Travel Channel's Most Memorable Moments of 2011

A daring trip to Cuba. An undercover stint in NYC. The surprises didn’t end there in 2011. Check out our roundup of Travel Channel’s most memorable moments of the year.

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It's a <i>Wonderful Life</i> in Hawaii
It's a Wonderful Life in Hawaii

It's a Wonderful Life in Hawaii

In a scene from the 1964 British film Wonderful Life, pop star Cliff Richard plays the acoustic guitar while accompanied by Hawaiian dancers. 960 1280

GAB Archive/Redferns  

Hawaiian Honeymoon

Hawaiian Honeymoon

Hawaii has always been a popular honeymoon destination. After it became the 50th state in 1959, this exotic island paradise became the place for many Americans to honeymoon without having to leave the country. 960 1280

Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images  

Halona Beach Cove

Halona Beach Cove

One of the most steamy beach scenes in film history was filmed in Hawaii. In the famous kissing sequence in From Here to Eternity, stars Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr roll around in the frothy waves on Oahu’s Halona Beach Cove. 960 1280

Columbia Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images  

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii

Music legend Elvis Presley, donning a Hawaiian shirt and lei, plays a ukulele in the 1961 film Blue Hawaii. 960 1280

Paramount Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images   

Air Travel to Hawaii

Air Travel to Hawaii

Air travel in the mid-1930s made it possible for tourists to come to Hawaii faster, without having to take a long ship journey as in times past. Suddenly, a week’s vacation in this island paradise became more feasible for many Americans. 960 1280

Underwood Archives/Getty Images  

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

One of the best places in the world for beginner surfers is Waikiki Hawaii. Long rolling waves, no sharp reefs or rocks in the area, and little wind make it a perfect spot to learn to surf. In the 1950s, surfing in Waikiki became one of the most popular tourist activities. 960 1280

Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images  

Hula Dance

Hula Dance

In ancient Hawaii, the hula dance was used to pass down history and myth from generation to generation. In the 1960s, the influx of tourists sparked renewed interest in this visual art form as a way to maintain the Hawaiian culture … and to put on a good show for visitors. 960 1280

H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images  

First Lady of Waikiki

First Lady of Waikiki

With a prime oceanfront location on Waikiki Beach, The Moana Hotel, as it was known when it was built in 1901, is often referred to as the “First Lady of Waikiki.” With a $50 million renovation in 1989, the historic Moana Surfrider Resort and Spa, as it is known today, was restored with modern luxury in mind and continues to be one of the finest hotels in Honolulu. 960 1280

George Silk//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images  

Surf Like Gidget

Surf Like Gidget

In the 1960s, surfing films like Gidget (and the TV series of the same name) and Endless Summer inspired young Americans to not only learn to surf but to search for the perfect wave all over the world, including beautiful locations throughout Hawaii. 960 1280

Keystone/Getty Images  

Brady Bunch in Hawaii

Brady Bunch in Hawaii

Proving that Hawaii is the ultimate American family vacation, The Brady Bunch filmed the “Hawaii Bound” episode in Honolulu in 1972, with the icon of Hawaiian entertainment, Don Ho, as guest star. 960 1280

CBS via Getty Images  

Led Zeppelin in Hawaii

Led Zeppelin in Hawaii

Rock gods Led Zeppelin arrive in Honolulu in 1969. The band -- John Bonham, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page -- “get leid” as soon as they arrive at the Honolulu Airport. 960 1280

Robert Knight Archive/Redferns  

SS Lurline

SS Lurline

Women learn the hula aboard the SS Lurline during a voyage in summer 1954. The SS Lurline typically operated between San Francisco and Honolulu for the Matson cruise line. 960 1280

Gene Lester/Getty Images  

Hawaii Five-O in Honolulu

Hawaii Five-O in Honolulu

Shot on location in Honolulu, the original police drama Hawaii Five-O aired from 1968 to 1980. The reimagined TV series, Hawaii Five-0 premiered in 2010 and is filmed on Oahu. 960 1280

CBS via Getty Images  

Kauai

Kauai

While no one knows exactly where Gilligan’s Island is (including Gilligan and the rest of the castaways), the pilot and first episode of this classic American sitcom were actually filmed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1963. 960 1280

CBS/Getty Images  

Diamond Head Crater

Diamond Head Crater

A young American couple honeymoon in Honolulu in the 1950s. In the background is the extinct volcanic crater Diamond Head, which became a National Natural Landmark in 1968. 960 1280

Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images  

Pineapple Island

Pineapple Island

In the late 1800s, sugar and later, pineapple plantations powered Hawaii's economy. James Dole turned Lanai into the world’s leading exporter of pineapple, earning it the nickname “Pineapple Island.” 960 1280

NBCU Photo Bank  

Hawaiian Entertainer Don Ho

Hawaiian Entertainer Don Ho

Legendary crooner Don Ho entertained tourists for decades and was one of Hawaii's best known musicians. He is best known for his show at the Waikiki Beachcomber, where he would perform his trademark "Tiny Bubbles." He died on April 14, 2007 at the age of 76. 960 1280

NBCU Photo Bank  

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Located on the famous Waikiki Beach, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel led the travel renaissance in Hawaii. Built in 1927, this iconic hotel remains one of the most luxurious hotels in Waikiki, after a long history of being the playground for Hawaiian chiefs and later, Hollywood’s elite. 960 1280

Underwood Archives/Getty Images  

Vintage Hawaii  18 Photos

Tour de France’s 100th
Tour de France’s 100th

Tour de France’s 100th

Cycling’s premier annual event marks its 100th anniversary in 2013. The very first Tour de France comprised a 5-stage race, beginning in Paris and stopping in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes before returning to Paris. Today, the race typically spans 21 days and a total of 2,000 miles; 2013’s Tour de France will start in Corsica, in the city of Porto-Vecchio, and finish at dusk in Paris. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Grand Central’s 100th

Grand Central’s 100th

This megadaddy of rail travel turns 100 in 2013. Spanning 48 acres, the grand Beaux-Arts-designed terminal has risen and fallen (it went into bankruptcy in 1970 and even faced potential demolition), and risen again. Today, the hub is the world’s sixth most visited tourist attraction, according to a Travel + Leisure survey. 960 1280

Katie Hards   

Groundhog Day at 20

Groundhog Day at 20

Thank the 1993 Bill Murray flick for catapulting this furry little guy onto the national scene. 2013 marks the American comedy-turned-classic’s 20th anniversary. Celebrate with a trip to the central Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, where thousands have gathered each year since 1886 to await Punxsutawney Phil’s end-of-winter predictions. According to records dating back to 1887, Phil’s been accurate 39% of the time. 960 1280

Getty Images  

125 Years of Nat Geo

125 Years of Nat Geo

Many leaders have had the National Geographic Society to thank for kindling their imagination in exploring the world around them. Among them was America’s 36th president LBJ -- he once said, “My mother brought me up by putting the Bible in my right hand and the National Geographic magazine in my left.” 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam sees an epic year of milestones ahead: In 2013, Amsterdam marks the 175th birthday of the Artis Royal Zoo, the nation's most famous zoo, which houses 900 species of animals. The Dutch capital is also celebrating the 400th anniversary of its famed Canal Ring, which has given Amsterdam the moniker, "Venice of the North." 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

One day, without warning, this idyllic coastal town in Sonoma County, CA, was attacked by … the birds! Who can ever look at birds the same way after watching Hitchcock’s suspense-horror classic, which turns 50 in 2013. Mark the occasion with a visit to Bodega Bay, and keep a watchful eye on the sky -- you just never know. 960 1280

iStock  

Harley-Davidson at 110

Harley-Davidson at 110

The freedom of the open road, the need for speed -- this journey began 110 years ago in Milwaukee. In 1903, the granddaddy of American motorcycle manufacturers got its start in a small machine shop, where a 23-year-old engineering genius William Sylvester Harley toiled away. Harley worked on a “motor-cycle” with childhood friend Arthur Davidson; the rest is bad-ass history. 960 1280

iStock  

The Drive-In Turns 70

The Drive-In Turns 70

This icon of American pop culture became official 70 years ago, when a chemical company magnate was granted a patent for his invention: an outdoor theater. From humble beginnings (the first drive-in opened in Pennsauken Township, NJ), the drive-in movie theater peaked in popularity from the late 1950s to early 1960s. You can relive the glory days at retro drive-ins like Sandell Theater in Clarendon, TX. 960 1280

Orange County Archives, flickr  

Lamborghini at 50

Lamborghini at 50

You are what you drive. Who’d want to admit that -- unless, of course, you’re driving this motor-sportin’ beaut. Fifty years ago, the Italian luxury sports car manufacturer got its start in the northern Italian town of Sant'Agata Bolognese. In May 2013, the automaker celebrates by hosting a 700-mile road trip through northern and central Italy. Andiamo! 960 1280

Ben_in_london, flickr  

David Livingstone's 200th

David Livingstone's 200th

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Why, indeed it is: 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the famed Scottish explorer’s birth. At the age of 27, the young missionary headed for Africa. Fascinated by the continent’s beauty, he went on to spend 30 years in places such as modern-day Botswana and Zambia. In the end, his one regret was that he hadn’t spent enough time with his children. Honor the great doctor’s legacy; take the kids on safari. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out … and why would you want to? Not when the setting is the beautiful Aloha State. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the King’s live concert from the capital city of Honolulu. Celebrate Elvis’ love of all things Hawaiian with your own journey to his favorite spots, like Hanauma Bay, featured in his films Blue Hawaii and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

With a stroke of the pen, Abraham Lincoln opened the door to the eradication of America’s greatest evil. The end of slavery would not come with the simple signing of this executive order on Jan. 1, 1863, but it did make abolition an official goal of the Civil War. Revisit that chapter in the exhibit “Changing America,” at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History through Sept. 15, 2013. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Gettysburg at 150

Gettysburg at 150

“Four score and 7 years ago …” The passion of Abraham Lincoln’s words, all 272 of them, gave meaning to what history would record as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Relive this pivotal moment in US history with a trip to this stretch of southern Pennsylvania, during the 150th anniversary year of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

I Have a Dream Turns 50

I Have a Dream Turns 50

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; stand in the exact spot where MLK delivered his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. 2013 sees other big civil rights anniversaries, including the 100th birthday of the “first lady of civil rights” Rosa Parks and the 50th anniversary of protests in Birmingham, AL, that triggered a national dialogue about the need for civil rights for African-American citizens. 960 1280

Getty Images  

West Virginia's 150th

West Virginia's 150th

The Mountain State marks its 150th anniversary in 2013. In June 1863, at the height of the Civil War, an expanse of land in the Appalachian Mountain range broke away from the state of Virginia, becoming the only state to form by seceding from the Confederacy. Among West Virginia’s must-see sites is the New River Gorge, a 3,030-foot-long steel arch bridge near Fayetteville, WV. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

London Celebrates the Queen
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this year, marking her 60th year as monarch. A weekend of events in June is planned throughout the Commonwealth, culminating in a Royal Air Force flyover and a "Fire of Joy," a celebratory cascade of rifle fire given as a salute by the Queen's Guard.
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Getty Images  

Spider-Man turns 50

Spider-Man turns 50

Spider-Man Turns 50
Spider-Man made his first appearance in comics in 1962, making this his 50th anniversary. The newest Spiderman movie is also set for release this summer -- the perfect birthday gift for Spidey.
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Getty Images  

A War of 1812 reenactment

A War of 1812 reenactment

War of 1812 Bicentennial
The US declared war on Britain 200 years ago, setting off the War of 1812. This year bicentennial celebrations are being held by 10 states, as well as Washington, DC and Ontario.
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Getty Images  

Titanic Exhibit in DC

Titanic Exhibit in DC

100 Years After the Titanic Tragedy
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, sparking renewed interest in the tragedy. James Cameron's Titanic movie has been rereleased in 3-D, and the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC, has a new exhibit, "Titanic: 100 Year Obsession," which includes props from the 1997 movie.
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Getty Images  

Arizona celebrates its centennial

Arizona celebrates its centennial

Arizona Celebrates Its Centennial
Arizona has taken on a series of statewide projects to commemorate its centennial. Projects include a documentary following 100 Arizona ranchers whose families have been ranching in the state since 1912 and a new museum that explores what it means to be an Arizonian.
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Thinkstock  

100 years of the Cherry Blossom Festival

100 years of the Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival
A century ago, Japan gave Washington, DC, a gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees as a token of friendship. Each year, the US capital is painted pink with the blossoms, which lure visitors from all over the world.
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Thinkstock  

Louisiana's 200th year of statehood

Louisiana's 200th year of statehood

Louisiana's Bicentennial
To commemorate Louisiana's 200th anniversary, the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission has drawn up with a list of 200 free things that visitors can do in the state. These include visiting the state's 180-mile long Creole Nature Trail, which is home to 400 bird species.
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Thinkstock  

Charles Dickens turns 200

Charles Dickens turns 200

Charles Dickens' Birthday
Even though Charles Dickens turned 200 back in February, the party is continuing all year long with a Dickensian exhibit at the Museum of London and a guided tour through Chalk Church, which was featured in Great Expectations.
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Getty Images  

New Mexico's 100th year as a state

New Mexico's 100th year as a state

New Mexico's 100th Year
New Mexico celebrates 100 years of statehood this year. As part of the celebration, the state's governor created the Centennial Children's Legacy Fund, which hopes to improve the education and welfare of New Mexico's children.
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Nicholas_T, flickr  

Golden Gate Bridge celebrates 75 years

Golden Gate Bridge celebrates 75 years

The Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75
For the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary in May, San Francisco is going all out with a day-long festival that will celebrate the history of the bridge and the culture of the city -- all culminating in a fireworks grand finale.
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Geoff Stearns, flickr  

The Space Needle opened 50 years ago

The Space Needle opened 50 years ago

The Space Needle's 50th Anniversary
Fifty years ago, when the Space Needle opened at the Seattle World's Fair, it was called "The Space Cage." It was built in just 1 year and 4 days.
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Thinkstock  

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