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Dear ActiveTravels Members,
I don't know about you but I'm psyched for summer! New England was soaked with rain this spring and for a brief moment in time, we're enjoying glorious weather, not too hot, and flowers are blooming and skies are blue. I know this is momentary but I'm grateful for it.
In the spirit of summer, Steve has written our main feature on The Great Outdoors for Families. Check out his favorite seven destinations and how ActiveTravels can help you get to them and experience them fully. In honor of Pride month, we offer you our Quick Escape to Provincetown, Massachusetts, on the very end of Cape Cod. It's a stunning spot and full of fantastic restaurants, shops and beaches. Read on for more travel inspiration, a wonderful deal in Napa Valley, and enjoy the beginning of summertime fun!
Lisa & Steve
Seven Trips to Try....
The Great Outdoors for Families
It's June, the beginning of the big family travel season. If you want to keep Junior happy with as much activity as possible in some of the most spectacular settings in the world, then try one of these tried and true trips. They all received rave reviews from members or from our own firsthand experience:
Yellowstone National Park
On the Wyoming-Montana border, Yellowstone is America's first and arguably finest national park. One day, you're watching Old Faithful, the park's iconic geyser, erupt almost 200 feet in the air. The next day you're going eyeball to eyeball with buffalo, elk, and moose. Day three, you can peer at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone's majestic Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls, one of the storied vistas in the park. Lodges book well in advance, so best to go with a trusted outfitter like Backroads on their 6-day itineraries that also include the Tetons. They offer a variety of options depending on whether you want to stay in historic lodges or go camping.
In Banff and Lake Louise, families can bike past turquoise blue glacial lakes nestled in the high peaks, walk up a gorge where waterfalls tumble down, and view their fair share of bear. Another highlight is taking a glacial walk on the massive Athabasca Glacier on Icefields Parkway, the stunning roadway that leads from Lake Louise to Jasper. We can vouch firsthand for Austin Adventures's exceptional product, having taken the kids to the Canadian Rockies on one of their guided multi-sport adventures. Each day, we sampled a different activity including whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, and rock climbing. It was one of our most memorable trips as a family and it led to this story in The Boston Globe. Yes, that's our son, Jake, falling off the raft in the photo!
Costa Rica has the ideal landscape to host a multi-sport journey, with its mix of rainforest, active volcano, cloud forest, and coastline. Over the course of the week, you can zipline across the cloud forest canopy, spotting toucans along the way, take a naturalist-led hike past the monkeys and sloths of the rainforest in Manuel Antonio National Park, kayak to a deserted beach, and soak your weary limbs in a hot tub while staring at the perfectly cone-shaped Arenal Volcano. We've designed over 100 itineraries for families with our beloved outfitter on the ground in Costa Rica, Costa Rica Experts. We'll work with them to package together all lodging, activities, guides, and transfers based on your budget.
Switzerland, especially the Swiss Alps, is blessed with an intricate network of trains and gondolas that can connect with endless opportunities for high adventure right outside your hotel doorstep. Swiss chocolate and fondue might be the main draw to the country, but one look at lofty Eiger Peak, standing 13,020 feet, as you take a gondola high above the mountain village of Grindelwald, and you can't help but be mesmerized by the mix of snowcapped peaks, green valleys, glacier-fed waterfalls, and large lakes. Add Bern to your itinerary and you'll have the unique opportunity to tube down the Aare River and take an electric bike ride in scenic Emmental Valley. In Switzerland, we like to work with the Lucerne-based Bucher Travel, who've been designing trips in their country for over 150 years.
Head to the Masai Mara and you'll be watching the hippos swim in the Mara River at your resort after your morning game drive to spot elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos, and leopards. Few can design that journey of a lifetime better than the classic safari outfitter, Abercrombie & Kent. A&K likes children to engage in local culture, which might include a walk with the neighboring Maasai to see their mud huts and taking part in a jumping contest. In Tanzania, expect a visit to magical Ngorongoro Crater and glamping in the bush of the expansive Serengeti. After days of waking up early to go game viewing, treat yourself to a relaxing beach stay in Zanzibar at the end of your trip.
Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic have joined forces to bring travelers to the Galapagos Islands equipped with expert naturalists, marine biologists, geologists, historians, archaeologists and outstanding expedition guides. It doesn't matter whether you choose the 7-day or 10-day cruise option, the destination is magical. In the mornings, you'll walk on trails to see giant tortoises, many over 100 years old. In the afternoons, snorkel with huge sea turtles, only to rest on a deserted beach joined by unafraid sea lions who roll in the sand before going to sleep next to you. There's so much wildlife that people forget to tell you about the nighttime, when you can see all the glittering stars of the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross.
The Atlantic Maritimes
For me, Canada's Atlantic Maritimes are an extension of New England, a place I visit yearly, if not two or three times a year to pen stories on whale watching and sea kayaking New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy, walking the dunes and biking the island-long bike trail of verdant Prince Edward Island, and listening to the live Celtic music of Cape Breton. Far less congested than parts of New England, the region is a joy to drive, the reason why it's become a requisite road trip for many Northeasterners. For members who come to us with last minute summer requests, we always suggest this road trip. ActiveTravels will design our patented Dream Day Itinerary, which includes our favorite lodging, activities, driving routes, and restaurants.
We're happy to discuss any or all summer options with you! If you're looking for more ideas, sign up for our ActiveTravels blog and receive daily destination inspiration! It's also a great way to search for all kinds of intriguing topics that Steve has already written about.
Deal of the Month
Farmhouse Inn, Napa Valley
If you're thinking ahead to Fall trips and you need a great idea for a romantic escape or a girls or guys weekend to celebrate a milestone birthday, we have an amazing deal for you to consider!
How about a trip to wine country, Napa Valley? Not only can you sample world-class wineries and all the wine samples you can drink but you can hike the majestic redwood forest nearby, see the Sonoma Coast and even spend a day in San Francisco, if you like. Or, you can just drink wine and go to the spa, my personal favorite!
Check out this great deal with one of our favorite properties,
, in Sonoma.
If you stay 3 nights or more until December 31st, 2019, here's the savings:
- 3-4 days, save 15% off the rates
- 5-6 days, save 20% off the rates
- 7+ days, save 25% off the rates
All of the above is based on availability.
and we'll book for you. We can make sure you receive the Virtuoso amenities which include complimentary breakfast each morning and a spa credit of $100 during your stay.
Tried and True Travel Tips:
Luggage Free & Luggage Direct
Can you imagine the act of traveling with no luggage to carry? What would it feel like to arrive at the airport and not have to lug heavy bags, deal with those annoying check in kiosks, not have to figure out how to stick that long baggage tag on your suitcase, and avoid the baggage drop off lines? What if you are planning that golf trip to St. Andrews or skiing Park City and the thought of maneuvering through the airport with that unwieldy sport equipment just drags you down? With Luggage Free, all of this schlepping can be avoided! Sounds dreamy to me!
You may want to check out Luggage Free if any of the scenarios above get you excited. It's a transportation service for your suitcases. Here's how it works:
1. Contact Luggage Free by phone or online. You can contact them 24/7 to arrange your baggage pickup.
2. You pack everything up as if you were going to the airport. Large equipment like bikes, skis, snowboards and golf bags must be in appropriate packages for flights. A Luggage Free representative will come to your home, your office, your hotel, or your cruise ship to personally pick up your bags.
3. Your luggage is tracked and monitored throughout transit. Luggage Free will contact you via email to let you know where your bags are in transit and when they have arrived and who signed for it.
You'll avoid dealing with the baggage carousel waiting and hoping that your bags actually arrive!
For international flights, you will breeze through customs with nothing to declare. Luggage Free serves 114 countries.
Another excellent luggage service to keep in mind if we ever book a Holland America cruise for you is Luggage Direct. This is an awesome program because you sign up easily online and tell them your flight details for your return home after the cruise. The night before you arrive into port, Luggage Direct will give you your boarding pass and luggage tags. All you do is pack your bags, place the luggage tags on them and leave your suitcases outside your stateroom door that night. Upon arrival into port, you disembark the ship with your carry on only and when you arrive to the airport, you can skip the check in lines and go directly through airport security to your departure gate. You will meet up with your bag at the baggage carousel in your home town airport. Believe it or not, for Holland America's Seattle port, this service is absolutely free! Otherwise, it's a $25 charge. Not bad! And, so convenient.
Save your back and take some stress off your lives. Vacation is supposed to be relaxing. Consider one of these excellent services next time you travel!
June and September are our favorite months to visit P'town, before or after the summer crowds arrive. Stay with our friends at the Salt House Inn, smack dab in the center of Provincetown (with parking, no less). Then go whale watching, bike up and down the dunes on the unique Province Lands Bike Path, see the glorious pine warblers swoop from pine to pine just inland of the parking lot at the Province Lands Visitor Center, and, of course stroll the stretch of beach at Race Point surrounded by the sea. For dinner, head to that P'town classic, the Mews, to dine on lobster risotto, pan seared scallops, or almond crusted cod. Remember that you can take the 90-minute high-speed ferry from Boston's Long Wharf to Provincetown and avoid an often congested drive.
If you're up for something totally wild, go during Provincetown's Carnival Week, a weeklong celebration of LGBTQ life-parties art fairs, a costume ball and more. Carnival events officially begin at the Pride Flag raising ceremony at the Pilgrim Monument on August 12th and culminates with the Carnival Parade on Thursday, August 22nd. This year's theme is Enchanted Forest!
Contact ActiveTravels to get started planning your Provincetown getaway!