The Grand Canyon Map provides details on attractions in the area, itineraries for half day, full day and two day visits. This Grand Canyon map is a valuable resource when visiting Grand Canyon South Rim.
1. If you’re serious about fish, don’t eat seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf.
2. If you love one-of-a-kind finds, don’t shop in Union Square.
3. For the best sourdough bread, don’t go to Boudin Bakery.
4. Unless you’re stuck in 1968, don’t look for counterculture on Haight Street.
5. If you’re going to hop aboard San Francisco’s most famous icons, don’t take the Powell Street cable cars.
6. If you want a taste of waterfront life, don’t waste your time at Pier 39.
7. To get a real taste of Chinese culture, don’t go to Grant Avenue in Chinatown.
8. If you want to take to the water, don’t pile onto the ferry to Sausalito.
9. If you want to explore the San Francisco gay scene, don’t cruise the Castro.
10. Unless you want to freeze your butt off, don’t wear shorts in July.
Check out our blog at Your Vacation Guru for more travel tips.
Visit our Travel Site to book your next vacation. If you need additional advice and planning contact one of our professional advisors.
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No matter what your fitness level, there are many hikes to be enjoyed in Grand Teton National Park. Best of all, you do not have to be a mountain climber to enjoy the beautiful vistas, canyons, and waterfalls in the park.
Weather can and does change rapidly in the mountains. Take along extra clothing when hiking into the higher elevations, wear sunscreen, and take plenty of water and high energy snacks. If you are planning a long hike, start in the morning and keep your eye on the time. You do not want to be caught on the trail after dark.
Be Bear Aware
You will notice these signs everywhere in the park. Take them seriously. At certain times of the year, some trails may be closed due to increased bear activity. Park rangers put on bear safety presentations which you should also consider attending.
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Whenever you are hiking in the park always take along bear spray, know how to use it, have it immediately available, and talk or make noise while you hike. Never hike alone.
Lakeshore Trail Hike at Colter Bay, Jackson Lake
This flat, 2.0 mile loop trail follows the shoreline along a peninsula in Colter Bay. You will enjoy beautiful views of Mount Moran across Jackson Lake and reflections in Colter Bay. The trail begins on a paved service road near the boat docks at the Colter Bay Marina.
Heron Pond and Swan Lake Hike
If you enjoy waterfowl, wildlife, and water lily covered ponds, this hike is for you. Look for trumpeter swans, beaver, moose, and bears. This relatively flat hike starts at Colter Bay Village and is a 3.0 mile loop.
Willow Flats Shuttle or Loop Hike
When snow still covers the mountain trails in the spring, the Willow Flats area west of Jackson Lake will be snow free and ready for hiking. The willows and marshes are prime habitat for a variety of wildlife. Look for moose, sandhill cranes, beaver, bears, and other wildlife. The area is, as the name suggests, flat and it can get rather warm trekking through the flats and open meadows due to the lack of shade trees so you may want to choose a cooler day for this hike.
The shuttle hike is 4.9 miles. You can start the shuttle hike from either the Colter Bay coral or at the small parking lot on the south side of Jackson Lake Lodge. For the shuttle, you will need to park your car at either end and get a ride back to the trailhead. The loop trail is 8.3 miles starting at the Jackson Lake Lodge trailhead. The shuttle and first part of the loop trail are actually an abandoned dirt service road.
String Lake Hike
Nestled between Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake, what String Lake lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. This relatively flat 3.4 mile loop hike is wheelchair accessible for approximately 0.3 miles and we maneuvered a sturdy stroller through the entire hike with an occasional lift by Mom and Dad. You’ll enjoy beautiful mountain views reflecting in a placid lake, footbridges, and streams. Begin your hike at the String Lake Trailhead parking lot by turning west at the North Jenny Lake Junction turnoff from Teton Park Road.
Taggart Lake Hike
This 4.0 mile loop hike. Park your car at the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking lot (off Teton Park Road) and follow the path to your right (north). You will soon be crossing the footbridge over Taggart Creek, the perfect spot for your first picture. I can not exactly call this hike easy as it is a gradual uphill climb to Taggart Lake. You may need to make a few pit stops to catch your breath but continue on. You will be rewarded with splendid views of the Grand Teton over the lake. Once you cross the footbridge at the outlet of the lake there is a little bit more of a climb but the rest is all downhill. Be sure to turn around to catch the view overlooking Taggart Lake.
Jenny Lake Hike
Some consider Jenny Lake to be the most picturesque lake in the park, and it is gorgeous. This 7.7 mile loop takes you all the way around the shoreline of Jenny Lake. Start your hike by parking in either the String Lake Trailhead parking lot or the parking lot at the South Jenny Lake Junction off of Teton Park Road. I recommend starting at the String Lake Trailhead in the morning. This way you will be arriving at the south end of Jenny Lake around lunch time where you can grab a bite to eat, enjoy the visitor center, and use the facilities before completing your hike. A worthy side trip while on this hike is the loop up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.
Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock
If you are not up for the 7.7 mile loop around Jenny Lake, take the boat from the South Jenny Lake parking lot. The boat departs approximately every 15 minutes and is a beautiful ride across the lake. Once you disembark, it is only a 0.2 mile hike to Hidden Falls and another 0.4 miles on to Inspiration Point where you’ll enjoy sweeping vistas of Jenny Lake and the valley below. This is a gradual but simple climb on a well traveled trail. If you are afraid of heights, you may not be able to complete the last section of trail up to Inspiration Point as the trail is on the side of a rock wall although the drop-off is not as high as it seems. Looking out over the valley makes you feel like you are way up in the air. There is a very nice lookout point just before this last bit of trail so you can still enjoy the view from up here.
Cascade Canyon Hike via Jenny Lake Boat Dock
The Cascade Canyon hike continues on past Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The is the perfect opportunity to get into the back country with mountains soaring above you on either side. After leaving Inspiration Point, the trail climbs steeply for about a mile but once you get past this it becomes a gradual climb through the meadows of the canyon. You will hear and see crystal clear Cascade Creek roaring through the canyon to Hidden Falls below. The trail is 9.8 miles round trip if you go all the way to the junction with the Lake Solitude and Paintbrush Canyon trails. If you are planning to take the boat back across Jenny Lake on your return be sure to check the last departure time before you leave. If you miss the boat you can follow the Jenny Lake Trail and additional 2.1 miles back to the parking lot. Due to the higher elevation of this climb and lingering snow, the best months to complete the hike are July and August. Check with a park ranger for trail conditions.
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This is by no means an all inclusive list of easy to moderate trails within Grand Teton National Park. There are many more and several of the above trails have off-shoot loops taking you to an additional lake or hidden mountain treasure. If you love to hike, buy yourself a book on the trails in the park. Most hiking books have graded the trails according to difficulty level so all can enjoy the splendor of Grand Teton National Park.
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Here is an example of a trip prepared by one of our travel planner/advisors. This is a very basic plan. A more detailed plan would have reservations to any and all events you would be attending during your stay, including dinners. If you think we can be of help for any of your travel needs contact one of our travel planner/advisors to help you plan your next adventure. Example
Sailing aboard an Oceania cruise is not a cookie cutter experience, and a week aboard the Riviera can be quite a pleasant surprise. For starters, the ship is sizeable enough to have numerous restaurants and amenities, but only has 1,250 passengers on board. This makes for plenty of space for everyone without ever feeling crowded. The entry foyer is majestic with a grandiose staircase that rises up from the main atrium area. Numerous conversation seating areas are by the windows, and reception almost never has a line (try that on a larger ship).
Strolling around the ship leads to plenty of small nooks to discover. A favorite place is the elegant library with faux fireplace, lots of great books, and leather armchairs with ottomans that made the perfect spot for doing a little work and checking email. Wireless internet is free for everyone and easy to connect to working almost anywhere on the ship. This is certainly a surprise, and most of the time, it’s actually fast.
The main deck features a great swimming pool with small whirlpools on either side. The most impressive part of the pool deck is that the lounge chairs are everywhere and cushioned with thick covers and accent towels. Pool staff are available to set up chairs as needed, too.
A private pool deck is designed for those booking premium accommodations or paying a surcharge to enjoy shaded cabanas on a quieter sundeck. The area is close to the Canyon Ranch Spa, which has a lengthy list of massage and beauty treatments plus relaxation areas with sauna and steam room areas. A well-equipped fitness center offers great views and the latest equipment, and a fridge with free energy drinks and bottled water provides a perfect way to rehydrate.
Of course, boarding a cruise ship is synonymous with eating, and the number of specialty restaurants aboard is exciting. But, the bigger shock will come when you learn that they are free as part of the cruise sailing. The main dining room is a large space that has impressive service and an a la carte menu. Dinner seems to be the most popular meal, but the buffet restaurant at the aft of the ship is where most of the dining action takes place. There are two air-conditioned wings off to the side of the buffet, and the al fresco terrace gets plenty of shade thanks to fabric umbrellas. Unlike other buffets, guests do not pour their own food; instead the staff plates everything for you. This is certainly a more hygienic approach, but quantities can sometimes be too much or too little.
You will like that there is always fresh and tropical fruit available as well as regional cuisine based upon a theme of the day’s port of call. There’s also another grill by the pool that opens for breakfast and lunch plus a free smoothie and milkshake bar. Fresh fruit, yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream are all options, and daily specials provide great suggestions.
In the library, an Illy espresso and coffee bar is the perfect way to perk up with strong Italian coffee like espresso, latte, and even the brand’s famous illy Crema smoothie. Free pastries and sandwiches are laid out in the library.
Among the specialty restaurant options are Asian fusion Red Ginger with freshly prepared sushi and south Asian specialties like Thai curries and Singaporean noodles. A French restaurant prepares formal meals (often tableside) inspired by Chef Jacques Pepin (also the cruise line’s executive culinary director) everything from roasted duck to steak frites. The cheese cart that wheels around is enough to add on a few pounds just at first sight. Italian food lovers enjoy fresh pasta and meat dishes with a panoramic view as the ship sails away at Toscana. Notable touches are the olive oil menu with nearly a dozen varieties and homemade gelato that was just as delicious as what I had just tasted in Amalfi. Polo Grill offers up a steakhouse menu that would rival Morton’s with sophisticated presentation and rather generous servers. (They want you to sample as many of the sides as possible!)
Bottled water and soft drinks are complimentary, but alcoholic drinks carry a fee. Sure, there are beverage packages available, but a la carte drinks are not too overpriced. The main dining restaurants are open seating, but the specialty outlets require reservations. Be sure to request them as soon as you board the ship. Oceania touts that all of its cuisine is prepared a la minute with only some of the buffet options prepared in larger quantities. Even the buffet has bespoke stations with pasta, omelets, steaks, and sandwiches made to order.
If you liked some of the food you’ve been enjoying, why not learn to cook it yourself? A show kitchen offers cooking classes as part of Oceania’s culinary enrichment program. Not into cooking? There is 24-hour room service available free of charge. I enjoyed ordering breakfast to my room each morning. Across the hall, budding artists can try their hand at painting or creating their own personal masterpiece.
Cabins are of impressive size with elegant décor like cushioned headboards, duvets, and padded mattresses. Desks sit in the corner and face the flat-screen cable TV and sofa bed. International power outlets are available on either side of the bed and above the desk. Closet space is plentiful, and behind one door is the minibar stocked with free nonalcoholic drinks replenished daily. Housekeeping is meticulous and leaves behind large bottles of water morning and night. That was such a nice feature; buying bottled water from the bar can really add up. Almost all rooms have excellent balconies with few obstructions as the life boats are well-positioned to stay out of the way.
Marble bathrooms have rainfall shower stalls and deep soaking tubs with separate shower nozzles. Bulgari beauty products on the vanities are replenished regularly (other cruise lines are quite stingy with specialty toiletries).
Since the ship is not one of the behemoths, it can dock at smaller ports. This means that seasoned cruisers have a chance to visit some especially unique locales that the bigger ships cannot visit. On my sailing, we stopped in Monte Carlo, Monaco; Cagliari, Sardinia; and Antibes, France. Before guests disembark, they are offered chilled bottled water, yet another nice touch. Many ports also include free transfers to the city center if the ship docks outside of walking distance.
Back on board, there is plenty of opportunity for entertainment, including nightly performances in the theater including musical revues and comedians. A small casino has a few game tables and plenty of slot machines. Bars feature live entertainers, which also crop up at various places around the ship including a lovely string quartet before dinner each evening. Duty-free shopping by reception includes everything from souvenirs and perfumes to Polo Ralph Lauren and Oceania-branded gear.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, yet is is much less frequently visited than its northern neighbor, the thriving metropolis of Auckland. Still, Wellington is worth the visit, not only for the sights within the city, but for it prime position as a jumping-off point to explore some of the more remote areas of New Zealand. From there, you can easily travel to the areas of Martinborough and Cape Palliser, or join in on a Lord of the Rings-themed tour.
Seal pups at Cape Palliser. Photo courtesy of Rolf Hicker.
Cape Palliser is a gorgeous spot not far from Wellington, at the very southern tip of the island. It boasts a lovely lighthouse (the climb is steep and tiring, but worth it) and a large population of fur seals that sun themselves on the coast. Visit in summer to see seal pups—they’re insanely adorable, and playful, too. The drive out to Cape Palliser itself is worth the trip, as the approximately hour’s journey takes you along some sheer, but stunning, rock cliffs. For nature lovers, the cape is not to be missed.
The Hobbit holes at Hobbiton are a permanent attraction, easily reached from Wellington. Photo courtesy of the New Zealand tourism board.
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films have captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people world-wide, from hardcore fans of the book to blockbuster-obsessed moviegoers. While the films introduced audiences to some now household-name actors, the true star was the setting of New Zealand as Middle Earth. Many scenes from the movies were filmed in and around Wellington, and tours frequently visit areas that are known in the hearts of tourists as Rivendell, Isengard and Minas Tirith.
A charming winery in Martinborough. Photo courtesy of AbsoluteNewZealand.com.
For a more leisurely sojourn, explore the town of Martinborough, just a short car drive from Wellington; it’s situated in the heart of New Zealand’s wine country, and a dozen wineries are easily accessed from the center of town. This is a great place to walk or bike in, with a small-town charm and some fantastic restaurants. Martinborough is a great place to escape the (admittedly mild) hustle and bustle of Wellington. With more than twenty vineyards in the area, it’s a must for oenophiles; the drive there itself is also a thing of great beauty.
For a different side of New Zealand, skip Auckland, and learn the charms of the south, with Wellington as your depature point.
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