On September - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach showcase miles of sparkling water and beautiful white sand. A top tourism destination, area attractions bring families together and provide action-packed fun. If you want to see alligators, learn about Civil War history or spend a day swimming, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have it all. When you’re ready to venture out, add these places to your must-see list:

Gulf Shores Alabama

Go Wild With Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Perfect for all ages, the zoo is home to a reptile house, an aviary and a petting zoo. Up-close encounters include opportunities to hold baby kangaroos and have a lemur climb on you. Some animals you may see include tigers, alligators, birds of prey and snakes. The zoo also hosts educational programs and events year round.

Learn About the Battle of Mobile Bay

American history fans find a special treat in Gulf Shores. The area’s Civil War trails extend from the Gulf of Mexico to more than 90 miles north into Mobile County, comprising more than a dozen Alabama Civil War sites. The trail documents the way of life and military movements in the Mobile Bay area during the Battle of the Bay (August 1864) and the Overland Campaign (March-May, 1865). Find exhibits, houses, hiking trails, orchards and much more on this historical tour.

Play Fetch At the Dog Pond

Need a place for your four-legged friend to roam? Visit the dog pond located under the Gulf Adventure Center on Lake Shelby, one of the area’s newest additions at Gulf State Park. Dogs will love playing with their owners or other dogs at this off-leash attraction. Find rules and hours.

Gulf State Park Gulf Shores AL

Photo: faungg’s photos

Explore Gulf State Park

Outdoor lovers flock to Gulf State Park, where they find a championship golf course, beach pavilion, tennis courts, hiking trails, ziplines and a fishing pier. The pier extends more than 1,500 feet into the Gulf, allowing for prime catches. Ten hiking trails provide opportunities to see wildlife including bobcats, deer and rabbits, and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a must.
The picnic area features covered pavilions, grills and restrooms, and families enjoy gathering for reunions and parties. Campsites and RV sites are also available.

Watch Boats At Florida Point

In proximity to the Perdido Pass Bridge, this public beach offers sand dunes, boardwalks, picnic areas restrooms and showers. Florida Point provides great views of incoming and outgoing charter boats, and is a top spot for a family day on the beach. Parking is free, so bring the beach gear and enjoy the weather.

Ride Trains With Wales West RV Resort

This RV park/resort has several options for guests to enjoy the great outdoors. Wales West offers scenic train rides year round through the Alabama rural countryside and pecan orchards. Riders will get some history and encounter childhood favorites such as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, depending on the season. Outdoor swimming and a huge waterslide will entertain the kids, and at the end of the day, have dinner at a picnic table.

Splash At Waterville USA

Grab the sunscreen and plan for a fun-filled day at this amusement/water park. The amusement park features rides, a bounce house, an arcade, go-kart racing and mini golf. In the summer, cool off on water rides or in the wave pool, complete with slides and other places to roam. Parents can relax in the lazy river or join in the action!

Browse vacation rentals, and plan a trip to Alabama’s Beaches!

Categories: Things to Do


On August - 31 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Sunsets add a certain beauty and charm to an area, and Newport Beach features several places to enjoy them alone or with a special someone. Located south of Los Angeles on one of the most beautiful stretches of California’s Pacific coast, Newport Beach draws millions to the city’s sandy beaches, year-round sunshine and mild temperatures. The area offers lots of activities, including boating and water sports, restaurants, galleries and shopping, golf courses, spas, cycling, and hiking. But no matter what activity captures your interest during the day; as evening approaches, turn to the Pacific to watch the sun set.

Here are the best places to watch the sunset in Newport Beach:

Newport Beach Sunset

Photo: Karol Franks

Lookout and Inspiration Points

Grab a loved one and bench to enjoy bay and ocean views located above Corona del Mar Beach. This popular spot is open to the public and  accommodates weddings up to 20 people. Inspiration Point also has stunning 180-degree views of the ocean and sunset. From Inspiration Point, you can also see Newport Bay and Catalina Island as well as a cove that was used in the opening of Gilligan’s Island. Park for free on Ocean Boulevard, and look for the bronze mother sea lion and her pup.

Sunset Ridge Park

The name says it all. This multi-use park, measuring nearly 14 acres, caters to outdoor lovers of all ages. Kids will enjoy soccer and baseball fields and play areas, while adults will love strolling through the Memorial Butterfly Garden. Afterwards, follow the walkways west to see gorgeous sunsets over the Pacific Ocean from a shaded overlook area. To make a full day of it, pack a picnic.

Take a Relaxing Cruise

A scenic cruise through Newport Beach is a great family or couple activity. Try The Fun Zone Boat Company’s seasonal sunset cruises (May through October, weather permitting). This 90-minute cruise tours the coastline, and guests are welcome to bring food and beverages. To see wildlife, hop aboard a whale-watching cruise and see these animals in their natural habitat. Fun Zone, the first in the area to host narrated tours of Newport Beach, has operated for more than 60 years and offers discounts.

Gondola Company of Newport

Take an hour-long romantic ride in a Venetian gondola, and relax to bay views and canals in Newport Beach. The guide provides music as you explore Newport Harbor. This activity is an area favorite for marriage proposals, and many couples pick this spot and exchange their vows in the cove. Wedding accommodations are available from two to 42 people, and the company offers surprise “kidnappings”, fleet cruises and private parties from your dock.

Newport and Balboa Beach Piers

Located at Balboa Peninsula, Newport Pier offers north views toward Huntington Beach and to the south, the Balboa Pier. In addition to amazing sunsets, people watch or see pelicans and seagulls fly. Before the sunset, rent a bike and ride along the boardwalk or fish off the piers. Locals advise that parking is limited, so plan to walk a little during busy seasons.

Find free and affordable fun in Newport Beach!

 

Categories: Sightseeing


On August - 28 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Ocean City has lots of fun and free attractions and things to do. The city is one of the top visited coastal towns in the area, featuring 10 miles of free beaches, more than 200 restaurants and tons of family-friendly events. Here are some ideas when planning a trip to Ocean City:

Boardwalk Ocean City MD

Photo: Lee Cannon

Visit the Boardwalk

One of the city’s top attractions is the Ocean City boardwalk, officially known as Atlantic Avenue. Named as one of the best in the U.S. by the Travel Channel, the area is packed with restaurants, shops, a mini mall and more. Families can spend the day on the beach, and fly kites on the boardwalk. Or visitors can explore dozens of businesses – ranging from arcades and candy shops to clothing retailers and popcorn. A large Ferris wheel is also on site, and the boardwalk measures a whopping 2.5 miles with direct access to the beach. Direct access means less than a minute walk!

Enjoy a Free Summer Movie or Concert

When the sun sets, head to the beach for a movie or concert. Weather permitting in July and August, find free movies on 27th Street on Mondays and Fridays, and Wednesday showings on 118th Street. Bring your chairs and blankets, and listen to live music for the whole family on Wednesdays at the Caroline Street Stage. Also in July and August, don’t miss the fireworks shows on Mondays and Tuesdays, starting at 10 p.m.

Attend a Free Festival

Love meeting new people and trying something new? Head to one of Ocean City’s many free festivals held throughout the year. These festivals vary and cater to many interests. Some examples include: car shows, arts and crafts, seasonal parades and festivals, most of which feature live entertainment, delicious food and activities for all ages.

Ocean City Gallery Center MD

Photo: Lee Cannon

Browse the Ocean Gallery World Center

Wild and crazy best describes this Ocean City staple. Four locations offer a collection of art including prints, photos, cars and even crab art. On the outside, the gallery exhibits all these and more, and it’s made of old parts from 68 buildings around the world. Founded more than 30 years ago, the KroArt family welcomes visitors to explore “creative ideas.” This center attracts visitors and locals, and guests may even see a celebrity or two.

Tour the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum

History buffs will love learning about Ocean City and the Coast Guard at this family favorite. Explore exhibits featuring life-saving stations and brave men and women, shipwrecks and rescues, genealogical records, and special displays. The kids’ corner teaches youngsters about the region through fun and games. The on-site aquarium will entertain them with feedings and teach them about sharks, beach safety and knot tying.

Watch Wildlife at Assateague Island

Wild horses and ponies roam Assateague Island National Seashore. It’s important to keep a safe distance, so these strong beauties can thrive, but bring the camera to take some unforgettable pictures. Take a guided kayak tour of the area with one of the park rangers, or hike paved and unpaved trails, as well as 37 miles of beach. Campers are also welcome to set up, but firewood must be purchased locally.

Play Ball

Have fun playing volleyball at the Dorchester Volleyball Park or at other nets located along the beach. The popular Northside Park has lighted softball/baseball fields, a multipurpose field, a soccer field, playgrounds, a fishing lagoon and sports center annex. Pack a picnic lunch, and relax at one of many picnic sites.

Fish for Free

Ocean City has two free public fishing areas: Northside Park and Chicago Avenue. These do not require fishing licenses, but guests must register with the state. If you want to pay a small fee, the Oceanic Fishing Pier is open 24/7, and daily passes (12 hours) are available for less than $10. This pier even has night fishing under the lights, snacks and drinks, and everything needed for a day of fishing fun.

Shop the Outlet Mall

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? Tanger Outlets is home to dozens of stores, from American Eagle Outfitters to Under Armor. The outdoor mall hosts several events throughout the year and offers free Wi-Fi. For a break, try dining at one of the restaurants. Shoppers can park in one spot and spend the day finding the perfect gift or souvenir.

Categories: Things to Do Vacation Guides


On August - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Pancakes are a sweet way to start the day. Before venturing out for an action-packed day at Dollywood or a hike through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, try a stack at one of these pancake houses in Pigeon Forge. The city is known for great breakfasts, part of its growing foodie scene that continues to satisfy palettes from all over.

We’ve rounded up the best, so bring a hearty appetite!

Pancakes Pigeon Forge TN

Flickr: Hamburger Helper

Flapjacks Pancake Cabin

With seven locations in Tennessee, Flapjack’s is a power pancake house. Grandma’s peanut butter and banana, wild mountain berry and sticky bun are just a few options here. And all are stacked four high. Customers also love the friendly service and large menu, and kids will love the junior bear cakes, complete with a chocolate smile.
Sides to try: skillet potatoes, turkey sausage, honey ham

Log Cabin Pancake House

This pancake house ranks among the most popular breakfast spots in Pigeon Forge. Two area locations – one in Gatlinburg – and more than a dozen specialty pancakes tempt taste buds. For traditional light and fluffy stacks, try the old-timey buttermilk or miniature. Feeling more adventurous? Try Log Cabin’s pancake royale or the cabin special topped with pineapple.
Sides to try: eggs, center-cut country ham, sausage patties or links.

Reagan’s House of Pancakes

Two locations in Pigeon Forge help make this a convenient and delicious breakfast spot. Popular stacks include old-fashioned, pigs in a blanket, pecan and french toast, complete with cinnamon butter. Guests compliment the butter and homemade syrup, and Reagan’s House was voted for some of the best by TripAdvisor.
Sides to try: country sausage, grits

Pancake Houses Pigeon Forge TN

Nicola Holtkamp

The Red Rooster Pancake House

A bright red roof and indoor tractor displays will catch the eye of diners searching for tasty pancakes. Red Rooster’s menu includes everything from buttermilk pancakes to fruit-topped to chocolate chip. Frequent visitors rave about the chocolate eclair pancakes, which come with Bavarian cream. For something a little less sweet try the peanut butter infused pancakes or the bacon waffle.
Sides to try: bacon, ham steaks, hashbrowns

Sawyer’s Farmhouse

This newer breakfast spot ranks high for delicious pancakes and hearty portions. The Hershey’s chocolate chip, silver dollar – a plate of 10 – and whole wheat are among the stacks. Many fruit pancakes are cooked with fresh fruit inside, then topped with fruit, powdered sugar and more. Customers can even order Sawyer’s pancakes to-go.
Sides to try: sausage, low cholesterol eggs, cinnamon spiced apples

Smoky Mountain Pancake House

All you can eat. Need we say more? Diners can order specialties such as Reese’s peanut butter or Carribean – with sliced bananas fried right in – or enjoy an endless supply of buttermilk. Many Yelp reviewers enjoy coming back every year, and this pancake house is known for fresh fruit and great syrup. To find this spot, look for three bears on the red roof.
Sides to try: bacon, Cades Cove country ham, smothered hashbrowns

Find Pigeon Forge’s best restaurants for family dinner and entertainment.

 

 

Categories: Food


On August - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Panama City Beach’s large strips full of shops, restaurants and clubs give grown ups places to kick back and have fun. The city teems with dance clubs and beach bars, as well as a variety of music acts. If you like karaoke, jazz, country, wine bars or local beers, Panama City Beach has it.

So when the sun sets and you’re ready to venture out, don’t miss these hot spots:

Panama City Beach, FL

Club LaVela

This night club has nine dance clubs under one roof. Club La Vela offers nightly live music, drink specials and VIP bottle service. Open-air beach bars and pool parties welcome people to meet new people and relax. Special events range from teen-only parties to lights-out glow parties and ladies’ night. To end a late night, swing by the gift shop for a souvenir shirt or sunglasses.

Fishale Taphouse & Grill

A local craft-beer spot, Fishale Taphouse has more than 60 beers on tap and a full bar. A variety of seafood options and American fare pair well with the brews. This was the first gastro pub in Panama City Beach, and it offers drink specials five nights a week. Whether wanting a Tasty Tuesday or Sunday Funday, this taphouse caters to those who love a good pint.

Hammerhead Fred’s

This local favorite features Fred’s Hangout, a 2,500 square-foot covered deck with outdoor bar and live music. At night, this spot transforms into a well-known music venue featuring local bands and genres. For those who want to chill inside, 12 big-screen TVs line the walls. With over 30 beers on tap and full lunch and dinner options, Hammerhead Fred’s is a must.

Pineapple Willy's Panama City

Photo: Nikki Hedrick

Pineapple Willy’s

For more than 30 years, this local staple has been a top favorite among locals and tourists. Pineapple Willy’s menu features its famous barbecue ribs, made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, platters, sandwiches and more. A raved about friendly atmosphere, food and drinks keep people coming back. Live music and special events – such as the Pay It Forward Week – are also top draws.

Runaway Island Beach Bar & Grill

A newer addition to Panama City’s nightlife scene, this restaurant has a massive deck with a boardwalk that extends to the shore. Dining is available on two stories, and guests can enjoy live music with great food. Lunch and dinner options feature fresh seafood, and early bird specials are available. For an additional treat, hear stories and legends from locals about fishermen, surfers, and divers.

Schooners

This iconic bar/restaurant is called “the last local beach club” because it’s the last old open-air hang-out spots. Overlooking the Gulf, Schooners offers lunch and dinner, and is open until the early morning hours. Known for its live music, fans enjoy shows from more than a dozen bands. Other events include holiday festivities, a lobster fest and tournament, and beach parties.

Spinnaker Beach Club

The beach club is a great place to hang out. Enjoy live music and dancing, and full food and drink menus. Spinnaker Beach Club has inside and outside bars and a few hideaway bars. Every third Thursday, the club transforms into a upscale setting for ladies in their “little black dresses.” Other things to do include karaoke, dancing to DJs and listening to frequent bands representing a variety of genres.

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

This nightlife spot brings its Nashville heritage to Panama City Beach, featuring live music from Nashville artists. This renowned honky tonk is open for lunch and dinner, and has music until 3 a.m. Guests under 21 are allowed in Tootsie’s from 6 to 8 p.m., but must be accompanied by an parent or guardian. After 8 p.m., it’s adults only. A gift shop sells merchandise including hats, shirts, shot glasses and more.

Categories: Things to Do


On August - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Located on the Gulf of Mexico coast and surrounded by the Everglades, Naples offers family attractions for all ages. Whether looking to fish or get a feel for life on the Everglades, visitors will find lots to do in this seaside town. Here are some of the most popular attractions to try when in Naples:

Boating in Naples FL

Explore the Everglades

Whether by airboat, canoe or kayak, the Everglades are a natural area landmark. These marsh waters are home to many species like dolphins, manatees and alligators. Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides rank high as a place to start the adventure. Guides take riders through 200 acres of wildlife and native plants. For those who prefer to explore on their own, kayaking and canoeing rentals are available through several businesses including Naples Outfitters, Naples Kayak Company, and Up a Creek Kayak Tours.

Go Wild With Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

Spend a day at this top-rated family attraction, which also offers shows and cruises. The zoo’s exhibits include cheetahs, honey badgers, giraffes, and one of the world’s rarest animals, the fosa of Madagascar. Attend one of the shows to learn more about the animal kingdom, and even watch the staff hand feed alligators. Kids will love feeding the giraffes and fish! An all-day pass includes the cruise, Alligator Bay, theater shows and more, providing an affordable day of fun and learning.

Catch a Big One

Naples is one of the country’s premier destinations for fishing trips. The temperate Gulf of Mexico waters are a great year-round environment for anglers of all levels. Several top charters host fishing trips in the area. Ms. B Haven Fishing Charters offers in- and off-shore fishing, wildlife trips, and The Naples Sampler, a combination of light fishing and wildlife watching. Naples Saltwater Fishing offers back-country, nearshore and tarpon fishing adventures. Both charters are locally owned and managed by experts who have decades of experience.

Beach Sunset Naples FL

Paddle Through the Waters

With continuous growth as a must for water lovers, paddleboarding is a great way to spend the day. Naples Paddleboard – a family-owned and -operated business – offers rentals with free delivery to any beach in Naples. They also offer stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) lessons and tours for groups up to six people. Locally owned and operated Gnarly Harley also has a great reputation for providing paddleboard adventures, ranging from relaxing sunset packages or ultimate tours where guests can see dolphins and manatees.

Ride All Day

Renting a bike provides cyclers with great exercise and allows them to explore the area at their own pace. Big Momma’s Bicycles rents and sells bikes for all ages and interests. This bicycle shop also offers private and group tours, and is known for an alligator tour in the Everglades. Naples Cyclery also offers a large selection of rentals, including tandem, speed cruisers, and single and double jog strollers.

Watch a Movie in Style

Silverspot, an upscale movie theater, seats audiences in plush, comfy chairs inside intimate theaters. A great place for a date or taking the family, grab a fresh meal and head to see recently released flicks. With a focus on no-hassle movie, there are no lines or waiting, and each location is different. Reviewers love the leather seats, cleanliness and food. The Naples location features a lounge with a full bar, and an on-site restaurant guests can either dine in or take their entree into the theater.

Find Something Special

Love shopping and fashion? If so, visit the Waterside Shops for upscale shopping and events. This outdoor mall features more than 60 stores and restaurants and hosts events throughout the year – many of which benefit charities. Stores include popular retailers such as GapKids, Barnes and Noble, Ralph Lauren, and more. If looking for local items or maybe that perfect souvenir, visit Tin City Waterfront Shops. This historic plaza houses more than 30 boutiques and two waterfront restaurants. Families will love exploring the little shops, and can also book sightseeing cruises and fishing excursions.

Find great places to stay in Naples.

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Categories: Things to Do


On August - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

One of the main draws to this South Carolina island are the famed Hilton Head golf courses. Known to attract PGA tournaments and golfers of all ages and skills, Hilton Head features dozens of courses. Players will find challenging holes as well as beautiful scenery, providing a perfect outdoor activity. When planning a day on the greens, read about these the top courses in the area:

Sea Pines Golf Hilton Head SC

Dan Perry

Bear Creek Golf Club, private

This 18-hole Rees Signature designed course features more than 6,800 yards and five tees. This was the first original Rees design and has been a top course in the area for more than 30 years. Super Dwarf TifEagle Bermuda grass, diverse wildlife and marsh views guide players through this championship course. Bear Creek’s clubhouse offers family-friendly dining, as well as a patio to enjoy a drink or meal. Events held at Bear Creek include the 2014 Hilton Head Amateur and Hilton Head Open.

Melrose on the Beach, public/private

Home to a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course – with 18 holes and par 72 – Melrose features scenic views of the ocean and Harbor Town Lighthouse. Lush greens and waterways accompany golfers through this 7,081-yard course. When it’s time to break, dine at the Beach Club and Bar, which offers all-you-can-eat dinner specials on Wednesdays and seasonal live music. The club also features three pools and a hot tub, providing additional things to do.

Old South Golf Links, public

Located near Hilton Head in Bluffton, Old South Golf Links has been a local a favorite for more than 20 years. A Southern landscape on the intercoastal waterway and surrounded by oaks and wildlife – from deer to alligators who live in the lagoons – make this a popular course for golf lovers. With 18 holes, yardage ranges from roughly 4,700 to 6,700. The Restaurant at Old South ranks high for breakfast and burgers, and serves a variety of sandwiches and salads.

Golf Courses in Hilton Head SC

Oyster Reef Golf Club, private

This award-winning Rees Jones course has been a top golf spot for more than 30 years. Offering 18 holes and set on 190 acres, golfers play their way through lagoons, vegetation and island views. Oyster Reef’s greens range from 5,288 to 7,014 yards, and its Par 6 No. 6 hole has the Port Royal Sound in the backdrop. Also on-site, guests can relax in the clubhouse or dine at the LagerHead Cavern, which features Southern comfort food with a twist and handcrafted cocktails.

Palmetto Hall Plantation’s Arthur Hills Course, public

Another popular 18-hole course, this heavily wooded course is surrounded by pines and moss-draped oaks. Guests will enjoy lake views, and the 18th hole is noted as one of the best in the Lowcountry. The plantation also focuses on providing wildlife habitats and conserving natural resources. Head to the clubhouse to experience Southern hospitality on the two-story porches, as well as dining options.

Sea Pines Resort, public

Home to three separate golf courses, Sea Pines offers great golf variety, including technical challenges, ocean-side holes and marsh-laden fairways. The most-famous course, Harbour Town Golf Links is a must-play spot and home to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage. Harbour Town has been touted as one of the best by Golf Digest. Golfers, whether novice or expert, will also enjoy both Heron Point by Pete Dye and the Ocean Course. Dining options include: Links, an American Grill; Sea Pines Beach Club; Live Oak; and more.

If visiting Hilton Head soon, don’t miss these great restaurants!

Categories: Recreation


On August - 14 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Anna Maria Island attracts people from all over to experience its beautiful beaches, great fishing, wildlife watching and panoramic views. Most of the island can be explored by walking or bicycling, making it a top destination for those who like exploring. When it’s time for a break, the area’s restaurants provide all the fuel needed to recharge. Read about some island favorites for locals and visitors:

Anna Maria Island, FL

Enjoy Fine Dining at Beach Bistro

A large wine list and great views make Beach Bistro a top choice. A large selection of dishes, ranging in taste and size, combine with a relaxing atmosphere for upscale dining. This award-winning restaurant also sources its meats and produce locally. Classic entrees include bistro bouillabaisse, floribbean grouper and food heaven. Choose between more than 200 wine selections to complement the meal, while enjoying incredible beach views.

Kick Back With Eat Here

A fun, cozy vibe helps Eat Here stand out. The glowing purple sign and mismatched silverware create a laid-back atmosphere that keeps people coming back. Menu favorites include salads and soups, tacos, pizzas, and home-style blue plate specials. They offer a variety of fish as well – such as wild Atlantic salmon – and the selection depends on fresh catches of the day.

Let Ginny’s & Jane E’s Satisfy Your Cravings

This local favorite restaurant-shop serves breakfast and lunch. The cafe features a full menu of hot and cold drinks, quiches and sandwiches, while the bakery serves fresh cinnamon buns, pies and more. To browse antiques and knickknacks, check out the shop. Many items come from local artists and pickers, featuring unique pieces visitors won’t find anywhere else.

Order Indian at The Island Spice

Those who like it hot should try The Island Spice, which specializes in Indian food. The dive is famous for authentic flavors, delicious food and large portions. Lunch and dinner favorites include dosa, uthappam and large entrees, with or without meat. Diners will also find sides and desserts, as well as American fare, creating a multicuisine environment.

Anna Maria Island, FL

Make Your Own at Poppo’s Taqueria

Find gourmet Mexican food at this hot spot. Always fresh, Poppo’s delivers unique flavors and a quirky selection of craft beers. Favorites include burrito, taco, quesadilla and bowl concoctions – with hot and cold sides and toppings. This restaurant uses mostly organic ingredients, and makes many items from scratch or right in front of the customer.

Relax with Rod & Reel Pier

This long-time island staple serves traditional and seafood fare. Open for all meals, Rod and Reel has a menu consisting of everything from breakfast pancakes to sandwiches to main courses. Grouper and the seafood combo are great dinner options. This casual family-friendly restaurant also has indoor and outdoor seating on two floors, with a bar on the first floor.

Join the Skinny’s Place Family

For a burger, try this family-owned dive that has been on the island for more than 60 years. Specializing in American fare, meals include lots of burgers and hot dogs, sandwiches and sides. Grandma’s homemade chili is a top pick. Open for lunch and dinner, visitors will love the quaint feel and island-friendly atmosphere. To complete the meal, pair it with a cold one, and bring cash because this is a cash-only establishment.

Make a Date With The Waterfront Restaurant

Foodies who try this spot will love the large menu, complete with craft bar. That’s bar not beer, meaning there are four separate drink menus as well as three food menus. Open for lunch and dinner, main courses at The Waterfront include a selection of seafood and salads, including tropical and crab Caesar. Daily specials are a popular choice as well, and change depending on catches and seasons.

Discover more places to explore in Anna Maria Island!

Categories: Food


On August - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Located in the heart of the Ozark Mountians, Branson provides year-round outdoor recreation for all ages. From extreme adventures to relaxing waters, staying active is easy to do when visiting the area. Here are some top outdoor attractions in Branson:

Lake, Branson, MO

Enjoy the Water at Table Rock State Park

With easy access to the lake and hiking and biking trails, Table Rock caters to outdoors lovers, giving them lots of fun places to explore. Boaters, swimmers and campers will want to check out the lake, which also serves as a top spot for scuba diving. An on-site marina rents boats in all shapes and sizes. Those who prefer to stay on dry land, should walk or hike the many trails at the park. The Lakeshore trail is perfect for beginners, while experts will enjoy the White River Valley Trail System.

Tour the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Dogwood Canyon features 10,000 acres of Ozark history and offers biking, fishing, horseback riding, and sight-seeing tours. Rent a segway, or hop on the tram to see wildlife, including bison and elk. The Wildlife Tour runs two hours, and takes guests into the rugged canyon, down 300 feet, to see these animals in their habitats. Rainbow trout in spring-fed waters will delight fishermen and women of all ages. For added adventure, try the 3-D archery course, which features five different types of targets.

Golf, Branson, MO

Tee Off At Branson Hills Golf Club

Voted the No. 1 course in Missouri by GolfWeek, Branson Hill’s course measures more than 7,000 yards and features views of the Ozark Mountains. This 18-hole course honors the late pro-golfer Payne Stewart, as each hole is intertwined with a story from his life. Located on site is a sports bar and grill, and lounge area with TVs, card tables and bar. Club members have access to a fitness center, pool with snack bar and tennis courts.

Let Talking Rocks Cavern Take You Underground

This outdoor attraction draws some 1 million visitors a year. Geological formations give guests unique underground views as they walk on pathways through the caves. The main tour lasts less than an hour, and two other caves offer more challenging excursions. Powell Cave tours are a little more strenuous and last two hours, while Mud Cave offers high-intensity explorations that range from four to six hours. Other outdoor activities at Talking Rocks include mini golf, gem mining and nature trails.

Fly With Adventure Ziplines Of Branson

Seven ziplines and speeds up to 50 mph. deliver excitement and a unique way to see the area. This is the only zipline located within Branson’s city limits, and it welcomes riders of all ages. The lines measure up to 2 miles, reach some 70 feet, and three swinging rope bridges add to the experience. Adventure Zipline tours run about two hours, and a Zip at Night tour is also available.

Learn more about Branson, and find more things to do!

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Categories: Recreation Sightseeing


On August - 11 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Whistler’s world-class skiing, incredible views and active nightlife make it a top vacation resort. In fact, Ski Magazine readers voted Whistler No. 1 for après-ski, which refers to social activities after skiing. Many area restaurants and bars feature large menu and drink selections blended with atmospheres perfect for relaxing after a day on the slopes or hiking the trails. Whether looking to unwind by a fire or dance to live music, these are the best in the area:

Whistler, BC, Nightlife

Araxi Restaurant and Bar

Known for delicious dishes and great service, Araxi focuses on creating regional dishes using locally sourced ingredients. Menus range from small to large dishes, chilled seafood as well as a full oyster bar. Visitors can enjoy daily oyster bar specials from 3 to 5 p.m., and pair the meal with a glass of wine. Araxi offers a selection of more than 11,000 bottles and has received top awards from Wine Spectator. A heated outdoor bar serves drinks made with fresh ingredients and offers the full menu including the oyster bar.

Brewhouse at Whistler

This hot spot is open late – until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays – and features menu options for the whole family. With a focus on traditional dishes, the brewhouse provides a welcoming, casual atmosphere. A number of award-winning ales made on site and TVs located throughout the brewery make this a favorite hang-out spot. For a robust brew, try the big wolf bitter, or for a lighter option, the lift lager.

Nightlife at Whistler Brewhouse

wyn ♥ lok

Dubh Linn Gate

Live music and laughter make this Irish pub a must for beer lovers. Open until midnight on weekends, Dubh Linn has a separate late-night menu featuring banger and chips and western front poutine, a barbecue beef dish. Beers are available from 25 taps, from Irish to craft brews, as well as whiskeys, scotches and wines. Live music acts include talented locals playing Celtic, rock, covers and more.

El Furniture Warehouse

This casual nightlife spot offers low prices and great flavors. All food items cost about $5, and choices include sandwiches, salads, tacos, wraps and more, all made with locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant is open until 1 a.m. most nights and has a full bar. Cocktails range from traditional favorites like margaritas to bottle or draft beers.

Elements Urban Tapas Parlour

Constantly changing menus and locally sourced meats, seafood and produce is only the beginning at Elements. Three menus and an expansive wine list give plenty of choices, including special diet needs such as gluten- and dairy-free. Elements carries local wines, many of which have won international awards. After-dinner drinks include coffees, many with kahlua, and special martinis.

21 Steps, Nightlife, Whistler

Raul Pacheco-Vega

The Mallard Lounge

A local favorite for warmers, martinis and views, this lounge has a full menu and seasonal live entertainment. A chocolate bar also helps this nightlife spot stand out. Chocolate bar items include dark chocolate, dried apricot and cherry milk chocolate, and marbled milk and white with vanilla. Warmers consist of honey made from local bees, ones that actually live on the lounge’s roof. The restaurant is located at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

21 Steps Kitchen & Bar

This TripAdvisor Hall of Fame winner has an expansive menu, bar and separate lounge area named The Attic. The restaurant and bar are open daily until midnight, and 21 Steps specializes in modern comfort food. The dinner menu and signature cocktails make this a favorite among couples. For local flavor, try the Canadian, which uses Canadian Club Rye and maple syrup. Or try the surfer for a more tropical drink.

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