As I write this, I’m en route to Houston with my family where we’ll then move on to Ft. Lauderdale and visit with my sister’s family before eventually boarding a luxury cruise ship and sailing the Caribbean. Shortly after our adventure ends, Divulge with Dani will embark on her own vacation with her husband. So, given that we’ve each got travelling on the mind, we present to you this week’s Top Five.
Friday’s Top Five – Vacation Destinations*
* I have intentionally excluded any locations in Alberta (where I’m from) and New York (where my husband is from). Just tryin’ to not play favourites, y’all.
5) Southern California
Yes, it’s hot and crowded there, but it sure is fun to visit. While I’m not a big fan of L.A., it is something everyone should see once. (Read: Mann’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood sign, etc.) The bigger draw for me is Disneyland/California Adventure in Anaheim and, of course, the San Diego area further down the coast. If you’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean before, then this is a beautiful place to start.
In a word? SoCal is breathtaking.
[And, as an added bonus, for those looking for a bit of adventure, San Diego is directly across the border from Tijuana, Mexico. Word to the wise: this ain’t no classy Mexican resort, yo. But it is a place I’ve dared to visit twice, and I mercifully made it out alive and can cross it off my bucket list.]
4) Washington, D.C. and area
I’ve been to over half of the US states, and Washington, D.C. is certainly one area in the US that I’d like to visit again. The time I spent there just wasn’t long enough, and so I’d like to do some more exploring.
The beauty of DC is that it borders multiple states so, on any given day, you can visit several places in a matter of hours. And, while there exists a multitude of national monuments and museums along the National Mall, my favourite place is Arlington National Cemetery. (Yeah, I’m one of those geeks who visits cemeteries while on vacation.)
For me, though, the best part of DC is that it is this highly important megacity, home to the White House and the Pentagon, and yet there are no skyscrapers. The city has intentionally passed a law that states no infrastructure can be taller than or mask the beauty of its national monuments. Finally – a city with its priorities in line!
Others can rave about New York or Los Angeles, but my major city of choice is Washington, D.C. Though I could never live there -- simply because the traffic alone would drive me batty -- it truly is a beautiful, vibrant, historic city that everyone should get to encounter at least once.
3) Grand Canyon
This place sure didn’t get its name for being mediocre. Rather, the term “Grand” is a bit of an understatement as it certainly doesn’t do the area justice.
On my first visit to the Grand Canyon, our Contiki tour guide insisted we all line up blindfolded so we could be lead to the South Rim viewpoint and see it all at once, rather than gradually viewing the sites as we walked up. When we all removed our blindfolds, the view in front of us was stunning and overwhelming and, frankly, almost looked a little fake because it was so surreal. I kept thinking it almost looked as though the background was superimposed into the Arizona wilderness.
On that trip, Divulge with Dani and I were lucky enough to take a helicopter ride over the canyon, which, as you’d expect, was an absolute thrill. I left there thinking that this was a place I definitely wanted to return to in the future – and, luckily enough, I had that chance earlier this year with my mom, husband, daughter, and sister-in-law. After years of raving about this place to my family, I finally got to see their expressions as they, too, slowly approached the viewpoint of the incredible South Rim.
2) Penticton, B.C.
The first time I visited Penticton was with my brother’s family at age 11. I remember when we first crossed the border into British Columbia and just being in awe of the sheer natural beauty of the Rockies. The sights, of course, became even more spectacular as we proceeded further into BC and finally reached the Okanagan valley – a stunning oasis that reminds me of Southern California, but without all the excessive traffic and smog.
And while I have family throughout BC (Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vancouver), my favourite place remains Penticton. It is the quintessential summer playground for western Canadians, as there is no greater way to spend a hot afternoon than floating down the Skaha Lake canal that links it to the Okanagan.
Shortly after our wedding, I finally brought my husband out there for a week of fun. And his response to the sights and sounds of Penticton?
“I wish your family had settled here instead of Edmonton.”
1) The Caribbean
It’s no secret that I come from a family that’s addicted to cruising. And, given that I’m writing this en route to the Caribbean Sea, how could I not choose the Caribbean as my favourite vacation destination??
I’ve almost seen it all -- from the Florida Keys to the coast of Venezuela and everywhere in between, the Caribbean is a sight to behold. It’s hot and humid, and my hair always frizzes to unspeakable standards (think: Monica on Friends), and yet I still come back.
The frozen north feels worlds away, and it’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just enjoy being on Island Time.
Hopefully the picture alone says it all.
That's it for this week. Head on over to see what Divulge with Dani and (potentially) Juice with Junior have come up with as well.