Author: Jane Simpson

My name is Jane and I am a 30 something travel enthusiast from Dallas, Texas. I love to travel and experience new cultures, food, and history. I enjoy quiet visits to museums, as well as adrenaline rushing excitement skydiving, hang gliding, or any number of other crazy activities.

International Travel Destinations: Ten of the Safest Countries 

International Travel Destinations Ten of the Safest Countries 

Are you wary of traveling outside your own country because of the potential dangers in foreign places? Life is precious, and the world is becoming increasingly dangerous. Therefore, staying safe when you travel and explore new places is of vital significance. Of course, it is also preferable to travel to places where the local people are typically pleasant towards tourists. With these things in mind, here is a list of the ten safest countries, in no particular order:

Iceland 

Iceland is a chilly island country in northern Europe. In Iceland, most people have a decent standard of education. Additionally, the unemployment rate is low. There are strict laws against discrimination. The country has a low murder rate. The police do not need to carry guns, and there is no army.

Iceland is a superb travel destination for any fan of strangely beautiful natural scenery. The small island country boasts black beaches, volcanoes, geysers, lava fields, waterfalls, spectacular mountains, glaciers, craters, and green mosses. Furthermore, you can see the northern lights there. If you visit Iceland during the middle of summer, the sun never sets.

Generally speaking, Icelanders tend to be hardworking, kind, cultured, contented, open-minded, and tolerant of others.

Portugal 

If safety is a priority for you, Portugal is another travel destination to consider. Portugal does not have a high crime rate. Violent crime is uncommon in Portugal. Furthermore, the country has not seen much terrorism. Portugal enjoys a peaceful relationship with neighboring countries and is politically stable.

Portugal is a European country with a warm, sunny, and pleasant climate. It has diverse landscapes such as plateaus, crater lakes, lush vineyards, and rugged coastlines. It is the perfect country to visit if you enjoy wine, music festivals, beach sports such as surfing, and lovely people. Portuguese people are famously warm and hospitable, with a strong sense of family.

Singapore  

Singapore, Asia, is another safe travel destination to visit. Singapore has an efficient police force. Singaporeans are motivated to keep the crime rate low. The legal system in Singapore is strict yet straightforward. You can have fun exploring the city-state of Singapore without worrying about your safety and security.

Singapore appeals to tourists because it is a lush, green, modern city full of temples. The city-state also boasts some fabulous beaches and a vibrant, exciting nightlife.

Singapore is a melting pot of different cultures, such as Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Indian. Singaporeans are often determined, humorous, respectful, modern, efficient, and patriotic.

Austria 

Austria is a safe European destination. Robbery, car theft, assault, and murders are rare in Austria. Furthermore, there has not been a significant amount of terrorism there. However, there are some instances of petty crime in Austria, so take safety precautions against pickpockets if you decide to visit the country.

Austria is an exciting destination for tourists regardless of what time of year you decide to visit. It is the perfect destination for skiing during the winter months. Because it has many lakes, Austria is the ideal country for swimming or enjoying watersports during summer. You can also take a relaxing walk along the romantic lake shorelines with friends and loved ones.

Austrians are typically friendly, humble, considerate, and artistic people who enjoy purposeful interactions rather than trivial conversations.

Denmark 

Denmark is a superb choice of destination for people who wish to remain safe on vacation. It has a low crime rate, brilliant infrastructure, and first-rate healthcare. The odds of a natural disaster occurring in Denmark are negligible.

Denmark is an ideal vacation destination for fans of cooking and culture. It is famed for fantastic architecture, peaceful ambiance, and impressive beaches. There are plenty of fascinating Viking ruins to visit in Denmark.

Danish people are generally laidback and amiable. However, they tend to observe specific protocols. For instance, you should attend meetings with Danes on time and call first to see if it is convenient before visiting them.

Switzerland 

Switzerland is a well-organized country with a low crime rate and a stable political climate. Like most safe countries, Switzerland is a wealthy nation with an excellent education system and decent social welfare. Therefore, there is less motivation for people to commit crimes.

Switzerland is a super skiing destination during the winter months. The country also has some beautiful scenery, and it is full of lakes and mountains. In summer, people enjoy hiking in the mountains and doing watersports in the lakes.

Swiss people tend to be trustworthy, practical, and cooperative yet discreet. They have a strong sense of community and work together to keep everything looking beautiful and neat.

New Zealand 

New Zealand was once a place where you could leave things unlocked without worrying about theft. Although this might not be true today, New Zealand is still a comparatively safe country to visit. Furthermore, New Zealand has political transparency, and its government is considered honest and trustworthy.

New Zealand has breathtaking scenery, and visitors will find many activities to keep them amused, such as surfing, body boarding on dunes, and exploring Māori culture. New Zealand has delicious wines and food, too.

In general, Kiwis are relaxed, friendly, fun-loving, sporty, adventurous people who welcome visitors to New Zealand with open arms.

Czech Republic 

Several factors make the Czech Republic a safe place for visitors to explore. The Czech Republic has a low threat of terrorism and does not see much crime. It is not easy to access a weapon in the Czech Republic, and their health care system is effective.

If exploring old castles is your thing, the Czech Republic is the country for you. The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague, is also worth visiting because it has architecture from several periods of history. Moreover, Prague is renowned for its culture and spectacular zoo.

If you visit the Czech Republic, you can expect the Czechs to be hospitable, jolly, and pleasant people who take good care of visitors.

Canada 

Canada is another relatively safe travel destination. Although there is some petty crime, the overall crime rate in Canada is not at all high. Canada boasts an efficient, dependable police force. They respond to calls rapidly when someone reports a crime.

Canada is a place you should visit if you appreciate the outdoors. Canada has some awe-inspiring mountains, glaciers, forests, and lakes. You can see the northern lights from there, too. At the same time, Canada is a place you might like to explore if you enjoy experiencing sophisticated, multicultural cities.

Canadian people have an excellent reputation for being diligent, good-natured, educated, optimistic, polite, and tolerant.

Japan 

Harmony and unity are significant Japanese virtues, and crime prevention in Japan is so efficient that even petty crimes such as theft are rare. As a result, residents and visitors are safe in Japan.

Japan has a unique culture, stunning natural scenery such as Mount Fuji, breathtaking temples, delicious food, vibrant cities, fantastic shopping facilities, gorgeous flowers, and state-of-the-art luxury hotels.

Conscientious and respectful Japanese people pride themselves on being polite and hospitable to visitors, so you are sure to feel welcome if ever you decide to visit.

Go Exploring 

After reading about some of the world’s safest countries with the most welcoming people, hopefully, you feel ready for some international exploration. Does one of the destinations appeal more than the others? If so, why not do further research online to find out about prices and arrange an itinerary? It is never too late to enjoy a safe international vacation that you will remember for the rest of your life.

This Argentinian Glacier Is A Must-See Destination That will put Your Adventure on Ice

Glaciers are one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world and it’s not surprising that a lot of people make them their prime destination spot. Adventuring tourists quite often trek along the sides of glaciers in this epic feat of extreme hiking. It’s not only hiking that grabs the tourists’ attention, though. Many tourists also visit these icy monoliths of nature to kayak, ice climb, and even camp.  There are a lot of glaciers in the world befitting the most adventurous tourist, but a particularly scenic glacier can be found in Argentina called the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Miles of Fun

The Perito Moreno Glacier, like many glaciers, is pretty large. It’s 121 square miles of rocky ice to have fun it. Located in Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park, the glacier is a continually growing mass of ice ready to be explored.

Treking The Ice Rock

What does someone do when they find a giant glacier in the middle of a gorgeous lake? Climb across it, of course! With its 122 miles length, this megastructure of nature is a wonder in itself to take part in all its splendor with a majestic hike into its icy vistas and caverns.

Kayaking On Lake Argentino

While there are a lot of ice-related activities surrounding the glacier to take part in to the heart’s content, there are plenty of aquatic activities to enjoy surrounding the glacier. Since the glacier is situated right in the middle of Lake Argentino, you can expect a wide variety of lake-related activities. Lake Argentino is one of the world’s largest bodies of fresh water, and its location with a giant glacier in the middle makes for pristine kayaking or canoeing expeditions.

Ice Climbing On the Glacier

It may be a challenge fit for the demigods of old South American lore to scale the side of a glacier. Perito Moreno reaches 240 feet above the crest of Lake Argentino’s waves and is a massive structure suitable for any adventurer at heart to climb. Unlike a snowy mountain that may have footfalls for any daring rock climbing enthusiast, the glacier is, of course, an ice structure, which makes it even more of a fun challenge to scale. It’s not for the faint of heart by any stretch of the imagination but the views from the top of a glacier are breathtaking.

Exploring the world is one of the most amazing experiences that a human being can undergo. There are many people stating that glaciers are perhaps some of the most surreal and gorgeous places to visit on Earth, and Perito Moreno is arguably the most fantastic of them all. Situated in the middle of a picturesque lake in South America of all places, this wonder of the world is a sight to behold. The amazing views, challenging hiking, and recreational activities offered with this gorgeous backdrop are sure to make it an adventure to remember.

MORE: It’s officially ice climbing season. Time to pack your crampons and ice picks and head out to the nearest frozen waterfall. Here’s our rundown of the upcoming season which features the world’s best climbers and destinations. 

Discover This Hidden Hike In Peru’s Forgotten Incan Refuge

Peru is a hiker’s dream as the country is a blend of various geographies and biomes. Deserts, jungle, windswept coast, and more clash together. As a hiker, you can expect to experience deep ravines and fast running rivers first hand, but the best reason for hiking in Peru is the Andes. 

Pushing Past The Foothills Of The Andes

These are the mountains that makeup fantasy worlds, except they exist in South America just waiting for someone to explore. Although the mountains in Peru are the foothills of the Andes many of their peaks stretch up to 20,000 feet tall over a comparably small area.

To visit this hidden refuge in Peru, you must hike about 40-miles in total, looping back to the start location. Initially, the hike takes explorers through a high-altitude desert and then into a tropical forest in the mountains. At about 10,000 feet you officially enter the foothills of the Andes. The hike keeps away from the more significant peaks, and this hike is one of the best ways to experience standing in the shadow of a mountain. 

Many of those who have made their hikes up to Machu Pichu can attest that spending days among the greenery that makes up the many folds of these mountains is life changing. Most of the hike will take place nestled into the ridges of the Andes, navigating with the ravines and the high mountain ridges.

Machu Picchu Has A Little Sister

The purpose of this hike is to find the final refuge of the Incas, a Citadel in Choquequirao. The Incas, a not-forgotten but still ancient culture which left many clues of their way of life. The Incan empire dates from about 1438 to 1532 AD and the construction as well as agricultural plotting shows the advancement of the Incas who began settling this expansive land.

Although many people make their way to Peru every year to climb the magnificent mountains and step foot into the mysterious Machu Picchu, there are more unanswered questions about Choquequirao. 

The Inca Emporer Pachacuti commissioned Choquequirao for unknown purposes although the Citadel makes it clear there is some divine presence. It is clear to historians that this same Emporer called for the establishment of Machu Picchu for religious purposes, but the fact that Choquequirao is so far from the rest of the Inca settlements baffles researchers. 

Choquequirao translates to “Cradle of Gold” and sits near a small village on the very edge of Cusco that is nearly impossible to access. Hiking to Choquequirao is a daunting task that has no modern conveniences or guidance.

How Choquequirao Was Found And Then Found Again

The trails are as challenging to walk today as they were nearly 500 years ago when the Incas sought their last place of refuge from invading Spaniards. To get to Choquequirao hikers must use the trails set out by the Incas. After the Incas used these paths in the mid-1500s, they would sit untouched and growing wild until 1909.

Hiram Bingham III found Choquequirao, unfortunately for the many explorers of the world, when he discovered Machu Picchu, he forgot all about this city on the edge of the world. It’s no doubt that the stunning sight that sat between curtailed mountaintops grabbed his attention. Choquequirao would sit forgotten again until 1968. 

For explorers the lore of the Incas fall in less than 100 years and the wild nature that has overtaken it make Choquequirao a must-see location. 

Machu Picchu has gone through an assault from the overload of visitors, and now literally sinks into the hills of the Andes. The nature that bloomed and thrived there is dying from pollution and human presence. All the while that Machu Picchu was becoming known as the explorer’s paradise, Choquequirao was making its way onto the Official Register of Archaeological Monuments. 

Hiking Up To Choquequirao

As with many of these mountain trails that run through untamed regions of nature, it’s always best to hire a local guide. Be sure that before hiking up to Choquequirao you know you’re in peak physical condition as the altitudes are high and the hike is demanding.

Any local guide should have a wealth of knowledge about the flora, fauna, local culture, and Inca history or lore. Although all anyone can do is speculate about the purpose of Choquequirao’s existence, many guides can offer insight into the advancements and agricultural methods that the Incas brought to our world.

Choquequirao is known as the edge of the world, although when you finally hit the top of your climb, you’ll realize it doesn’t have all the finality the weight of its nickname carries. Standing at the entrance to Choquequirao you have an unremarkable overlook of the Andes. 

Take In Everything Before You Go

The trail takes a turn that requires patience and caution. The way down is through a stairway path that is nearly a vertical descent and goes on for about 50 stories. 

At the bottom you enter the Rio Apurimac, pass the Playa Rosalina and enter a small farming community. You continue through many farming towns and a massive amount of untouched wilderness. 

The citadel is small, and it’s no doubt that this refuge wasn’t planned to act as the last place of hiding for the Inca people. Before leaving, be sure to observe the small details in craftsmanship as well as the stunning views. Use your imagination to recreate pilgrims making this great journey, as well as the last wave of Incas retreating here for safety. 

Don’t forget to see the Llamas del Sol or to walk among the many other terraces. One of the perks of making this hike is the ability to visit Choquequirao both in the day and night. Many explorers love to camp in the citadel and gaze at the open sky above them. 

Because Choquequirao has gone through waves of restoration, you can see where rebar is present for doorway reconstruction. These days Choquequirao is still a location that only explorers have any interest in and has not seen half the attention that Machu Picchu could have in a year. Who knows how long Choquequirao will stay empty.

The 10 Shortest Airline Routes In The World

When you think of traveling by plane, you may have visions of a multi hour flight that includes drinks, snacks, and even meals or movies.  Some airlines even offer a product that includes lay flat beds, private suites, and on-board showers or a bar area to socialize with a drink.  While all of these amenities are usually found on long haul flights, there are some flights that are shorter than the time it takes you to read this paragraph.  Yes, that is right.  The world’s shortest scheduled passenger flight can clock in at less than 1 minute from takeoff until landing.

This article will cover the 10 shortest airline routes in the world based on total average flight time.

Shortest Airline Routes

10.) Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo) to Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo) to Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 30 minutes

Total Distance:  16 miles

The capitals of Brazzaville and Kinshasa are separated by the Congo River, and while the flight time is only 30 minutes, it is actually quicker to to take one of the ferry boats across than taking the time to go to the airport and fly across the river.

9.) Bonaire to Curacao (Caribbean)

Bonaire to Curacao
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 25 minutes

Total Distance: 40 miles

Located off the coast of Venezuela are the “ABC Islands” known as Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.  The island of Aruba is popular with American and Dutch tourists looking for a relaxing beach vacation, whereas Bonaire is popular for it’s diving, and Curacao for it’s strong connection to its Dutch history and more relaxed atmosphere.  The distance between Bonaire and Curacao is only 40 miles and takes roughly 25 minutes to fly between the two destinations.

8.) Minami-Daito (Japan) to Kita-Daito (Japan)

Minami-Daito (Japan) to Kita-Daito (Japan)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 20 Minutes

Total Distance: 8 miles

The southernmost prefecture of Japan is Okinawa, home to a whopping 160 different islands.  While travel times vary between islands, the shortest flight time between them are from Minami-Daito to Kita-Daito.  These islands are located only 8 miles from one another, and the flight time is a short and bearable 20 minutes.

7.) Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Zanzibar (Tanzania)

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Zanzibar (Tanzania)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 15 minutes

The Indian Ocean is the only thing separating Dar es Salaam from the unique and beautiful island of Zanzibar.  Most travelers tend to take the ferry, but you can fly on Air Tanzania or other airlines in as little as 15 minutes (give or take a few minutes) depending on the airline you pick.

6.) St. Maarten (Caribbean – Dutch) to Saba (Caribbean – Dutch)

St. Maarten (Caribbean - Dutch) to Saba (Caribbean - Dutch)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 15 minutes

St. Maarten and Saba are both Dutch islands located in the Caribbean Sea.  The flight time between these two islands is a low 15 minutes, but that is not all.  The Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport located in Saba also has the world’s shortest runway.  That added fact is sure to make this flight even more interesting.

5.) St. Maarten (Caribbean – Dutch) to St. Bart’s (Caribbean – French)

St. Maarten (Caribbean - Dutch) to St. Bart's (Caribbean - French)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time:  15 minutes

St. Maarten makes the list again with a short island hop to the impeccable island of St. Barthelemy.  This French Territory in the Caribbean is only a 15 minute flight from St. Maarten and features two of the world’s most dramatic airports in terms of takeoff/landing.  The ferry between the two islands can take 30 minutes or more longer, so why not live a little and enjoy this fun and exciting island hopping experience by plane.

4.) St. Maarten (Caribbean – Dutch) to Anguilla (Caribbean)

St Maarten to Anguilla
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 10 Minutes

Total Distance: 12 miles

For a third time, St. Maarten makes the list for a shortest flight, but this time, it is to the island of Anguilla.  The total flight time between St. Maarten and the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport in Anguilla is only 10 minutes to cover the 12 mile distance between the airports.  Talk about a short trip!

3.) Connemara (Ireland) to Inis Mor (Ireland)

Connemara (Ireland) to Inis Mor (Ireland)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 10 minutes

Moving across the world and to the north, we find ourselves in the Aran Islands in Ireland.  This group of three islands are at the mouth of Galway Bay and will literally take your breath away with it’s stunning beauty.  Most travelers opt to take the ferry, but a flight from Connemara to Inis Mor takes less than 10 minutes.  Wow!

2.) Karpathos (Greece) to Kasos (Greece)

Karpathos (Greece) to Kasos (Greece)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 5 minutes

Total Distance: 12 miles

Moving further south in Europe we find ourselves in the Greek Islands.  A flight from the island of Karpathos to the island of Kasos is a brief 5 minutes and covers a tiny distance of 12 miles.  The islands are also connected by a ferry that takes roughly 90 minutes.  If you are in a hurry, the best option is surely to fly.

1.) Westray (Scotland) to Papa Westray (Scotland)

Westray (Scotland) to Papa Westray (Scotland)
Image from Great Circle Map and Google

Total Flight Time: 47 seconds

Total Distance: 1.7 miles

Venturing back to Northern Europe, we find ourselves in Scotland and the island of Westray.  The world’s shortest scheduled passenger flight usually takes around 2 minutes or less, but when the winds and weather are just right, the flight time can be cut in half to 1 minute or less.

Don’t expect a big passenger jet or any form of amenities on a flight this short.  The route is operated by a Britten Norma Islander aircraft (twin-propeller aircraft), and the route has been in operation since 1967.  The flight typically takes locals, professionals, and curious adventure seekers on this brief flight that is a valuable lifeline for the community.  There is also a boat that makes the trek, but that can take 20 minutes or longer.

Our advice is to take the flight and take pride in being one of the few people in the world that have taken the shortest commercial airline flight in existence.

15 Best Snorkeling Locations In The USA

North American snorkeling covers over 95,000 miles of diversity playing host to shipwrecks, sea turtles and more. Dive into the water to swim through schools of tropical fish, weave through kelp forests and mingle with dolphins. From Hawaii to the many islands dotting the East coast, there are many great snorkeling destinations available.

Choosing The Best Spot For Your Vacation

This list of the best snorkeling vacation spots in the United States has something for everyone or every family. Try and figure out which is best for you? 

Skill Level 

Before booking your vacation consider your skill level. If you’re a beginner and want to try snorkeling, consider booking in a location that has calm waters, human-made lagoons, and boat tours. Boat tours that take you to snorkeling spots have experienced snorkelers as well as guides so your family can have the best possible experience. 

But if you have experience snorkeling or diving, you might want to venture out on your own. Try booking trips with entire islands dedicated to snorkeling or self-guided adventurings such as Shell Island, Hatteras Island or La Jolla. 

Activities

Available activities that tie into snorkeling can include boat tours, kayaking or lazying around on the beach. Choosing between these three, or picking a vacation spot that has all three can help you decide where to book your holiday. 

Hawaii is famous for snorkeling because you can book a boat tour, or kayak out to a cove and snorkel, or even sit on the beach and let the rest of your group snorkel only a few feet away. 

Other areas don’t have all of these options but may have wildlife or biomes that you can’t find anywhere else such as Crystal River, Florida. 

Family Friendly Spots 

Vacationing with your family makes a huge difference in where you book your snorkeling excursions. If you’re taking children with you, or a large group, look for calmer waters. Typically calm waters are around an island or are within the protection of a barrier reef system. 

Book the vacation that seems best for you and your family so that everyone can have an incredible experience snorkeling!

Here are some of the best snorkeling spots:

Islands Off Texas Make For A Beginners Paradise

Head to South Padre Island, Texas for a kid-friendly snorkeling experience. The waters are calm enough to bring the kids, and the seas are clearest through summer vacation. Depths for snorkeling range from 3 to 6-feet deep. 

A Day Of Adventure In La Jolla, California

Off the coast of San Diego is little La Jolla Cove, where you can play with seals and sea lions. La Jolla’s most significant bragging right is that there’s a cove or lagoon for every skill level. 

Swim With Dolphins In Panama City Beach, Florida

If you’re in Panama City Beach, head over to Shell Island for the best snorkeling experience. The island has a shuttle so you can spend the day snorkeling with the dolphins and watching the crabs scuttle in the shallow waters. 

Whales, Dolphins, And Sea Turtles In Poipu, Hawaii

A family-friendly excursion where you can interact with giant sea turtles, and dolphins all at the surface of the water. The water is calm, and it’s a great way to try snorkeling for the first time.

An Ocean Lover’s Dream Swimming In Captain Cook Bay

Underwater cliffs protect hundreds of different wild marine life species in Captain Cook, Hawaii. It’s a great snorkeling spot with very still waters and kayak or boat tour options. 

Snorkel Off The Shores Of Catalina

Catalina is the fun place that people go to enjoy food that you can’t get in Los Angeles, right? Not quite. Catalina has an under-appreciated snorkeling center. Rent a kayak or book a tour to snorkel in some of America’s cleanest waters. Be sure to bring a wetsuit; it’s cold!

Hatteras Island, North Carolina Is Family Friendly

Many islands scatter across North Carolina’s coast, and many more shipwrecks sit in the shallow waters around Hatteras Island. Go clamming, explore the habitats of wrecks and take the kids. 

Boat Tours That Lead Snorkelers to Forests

Big Pine Key, Florida snorkeling will take you out to a coral reef and lead you inward to the spooky remnants of a vast sunken cargo ship and haunting mangrove forests. 

Fully Experience The U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Croix has a reputation for luxury vacations, and snorkeling in these waters can be the finishing touch on any getaway. Famous snorkeling sites such as Chenay and Cane Bay are only a few of the options, for a luxury spin, book a private snorkeling tour. 

Warm Waters Near Oahu’s Electric Beach

A nearby power plant fills this beach with warm water earning it the nickname Electric Beach. Officially named Kapo Point Beach in Kapolei, Oahu. There are many human-made snorkeling centers nearby too!

Eco-Friendly Snorkeling In Key West, Florida

Florida is known for many things, but their eco-friendly tours is a well-kept secret. Key West is host to the third largest barrier coral reef in the world and endangered marine life too. 

Snorkel in Key West with an eco-friendly tour for an up-close experience with loggerhead sea turtles, manatees, and stingrays. While you’re at it, you’ll have the chance to explore Florida’s famous mangrove forests. 

Visit Endangered Wildlife In Florida At Crystal River

Manatees are the gentle creatures with terrible luck. But, Crystal River is a National Wildlife Refuge for these creates. You can snorkel in these calm and warm freshwater springs year-round. 

An Underwater Canyon Of Honolulu’s Coasts

The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve has pathways where you can head straight from sand to coral reef that’s perfect for families with small children. But, for real adventure, head out to Turtle Canyon. 

Options For Every Skill Level in Lahaina, Hawaii

For beginners, you can snorkel right off the coast of Maui just off the beach and see tropical fish and eels. But for the more experienced enthusiasts head into the waters off of Lahaina to join migrating humpback whales!

An Undersea Park In Key Largo, Florida

For those with a flair for adventure, head out to Key Largo, Florida where you can find America’s first undersea park! The park includes submerged statues, coral, fist, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds. 

The Best Eco-Friendly Gear For Backpackers

Life is an adventure. For some of us, one of the greatest adventures to be had in life is backpacking. Many people undergo this challenging and exciting activity, trekking deep into the wilderness with nothing but a backpack to keep them sustained. While the holidays may be over, perhaps there’s a special backpacker in your life who would like a gift that’s both good for the environment as much as it is practical for an extreme expedition in the outdoors. Here are five products that will bring a smile to that special backpacker in your life and to the environment.

Perhaps the most basic necessity for backpacking, or hiking in general, is a pair of sturdy boots. Waterproof boots like the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid is an excellent choice for those who will venture across streams and marshes as they backpack. The KEEN is also a very eco-friendly boot in that it boasts a Leather Working Certification which means that they don’t waste water and use leather from vetted suppliers.

Nothing is worse than a jacket that doesn’t keep you warm and dry on a long backpacking trip. The only thing worse is that the jacket uses a DWR, a toxic material for rain shells on jackets. With the Marmot Eclipse Jacket, you can stay dry and not have to worry about wearing a jacket with DWR. Instead, the Marmot uses a PFC-free laminate and recycled nylon.

Who doesn’t love a good, solid t-shirt? It can be worn anywhere and when the time comes for the temperatures to rise during an intense backpacking trip, a t-shirt can be a literal lifesaver. How about a shirt that’s so eco-friendly that it’s made from reused coffee grounds? The Vaude Gleann Shirt uses coffee grounds for quick liquid absorption and breathable recycled polyester.

The most important part of backpacking: the pack. There are so many in the world, but you want a pack that is durable as much as it’s kind to the environment. The Truce Drop Liner uses recycled boat sails, the kind that can sustain the ocean’s winds. The Truce is also equipped with waterproof nylon to keep all of your valuables safe from rain. Equip yourself with a pack as sturdy as you!

Regular jeans are usually comfortable attire for an ordinary outing. A regular pair of jeans simply isn’t going to do for someone who is going to be trekking around mountain trails and rocky terrain. How about a recycled pair of trousers fit for the hardiest journey? Fjällräven Keb Trousers are made from waste materials. They keep out the PFCs during the manufacturing of these special pants so that the only impact they make on the Earth is a uniquely positive one.

Fresh Air Included: 15 Awesome Hiking Trails To Hit In And Around Toronto This Spring

From the first moments of thaw all the way through whispers of summer heat, springtime in Toronto is an open invitation to enjoy the outdoors. Along with the warming temperatures, a variety of hiking trails in and around the city welcome fitness buffs and adventurers of all levels.

Springtime hikes in the Toronto area can be family-friendly walks under a kilometer or challenging climbs for competitors. Many hikes appeal to mid-level fitness fans, too. Along with the heart-pumping exercise, expect scenic beauty and diverse wildlife. Here, in alphabetical order, are 19 standout trails for springtime hikers in the Toronto area:

1. Albion Hills Conservation Area

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Once ice and snow yield to warmer temps, this conservation area provides more than 40 kilometers of nature trails to suit all fitness levels. Expect gorgeous scenery, spots for mountain biking and adventure racing and stopping points perfect for picnics. Group camping and special events become more frequent as temperatures rise.

2. Beamer Memorial Conservation Area

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Panoramic views of the Niagra Escarpment and Lake Ontario, breathtaking cliffs and scenic waterfalls are the top reasons to hike at Beamer Memorial. In spring, nature-lovers flock here to observe the seasonal hawk migration just an hour’s drive from Toronto’s city center.

3. Bruce Trail

Canada’s oldest marked footpath, Bruce Trail runs along the Niagra Escarpment in southern Ontario for vast distances. The main trail is 890 kilometers and branches into an additional 400 kilometers of side trails. A charitable organization, The Bruce Trail Conservancy, is committed to preserving the Bruce Tail as a permanent route within a protected natural corridor.

4. The Don River Valley Park

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Part of Toronto’s burgeoning downtown, the Don River Valley Park spans 200 hectares between Pottery Road and Corktown Common. Especially in spring, hikers and walkers can view wildlife like deer, fox, muskrats and great blue herons along the Don River’s edge. It also features an art trail.

5. Ganaraska Trail

This extensive hiking trail collection totals more than 500 kilometers, starting in Port Hope and connecting with the Bruce Trail some 400 kilometers later. Events like Sunday McGee Creek Walks vary by season, so visitors are encouraged to double check the trail website before setting out.

6. High Park

As Toronto’s largest public park, it’s only natural that High Park would offer something for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors. For nature lovers and outdoor buffs, High Park has diverse vegetation, an appealing lakefront, and greenhouse. Along with hiking and walking, activities include a zoo, picnicking, playgrounds, and even a few eateries. The park plays host to events throughout the year.In spring, it’s a choice spot for selfies and portraits with a cherry blossom backdrop.

7. Joker’s Hill/Thornton Bales Conservation Area

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If climbing 99 steps alongside a diverse ecosystem sounds like fun, Joker’s Hill is a great choice. Along with trails, the conservation area includes Koffler Scientific Reserve, which has conducted research on many aspects of forest ecology, including pollinating insects and global change.

8. Leslie Street Spit Trail

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This trail emerged almost by chance 40 years ago, when its planned role as a breakwater for an expanded harbor fell through. Today, this extraordinary public urban wildlife reserve, built by lake-filling, juts from a spot close to downtown into Lake Ontario. No cars are allowed on the 5-kilometer peninsula, which boasts numerous trails and close to 400 regional and Canadian plant species, many of them rare.

9. Lynde Shores Conservation Area

Day-trip distance from Toronto, Lynde Shores includes a collection of hiking trails that suit various fitness levels, from simple to strenuous. Founded in 1972, the conservation area in spring is a birder’s paradise. It provides habitat for numerous nesting birds and is an important stop for migrating waterfowl making their way along Lake Ontario’s North Shore.

10. Mount Nemo

Popular with kids and dog owners, Mount Nemo is about an hour west of downtown Toronto. The place is a relaxing retreat from urban bustle and also includes 5 kilometers of trails ideal for friendly walks or more challenging workouts. Nemo also offers plenty of chances to see wildlife and plants emerging in the spring or year-round panoramic escarpment views.

11. Rattlesnake Point

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Twelve kilometers of nature preserve contains numerous caves, striking cliff lines and overlooks galore. Hikers and climbers can enjoy scenic beauty and wildlife including thousand-year-old cedars, circling turkey vultures and nighttime constellations. Three trails accommodate all fitness levels, with a 7.2 kilometer round trip to the Crawford Lake Conservation Area providing the toughest challenge. The park offers 17 sites for overnight camping, too.

12. Rouge National Urban Park

Famous as Canada’s first (and so far only) national urban park, Rouge National sits an hour from downtown. It boasts nine trails that challenge the toughest, offer a pleasant walk for the softest and offer a hiking opportunity for any level in between. Guided walks are also available. Fishing, photography, cycling and volunteer opportunities round out the park’s offerings.

13. Scarborough Bluffs

A secluded spot that showcases the east Toronto waterfront, Scarborough Bluffs reach a peak height of around 65 meters above the water in Cliffside. The erosion that created the bluffs also formed a few unusual shapes that kids and nature-lovers both enjoy. The hiking trail runs below the bluffs and through Bluffers Park. A quiet place, the Scarborough Bluffs stretch about 14 kilometers from the Eastern Beaches of Toronto to West Hill.

14. Spencer Adventure Trail

Part of the Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls Conservation Area, this trail runs along Spencer Creek through an early industrial community. It connects from Christie Lake to Dundas Peak. Its historic high points include mills, waterfalls and geologic formations that literally date back to the last ice age.

15. The West Humber Trail

A great place for people who like to hike with their dogs, this 8-kilometer trail provides a mix of paths that are paved, hard-packed, or grassy. The mood is serene and the scenery relaxing, full of gardens and woods along the river. Also popular with bikers, the trail includes multiple natural habitats and the famed Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, a historic trade route of the aborigines.

MORE: Québec City might not be the first place that comes to mind when it comes to adventure, but maybe it should be…

Mountain Bike Ride Ends in Cold Blood

First Woman Completes The Calendar-Year Triple Crown Hiking Trip

Only five men have ever managed to complete the adventurous Triple Crown of hiking—the longest, most treacherous hike of all time—in less than 365 days. For many, traveling across the globe in this short length of time is an impossible feat, but the first woman has just completed the Triple Crown, in a record-breaking 251 days.

The Most Gorgeous, Intense Hike Ever

The Triple Crown is the most intense hike ever invented. In order to complete the journey, one must hike the 2,190-mile Appalachian, 2,650-mile Pacific Crest, and 3,100-mile Continental Divide trails. Each trail normally takes five or six months to complete, allowing the average hiker up to three years to attempt the Triple Crown.

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But the most adventurous hikers, they attempt to walk each trail in one year—a challenge known as the Calendar-Year Triple Crown. This would be one of the most gorgeous travels, and on November 8, the first woman, Heather “Anish” Anderson, became the sixth person to complete this feat.

Famous For Her Hikes

Anderson is a recognizable name with hikers. Before her recent trip, she’d already attempted the Trip Crown two times. She broke the record for Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail.

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But she wasn’t going to stop there. She was determined to complete the Triple Crown in less than a year to honor the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System Act, an act to establish trails in urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities.

Anderson said, “These trails have been really important in my life and in my hiking career.”

A Question Before She Left

Anderson’s hiking trip began on the Appalachian Trail on March 1, 2018. But before she could begin her journey, her boyfriend had an important question for her.

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He proposed to her on Springer Mountain right when the couple reached the top. He had to ask her to marry him before the dangerous trip, and she happily said yes.

Beginning The Long Trek

After the proposal, Anderson started walking, first north on the Appalachian Trail until May, exiting at the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. Then, she spent a few weeks on the Continental Divide trails before starting on the Pacific Crest Trail, where she walked with her fiancé as he worked to complete his first Triple Crown.

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In August, the couple continued south in Glacier National Park to northern Colorado. Then, in October, they were back to the Appalachian Trail to walk south from Maine to New Hampshire before making her way through the Midwest to Colorado again.

Then, Anderson hiked her last few miles on November 8 to her final destination: Grants, New Mexico.

Overcoming The Challenges

Anderson’s trip wasn’t easy. While you would think the terrains would be dangerous (and they were), the real challenge was the severe weather conditions. Spring and fall months are hazardous seasons in the mountains. Anderson faced icy rain, flooding, thunderstorms, and more.

But no matter what conditions she faced, Anderson successfully completed the Calendar-Year Triple Crown on November 8, in a record-breaking 251 days, 20 hours, and 10 minutes. She was obviously relieved to accomplish her goal.

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Now, she can enjoy controlled climates, regular showers, write a book, and start planning her wedding.

6-Year-Old Survived Being Lost In The Oregon Woods–Despite Doing Everything Wrong

When stories of lost children make it into the media, they often end in tragedy. Not so with Cody Sheehy. When the now 39-year-old went missing in the spring of 1986, his family and friends feared the worst–but he emerged from the Oregon woods 18 hours later, cold and wet, but unscathed.

A Typical Day Out

6-year-old Cody started out that fateful day doing what he often did–playing with his older sister in a meadow near their house. The family lived in remote Wallowa County, Oregon–a community that even today only has about 7,000 residents. It is the northeasternmost county in the state, surrounded by mountains and forests.

Still, Cody and his family were used to the rugged terrain. The Sheehys were cattle ranchers and spent a lot of time outdoors. Unlike many children now, constantly glued to a screen, Cody spent a lot of time exploring, hiking the nearby hills and climbing trees.

On that particular afternoon, he was playing a game of ‘explorers’ with his 9-year-old sister. The idea was that they’d each walk off in a different direction, looking for interesting things. Later, they were supposed to meet at a designated spot and share their treasures.

Only, Cody didn’t come back.

Somewhere along the way, he lost track of where he was. Heading back to the designated meeting place, he crisscrossed the same meadow, again and again, never ending up where he was supposed to be. Eventually, he decided to try to head home on his own.

Within a few hours, dozens of people began looking for him, but by that point, he was long gone.

Lost

After wandering away from the meadow, Cody walked until he found a road. Figuring that it had to lead somewhere, he picked a direction and went. Over 18 hours, he walked an estimated 14 to 20 miles, stopping only sporadically to rest.

By the time it was getting dark, Cody came to a fork in the road and decided to go right. Soon, he regretted his decision, wishing he had instead turned left–but at that point, he was too tired to turn around. Instead, he chose to cross a creek to get to the left-hand road, and he got soaked in the process.

Clad in only a light coat and discount sneakers, the boy must have been freezing. Yet he plowed on, driven by determination. Rather than being terrified by the situation at hand (including a pursuit by coyotes), Cody recalls being afraid that his parents were going to punish him for getting lost.

At about 5:40 the next morning, Cody came to a plateau and saw houses below. At about 7:30, he arrived on the doorstep of local resident Beverly Hansen.

What To Do If You Get Lost

In the event that you ever end up lost in the wilderness, do not do what Cody did. Despite the fact that he turned out ok, he actually did everything experts say you should avoid.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, unless you are very, very confident of the route out, you should stay put. Rescuers are far more likely to find you quickly if you’re close to where you started. In addition, make sure to always pack adequate supplies (like food, water, and flashlight, and matches) in case of an emergency.