ALL POSTS IN [Summer]

Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Western

Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Western (Photos: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism)

Ever fantasize about blasting off on a trip into outer space?

That might work someday soon for those with millions of dollars to burn. But for the vast majority of us who aren’t that lucky, traveling to Newfoundland might be the next best bet. The unique rock formations, stunted trees and brutally harsh offshore winds in this remote Canadian province are so out-of-this-world that they cannot help but lure those with an adventurous bent.

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A rodeo in Wilsall, MT. (All photos: Lisa Singh)

A rodeo in Wilsall, MT. (Photo: Lisa Singh)

Remember that scene in City Slickers, where Billy Crystal finds himself in a bit of a slump and says, “Do you ever reach a point in your life where you say to yourself, ‘This is the best I’m ever gonna look, the best I’m ever gonna feel, the best I’m ever gonna do’ … and it ain’t that great?”? His wife soon tells him, “Go and find your smile.”

Somewhere out west.

Personally, the west has always held a special allure for me; and for months, I’d been keeping my Pandora station on old western soundtracks (don’t judge). There was only one place to go, some place like … Montana. Upon the recommendation of some friends, I set my sights on the Metcalf Ranch. It’s here, on a fifth-generation, 4,800-acre working cattle ranch in the heart of south-central Montana, that a couple named Susan and Remi Metcalf offer guests an authentic cattle ranch experience.
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Sun Catcher

“Sun Catcher” by Heather Buttelmann

Well folks, that’s a wrap. As we bring our first photo contest to a close, we’re overwhelmed with the amazing travel photos you’ve shared with us (all 5,582 of them) — so thank you!

Our final grand prize winner goes to “Sun Catcher” by Heather Buttelmann. Congrats on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

Heather says, “My daughter was trying to net fish in a tide pool. She lost her balance on the slippery surface and Voila! I got the shot!”

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember, even though the contest is now closed you can still check out all of the impressive 2013 Photo Contest submissions.

“Tuscan Paradise” by Sybil

“Mingling With the Natives” by Danielle

“The Harbor”

“Beautiful Bryce” by Casper

 

 

Our Editors' Summer Vacations

See how some of the Travel Channel editors spent their summer vacations. Then, show us how you spent yours! Our 2013 Summer Photo Contest ends today. Upload your best vacation photos now for your last chance to win a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location.

Above:

“There’s no better way to celebrate summer than going out into nature, exploring a new climbing destination, Coll’s Cove, in southwest Pennsylvania and meeting new friends that gave us a tour of the boulders. – Arthur Hsu, Video Project Manager

Our Editors' Summer Vacations

Top Row, Left to Right:

“This was the view from our boat every morning in Greece  — I just wish it lasted longer than a week!”– Sara Gilliam, Interactive Producer

“Mud, barbed wire, trenches, mud and more mud — all this may not exactly sound like a good summer vacation, but when I joined thousands of hardcore fitness lovers with a clear eye for fashion (yep, everything from Harry Potter capes to bath robes!) and headed to a wide-open field near Pittsburgh, my summer fun really began. Thanks to 10 to 12 miles of obstacle courses (and good friends, old and new, to help me over walls), this summer experience left me on a very big high that could rival any vacation — the 10,000 volts of electricity certainly helped, too!” — Lisa Singh, Interactive Producer

“I stumbled upon my first ghost crab in the Outer Banks.  Nothing says summer like beaches and crabs!” — Kathleen Calaro, Ad Sales Coordinator

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

“On a recent getaway to Charleston, I escaped the city limits in search of the 400-year-old oak tree Angel Oak on Johns Island, just outside the city. I had heard this oak tree was shocking in size, but seeing it up close took my breath away — it towers over 66 feet high with a wide-spreading canopy 28 feet all around. After days of sightseeing on historic cobblestone streets, seeing this natural wonder was the perfect way to end to my trip.” — Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer

“After driving down the mountain through a torrential downpour, we were treated to a huge rainbow stretching over Denver.” — Josh Levin, Online Production Manager

“This summer, I had my first foray into pet travel. A LOT of toys and treats, one tiny puppy, an airline-approved carrier, and we were off! The ultimate lifesaver? A puppy-sized dose of Benadryl. Don’t judge, it was my vet’s suggestion. It was all worth it when we arrived on the island of Nantucket, 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts  – I think it’s safe to say that Pearl the frenchie loved the strolls through town and expansive, unspoiled beaches as much as I did.” — Allee Sangiolo, Interactive Producer

Labor Day weekend may already be upon us, but it’s not too late to rustle up some fun! So whether you want to head across the country or stay close to home, here are 5 last-minute ideas to make this Labor Day weekend one you’ll never forget.

1. Hit the road. Be spontaneous, get in your car, and go wherever the road leads you. Armed with an app like Hotel Tonight, you can figure out where you’re staying each night on the fly.

2. Stay-cation. Tour a neighborhood you’ve never been to before. Visit that restaurant you’ve heard so much about, try a new yoga practice, or spend an entire day exploring a park. You’ll discover hidden gems that make you feel like you’ve entered a whole new world (with the benefit of getting to sleep in your own bed).

3. Travel the world through your tastebuds. I challenge you: 3 days. 9 meals. 9 global cuisines. Go!

4. Spa retreat. Haven’t you always been curious about what those wacky spa treatments are like? Now’s your chance to find out what a fish-nibbling pedicure feels like.

5. Do one thing that scares you. Whether it’s sky diving over the Kennedy Space Center or biking across the city, push yourself to try something you’ve haven’t had the guts to do this summer, or in your entire life for that matter.

–  by Ruzwana Bashir

Ruzwana Bashir is co-founder and CEO of Peek.com, a site where you can find amazing things to do in your hometown or in a new destination, and easily book them online. Whether you’d like to explore underground street art, go swimming with sharks, or head to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Peek has handpicked the best activities from the highest quality operators. Bashir, formerly of Gilt Group, Art.sy, the Blackstone Group, and Goldman Sachs, is a self-proclaimed travel junkie, having navigated her way through 40 countries.

 

You May Also Like:
Best Beaches for Labor Day Weekend
Best Beach Camping
Boating Safety
Where to Travel in September

 

Floating in Paradise

“Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney

This week’s winner goes to the aptly-titled “Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney. It’s safe to say her submission made the Travel Channel staff collectively wish were there.

Tiffaney says, “My husband took me to the beautiful island of Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Each morning, I would jump off of our balcony into the blue lagoon below. One morning my husband saw me floating and snapped my favorite shot of the trip!”

It was our favorite, too, Tiffaney! Congrats on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location.

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember we only have 1 grand prize left! Upload your best vacation photos now for your last chance to win.

“Color-Splashed Sunset”

“Blondes Do Have More Fun” by Kimberly

“Mediterranean Marvels” by Sable’s Travels

Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe

“Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe”

 

 

Ah, the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like a vacation to hike Half Dome in Yosemite National Park or check out Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. And with millions of Americans visiting the parks this summer, there has never been a better time to show your support.

Now comes the exciting part: From now until Sunday, when you give to the National Park Foundation, Travel Channel will match your donation $1 for $1 up to $30,000.

NPF can do twice as much with your gift to:

  • Restore 250 miles of trails and waterways
  • Work with teachers in all 50 states to embrace national parks as classrooms
  • Preserve and protect America’s treasured places through grants

What are you waiting for? Donate now to double your impact for NPF!

Now that that’s covered, we have one more challenge for you. How much do you really know about America’s national parks? Take our quiz below and find out!

Photography by Valerie Conners

It’s the heart of August in Big Sky, MT, home to some of North America’s most incredible ski slopes and majestic mountain scenery — but the resort town is hardly shut down for the summer season. Incredibly, Big Sky springs to life during the so-called “off” season. The resort town offers a seemingly endless array of outdoor activities — from hiking to fishing, and zip lining to horseback riding — to an ever-increasing number of warm weather visitors.

Photography by Valerie Conners

What to Do
Hiking: The region in summer is downright heaven for outdoors lovers who take advantage of seemingly endless miles of hiking trails, like the famed Beehive Basin, Ousel Falls and Storm Castle trails. While August might be late to view wildflowers in various other regions of the country, many fields here are still awash with the vivid reds, yellows and purples of the regional flora.

Experience the Gallatin: Not to be missed is a trip to the Gallatin River, which winds its way through along the Canyon and through the Meadow, as the lower regions of Big Sky are known. The river has become a mecca of sorts for fly fishermen as well as rafters and kayakers. Remember the iconic film, A River Runs Through It? Parts of the movie were shot here along the Gallatin. A number of outfitters around town can help visitors organize fly fishing trips or guided rafting tours.

Photography by Valerie Conners

Explore Moonlight Basin: Also known for its epic skiing in winter, this luxe mountain resort offers families and couples a veritable world of onsite summer activities. Popular favorites include horseback riding tours with Cedar Mountain Corrals along some of the resort’s stunning 8,000 acres of land, as well as the Tuesday evening Hike, Bike & BBQ. Sign up for this weekly event and choose to explore the property’s 16 miles of trails on foot or mountain bike, then cap it off with a celebratory barbecue overlooking the mountain vistas. Good thing you’ll have worked up an appetite for the slow-roasted ribs. Guests of the resort also have access to a swimming pool and hot tub — perfect for a relaxing post-hike dip.

Visit Big Sky Resort: Neighbor to Moonlight Basin, Big Sky Resort is a must-visit. Take a tram tour to the top of 11,166-foot-high Lone Peak — it’s a stunner. On a clear day it’s possible to see 2 national parks, 3 states (Montana, Wyoming and Idaho) and many mountain ranges. The resort’s Basecamp can also organize activities such as zip line courses, mountain biking and hiking with lift access, a bungee trampoline, disc golf, a climbing wall and even paintball.

Photography by Valerie Conners

Explore Yellowstone National Park: A trip to America’s first national park, Yellowstone, is a must for visitors to Big Sky. The nearest park entrance lies a mere hour outside of town, and it is possible to take the popular Grand Loop Road drive to see the park’s major sights, such as Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Lake Village.

- Valerie Conners

Valerie Conners is a New York-based freelance writer who has worked in various roles at the Travel Channel for more than 10 years. She has written for digital and print publications including
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, Frommer’s Travel Guides and Discovery.com.

“Bubble Cheeks” by Susan

Who could resist those “Bubble Cheeks?” Certainly, not us.

This week’s winner in the “Travel Fun for Less” category is Susan, who says “I was enjoying a fun afternoon in the pool with my 4-year-old nephew, who is learning to swim. He was showing me how to make ‘bubble cheeks.’”

Congrats, Susan, on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember we have 3 grand prizes left! Upload your best vacation photos now for a chance to win.

“African Dream” by Rochi

“Midnight Sun in Iceland” by MikelDallas

“Hiking up High” by MANelson

For more information — or to size up the competition — check out our 2013 photo contest.

Travel Channel's Summer Photo Contest

There’s nothing better than a summer vacation that leaves lasting memories — except maybe capturing those moments on camera. Now you can upload your summer vacation photos for a chance to be featured on TravelChannel.com and win prizes from Comfort Inn®.

Every week, we’re giving away another $500 Choice Hotels voucher for a stay at the location of your choice! So what are you waiting for? Enter the contest now and check the blog every Friday through August 6, where we’ll reveal the week’s finalists and the lucky winner.

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