Nothing beats the excitement of landing a 200-pound shark. South Florida’s crystal blue waters are perfect for a day in the sun and surf, baiting your line and looking for the prize shark that will give you bragging rights for years. Shark fishing rules in Florida are simple; they’re designed to ensure a large enough population of sharks remains for everyone to catch one while maintaining the marine ecosystem.
San Angelo is a virtual oasis in the arid West Texas plains, with three lakes and the Concho River running through the heart of the city. Initially a small settlement across from the historic landmark of Fort Concho, the town now has a population of 100,000. The Concho River Walk has been designated one of the “Great Places in America” by the American Planning Association after the city revitalized the walk along the Concho River in 2004. The town of San Angelo, 200 miles northwest of Austin, is a mix of Old West American history and a thriving creative culture.
At 726 feet tall, Hoover Dam, with 6.6 million tons of concrete and 45 million pounds of reinforced steel, is an engineering marvel. The dam was built in the early 20th century to harness the power of the Colorado River and convert it into electricity for the surrounding areas, while providing irrigation to 2 million acres in the developing Southwest. Building the Hoover Dam created Lake Mead, which is visited by more than 7 million people every year. Just 35 miles to the west is the desert metropolis of Las Vegas. The first casino was built in Vegas in the early 1940s, and the Las Vegas Strip remains a mecca of gambling, vice and entertainment.
While you may imagine Arizona as a vast desert with a giant canyon slicing through it, its climate is, in fact, quite diverse, with three distinct physiographic regions. The desert climate of Arizona is in the southwestern part of the state and along the west where Arizona borders Nevada and California. To the north-northeast, the geological region of the Colorado Plateau is home to ancient volcanic mountains, plateaus and the Grand Canyon, spanning the Four Corners region of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. Between the deserts of the south and the plateaus of the north is a thin strip of rugged mountain ranges called the Central Highlands, a region characterized by lower temperatures and higher annual rainfalls compared to the rest of the state.
The notion of traveling cheaply may conjure up images of long trips, lengthy layovers, uncomfortable seats, or waiting on standby for hours or even days. But with enough planning, you can comfortably travel between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia, without breaking the bank. Check your credit card and bank rewards to see if you qualify for discounted travel, and be sure to join frequent traveler programs for additional discounts. If you need to get out of town fast, rest assured that even the traditionally inexpensive inter-city bus systems have undergone upgrades that improve comfort and convenience over the past few years.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic 469-mile drive through Virginia and North Carolina. Some of the oldest mountains in the world are within this stretch of the Appalachian Mountains, including Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern U.S. Other natural wonders include the oldest river in North America, ironically named the New River, and Linville Gorge, the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon.
Over 20 million people visit Washington, D.C., every year. Most of them between March and June, with a break in visitation during the notoriously hot and humid summer months of July and August. Travelers return to the city briefly in late September through October, before the city goes quiet in winter when visits drop to approximately half what other months see. Each season introduces different adventures in the Capital City. Spring is synonymous with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. In summer, hundreds of thousands celebrate the Fourth of July with a massive fireworks display on the National Mall. Fall delights with the spectacle of the 17th Street High Heel Race. Winter’s holiday festivals see the city decked out in strings of brightly colored lights and the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. No matter the season, be prepared for temperature swings – as the natives say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day.”
The birthplace of Bob Marley, where everytin’ irie (Jamaican patois for “everything’s all right”), Jamaica is an island paradise like no other. The country has a diverse and proud culture, crystal blue waters and reef-lined beaches. Vacationers spend their days jumping off cliffs, zip lining through the trees or relaxing on beautiful beaches while drinking a Red Stripe beer or a rum punch made with Jamaica’s own Appleton rum. Grab your passport, and hop on a plane to this tropical island wonderland.
For many years, Washington, D.C., wasn’t considered a foodie destination, but in the new millennium, the nation’s capital has seen a renaissance of gastronomic culture. Top Chef season six contestant Mike Isabella made his name with a number of restaurants in the District of Columbia, and José Andrés, a chef known for his humanitarian endeavors, even has a food truck roaming the streets. Many restaurants offer reservations through their websites or third-party sites, but some prefer to leave tables open specifically for walk-in diners.
Gleaming white stone shaped in tribute to those who built America reflect in man-made pools, while squat rectangular buildings house natural, scientific and American histories in Washington, D.C. In the shadow of those who have come before, the gears of government continue to grind. Visiting the nation’s capital is a journey to everything that makes America what it is – and the best part is that the sites are almost entirely free.