Archive for August, 2013

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Dilemma: You want to squeeze in a sweet camping trip before summer runs out. But unfortunately, your family, friends and perhaps even your entire social network have used up their vacation days already. Should you let that stop you? Absolutely not. In fact, without companions, you’ll likely pack less and take your outdoor therapy to a new level. Plus, park rangers won’t have to bust a loud campfire sing-along after quiet hours.

Here are the best campgrounds for solo travelers — featuring all the perks from easy-access boat landings to secluded sites where you’ll feel like the only person on Earth. Hello, sleeping under the stars!

 

For the Multi-Adventurer: Burke Mountain Campground, Vermont

Solo travelers who are also adventure sports enthusiasts should head to this small 26-site campground located on Burke Mountain, VT. You can hike or bike the extensive network of single- and double-track trails around the mountain. And less than 20 miles away, glacially formed Lake Willoughby offers fishing, swimming and paddle boarding over depths up to 300 feet. Consider this haven your leisure playground that’s guaranteed to satisfy your itch for adventure.

For the Ocean Goer: Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon

This quaint little Oregonian campground is nestled on a sand spit between Netarts Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It features more than 8 miles of forest hiking trails lush with wildlife. And if you’re the solo traveler who wants a little free entertainment, get this: Cape Lookout and nearby Cape Kiwanda and Cape Meares together make the Three Capes Scenic Route — a popular launching pad for hang gliders and paragliders. Come here for both beach and bay access, and don’t forget to look upward!

For the Island Hopper: Big Bay State Park Campground, Wisconsin

The Apostle Islands, a 21-isle archipelago off Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shore, has a rich history of logging, shipping, stone quarrying and fishing. From Bayfield, WI, ferry to Madeline Island and sleep on Big Bay State Park Campground’s lakeshore. Want to see more islands without having to paddle solo on Lake Superior’s unpredictable water? Take the 55-mile Apostle Islands Cruise authorized by the National Park Service. The boat goes daily from Bayfield (May to October) and gives you a solid overview of the chain.

For the Backpacker: Sykes Camp Trail, California

If car camping isn’t your thing, try this moderate 19.5-mile backpacking trail located in the Ventana Wilderness, Los Padres National Forest, CA. Master moderate elevation gains through redwoods and stream crossings to natural hot springs. Select your camp at miles 5, 7, 10 or 12 and crash for the night. Added bonus: It’s a favorite for weekenders, so you’ll never be far from fellow hikers if you need help. For more inspiration, check out our best camping spots in California.

 

Camping solo means you need to be even more focused on safety. Check out Travel Channel’s camping tips before you go:

Off-the-Grid Camping Safety
Camping Do’s and Don’ts
Camping Tips and Tricks

by Patty Hodapp

Patty Hodapp is a freelance writer and solo traveler reporting from the intersection of fitness and adventure. Her slew of expat addresses runs deep — most recently, a tropical Spanish island in the Mediterranean. She covers endurance sports, outdoor gear and adventure travel. Besides Travel Channel, she has written for Outside, Men’s Fitness, Shape and several other publications.

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Elon Musk

Planes, trains and automobiles may be a thing of the past if US entrepreneur Elon Musk has his way. The billionaire has unveiled plans for a HyperLoop transportation system that will transport passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under a half hour, compared with the nearly 6-hour drive that commuters now face on a good traffic day.

Elon Musk, founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors Inc., says the solar-powered system would shoot 28 passengers in an enclosed capsule through a low-pressure steel tube at 8oo miles per hour. According to the 57-page design plan, the project would cost less than $6 billion and transport 7.4 million people each way every year. The tube would be built along I-5 interstate highway, the busiest traffic corridor on the West Coast.

Although an innovative plan, HyperLoop still has a few huge hurdles to clear before it becomes a reality, including receiving the California state government’s approval for the project.  In addition to Cali’s stamp of approval, private companies would have to step in and build the HyperLoop because Musk will be too busy running electric car company Tesla and rocket manufacturer SpaceX. Any takers?

Photography by Viceroy Bali

Did you miss the Kentucky Derby this year? If so, don’t worry, you can always make the trip to Louisville next May … or tonight at 9|8c when Adam Richman does the betting for you on an all-new episode of Fandemonium.

The Derby is more than just the 2-minute race. It’s a weeklong celebration that takes over the city of Louisville, KY. But to get the most of your visit to the Run of the Roses, you need to know where to find the best parties with the most tradition and what to do when you find them – which is where we come in. Check out our Louisville Travel Guide for tips on navigating the “fandemonium” of the Derby.

Tune in tonight for a firsthand look at how horserace enthusiasts get dirty at the Derby, and watch a sneak peek of the action:

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

After 68 years, locals in Hiroshima, Japan, lit lanterns to remember the lives lost during the 1945 bombing of the city. Aside from this reflective, solemn event, this week had its share of fun events, including the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in England, the Medellin Flower Festival in Colombia, and the Stiletto Run in Spain. Take a look at the other events and destinations that we highlighted in this week in photos.

Check out more travel buzz on our radar this week:

US Evacuation and Travel Alerts: The Chicago Tribune reported that the US has ordered the evacuation of non-essential staff from its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, warning US citizens not to travel to the country. Last Friday, the US issued a worldwide travel alert for US citizens traveling abroad due to an unspecified al Qaeda threat. Nearly 20 embassies in North Africa and the Middle East have closed until Aug. 31.

JetBlue Reveals New First Class Seats: Known for shuttling vacationers from Northeast cities to the warmth of Florida and the Caribbean, JetBlue will take strides to attract business travelers. Sources at Jaunted report that starting next year, the airline will offer 16 lie-flat seats on flights between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s the first time the carrier will have a second class of service.

Running of the Bulls in the US: Yep, you read that right. Promoters Brad Scudder and Rob Dickens have arranged bull runs in 10 cities around the US for people who can’t afford to take the trip to Pamplona, Spain. Already 20,000 Americans have put down $35 for an adrenaline rush that comes with running in front of a group of angry bulls that can reach speeds of 35 mph. According to Yahoo Travel, the first US bull run is scheduled to kick off on Aug. 24 at a drag-racing strip south of Richmond, VA.

“Love Boat” Sails to Final Destination: Turkey will be the new home to the iconic MS Pacific also known as “The Love Boat.” According to Gadling, the 42-year-old ship was purchased for 2.5 million euro by a Turkish ship recycling company, where it will be stripped for metal and parts.

Breaking Bad Fuels Albuquerque Tourism Boom: Even after the popular TV show has ended, fans may still be able to pick up bags of “Breaking Bad Candy” — blue-tinged crystals made of rock candy — at the Candy Lady shop in Albuquerque, NM. Not only has the show helped to create new revenue streams for local businesses, but according to Skift, the long-term tourism growth will be dependent on the city’s support in attracting future film projects.


“Heavenly Thoughts” photo by Tintern Abbey

Today marks the end of the first week of our month-long photo contest.  We asked you to proudly show off your camera skills and brag about your summer escapades.  Now it’s time to reveal the first Photo Contest winner! (Drumroll please)…In the category of Road Trips, the grand prize goes to “Heavenly Thoughts” by Tintern Abbey.  Congratulations on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

We have 4 more grand prizes left, so make sure to upload your best vacation photos now for a chance to win.  You can enter as many times as you wish and take your pick from any one of the five categories: Outdoors & Adventure, Family Getaways, Road Trips, Romance & Honeymoons, or Travel Fun for Less.  You could also get your photo featured in a Travel Channel slideshow as an “Editor’s Top Pick.”  Travel Channel and Comfort Inn® are giving away prizes every week, and with 4 more weeks left, you don’t want to wait!

To get more information – or if you merely want to size up your competition – check out 2013 Photo Contest.

Photography by Westin Playa Bonita

Courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Two Sumatran tiger cubs were born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, on Monday evening.  Not only are these cubs the cutest new zoo babies around, but they are also a huge conservation success for the zoo, since Sumatran tigers are critically endangered – there are only 400-500 left in the wild.

Don’t run to the National Zoo just yet to see the lil’ cubs. The zoo is giving the first-time mother – 4-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai — time to bond and care for her little ones, so the cubs will most likely not be on exhibit until the fall.

In the meantime, you can watch the newborn tigers grow (they haven’t even opened their eyes yet) on the zoo’s live webcams. And their dad, 12-year-old Sumatran tiger Kavi is holding down the den as usual at the Great Cats exhibit.

“It’s taken more than 2 years of perseverance getting to know Damai and Kavi and letting them get to know each other so that we could reach this celebratory moment,” Great Cats curator Craig Saffoe said in a release.

“All I can do is smile because the team has realized our goal of producing critically endangered tiger cubs. Damai came to us as a young tiger herself, so it’s really special to see her become a great mom.”

In addition to these rare cubs, there are only 65 Sumatran tigers living in accredited zoos in North America.

Check out more photos and videos of the tiger cubs here. And take a look at our roundups of adorable animal newborns: zoo babies, aqua babies, safari babies and snow babies.

 

You May Also Like:

America’s Wildest Zoos
Sleeping With the Animals
Best Aquariums in the US

Photography by Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Some of these deluxe but eco-friendly contemporary villas are built over the water, so you can dangle your toes in the Indian Ocean while sipping your morning coffee in solitude. More »

Get a double dose of super-official takeout when Daym slides into Atlanta AND Portland tonight on 2 all-new episodes of Best Daym Takeout, starting at 10|9c!

First off, how do you feel about peanut butter cupcakes? What about a peanut butter cupcake blended with ice cream and turned into a milkshake?!? Yeah, we thought so. Find out where to get your hands on this diabolically delicious concoction when Daym tries to find the best takeout in Atlanta.

Then, Daym visits Portland, OR, where he finds more than just your typical takeout – especially when he drops into Pok Pok, a restaurant … in a house … that serves traditional Thai flavors. Ever heard of Muu Sateh? Yeah, neither had we.

Tune in tonight to see what all the Daym hype is about, and watch this sneak peek for a taste of all the takeout to come! 

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