Best Alaska Cruise Ship Tours

Alaska cruise ship tourSure, you’ve traveled across the 48 lower states (maybe), but have you been to Alaska yet? This isn’t your typical drive there and back in a week type of place. Alaska is downright inaccessible, and not only hard to get to, but best seen by unconventional methods. Hiking, small planes, and by boat are some of the best ways to see the natural beauty that Alaska has to offer, and the best way to see it by boat (in luxury) is by cruise ship.

This page outlines the very best Alaska cruise ship tours, broken down by cruise ship line, and includes beautiful photos, videos, and an unbiased guide of what to see in the northernmost state of the USA:

Best Alaska Cruise Ship Tours

January 26, 2012 at 4:21 am Leave a comment

The Best Places to Visit in Southern Florida

florida palm treesWe all hear about Orlando, Daytona Beach, and all of the amusements surrounding the central part of Florida, but what about those other beaches, cities, and destinations in the southern part of the state? It’s warm, it’s almost always sunny, and it’s the perfect place to plan a Florida road trip.

There are three major destinations in Southern Florida to choose from, all of which are easily driven to by car. If you’re flying here, the major airports are in Naples, Miami,  andFort Lauderdale. You can take connecting flights to the Florida Keys, or to other parts of the state to the north.


This is the best known of all of the southern Florida cities. It has some of the best beaches if you like to sit and just people watch, and is known for its hot night club scene. It has a flavor unlike any other city in the USA.


This city is on the western side, the Gulf Coast, also known as the Paradise Coast. Naples is adjacent to the Everglades, and has some of the very best beaches in the entire state, if not the entire country. A walk down Naples Pier at sunset is sure to be a lasting memory for anyone.

Key West

This is the final stop on the Overseas Highway that heads through all of the Florida Keys. Key West is home to well known historic bars like Sloppy Joe’s, the beautiful Key West Lighthouse, and the daily sunset celebration at Mallory Square. Its laid back atmosphere and tropical temperatures will instantly relax your body and mind.

In addition to these destinations, there are also plenty of other cities to visit that are tourist and local favorites like Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Key Largo. The best part of this part of Florida is that the destinations are all relatively close together, so you can pick up and head to the next spot and be there in about an hour.

Read more about Florida with these destination tips, or read about how you can plan an entire southern road trip route with this extensive guide on I-10.

March 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Travel to Slovenia

Slovenia Bled LakeSlovenia is small country in the south of Europe and it is often confused with Slovakia or also some other countries. It has only 2 million people with its own language called Slovenian. Despite that the country is very small, it is very diverse because you can find a lot of different things here. You can visit Julian Alps, find interesting lakes, and view beautiful waterfalls. There are also spas, many caves, karst phenomenons, the Adriatic Sea and much more. Because distances are small you can visit many places just in one day.

Lake Bled is one of the most visited tourist places in Slovenia. There you can see the only real island in Slovenia because on the coast in Slovenia there is no one. Above the lake is a castle, so the entire scenery looks like it’s from fairy tale. Not far away from Bled is the interesting Vintgar Gorge.

Another very interesting lake in Slovenia is Lake Bohinj, which is situated on the border of the Triglav National Park. It is the only national park in Slovenia. It is bigger than Lake Bled and has less tourists, so it is more suitable for nature lovers with a lot of possibilities for hiking and different sports.

The Capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana, which is located almost in the centre of Slovenia. So if you stay there, you will have good starting point for every trip in Slovenia. Ljubljana has wonderful old town centre with a castle above that is worth to see. There are also a lot of museums, parks, shopping centres, etc.

Must see sight is Slovenia is also Postojna Cave or Skocjan Caves. Both caves are wonderful so you will not regret to visit any of them. Postojna Cave is interesting also because of train ride at the start of visit. Not so far from Postojna is Predjama Castle that is located in the wall. It is really very interesting with many floors and also some cave behind the castle. During visit of the castle you will discover different hidden passages, torture caves, etc.

Piran is old Mediterranean town with great squares and many narrow streets. Above the city is church of St. George with excellent view of the town and neighbourhood. You can also climb on town walls, visit some museum or just sit down in one of the many bars or restaurants.

These are just short description of Slovenia. Find many other interesting things beside those in the links above, or visit Kraji’s Lensmaster profile on Squidoo.
Intro photo of Bled Lake by flickr user mirci.

Other Posts From the ExSquidition Travel Journal You Might Enjoy:
* 14 Fall Destinations You’ll Never Forget
* How to Plan a Trip to Cape Cod
* Fun Things to do in Auckland, New Zealand
* Tour the Oldest City in Germany: Trier

September 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm 1 comment

14 Fall Vacation Destinations You’ll Never Forget

Paris, fallAutumn is one of the best times of year to take a vacation. The kids are back in school, the temperatures are very comfortable (and sometimes still very warm), and the tourists are also largely gone from many of the most popular vacation destinations across the globe. If you’re thinking about planning a fall vacation, here are twelve fall vacation destination ideas that you can read more about right on this blog:

The Philippines

Active volcanoes, spectacular marine life, and some of the best tropical views and beaches on the planet make the Philippines a growing vacation destination. Underwater wrecks and diverse sea life, as well as one of the biggest coral reefs on the planet make this South Pacific vacation destination perfect for this fall.


When the summertime temperatures give a slight reprieve in Paris, it also coincides with grape harvest time in the French countryside. In the city, fall is one of the most active times of year for festivals. The brilliant fall foliage only adds to the beauty of this city.

The Netherlands

For such a small country, The Netherlands has an immense tourism industry. Between Belgium and Germany, The Netherlands experiences some of its most comfortable temperatures in the fall season. Visit some of the popular destinations in the city like the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, or the Floating Flower Garden. A trip to the country also wouldn’t be complete without a trip to historic (and sometimes notorious) Amsterdam.

Zion National Park

A lot of people don’t know this, but the best time of year to see the southwest USA is in the autumn. Like the rest of the country, there is some foliage, along with much cooler, drier temperatures. Days are still warm, but not as hot and unbearable as in the summer months. Nights are cool and comfortable, but sometimes can get into the near freezing range. Zion National Park explodes with color in the autumn, as the birches lining the Virgin River invite you into the difficult water hike, The Narrows. It’s not for the novice hiker, and you’ll need some special equipment, but it’s entirely worth the bother. This is one fall vacation  you’d never forget.

Disney World Fall Vacation

The kids are back in school, so this is the time to really get to the park if you want shorter lines and comfortable temperatures! Sure, they just got back in school, but this time of year is great for a vacation (maybe you want to pull them out for a long weekend?). The only downside is that it’s hurricane season, too, so along with the comfortable weather once in a while comes a tropical storm or hurricane. Luckily, Orlando is far inland, so you won’t have to deal with coastal flooding.

Napa Valley

Napa is best seen in the fall months. The area experiences great fall foliage, as well as the annual wine harvest. Along with the harvest, many wineries have parties to kick off the season. Grape leaves turn to orange-red hues, contrasted by vibrant purples.

Southern California

The Southern California region is known for its year-round warm weather, palm trees, and laid back attitude. So why is autumn the best time of year to visit Southern California? The temperatures see their peak in late summer in California, but the air still stays very warm into October. While the area may not see fall foliage, it also doesn’t see nearly as many tourists. That means less lines, less traffic, and lower prices on hotels. Check out cities like Palm Springs, Irvine, Santa Monica, and San Diego for warm weather and views all to yourself.


Just as the wine flows in the autumn in Paris and Napa, the beer starts to flow from taps everywhere in the fall during Oktoberfest. This celebration is an age old tradition where you can sample some of the best beer Germany has to offer, as well as the culture of the German people. Head to the city of Trier to see the historic sites, to the capital of Berlin to check out the fall foliage, or base your entire trip along the best festivals.

New Zealand

While the Northern Hemisphere experiences its end phase of warm weather and sun during the fall, the Southern Hemisphere countries like New Zealand and Australia are experiencing rebirth in the form of spring. This is the perfect time of year to see beautiful floral blooms and fresh snowcapped mountains in cities like Auckland, or in the beautiful National Parks of New Zealand.

New England

When you think of fall foliage, one place probably comes to mind for U.S residents: the northeast, specifically New England. If you think it’s all a bunch of hype and the colors aren’t as spectacular as people say, you’re wrong. Vermont, New Hampshire, and also Western Massachustts, Upstate New York, and Maine experience tremendous fall color. The rest of the New England states, too, experience beautiful foliage just a few weeks later than the northern states.

Cape Cod

Sure, Cape Cod does reside within New England, but unless you’ve been to the Cape during the summer, you have no idea what it’s like to fight Cape Cod bridge traffic on the busy Sagamore and Bourne Bridges, as well as on the congested highways of Route 28 and Route 6. There are nothing but positives for planning a fall vacation to Cape Cod. No annoying tourists, no fighting over a spot at the beach, and you might not even have to pay to go to the beach. Also, no waits at the best restaurants, and there’s still warm ocean temperatures, especially on Nantucket Sound throughout September and into early October sometimes. One other huge plus is the rates are nearly cut in half (sometimes more) after Labor Day and even more after Columbus Day. The Cape doesn’t experience fall foliage as colorfully as destinations in northern New England, but the color is still there and still impressive to see.


Post monsoon season in October-November is a great time to head to India. Drier air means less bugs, and a more comfortable trip for you. Check out the post on taking an India Sabbatical on this blog (link in the header for this section) for travel tips, recommendations, and places to see during any time of year.


The fall foliage doesn’t stop at the Canadian border, it keeps on moving north through New England and into the province of Quebec. In the heart of the province, you can find historic Quebec City, which is one of the most European inspired cities west of Europe itself. Fall temperatures are comfortable in the city, and the autumn foliage provides a stunning backdrop to the buildings along the St. Lawrence River.

Yosemite National Park

What is already an impressive National Park in Northern California becomes even more splendid in the fall. With a drop in temperature comes a change in leaf color, as well as a change in the shades of grass, the hue of the sunsets, and the amount of tourists in the park (that’s a theme of this post, and a definite benefit to traveling in the fall!). The park is open until late October, so get your vacation in before then. The park has been known to have brutal snowstorms even in late October that can shut down the park entirely. Plan your trip in September, and then plan to head to Napa on the way back to enjoy wine country. After that, don’t forget about San Francisco, which experiences its highest temperatures in the month of September.

Out looking for leaves this autumn? Leaf peepers, stop by this page for the best fall foliage spots in the United States collected onto one page!

August 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

Visit the Heritage Park in Irvine, California

Heritage Park is a lovely park located in Irvine, CA. This park is an amazing place for families to enjoy some outdoor fun together. Their wide spaces allow for kids to run all around and enjoy their time with their family. The lovely pond and fountain makes it a peaceful place to simply sit and immerse in the beauty of Mother Nature. Children would certainly love the playground, which would very soon be refurbished and bigger than ever.

Heritage Park also comes with many facilities for those who want to enjoy sports and stay healthy. Heritage Park has great lighted soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, racquetball courts and a volleyball court. These sport facilities at the Heritage Park are not only perfect for some sports fun, but also for sports events organized by the community and schools.

Heritage Park is also great for parties. Their BBQ pits and group picnic areas make this a great outdoor location for your next party or family gathering. The park also homes a wonderful amphitheater that hosts many wonderful shows for everyone to enjoy.

The park also houses the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center, a great swimming complex, the Irvine Fine Arts Center, The Heritage Park Community Center and The Irvine Heritage Park Library.

Be sure to have some great fun at the Heritage Park when you visit Irvine in Southern California!

Photo credit: Image of Heritage Park by Nazeem Sheik.

Aysha Iqbal contributed this great post for the ExSquidition Travel Journal. Be sure to read her other post on Irvine, California parks here, as well as her collection of lenses on Squidoo.

June 17, 2010 at 4:49 am Leave a comment

An India Sabbatical

Taj MahalIndia – for centuries this vast country has captured the imagination and hearts of westerners, as well as bewilders and frustrates them in good measure!

I went for just a short holiday to Mumbai and Goa and am desperate to go back and explore in greater depth. There is something magical about the light there, the way it filters through the dust and humidity – I just fell in love with this country straight away. I defy anyone to capture the essence of India in one sentence; it is such a country of contrasts and extremes in its geography, religions and culture. Simply put, India is awe-inspiring and not a place that you would have an average opinion of. You will hate it or you will love it!

Taj Mahal by Nomad Tale at Flickr Creative Commons

I am taking a 6 month career break in September, and 3 months of it will be spent in India. But what can I do when I get there? There are an overwhelming amount of different travel packages on offer on the Internet, from luxury luxury to shoestring and I have painstakingly been researching as many as I can to make the best decision for my sabbatical. I’ve discovered that there is so much more to do than simply sightseeing! You can take a safari to see Indian tigers at Pench National Park, teach English in Rajasthan, help build greenhouses in the Himalayas and so much more besides. If you are very adventurous you can embark on a physically demanding expedition to beautiful Ladakh in Northern India or even circle the whole of India on a 51 day tour. The opportunities are as diverse as the country itself!


Munnar, KeralaTea Gardens of Munnar, Kerala by Kerala Tourism at Wikimedia Commons

A Career Break in India is my review of what is on offer for travelling to India and what look like the best and most reputable programs and companies on the World Wide Web. Writing this lens has helped me organise myself and clarify what is on offer, I hope it will help others too! As for me, my plans are forming! I would like to volunteer with children in Kerala, then travel to visit the famous Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. After that, Ladakh and then Darjeeling beckons with journeying home via Nepal, Mongolia and the Trans Siberian express through Russia, but that is for another lens…

This post is part of a series of guest posts by authors (or lensmasters) on Squidoo. This post was written by lensmaster LKW31. Check out her profile page for more unique lenses like this one!

Bus travel! By Lumière at Flickr Creative Commons

June 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm 1 comment

Visit the City of Irvine, Southern California: Beautiful Parks in Orange County

The City of Irvine is located in Orange County at Southern California. Along with the good community, good schools, housing and reputation that this great city has built over the years, they also have created a marvelous range of lovely parks for both their residents and visitors to enjoy.

All the Irvine parks are filled with colorful flowers, wide spaces and lots of greenery. Each of these parks allows everyone-young and old to stop and appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature. These parks serve as great locations for some family fun, sports activity, to relax and even hold an outdoor party.

Parks in the City of Irvine also come with great facilities like tennis courts, ball courts, playground, picnic sites, barbeque pits and amphitheaters. Irvine Parks are a great location for children and adult to enjoy some sports activities. Many schools host their annual sports events right in these parks.

Parks in Irvine are also a great spot for anyone to merely take a good walk and relax in a calm environment. Visit the park today, watch the joyous families and forget all the stress of your daily life while looking at the pure beauty of colorful flowers, trees, birdlife, and ponds.

Learn more about these amazing parks in the City of Irvine and be sure to see them for real when you come to Irvine in Southern California.

Photo credit: Bil Barber Park, Irvine Nazeem Sheik

ExSquidition Travel Journal is pleased to announce guest posts in the month of June! Here’s a note from the contributing author of this post:

Aysha Iqbal is an online writer who lives in Southern California and does freelance work. Not only does she write articles on Squidoo, she also maintains 2 blogs – “Wonderful Gifts for Wonderful People” and “Journey of this Online Writer Mum”.

Related posts:

June 15, 2010 at 4:44 am Leave a comment

How to Plan a Trip to Cape Cod


nauset lighthouse

Nauset Light, Eastham, MA

Cape Cod is one of the most treasured spots on the East Coast for its amazing beaches, secluded bikepaths, and historic lighthouses that dot the shore. Each of the towns of Cape Cod have their own unique flavor. For example, Sandwich is a great town for those looking to experience the quaint, quiet New England backroad feel of the Cape. Just next door, the town of Barnstable contains many villages, most notably Hyannis, home of the Kennedy Compound, and the only designated “city” on Cape Cod. This page will help you plan a trip to Cape Cod, and find some of the best things to do, places to see, provide Cape Cod road trip tips, make suggestions on when and where to stay, and provide links to further information about the Cape.

If you’re looking to plan a trip to Cape Cod, first, you’ll need to find out what season you prefer. Cape Cod can get very warm in the summer (at least to New Englanders), with temperatures reaching the mid to high 80’s, sometimes into the 90’s for a few days stretch. The climate is usually humid on Cape Cod, but a sea breeze keeps most of the Cape slightly cooler than the rest of Massachusetts. If you’re looking for warm weather without the crowds, autumn is very comfortable on Cape Cod. Temperatures still stay in the 60’s and 70’s through most of October, and you’ll have the bonus of fall foliage. The winter is a beautiful experience as well, when snow blankets much of Cape Cod during parts of January and February (though driving can be stressful for those not used to it).

To summarize, those looking for very warm weather and warm beaches, come in the summer (though be warned, Cape Cod traffic can be insane in the summer). For thinner crowds and cooler temperatures, visit in autumn. For a wintery experience that has wreath decorated ligthhouses and Colonial homes lit for the holidays, visit in autumn. Spring, too, is often underestimated for its comfortable temperatures (and less bugs, too).

The next on your Cape Cod vacation planning checklist would be the place to stay. Cape Cod doesn’t have all too many large chain hotels, which is good and bad. It’s great because you don’t have to worry about the cheesy, cookie-cutter atmosphere and robotic concierge of chain hotels. On the other hand, you never know what to expect, that is, unless you read hotel reviews. Check Trip Advisor for honest reviews from people that have stayed there, and to get additional photos of the rooms. You’ll be surprised by some of the comments, sometimes disappointed, sometimes pleasantly surprised. It isn’t always the more expensive hotel that’s the better one! Cape Cod has many bed and breakfasts, inns, and motels. You won’t find many multi-story hotels. The bed and breakfast is a great route for Cape Cod travel, but can be a little expensive sometimes. Motels are often no-frills, and rely more on the surrounding attractions and beaches than they do on the amenities they provide (they can also sometimes be very overpriced). If you’d like to stay at a nice place on Cape Cod, you’re most likely going to spend over $100 night.

Next, you’ll want to plan out what time of week (and what week) you’ll want to stay. Weekends on Cape Cod, even in the early autumn, can be nuts. Traffic can back up the Bourne and Sagamore Bridge for miles heading to Cape Cod, and back. Typically Friday is the worst day for traffic heading over the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges. Sunday night is often the worst coming back, but Saturday morning can be rough both ways. If the weekend is a holiday weekend, expect traffic on the holiday (like 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day). To avoid the traffic, avoid travel on the weekends. If you must travel on the weekends, try to plan your trip over the bridges early on Friday morning, early Saturday morning (before 7am), or Sunday morning (before 7am).

On your trip to Cape Cod, you’ll need the basic beach essentials: sunglasses, suntan lotion, a beach towel, and bathing suit, some changes of clothes – not much else. Like any road trip, you’re best off to pack light. If you run out of clothes, you can always buy a souvenir t-shirt or sweatshirt. Gas is slightly more expensive on Cape Cod than elsewhere in Massachusetts. Gas stations are located heavily along Route 28, and signs are designated for gas stations off of Route 6.

Now, which Cape Cod towns should you visit and stay at? The towns of Cape Cod all offer something different.

Bourne, MA

Bourne is the westernmost town on Cape Cod. While Bourne isn’t the most popular resort town, it is a beautiful stopping point on your trip for many reasons. The Cape Cod Canal, which runs from Cape  Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay, provides miles of bike riding, walking, and skating opportunities along the paved bike path. It also has some of the best fishing on Cape Cod. Bourne’s western beaches provide goregous views of the Elizabeth Islands and the Cape Cod Canal boat traffic. Along the canal, be sure to take a stroll on the bike path to view the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge, a beautiful piece of architecture that looks great during sunsets.

Falmouth, MA

Falmouth is located on the southwestern corner of Cape Cod. Falmouth has been built up over the years, but still has some beautiful, quaint, New England style villages. Route 28 leads directly to the town of Falmouth, and eventually to Woods Hole. Woods Hole is a small village on the southern tip of Falmouth, and the home of the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry (which is a great day trip). It’s also one of the most popular towns on the Cape to stay at because of its many beaches and proximity to the bridges.

Mashpee, MA

Mashpee is a mostly residential town adjacent to Sandwich, Falmouth, and Barnstable. There aren’t too many hotels in the town of Mashpee, but the town does have some memorable coastline between Falmouth and Barnstable near Route 28. Explore the hidden harbors, marshes, and inlets on these scenic backroads and you won’t be disappointed.

Sandwich, MA

Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod. Of all of the towns on the Cape, it probably has the most “old time Cape Cod” feel, especially along Route 6A. The town has a small stretch of shoreline between Barnstable and Bourne, right near the Cape Cod Canal. A drive down Route 6A in Sandwich is not to be missed! Also, check out the Sandwich Glass Factory, where glass makers handblow glass live, and offer works of art for sale in the gift shop.

Barnstable, MA

Barnstable is better known for its “village” of Hyannis and Hyannis Port. These two parts of the city have been made famous by former President John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy as home of the Kennedy Compound. Besides the Kennedy connection, Barnstable has plenty to offer. Major villages like Cotuit, Centerville, Craigville Beach, and the busy town center of Hyannis along Route 28 are some of the most visited spots of Cape Cod. Barnstable is also where you can find Sandy Neck Beach, a long, dune-filled peninsula with unbelievable views of Cape Cod Bay.

Yarmouth, MA

Yarmouth, located right next to Hyannis/Barnstable, is a town that is very different from north side to south side. It is one of the few towns that has shores on both Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay. The busy south side is much like Hyannis along Route 28, while the north side has calm waters and rivers at Bass Hole and Yarmouth Port. It also shares Bass River with its neighbor to the east, Dennis. Yarmouth is one of the most popular resort towns, which you can find many of along Route 28.

Dennis, MA

Dennis shares its school system and the Bass River with the town of Yarmouth. The two towns are interconnected in many ways, but Dennis offers its own beautiful coastline along both Route 28 and Route 6A. Like Yarmouth, many of the resort and motel areas are located along Route 28. Bass River is one of the most popular areas in town for fishing and boating.

Harwich, MA

Harwich, which is known for containing “seven villages and three harbors,” is further east along Route 28 on Cape Cod. Harwich contains the busy town center (in the summer, anyways) of Harwich Port, and has a ferry that leaves for Nantucket from its shores. Unlike Dennis and Yarmouth, Harwich doesn’t have a northern shore along Cape Cod Bay, but does have great beaches on the southern side on Nantucket Sound.

Brewster, MA

North of Harwich and east of Dennis is the unofficial most quiet town on Cape Cod, Brewster. This small town has serene, picture-perfect beaches at Paine’s Creek and other Cape Cod Bay beaches. Brewster has many of the best bed and breakfasts Cape Cod has to offer. Along Route 6A, you can find a stretch of antique shops and galleries to browse during your trip. Much of the town preserves its Colonial era charm through its antique homes and buildings.

Linnell Landing, Brewster
Linnell Landing, Brewster, low tide.

Chatham, MA

Chatham is located south of Brewster and Orleans, and east of Harwich. Chatham is one of the wealthiest towns on Cape Cod, and has some of the best views on the entire Cape. With stupendous shoreline along Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, you can find some great beaches in town. Unfortunately, many of them are private, but some aren’t. Try visiting Lighthouse Beach near the town center, and don’t miss a cruise along Pleasant Bay on Route 28. The views there are incredible.

Orleans, MA

Orleans, like Chatham, has incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean. It has the advantage of having some of the best Cape Cod Bay beaches on the northern side as well, like Rock Harbor. Much of Orleans’ eastern facing beaches are protected by the Cape Cod National Seashore, which stretches from Orleans to Provincetown.

Eastham, MA

Eastham is one of the most famous towns on Cape Cod, if we’re speaking in terms of iconic images. The famous Nauset Light which you can see on Cape Cod Potato Chips bags everywhere is adorned with the historic lighthouse. Just behind Nauset Light, you can find the historic Three Sisters of Nauset lighthouses. Also, don’t miss the beaches in Eastham. The ones on the Atlantic Ocean provide great surf, and dramatic views because of the high dunes behind you.

Wellfleet, MA

Of all of the towns on Cape Cod, Wellfleet could be the most dramatic. It has frequent whales that visit the Cape Cod Bay side, winding river marshes that can easily be seen from Route 6, and is home to the famous Marconi Beach and Marconi Station, both part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. As you head further north (or east, as Route 6 indicates), the hotels/motels because further apart. This makes the Outer Cape region one of the tougher places to find a place to stay, and one of the most expensive. However, the price is well worth the drive and the extra money, as you’ll see once you arrive in Wellfleet.

Truro, MA

This is probably the quietest and smallest town on Cape Cod. Located south of Provincetown and north of Wellfleet, Truro has some galleries in the town center, located off of Route 6, along with Highland Light, located on the Atlantic Ocean side of town. There are some homes that are available for rent in town by the week/weekend, but very few places to stay other than these. Right before the Provincetown town line, you’ll find the famous cottages along Route 6A, which offer some of the most desirable views on Cape Cod.

Provincetown, MA

Provincetown has a long history of being an artist colony, and tradition continues today. It has dozens of art galleries on Commercial Street, making it the busiest art community on Cape Cod. Provincetown also is a massive gay and lesbian tourist destination, with many gay friendly restaurants, clubs and inns in town. The coast of Provincetown is not to be missed. There are three lighthouses in town, a mile long jetty that leads the PTown spit, and one of the best Cape Cod beaches at Race Point. The town also has miles of paved bike paths leading from Race Point to Provincelands, to the downtown area. Most of the places to stay are located in downtown, which is only a few minutes from any part of town.

Which town will you choose for your vacation? The quiet appeal of Brewster and Truro, the busy atmosphere of Hyannis and Provincetown, or the easy to find/easily accessible beaches of Dennis and Yarmouth? Whichever town you choose, check the reviews of the hotel you’re booking through prior to committing. Once you’ve booked your hotel, you may want to read this guide on 50 things to do on Cape Cod, for recommended activities, trip planning, beaches, sightseeing, and other fun activities. For trip planning between Boston and Cape Cod, read our guide on the towns of the South Shore.

Do you have a favorite spot on Cape Cod that you recommend, or a travel tip you’d like to share? I’d like to hear from you in the comments section below, and so would our other travelers!

June 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm 1 comment

A Trip Across the South Shore of Massachusetts

Scituate10 Pictures, Images and PhotosA lot of places in Massachusetts get plenty of attention for what they have to offer in terms of scenic attractions, beaches, mountains, big cities, and historical sites. You’ve probably heard of Cape Cod, and you’ve no doubt heard of Boston. The South Shore of Massachusetts, however, sometimes gets ignored. Beyond the town of Plymouth, what else is there? Plenty. The South Shore of Massachusetts has lighthouses, scenic views of the Boston skyline, some of the best beaches in the state, great restaurants, and one other thing: a lack of crowds. That’s the biggest difference.

We’ll start north and head south on this trip, and begin with the town of Quincy.

Quincy is just south of Boston, so it’s a city, not much of a beach town. Quincy does have its own beaches, particularly Wollaston Beach, but these are no match for the beaches further south. What it does have is a lot of history. The town is the home of former Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, as well as the famous signor of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock. Quincy boasts some of the best restaurants on the South Shore, as well as the beautiful seaside community of Marina Bay.

Normally just a stopping point along Route 3, Weymouth doesn’t seem like it has much to offer in terms of scenic views, however, you may not have visited the Weymouth Back River along Route 3A. This scenic area has its own park, Abigail Adams Park, with plenty of space for dog walking and enjoying the fresh air. Like Quincy, this is a city style town with plenty of businesses and restaurants. You’ll also find Wesagusset Beach along the relatively small Weymouth shoreline.

World's End, HinghamHingham
Hingham is one of the South Shore’s wealthiest communities, and one of the prettiest. Like Weymouth and Quincy, there isn’t all that much shoreline in town, but what is there is memorable. What’s most memorable about Hingham’s coast is the peninsula park called World’s End. This hilly land is made up of several hills overlooking Quincy, Hull, and Hingham. Nestled away on this tip, it’s easy to find yourself as the only visitor in this scenic park, strangely enough.

Located on a peninsula in Boston Harbor, Hull is connected by land to the towns of Cohasset and Hull. There is no land route to Boston, except for a long 1-hour drive back down the peninsula south, and north to Boston. This scenic town of the South Shore boasts its most popular beach, Nantasket Beach. With miles of white sand, Nantasket has little rocks and plenty of stretches of soft sand to walk on. Much of Nantasket also has a giant sea wall, which is another popular place to go walking or running. Further north in Hull, you will reach some of the hills for which the town is famous. To the north, you can view Little Brewster Island and Boston Light. At the very end of Hull, you’ll find Pemberton Point, looking out at Peddocks Island, the Boston Harbor Islands, and the skyline of the city of Boston. Get here early if you’re heading here in the summer, because the beach parking fills up fast.

Cohasset, like Hingham, is a beautiful community that has many spectacular, high priced homes on the water. Cohasset’s Jerusalem Road is a must drive for the South Shore. When you’re done with that, drive through the center of Cohasset, and to the tribute to the former lighthouse in Cohasset at Government Island. Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse can clearly be seen from the park, which stands alone in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, protecting ships from the rocky shoal to this day.

Scituate is located south of Cohasset. Scituate has its own lighthouse and harbor. Scituate Light can be seen as the introductory photo for this post. From the coast of northern Minot, you can spot the Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse, along with a small beach (and sometimes tidal pools). In Scituate Center, you’ll find plenty of shops, art galleries, and local restaurants featuring seafood, Irish food, and ice cream. South of the center, you’ll find the cliffs area of Scituate. These four cliffs have spectacular views of the ocean. The Fourth Cliff of Scituate is located in Humarock. This coastal village is only accessibly by first traveling through Marshfield. Scituate and Humarock were once connected, but a storm moved the mouth of the North River between Third and Fourth Cliff to its present entrance.

At the coastal center of the South Shore is the town of Marshfield. Like many coastal towns in Massachusetts and Cape Cod, Marshfield contains several “villages” that make up the town. Fieldston, Ocean Bluff, Brant Rock, Rexhame, and Marshfield Hills are some of those villages. The busiest of those villages in the summer is Brant Rock, which has extensive parking for summer strolls along the waterfront and for a day trip to the beach. You can find the Marshfield Hills section of town near Route 3A. Marshfield Hills has many historic homes and scenic backroads that are worth the drive.

Duxbury has some of the South Shore’s most impressive scenery. Much of the town is located on the ocean, and the town has one of the busiest beaches in Massachusetts, Duxbury Beach. If you have the time, spend a couple of hours exploring the main roads of town like Washington Street, Powder Point Avenue, and King Caesar Road. These all have incredible views of Manoment and Plymouth, along with tidal creeks, small sailboats, and waterfront homes. Near Duxbury Beach, you’ll find the Powder Point Bridge. This bridge leads to the peninsula of Gurnet, which leads to the village of Saquish. This is four wheel drive access only, and you’ll need a beach permit sticker to get here. Once you reach Saquish, you’ll need to turn around. It’s residents only. The ride to Saquish, however, is unforgettable. On one side, there’s the open Atlantic Ocean. On the other side, you’ll see dunes, shorebirds, and Plymouth Harbor. Bring your camera so you can remember this beautiful spot forever. If you’d rather not spend the extra money on a permit, you can park at the other side of the Powder Point Bridge and walk over. The walk is long, but the views are grand.

The Mayflower IIKingston
The town of Kingston is located just south of Duxbury. Much of the shoreline of Kingston is dominated by the Jones River. Kingston has the small beach that overlooks Kingston Bay called Gray’s Beach, along with beautiful historic homes located on Main Street (Route 27). Much of Kingston’s shoreline can be seen by traveling first via Washington Street in Duxbury, to Bay Road. This will lead eventually to the Jones River and Bay Farm, a large open pasture that leads to the ocean.

Plymouth is the South Shore’s most well known town, and also the largest town in the state of Massachusetts by land area. There’s no question that you should definitely make Plymouth part of your journey across the South Shore. Plymouth has some great seafood restaurants and shopping in Plymouth Center, but also has stunning beaches and deep history (which you probably already knew). There are many historic buildings and parks in Plymouth, but make Plymouth Rock, the Plymouth waterfront, the Mayflower II, and Plimoth Plantation “must-sees” on your trip. There are some beautiful beaches in Plymouth, many of which are private. For a better view of some of them, take the Captain John Boats, which offer great whale watches. A trip on one of these boats will give you great views of Kingston, Duxbury, Saquish, and sometimes Provincetown (not to mention the whales themselves).

A trip across the South Shore will take all day, if you start early. Otherwise, it could take two days. Popular towns to stay in include Rockland, Hull, and Plymouth. Be sure to plan your trip around bridge traffic on Cape Cod as well. Bridge traffic is heavy on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings.

May 17, 2010 at 12:14 am 1 comment

One of North America’s Oldest Cities – Quebec City

Quebec City
Quebec City today is one of the most European feeling cities in North America, with its beautiful Château Frontenac hotel, French influences on architecture, and fortified city walls. Located on the St. Lawrence River, Quebec is northeast of Montreal, and north of New Hampshire and Maine. Settled in 1608, Quebec City is one of North America’s oldest cities — only a handful of other North American settlements outdate the Canadian city.

Lensmaster Squidster has created an excellent resource on her lens, Quebec City Today. The lens features a list of fun things to do in the city, links and live feeds from web cams in Quebec, videos, and reviews.

November 9, 2009 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

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