Top Vacation Spots You Should Plan to Visit . . . Immediately
Apr 30, 2013 12:54PM
● By Erin Frisch
With summer right around the corner, vacation planning is getting underway. The kids will be out of school before we know it, and holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day offer long weekends to get away. So, what are the best vacation spots? Here are four that are well worth checking out!
Montreal represents the fusion of the old and the new. Cobblestone streets, 18th century structures, and old-fashioned homes blend into a 21st century skyline. If you want to visit France, but it’s not in the budget, this is an attractive, affordable alternative. Old homes have been turned into boutiques and crêperies where you can spend the afternoon shopping and enjoying a cup of coffee and a fabulous pastry. Visit the Montreal Botanical Gardens, Insectarium, and Biodome, which make up A Space for Life, a place where nature and science are honored. The Biodome brings together five different ecosystems under the same roof! Or visit La Ronde, the second-largest amusement park in Canada. Owned and operated by Six Flags, it boasts over 40 rides including 10 roller coasters. And if you go in June, check out some Formula 1 racing at the Grand Prix du Canada.
San Diego, California
San Diego has a lot to offer. Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban park with plenty of open space, natural vegetation, and walking paths. It is also home to the famous San Diego Zoo, Natural History Museum, and Air & Space Museum. The San Diego Zoo features the Jungle Ropes Safari, where you and your loved ones can swing through the trees, cross a rope bridge, and tackle moving platforms. This city has many more museums and attractions to offer. Outside the city, visit LEGOLAND, where the new LEGOLAND Hotel opened earlier this month. It features a large outdoor pool, a restaurant, and themed rooms based on LEGO’s Pirate, Kingdom, and Adventure lines. Drive out to La Jolla Beach, where you can kayak or paddleboard in the gentle waves. Or grab a snorkel and see the sea life, including beautiful Garibaldi fish and sea lions. La Jolla is also home to a Rodeo Drive-like strip of shops and restaurants for some relaxing window-shopping and a memorable dinner.
Just a short flight from the Northeast, this US territory is a little slice of paradise you can escape to without having to change American dollars for other currency. There are many English-speaking Puerto Rican natives, so if your Spanish is a little rusty, have no fear. Puerto Rico’s beaches have both 20-foot waves for surfers and calmer waters for families. Hike through the El Yunque Rainforest to see a jungle full of different amphibians and beautiful, breathtaking trees and flowers you won’t see at home. Head to the Balneario de Luquillo, a public beach great for the family where you can snorkel away the afternoon. Visit the incredible islands of Vieques and Culebra, just a ferry ride away. And if you want to experience some exciting nightlife, San Juan delivers great dance clubs, live music, or casual watering holes.
Considered the gateway to the Mayan World, Cancun offers miles of beaches, endless luxury accommodations, and a non-stop party atmosphere. This village on the Yucatan Peninsula is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist attractions, but if you head there between May and August, you’ll avoid the crowds. Cancun abounds with all-inclusive resorts that can make for a very reasonably priced vacation in terms of food and accommodations. Downtown Cancun offers numerous restaurants, markets, shopping, and clubs. Rent a car and drive down to the Xcaret, an ecological park in the Mayan Riviera where you can admire tropical flora and fauna and expressions of Mayan culture. It has an archeological site, a beach, butterfly pavilion, orchid greenhouse, and snorkeling in underground rivers, among other features. In the hotel zone in Cancun, visit the Interactive Aquarium, where you can get up close and personal with nurse sharks, starfish, and rays. You can even swim with dolphins here!
What’s your favorite place to escape to for a vacation??