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“Life’s a Beach” all right on Pensacola Beach where building sandcastles, body surfing and beachcombing are popular pastimes. Away from the sands, there are several don’t miss sights for the entire family, including the National Aviation Museum, which features 150 vintage aircraft, flight simulators and an IMAX Theatre, Fort Pickens, an historic military fort built in 1829, and the Pensacola Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Gulf Coast and also the tallest, standing 151 feet tall on a 40 foot bluff. To immerse yourself in the history of Pensacola, stroll the historic village, a pedestrian-friendly area with furnished historic homes, unique museums and the Colonial Archeological Trail. For the white dimpled ball set, try teeing up at Lost Key Golf Club, a target golf set up designed by Arnold Palmer and Marcus Pointe Golf club, an Earl Stone design. Don’t forget, there’s also great deep-sea fishing and other water activities like sailing, kayaking, diving and snorkelling to be actively pursued on Pensacola Beach.
A great family beach holiday spot, Orange Beach, Alabama, offers offer wonderful dining experiences, dolphin-sighting cruises, championship golf courses, fishing charters and nature hikes. Choose from national hotel and motel chains, camping or a variety of beach houses for your stay. There are numerous options for nightlife, from family entertainment to rocking roadhouses, enjoy your pick of plays, free concerts, dancing or just listening to any number of musical stylings at a local hot spot.
<p>Alabama's Gulf Shores provide white sandy beaches which are both perfect for a family holiday, and a quieter alternative to the heavily crowded beaches of Florida. The Gulf Shores provide a family friendly environment full of sunbathing, watersports and golfing opportunities, as well as plenty of theme parks and attractions which are great for kids.
The Florida Panhandle is known for its quaint beach towns and interesting attractions, many of which are money-saving and family friendly. Come to the Florida Panhandle and relax on glorious beaches, shop to your heart’s content and dance the night away. Santa Rosa Island is great for kids and offers a wide array of both beach-based and water-based activities. Families will enjoy a day away to tour the 150-year-old Pensacola Lighthouse. The Florida Panhandle offers exciting nightlife. Panama City, Destin and Pensacola all have numerous bars and nightclubs to suit all tastes. Panama City is home to Club La Vela, the largest nightclub in the U.S. The Florida Panhandle is a shopaholic’s dream. It offers speciality stores, antique stores and shopping malls. For those renting a home or apartment, a trip to Joe Patti’s seafood market in Pensacola is a must. The market specializes in fine wine and cheese, and beautifully presented handmade chocolates to take home to friends and relatives as gifts. Mon Père et Moi in Tallahassee is also worth a visit.
The great outdoors is likely to feature prominently in any holiday to Fort Walton Beach. There are two public golf courses in Fort Walton Beach, The Oaks and The Pines, while championship courses such as the one at Regatta Bay are within easy reach. Sea anglers have the opportunity for some fine shore or boat fishing, hunting down the big game fish which populate the waters off the Florida coast. The more adventurous may wish to go surfing - or even take instruction and perform a parachute jump!
Destin is located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, which gets its name from its beautiful, clear green water. Beaches here have extremely fine, soft sand, so if you’re a beach-walker or your kids enjoy building sand castles, this could be a great destination for you.
Greensboro, North Carolina loves nightlife, shopping, and horses (8,000 buyers per year go to the Sharpe Family Horse Farm.) Greensboro lives up to its name in the host of gardens, science centres, and arboretums. The Bog Garden features a living wetland ecosystem. History is also at home here with museums dedicated to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement. After a day of sightseeing, visitors flock to the Four Seasons Town Centre for dinner, shopping, and a film.
With over 50 legendary attractions including the National Cowboy and Western Museum and the Myriad Botanical Gardens, plus world-class shopping, restaurants and hotels OKC, as it is affectionately known, is the ideal spot for a weekend of fun and reflection. Discover the sights and sounds of the Old West in Stockyards City, watch horse races at Remington Park, then have dinner and see a show in historic Bricktown. Designed to duplicate an 1800s frontier town, families will love the Frontier City Theme Park where visitors see an reenactment of the gun fight at the OK corral and ride thrilling roller coasters. The remarkable Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum occupies the now-sacred soil where 168 Americans were killed. Learn how tragedy united a nation and come away with a new sense of strength, peace and resolve.
Ten years ago Des Moines almost literally sank: the flood of 1993 caused significant damage to the downtown area as well as the local economy. Today the revitalised capital city and cultural centre of Iowa is a versatile destination that everyone will enjoy. Culture and art enthusiasts can roam through the Des Moines Art Center, spend the weekend museum-hopping or attend a Broadway-calibre performance at the Civic Center. Golfers can spend their time and energy teeing up at any of the area's fine championship courses. The Blank Park Zoo and the Iowa State Fairgrounds should be on the list for families; and gardeners will savour the fantastic blooms at the Botanical Center and the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden. Enjoy Des Moines' variety and sample all this "big city with a small town heart" has to offer.
The Pacific Northwest scarcely gets more peaceful than unspoiled Bellingham, a bustling city nestled in the Bellingham Bay. Nature abounds in all directions surrounding this coastal paradise. The waters of the Pacific offer opportunities for whale watching, cruising to Friday Harbor or visiting the Canadian city of Victoria. To the east, Mt. Baker beckons skiers and snowboarders to its slopes. The city itself is alive with vibrant theater, historical museums, gourmet restaurants and fine arts.
Long the home of Portugal’s monarchs, Sintra is a magnificent town of marvelous historic mansions, all set against the backdrop of lush hills. Sintra’s many castles include the Palácio Nacional de Sintra (a main abode of Portuguese royalty until the early 20th century), the hilltop and storybook Palácio da Pena, Quinta de Regaleira (incorporating several architectural styles and with gorgeous surrounding gardens), the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), and the Palácio de Monserrate.
If you need a word to perfectly describe New Forest, “welcoming” would be it. The lowland (i.e. no mountains) park is filled with scenic views and wide trails that beg to be explored as they wind through centuries-old woodlands. Visit Bolderwood, a protected forest and deer sanctuary that was once the hunting grounds of the Norman kings. Fish at Moors Valley before heading skyward for a treetops walk. Prefer the country-house life? Head to Beaulieu, where you can get lost in the Victorian-era at the Palace House before following in the footsteps of medieval monks at the property’s abbey.
Situated on the breathtaking Litoral Norte (north shore) of São Paulo state and straddling the Tropic of Capricorn, the town of Ubatuba is a beachcombers' and surfers' paradise. In fact, the city of 78,000 (225 kilometers northeast of the state capital) is known as the Surf Capital of São Paulo, as well as being a major sailing center. Visitors and locals have more than 100 beaches to choose from, so you've got no reason to go home without tan lines. Well, unless...
Old-world villages and story-book chateaux bedeck the Loire, once fought over by Gauls, Romans, Visigoths and even Attila the Hun. Hire bikes and roll through the lush valley, visiting fortresses in Amboise and Angers, UNESCO-designated Chartres Cathedral and the Gothic cathedral in Nantes. The Musée Jules Verne houses replicas of futuristic inventions designed by the author. Pay respects to other former residents: the Romans in Tours, the cave dwellers of Touraine, and the liberator of Orleans, Joan of Arc.