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Great Ideas for Midwest Vacations

November 29, 2019
midwest vacations

There’s something so friendly and welcoming about the American Midwest.

The wide open prairies, the peaceful river valleys and the thriving cities – this region invites you to explore. Whether you’re looking for a chance to hike the great outdoors, enjoy the nightlife, visit historic sites, celebrate Spring Break or enjoy interesting museums – the Midwest has a lot to discover.

If you’re looking for inspiration for the best Midwest vacations, keep reading. We have some great ideas for Midwest family vacations that will make you fall head over heels in love with this region.

Where is the Midwest?

The area known as the Midwest encompasses the center of the United States. It stretches from the state of Ohio in the east, all the way to Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas in the west.

Diving deeper into the region, you have the Great Lakes States and the Great Plains States. The Great Lakes States are the ones that border the Great Lakes, including Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. The Great Plains States include Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa.

These states make up the heart of the USA – yet a great deal of tourism in America is focused along the East and West Coast and the South. It’s definitely worth taking the time to explore these midwestern states, so you can experience life in America’s heartland.

Midwest Getaways You’ll Love

midwest vacations

Indianapolis, Indiana

If you’re a sports fan, Indianapolis is one of the best Midwest cities to travel to. It’s known for car racing basketball, football and much more. You can visit the world-famous Indianapolis 500 racetrack, then see the 1930s gymnasium at the NCAA Hall of Champions. If you are traveling with little ones, they can take part in the interactive exhibits at the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

But Indianapolis isn’t just all about sports. It also boasts a thriving art scene, excellent restaurants and beautiful local hiking trails in Eagle Creek Park and Schoen Creek Trail. It’s no wonder so many Midwest vacations include this great city.
midwest vacations

St. Louis, Missouri

Standing high above this city, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, is a towering steel arch. It symbolizes the position of St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West.” A vibrant and youthful midwestern metropolis, there are a lot of reasons to explore St. Louis.

This thriving city keeps popping up on “Best Of” lists – thanks to the fantastic parks, excellent zoos and botanical gardens and high quality museums. Be sure to check out the Delmar Loop, which is a six block stretch of Delmar Boulevard – known as one of the best urban streets in America. It’s backed with great attractions like Blueberry Hill (Where Chuck Berry used to play), the old Tivoli Theatre and plenty of superb restaurants, lounges and pubs.
midwest vacations

Chicago, Illinois

When you travel the Midwest, you can’t miss Chicago. After all, it’s the most populous city in the Midwest and the third most populous in the entire country.

It has everything you could want from an exciting city getaway, from world-class museums to stunning architecture to a legendary theatre and stand-up comedy scene. Not to mention, there are 7,000 restaurants to choose from serving everything from hearty deep dish pizza to high end cuisine.

Chicago is most enjoyable in the summer months between June and September, when the locals flock to the parks, Lakefront beaches and public squares to enjoy picnics, live music and festivals. In fact, during the summer it feels like there’s a festival happening every weekend! Check out the events calendar and plan your visit you can join in on the fun.
midwest vacations

Traverse City, Michigan

Located close to the Canadian border, this city overlooks Lake Michigan and is one of the best Midwest travel destinations for outdoor lovers. On a long summer day here you can head out onto the lake on a fishing trip, or go trekking through the trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. If you are here in the winter, you can enjoy the abundant snowfall. It’s perfect for snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding. At any time of the year you can visit the many wineries and craft breweries to sample locally made tipple.

If you’re looking to experience a bit of luxury with your nature, there are several beautiful Midwest resorts in this area – such as the Tamarack Lodge, the Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn and the Sugar Beach Resort Hotel.

Where will you go on your Midwest road trips?

These are just a few of the best weekend getaways the Midwest has to offer. This may be one of the most underappreciated regions in the USA, so why not get out there and see what the Midwest is all about?

If you’re keen to travel Midwest destinations, you’ll have a lot to see and do in this region!

Vacation Travel

Things to Know Before You Travel to Canada

November 26, 2019
travel to canada

Oh, Canada! The second largest country in the world is packed with so many great things to see and do. It’s home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, from the dramatic cliffs and stormy seas of the Maritimes to the vast prairies and the snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes of the Rocky Mountains.

Plus, Canada also boasts world-class cities that are alive with excellent nightlife, superb museums and galleries, delicious and diverse cuisine and fascinating history. No matter what you’re into, you’ll find something to love in Canada. Plus, you’ll also find plenty of friendly and welcoming people.

So, what should you know when visiting Canada? Keep reading for some important information you’ll want to be aware of before you embark on a trip to the True North Strong and Free.
travel to canada

Tips for Traveling to Canada

  • ➤ In Canadian airports, you’ll hear all announcements repeated in both official languages – French and English. So, if you don’t understand the announcement don’t panic – it will cycle back around to English again.
  • ➤ Be aware of how cold it can be in the winter. In the prairie provinces, it is not uncommon for the temperature to dip down to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) during the depths of winter. Dress appropriately and don’t plan to spend long hours outdoors.
  • ➤ Speaking of what to wear, layers is the best option when travelling to Canada. You can adjust to your comfort when walking outside or entering a building. Also, don’t forget a scarf, gloves and a hat (known locally as a toque).
  • ➤ The tipping culture in Canada is similar to that of the USA. Generally, the accepted range is between 15-20% of the final bill.
  • ➤ When you visit Canada you’ll notice right away that there is a federal sales tax added to all goods and services. Plus, in addition to this many of the provinces have their own tax. So, keep this in mind if your bill comes to more than you were expecting – even when shopping in a store.
  • ➤ Canada is a huge country and the distances between destinations are vast. Be realistic about how much you can cover during your trip. For example, don’t plan to visit Vancouver one day and then Calgary the next. There is over 10 hours of driving in between these two cities (even though they look relatively close on a map!)
  • ➤ If you are not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need an Electronic Travel Authorization if you are visiting Canada by air. It costs $7 and is valid for five years.
  • travel to canada

    Entering Canada: Travel to Canada from the US

    Wondering what you need to know about US citizen travel to Canada?

    If you are visiting Canada from the United States, you’ll definitely need to bring your passport to cross the border – or a “passport equivalent.” This can be an enhanced driver’s licence, or a NEXUS card. Ever since 9/11, visitors from the USA are no longer allowed to cross the border into Canada with a simple driver’s license.

    A tourist visa is not required for stays under 180 days. Children under the age of 16 may only need to present proof of U.S. citizenship – which can be a birth certificate.

    It’s also important to know what you can bring with you when you cross the border. For example, if you have proper documentation you can bring your pet with you. However, you should never take fresh fruit with you across the border, and there are limits on how much liquor and cigarettes you can bring.

    The good news is that your US driving license is still valid when you cross the border into Canada. However, be aware that the speed limits will be displayed in kilometers, not miles. So, figure out the conversion rate and don’t drive too fast!

    Some towns on the border will accept American dollars. However, you’ll want to change your money into Canadian currency as soon as you can. Also, keep an eye on your mobile phone settings. Your U.S. cellphone will work in Canada, but your carrier may apply roaming charges that can really add up quickly.

    It’s also important to know that although Canada has a wonderful universal healthcare system – it’s only for Canadians. As a visitor, you’ll want to get travel insurance coverage in case you hurt yourself or become ill during your stay. (That is, unless your U.S. health provider covers you outside of the USA.)

    Any questions about visiting Canada?

    If you’re going to Canada, feel free to reach out to us and ask any questions you might have about what to expect. Also, if you’re coming to Toronto, check out our furnished suites – ideal for families or couples who want the comforts of home plus a convenient location in the heart of the city.

    Vacation Travel

    Best Vacation Spots for Couples

    November 22, 2019

    When is the last time you went on an adventure with your partner? 

    If you’ve been together for a while, you may have fallen back into a pattern of Netflix binges and takeout on the weekends. It’s nice to be cosy and comfortable – but traveling somewhere new with your special someone can bring a thrill and excitement back into your relationship. So, why not consider a getaway to one of these great vacation spots for couples? 

    It doesn’t even have to be Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or any type of special occasion. It can be wonderful to travel with your sweetheart just because.  

    When you’re looking for ideas for your next couples vacation, these are some of the best romantic spots where you can spend some time with your special someone: 

    Vacation Ideas for Couples

    Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio, USA

    If you and your beloved are the type of people who enjoy hikes out in nature, you’ll fall in love with the waterfalls, cliffs and dense forests of the 
    Hocking Hills region of Ohio. Located 50 minutes away from Columbus, it feels peaceful and serene. Although it’s incredibly beautiful, it’s not as crowded as some of the other national parks. So, there’s a good chance you’ll have the hiking trails to yourself (especially if you visit during the shoulder season.)

    Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

    In the desert town of Scottsdale, a romantic getaway will be packed with days at the spa, wine tastings, great cuisine, hikes in the hills. Perhaps you’ll even enjoy a hot air balloon ride over the Superstition Mountains. This sunny spot, with luxurious resorts and golf courses, is one of the most popular best vacations for couples. Make sure to bring your sunscreen – it’s warm and sunny throughout the year here. 

    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

    There’s a reason why Niagara Falls is so popular as a honeymoon destination – attracting millions of couples from around the world. First of all, there’s the spectacular natural wonder of the falls, which will truly take your breath away. Plus, there’s the nearby Niagara wine region, where you can enjoy a tasting with your special someone. With several great restaurants, hotels with couples packages and so much more – it’s a great option for a romantic getaway. (Plus, it’s quite 
    easy to get to from Toronto.)

    Savannah, Georgia, USA

    The oldest city in Georgia, Savannah is known for its romantic elegance and charm. It’s hard not to fall in love when you are surrounded by so much friendly classic Southern charm and beauty. Take a stroll with your special someone through the lush green city squares and parks. Each peaceful park is shaded by huge trees draped in cascading Spanish moss. You can go on a history tour to learn the stories behind the stately mansions and historic homes. Then, treat yourselves to some classic Southern barbeque. 

    Tribune Bay, Hornby Island, British Columbia

    One of the best beach vacations for couples in Western Canada is Hornby Island. This peaceful and naturally beautiful spot is quite far off the beaten track. You have to take two ferries to get there. But, the effort is well worth it if you want to get away from it all with your sweetheart. You can stroll along the stunning white sandy beach at low tide, enjoying the warm summer sunshine. To sunbathe without tan lines, check out the nude beach at Little Tribune Bay on the southern part of the island. 

    vacation spots for couples

    Tips for Planning the Best Couple Vacations

    • Be sure to incorporate things that you and your partner like. The best couples vacations include activities that you enjoy. But, they also include things your partner enjoys and things you can do together. Listen to what your partner wants to do and what’s important to them about the trip. 

    • Also, you’ll want to plan in some personal time on your vacations for couples too – especially if you are traveling together for multiple days. Being together 24/7 can be a lot and you and your partner might need a moment to take a break and recharge. 

    • Try something new. Going outside of your comfort zone can be a fantastic bonding experience. Why not try a new activity – like bungee jumping, a cooking class or horseback riding? 

    • If you can, book your romantic getaway outside of high season. You’ll find better prices and fewer crowds at the popular vacation spots for couples if you can travel in the slower seasons. 

    • Call up the hotel before you arrive. Ask them for a little something special in the room to surprise your partner. Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of champagne, it will be a special moment they will never forget. 

    • Avoid the restaurants packed with tourists and head to the lovely local spots instead. You’ll have a more authentic meal at a better price. 

    vacation spots for couples

    Where will you go on your couples vacations? 

    If you have any other best vacations spots for couples in mind, let us know your suggestions in the comments below. 

    Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

    Ideas for Your Next Weekend Getaway

    November 19, 2019
    weekend getaway

    Travel doesn’t always have to be a long voyage. Sometimes all you need is to take a quick trip to relax and recharge. That’s why a weekend vacation can be such a great idea. You don’t have to book extra time off work to enjoy this short but sweet travel experience. 

     

    So, if you’re planning a weekend trip, where should you go and what should you do? Whether you’re looking for ideas for fun weekend getaways for couples, weekend trips with the family or a solo adventure – there’s plenty of options to choose from. Here are some ideas for your next weekend trip. 

    The Best Weekend Getaways: 

    weekend getaway

    3 Day Vacation Ideas

    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

    If you’re based near Toronto, Niagara Falls is the perfect option for long weekend getaways. It’s easy to get to from the city – with multiple options for trains and buses. Once you are there, you’ll want to marvel at impressive volume of the spectacular falls. However, that’s not the only things you can do in Niagara Falls. You can take a stroll through Niagara Falls State Park, taking the pedestrian bridge over to Goat Island and admiring the view of Horseshoe Falls from Terrapin Point. You could also book a wine tour out to Niagara on the Lake to taste some of the delicious vintages from the area. 

    Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Florida, USA

    If you’re looking for a beautiful sandy beach to spend a sunny long weekend – consider this beautiful park in Big Pine Key. It’s a great spot to experience the Florida Keys on a budget. You could hop on a boat to go snorkeling at the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, or rent a kayak for your own adventure. There are many options for where to stay – from simple campsites to cabins to luxurious resorts. 

    San Antonio, Texas, USA

    This vibrant Texas city is an affordable place to visit – packed with a great dining and nightlife scene, historical significance and lots of great things to do. You can visit the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park or visit the Alamo for free – both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Then, take a stroll down the famous San Antonio River Walk. The banks of the river are lined with bustling waterfront restaurants, unique boutiques, cute shops and so much more. 

    Victoria, British Columbia, USA

    Take the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island to enjoy one of the best weekend getaways on the West Coast. One of the oldest cities in the Northwest, BC’s capital Victoria was first settled by the British in 1843. It’s a great mix of British charm, historic architecture, beautiful nature and a laid back hippie vibe. Take a stroll through the impressive flower displays at Butchart Gardens and explore the Inner Harbour, where you can see the Parliament Buildings and have afternoon tea at the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel. 

    Savannah, Georgia, USA

    If you’re looking for weekend trips with historic, magic and charm – Savannah is absolutely oozing with it. This city is known as one of the most romantic destinations in the USA. Take a stroll through the Old Town on a walking tour to hear the ghost stories of the many characters who haunt this town. Dine at one of the delicious Southern BBQ joints, then cap off the night with a swanky cocktail at a sexy, sultry speakeasy. 

    Napa Valley, California, USA

    If you love wine, there’s no better spot for a weekend getaway than the beautiful Napa Valley. You can spend your weekend relaxing at stunning hillside vineyards, sipping wine near luxury resorts, spas and golf courses. Plus, there are many cool activities to enjoy here from cooking workshops, cycling tours, fishing charters, stand-up paddleboarding and much more. 

    weekend getaway

    Tips for A Better Weekend Getaway

    How can you make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible? Here are some tips that will help you have a great weekend adventure. 

     

    • Stay in an accommodation that will be as close as possible to the things you want to see and do on your trip. A weekend is not a lot of time, so you don’t want to spend too much of it on transport. 
    • Search for “weekend getaway ideas near me” and stay somewhere close by – so you don’t have to spend too much of your weekend in transport. 
    • Keep your luggage as light as possible. It should be easy to do if you’re only going for a couple of nights, and it will make transport a lot easier. Plus, if you’re traveling by air you’ll be able to fly cheaper if you travel with hand luggage only. 
    • Spend some time without your phone, so you can take a break from work emails and social media and live in the moment. You’ll come back feeling happier and recharged. 
    • Do as much as you can on the Saturday, to take the pressure off Sunday. Many attractions will be closed on a Sunday anyway and you don’t want to miss your chance to see them. 

    Have fun on your weekend getaway!

    Entertainment, Vacation Travel

    East Coast Vacations: Inspiration For Your Next Trip

    November 12, 2019

    An East Coast USA vacation is a classic getaway. After all, this region has everything you could want from a fun break: beautiful beaches, cities packed with culture, quiet pockets of nature and stunning views of the ocean. 

    When it comes to planning the best East Coast vacations (or even an East Coast road trip), there are a lot of great destinations to choose from. From the gorgeous forests of upstate New York to the famous amusement parks of Florida, you can keep coming back to the East Coast again and again. 

    The Best Places to Visit on the East Coast

    If you are looking for some East Coast vacation ideas, (whether for 
    Spring Break or an autumn getaway) these are some of the hottest spots on this side of the country. 

    east coast vacations

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Historic Philadelphia is the birthplace of America and a fantastic place for an East Coast trip. It’s very popular with families, but it could also be a wonderful romantic trip or a solo adventure. The city is very walkable and there are countless museums and historic sites to check out. You can taste the delicious food at the Reading Terminal Market, revisit history at the Betsy Ross House and go for a jog up the “Rocky” steps by the 
    Philadelphia Art Museum. Of course, don’t forget to try a big juicy and irresistible Philly cheese steak as well! 

    It’s no wonder this city draws so many visitors for East Coast vacations.
    east coast vacations

    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusets

    This pretty island is a dreamy getaway, accessible from Cape Cod via a ferry. You’ll fall in love with the charming beaches, quaint lighthouses, gingerbread cottages and sweet hotels. Also, if you love hiking this is a great place for you. There are several stunning national parks where you can explore the great outdoors, including Aquinnah Cliffs and South Beach State Park. It’s one of the most popular East Coast attractions for celebrities, so keep your eyes peeled and you might spot some famous visitors. 

    east coast vacations

    Kennebunkport, Maine

    This lovely and quaint Maine village is filled with chic boutiques, friendly coffee shops and quirky antique shops. The rocky coastline is ideal for capturing those iconic seaside photos, with a scenic lighthouse in the background. There’s plenty to keep you busy here, from kayak tours of Mousam River Estuary to lobstering and much more. At the end of the day, you can relax with a few local brews at the 
    Kennebunkport Brewing Company while you admire the views. 

    east coast vacations

    Washington, D.C. 

    There’s so much to see and do in Washington! If you are a history buff or an art nerd, you’ll love the world-class collection of Smithsonian museums – all of which are free. You can also go for a walk along the National Mall, a stunning space lined with iconic landmarks such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Take a tour of the White House and the Library of Congress, then stroll through the hip streets of Georgetown and enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants that overlook the water. 

    east coast vacations

    Portsmouth, New Hampshire

    If you’re looking for the quintessential charming New England town, Portsmouth is a pretty great example. It’s just an hour north of Boston but it has a completely different vibe. One of the oldest cities in the USA, it was settled in 1623. This peaceful historic town has excellent museums (such as the USS Albacore Museum) and a lot of stories to tell. Check out the Strawberry Banke Museum, an outdoor exhibition that will show you what life was like when this community was originally settled. Or, you can take a walk along the Portsmouth Harbor Trail, which showcases 70 landmarks and is lined with excellent restaurants, cute artisan boutiques and lovely sidewalk shops. 

    east coast vacations

    St. Augustine, Florida

    St. Augustine is very special – it’s the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America. This gives it a completely different feel than most Florida destinations. Founded by Spanish colonialists in 1565, it has more of an Old World ambiance and feels more like Spain than Florida. You can take a stroll through the cobbled streets and admire the 1672 Castillo de San Marcos. Plus, the Plaza de la Constitución is pretty impressive and the city is filled with beautiful Spanish-style architecture. If you venture only minutes away, St. Augustine has more than 40 miles of stunning beaches. 

    east coast vacations

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    If you’re looking to relax on a beach or take the family somewhere chilled out, Myrtle Beach is a delight. Along the beachfront you’ll find an array of attractions, including live entertainment, multiple amusement parks and great restaurants. Every night during the summer there will be live entertainment on the oceanfront boulevard, including stilt walkers, jugglers and bagpipers. There’s even a weekly firework display – making the nights very magical indeed. It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular East Coast vacation spots. 

    These are just a few of the best places to visit on the East Coast. What are your favorite places for East Coast vacations? Share them with us in the comments!