Enjoy this week’s slice of travel inspiration...and remember to Dream Now, Travel Later!
We often daydream of lounging on a beach, the hypnotic surf singing a relaxing lullaby, your hand clutching a cold, colorful drink with a tiny umbrella perched at the rim, seagulls dancing in the wind above you and a smiling sun giving your skin a warm hug.
Florida is the ideal state to put you in this state of mind. Home to 663 miles of beaches in all shapes and sizes, it’s easy to lose yourself on the sandy shores. But with so many options, how do you know which is the right beach for you?
To find the answer, simply visit the Florida Beach Finder. Adjust the sliders on the page to choose from Adventurous or Laid Back, Family Friendly or Romantic, Action-Packed or Secluded, and Manicured or Au Naturel. The website then shows you the top beaches to fit your exact preferences, making it easy to zero in on your own slice of Florida paradise.
Will it be the glitter and glam of South Beach in Miami, the sparkling sands of Bonita Springs near Fort Myers, or one of the dozens of other beaches on the site? Click here to find out.
The behemoth surges upwards, higher than its bulk should allow, arcing into the air with its white throat pleats glistening in the sun. As it lands with a roaring splash, a massive, forked tail flips up, hovers momentarily as if waving, and then slides back into the deep waters with a whispered gurgle. Whether your name’s Ishmael or not, watching a whale surface is an unforgettable experience — especially at these four destinations.
While more than 20,000 Gray whales will swing by on the way to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi seas of Northern Alaska, Humpbacks are the real draw here. You’ll see quite a show when groups team together and form large circles to trap vast shoals of herring, and then propel themselves upwards with mouths wide open.
Nearly 60 percent of the world’s whales can be found here, more than 45 species, including Southern Rights, Minke whales, Blues and Orcas. Unlike Alaska, they come down under to breed and raise their young in the shallow, sheltered waters of the Whitsundays and Hervey Bay, where you can spot the grand creatures from viewing platforms placed along the coastal roads.
Christopher Columbus noticed whales in the DR’s Samaná Bay and Silver Bank areas back in 1493, and visitors have been returning ever since. In the clear, Caribbean waters, you can watch the gentle giants swimming peacefully among the corals, or, if you’re feeling brave, you can snorkel beside the 40-ton Humpbacks and peer into their dark, dinner-plate-sized eyes.
Watching Humpbacks and Southern Rights line up for an endless buffet of krill and sardines on the southern coast is, to some, even more rewarding than seeing African elephants and Cape buffalos on a game drive. You can often spot whales easily at outdoor cafes in the delightful company of a glass of Pinotage from Stellenbosch.
Boasting famous homes, quirky bookstores or art paying homage to great writers, these U.S. cities offer the most to do and see for unapologetic bibliophiles.
Beyond the barking sea lions and the famed streetcars, San Francisco was also the home to seminal writers like Jack London, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Robert Frost, Philip K. Dick and Mark Twain. After exploring such sights as the Robert Louis Stevenson Monument, Robert Frost Plaza and Jack Kerouac Alley, head to City Lights, a historic institution founded in 1953 by Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin.
Literature comes alive here on a literary tour to the homes and haunts of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and Charles Dickens. Boston is so proud of their book-loving heritage, it became the first city in America to have an official Literary Cultural District, which includes unique bookstores, inspired sculptures and even the birthplace of Curious George.
At Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, you’ll find over one million rare books and photographs, including the Cardigan manuscript of Canterbury Tales along with original works by William Shakespeare and James Joyce. Austin also hosts the popular Texas Book Festival every November, which unites literature enthusiasts worldwide.
Real stories on how travel advisors aided their clients during the outbreak and disruption of COVID-19.
“We love our travel agent for working hard during this crisis. We had a big trip to Germany planned for April that had to be canceled. We had paid in full. She was able to get most of our money back and vouchers for future trips. Everything was so up in the air at first, but she kept us informed daily. We would not have even known where to start without her. She went above and beyond, and we certainly appreciate it!” Kimberly K.
“SURPRISE!!! I am home. About the middle of the day on Friday, the corporate offices of Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled all cruises scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks. So the second of my back-to-back cruises was canceled. That left me stranded in Santiago, Chile. Norwegian provided computers, Wi-Fi availability and phones for those on the ship to use to change their travel plans. I contacted my travel agent to see if she could get me home from Chile. She’s a miracle worker!!! She was able to get me a seat on an overnight, nonstop, 10-hour flight (all seats on the flight were taken) from Santiago to DFW last night/early this morning. If you are ever in need of an excellent travel agent, I can highly recommend one.” Facebook message from Charles
Look out for another installment of Armchair Explorer next week!
And feel free to contact our agency about any travel questions you have.
Until next time …
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Dream Now Travel Later
Armchair Explorer! Each Thursday over the next few months, we’ll send you inspiring ideas to fill that extra time and those dreams with travel.