Category: Travel ideas

Quick travel planning tips for India

With its rich cultural history, magnificent temples, and great people, there’s something enchantingly unique about India. So you’re all set on that mystical trip you’ve been planning for years … ready to take the plunge? Here’s a few quick tips to consider.

First, know your home country currency versus the value of the Indian Rupee. Since the Indian Rupee has dropped in value as a world currency over the past few years, you might be able to create a more memorable trip! You should plan accordingly when scoring cheaper airline tickets, budget hotels, apartment rentals, and discount transportation as a result.

Next, when planning out where you’re going to stay. Think about the diversity of Indian cuisine as it varies from region to region. Also consider in advance how much traveling you intend to do, since India is historically well known for its central role in the spice trade. That means you will find a various assortment of colorful, fragrant, spicy dishes during your travels.

As for hotel accommodations, you might consider Tripadvisor‘s top ten list of upscale hotels such as the Parakkat Nature Hotels and Resorts, or the Oberoi Vanyavillas for an amazing experience. Though if you’re already on a budget, one of the most highly rated hotels to stay at versus price point is the AkashDeep.

If you’re opting for a more traditional stay, then you’re probably not looking for a hotel unless you’re traveling in a big group. Some consider staying at hostels, but typically they’re not worth the expense unless you’re making a point of staying in one since budget hotels will often cost the same.

One way to get around staying at hotels, while saving extra cash, is by looking directly for Indian families who will host you on the various hospitality exchanges. For example, the popular website Couchsurfing is one of the largest networks in India and comparable to Airbnb.

At the site above, there’s well over 100,000 hosts and growing. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with Indian culture, though if you’re new to the country you’ll find most Indian families are gracious and will appreciate your interest in their culture.

As for transportation, you might want to rent bikes and take trains. Check out a few styles offered by Brooklyn Bicycle Company, as these are the types of city bikes you’ll want to look for in terms of tires and comfortable seating.

Don’t expect speedy travel arrangements when you get there, and don’t expect your airline departure and arrivals to be exactly on time. The same goes for buses and trains. It’s helpful to research a map of India and consider the sheer size of the territories you are wanting to see and plan out your travel route in advance.

Lastly, a few safety tips for women travelers. Remember you should be dressing appropriately with the customs while you’re travelling through the country. This includes shoulders, legs, and cleavage because India is still a conservative country when it comes to female expression.

Also, consider the ramifications of being female and travelling alone. One of the most important tips is not to arrive at your destinations at night by yourself. Always exercise caution and judgment while abroad while paying attention to your surroundings.

Above all, have fun and enjoy your well-planned trip!

What to Expect from This Giant’s Causeway Tour

A visit to Northern Ireland would not be complete without a trip to the Unesco World Heritage Site, The Giant’s Causeway. Flanked by a rugged coastline and stretching out into a tumultuous Atlantic Ocean, the causeway is an awe inspiring site. Formed by 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, it is over 62 million years old. Science tells us that it was formed during a volcanic eruption, but those of a more romantic nature prefer to believe the mythical tale that the causeway was laid by the Giant, Finn McCool.

If you choose to take the award winning Giant’s Causeway Tour, organised by Allen’s Tours, here is a little of what you can expect from your day. The tour begins at 9:30 am in Belfast. You can choose to depart from one of the convenient pick-up points dotted around the city. Alternatively, it is possible to pre book a complimentary shuttle pick-up from your hotel or guest house.

Once on board your bus, sit back and relax knowing that you’re safe in the hands of your knowledgeable driver and tour guide. As you make your way out of the city of Belfast, prepare to enter another realm as you experience some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

“I wish I was in Carrickfergus,
Where the castle looks out to the sea.”

The lyrics of this famous Irish folk song couldn’t be more appropriate as you make the first stop on your journey. The gateway to the beautiful Causeway Coast, Carrickfergus is home to a stunning Norman castle that you are free to explore. Take the opportunity to step back in time and stroll around the castle walls or climb the winding stairwells and take in the magnificent views across the harbour.

Back on board and it is time to head north. Look to your right and the Irish Sea stretches eastwards to Scotland. Look to the left and the Nine Glens of Antrim are laid out in all their emerald beauty. As you travel along the winding coastline the gorgeous views change constantly, quaint villages, historic castles, seascapes, waterfalls, bridges and stunning glens take the breath away.

Moving along the coast you may feel the scenery becomes more familiar. This could well be the case if you watch the TV serial Game of Thrones. Used as a backdrop for some of its scenes, the tiny village of Ballintoy is famous for another reason too. Stopping in the village, you will be given the opportunity to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The infamous rope bridge spans the gap between the mainland at Ballintoy and the tiny island of Carrickarede. Not for the faint hearted, it requires some daring to make the trip across this bridge. For those who would prefer to keep their feet on terra firma, there is the opportunity to take in the lovely views and fresh sea air.

A short drive down the road and it is time for lunch at “The Giant’s Causeway Cafe”. Lunch is not included in the price of the tour and with only 30 minutes to stop and grab a bite, it may be worth considering taking a picnic to eat at a more leisurely pace.

With one more stop before your destination, those who enjoy a tipple will appreciate the next part of the excursion. Established in 1608 The Bushmills Whiskey Distillery is the oldest working distillery in Ireland. Priding itself on its local roots, generations of families have worked here producing fine Irish whiskey. As well as the opportunity to tour the distillery, there is the chance to sample the wares in the tasting room before buying your very own drop of Ireland in a bottle.

The afternoon is spent at the outdoor museum, The Giant’s Causeway. Once there you can choose to pick up a hand held audio guide and explore at your own pace. Alternatively, you can take a tour with one of the rangers who will explain the history of the causeway. The indoor Visitors’ Centre allows you to discover more about the mythology and science of the area through interactive displays. Other facilities include a gift shop, toilets and a coffee shop.

Whichever way you choose to explore, there really is something for everyone. An area of outstanding natural beauty, you can investigate the basalt polygons that rise from the ground, follow the coastal paths in search of flora and fauna or spot the many varieties of birds and wildlife. For the true believers search instead for Finn McCool’s Cave, the Giant’s Boot or the Wishing Chair.

The end of the day and time to climb on board the bus for the return trip to Belfast. But just when you thought Allen’s Belfast Bus Tours had shown you all there was to see, they have one more surprise stop.

The ruins of Dunluce Castle perch precariously on the cliffs of Antrim overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Joined to the mainland by an arched walkway and built above a secret cave, it is hauntingly beautiful. Woven into its long history are tales of mermaids, smugglers and piracy. A fairy tale castle, it provides the perfect backdrop for those keen to catch a romantic image of Irish history.

While the sun sets on what is hoped was a perfect day, it is time to head homeward to Belfast. As night falls you just have time for a nap before reaching your destination. Perhaps if you are really lucky you will dream of castles, mermaids and returning to The Giant’s Causeway, one day very soon.

Tips to Make Your Next Trip More Adventurous and Memorable

Going out on a trip is fun and make it more memorable by being more adventurous. We only live once. As cliche as it may sound, we need to make the most of it. Go out of your comfort zone – have fun, be bolder, and adventurous.

Here’s how you can achieve that adventurous and memorable trip!

Go to places you’ve never been to.

Most people prefer going to places where they feel familiar and comfortable. For example, Paris is beautiful and special, yes, but do you need to go to Paris every time you are out for vacation? Why not try something new? Go to a place you’ve never been to.

Get a globe, randomly pick a destination and fly there (if your budget permits). How awesome would that be! Places like South Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and others will give you adventures you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Explore like you are searching for something.

Do not just refer to travel guides or Google Maps when you are deciding where to go. Let your instinct take you places. If you are in the far flung places in Thailand, or Vietnam, you can talk to locals and ask which places are best to visit. If you are in New Zealand, there are many car hire in Queenstown to book, so you can easily go to remote nature parks. Allow yourself to explore the beauty of the country or city you decided to visit.

Try outdoor activities.

Are you the type who always stays in the hotel or just go to restaurants and other establishments? For a change why don’t you try various outdoor activities? Try bungee jumping, cliff diving, parasailing, and scuba diving or go wall climbing! Doing those activities will definitely make the trip more special and memorable. Do not be afraid to go wild. It is nice to feel closer to nature through those activities. For once, leave your smartphones, tablets, laptops and other gadgets behind and just enjoy the moment doing outdoor activities.

Leave your work and your worries at home.

Leave your worries at home. When you go out for your next adventure, you must make sure you will not think about work. Do not open your email while you are away because it is definitely a major spoiler of fun. Also, be sure to forget your problems or any worries. You are out to enjoy and relax so stick to that agenda.

Be with your favorite people.

Lastly, go to this next adventure with your most favorite people in the world. Anything will be special when you are sharing it with your dearest friends and loved ones. So make sure to bring them with you on your trip.

Live life to the fullest. Make your next trip more adventurous and memorable using the tips we discussed in this post. But, do not be reckless. You must know the boundaries between being adventurous and being reckless. What you need is clean, exciting and spontaneous kind of fun to make it more special and one of a kind.

Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina is a place I had never heard of until I saw the video below of some people diving from crazy heights. While the diving is insane, I am also impressed with the medieval bridge everyone is jumping from. Old stone walls, mosques, churches; they all look awesome.

If I understand correctly, the bridge in this video is the Old Bridge, finished in 1566. The locals call it Stari Most Bridge, which is probably a better, more specific name than Old Bridge.

Mimar Hajruddin dsigned the old Stari Most Bridge. Hajrudin was a disciple of Sinan, the father of classic Ottoman architecture.

The Old Bridge spans 28.7 meters of the Neretva river, 21 meters above the summer water level. Seems that people have been jumping from the bridge for centuries (see the second video below).

Alternative ski destinations and culture shock on the slopes

So the other day Sharon wrote about some ski chalets, including catered ski chalets in la Rosiere. I’ve only been to ski resorts in Korea, but I hear they can be pretty different from ski resorts in Europe or North America.

First, artificial snow is the norm in Korea. It’s normal to go to a ski resort and find only artificial snow. Many skiers prefer natural powder snow to crunchy and damp man-made snow. I’m not sure if that’s because skiers are used to natural powder or if there really is a significant difference.

Second, the mountains in South Korea are relatively low. The four resorts hosting events for the 2018 Winter Olympics are 700-1500 meters above sea level. The terrain is not as steep as many Americans would expect.

Third, even though the terrain is not above the tree line, tree skiing is not an option. Chain fences line all the slopes

Fourth, much attention was paid to entertaining non-skiers. Typical attractions include water parks and shopping centers. The government owned High 1 Resort has a casino (the only casino in Korea in which Koreans are allowed to play – all other casinos are for foreigners only).

I’m not sure these cultural differences will last forever. Korea may try to westernize in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics to Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang and three other resorts all within half an hour (including the High 1 Resort mentioned above). Although I don’t think they’ll be importing natural snow or changing the incline of their mountains.

So given the many possible cultural differences, I searched the web for ski culture shock and similar terms. I found a few interesting things I’d like to share with you now.


Unlike Korea, Japan is known for natural powder. Also, if you check out the video below around 2:30, you’ll see trees, which would be off limits in Korea.

Kashmir India

This video seems to show untouched snow, white and powdery. Skiing through forest looks amazing. Then around 2 minutes in, very close to the end of the video, there’s a shot where the skiers are on a road. They pass a truck going the other way. Maybe that’s where the culture shock mentioned in the video title comes from. I can’t imagine skiers and vehicles sharing the road.


Long slopes and slow lifts. They interview tourists who say the skiing in this Chinese resort is comparable to America, Canada, and Swedish skiing.

And I believe the Atlai Mountains are also in China. If someone wanted a really different ski experience, they might try skiing uphill (or down) with a single pole.

In conclusion, it seems there are a lot of different ski experiences to be had in Asia. From resorts to country skiing, lots of culture awaits skiers willing to travel. Where would you go for a ski holiday?

Travel idea: Ski resort in the French Alps

High above the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, La Rosière at 6,000 feet features over 90 miles of ski trails, beautiful alpine views with Mont Blanc in the distance, and easy access to Espace San Bernardo on the border between France and Italy. Skiers, from beginners to experts, come here every season to enjoy the sunshine, generous snowfall, uncrowded slopes, and the pleasant camaraderie of this family-friendly ‘Famille Plus Montagne’ resort. There is a special small village “The Gallopins” for the kids in the center of the resort, a “Baby-Club” (18 months-3 year olds), and “Club-Loisirs” for ages 4-12. The clubs provide full or part-time care with or without meals and interesting programs for the different age groups. Three and four year olds can take ski lessons sponsored by the ESF (French Ski School). La Rosiere offers wonderful piste and off-piste skiing, equipment rental, ice skating, snow shoeing, and snow kiting, as well as the fun of apres-ski dining, bowling, and nightlife at the Les Eucherts center. A unique attraction at the resort is the opportunity to legally heli-ski into Italy as far as La Thuile. No vacation at La Rosiere would be complete without indulging in the pleasure and convenience of the catered ski chalets in la Rosiere.

Chalet Aimee – Located in the Les Eucherts area, it has 4 en-suite bedrooms, 3 double and 1 twin, with one extra toilet. Two bedrooms have bath and shower, and two with shower only. In addition to a full breakfast and afternoon tea, guests are served a sumptuous evening meal with wine and aperitifs before dinner. The menu features a variety of appetizers and gourmet entrees such as beef bourguignon and roast loin of pork. For dessert, the choices include chocolate mousse, winter berry crumble, and vanilla pannacotta. Enjoy coffee or tea in the spacious living area, which opens onto the balcony for magnificent views of the evening sky and the snow-covered valley below. Chalet Aimee offers the same amenities as the other La Rosiere chalets including airport/train ski-lift transfers, equipment rental, and early suppers at 6pm for children. Special menus on request.

Weekly Rates: $594-$1,498 p/p.

Chalet Christophe – This is a large chalet for up to 10 people, perfect for a group of friends or family, with 5 bedrooms, 3 double and 2 twin. Two en-suite doubles, one double shares the connecting bathroom with a twin, and the 5th bedroom is a twin. The open living and dining area (table seats 12) serves as a lounge area, and there’s a small kitchen off the dining area, typical of the catered chalet floor plans. Balconies on two sides of the chalet offer incredible views. Cots and high chairs, if needed, are free. Special diets and meal plans for children can be requested at time of booking. Everything you might need on your holiday are included in the chalet price including discounted rental equipment, satellite TV, private parking, and transfers. Three meals, breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner are freshly prepared by the chalet staff on 6 of the 7 days. They have one day off when you’re on your own to self serve or dine out locally.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,488 p/p.

Chalet Thomas – Another charming chalet in the La Rosiere complex, it has plenty of room for 10 people, with 5 bedrooms, 3 doubles, 1 twin, and one bunkroom with its own bathroom. It is fully furnished and equipped with bed linens and towels, complimentary toiletries, Wi-Fi, and lots of other amenities. The chalet has ample living and dining room space with picture windows on two sides for panoramic views of the mountains and valley below. The chalet hosts prepare breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner on six days, except for one day a week when they’re off duty and everything is self serve. This might be a good time to have lunch or dinner at one of the many fine restaurants at La Rosiere.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,498 p/p.

Chalet Valerie – This cozy, fully equipped chalet has 3 en-suite bedrooms and a loft type area upstairs with 2 single beds and hallway bathroom. The children would love their own special place away from the grownups. Although the chalet is somewhat smaller than others in the complex, it will comfortably accommodate up to 8 people. Balconies on two sides of the chalet provide wonderful views of the surrounding area. Great location in Les Eucherts, with shops, restaurants, bars, and an express chair lift. La Rosiere is a nice short walk or free bus ride from the center of Les Eucherts. The chalet staff prepares breakfast, afternoon tea, and a 3-course evening meal accompanied by before-dinner drinks and unlimited wine. Children can be served with an early dinner if you choose. Relax in the quiet luxury of the chalet and enjoy free Wi-Fi, DVD, and satellite TV, or pamper yourself with the mobile massage service after a day on the slopes.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,488 p/p.

Penthouse Chalet – The ultimate choice for a wedding or anniversary skiing party, families, or groups of friends for up to 14 people. Situated on the top floor of the complex, the luxurious ski-in ski-out penthouse is huge with 6 bedrooms, all with mountain or valley views. The bedrooms downstairs, 2 doubles and 2 twins, have full bathrooms. The master bedroom has a private balcony, as well. Upstairs there is a suite-type floor plan with a double and a separate bedroom. The 6th bedroom is a twin with a view of the mountains. A very large living and dining room arrangement features comfortable chairs and sofas, floor to ceiling windows facing the outdoor balcony, and a fireplace which adds a warm ambiance to a gathering place. Meals are served 6 days a week by the chalet staff, who live in a separate area on the premises. The Penthouse Chalet has a jacuzzi and hot tub in addition to the same amenities as the other chalets.

Weekly Rates: $796 – $1,794 p/p.

(Notes: Avg ski pass prices for 6 days, Adult – $256, Child 5-12 – $179, Youth 13+ – $224, Senior 65-74 – $205.

Chalet rates will vary depending on week and month. Packages and discounts available. Chalets are non-smoking, and no shoes can be worn inside. The resort staff provides helpful information and assistance.)

La Rosiere is easily accessible by plane from four airports (Geneva is just 2 hours away), by train from Bourg-St Maurice, or by car (a long, somewhat challenging drive.) It is an ideal, affordable destination with lots of great skiing for everyone, the opportunity for spectacular photography, and many other fun and exciting things to do for families or groups on a skiing holiday.

Sharon L Slayton

Visiting England without the Hype

Most people that visit England want to visit the attractions that London has to offer. Although these are plenty, the city like most other capitals in the world, can be a busy and hassling place to stay. In order to see the city attractions yet stay out of the city as much as possible, a growing number of people are opting to stay outside of London where they can enjoy sights of the beautiful English countryside on their way to each particular London attraction. One of the ideal places to stay for this purpose is Basingstoke in Hampshire. Although Basingstoke is located off both the M3 and M4 motorways, both of which can take you to London, it also has a station on one of the railway’s main lines to London, allowing passengers to reach the heart of London in just 45 minutes. Then they can get the famous underground or one of London’s equally famous taxis to any of the city’s attractions. You can get to know the exact locations and travelling distance on Travelodge Nottingham. This means that you can enjoy watching some of England’s beautiful scenery whilst on your way to visit Coca Cola’s London Eye from which you can get some magnificent panoramas of the city or, visit the Tower of London with its 900 year history. Of course you could enjoy that same scenery on your way to visit the legendary changing of the guards at Buckingham palace or perhaps go shopping on Bond or oxford streets, perhaps even in Harrods.

In Basingstoke though, especially if you stay at a luxury hotel, you can spend the odd day relaxing without a trip to the city. The right hotel will have comfortable rooms and offer guests a wide choice of culinary delights like a combination of fish or a Rump of English roasted lamb off the bone in their Vespers dining room or choices like an 8oz Gammon steak or Salmon Fillet from their Brasserie. If you prefer something lighter, the Tea Room offers a variety of sandwiches and pastries accompanied by your favourite cup of tea or if you prefer, a glass of champagne. The delightful Library bar also offers food in the form of 8oz burgers or London pride battered fish and chips. If you think that this is too much food, you can always burn off some of the calories in the hotel gymnasium or just let the meal digest whilst enjoying a massage in the hotel’s spa.

The town of Basingstoke is not without its own attractions which a luxury travel blog recently noted. Among the town’s attractions is the Milestones Museum. This is a museum that displays over 20,000 objects from Hampshire’s history, uniquely placed in historic replicas of streets from the 1800 and 1900s. Another attraction for those that may not be feint hearted, is the Airkix Indoor Skydiving complex which, apart from offering visitors a chance to experience indoor skydiving, also gives them the opportunity to try a choice of 2 indoor Ski slopes, surfing without water and the challenges of a climbing wall.

Travel Ideas: Camping Adventures Out West (preferably with your dog)

Another month or so and fall arrives in many parts of the U.S., another school year begins, and summer vacations come to an end. Fortunately, there is still time for the family and the family pet to enjoy a camping adventure at a dog friendly national park somewhere out West. The weather is ideal for being outdoors in the exhilarating air of the high elevations (5,000′ to 11,000′ at Eagle Peak) at Yellowstone National Park. Average daytime temperatures are in the 70’s and much cooler in the 40’s at night.

Established in 1872, Yellowstone is one of the largest national parks in the U.S., covering more than 2,000,000 acres in Wyoming and into Idaho and Montana. Famous for geysers (Old Faithful), mountain herds of bison and elk, forests, petrified trees, and waterfalls, the scenery and diversity of plant and animal life are simply breathtaking.

Campers can choose from 12 different campgrounds located throughout the park; five have more conveniences and require reservations. The other seven have more than 400 campsites which require no reservations. Although there are five different entrances to Yellowstone, this article will focus on campgrounds with tent sites near the South Entrance. Campsites are limited to six people, and your dog or dogs (usually limited to 2), for a maximum of 14 days in July – Labor Day. Drinking water is available and wood and charcoal campfires are allowed, subject to wildfire restrictions, quite common in Yellowstone. Your dog must not be left unattended and kept in a carrier or on a leash, 6′ or less, at all times. Owners are responsible for their pet’s behavior on the trails and in the campground. Be aware of wolves, grizzly bears, mountain lions, and other wildlife which roam freely through the park and can be a threat to yourself and your dog(s).

Grant Village campground at Yellowstone Lake is about 22 miles north of the South Entrance of the park. The campground offers 430 campsites with flush toilets, dump station, pay showers, and laundry. Visitor Center (open 8am-7pm), post office, gas station, campground store, and other facilities nearby.
Campsite cost – $26/night (two showers a night included). Reservations required (307-344-7311).

Bridge Bay is another popular campground with 432 beautiful sites by the lake, about 30 miles from the East Entrance. Dump station & flush toilets; pay showers and laundry about 4 miles away. Boat launch and store at the marina. Campsite cost – $21.50/night.

Lewis Lake campground, only 8 miles from the South Entrance, is a good, inexpensive choice, especially if fishing is part of your travel plans. This is a very basic campground with vault toilets, but you will enjoy the peaceful setting and still have the facilities of Grant Village, a short distance away. Campsite cost – $15/night, reservations not required. There are only 85 campsites, so arrive early. Fishing permits – $18/3 days, $25/7 days.
(Notes: There are eight visitor centers and a museum located within the park. See for detailed information on Yellowstone.)
Park Entrance fee – $25/vehicle (for seven days)

Grand Teton National Park, about 10 miles from the South Entrance of Yellowstone on the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, can be easily included in your camping adventure. The 310,000 acres of the park are much less than Yellowstone, but just as beautiful on a smaller scale. Known for stunning views of the Teton Range in the Rocky Mountains, more than 100 lakes, and wildlife, the high elevations provide wonderful camping weather during the summer. Grand Teton is a dog friendly park, but they are not allowed in certain areas such as on pathways or inside park facilities. The basic rule is they can go wherever a car can go. Be aware this is bear country, and always carefully store food, cosmetics, and any items carrying a scent to avoid attracting them. Be sure and Include bear spray in your camping gear.

The seven campgrounds, Colter Bay, Gros Ventre, Jenny Lake, Headwaters, Lizard Creek, and Signal Mountain, charge $22/night per campsite for a maximum of 14 days. Jenny Lake campground is the one exception with a 7-day maximum stay. Reservations are not required for campsites, but they fill up quickly. The same rules apply for your dog(s) in Grand Teton as in other national parks. Primarily, dogs must not be left unattended and kept on a leash or in a carrier, with their owners responsible for the cleanup and behavior of their pet.

Colter Bay, 25 miles north of Moose, has 350 large, wooded sites with dump station, laundry, and showers nearby. Gros Ventre, just south of Moose, also has 350 campsites by the river. Jenny Lake, only 8 miles north of Moose, has 49 campsites for tents only. This is a very popular campground, so arrive before 10am.

Headwaters campground at the Flagg Ranch on the John D. Rockefeller Parkway is an ideal choice and the most convenient for campers visiting both Yellowstone and Grand Teton. There are 36 tent campsites with flush toilets, laundry, and 24-hour showers on the campground. Fishing is great at the Snake River, 1/4 mile away. Store, restaurant, and gift shop nearby. Rates: $35/night for 1-2 adults, $5 more for each additional adult. Call 1-800-443-2311 for reservations.

The 60 sites in the forest at Lizard Creek, further north from Moose, are not as well developed as the other campgrounds and not as popular. Campsites are usually available even in late afternoon. Signal Mountain, not far from Jenny Lake, is probably the more scenic campground with views of the mountains, lake, and forest. The 81 campsites are somewhat smaller than at other campgrounds, and there are no showers or laundry on the campground. Store, gas station, two restaurants, and gift shop nearby.

Entrance to Grand Teton – included in the $25 Yellowstone fee. Pathway permits – $12/pp (7days)
(Note: Five visitor centers – Craig Thomas (Moose), open 8am-7pm; Colter Bay, 25 miles north of Moose, 8am-7pm; Jenny Lake, 8am-5pm; Lawrence S. Rockefeller, 9am-5pm, and Flagg Ranch, 9am-3:30pm.)
(Note: See for more information.)

The popularity of camping has grown rapidly in America since the early 1900’s with more families discovering the freedom and enjoyment it provides. We live in a hectic world where many of us feel “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Camping is educational and healthy family recreation where everyone, and your dog(s), can share the adventure and excitement of being close to nature. Forget the hassle of airline travel, avoid the traffic and the crowds, and have fun for less money on a camping trip.

Sharon L Slayton

Travel idea: Camping at Dog Friendly National Parks

More than 40 million people in the U.S. go camping each year, and about the same number have at least one dog, as much a part of the family as the kids. When summer arrives, schools are out, and it’s vacation time for many families across America. Camping, a tradition since the late 1800’s and even before, became more popular by the 1930’s as Americans found the pleasure in exploring nature and spending time in the great outdoors. Visiting a national park sounds like a great idea, always educational and fun for the whole family, but dogs love a camping adventure and want to go too. Fortunately, most national parks permit dogs on a leash, 6′ or less, at all times, subject to Federal regulations and individual park rules and restrictions

Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine was the first national park established east of the Mississippi. There is a wide diversity of the environment from mountains and forests to lakes and shore within the group of islands which form the 45,000 acres of the park. Dogs will love camping at Acadia where they are allowed on more than 100 miles of trails, as well as on the 45 miles of historic carriage roads. They are restricted, however, from beaches, lakes, steep hiking trails, and trails where peregrine falcons are nesting.

You can camp with your dog at Blackwoods, open 1 May – 31 Oct, or Seawall, late May-Sep. There are approximately 300 campsites, restrooms, running water, a dump station, and shuttle bus service, but no hookups at Blackwoods. One vehicle, two tents, and up to six people are permitted at each campsite. Entrance fee – $20/night for 7-day maximum.

The Seawall campground on the western side of Mount Desert Island, the largest part of Acadia, is about a 10-minute walk to the ocean. Each of the 122 campsites allows tents and RVs up to 35′ long. Seawall has drinking water, flush toilets, campfire rings, and a dump station, with free showers and camping stores about a mile from the campground. Shuttle bus service is also available. Entrance fee – $14-$20/night, 14-day maximum.

Duck Harbor (Isle au Haut) is a one-hour ride on the ferry from the mainland. Although dogs are not allowed to stay in the Duck Harbor campground, it might be fun to take him along for a day trip of exploring. A $25 special permit is required to go to Duck Harbor.

(Note: Campsites are specifically marked.) Campground reservations – 877-444-6777

Visitor Centers:

Hulls Cove – 15 Apr – 30 Jun, 8:30am to 4:30pm; Jul & Aug, 8am to 6pm.
Park HQ – Open year round, 8am to 4:30pm; Apr – Oct, Mon thru Fri. (Winter camping hours vary.)
(Note: See for more information.)

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is simply awesome. With a spectacular panorama of color at sunrise and sunset, an amazing variety of plant and animal life, and incredible scenery, it is truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The South Rim is open year round, subject to fire danger restrictions, weather conditions, and road closures. You and your dog are welcome to check out the view along the two ½ mile Greenway trail along the Rim. A well-behaved pet can go along with you on the 3/4 mile guided Geology Tour. Dogs are restricted, however, from park buses, lodging areas, and trails along the North Rim.

One of the most popular campgrounds that allows pets is Mather, located within Grand Canyon Village. Mather, about a mile from the South Rim, offers 327 camping sites among the Ponderosa pines for tents and Rvs. Mather can be crowded and is usually full by noon. Each campsite has room for up to three tents, a fire grate, and picnic table, with drinking water, dump station, and restrooms on the campgrounds. Laundry, showers, bank, pay phone, and other amenities available at the Visitor Center, a short distance away. Summer hours 8am-5pm. Campsites – $18/night, 7-day maximum. Reservations Required: 877-444-6777, or online at

Desert View has 50 campsites for tents, small Rvs, and travel trailers, for a 7-day camping limit. Each campsite permits up to six people, two tents, and two vehicles or 1 RV/trailer, and your dog. Be sure and include water with your camping equipment and wood or charcoal for cooking on campsite grills only. Only certain types of firewood can be used, “certified” wood is sold at the Visitor Center. There are only two water faucets, no hot water, and no hookups. Showers are available for a fee at Mather campground, 25 miles away. Overall, you can consider Desert View offers very basic camping.

Camping fee – $12/night/7-day maximum. ATM machines are conveniently located near the campground restrooms. Reservations not required, so come early.
Entrance fee – $25/vehicle for seven days. Visitor Center – 8am-8pm (summer hours)
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited and one of the largest in the U.S., encompasses more than 522,000 acres of forest, mountain trails, and an amazing variety of plant and animal life in this part of the Southern Appalachians. Free entrance to the park.

Located on both sides of the North Carolina and Tennessee state lines, the main entrances are at Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC. There are nine designated campgrounds including Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, and Smokemont. Campsites have individual fire grates, picnic tables, and restrooms on the campgrounds, but no showers, hot water, or hookups. Fees vary from $14-$23/night at each campground. We will look at two of the largest, Cades Cove and Elkmont, with individual campsites for up to six people, two vehicles, and tents. Both require reservations for a maximum of 14 days and permit motor homes up to 40′ and trailers up to 35′. Both have food storage lockers and dump stations onsite or nearby. There are specific restrictions on firewood, but bundles of “certified” firewood can be bought at Cades Cove and Elkmont. Keep in mind this is bear country, and all food must be stored in your vehicle or storage lockers.

Cades Cove, in eastern Tennessee, is an ideal choice for viewing wildlife with more open areas in this part of the park. You can find everything you need at Cades Cove Campground Store from groceries, souvenirs, and camping supplies to a variety of express food and beverages. Hours – May-Jul, 9am-7:30pm. Aug, 9am-7pm. Sep-Oct, 9am-6:30pm.

Elkmont campgrounds, 8 miles from Gatlinburg, date back to the early 1900’s as a summer resort in the Appalachians. The 220 campsites range in price from $17-$23/night, 7-day maximum, and reservations should be made in advance for this popular campground open until 29 Nov. Limited selection of camping essentials available at the campground concession.

Your dog cannot be left unattended at the campsite, and he is allowed on only two trails in the park, the Gatlinburg and the Oconaluftee River Trail. The first trail follows the Little Pigeon River about 2 miles through the forest from Sugarlands Visitor Center to the edge of the town of Gatlinburg. Sugarlands is an interesting part of history, which you may want to explore further. Check at the Sugarlands Visitor Center if your dog can go along, or if any kennels is available. Visitor Center Hours – Jun-Aug, 8am-7:30pm. Sep & Oct, 8am-6:30pm. The Oconoluftee trail through the forest is about a mile and a half walk beside the river to the town of Cherokee. Visitor Center Hours – Jun-Aug, 8am-7:30pm. Sep-Oct, 8am-6:30pm.
(Note: Detailed information at

Surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, camping is healthy, inexpensive recreation. Whether it’s the shore, the forest, or the mountains, you’ll escape those hectic travel arrangements and the stress of everyday life. Leave behind the modern conveniences, and inconveniences; your dog will enjoy it as much as you!

Sharon L Slayton

St Mawes travel ideas

St Mawes on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall has many things going for it. St Mawes has the third largest natural harbor in the world and is best known for sailing and other nautical entertainment. The small fishing town turned holiday destination is also well-known for beaches and hikes. It is not so well-known for movie tourism, but that is another possibility. I will try to share what I would do on vacation in St Mawes in this post.

First, I would find a dog-friendly cottage. Since St Mawes is on the south coast of Cornwall, England, it makes sense to check out South Cornwall coastal holiday cottages if you are planning a trip. This website has a number of choices so I would choose a less expensive one near a dog friendly beach.

I don’t plan to do everything with my dogs while on vacation. Sometimes it’s best to leave your furkids in the cottage (to make sure they don’t get too much sun for starters), but when a tourist destination has at least one dog-friendly beach, they move up my list of places to visit.

Boats in St Mawes

Regarding beaches, Summers Beach gets the most sun, but no dogs allowed during the summer. Tavern Beach has a nice view of the boats and good ice cream. I have read that the beach is ideal for kids, which makes it possibly less ideal for me since my dogs do not love children. I suppose I would visit Summers Beach during the day when it may be too hot for dogs anyway.

I am a sucker for castles. Built in the 1500s, St Mawes (and its larger sister castle, Pendennis) are part of a chain of fortresses known as Henrician Castles or Device Forts. I would visit the closest ones for sure and think it would be fun to visit a few that may be within driving distance. The castles are also features of many walking trails in the area.

St Mawes castle
St Mawes castle is on the River Fal or Dowr Fala in Cornish.

Next I would like to talk about hiking. I’m not familiar enough with the area to plan my own walk, but there are plenty of options. Here is one walk around St Mawes that seems really great:

It should also be possible to do some movie tourism. The Agatha Christie film Murder Ahoy was filmed here, as was the 1964 film Crooks in Cloisters. Neither of these films excites me too much, so I probably would not go out my way to visit places they filmed. However, it may be worth looking into for some travelers.

Finally, I should mention at least one place to eat. The Rising Sun is a dog-friendly pub that opens at 8:30 (till 10:00) for breakfast and then serves from the main menu from noon to 9:30. They have great views of the water and a bunch of food I want to try: homemade scones, traditional Cornish Cream Tea, and homemade cakes (available between 2:30 pm and 5.30 pm daily).