Things to do in Pensacola

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Pensacola lies in Florida state and it was founded in 1559 by an explorer named Tristan de Lunay Arellano. The Spanish ruled the territory for over 116 years and after that the French took over the place and established their kingdom over there. When the Spanish came to this place it was officially the first settlement in America. And from the French the control was taken over by the British and it became the capital of the British colony soon. And during the civil war the city became a part of the Confederacy. They regained the control of the land and was made a part of the union of states in May 1862. It is a sea port which is connected to the Gulf of Mexico and located on Pensacola Bay. The city has a National Naval Aviation Museum which is dedicated to the various flying legends that have been flying through the years. It is a delight to visit this coastal town if you are in need of finding a soothing vacation that guarantees you pleasure. With diverse cultures embracing each other towards a new beginning everyday. The University of North Florida is situated north of the city center. There are various things to be done in the city of Pensacola once you are in there. They are as follows:

The Aviation Museum: There are over four thousand artifacts from different period of history and they get you stimulated as you get lost in the wonder of these planes. These artifacts are also from the various wars that have been fought over the last century and which lead to these industries becoming a major force that they have become. You can enjoy the films on aviation through the terrific IMAX experience that has been made available to you. You have to dine in the authentic Cubi Bar Cafe, it is a must visit place that will enthrall you with many pleasures. The history is here to be lived and you can experience pain in the delight of a victory or vice-versa. You can buy a memento from the museum and take it back with you to your home.

Pensacola Beach: The Pensacola beach presents a complete family experience to the one who is willing to have it. The beach presents a solid equilibrium for senses as you are in peace with the natural surrounding that you inhabit. And it is important for you to behave in the right manner at the beach so that you do not become nuisance for the people around you. The shelling here is quiet extraordinary and you can go places walking as you keep encountering the beautiful places. You have to discover your potential to have fun in these beaches as you discover that you are to make the most of the time you have got. The surf is quiet heavier here than the other popular beaches in the surrounding such as Orange Beach/Gulf Shores where people often frolic. It is a worthwhile experience to spend your time here within the environment of serenity where your every second is precious to balance the harmony.

A National Seashore: The National Seashore stretches from the Cat Island in Mississippi to Santa Rosa island in Florida. It brings you the experience of a serene beach and it also draws you inside the splendor of being at a beach. This beach offers sparkling blue water and many beautiful beaches lie in this 150 stretch. This place will lighten up your mood and bring you a peace of mind that will not be worth trading for any stimulation.

Pensacola Lighthouse: The lighthouse is located on the Gulf Coast and you can have one of the best views that are in the country. This lighthouse is the tallest in the whole of gulf coast and you cannot travel much higher than this. This lighthouse gives you a splendid view of the sea and it is still visible once you are 27 miles into the sea, and you have no where further to go so you have a great view to yourself. This lighthouse stands erect on the 40 foot rock on the northern side of Pensacola Pass. The lighthouse is made from walls which are 10 feet thick at the base and 3 feet thick at the top. The spiral stairs provide a magnificent setting for you to understand the beauty of the experience closely and intimately. The 177 steps lead to the top eventually and from where you can have the best view of the sea. The admission fee is 3.00$ for kids and 5.00$ for adults. This place is also available for the purpose of private outings and you can get your friends from office here or your family.

A Beautiful Island: The Santa Rosa Island holds spectacular beaches for you to loose yourself to the different moods that are caused in the weather and towards which people have always been driven. There is a free trolley ride for you around the island as you would want to tour the island and look for the best vacation possible. There are huge sea creatures to be seen in this area and you would not want to change it even a little bit as you discover the beauty. You will have the time of your life here as you dedicate yourself to admiration of nature.

Fort Pickens: The brick fortress holds a view that cannot be missed and you cannot miss this one at any cost. This fort was named after a revolutionary war hero named Andrew Pickens. Fort Pickens was one of the few forts in the South that wasn’t captured by the Confederates. The infamous prisoner Geronimo from the Apache clan was imprisoned here in 1886. There are beautiful sand beaches and hiking trails around Fort Pickens, there are national parks as well along with fishing pier, it costs about 8$ per vehicle and it is open from 8am to sunset with free ranger tours.


Things to do in The Poconos

The Poconos or the Pocono Mountains is a region situated in the north east part of the state of Pennsylvania. Pocono is a Lenape Native term for “stream between two mountains”, fitting indeed for the mountainous zone which seems to be composed entirely of high resolution frames of gorgeous natural scenery attached to each other like a continuous film roll with nothing in between to separate them.

It is for this very reason that the Poconos has become such an incredibly popular tourist spot, probably the best holiday getaway in the entire Penn State. There are multiple summer resorts which organize loads of activities specific to the mountains like hunting, fishing and skiing (if the winter snow permits). So, snowy mountains, gorgeous scenery, and excellent mountain climbs. Some of the many things to do in The Poconos. Here are some more Pocono Mountain based adventures-

 

Things to do in The Poconos

Take a Memorable Trip Down No. 9 Coal Mine To Look At the Dark History of Mining in the Area

The No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum is located at 9 Dock Street of Lansford. A formerly anthracite mine, the coal mine has been restored to provide you a glimpse into the rich mining history of the mountain region.

You better strap on your walking shoes as there is a lot of ground to cover inside the mines on a crunchy pathway. There is also a nifty two car steam train which will travel through the coal mine for half a mile distance. There is really nothing like a train journey deep into the underground mines beneath the mountains. Oh, and the guides are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the dark history behind the coal mining in the region. From heartbreaking tales of non English speaking workers made to slog away at minimum wage. If any of them protested then they were beaten up by their supervisors and in extreme cases. even killed. Boys as young as eight years old were made to craft the tunnels you would travel through during your tour of the No. 9 coal mine.

There is also a museum inside which holds many artifacts like the hats of the miners who worked there in the 19th century, along with their mining tools and other equipment. We strongly advise you to wear warm clothing as the temperature in the underground mines tends to drop a little too low for comfort. You are set for a great experience!

Feed Baby Farm Animals at the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm

Located at the aptly named 1000 Turkey Hill Road at Stroudsburg, is the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, a great place to take the little tots to. Lush green farmlands characterize the place, and here you will come across baby farm animals like little turkeys, bunnies and lambs that you may feed, as well as amazing little two wheeled horse drawn carriages.

The barns see guitarists strum along children’s popular tunes and entertain the kids. Instead of a sandbox for children, there is a cornbox! And the snacks served at the farm are reasonably priced cookies, cupcakes and watermelons! Yummylicious! Do not miss the amazing Harvest Fest which is currently being held there during the fall.

Marvel at the Fantastic Works of Ice At an Ice Sculpture Factory and Museum

At 311 Purdytown Turnpike of Lakeville is situated the Sculpted Ice Works Factory and Ice Harvest Museum. You are provided with an excellent tour of the ice factory where you get to see the various talented artisans work their magic on pure ice, creating out of them lithe animals and figures out of plain frozen water.

Even better are the houses and slides on display at the museum, made entirely of ice. Yes, you read that right- entire housed constructed out of ice blocks. And you also get to see awesome videos of how ice was lifted straight out of the frozen lakes, for the factory and museum. Some pretty neat things to check out.

Go Skiing and Snowboarding On Ski Runs With the Kookiest of Names

The Camelback Mountain Resort at Tannersville boasts of the maximum number of ski runs in the Pocono Mountains. Partially within the Big Pocono State Park, the resort is a true haven for lovers of skiing and snowboarding. And get a load of some of the names of these skiing trails- Upper and Lower Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, The Sphinx, Honeymoon Lane and The Nile Mile!

There is also a full fledged water park at the resort known as Camelbeach, complete with bumper water boats and a swimming pool for competitions. Nice!

Catch a Grand Show in a Fancy Casino Set in the Middle of the Mountains

The Poconos have quite the reputation for being a huge draw for gamblers, thanks to the number of casinos set amidst the scenic mountains. One of the more popular casinos is the famous Casino Theater Entertainment Center on 110 Pocono Boulevard on Mount Pocono.

The place has it all, a wonderful casino where you could test your luck when it comes to the ka-ching, a great concert hall featuring spectacular shows by artistes like the Stylistics and delicious food served at an old timey, cozy diner called Betty’s. Do make a point to visit Casino Theater Entertainment Center at least once during your stay in the Pocomo Mountains.

 

And so we come to the end of the list of things to do in the Poconos. What a lively mountain region, so unlike the others of its kind already covered by the site! No wonder it is Pennsylvania’s favorite hotspot with holiday goers everywhere.

 


Things to do in Sandusky, OH

There are far too few cities which are characterized by their trademark amusement parks. Anaheim in California is one for its Disneyland Theme Park. Sandusky, Ohio, is another, home to major entertainment park leader Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, as well as its flagship amusement park- Cedar Point. Sandusky, no relation to child abusing Pennsylvania State Coach Jerry Sandusky (though a number of the city’s signposts were vandalized during the ongoing legal trials of the scandal), is also known as Sandtown. Forbes ranked it as Number One on its “Best Place to Live Cheaply” list in 2011, while the National Arbor Day Foundation termed it as “Tree City USA” thanks to an abundance of trees in the region. You must now have a fair idea of what my things to do in Sandusky, OH list would contain, so here it is-

 

Things to do in Sandusky, OH

Have a Great Day at the Flagship Park of a World Leader in Amusement Parks

Yup, you guessed it right! My Number One suggestion for my “Things to do in Sandusky” list would be to visit what the advertising terms as “The Best Amusement Park in the World” (Okay, I did some fact checking, and turns out that the tagline is legit. The park in question has been the recipient of the Golden Ticket award for “Best Amusement Park in the World” continuously for the last fifteen years by Amusement Today). I am talking about Cedar Point Amusement Park at 1 Cedar Point Drive. The flagship park of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a global pioneer in theme parks and outdoor entertainment, Cedar Point of Sandusky boasts of having (one of) the largest collections of roller coasters on the planet! In fact, the park is sometimes referred to as “America’s Roller Coaster” itself, thanks to a total of fifteen (soon to be sixteen) roller coasters. That would make it Number Three on the list of amusement parks with the maximum number of roller coasters.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t other types of rides at Cedar Point. There are 57 amusement rides of the non roller coaster variety, comprising of merry go rounds, flat rides, and kiddie rides. For those keeping a score, that is a total number of 72 rides (soon to be 73!), a record for any amusement park in the world.

There is also a water park on a 6.5 acre sandy white beach strip adjacent to the park known as “Soak City”, which has around 12 water slides, five pools and four children’s sections. The water slides are rated differently based on appropriate/ safety levels for younger and elderly patrons.

And it gets better during Halloween..

Oh, and as if 72 rides and an entire water park were not enough to rock your world, the park celebrates HalloWeekends on every weekend till the end of October. Featuring ten haunted houses (!) and several night time fright zones, you better believe the slogan of the annual event which goes “All You Fear is Here”. From dressed up ghouls to bright laser works and animatronic dinosaurs, to sections dedicated to werewolves, vampires and even spooky toys, everything related to the horror genre is here!

 

Take the Entire Family to a One of its Kind Merry-Go-Round Museum

At 301 Jackson Street, there is an entire museum dedicated solely to Merry-Go-Rounds! You may take all of your family members to the museum, for children to enjoy the various rides on display and for you to relive your youthful days on an old carousel which still functions, and which moves quite swiftly!

You would also be fascinated watching skillful artisans carve out the most graceful of carousel horses and add it to the various rides. Hey, if you happen to be a huge fan of the ending scene from coming of age novel “The Catcher in the Rye” like me, you would relate merry-go-rounds to something more than nostalgia. Do try to give the museum a shot, especially with siblings, close friends, and if possible, elderly parents and/ or grandparents. They are going to love this experience!

Hitch a Ride to One of The Famous Islands on Lake Erie

The Islands off the Sandusky coast on Lake Erie have a tempting pull off their very own, separate from that of the mainland. There are two main islands which are major tourist hubs- South Bass Island and Kelleys Island.

South Bass Island is more family oriented, with a Memorial Park dedicated to the lives lost in war, a family fun center at Perry’s Cave, amazing para sailing and kayaking techniques at Put-in-Bay harbor, and popular summer events like bar scenes and the Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments held by the Fire Department. Kelleys Island on the other hand offers great night clubs and wonderful fine dining options, along with the Annual Spring Wine Fling in April.

If you are savant in boating, you may rent your own boat and go to one of the islands from the Sandusky harbor, or take a trip on the passenger and vehicle transport Miller Boat Line, or speedboat travel with the Jet Express, or the packages of Goodtime, a ferry service to the islands.

Have a Romantic Date Sipping On Sweet Wine at a Cute Little Vineyard

The Hermes Vineyard at 6413 South Hayes Avenue, is a cute little winery which provides the freshest and sweetest of wines in the region for sampling. The women working at the vineyard make it a very warm and hospitable place for visitors, and there are quaint little barns complete with guitarists serenading lovers on a date!

And you even get a chance of dining inside or outside on a lovely green backyard, snacking on pizza and cheese along with the wines. The aroma and flavor of the wine alone is sure to drive you crazy at Hermes. Perfect outing for an evening date!

 

So the things to do in Sandusky, OH, deal with roller coaster rides, antique carousels, island getaways and lovely vineyards. A motley bunch of attractions but one which will promise you loads and loads of joy!

 


Things to do in Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn is actually the most populous borough in New York City, and not Manhattan, surprisingly. With a total population of over 2,535,645, if Brooklyn had been an independent city instead of a borough, it would have the fourth most populated one in the country after the rest of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The borough has a number of various ethnic enclaves, and its motto is “Eendraght Maeckt Maght”, which is Dutch for “United We Stand”. Brooklyn was also the site for the first and largest battle for America’s independence during the American Revolutionary War in 1776, putting the tactical and military skills of America’s First President, George Washington, to the ultimate test. It is no wonder that Brooklyn’s emblem features a young woman holding a fasces, synonymous with strength through combined forces and the free people’s republic. Historically important and having an equally profound influence on America’s culture, the best things to do in Brooklyn, NY, give off a true “Americana” feeling thanks to the roots of the borough. Here are some of Brooklyn’s best attractions-

 

Things to do in Brooklyn, NY

Visit Two of America’ Most Prestigious and Oldest of Museums

As I was mentioning before, Brooklyn has had a massive impact on American arts and culture. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the borough has two of the oldest and most comprehensive of museums in the entire nation. Here they are-

The Brooklyn Museum- Opened in 1897, the Brooklyn Museum, initially named the Beaux-Arts building, was a highly ambitious project which sought to hold the largest art collection in the world. Well, thanks to some financial difficulties, the museum did not quite reach that lofty goal but did not fall far from it either- the Brooklyn Museum now has the second largest art collection in America.

There are approximately 1.5 million works housed at the museum. The galleries range from a number of genres- ones focusing exclusively on classical art to others extensively on contemporary art. The art collections have also been divided into regions of origin of the artwork in question- American, European, Egyptian and Middle Eastern, African, Asia Pacific to even movement based art like a gallery dealing only in feminist artwork. By “artwork”, know that the Brooklyn Museum is also abundant with sculptures, most famous being the Pre Dynastic “Bird Lady”, a terra cotta figurine from Ancient Egypt. Some of the artists whose work is showcased at the museum include Judy Chicago, Georgia O’Keefe and Winslow Homer. The museum also holds the annual Brooklyn Artist’s Ball, which has been hosted by entertainers like Liv Tyler and Sarah Jessica Parker in the past.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum- Believed to be the very first museum in the world which was dedicated solely to serve children, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum was established in 1899 and is one of the incredibly few children’s museums to have a permanent collection composed of as large as 30,000 exhibits.

Housed at an award winning space at Crown Heights, more specifically under Brower Park at St Mark’s and Brooklyn Avenue, the museum holds a collection of “edutainment” based science and life science exhibits for children, in addition to your usual dinosaur fossils. It was also the first museum in America to incorporate a “green” system in its facilities, utilizing geothermal wells for heating and cooling purposes. Do take the kids to this historic general purpose museum.

Drift Off Into a Surreal Fantastical World Which Tributes Mother Nature’s Best Creations

At 1000 Washington Avenue is the famed Brooklyn Botanical Garden, a 52 acre space dedicated solely to the very best of Mother Nature’s work in the Plant Kingdom, in particular.

The garden is sub divided into a number of different elegant mini parks and gardens, including, among others, the Cherry Esplanade, a path between more than 200 cherry blossom trees on either side, the magical Japanese Hill-And-Pond Garden, the Cranford Rose Garden which has all varieties of blooming roses, the Shakespeare Garden which displays all of the plants mentioned in The Bard’s plays and poems, the indoor Steinhardt Conservatory which has an extensive desert cactus collection, and the Alice Recknagel Ireys Fragrance Garden, a garden aimed at the enjoyment of the handicapped and blind in particular. Truly a walk into a fantasy realm straight out of a story book.

Take a Jog Across One of the Country’s Most Iconic Bridges

Near City Hall Park is located the largest steel wire suspension bridge in America- the Brooklyn Bridge. Initially the longest suspension bridge in the world upon its opening in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge connects the two main boroughs of New York City together- Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The bridge, which has been featured in a number of movies and shows, allows for pedestrians, bikers and automobiles to pass across it. So basically, it has been divided into a biker track, the main road for motors, plus a jogger’s path for pedestrians. If you want a brilliant view of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the lower part of New York Harbor, which includes the Statue of Liberty, then the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must! You may get there by taxi or by subway, the choice is entirely yours!

Attend a Gothic Tea Party in the Middle of a Cemetery

Yes, you read right! At 500 25th Street lies the serene Green-Wood Cemetery, 783 acres of rolling greenery and the most exquisite of mausoleum architecture. This “Silent City” is one of the most hallowed final resting places in all of America, and many famous personalities like Louis Comfort Tiffany, Frank Morgan, Boss Tweed, Jean Michel Basquiat and thousands of civil war veterans, have been interned here.

Also, the tranquil site is the venue for a gothic tea party hosted by “Gothic Charm School” author Jillian Venters. A number of individuals dressed in Goth and Victorian garb attend the tea part to attend book readings and a tete among the peaceful tombstones. Even if you aren’t Goth, visit Green-Wood Cemetery to feel an overwhelming sense of calm, away from the hustle bustle of the regular city.

 

And those were some of my favorite things to do in Brooklyn, NY!


Things to do in Sedona, AZ

The United States of America is definitely not short of having beautiful cities and sites. But most of these cities are gorgeous because of exquisite and cutting edge man made creations which give character to the city and make it instantly recognizable and unique. There are fewer cities which are naturally gorgeous. Sedona, a city nestled in the Verde Valley of Northern Arizona, is just one of those cities. Along the borders of two counties- Coconoi and Yavapai, Sedona is renowned for its beauty and rock formations. One aspect of the rock outgrowths and formations in Sedona which set them apart from the other rock formations is that they are a deep red in hue. Known as the “Red Rocks” of Sedona, these natural structures are so breathtaking that they have served as locales and background scenery for many a films in the yester years. Even now, some movies are shot exclusively in the city, like Hollywood production “Sedona” of 2012.

FYI, Sedona was named after Sedona Arabelle Miller Schnebly, the wife of the first postmaster of the city, who was immensely popular for her charity and initiatives for the citizens of the city. Alright then, now that we are done with all the fun facts regarding the city, lets check out the most awesome things to do in Sedona, AZ-

 

Things to do in Sedona, AZ

Take One of the Steepest and Most Famous Trails in the Entire State of Arizona

Cathedral Rock is one of the instantly recognizable landmarks in Sedona. A natural candidate for a city postcard, the rocky towers of red sandstone are a vision of wonder even from the furthest of distance. Cathedral Rock is accessible by a trail which is extremely popular with hikers who come to the city looking for adventure.

The Cathedral Rock trail, at Back O’ Beyond road near the Village of the Oak Creek on Route 179 North, is 0.6 miles in length and takes to a height of 600 feet above sea level. The trail is varied when it comes to difficulty levels- it begins easy, leading you to a vantage point which gives an awesome 360 degree panoramic view of the surroundings. The enveloping scarlet hued landscape will make you believe that you somehow got transported into the middle of a science fiction film based on the planet of Mars. So even if you are not an extreme trekker, the Cathedral Rock hike will offer you with excellent results nevertheless.

However, if you are indeed a high stamina hiker, how about finishing the trail, which takes on  Class 3 difficulty levels and requires you to scramble up rocks (but more challenging is the climb down while returning, which can get a little dizzying and heart stopping!).

So no matter what your hiking capability level, you would be crazy to give Cathedral Rock a miss if you happen to visit Sedona.

 

Enter a Truly Spiritual Place Built Into the Red Rock Mesas

At 780 Chapel Road stands one of the most impressive man made wonders of the 20th century- the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Completed in 1956, the Chapel, inspired by the architecture of New York City’s famous Empire State Building, was so visually breathtaking upon completion, that it was immediately given the Award of Honor by the American Institute of Architects in 1957.

The Chapel was originally meant to hold Roman Catholic masses but was always open to people from all walks of life and religious faiths, so that every individual on Earth could experience the spirituality of the site and allow the presence of God into his or her heart. The masses have been discontinued now but there is no denying the overwhelming sense of spirituality felt upon entering the marvelous chapel nestled in the red sandstone mesas. Oh, and there are no words invented in the English dictionary to describe the views one can spy through the large glass facade of the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Catch the Celestial Bodies Shoot Across the Night Sky Through a Giant Telescopic Lens

 Evening Sky Tours presents “Sedona Star Gazing”, which is providing you and your dear ones a look at the heavenly bodies in the night sky like they have never been presented before. Evening Sky Tours will give you directions to their star watching site through email and if you have a vehicle to drive yourself down to the rocks under the glittering night sky, you are pretty much set.

The guides will show you various constellations, stars, planets and nebula, with the help of a high powered laser point and with giant telescopes. You will also been given chairs and blankets so that you gaze upon the twinkling beauties in good comfort. Truly an out of this world experience! (Stupid pun intended).

Learn to Shoot the Gorgeous Landscape of Sedona With Help From a True Professional

Brent Jones is a Sedona based auteur in photography who trains both highly skilled professional photographers as well as nascent beginners to help better their ability by teaching them new technique as well brand new ways of looking at the art of capturing the lively scenery all around you. The surreal red shaded Sedona landscape serves as the perfect canvas for Jones to help budding as well as advanced shutterbugs hone their capabilities in order to get superior results.

The photography workshop is available in group as well as one on one sessions. Brent Jones also has his Fine Art Landscape photographs of Sedona’s natural beauty available for sale on his website. Well worth a visit.

 

And those were some of the most amazing nature based things to do in Sedona, AZ. Escape everyday life by immersing yourself into the red and orange colored environment.


Things to do in Oklahoma City

I have been holding out on a big one for you guys until now- Oklahoma City, also known as OKC, is the state capital of Oklahoma (not that hard to figure out, eh?), and is the 30th most populated city in the country. It is the eight largest city in America if you go by land mass (a lot of smaller counties come under the Oklahoma City jurisdiction). The city was populated within hours of its founding with more than 10,000 people during the Land Run of 1889.

As you can expect from any good Southern city, OKC is rich in livestock marketing. In fact, it is home to one of the largest livestock markets in the US. Other locally prominent markets include oil, petroleum and natural gas. OKC was only the site for the worst act of domestic terror in American history, when in April 1995, the city’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed by a militia movement sympathizer, killing a total of 168 people, including 19 children. The diverse local economy and culture of the city, and complex history reflect in the things to do in Oklahoma City. Here are some of my top recommendations-

 

Things to do in Oklahoma City

Spend a Thrilling Evening at Bricktown, OKC’s Most Swinging Joint

The Bricktown area in Oklahoma City is easily the most popular, most happening neighborhood in the entirety of the city. The main reason for this is because it is home to the Chesapeake Energy Arena, at 100 West Reno Avenue, which as the name suggests, is one of the most atmospheric arenas in the country. The biggest of biggest entertainers and media personalities, especially those who have origins in the South, hold shows, concerts, performances and public addresses at Chesapeake. Like of which include Oklahoma Sweetheart Carrie Underwood, country music superstar and former American Idol winner (who incidentally is performing there on October 25), and television evangelist Joel Osteen, in addition to games featuring Oklahoma City basketball team, the Oklahoma City Thunders.

Other cool locations at Bricktown include the Bricktown Brewery at 1 North Oklahoma, where some of the finest and most filling of beers is served, the Coca Cola Bricktown Event Center, which holds some of the funnest events (currently they are holding the Bricktown Haunted Warehouse for the Halloween season), some of the finest dining places and eateries like Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill which serves the very best chicken steak in the country, Chelino’s Mexican Restaurant and Jazmo’z Bourbon Street Cafe. There is a bowling alley, a duelling piano bar and a number of nightclubs where you could just let loose in the after hours.

Explore the Various Fascinations Showcased at “America’s Only Skeleton Museum”

Located at 10301 South Sunnylane Road, is the Museum of Osteology, is termed as “America’s Only Skeleton Museum”. This 7000 square foot museum is dedicated wholly to the entire vertebrae kingdom, displaying bones, bones, bones AND bones of all kinds! In short, Ross Geller’s personal paradise.

There are dinosaur skeletons and skulls of almost every classification of creature that ever dwelt on Earth. Follow the journey of the vertebrae as they went through the different stages of adaptation, how mobility and locomotion on limbs gradually evolved through the millenia, and how different species of the animal kingdom are classified due to their vertebral structure. Hey, if this stuff interests you then you would find the museum to be a cave of wonders, we promise!

Revel With the Wild Southern Cowboys of Yore With a Fitting Tribute to Them

For a city which was founded and heavily populated within hours during the Land Run of 1889,  one thing is for sure, it will have an immense cowboy history. After all, OKC was, once upon a time, comprised primarily of cattle ranches and cattle trails. So it should come as no surprise that it is home to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, at 1700 Northeast 63rd Street.

The museum has dedicated galleries and galleries to OKC’s popular rodeo shows, extensive Native American history, recreation of an Old West town, and homages to the various screen idols who graced the screens with Western films of the past. There are also art galleries solely dedicated to the masterworks of reputed Western artists like Remington and Bierstadt. If anything having to do with the Old West thrills and appeals to you, this place is definitely a must visit.

Pay Your Respects to Those Whose Lives Were Taken Much Too Early in One of America’s Greatest Tragedies

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, which took the lives of  168 people, shocked the entire nation to a standstill, probably because at the time this was the single worst instance of terrorism in the country, and till date remains the biggest act of domestic terror in America.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum at 620 North Harvey Avenue, pays homage to the victims of the horrible act of violence. At the museum, there is a recreation of the events before the horrible tragedy, and then you get to hear authentic and live recordings of the bombing as and when it happened, in addition to a display of artifacts recovered from the wreckage of the blasts. The museum entry is $12 per head, and even though it may on face value come across as commercialization of tragedy, keep in mind that the immerse experience created for you to relive the horror the victims went through just before and during the attacks, drives home the impact of the tragedy like nothing else.

 

And those were the best things to do in Oklahoma City. A city with a dark history but also with the immense resilience to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and get back on track better than ever.


Things to do in Hot Springs, AR

Hot Springs, the city which just misses out on the “Top 10 Most Populous Cities in Arkansas” list, (it comes in at Number 11), is iconic for its natural spring water which gives the city its name and which flows out of the ground at a steaming level of 64 degrees Celsius (or 147 degree Fahrenheit). This exquisite nature of the city makes it an incredibly popular tourist park and spa town. Constructed all around the natural hot springs are bathhouses, and a location in Hot Springs known as “Bathhouse Row” is particularly famous.

Oh, and the Hot Springs National Park is easily one of the country’s most well known parks. It is, after all, the first federal owned park in the United States, which went on to be the first park to be commemorated on an American quarter for the “America the Beautiful” series of quarters. It is for that very reason that Hot Springs is also referred to as “America’s First Resort”. Oh, and did you know that Hot Springs, Arkansas was the birthplace of dashing former President of the United States, Bill Clinton himself? There are many, many things to do in Hot Springs, AR, thanks to the unique geology and historic significance of the place. Here are my favorites-

 

Things to do in Hot Springs, AR

Unwind in Class at Some of the Fanciest Bathhouses in the Country

The famed Bathhouse Row of Hot Springs is a major tourist attraction for a number of reasons. The first one being, most of the bathhouse structures in the area boast of being from the Gilded Age Era, where architecture was flamboyant and elaborate.

The row, located in Hot Springs National Park, the first park to be owned by the U.S. federal, has been a tourist magnet even before the bathhouses were built on the spot. More than two  hundred years ago, the Native Americans and immigrant tourists would flock to the place to bath in the warm waters of the hot springs, considered to have healing properties for skin and blood related ailments in addition to women specific sicknesses and rheumatism, but lethal for tuberculosis and lung diseases.

The bathhouses in the Row, present in the Ouachita National Forest, were mostly built in the late 19th Century and are the grandest collection of bathhouses in one place. Initially, poor people were allowed to have free baths after being consulted by physicians at some of the public bathhouses. That practice dwindled in the 1950s. Now you are expected to buy wholesome bath tickets and packages which come complete with personal attendants and hot packs to apply on problem area zones of your body.

For just mere bathhouses, there was a lot of care that went into constructing them. The structures have a varied styles of architecture between them- Spanish, Italianate, Neo Classical, Renaissance Revival and complete with outdoor fountains and fancy promenades. The Row’s Fordyce Bathhouse, which now serves as the Visitor’s Center for the Hot Springs National Park, is the most stylish and expensive of all the bathhouses, has an impressive stained glass ceiling which would give the windows of some of the most richest of cathedrals a run for their money. It is no wonder the Hot Springs tourism site labels the experience of bathing in Bathhouse Row as “..Where Unwinding is an Art”.

Enter Into a Seedy World of Gambling, Bootlegging and Underhanded Dealings at the Gangster Museum

The Gangster Museum of America at 510 Central Avenue is probably the biggest memorabilia collection dedicated to the dark and grainy underworld which would operate in Hot Springs, back in the hey day of tourism and when the city was just surging in popularity thanks to being the Spa Town.

There are a number of screens in the museum on which you will be able to view short films and info clips based on the lives and dealings of the “Who’s Who?” of American mafia, like the notable Al Capone, who would visit the city for a retreat or for its hot mineral bath business, in addition to the underhand activities going on in the region including gambling, bootlegging and prostitution. At times, you may get a tour guide dressed like a gangster and who narrates the stories with great energy, and at the end of the tour, the owner may even sing to you!

Take Your Tiny Tots to Tiny Town, America’s Oldest Kid Sized Village and Railway

At 374 Whittington Avenue, north of Central Avenue, is Tiny Town, apparently America’s oldest kid sized village and train track.

However, that isn’t the ultimate selling point of the little town. Everything in Tiny Town has been constructed from recycled junk. Can you imagine that? The train, the elaborate railway network which threads in and out of the tiny neighborhoods illuminated with tiny street lamps, even the recreation of the giant white Jesus statue on a mountain (Cristo Redento) from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Your kids will give you a hard time when you try to leave this little wonderland with them.

End Your Day by Strolling Through Serene Woodlands at Twilight

As the sun hazily sets in the horizon, you may take a peaceful walk in the woodlands present at the Garvan Woodland Gardens, situated just slightly out of city limits.

The bubbling brook and waterfalls, the colorful roses, lilies and tulips, it is no surprise that this 210 acre garden on a peninsula overlooking Lake Hamilton is referred to as the “Prettiest Gardens in the state of Arkansas”.

And admission rates are pretty reasonable too- 8.75 dollars for adults, 4.50 dollars for children and 7.75 dollars for seniors.

 

My favorite things to do in Hot Springs, AR cover something for everyone of various ages and various interests, so do not say I left you out while compiling my list! Have a relaxing holiday at America’s First Resort.

 


Things to do in Destin, FL

Florida has always been one of the most popular states for vacationing and I have surprisingly noticed that the state with the maximum number of cities covered on our site happens to be the Sunshine State, proving that it may very well be the state for holidaying.

This time, we talk about the city of Destin. With its platinum white beaches and emerald green waters, the city is an ideal getaway for folks looking to escape the daily chores of mundane everyday life. The city is set on a peninsula which separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Choctawhatchee Bay, a peninsula which was once an island but but then gradually connected to the mainland after sea level changes over the years and hurricanes hitting the area with ferocity. People wanting to arrive at the sandy shores of Destin have so many options in the city for enjoyment that they are going to be befuddled. For their sake, here are my top things to do in Destin, FL suggestions-

 

Things to do in Destin, FL

Spend a Lovely Evening Out at the Luckiest Fishing Village in America

Destin refers to itself as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” and there are a number of piers, harbors and boardwalks to reflect that very important aspect of the city. One of the very important fishing villages in town is the Village of Baytowne Wharf, which claims that “everything of your heart’s desire is in walking distance”.

Sure enough, the fishing village is stuffed with exotic boutiques and specialty stores storing some high end branded products as well as souvenirs and knick knacks. The number of sea food restaurants and cafes at the place is astonishing as well. The bills at some of these eateries are exorbitant but others do not make too much of a dent in your pocket.


In the evening, the place is even more charming when everything is all lighted up and the nightlife comes alive thanks to the various night clubs in the area. There are also loads of events which are held at the Village throughout the year. You may check Baytowne Wharf’s official site for a list of scheduled events in the area.

Take Cooking Lessons at the Kitchenique Cooking School and Gourmet Pantry

The Kitchenique Cooking School and Gourmet Pantry at 36150 Emerald Coast Parkway, Sandestin, is one of the most popular cooking schools in the entire country. Most probably it takes a very novel approach to food- not only do they serve you a perfectly delicious dish, but they then teach you on how to cook it and then allow you to take the recipe for the dish home with you.

Each class at Kitchenique allows for a total student capacity of 22, and are available during the day, evening and privately. Some of the classes are even taught by touring celebrity dishes, and the gourmet dishes taught range from cajun roux peas and mashed potatoes, to Visalia onion pie and chicken with corn maque chox. Typical cuisines from neighboring Louisiana. You may also ideally sit at the kitchen breakfast bar, order a dish, watch the chef prepare it for you and then when it is ready, enjoy it till your heart’s content!

Enjoy the Pristine Platinum Sands Alongside Shark Territory

It is believed that the sand on the shores of Destin’s beaches are said to be the whitest in the world. This is because the sand has been obtained from the Appalachian Mountains, where quartz minerals, after centuries of denudation formed grainy sand along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the nearby bays. Which is why you would find the sand in most of the Destin beaches to be extremely white and crystalline in nature, almost as if they were tiny granules of sugar.

The best example of such a “sugary white beach” happens to be the Henderson Beach State Park at 17000 Emerald Coast Parkway, across a super Wal-Mart. The Beach State Park is one of the most gorgeous natural seaside regions in the entirety of the South, and preserved beautifully thanks to an initiative started by two high school students in the 1970s to save the natural environment of the area. The state park extends for miles along the waters and is habitat for a number of beach flora like dune rosemary and sand pines. Oh, and the waters are inhabited by a number of sharks, so take precaution while wading into them. But the beaches themselves are a wonder to laze around in.

Ride Aboard the Sea Blaster and Try to Sight Some Friendly Dolphins

Docked at Harborwalk Village, next to the Lucky Snapper restaurant, is the original Sea Blaster, Destin’s famous motor boatship. The Sea Blaster offers you tours of the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, guided by the able Captain Larry.

The USP of the cruises is dolphin watching, which are found by the scores in the Gulf. My favorite dolphin cruise takes place in the early evening, as the Sea Blaster rides into the setting sun and you watch the dolphins cry to each other and leap from the waves. Quite an amazing experience!

I have reached the end of my things to do in Destin, FL list but that does not mean there are not other things to do and sites to visit at the place. But the ones that I have jotted down are definitely the “must dos” at the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village!


Things to do in Lake Charles, LA

Lake Charles is the fifth largest city in the state of Louisiana and is located across three lakes- Lake Charles, Prien Lake, and Calcasieu River, earning it the nickname of “The Lake Area”. It is most famous in the business world for being a major petrochemical refining center, but Lake Charles is also popular with tourists for the number of vibrant casinos present in the city, the idyllic lake waters, state parks and golf courses, along with Mardi Gras celebrations, which, though not as grand as in New Orleans, are pretty noteworthy in their own right. Previously known as Charleston, Lake Charles has experienced its fair share of tragedy, mainly the Great Fire of 1910 which damaged a lot of the city. However, in true Louisianian spirit and resilience, Lake Charles rose from the ashes and rebuilt itself into a healthy, stable city. So here are my favorite things to do in Lake Charles, LA, this city of inspiration-

Things to do in Lake Charles, LA

Dive Into a Surreal World of Bright Colors and Feathers

Lake Charles is home to a number of spectacular museums, the biggest and most well known being the Imperial Calcasieu Museum. However, there is another famous museum known as the Historic Central School Arts and Humanities Center, located at 809 Kirby. And on the second floor of the Central School is the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, which houses the largest collection of Mardi Gras memorabilia and costumes in the southern part of the country.

The costumes are displayed in several rooms which were formerly classrooms, and the museum tributes the fun-filled, artistic spirit of Mardi Gras by showing just how much work goes into preparing a costume for the festival. There are different section like the 12th Night, Ball Night, the Walk of Fame, an interactive Mardi Gras float and one which focuses on Krewe Captains, known as the Captain’s Den. There is also loads of information about the actual Mardi Gras celebrations and the rich history behind them as well. This one you must definitely check out! Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. with three dollar entry fee per person.

Take Your Tots to the Children’s Museum and Then Try Getting Them Out of There!

We told you how Lake Charles is filled with some of the finest museums in the Gulf Coast. One particular museum which stands out from the rest happens to be the simply titled Children’s Museum at 327 Broad Street.

The Children’s Museum is mainly aimed towards the littler kids and they are bound to go crazy playing with the various exhibits on display. There are systematic and educational science activities they could indulge in, plus a number of fun stuff like rock star drum sets and what not.

They say that it would be a real miracle to pry your kids away from the museum once you take them there! Look at these kids on the left and the right having the time of their lives! Need further prove of the awesomeness of the place?

Gamble in the L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort or Enjoy Their Thriving Pool Parties at Night

The L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort at 777 Avenue L’Auberge is one of the most thriving and popular casino resorts in the South. This is the establishment which sees performances by the likes of legendary stand ups like Bill Cosby and Jay Leno, rock bands like The Beach Boys, pop heart stealers like Lionel Richie, and the South being the South, country crooners like Willie Nelson, Gretchen Wilson and Wayne Newton at its event center.

The casino is a fantasy land for gambling lovers, as the slots are believed to be loose, and the services provided by the attentive waitresses are top notch. Add to that, valet parking and you have got yourself a wonderful night out on town courting Lady Luck.

Oh, and the casino is not the only grand part of the resort. You may also stay at the luxurious hotel, with its awesome bell hop and plumber service, world class spas, peaceful 18-hole L’Auberge Contraband Bayou Golf Club public golf course, gift shops aplenty, restaurant and cafe, and a lazy river. Oh, and yes, there are swimming pools, which, during the summers, serve as excellent venues for night time bashes known simply as “Pool Parties”. The La’Auberge experience is definitely a full one!

Feed Corn to Deer and Raccoon at a Tranquil State Park

The Sam Houston Jones State Park at 107 Sutherland Road is definitely one of the most varied and atmospheric state parks in the region. Unlike most parks, Sam Houston Jones has everything- from camping grounds where you could cook age old Louisianian favorite, gumbo. to trails for trekkers, to rivers for fishing, to hosting a marathon known as the “Swamp Stomp”.

Oh, and there is an amazing deer park where you and the kids may feed corn to the mild creatures, provided you bring your own corn that is. You may also throw some corn at raccoon, which are numerous in the park.

The things to do in Lake Charles, LA, are relaxing, fun and definitely escapist as some of the places transport you to another world altogether! Easily one of the better Southern cities for tourism.


Things to do in Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head, also referred to as Hilton Head Island (HHI for short), is a resort island off the coast of South Carolina, in the Lowcountry region of the state’s Beaufort County. The place was named, no, not after Conrad or Paris Hilton, but after Captain William Hilton who named the island “Hilton’s Head” (after himself) when he discovered the headland in 1663. Now, Hilton Head Island has become an extremely popular tourist destination for its expansive sandy beaches spread along the Atlantic, and for the number of vibrant events held at the location. Seriously, the island is one of the most festive venues in the region, where celebrations of all kinds are held throughout the year. Here are my personal favorite things to do in Hilton Head, SC-

 

Things to do in Hilton Head, SC

Participate in the Traditional Gullah Festival

During the Civil War, when the Union side captured the island of Hilton Head, previously under the jurisdiction of a Confederate State, where, as we know, slavery was very much legal, the slaves were finally set free. A lot of them came to the island and set up a community known as the Gullah, referring to the language spoken by the people but also the community itself.

The Gullah, or the Geechee, were successful in preserving most of their culture and African roots and to celebrate their way of life and customs, Hilton Head holds a wonderful “Gullah Celebration” at its Shelton Cove Community Center every year in the month of February, which honors and appreciates the Gullah people in a number of ways- the “De Arts ob We People” showcases the artistry of the Lowcountry Geeche residents, the “Celebration of Lowcountry Authors and Books” highlights the literary genius of the Gullah, “Arts, Craft and Food Expo” is a tribute to the handicrafts and cuisines created by the culture, the “Ol’ Fashioned Gullah Breakfast” lets visitors have a taste of typical Gullah breakfast dishes, and the “Gullah Film Fest” screens all the movies and documentaries based on the Gullah culture. Hallelujah choirs also hold concerts singing tunes inspired by the community. So remember, spend your spring with the Gullah next year!

Listen to a Rousing Concert By the Hilton Head Choral Society

Founded in 1975, the Hilton Head Choral Society is an non-profit body which takes in folks from the community who have a passion for music and enjoy bonding with people who share similar inclinations towards music.

The Hilton Head Choral Society is one of the more renowned community choirs in the country, known for their varied musical rep. They perform everything from masterworks of the great classics, patriotic anthems, gospel tunes to lighter pop concerts. The one hundred and twenty plus chorus performs during seasons and holidays at venues like the First Presbyterian Church at William Hilton Parkway and the All Saints Episcopal Church at 3001 Meeting Street. Some of their concerts include the Musical Masterworks Concert, the Christmas Concert, Memorial Day holiday shows and the most popular of them all, their Fall Pops Concert. So swing to the energetic tunes crooned by the talented locals!

Relax at a Grand Resort Run by Disney Themselves

Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort at 22 Harbourside Lane, is one of the most luxurious places to stay during your stint at Hilton Head. The resort is located on an island of its own and has it all- from rustic villas to large and spacious studio rooms. There are creeks where you will find dolphins rising and having a gala time as if they were in a Disney movie themselves, horseshoe crabs scuttling for cover, and hunky lifeguards in white polo shirts and red shorts, on the ready to save you from any swimming or kayaking accidents.

Oh, and if you were wondering about the Disney part of it- there is a giant Mickey at the topiary in front of the total reception, and on the products served at the hotel, in addition to outdoor screening of Disney movies and events based on the studio’s iconic characters held at the resort. But overall, this peaceful place is a far cry from the other Disney themed getaways thronged by the noisiest of crowds. A welcome change.

Surf and Play Golf and Tennis During the Day and Party Through the Night at the Palmetto Dunes Plantation

The Palmetto Dunes Plantation at 7 Trent Jones Lane is another one of Hilton Head’s luxurious resorts. Listed by Forbes magazine as one of the “Top Eleven Family Resorts in the Country”, Palmetto Dunes has exquisite facilities for its guests, ranging from professional golf schools and five championship golf courses, and daily round robins for tennis lovers.

The Plantations are also located right next to the Shelter Cove Harbor, which is a hub for fishing, kayaking, swimming and nature touring. Oh, and the warm summer nights have some kind of event or the other to ensure that you have a fun time before retreating to your rooms for some of the most peaceful sleep ever!

Rejuvenate Your Soul With Yoga Classes at Dawn

 

The Jiva Yoga Center at 1032 William Parkway provides a getaway from the sand and allows you to refresh and rejuvenate your mind, soul and body in their studio. You may purchase a ten visit package during your stay at Hilton Head, and attend the classes held during the mornings at 6 a.m. or at 7: 30 a.m.

You may need to call ahead and book a place in advance, because the classes fill up fast, especially the 6 a.m. one at dawn.

With that, I am done with my list of favorite things to do in Hilton Head, SC. Resorts, beaches, festivals, and yoga. Seems like the ideal dream vacation, doesn’t it?