museu nacional art de catalunya, museum, barcelona, spain
Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Take a stroll through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, located in the city’s Ciutat Vella (“Old City”) district. Most of the streets are closed to traffic, allowing tourists to wander from La Rambla to Via Laietana to view the city’s medieval past. 960 1280

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Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló

You can’t leave Barcelona without admiring the amazing work of Spain’s most famous art nouveau architect, Antoni Gaudi. Casa Batlló, aka the House of Bones, was built in 1877 and later restored by Gaudi. 960 1280

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Mercat de les Flors Theater

Mercat de les Flors Theater

Don’t miss out on stopping by the Mercat de les Flors Theater, located on Montjuic hill in Barcelona. Get a little culture and see one of many dance and musical performances featuring world-renowned international production companies. 960 1280

Enric Archivell, via CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0  

Christopher Columbus Monument

Christopher Columbus Monument

This monument is at the site where Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first trip to the Americas. 960 1280

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Margarita Blue

Margarita Blue

Grab a drink at Margarita Blue, where you can check out live flamenco dancing, indulge in a jazz brunch or simply let the bar's DJs entertain you. 960 1280

Margarita Blue  

Frederic Marès Museum

Frederic Marès Museum

Step inside this medieval complex to see sculptor Frederic Marès’ eclectic collection of knickknacks, including religious art, 19th-century playing cards, toys, apothecary jars, a reconstructed Romanesque doorway with 4 arches, and old cameras. The Frederic Marès Museum is sure to keep your attention focused on its wide array of interesting curios. 960 1280

Catalan Art & Architecture Gallery, via CC-BY-SA-2.0  

La Boqueria

La Boqueria

Dating back as far as 1217, La Boqueria Market is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions. Dozens of vendors inside this large public market sell a variety of goods, including seafood, poultry, charcuterie, vegetables and fruits. 960 1280

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La Comercial

La Comercial

Go shopping at La Comercial in Barcelona’s El Born neighborhood. With 6 different boutiques, this shopping mall has a wide selection of international labels, jewelry and fragrances, such as Michael Kors, Fred Perry, Yohji Yamamoto, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. 960 1280

La Comercial  

Lailo

Lailo

Attention, shoppers! Make a stop at Lailo in Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district if you enjoy browsing for vintage clothing. 960 1280

Geo Kalev  

Onofre

Onofre

Grab a glass of wine and enjoy Onofre’s cozy atmosphere. This restaurant’s specialty is pairing menu items — tapas, cheeses, salads and sausages — with your selection of wine. 960 1280

Onofr Tavern  

Monastery of Pedralbes

Monastery of Pedralbes

Founded by the Queen Elisenda de Montcada, the Monastery of Pedralbes is now a museum that houses religious art and everyday items used in the monastery from the 14th to 20th centuries. Take a relaxing, casual stroll through the gardens and courtyard if you have time. 960 1280

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Tibidabo Amusement Park

Tibidabo Amusement Park

The 100-year-old Tibidabo Amusement Park has 25 rides, plus restaurants and picnic areas for family fun. Make sure to check out the Tibidabo Sky Walk for the best views of Barcelona.  960 1280

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Sagrada Familia Basilica

Sagrada Familia Basilica

You cannot leave Barcelona without seeing the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, a magnificent work of art that is still in progress after more than a century. In 1883, Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to complete the project started by Francisco de Paula del Villar. Gaudi finished the chapel of San Jose, the crypt and the Nativity facade, but after his death, different architects continued to work on and add to his original idea. 960 1280

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Park Güell

Park Güell

Another example of Antoni Gaudi's work, Park Güell, is located on Carmel Hill and was built between 1900 and 1914. It was declared a UNESECO World Heritage Site in 1984. 960 1280

Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Hundreds of people converge on Montjuic hill to watch the amazing light and water show at the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. Classical, modern and movie music was incorporated into the light show in the 1980s. Arrive early to claim the perfect spot, and make sure you wear waterproof gear if you’re standing near the fountain. Check out the website for performance times.  960 1280

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Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Located in the Palau Nacional of Montjuic, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya opened its doors with a large medieval Romanesque collection. Today, visitors can see other art collections, including Gothic art, Renaissance and baroque art, Catalan modernism and photography. 960 1280

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Barcelona Zoo

Barcelona Zoo

The Barcelona Zoo was once home to Snowflake, the only known albino gorilla, who died in 2003. Now, giant anteaters, Bornean orangutans, Iberian wolves, Humboldt penguins, Cuban boas, Komodo dragons and yellow and blue poison dart frogs are a few animals that call this zoo home. 960 1280

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Aquarium Barcelona

Aquarium Barcelona

Explore marine life and go scuba diving with sharks in the Oceanarium, which is also home to moray eels and ocean sunfish. Visitors to the Aquarium Barcelona — the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world — can see more than 3,000 fish and watch zookeepers up-close as they feed sharks, stingrays and penguins. 960 1280

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Camp Nou

Camp Nou

Visit Camp Nou, the stadium where Futbol Club Barcelona (also known as Barca) plays its home soccer games. While you’re there, take a tour of the FCB Museum and step back in time to see the history of Barca unfold via touch-screen TVs, championship trophies and Messi Space, a place dedicated to superstar soccer player Leo Messi. 960 1280

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Colosseum
Caffè Greco

Caffè Greco

A day in Italy isn’t complete without a stop (or 2 or 3) for a caffè of some sort. Fuel up for sightseeing with a world-class cappuccino at Rome's famous Caffè Greco on Via Condotti. 960 1280

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Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Transport yourself back to an era of kings and emperors with a visit to these seventh-century B.C. archeological ruins. Imagine all the history that has happened at the Roman Forum — from the first government meetings and trials to the epic gladiator matches. 960 1280

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Campo de' Fiori

Campo de' Fiori

While Rome’s oldest outdoor market, Campo de' Fiori (literally “field of flowers”), south of Piazza Navona, has catered more to tourists over the years by offering kitchen accoutrement souvenirs, it still has the freshest produce in the city, sold by the same families for generations.  960 1280

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Colosseum

Colosseum

A visit to the Eternal City isn’t complete without visiting the ancient Roman Empire ruins of the Colosseum, which was built more than 2,000 years ago. Our favorite time to see the elliptical amphitheater is sunrise, when artificial and natural light illuminates it and the crowds of tourists are sparse. 960 1280

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Pantheon

Pantheon

The Pantheon is an ancient architectural masterpiece built in 27 B.C. as a tribute to the gods and then, after the Renaissance, used as a designated tomb for some of the city's artists and elite, including the painter Raphael. Inspiring copycat versions of its tall, sky-reaching columns throughout the world, the Pantheon will take your breath away as you lean back to take it all in. 960 1280

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Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel

Nothing can prepare you for the wonder that is the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo's painted ceiling, with the Last Judgment fresco, at the Vatican Museums is well worth the long lines and crowds of photo-snapping tourists bumping into you. 960 1280

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Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

Piazza di Spagna is one of the most iconic city squares in the world, and its Spanish Steps create one of the longest and widest staircases in all of Europe. It’s also a very popular spot to visit in Italy, and for good reason, as this is where you see Roman life unfold around you — both locals and tourists use it as a favorite meeting place. 960 1280

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St. Peter's Square

St. Peter's Square

Located in Vatican City, St. Peter's Square is an expansive site designed by Bernini in the 17th century. After snapping obligatory photos in the iconic square, enter St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's Pietà, one of the most highly regarded Renaissance sculptures. 960 1280

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Tour Trastevere

Tour Trastevere

Once slightly off the trodden tourist path, this charming neighborhood is full of underground art (literally underneath the church of San Crisogono lie the remains of eighth-century frescoes), lively local restaurants and over-the-top sunset views (check out Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi at dusk). More tourists know about Trastevere now, but it’s still worth a visit. 960 1280

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Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

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Buena Vista Images  

Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums hold classical and Renaissance masterpieces, including one of the greatest artistic feats in the world, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Just as awe-inspiring as the artwork is the museums’ spiral staircase. 960 1280

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Via del Corso

Via del Corso

Enjoy la passeggiata, Italy’s evening promenade ritual, on Rome’s liveliest thoroughfare, Via del Corso. At dusk, the street is closed to traffic as it fills with window-shoppers and pedestrians meandering through the restaurants, cafés and stores. Italians dress to impress for la passeggiata, which makes for an even better evening show. 960 1280

paolo gualdi  

Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese

Near the Spanish Steps is one of Rome’s best-known parks, Villa Borghese, where you’ll find beautiful art and manicured gardens. Walk to the Pincio, an overlook with views of the Piazza del Popolo, Roman rooftops and the dome of St. Peter’s, or tour the small Galleria Borghese museum, which is filled with 15th- to 18th-century art, including works by Bernini and Caravaggio. 960 1280

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rocky mountain national park, family, outdoors and adventure, colorado, lake
Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Budding naturalists feel right at home at Rocky Mountain National Park where the kids can join in on short, family-friendly hikes around the park. Bring along a magnifying glass to explore the plants, leaves and bugs during a stroll around Bear Lake. 960 1280
Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Pack binoculars to get a close-up of Albert’s squirrels scurrying around the ponderosa pine forests or bighorn sheep spending a summer day at Sheep Lakes. Kids can scramble up rocks along the trail to Gem Lake or search the water under the bridge for beavers along the Beaver Boardwalk. 960 1280

By Frank Schulenburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Young adventurers travel deep underground to explore one of the many caves at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Children must be 4 or older to participate in a basic cave tour of the Big Room. Brave souls over 12 can shimmy and crawl through a maze of narrow entryways and tunnels at Spider Cave. 960 1280
Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Check out the resident wildlife outside of the cave during the Bat Flight program, a free summertime special when nearly 400,000 Brazilian free-tail bats fly from Carlsbad Cavern at sunset to search for an insect-filled dinner. 960 1280
Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park caters to 8- to 12-year-olds with daily Junior Ranger programs throughout the park. Rangers keep kids busy with stories, artwork, kid-friendly hikes and scavenger hunts to uncover secrets around the park. 960 1280
Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

The whole gang can enjoy family-friendly activities including the fire and ice cruise around Colter Bay to learn about the park’s ecology, including the glaciers and towering mountains. 960 1280

By Acroterion (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park has laid down the law on the many ways that kids should enjoy themselves in the park, summarized in the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights. Take note of this decree, and plan for family fun in every corner of the park. Pack the bikes and helmets for a ride along the carriage road system -- flat scenic paths that are made for a 2-wheeler (training wheels optional) or the chubby tires of a jogging stroller. 960 1280

By heipei from Deutschland (Acadia National Park, ME) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Head to the shore to enjoy a cool ocean breeze and search for marine life in the shallow tide pools. Set sail on a ranger-narrated cruise including the Dive-In Theater Cruise from May through October where real-time video technology allows passengers to watch scuba divers search the ocean floor for marine life that is then brought onboard for impromptu touch-tank experiences. 960 1280

By Erin McDaniel Erinmcd (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

America’s first national park welcomes visitors to check out the hot springs, steaming geysers and extraordinary wildlife, including grizzlies, bison and elk. With the park spread out over a sprawling 2.2 million acres, it’s impossible to experience all the fun at once. 960 1280

Michael H Spivak/Moment/Getty Images  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

As a family, decide on the highlights to experience, like the legendary geyser Old Faithful and the wildlife-viewing at Lamar Valley. Families with children over 8 can enjoy a 2-hour horseback ride to the cookout while families with little ones can ride into the sunset aboard a horse-drawn covered wagon. 960 1280

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Don’t worry if you’re more of a beach person than a woodsy type: There’s a national park experience waiting for your family at the national seashore at Cape Hatteras. This protected seashore is made up of narrow barrier islands along the beloved Outer Banks. Celebrate the past with a climb up a lighthouse or an evening of pirate tales with a park ranger. 960 1280

By Madhatter987 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

There are miles of beaches for swimming, shelling, kite-flying or just chilling out and reading a book. Cruise the beach on foot or in an off-road vehicle that allows cars to leave behind the paved roads and drive the sandy shores. 960 1280
Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne welcomes families with the free Family Fun Fest program, a celebration of the park’s wonders with stories, superheroes and cool park activities. The festivities take place on the second Saturday of each month from December to April. But don’t fret if you miss the fest as there are still plenty of opportunities for family-bonding in the park. 960 1280
Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

Look for some of the park’s cool creatures, including manatees, sea turtles and fish galore, during a snorkeling adventure or kid-friendly ride on a glass-bottom boat. 960 1280

By John Brooks, National Park Service photographer (http://www.nps.gov/bisc/images/20060905140916.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley, California

The U.S. ranks in the top five of wine producing countries, and California leads the way among the states. There are 12 distinct wine regions, and each one is worth a weekend visit. However, first-time visitors should start with the world-famous Napa Valley, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. Napa is a wine-soaked paradise with more than 400 wineries, many of which do Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay particularly well. Start with the Silverado Trail, since it has a more manageable 40 wineries, and includes heavy hitters such as Robert Mondavi. Venture off the trail for the iconic Castello di Amorosa.

For something different, explore one of Napa’s oldest wine caves at Schramsberg Vineyards, which is beloved for its sparkling wine. You can also take a wine class at the Culinary Institute of America, and stomp grapes during harvest season. Barrel blending, where you can create your own blend, is also available year-round at many wineries, including Conn Creek, one of the first to offer it. Hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, which combines a gourmet meal with (of course) wine. It also runs bus tours to some of the best estates, including an after-hours tour of Grgich Hills Estate. Wine festivals can be found year-round. Flavor! Napa Valley is a five-day food and wine pairing dream.
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Hoberman Collection / Contributor  

Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County, California

About an hour away from Napa, Sonoma County is considered more low-key and spread out. However, it holds its own with an equal number of wineries, and the region excels at Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Standouts include the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, owned by the famous movie director. Not only does the estate produce more than 40 wines at its on-site facility, but the grounds also include two eateries, two swimming pools, a movie gallery and bocce ball courts. Add ongoing wine tastings and wine experiences, and you might not have a chance to visit anywhere else. Korbel Winery is a must stop for sparkling wine lovers; 50-minute winery tours cover its wine cellars and conclude with a tasting at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards.

Bike tours are another great way to experience Sonoma’s bucolic countryside: Wine Country Bikes offers single and multi-day tours. For the ultimate wine country experience, check out Sonoma County Grape Camp—three days worth of harvesting grapes, blending wines and eating farm-to-table fare.

Take your pick of ongoing festivals, but if you have to choose, the Harvest Fair draws wine aficionados from around the country for a weekend of wine tasting, grape stomping, seminars and more.  

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George Rose / Contributor  

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

About 90 miles north of Los Angeles, picture-perfect Santa Barbara is perhaps best known for its beaches, but it produces high quality wines as well, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. In fact, you may remember the region from the movie Sideways. You can even recreate it by following the Sideways wine trail, which includes wineries from the movie. Among those featured are Firestone Vineyard, which was founded in 1972 and is now an institution; Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard, founded by the actor who played Davy Crockett; and Foxen Vineyard & Winery, which provides a more personable experience at “The Shack.” If the movie trail isn’t your thing, there are more than 100 other wineries to explore. Be sure to attend the Celebration of Harvest Weekend if possible.  960 1280

George Rose / Contributor  

Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York

The state’s largest wine region, located upstate, is packed with more than 100 wineries. The area is best known for Riesling, but it also produces Gewürztraminer, ice wine and sparkling wine. Choose from three different wine trails: The Cayuga Wine Trail is considered the first organized wine trail in the U.S. Keuka Lake Wine Trail is the smallest of the three, but the birthplace of the Finger Lakes wine industry. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail boasts the largest wine trail—not just in the area, but in the state—with more than 30 wineries.

Dr. Frank Wines (also known as Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars) helped launch the local wine industry when he planted vinifera vines, a type that originated from Europe; you can find it along the Keuka Wine Trail. Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard was another early pioneer, and has since built a reputation on its Rieslings. For something different, Sheldrake Point Winery and Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars are good stops to try the region’s ice wines. 
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Finger Lakes Wine Country  

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Oregon has a handful of wine producing centers, but the action centers around the Willamette Valley, which is known for its Pinot Noir. The region counts more than 300 wineries and five wine trails, including one geared toward cycling enthusiasts: Pedaling for Pinot. Whether or not you follow a trail, many wonderful wineries abound. For example, Silvan Ridge Winery was one of the first in 1979, and has since become one of the most beloved. While in its tasting room, also try the 2013 Malbec.


King Estate Winery produces the most pinot gris in the country, and its pinot noirs, cabernet sauvignons and syrahs also receive high marks from wine professionals. Willamette Valley Vineyards and Sokol Blosser Winery are other don’t misses for pinot noir. However, the International Pinot Noir Celebration is the ultimate pinot noir mecca known the world over. The three-day event, now in its 30th year, features tastings from more than 70 of the world’s best pinot noir producers, vineyard tours, and drinking and dining under the stars.

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George Rose / Contributor  

Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla, Washington

Although Walla Walla’s wine industry didn’t start until the late ‘70s, it’s rapidly built a reputation as one of the top wine regions in the country, and even earned comparisons to Napa. Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are among the wines it does well, and there are more than 100 wineries, spread across four wine regions, in which to try them. The Walla Walla Wine Alliance provides a thorough rundown to get oriented. Leonetti Cellar was the region’s first commercial winery in 1977.

Woodward Canyon Winery was another early pioneer—not just in wine production, but in sustainable wine production at that. Pop into its tasting room to sip its acclaimed 2012 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. Pepper Bridge Winery excels at Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and its tasting room, housed in a small yellow structure straight out of a storybook, is the perfect setting to try them. If you enjoy being the first in the know, Spring Release Weekend provides the chance to explore new releases while learning about them directly from the winemakers.

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Pepper Bridge Winery  

Hill Country, Texas

Hill Country, Texas

In between Austin and San Antonio, the rolling green landscape of Hill Country is home to 46 wineries producing excellent Viognier, Tempranillo and Syrah. The Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 is a good place to start, with 15 wineries along this wine trail. Among them, Pedernales Cellars represents the old guard, and creates award-winning Tempranillo and Viognier.

Becker Vineyards
 is another institution; the 46-acre estate includes a German-style stone barn and lavender fields. Book ahead to visit its Reserve Wine Library for the chance to sample the owners’ private collection and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the production facility. In addition to wine, Hill Country is also famous for its bluebonnets, which spring to life in April. Enjoy the best of both with tickets to the 2016 Wine and Wildflowers Trail, which includes free tastings at all participating wineries. 
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Pedernales Cellars  

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Virginia counts at least 250 wineries and 17 wine trails around the state, and each trail offers something to recommend it. However, Monticello, located in scenic central Virginia, has Thomas Jefferson to thank for its origins. While Jefferson’s attempts weren’t fruitful, it’s still considered the birthplace of American wine. The area now numbers about 30 wineries, and produces a wide assortment, including Orange Muscat, although it excels in Viognier and Cabernet Franc.

The Monticello Wine Trail provides a helpful guide, and naturally Jefferson Vineyards is the best place to start. The winery’s owners aren’t descendants of the Founding Father, but the current vineyard was established on land that Jefferson gave to Filippo Mazzei, a grape grower from Italy. Fast-forward to today, where it produces award-winning wines, such as the 2013 Viognier. 

Barboursville Vineyards is another property with historic roots, as a friend of Jefferson’s owned this land too. You can easily spend the day here, from wandering the extensive grounds, which are anchored by an 18th-century estate, to taking a guided winery tour. Don’t leave without trying Octagon, a world-class red wine that’s considered its signature. Other notable wineries along the trail include Blenheim Vineyards (which was founded by musician Dave Matthews).
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Barboursville Vineyards  

Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania

Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania

The bucolic Brandywine Valley resides about an hour west of Philadelphia, and is perhaps best known as the birthplace of famed painter Andrew Wyeth and home to Longwood Gardens. Wine production in this region might be under the radar, but it’s where you’ll find award-winning Chaddsford Winery, one of the largest wine producers in the state. Its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are among the wines it does well. Tastings are available in its 17th century barn, and tours are also offered.

While it’s the best known, Chaddsford isn’t the only winery in the area. Penns Woods Winery is nearby, and produces a range (Merlot, Rosé), from Pennsylvania-grown grapes. There’s also the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, which includes four wineries. Or time your visit to also squeeze in the annual Brandywine Food and Wine Festival in order to experience the best of the region in one place.
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Chaddsford Winery  

Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Just north of Traverse City, the Leelanau Peninsula is a scenic spit of land jutting out into Lake Michigan. The area has become a foodie destination in recent years, and don’t be surprised if you spot chef Mario Batali around town—he owns a summer home on the peninsula. The area has also attracted notice for its wineries, and Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Franc are among the wines to try here. The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail numbers 25 wineries dotted along three trails: Sleeping Bear Loop, Northern Loop and Grand Traverse Bay Loop. L. Mawby, is considered the gold standard for Michigan sparkling wine, and its tasting room offers the first two pours for free.

Black Star Farms is another standout when it comes to Michigan wine. It offers three locations, but its flagship is on the peninsula. You could easily spend an entire weekend here, since the farm includes an upscale inn, dining options and several tasting areas. If your time is limited, hop on a wine tour: numerous companies, such as Grand Traverse Tours, cover the highlights. For something different, participate in the annual Harvest Stompede and race through vineyards—literally.
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Black Star Farms  

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Seaside, South Walton, FL

Seaside, South Walton, FL

With turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and 16 charming beach neighborhoods, it’s hard to pick just one best beach for kids in South Walton, but time and again, families flock to Seaside on Florida’s northwest coast. Enjoy biking and stand-up paddleboarding before heading to Airstream Row for food trucks serving up everything from grilled cheese to homemade custard.  960 1280

Shuvabrata Deb  

Kailua Beach Park, Kailua, HI

Kailua Beach Park, Kailua, HI

A favorite beach for many on Oahu, Kailua Beach Park boasts turquoise blue waters, plenty of free parking and lots of family-friendly water activities, like kayaking and boogie boarding. Kids will love watching the kite surfers, maybe even more than a trip to Island Snow for shave ice. Kalapawai Market is located at the park entrance, so pick up some deli sandwiches for an afternoon picnic on the beach. 

 

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Laszlo Podor Photography  

Agios Georgios Beach, Naxos, Greece

Agios Georgios Beach, Naxos, Greece

Many of the beaches in Naxos boast warm waters that are gentle and shallow, particularly those on the southwest coast of the island, making them ideal for families with small children. One of the best is Agios Georgios Beach. Eat breakfast at one of the cafés on the beach for fantastic views of the bay. The beach is also an easy walk to Hora, the island’s colorful capital city.  960 1280

Danita Delimont  

St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg, FL

St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg, FL

For white sandy beaches and calm, clear waters, St. Pete Beach is a must for families. Grab your fishing poles and sleeping bags for a camp-out right on the beach at Fort De Soto Park. Bike along a 7-mile paved trail, kayak or canoe through mangrove forests and take time to explore the historic fort. You can even take your furry pal to a dog park called Paw Playground.  960 1280

mariakraynova  

Maho Bay Beach, St. John

Maho Bay Beach, St. John

Situated on the north shore of St. John, the calm waters make Maho Bay Beach the ideal spot for learning to stand-up paddleboard as a family. It’s also one of the best places on the island to see sea turtles, particularly on the west side of the bay where snorkelers can watch turtles and rays munching on the sea grasses. For hiking, try the Cinnamon Bay Nature Trail.  960 1280

Christian Wheatley  

St. Augustine Beach, St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine Beach, St. Augustine, FL

For wide beaches, a 4-acre beachfront park and plenty of space to play, even with your dog, head to St. Augustine Beach in St. Augustine. Walk along the shores where Spanish explorers landed so many years ago, then let the kids go wild at the splash park on the pier. Spend time at nearby Anastasia State Park where you can bike on the beach and paddle in a saltwater lagoon.    960 1280

Danita Delimont  

Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Kids can play on the white sandy beach by day and make s’mores around a bonfire by night at Carmel Beach. Pet lovers will love this dog-friendly (and leash-free) beach, so bring a tennis ball or two to make a few new furry friends. Take the free trolley into town for cheese blintzes at the Little Swiss Café or ride out to Monterey for an afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  960 1280

Elfi Kluck  

Menemsha Beach, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Menemsha Beach, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Martha’s Vineyard is widely touted as one of the loveliest parts of New England, though kids may love the area more for its beaches than its beauty. Try Menemsha Beach, a popular pick for families in search of gentle surf, fantastic sunsets and one of the best clam shacks on the island. Crowds at The Bite line up early, so keep this in mind if you’re thinking about a beach picnic.  960 1280

Jihan Abdalla  

Coligny Beach, Hilton Head, SC

Coligny Beach, Hilton Head, SC

For families who want to be active from morning until night, head to Hilton Head for kayaking, tennis, crabbing, stand-up paddleboarding, and of course, splashing in the waves at Coligny Beach. Rent bikes at Hilton Head Outfitters in Palmetto Dunes. It’s the best way to explore the island. Go on a boat cruise with Pirates of Hilton Head or fly through the sky at Zipline Hilton Head.  960 1280

Pam McLean  

Short Sands Beach, York, ME

Short Sands Beach, York, ME

One of several popular beaches in York, Short Sands Beach has sand, surf, a playground, and even an arcade. Have a picnic at Ellis Park then spend the afternoon at York’s Wild Kingdom, the largest zoo and amusement park in Maine. Take the trolley to Long Sands Beach for views of the Cape Leddick Lighthouse before heading to the “Surfing Only” area to pick up pointers from the surfers. 960 1280

John Churchman  

Coronado Central Beach, San Diego, CA

Coronado Central Beach, San Diego, CA

Just across the bridge from downtown San Diego you’ll find Coronado Central Beach. Kids will love building castles from sand that glistens year-round thanks to the glittery mineral, mica, which is mixed in with the sand. Walk along the beach to take in historic mansions, as well as the majestic Hotel del Coronado, the inspiration behind Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian.  960 1280

Chiara Salvadori  

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Island

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Island

Consistently ranked among the best beaches in the Caribbean, Seven Mile Beach has soft, white sand and gentle waters that are ideal for first-time snorkelers eager to see tropical fish and colorful coral reefs. Off the beach, kids can splash in the fountains at Camana Bay, pet stingrays at Stingray City and get up-close with green sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm.  960 1280

Robin Hill  

Resort Beach, Virginia Beach, VA

Resort Beach, Virginia Beach, VA

There’s no shortage of things to do both on and off the beach in Virginia Beach. Walk or ride a surrey bike along the 3-mile boardwalk before snapping a selfie with the 34-foot bronze statue of King Neptune. Go horseback riding or take surfing lessons at Resort Beach, then let the kids go wild at Grommet Island Beach Park, a 100% wheelchair accessible children’s park.  960 1280

Don Klumpp  

Podaca Beach, Makarska Riviera, Croatia

Podaca Beach, Makarska Riviera, Croatia

Stretching nearly 40 miles between Makarska and Split is the Makarska Riviera, which boasts a number of beach towns with palm tree-lined promenades, ice cream shops and pedal boats to take out onto the delightfully blue water. Book a villa or stay in a family-run campsite along the pebble beach. Off the beach, kids will love hiking around nearby Biokovo Nature Park.   960 1280

Graham Monro/gm photographics  

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach is wide and flat, offering plenty of room for kids to walk, run, ride three-wheelers or go tide pooling in search of sea life and shells. Its postcard attraction is Haystack Rock, a 235-foot tall rock, which sits on the beach near the downtown area. Kite flying is perfect at Cannon Beach since the winds seem to blow at just the right speed. 960 1280

Stephen Curtin  

Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, MA

Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, MA

Cape Cod is a favorite year after year and Coast Guard Beach is perfect for long walks and building sand castles as a family. At the Salt Pond Visitor Center, pick up the park newspaper for the scoop on ranger-led nature walks and Junior Ranger programs. Ride bikes along one of three paved bike trails or go kayaking through the famous salt marshes.  960 1280

John Greim  

Corolla, NC

Corolla, NC

The Outer Banks of North Carolina has long been a top pick for families. Book a vacation rental right on the soft, sandy beach or park near the southernmost beach access point in Corolla for restrooms and showers. Go biking, take the ferry to Knotts Island or get hip to all kinds of water sports at Kitty Hawk Kayaks & Surf School.  960 1280

Josh Rinehults  

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL

In summer, families flock to incredible beach towns in Alabama, like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Kids will have a ball swimming, crabbing and kayaking along the two-mile stretch of beach at Gulf State Park. There are hiking and biking trails, as well as a nature center that hosts guided nature walks. Just off the beach, head to Waterville USA for water slides, a lazy river and mini golf.  960 1280

Kenneth Shelton / EyeEm  

Poipu Beach Park, Kauai, HI

Poipu Beach Park, Kauai, HI

Families with kids of all ages will love Poipu Beach Park. Look for snorkeling and surfing for the big kids, as well as a playground and a shallow wading area for little ones. Enjoy a picnic under the shade of the palm trees or go for a coastal hike along the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail. In the evening, book a relaxing sunset catamaran cruise to see more of the scenic south side of the island.  960 1280

Steven Greaves  

Coco Plum Beach, Exumas, Bahamas

Coco Plum Beach, Exumas, Bahamas

The beaches of the Exumas are among the best in the Bahamas, especially for those eager to return home with beautiful shells and sand dollars. Located on the north end of Grand Exuma, Coco Plum Beach is a quiet beach with plenty of shady palm trees. For lunch, head to Big D’s Conch Stop, which serves up tasty conch fritters and salads.  960 1280

Danita Delimont  

La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Spain

La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Spain

One of the most famous city beaches in Europe, La Concha Beach, is also one of the best beaches for familes. Look for a carousel and multiple playgrounds that dot the beach and the town. Take the funicular railway to the top of Monte Igueldo for unmatched views of La Concha Bay. As a bonus, there’s an amusement park at the summit complete with bumper cars and pony rides.  960 1280

Alex Lapuerta  

Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, SC

Just south of Charleston, explore nature, wildlife and beautiful South Carolina coastline on Kiawah Island. Kids can sing songs and take art lessons at Kamp Kiawah, as well as splash and play at Kiawah Beachwalker Park, a quiet beach that’s well-suited for small children. Rent bikes to explore the island or take classes to become a Junior Naturalist.  960 1280

Ash Lindsey Photography  

Long Beach, WA

Long Beach, WA

Dig for razor clams or take in the views of the Pacific from the half-mile wooden boardwalk located on the Long Beach Peninsula. Explore nearby lighthouses with the kids, hike along the Willapa Interpretive Art Trail or get your game on at the Funland Arcade. Work up an appetite paddling at Willapa Bay before indulging in a milkshake at Hungry Harbor Grille.  960 1280

photo by p.Folrev  

Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, FL

Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, FL

With more than 25 miles of paved trails, Sanibel Island is a fantastic place to explore by bike. Look for warm waters and gentle surf, as well as more than 300 kinds of seashells. Enroll the kids in Sanibel Sea School to learn about marine conservation before hopping a ferry to Cayo Costa State Park. Families will especially love Bowman’s Beach, which has a playground and magical sunsets.   960 1280

Danita Delimont  

Assateague Island National Seashore, MD

Assateague Island National Seashore, MD

Nearly 38 miles long, the Assateague Island National Seashore is a protected wildlife sanctuary. Stay in nearby Chincoteague or camp out on the beach of this barrier island. Kids will love hiking, clamming, crabbing and fishing on the beach, but the main attraction is the wild ponies, which have roamed the beaches and saltwater marshes since the 1600s.  960 1280

Trina Dopp Photography  

Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester, MA

Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester, MA

Known for soft, white sands and gentle waters, Wingaersheek Beach is the place to take the kids at low tide where you’ll find loads of clams, shells, even sand dollars, all over the beach. Pack a picnic lunch or grab a bite at one of several snack shops that that dot the beach. Parking isn’t cheap and you’ll need to get there early but you will be rewarded with kids who can’t wait to go back.  960 1280

Garry Black  

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Kids and families love Eagle Beach in Aruba. It’s a beach where you can easily spend the entire day relaxing in a beach chair and splashing in the turquoise waters. Walk along the beach in search of the island’s famous Divi Divi trees. Water sports are popular, so rent a jet ski, a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard, or get set up to go snorkeling or parasailing.  960 1280

Holger Leue  

Sunset Beach, Cape May, NJ

Sunset Beach, Cape May, NJ

Sunset Beach is one of a handful of spots on the east coast where you can see the sunset from the beach. Come for the Victorian homes, the free parking and the crab cake sandwiches at the Sunset Beach Grill. Kids will love splashing in the surf and hunting for Cape May diamonds (quartz pebbles). Bring a camera to snap photos of the S.S. Atlantus, which sits just offshore.  960 1280

chrisstadlerphotography  

Camusdarach Beach, Arisaig, Scotland

Camusdarach Beach, Arisaig, Scotland

Located in one of the most scenic parts of the Scottish Highlands, you won’t go wrong camping near Camusdarach Beach and taking sea kayaks out into the water to explore the coves. Children will love playing in the sand and the calm, clear waters on the beach. Collect shells and enjoy the views of the Isle of Skye before settling in for the evening sunset.  960 1280

Peter Lewis  

Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, FL

Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, FL

Pier 60 is the place to be in Clearwater Beach for spectacular sunsets and a nightly sunset festival that includes live music, magicians, stilt walkers and local artisans. The crystal clear, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico makes this a great choice for families. Book a dolphin cruise or take to the sky for parasailing. Look to nearby Caladesi Island State Park for great shelling.  960 1280

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bachelor party destinations, mancations, new orleans, louisiana, bourbon street, mardi gras
For the Sports Fanatic: Chicago

For the Sports Fanatic: Chicago

It’s easy to see why Chicago is quickly becoming one of the most popular bachelor party destinations in the US. The city has something for everyone. Beach? Check. Professional sports? Check. The Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox all call Chicago home. Food? Check. Deep-dish pizza and Italian sausage are a must. And Beer? Um, check! Chicago has more than 60 breweries inside its city limits alone. 960 1280

Carl Larson Photography / Getty Images  

For the Jetsetter on a Coach Budget: Montreal

For the Jetsetter on a Coach Budget: Montreal

There are a myriad of reasons to visit Montreal, not least of which is its affordable and late-club scene centered along the 7-mile-long Boulevard Saint-Laurent, as well as the city’s fantastic summer festival lineup (including its fantastic beer, jazz and comedy fests), and its access to European flair without ever leaving the continent.
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naibank / Getty Images  

For the Over-Indulgent: New Orleans

For the Over-Indulgent: New Orleans

The Big Easy is unmatched for its ready-made party atmosphere and dedication to nonstop indulgence -- and no boulevard in the city is better suited to carousing than Bourbon Street. Some of the country's best music can be found at joints like Tipitina’s and Preservation Hall, and legendary restaurants like Brennan's will have you savoring your waning days of bachelorhood with bull shots, red roosters and so much more.
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Sean Gardner / Getty Images  

For the Beer Lover: Milwaukee

For the Beer Lover: Milwaukee

Wisconsin isn’t the most obvious potential bachelor party locale, but its biggest city has a lot more going for it bro-wise than you might think. Home to both MillerCoors and an abundance of worthy microbreweries, from Horny Goat Brewing Co. to good ole Milwaukee Brewing Company, Milwaukee has well earned its Brew City nickname. Stay at the bro-riffically brand new Brewhouse Inn & Suites, a boutique hotel located in the 20-acre downtown complex that housed the Pabst Brewery for over 150 years. 960 1280

Darren Hauck / Getty Images  

For the Music Fan: Nashville

For the Music Fan: Nashville

It ain’t called the Music City for nothin’! Now, I’m not saying there aren’t other places music lover’s should go on their bachelor parties (see New Orleans), but there is nowhere better in the world — for fans of country music — than Nashville. Without fail, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can find live music. Maybe music isn’t your thing. Don’t worry. Nashville still has plenty of amazing options for a bachelor. Like sports? Maybe a Predators hockey game or a Titans football game is more your speed. And no place on our list does barbecue quite like Nashville. 960 1280

Danita Delimont / Getty Images  

For the Classic Party Guy: Las Vegas

For the Classic Party Guy: Las Vegas

Sure a Vegas getaway for the guys is popular, but for good reason. From high-stakes gambling and all-day pool parties, to over-the-top clubs, Las Vegas is a nonstop full-tilt playground that’s the stuff of countless epic bro weekends.
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Eric Lo / Getty Images  

For the Adventure Seeker: Aspen

For the Adventure Seeker: Aspen

If you’re looking to hit the slopes for a fun, fast-paced bachelor party, you really can’t go wrong heading out west. However, there is one particular Colorado destination that seems to stand out the most for me, and that’s Aspen. I know, I know, the word Aspen immediately makes people think wealth and pretentiousness. Not to say that those things aren’t present, but Aspen also offers its visitors so much more than that. Rent a cabin or stay at one of the famous ski-in/ski-out resorts with a bunch of your buddies and immerse yourself in Aspen’s cool, laid-back environment. The Apres-ski conditions don’t get much better either. Fire pits, hot tubs, live music and great food amongst other things are available at your fingertips around every corner. 960 1280

Onfokus / Getty Images  

For the Sea Lover: Yacht Week

For the Sea Lover: Yacht Week

Perhaps the ultimate bachelor party destination isn’t just one destination at all. Maybe, it’s a choice between several awe-inspiring European countries, known simply as Yacht Week. Throughout the summer, friends get together for the perfect “marriage” of partying and sailing through picturesque landscapes on the high seas. Bachelors get to choose which route they’d like to cruise, with special offers including trips around Croatia, Greece, Italy, Turkey, the British Virgin Islands and Thailand. And don’t forget to sign up well in advance; the different countries only have a limited number of yachts permitted per route, per week. 960 1280

DavorLovincic / Getty Images  

For the Night Life Enthusiast: Miami

For the Night Life Enthusiast: Miami

With its awesome oceanfront views, amazing food, easy access to some of the country's best sports, and 24-hour club scene, Miami’s South Beach has all the features of an ultimate bachelor fest. The restaurant scene is teeming with superstars like the 10,000-square-foot penthouse Juvia and the Florida outposts of New York City icons like Scarpetta and The Dutch. Not-to-miss party spots include Nikki Beach Club by day and LIV by night. 960 1280

Scott B Smith Photography / Getty Images  

For the Golf Pro: Phoenix

For the Golf Pro: Phoenix

For the sports-minded posse, the greater Phoenix area aims to please, with year-round sunshine and warm temps that make it perfect for enjoying the scores of superb golf courses, pro baseball’s Cactus League lineup, and a multitude of fantastic hiking and climbing options nearby in great outdoor spots like Camelback Mountain. And since no self-respecting bachelor weekend can be 100% healthy, the area is also surprisingly rife with nightlife and several casinos are within easy driving distance. 960 1280

Dave and Les Jacobs / Getty Images  

For the Beach Bro: Rio de Janeiro

For the Beach Bro: Rio de Janeiro

When it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, opposite-seasoned Rio de Janeiro makes for an especially magnetic stag party destination. And how many of your buddies can say they had their bachelor fests in the sizzling beachside host city of both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics? You’ll never need to leave the utopian Copacabana/Ipanema area, but for a little more authenticity and adventure, check out the even livelier Lapa neighborhood. 960 1280

Gonzalo Azumendi / Getty Images  

Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Based on the "Harry Potter" books and films, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a $200-million theme-park at Universal Orlando that had its grand opening on June 18, 2010.  The park includes rides like the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff.  Diagon Alley opened July 8, 2014. 960 1280

Handout/Getty Images  

Triple-Decker Knight Bus

Triple-Decker Knight Bus

Hop aboard the Knight Bus if you're a stranded member of the wizarding community. To hail the bus, a witch or wizard can just stick their wand up in the air in the same manner that a muggle would do to hail a taxi. It is possible to book tickets for travel on the bus in advance. 960 1280

Universal Orlando Resort  

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express

The Hogwarts Express waits to transport young wizards at Hogsmeade Station at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
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By Rain0975 [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley, with its cobblestone-ladden roads, is the perfect place to get all of your necessities for the upcoming school year at Hogwarts. Diagon Alley is lined with inns, pubs, book shops, clothing stores and much more. 960 1280

Handout/Getty Images  

Gringotts Bank

Gringotts Bank

Diagon Alley includes the thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. This attraction combines 360-degree themed sets, high-definition animation, state-of-the-art 3-D projection systems and live effects with characters and moments form the final "Harry Potter" book and film. And make sure you visit Gringotts Bank (pictured) -- it's the only bank in the Wizarding World owned and operated by goblins. 960 1280

Universal Orlando Resort  

Ollivander's Wand Shop

Ollivander's Wand Shop

An essential stop for any witch or wizard going to choose a wand (or better yet, let the wand choose them), Ollivander’s Wand Shop is a must-visit in Diagon Alley.
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Bloomburg/Getty Images  

Daily Prophet

Daily Prophet

The place to turn your attention for all-things  wizarding, the Daily Prophet is a long-standing newspaper conglomerate located in Diagon Alley.
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By osseous from Oakland Park, U.S.A. (October 25, 2014) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry

Hogwarts school majestically towers over the theme park, bringing the tales of Harry and friends to life. 960 1280

Rstoplabe14 at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons  

Hogwarts Portrait Gallery

Hogwarts Portrait Gallery

The Hogwarts portrait gallery is just as described in the books with talking portraits of wizards decorating the walls. 960 1280

Handout/Getty Images  

Hogsmeade Village

Hogsmeade Village

The Harry Potter theme park re-creates the picturesque Hogsmeade village with shops and restaurants you'll recognize straight from the books. 960 1280

Orlando Sentinial/Getty Images  

Honeydukes

Honeydukes

You’ll enjoy your trip to Hogsmeade like a kid in a candy shop … or should I say, like a wizard in a candy shop! Honeydukes is the premier place to get all your chocolate and candy needs in one stop.

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By The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Hog's Head Pub

Hog's Head Pub

Looking for a cold glass of butterbeer? Hog’s Head is a local pub located in Hogsmeade where muggles can stop in and try an assortment of alcoholic beverages. 960 1280

By Snowman Guy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  

Three Broomsticks

Three Broomsticks

Located in the heart of Hogsmeade, Three Broomsticks is a popular restaurant known for their fish and chips, as well as shepherd’s pie and other assorted goodies. 960 1280

By The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

The Owlery

The Owlery

Visitors can rest their legs and observe the roosting owls at the Owlery across from the Three Broomsticks. 960 1280
Dumbledore's Office

Dumbledore's Office

Guests get a peek at Dumbledore's office tucked inside Hogwarts castle where the magic happens.
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By Karen Roe from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Dragon Challenge

Dragon Challenge

Guests make their way to Dragon Challenge, two dueling roller coasters that twist, turn and careen toward each other.
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By Snowman Guy (talk).Snowman Guy at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons  

Hagrid's Hut

Hagrid's Hut

Guests can view a re-creation of Hagrid's Hut on their way to ride the Flight of the Hippogriff.
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By The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA (Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hagrid's hut) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff

Named after the Hippogriff Buckbeak, (which has the head of an eagle and the body of a horse), Flight of the Hippogriff is a family-friendly coaster that flies past Hagrid's hut. 960 1280

By popculturegeek.com from Los Angeles, CA, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Flying Ford Anglia

Flying Ford Anglia

After Ron and Harry miss the Hogwarts Express in the "The Chamber of Secrets," they steal Mr. Weasley’s flying car in an attempt to make it to school on time. Unfortunately, the car never made it back to The Burrow, the home of Ron's family, but now resides here, trapped amongst the trees.
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By Jeremy Thompson from United States of America [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Paddle the Pacific

Paddle the Pacific

Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park, just off the coast of Los Angeles, is home to some of the best kayaking on the West Coast. Rich with marine life and boasting the much-photographed Arch Rock, Anacapa is the perfect day trip or overnighter for the city dweller looking to get into some rough water. It’s a cliff island, so beware of winds, currents and fog.  

 

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Great Art Productions  

Float the Border

Float the Border

The mighty Rio Grande runs through Big Bend National Park in Texas, but it also represents the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Rafting down the river not only takes you through some eye-widening scenery, like 1500-foot deep canyons, but will also toss you back and forth across the border. 960 1280

Witold Skrypczak  

Hit the Sandy Slopes

Hit the Sandy Slopes

Colorado has Aspen, one of the most famous skiing destinations on the planet. It also has Sand Dunes National Park, one of the only sandboarding and sandsledding destinations on the planet. Slalom down the granular slopes like some diabolical combination of Jean-Claude Killy and Lawrence of Arabia. Hit the dunes early in the morning or late in the evening, lest you roast in the 150° midday heat. And don’t forget the lip balm.

 

 

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Simon Russell  

Cold Storage

Cold Storage

The upper regions of Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park have over 35 square miles of permanent ice and snow, providing a year-round paradise for hearty souls who consider ice camping a pleasure. If you’re going to stay the night on the mountain, securely lock your vittles to keep them from the clutches of foxes and other aggressive winter wildlife. 960 1280

Peter Haley  

Take in the Lights

Take in the Lights

Minnesota's Voyageurs National Park sits just below the Canadian border and offers campers a ringside seat to the Northern Lights. Voyageurs encompasses 270 campsites only accessible by watercraft, but we recommend the remote Echo Lake Campground for best visibility. Check a variety of weather services to determine your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights. 960 1280

Steve Burns  

Yosemite Gliding

Yosemite Gliding

It may seem crazy, but people have been leaping off Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park for decades. Hang gliding was once sanctioned and overseen by park employees. These days the private Yosemite Hang Gliding Association coordinates it. 960 1280

Celso Diniz  

The Rafters

The Rafters

If a weekend of seething whitewater just doesn’t cut it anymore, try an eight-day Grand Canyon raft trip down the Colorado River. There are a host of operators who will happily guide you down 200 miles of rapids. By the end of it, you’ll have seen Native-American ruins, mile-high cliff walls and countless eagles. 960 1280

  

Hit the Heights

Hit the Heights

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park boasts rock formations that will set a climber’s mouth to watering. The 415-square-mile park is a full-service climbing destination, featuring opportunities for scaling rock, wall, ice and snow. Lumpy Ridge and Longs Peak are favorites of local and international climbers. Whether you are an experienced sport climber or a beginning boulderer, be safe and leave no trace of your visit.

 

 

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Forest Woodward  

Lost in America

Lost in America

It makes sense that America’s largest national park is in Alaska, its largest state. Wrangell-Saint Elias stretches across 13,200,000 acres. You could fit Yellowstone, Everglades, and Death Valley inside it, and still have room for Denali, the third largest park (also in Alaska) at 6,075,030 acres. 960 1280

  

Take Me to the River

Take Me to the River

In addition to being the most popular hike in Zion National Park, the Narrows has something for every ability level over its 16 miles. The trail follows the Virgin River, which is convenient during the summer months, since you’ll be at least ankle-deep most of the time. If it starts to rain, head for high ground; flash floods are common and have a tendency to drop by without calling first.  960 1280

  

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