees, the area is a romantic secret garden waiting for couples to stroll through, hand in hand, as they simply enjoy being with each other.

Step Back in Time With Romantic History

While many present-day attractions keep the romance flowing, London is also teeming with historical love stories and remnants of a romantic past. Stop at The Royal Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens to see an ornate monument constructed out of true love by Queen Victoria as she mourned her husband’s passing.

There’s also the Hampton Court Palace. Though the story ends in tragedy, the beginning of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s relationship was filled with sacrifices for love. You’ll find some of that at the gatehouse named Anne Boleyn’s Gate.

 

All it takes to have a romantic vacation in London is some prior planning and an eye for the romantic sights of the city. By keeping our tips and ideas in mind, you’re sure to enjoy a special vacation with the one you love in a city that offers romance around almost every corner.

 

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Finding Adventure While Exploring Arlington, Texas

Arlington might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of visiting Texas, but with its growing popularity, it’s a city that you should know. However long of a visit you’re planning, there are fantastic IHG hotels near Six Flags Over Texas and other Arlington attractions, along with plenty to see and do.

You can explore Arlington through a large variety of experiences, but one of the most exciting ways to get to know the city is through a bit of adventure. If you’re looking for some fun in Arlington, Texas, here are some of the city’s most adventurous attractions.

Adrenaline Rush At Six Flags

six flags over texasImage via Flickr by Clintus McGintus

Arlington is home to both Six Flags Over Texas, the first of the Six Flags theme parks, and Six Flags Hurricane Park, one of a group of water parks. The rides and slides offer adrenaline and exhilaration, while the shows and restaurants boast plenty of entertainment. Combined, the parks have everything you’ll need for a thrilling time and some fun in the city.

Leisurely Day at River Legacy Park

When you visit River Legacy Park, you’ll find a quieter sort of adventure. Here, 1,300 acres of nature offer hiking and biking trails as well as green space for outdoor activities and picnics. It’s a favorite place for locals to enjoy the day, and it’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area, whether you want to take it slow or increase your pace.

Urban Adventure With Segway Tours

When you visit Arlington, you’ll notice that it’s a rather large city with its fair share of natural landscapes and green space. One of the best ways to explore it is by signing up for some urban adventure like a Segway tour. You’ll find yourself gliding around to various attractions, seeing the city in a completely new way and at a faster pace.

Sports and Nature on Golf Courses

If there’s one thing that Arlington isn’t lacking, it’s golf courses. You’ll find gorgeous greens across Arlington, and these offer ample space for sports and leisure. With award-winning courses that combine the stunning nature with varying levels of golfing difficulty, you’re sure to find some adventure while you swing away.

Indoor Excitement With Ice Skating

When you visit the Parks Mall at Arlington you’ll find some fun waiting for you right inside. Ice at the Parks is an indoor ice skating rink and just one of the city’s great attractions. You can head over and have some fun before or after you shop or even join in on one of the many year-round events.

Whether you choose adrenaline-pumping excitement on a rollercoaster or some leisure time outdoors at River Legacy Park, Arlington has something for all adventure lovers. From indoors to outdoors, and from city streets to natural landscapes, there are tons of attractions to choose from in the city. All it takes is a bit of an adventurous spirit, and you’ll be sure to have some fun!

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How To Capture More Than Images With The Fuji X-A3 Mirrorless Camera

We’ve travelled for several years now and are always documenting our experiences. Cameras have become the tools we use to capture moments and memories and photos are a portal to revisiting experiences and destinations explored. Because of our profession, our frequent travels and our love of photography, we are always carrying camera gear wherever we go but between the two of us, our arsenal of equipment has always had a void that needed filling.

So when we were given the chance to use and review the Fuji X-A3, we were incredibly surprised and excited to find it very nicely filled that gap.

fuji X-A3 review

What we especially like about the Fuji X-A3 is it is a compact, mirrorless camera that offers both automatic, point-and-shoot options for anyone as well as manual functions for those who are more knowledgeable or are looking to become more proficient with photography.

The camera has so many incredible features above and beyond the basics that we’d advise those who purchase the camera to make the effort to learn the features that are most relevant to them. It will bring a whole new level to your photography and will help with ease of use when you’re looking to capture those images in the moment.

Why We Love The Fuji X-A3

So what exactly does the X-A3 have that we were missing from our other gear? As a couple who travels together, carrying equipment for the both of us can get heavy and bulky so we’ve always tried to minimize what we bring. That’s left us with one DSLR for the photographer of the two of us and camera phones for the other. While camera phones will do the trick for quick captures and posts to social media, they really don’t have the versatility and professional features that our other camera does. With the Fuji X-A3, we’ve found an incredibly lightweight and compact camera with automatic functions for the lesser photographer of the two of us and the ability to improve on those skills while learning the manual functions available.

view in quebec city of chateau frontenac

The other missing piece that this camera fills is a huge one. For us, when we talk about travelling as a family, we generally are referring to the two of us as a unit and because of that, photos often become of the scenery or of one or the other, rather than the two of us together. We often miss opportunities to snap a photo of us together in amazing places because there is no one there to take the photo or the moment is lost when we do find someone. With the 180-degree tiltable LCD monitor, selfies are taken to the next level and we are able to take them, easily, wherever we are. We’re finally snapping photos of the two of us regularly and we love having quality photos of the two of us together.

Fuji X-A3 Review – Why We’ve Added It To Our Gear

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But there is so much more to the camera that makes it a happy addition for our travels and our everyday life in general and we think these are the same reasons it would make a great addition for anyone of any skill level. Here’s a look at the Fuji X-A3 and some of its many features.

Taking Selfies To A New Level

This is perhaps one of the most unique features we’ve seen and has allowed us to capture moments together more easily and frequently.

The LCD screen can be flipped and tilted 180-degrees so you can see the complete screen, and what you are capturing, when taking a selfie. This is a huge help and even inspired us to take a selfie-tour of Quebec City when we travelled there with the camera.

one modern couple selfie quebec city

The camera also has some functions that make it even easier to take amazing selfies. Choosing Portrait Enhancer on the dial, the camera will make adjustments to enhance skin tones automatically. You can also use the touchscreen to choose the level (levels 1-3) of enhancement to decide how much of an adjustment the camera should make.

Though the camera is designed to have a comfortable and good grip while taking selfies, if you’d prefer not to have to press the shutter button, you can change to a Self Timer function which allows you to choose when the photo is taken – when it detects a smile, when two people move close together in the frame, or when a group of a certain number of people move into the frame.

These features assist in creating selfies that look more like portraits and quality photos than haphazardly taken shots.

Incredible Macro Photos

We love getting different perspectives on what we see and that sometimes means getting up close to the object we are photographing.

Though using manual mode means more experience and knowledge, the Fuji X-A3 also offers an Auto Macro function that will automatically switch the camera to macro and focus quickly on the subject up to 7cm away!

sushi macro fuji x-a3

Because focus is usually slower when getting up close and taking macro shots, having faster autofocus, like this camera does, helps for those close-up shots and we definitely notice the difference when we’re working on our food photography!

Point-And-Shoot Flexibility

As we had mentioned, this is a compact point-and-shoot camera that is packed with possibilities. If you’re looking to keep the settings on auto, you’ll find you’ve got a range of options to help you take photos in a variety of settings and situations without having to learn the intricacies of aperture and shutter speeds (though you can apply these in any of the manual modes as well!)

icicles quebec city

By simply turning the dial, you can choose between several modes that will automatically adjust the camera settings and enable you to take the best photo for what you are trying to capture. For example, there is portrait mode that will automatically enhance faces, landscape mode that will help take scenic shots clearly, sport mode which will help you snap shots of moving objects and night mode for low light settings.

quebec city terrasse view

Not sure what you should be using or what you may be shooting? The Advanced SR Auto function on the dial means that the camera will make the decision for you. The camera will recognize the scene type and select the appropriate camera settings for you. This means it will switch between scenes as you frame each new photo.

The intelligent flash will also help provide the correct amount of flash for the setting and subject and, should you decide to up your game, there is the ability to attach an external flash if desired.

Easy Touchscreen Options

While you can use the touchscreen to adjust features and even turn on a touch shoot or touch zoom, our favourite use of this screen is the touch autofocus.

fuji x-a3 review touchscreen

We love being able to look at the image we are trying to capture and to choose where we want to focus. It allows us to manipulate the depth of the photo, capture parts of the scene we may want to highlight and ensure that the scene is focused as we want it to be.

Ease Of Use – Even On Manual

We both love photography and for us, learning the manual features and using them to the best of our ability is something we enjoy. For the part of our duo that is less camera-savvy when it comes to adjusting those features, the X-A3 has become the ultimate learning tool.

petit champlain quebec city

It is incredibly easy to use, even on manual as the dials to adjust aperture, shutter speed and the button to adjust ISO are easy to access and easy to remember. There are few actions required to move to manual modes and make those adjustments and it makes the process of capturing photos (and learning how) that much more seamless and enjoyable.

For the half that already knows what they are doing, it’s been a great experience to work with the additional features and advanced functions that the camera offers.

Numerous Advanced Functions

The advanced functions are fantastic. It’s where we go to play and grow our artistic side when it comes to photography. There are a bunch of advanced filters you can use to create some different and fantastic photos like soft focus which reduces definition in the photo and creates a soft look in the image.

advanced features fuji x-A3

Our favourite is the partial colour filter. You can choose between red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple and the camera will pick up only that colour chosen, leaving the rest of the photo black and white. It creates a stunning image and really makes some creative shots.

Other filters include miniature – which blurs the top and bottom of a photo,  toy camera – which adds vignette, or shaded borders, to the photo to make it look as though it was taken by a toy camera, and pop colour – which makes the image high in contrast and saturation.

Fantastic Image Quality

No matter what function you use, whether you add filters or whether you’ve decided to use it on manual or automatic, the camera does one essential thing: It creates high quality images. The photos are crisp and clear and take vibrant, detailed images.

ice hotel

 

When we first played back our images on the LCD screen, it wasn’t completely obvious how great the image quality was but once we got those photos on our computer, we were impressed with the quality of the photos the camera had taken.

The photos are fantastic without any editing and we’ve been able to post straight to social media without any adjustments at all!

Immediate Access With Wifi

When we say we have been able to post straight to social media, we mean pretty much right away. With WiFi capability, the photos can be transferred to your phone or tablet on the spot. You can also transfer photos straight to your PC!

Most of the time we’re on the go and want to post our photos as we take them. So, we just open the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app, connect the camera to WiFi and then select the photos we wanted to send to our phone. We even connect our phone to geotag our photos when we want to remember an exact location that a photo was taken.

FUJIFILM REMOTE APP

The great thing about the app and the WiFi capabilities is when you want to get some more creative photos. Since you can also use the app to control the camera itself, you can use the camera hands free while set up on a tripod and take some amazing nighttime shots (you don’t want a shaky hand), some timelapses (to stay still as well), some long-exposure images that really pop and standout, or from far away should you want to take photos of animals.

The other thing we found handy was that we are able to directly connect our camera to our Instax SP-2 Printer. Taking a selfie and want to send it to social? Not a problem. Want to also print it out to keep or give to someone? That’s not a problem either!

A Permanent Fixture With Our Photo Gear

All these features, and more, have made the Fuji X-A3 a permanent addition to our photo gear. We’re able to do so much with such a compact camera and that’s only with the kit lense! We can only imagine how much more we’ll be able to do once we add some more lenses for it.

fuji x-a3 camera review

Though we always prefer shooting with a viewfinder, and this one does not have one, it really is a versatile camera for all experience levels and has been an incredible asset for taking photos together.  With all it’s features, it’s important to take some time to figure it all out because the options are almost endless for enhancing the photos you want to take.

Disclosure: I am participating in the FujiFilm campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.