Unforgettable Travel Moments of 2013

The birth of England’s future king, a high-wire act across the Grand Canyon … and some very sexy swimsuit models across 7 continents – see 2013’s most unforgettable travel moments.
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Presidential Inauguration

“Faith in America’s Future” was the theme of America’s 57th presidential inauguration. In a nod to 2 big milestones -- the 150th anniversary of both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Capitol dome’s completion -- the Washington, DC, festivities culminated in President Obama’s public swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol’s west side.

One World Trade Center

Out of the ashes, a resilient triumph: In November One World Trade Center was officially named the tallest building in North America. The height of One World Trade Center was purposely set at 1,776 feet, in tribute to America’s Declaration of Independence and the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

Prince George of Cambridge

Royal baby mania gripped the world, as news crews waited outside London’s St. Mary’s Hospital for news of Kate and William’s royal delivery. Initial reports of a baby girl were quickly put to rest once the easel outside Buckingham Palace delivered the July 22 news: George Alexander Louis had arrived.

Breaking Bad Tours

It’s not every day that a city embraces its image as a meth-producing drug haven, unless, of course, that city is the subject of one of the most popular dramas of all time. Breaking Bad put Albuquerque on the map in a big way, and while Walt and Jesse’s adventures have ended, don’t count on Breaking Bad tours to follow suit anytime soon.

Government Shutdown, Blue Ridge Parkway

For the first time in 17 years, the US government shut down in October, and for the next 3 weeks, the nation watched as America’s national parks and memorials were barricaded. The grim news turned the spotlight on state parks nationwide, as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway, where travelers could still find reprieve.

Gettysburg Anniversary

At just under 300 words, the Gettysburg Address summed up what was at stake in the Civil War, and what the death of tens of thousands of young men could ultimately mean to a hurting nation. In November the town of Gettysburg celebrated Lincoln’s words, months after having marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

London Underground Anniversary

London had its own big 150th anniversary to celebrate this year, with the London Underground – the world’s first underground railway – marking its historic birthday. Various events throughout London have marked the Tube’s 150th anniversary, including a restored antique railway that traveled the same path as the Tube did back in 1863.

Pope Francis, Vatican City Tour

In a shock to the world, Pope Benedict abruptly resigned in February, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years. But then the world got a look at affable Pope Francis, originally from Argentina, and an upbeat air returned to this fascinating city-state within Italy, along with renewed interest in Vatican City tours.

Miss America, Atlantic City

It was exciting enough that the historic Miss America pageant returned to Atlantic City for the first time in 6 years. Then the pageant got even cooler when 2013’s winner turned out to be the first-ever Miss America of Indian descent: New York native Nina Davuluri.

JFK Assassination Anniversary, Dallas

A dark day in Dallas, and the nation’s history, was relived in late November, as somber crowds gathered in Dealey Plaza to remember America’s 35th president. This year marked the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, sparking epic reminiscences of how life changed that day.

Grand Central Terminal

In the 1970s, Grand Central Terminal was slated for demolition, until Jackie Kennedy joined in the effort to help save the iconic NYC train terminal. February marked Grand Central’s 100th anniversary, and with it, the continuation of a NYC landmark that sees some 700,000 commuters a day.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Beating out some formidable competition (Istanbul and Madrid), Tokyo landed a big win in September: For the first time since 1964, Japan’s capital got the nod to host the Summer Olympic Games. Slated for 2020, the games will unfold in Tokyo’s revamped National Olympic Stadium.

Bret Michaels on Travel Channel

In May, legendary rocker Bret Michaels traded in his mic for a sledgehammer and a whole new venture. As host of Travel Channel’s Rock My RV, Bret brought his passion for RVs to Travel’s audience, and proved that America’s favorite bandana-wearing rocker knows how to rock it in more ways than one.

Hyperloop

No, it’s not Blade Runner, it’s better: The futuristic Hyperloop will transport passengers in under 30 minutes between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The vision of billionaire Elon Musk, which he unveiled in August, the solar-powered transportation system is slated to take off once California state government approves the project. For commuters who must currently brave a 6-hour commute, that may not be a moment too soon.

Obamas in Ireland

First Lady Michelle Obama’s paid a visit to the Emerald Isle in June with daughters Sasha and Malia. Part of the Obamas’ 2-day Ireland trip included a visit to the valley of Glendalough, in County Wicklow, where they met with local tour guide George McClafferty. No word on whether he sang, “There’s No One as Irish as Barack Obama,” to them in honor of the president’s Irish roots.

Ghost Adventures in Transylvania

In October, Ghost Adventures ushered in its 100th episode in a monumental way, becoming the very first paranormal TV program to investigate the St. Louis home that inspired The Exorcist movie and novel. The crew followed up the 100th episode with another big turn, heading to Transylvania for Halloween.

Nik Wallenda's Grand Canyon Walk

Plenty of nail-biting moments unfolded during the live broadcast of Nik Wallenda’s high-wire act near the Grand Canyon in June. The self-proclaimed “King of the Wire” walked across the Little Colorado River Gorge outside Grand Canyon National Park's borders, in under 25 minutes, with no safety harness. Can we say insane?

Boston World Series

A city shaken by the Boston Marathon bombing in April rebounded with a bittersweet win in October, when the Boston Red Sox scored 3 runs in the third inning and 3 in the fourth to defeat St. Louis and win the World Series.

Philippines Typhoon

The Philippines suffered its most devastating loss in early November, when Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, killing nearly 10,000 people in what would become the deadliest typhoon in the Philippines’ history.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Antarctica

The world’s sexiest models, across 7 continents. Sports Illustrated celebrated its 50th anniversary year in style 2013’s SI Swimsuit edition, with one eye-catching look of Kate Upton going polar bare in Antarctica. We went undercover ourselves, revealing SI’s sexiest models’ sexiest destination picks.

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