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6 Fun Things to Do on Your Trip to Alaska

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With its gorgeous shoreline, massive mountains, and sparse population, Alaska really is a playground for anyone who loves the outdoors. Whether it’s fishing or hiking, photography or animal-watching that attracts you to “the last frontier,” you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. With so much to do and see, it’s not filling your itinerary that’s difficult, but deciding what activities you’ll have to leave out. Here are six of the best options to consider for your epic Alaskan adventure.

It’s very calm with no one around in Seward in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Go Charter Fishing

Alaska is famous for its fishing, and there’s no reason you can’t get yourself a piece of the action on your trip. Like almost anywhere else in the world, you can increase your odds of fishing success by hiring a charter. With decades of experience and insider knowledge, charter captains know how to get you on fish. Halibut fishing is perhaps the most popular outing, and for a reasonable price you can take a shot at these monster-sized flounder. For the price of the charter you’ll get a day on the water, a chance at some serious excitement, and, if you’re lucky, some delicious filets that’ll provide a hard-earned dinner you won’t ever forget. Fish never tastes as good as when you caught it yourself.

Take a Fjords Tour

The coast of Alaska is unlike anywhere else on Earth,and Kenai Fjords National Park showcases the landscape in all its splendor. Taking a tour gives you an up-close look at glaciers, cliffs, and fjords, all of typically-Alaskan dimensions. If you’re lucky, you’ll also glimpse some of the state’s most impressive marine life, from sea lions to porpoises, orcas to humpback whales. Between the gorgeous waters and the life that calls it home, the Alaskan fjords will simply demand your attention.

Check out the Aurora Ice Museum

When people think of Alaska, they often think of the cold. This is no surprise, since, at such a northern latitude, Alaska really is a fair bit colder than the continental United States. With so much frosty weather, ice has become an ever present part of Alaskan culture. Nowhere is this tradition more keenly felt than the Ice Museum, where the work of top ice-carvers resides in the climate-controlled facilities. For a look at gorgeous sculptures and to get a sense of Alaskan chill, take a stroll through this one-of-a-kind museum.

Visit the Kodak Laboratory Aquarium

Fishing and fjord-touring offer great opportunities to see fish and animals out in the wild, but sometimes the confines of an aquarium provide a more intimate (and guaranteed) look. The Kodiak Aquarium features a massive touch tank where children and adults alike can get up close and personal with some of the area’s most prominent species. Crabs, starfish, and shrimp are among the aquarium’s most popular denizens.

Peruse the Sealaska Heritage Institute

Alaska might be famous for its natural beauty, but it also boasts a unique heritage and culture, derived from centuries of idigenous habitation and subsequent colonial projects. The Sealaska Heritage Institute showcases the brightest lights of Native art and culture, focusing on the Tlingit Tsimshian and Haida cultures. A stop at the institute is a great way to learn more about the hearts and souls of people for whom Alaska isn’t the “last frontier,” but a long-cherished home.

Visit Denali National Park

Mt. Denali is both a cultural lodestone and the highest peak in North America. While even seeing the peak requires patience and a bit of luck, it is still worth the effort. Beyond the mountain itself, the entire park warrants a visit. The visitors center provides information about the mountain and surrounding landscape. It also includes a gift shop and restaurant, allowing you to stock up on souvenirs and fill your stomach before embarking on your adventure into the park’s many trails.

The post 6 Fun Things to Do on Your Trip to Alaska appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

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Would you dare baptism in the Devil’s Bathtub?

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Close my eyes and count to three as I anticipate to dive into the deep, ice cold pool of water – The Devil’s Bathtub, located in Southwest Virginia. Jumping in is not recommended for the faint of heart. I stare into the aquamarine abyss and question the life choices that led me to this.

Deciding if I have the courage to jump into the Devil’s Bathtub. Photo by Maddie Luchsinger.

The Devil’s Bathtub is a place that no person can stay for very long – it is wicked in the way its cold can take the breath away of the people who dare to jump in. It is the type of cold that sucks the breath right out of your lungs and frightens every skin cell of your body. It is a bathtub-sized pool that is, perhaps, 25 feet deep, full of the fresh spring water falling off the mountains. You’ve hiked 2.5 miles up a mountains, crossing a river 17 times. Your muscles are sore. So jump into the Devil’s Bathtub and find out what happens when you dunk them in ice.

After I was baptized by the Devil in southwest Virginia, I felt cold for days. It was a deeply guttural coldness, like I was thawing slowly from the inside out.

Swimming in the Devil's BathtubPhoto by Maddie Luchsinger

In all the time I’ve spent exploring the world, there are only one of a handful of times I can remember being this cold – in the middle of the night, camping in the desert in North Central Mexico. I was there on a church trip, to build houses in the slums of Tijuana. This was something the church of my youth did a lot in the 1990s/2000s – took groups to do manual labor rural parts of Mexico. That year, in the desert of Baja California, El Nino brought on exceptional rains that flooded our campsite and soaked my belongings. The temperatures at night would reach just above freezing, and the lumber that kept our campfires roaring was wet and ineffective. I have this memory of huddling around the dwindling embers of a dying campfire, desperate to get warm, under a deep sea of stars. I remember feeling like I would never feel warm again.

The second time I’ve felt that cold was whitewater rafting the Upper Youghegheny River in Upper Pennsylvania in the early spring. My group spent the entire weekend camping in a pouring rainstorm, on 50 degree days, and then rafted a flood-stage river of class IV-V rapids. I fell out twice, and swam down a class IV+ rapid called the Meat Cleaver. I remember feeling cold for days after, and vowing to never go whitewater rafting again.

When I jumped into the Devil’s Bathtub, these were the memories that came flooding in. This was a uniquely painful kind of cold. And the thing that was so devilish about it – it was an enjoyable pain.

Maybe I’ve cursed myself, jumping into the Devil’s Bathtub. but in 2020, who can tell the difference?

_______

Devil's Bathtub Trailhead Duffield VAPhoto by Maddie Luchsinger


How to find the Devil’s Bathtub


At the end of Highway 619 just outside of Duffield, Virginia. Duffield is located less than 2 hours from Knoxville, about an hour North of Kingston, Tennessee.

This is a popular hike with an established parking lot at the trailhead. Hikers can choose to go left when the trailhead splits for a 4 mile roundtrip journey to the Devil’s Bathtub, or take a right for a 7-mile loop through the mountains. The trail is clearly marked with a yellow square tag.

Plan for the trail to take an hour per mile, and wear shoes that can get wet. You have to hike across a river 17 times, and you are almost certain to get wet. There are a few areas of treacherous terrain and sharp drops, so keep an eye on young children and dogs at all times.

The hike can be found near Duffield, Virginia, about an hour north of Kingston, TN. I recommend camping at Natural Tunnel State Park, less than an hour away. NTSP has a well maintained and safe campground, good for car campers or RV tows.

Natural Tunnel is a rock formation that has naturally formed in the mountains, created a naturally carved train tunnel. The park offers a fun chairlift to the bottom, a fun activity for families or tired hikers.

Title: Would you dare baptism in the Devil’s Bathtub?
Sourced From: www.budgettravel.com/article/would-you-dare-baptism-in-the-devils-bathtub
Published Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2020 16:15:00 +0000

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Rediscover the San Juan Islands: Adventure-seekers will love this Northwest destination.

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The journey starts with either a ferry or a floatplane—there are no bridges to the San Juans Islands. Leave stress behind as you board in Anacortes and set sail on the marine segment of the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. You can relax, you’re on island time now.

The San Juan archipelago in Washington State is nestled between three great cities for visitors – Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and Victoria B.C., surrounded by the Salish Sea. Of the 172 named islands in the San Juans, three of them – Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan – have accommodations, attractions, and amenities for visitors.

The archipelago is blessed with a temperate marine climate and life in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains means an average of 247 days with sunshine annually and about half the rainfall of the Seattle area. San Juan County has more than 400 miles of shoreline punctuated by rocks, bluffs and beaches.

The arts, historic preservation and environmental stewardship flourish in the Islands. San Juan County is considered an “Arts Hot Spot” by the Washington State Arts Commission for the number of artists and galleries in the islands. It is also the first county in the USA to be designated a voluntary “Leave No Trace” area. Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, the archipelago’s only incorporated town, was named a Destination of Distinction by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

No matter your style of vacation, you’re bound to find it in the San Juan Islands. For nature enthusiasts, there’s world-class wildlife watching including orcas, humpback whales, bald eagles, Steller sea lions, and red foxes. And there’s a variety of ways to see it: along a network of waterfront hiking trails, from shoreline parks, from tour boats and private vessels.

For adventure seekers, beautiful landscapes and a calm inland sea make the San Juans a prime sea kayaking spot. Paddle your own kayak or set out with one of the many knowledgeable kayaking outfitters on San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez Island for three-hour to three-day tours.

For foodies, find quality local products, and experience the sense of community shared by island chefs, growers, winemakers, distillers, brewers, and other agricultural artisans. Some local farms even offer stays for guests who want to get up close and personal to the islands’ bounty.

If art’s your thing, you’ll find a gem in the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, with three to four first class exhibitions a year. The San Juan Islands Sculpture Park at 20-acres is one of the largest outdoor sculpture parks in the Pacific Northwest.

Humpback calf ‘Slate’ breaching by Jeff Friedman

Find variety, beauty, serenity … day after amazing day.

As we navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we are following the guidelines set by the Washington State Department of Health and Governor Inslee’s office. San Juan County is currently in a modified Phase 2 of Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan. Accommodations are open at 100%, and restaurants vary between curbside pickup, delivery, and limited indoor and outdoor seating. Face coverings are required to enter all businesses and public spaces.


Editor’s Note: we are working with local tourism boards to highlight destinations that are ready for tourists. Given the ever-evolving situation on COVID-19, please make sure you check the tourism website for the most up-to-date planning information.

From Nature to Nurture the San Juan Islands provide inspiration for the senses (www.visitsanjuans.com).

Title: Rediscover the San Juan Islands: Adventure-seekers will love this Northwest destination.
Sourced From: www.budgettravel.com/article/rediscover-the-san-juan-islands-adventure-seekers-will-love-this-northwest-destination
Published Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:18:00 +0000

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This interactive map shows where you can (or can’t) travel in the US

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In an effort to make traveling easier, United Airlines has developed an interactive map tool that allows customers to filter and view destinations’ COVID-19-related travel restrictions in the US. The Destination Travel Guide provides a color-coded map to highlight if a destination is closed, partially open or fully open for travel, and notes if tests or self-quarantining are required for travel.

The guide currently highlights travel restrictions and leisure offerings in the US by state, and will expand to include all international destinations the airline serves in the coming weeks. Users can click on each state to view local regulations and travel guidances, and there is also the option to filter the map by state to view specific information on each destination. This information includes the medical certificate needed, such as a negative COVID-19 test, physical distancing measures and whether wearing a mask in public is required. It also outlines the visitor accommodation, restaurants, bars and cafés, museum and heritage sites and non-essential shops that are open.

The interactive map tool that allows customers to filter and view destinations © United Airlines

“We know it’s a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing list of travel restrictions, policies and regulations so we are offering a simple, easy tool that helps customers decide where to travel next,” said Linda Jojo, executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer. “By providing the most up-to-date information on the destinations we serve, customers can compare and shop for travel with greater confidence and help them find the destinations that best fit their preferences.

Check out the new interactive map tool on United.com here or on the United mobile app.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

Title: This interactive map shows where you can (or can’t) travel in the US
Sourced From: www.budgettravel.com/article/this-interactive-map-shows-where-you-can-or-cant-travel-in-the-us
Published Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 15:36:58 +0000

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