7 Interesting Vacation Travel Ideas
Another year comes and it seems to quickly go, I want to mention a few interesting vacation travel destinations. It’s now April and here in Southern California flowers are blossoming, the weather is just about perfect; not too hot, and not too cold, and as usual there are a few fairly warm days with a few cool days interspersed.
You may have been to some of these destinations and if you have please feel free to leave your opinions, good or bad, in the comments area.
Depending on your preferences and situation you could make one these travel destination ideas your next vacation travel adventure for you or your family or for just a couple. Whether you live here in the United States or some other country it’s great to see the world. But don’t neglect, or even forget, there will be great adventure travel destinations even in your own country.
So here are my picks of seven interesting vacation travel ideas. Since these are countries you will have a large variety of choices within each country to home in and explore in greater detail, whether it be the country’s history, culture, tourist venues, “off the beaten path” adventures, or just a calm relaxing vacation away from home. Our list is not in any particular order, for each country is a unique travel destination in its own way.
The United States
This may seem like I’m partial to the United States, but I’m trying not to be. It’s just that there are so many interesting travel destinations here and so many varied things to do and see that I don’t want to neglect it just because I live here. The USA is a big, highly diverse country, with lots to offer any traveler, let alone those living here. Whether it is for adventure, just plain old sightseeing, enjoying some relaxing time out from the daily grind, enjoying your favorite sport, or for any other purpose, the U.S. probably has it all. There is surely an excellent place to pursue almost anything you desire from a vacation here in the States.
Do you like skiing, mountain climbing, snowboarding? Then the great Rocky mountains in Colorado is where you’ll find over 50 high mountain peaks over 12,000 feet and some even higher than that in just this one state alone. Maybe biking is your thing? Then probably in maybe in a third of the country, you’ll find biking trails, whether it’s in a city, in the mountains, or near the beach. There are some great biking trails you’ll find right here in the United States.
How about boating, kayaking, water skiing, fishing or any other water sport or activity? It doesn’t matter, you can do all of it right here in this country. Want to see or visit forests, mountains, deserts, an ocean, beaches and rivers? If you’re coming from overseas, you may be quite overwhelmed, with all the options available here.
You could just visit California and see all of them just in this one state. If you live in the U.S. don’t neglect to visit some of these places yourself.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. There is plenty to see and do in the United States whether you are coming from another country or live here. If you’re from another country consider visiting the southern portion of California, better known as Southern California. From the biggest city there, Los Angeles (LA), and within an hour or two from LA, you can visit forests – such as Angeles National Forest or the Cleveland National Forest, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Mojave Desert, the Pacific Ocean and some of its many beaches, plus hundreds of other great travel destinations and cities.
Oh yes, about rivers, there is the San Gabriel River and the Santa Ana River. And if you like concrete, then take a look at the Los Angeles River. It flows through a concrete channel on a fixed course unlike the once free-flowing and frequently flooding river it used to be.
Here are a few of hundreds of other sights and places to visit in California:
- Sacramento – The laid-back state capital with historic area of the city, Old Sacramento.
- Los Angeles – The state’s largest city, and 2nd-largest in the nation. L.A. is home to Hollywood, Venice, The Getty Center, and Griffith Park.
- Palm Springs – Desert recreation with golf, spas, resorts, casinos, and the aerial tramway.
- San Diego – Balboa Park, Old Town, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, and nearby Tijuana, Mexico.
- San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, America’s largest Chinatown, cable cars, and Victorian houses
- San Jose – South of San Francisco, home of the Winchester Mystery House, and the center of Silicon Valley, which is home to many technology companies.
- Santa Cruz – A central coast city. The home of the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Mission Santa Cruz, and the Mystery Spot.
Other places and National Parks:
- Disneyland – we’ve all heard about Disneyland – this is the original park
- Lake Tahoe — A large, gorgeous lake great for water sports and excellent skiing in the winter.
- Napa Valley — Spas, wine tasting, wine tours.
- Big Sur — one of the most scenic spots along the Pacific Coast Highway
- Channel Islands National Park – 5 remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment
- Death Valley National Park – A place of legend and often the hottest place in the country
- Lassen Volcanic National Park – view the results of real volcanoes in the country
- Redwood National Park – see the huge redwood trees and even the tall huckleberry bushes
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks – Two beautiful twin parks, monuments to nature’s size, and beauty
- Yosemite National Park – one of the first wilderness parks in the United States
2. Travel Destination: Croatia
Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, in Europe is at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. Croatia has 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia is a country that’s 21,851 square miles in size and has mostly continental and Mediterranean climates. Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The country is small with a population of only 4.28 million.
Because of its geographic position, Croatia represents a blend of four different cultures. It has been a crossroad of influences of the western culture and the east as well as the Mediterranean culture. Croatian traditional cuisine varies from one region to another. It has influences from Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines which prominently feature various seafood, cooked vegetables and pasta, as well as condiments such as olive oil and garlic. The continental cuisine is heavily influenced by Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish culinary styles.
Since Eastern Europe is no longer a well-kept secret and is now a popular destination, the region has plenty to offer with Croatia well placed as a nature lover’s delight along with the more traditional activities. Vacationers or travelers who enjoy the water will love sailing and sea kayaking on the Adriatic Sea. If you prefer to be under the water, you will love to dive the various ship wrecks just off the coast. Going to the interior of the country, you will find crystal clear rivers with plenty of whitewater. Backpackers and trekkers will enjoy mountain trails where you will see breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
In Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site you can even walk between some of the seven lakes and see some of the beauties of nature. There is Kopacki Rit Nature Park, one of the largest wetlands in Europe and karst geology which harbors approximately 7,000 caves and pits. There is the National Park Sjeverni Velebit. There are 444 protected areas of Croatia, which covers a full 9% of the country. Those include eight national parks, two strict reserves, and ten nature parks.
You can visit Zlatni Rat beach on Brac Island, one of foremost spots of tourism in Croatia. There are a large number of resorts along the coast and the numerous islands, offering all sorts of tourist services, the most significant being nautical tourism, since there are numerous marinas. There is cultural tourism, which relies on the appeal of medieval coastal cities. There are numerous cultural events which take place during the summer.
Zagreb is also a significant tourist destination and probably rivals major coastal cities and resorts. Croatia has an unpolluted sea area around it which is reflected through numerous nature reserves and over 100 Blue Flag beaches. Croatia is ranked as the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, quite a feat for a country with a relatively small population. They are definitely doing something right. About 15% of its visitors (over one million per year) are involved with naturism, an industry for which Croatia is world famous. Croatia was the first European country to develop commercial naturist resorts.
Here are a few other popular destinations in Croatia you might want to visit:
- Zagreb – the capital and largest city.
- Dubrovnik – historic coastal city and UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Split – ancient port city with Roman ruins.
- Pula – biggest town in Istria with the Roman amphitheater (commonly called Arena)
- Osijek – capital of Slavonia and an important city.
- Krka National Park – a river valley near Šibenik
- Island of Brac
- Island of Krk
- Island of Cres
- Island of Hvar
- Island of Solta
- Makarska & Makarska Riviera
- Žumberak, a mountainous region that spans the border between Slovenia and Croatia
If you like sailing, that’s a different and good way to see the coastal islands and networks of small archipelagos. Most charters leave from Split or the surrounding area on the North or the South circuit, each offering its own pros and cons. A good way is to book a package with a company at home, but many Croatian companies also offer both bare boat and crewed charters.
Another interesting option for those who might like this sort of thing is one of Croatia’s more “wild” holiday offers – lighthouses. Most of them are situated on a deserted coastline or in the open sea. The specialty of this is that you are able to cut yourself off from the rest of the world and relax in solitude. Croatia has 11 rent-a-lighthouses along the Adriatic coast. This is definitely a different way to relax, one you won’t find in many other vacation destinations.
3. Visit New Zealand
This island country of New Zealand in the southwestern Pacific Ocean is geographically comprised of two main landmasses; the North and South Islands plus numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 900 mi east of Australia across the Tasman Sea. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last places people came to settle. It has a mild and temperate maritime climate with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north.
The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent; the indigenous Maori are the largest minority. The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. The Maori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages at some time between 1250 and 1300 CE. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture that became known as the “Maori”, with their own language, a rich mythology, distinctive crafts and performing arts. Due to the influence of the arrival of Europeans starting from the 17th century, Maori people gradually adopted many aspects of Western society and culture.
0.6% NZ Sign Language
78.0% European / other
6.9% Pacific peoples
The country has many marine mammals, with almost half the world’s cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and large numbers of fur seals reported in New Zealand waters. Many seabirds breed in New Zealand with about a third of them unique to the country. More penguin species are found in New Zealand than in any other country.
New Zealand might be considered the adventure capital of the world to many adventurous travelers. That’s because of its great diversity in terrain. It has great mountain biking, paddling, and climbing options, some of the best to be found anywhere. Then there is a fantastic hiking trail called Milford Track. This is a thirty-three mile trail running through the heart of Fiordland National Park. You can see arguably, some of the best scenery you’ll find anywhere. There is Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano cone on the North Island which is one of the most popular destinations.
The islands in the country are sparsely populated, particularly away from the North Island, but are easily accessible. There are modern visitor facilities available, however.
Normally when you hear of New Zealand you here of these four cities:
- Wellington – the country’s capital, with the Parliament and Beehive buildings, and the free Te Papa museum
- Auckland – a City of Sails with east and west coast harbors. This is the largest city with 1.5 million people with everything a big city offers
- Christchurch – the Garden City and the Air Gateway to Antarctica as well as Gateway to the South Islands famous motorcycle rides
- Queenstown – it’s a great adventure capital where you can ski, skydive, bungee jump, jet-boat and other adrenalin pumping activities
Here are a few other places to visit while you are there:
- Abel Tasman National Park — visit its golden sand beaches, enjoy kayaking and the Abel Tasman Coastal Track
- Aoraki Mount Cook National Park — lots of hiking opportunities and home of New Zealand’s highest mountain
- Coromandel Peninsula — rugged coastline with lots of beaches and hiking opportunities just 1 1/2 hours from Auckland
- Milford Sound — see the beautiful fiord in Fiordland National Park
- Taupo — go trout fishing and enjoy adventure activities in the central North Island
- Tongariro National Park — three volcanoes, two ski fields and hike one of the most popular hikes in the country
With a population of only about 4.5 million in a country about the size of the United Kingdom or Japan, many areas are sparsely settled. Be sure to allow sufficient time to travel in New Zealand. It is possible to tour for three or four weeks on each island, although you can certainly see highlights in far less time. Roads wind along the coast and through mountain ranges, particularly in the South Island.
4. India – the Most Populous Democracy
India is another large and geographically diverse country. You can find instances of both ancient culture and modern buildings and architecture in this vast country. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. India can lure travelers with a host of options depending on what one wants to see and do. You can go to the beach or go diving and snorkeling. A good start would be to head to Goa where you can have plenty of aquatic fun.
Do you like hiking in the mountains? Then head to the remote northern region of India where you can gain access to the High Himalaya, along with some quaint mountain villages there and the Buddhist culture. Want a different kind of hike? Head to the famous Valley of Flowers where you will experience more than 300 species of colorful plants in all in one location. And for a truly unique adventure you can explore the huge Thar Desert riding on a camel’s back.
If you really want to see all the places worth visiting places in India a tourist visa of six months probably is not enough. Like most big countries there is such a diversity of things to see and do it’s hard to put a defined time period of seeing them all. There are more tourist destinations in India than can be mentioned in any one book, let alone a short article or part of an article. Almost every State in India has over ten major tourist destinations and there are cities which cannot be fully experienced even in a full week. Not to forget that several states of India are bigger than most of the countries in the world and there are twenty-eight states in India.
But there are some world famous attractions that are a must-see if you travel to India. One of these places is the world famous Taj Mahal. It is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. Agra is a majestic city, containing historical monuments such as the majestic Agra Fort and the aforementioned Taj Mahal. You should also visit Delhi, with New Delhi being the Capital city and the heart of India; it is both modern and historical. Having monuments such as the Red Fort and Qutub Minar, it also provides modern facilities to its visitors. Delhi also hosted 2010 Commonwealth Games, and is less polluted than most areas of India.
Here are some of India’s most notable cities:
- Delhi — the capital of India and the heart of Northern India.
- Kolkata — the cultural capital of India, Kolkata is home to numerous colonial buildings. It is known as The City of Joy.
- Mumbai — the financial capital of India, “Bollywood” (Indian Hindi Film Industry) hub.
- Bangalore — The garden city, now transformed into a city of pubs, technology and companies.
- Chennai — main port in Southern India, home of the famous Marina beach, Automobile Capital of India and a fast emerging IT hub.
- Hyderabad — known for its pearl and diamond trading centers. Now has major Indian manufacturing and financial institutions plus emerging IT businesses.
- Jaipur — the Pink City is a major exhibit of the Hindu Rajput culture of medieval Northern India.
- Kochi — the Queen of Arabian Sea, historically, a center of international trade, now the gateway to the sandy beaches and backwaters.
- Varanasi — considered the most sacred Hindu city, located on the banks of the Ganges, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities of the world.
India has a lot more outstanding landmarks and areas of outstanding beauty.
Below is a list of a few more notable attractions:
- Bodh Gaya — the place where the Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment.
- Hampi — the awesome ruins of the empire of Vijayanagara
- Khajuraho — famed for its erotic sculptures
- Ellora/Ajanta — spectacular rock-cut cave monasteries and temples, holy place for the Buddhists, Jains and Hindus.
- Goa — an east-west mix, beaches and syncretic culture.
- Golden Temple — Sikh holy site located in Amritsar
- Meenakshi Amman Temple/Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple — a spectacular Hindu temple in Madurai
- Konark — Sun Temple, unique example of Kalingan Architecture, an UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Lake Palace — the Lake Palace of Octopussy fame, located in Udaipur
India has lots of fairs and festivals, most of which are religious; however, here is a fair that is celebrated on a nation-wide basis:
Diwali-“Diwali”, the festival of lights, illuminates the darkness of the New Year’s moon, and strengthens our close friendships and knowledge, with a self-realization. Diwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya – the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin, (Oct/Nov) every year. It symbolizes that age-old culture of India which teaches to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali, festival of lights, projects the rich and glorious past of India.
Indian National Parks have great variety and range of attractions and activities. You can observe their flora, avifauna, and aquafauna, or witness wild creatures in their natural habitat. From foot, to riding on an elephant, or from inside a jeep you’ll enjoy what the parks have to offer.
Some of the National parks in India are:
- Bandhavgarh National Park – located in Umaria District, Madhya Pradesh
- Kaziranga National Park – located in Golaghat, Assam
- Kanha National Park – located in Mandla District, Madhya Pradesh
- Sasan Gir National Park – Located near Junagadh in Gujarat
- Ranthambore National Park – located near Sawai Madhopur
- Eravikulam National Park – located in Munnar, Kerala
Something to Consider
As far as some basic behaviors, foreign travelers to India need to know that customs vary widely in the country. If they experience one set of behaviors from the locals in one part of the country, it does not mean that the same behavior will happen in another area. As an example, a taxi driver in Mumbai will without saying a word drop his meter flag, while in Delhi you have to tell the driver to use the meter. In other areas, taxis don’t even have meters; you have to negotiate the fare before the taxi leaves. India will show extreme variation in most things, and one may need patience and luck to deal with it. Never assume you know everything about any aspect of India; be prepared to see completely new things every day.
Be aware that Indians care more about a person’s background and position in society than in countries like the USA and Canada. This attitude can result in some rather unfortunate consequences for some. People with white skin are placed high in social esteem, and they may find that some Indians act almost like servants towards them to the point of embarrassment. People with dark skin, however, may find that they are discriminated against. Although it’s no consolation if you have dark skin, Indians display similar prejudices based on skin color and ethnicity among themselves and not just towards foreigners.