America’s best archipelagos

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Published January 18, 2016
FoxNews.com

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George Fischer Photography

The word archipelago — which in ancient Greece meant t…

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10 under-the-radar destinations for 2016

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Published January 13, 2016
FoxNews.com

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Adventure Women

Everyone’s talking about Cuba, Brazil (host of the Summer Olympics) and Rom…

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Best US cities to escape the snow

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Everything has a limit. Even the biggest winter lovers have had enough of snow at one point. Carrying 20 pounds of layers of clothes, hats, gloves, and big boots can be discomforting. Suddenly warm-weather trips for the holidays sound very appealing as opposed to going to a ski resort.

This winter is likely going to be similar to last year’s, according to Farmers’ Almanac. So if you have bad memories from 12 months ago, pack your bags. Most of the North Central States, the Great Lakes, New England, and parts of the Ohio Valley will be snowier than usual (again).

We’ve compiled a list of cities in the U.S. – so you don’t have to spend a lot on traveling abroad – where you’re most likely to find refuge from the cold and unpleasant winter weather.

  • 1. Palm Springs, Calif.

    iStock

    This water desert resort city in California is an ideal place to escape to if you’re craving for some popular summer activities such as golf, hiking, biking, horseback riding, or swimming. With about 350 days of sunshine per year, comfortable sunny weather is almost guaranteed in Palm Springs. The resort is a paradise for adventures out in the open. You can hike through ancient palm groves and along stunning scenic trails, go to the top of Mount San Jacinto, and enjoy spectacular Native American heritage and modern architecture at the same time.

  • 2. San Juan, Puerto Rico

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    This vibrant city in Puerto Rico has a lot of Spanish colonial buildings, mostly in El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan). You can visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site there – the El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century citadel. San Juan National Historic Site includes forts, bastions, powder houses, wall and San Juan de la Cruz, defensive fortifications that once surrounded the old, colonial portion of the region. Then you can relax your brain after processing a lot of history information at any of the city’s wonderful beaches. A free water taxi can take you to Palomino Island, a place to sunbathe, hike to the top of a small mountain, and snorkel.

  • 3. Maui, Hawaii

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    The second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands has much more than beach resorts. A tourist favorite is the Haleakala National Park, which has to Maui’s highest peak at 10,023 feet above sea level. If you want an authentic experience, you can visit Hana along Maui’s rugged eastern coastline. The small town is among the last “unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers.” Among the most interesting diving experiences in Maui is around the tiny, crescent moon-shaped island of Molokini. Early morning is the best time to go.

  • 4. Tucson, Arizona

    iStock

    You can make it just in time for the 21st annual Downtown Parade of Lights. It is scheduled for December 19 at 6:30 p.m. and will last for about two hours. The event is fun, family-friendly and free (and there are prizes). When people think of Arizona, they usually imagine a desert, but it can be very diverse. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a major attraction with its fusion zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, and art gallery. If you’re interested in something more rocket science-related activities, the Kitt Peak National Observatory has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes – 24 optical and two radio telescopes representing dozens of astronomical research institutions.

  • 5. Sanibel Island, Florida

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    Golf players are going to love this place and its more than 70 scenic courses. The sub-tropical climate won’t disappoint either. The island offers plenty of water activities if you want to get off the ground for a change. Boating, kayaking and water-skiing are very popular there.

  • 6. San Diego, California

    iStock

    This major American city, right next to the border with Mexico, will brighten your mood with its warm weather and overabundance of fun activities from beach-front ice skating rinks, concerts, holiday shopping and even paddling. Go in time for the famous Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, the country’s largest balloon parade, on December 30. You can watch whales from the shores and cliffs of Point Loma as they migrate to the warm-water breeding grounds off the coast of Baja.

    Check out more of the best places to escape this frigid winter.

    More from The Active Times

    Snowshoeing, Skiing Glades and 7 Other Things You Need to Try this Winter

    Adventurous Tropical Vacations for People Who Hate Winter

    Incredible Winter Destinations You Wouldn’t Have Considered

    Beaches So Spectacular You’d Visit Them in a Sweater

 

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Healthy vacations to start the New Year right

By John Wogan

Published January 01, 2016

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Relax and refresh at this thermal bath spa in New York City. (Aire Ancient Baths New York)

Looking to get your 2016 off to a healthier star…

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The deadliest mountains in the world

Published December 30, 2015

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iStock

Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, is the most talked about mountain. However, not the most dangerous mountain to cli…

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America’s best archipelagos

America’s best archipelagos

By Katie Jackson Published January 18, 2016 FoxNews.com Facebook4851 Twitter0 livefyre15 Email Print George Fischer Photography Next The word archipelago — which in ancient Greece meant the Aegean Islands — conjures up exotic locales in far-flung places. But the U.S. has its own set of chain islands that are waiting to be explored. From the wild woods of eastern Wisconsin to the cranberry-covered isles of Maine to the bioluminescent waters of Puerto Rico, many are still predominantly undeveloped — meaning you’ll find more flora and fauna than fast food and strip malls. It’s a small price to pay for enjoying natural beauty. 1. Thousand Islands George Fischer Photography New York’s most underrated waterfront, Thousand Islands, consists of 1,864 islands spread out over Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Once inhabited by pirates and wealthy patriarchs, the islands now are frequented by vacationing families who can kayak and camp in hidden harbors or ride a ferry and rent Singer Castle — a 113-year-old, 28-room mansion built by the president of the Singer sewing machine company. Thanks to the zebra mussels that keep the water clear, Thousand Islands offers some of the world’s best freshwater diving. Fishing is also a major attraction. Professional anglers come to compete and fish for trophy-sized bass, muskie and northern pike. 2. Channel Islands The Santa Catalina Island Company Channel Islands National Park in California comprises five islands, one of which — San Miguel —is home to more than 30,000 seals and sea lions. The islands have more than 145 endemic species, and the rich, distinct marine life lends itself to unforgettable diving, snorkeling and underwater photography. Visitors can camp on the islands (the sites are primitive, with limited services) or take the ferry from Santa Barbara for a day trip. The Southern Channel Islands include the popular tourist destination of Catalina, the only island with a substantial human settlement — and a legendary herd of bison. Catalina is 1.5 hours from Newport Beach by ferry or a quick 15-minute helicopter ride from Long Beach. 3. Florida Keys Andy Newman:Florida Keys News Bureau Gephyrophobics probably shouldn’t visit the Florida Keys, because more than 40 bridges connect the 125-mile-long chain of islands. Though the Keys are part of Florida, they seem a world away. Whether they’re fishing or lazing, everyone operates on island time, and no-shoes, no-shirt is standard attire. Between the swaying palm trees and the turquoise waters, it’s hard to find a more tropical place in the Lower 48. The beaches leave much to be desired — they feature hard, crushed coral instead of soft sand — but that doesn’t bother the thousands of divers and snorkelers who come to explore the only living coral barrier reef...

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10 under-the-radar destinations for 2016

10 under-the-radar destinations for 2016

By Lyn Mettler Published January 13, 2016 FoxNews.com Facebook7988 Twitter0 livefyre25 Email Print Adventure Women Next Everyone’s talking about Cuba, Brazil (host of the Summer Olympics) and Rome (for the Pope’s Jubilee Year of Mercy), but there are plenty of places around the world that the masses haven’t discovered yet. Here’s our roundup of the best off-the-radar destinations for 2016. 1. Sri Lanka Adventure Women This tropical island in the Indian Ocean, The Sunday Times’ Destination of the Year in 2015, offers sweeping landscapes of lush green countryside, towering waterfalls and golden sand beaches. Sri Lanka has several national parks and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Temple of the Tooth, which is said to hold Buddha’s tooth. It’s also known for its tea plantations. Many tour companies are offering trips to Sri Lanka this year. “We want to get there before everyone else discovers it and it changes,” says Susan Eckert, president and founder of AdventureWomen, whose women-only getaway explores many of the island’s natural and historical sites. Audley Travel’s Rural Sri Lanka trip takes travelers further off the beaten path, while Explore Worldwide has an Active Sri Lanka adventure that includes cycling and white-water rafting. 2. Colombia smarTours Voted a top-5 emerging destination for 2016 by members of the United States Tour Operators Association, Columbia “remains off the radar for most American tourists and is one of the most pleasant and surprising travel destinations in the world,” says Greg Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours. “The country has experienced a tremendous turnaround from a turbulent past to a spectacular, up-and-coming destination, and people who go absolutely love the experience.” Highlights included the romantic walled city of Cartagena, the coffee triangle and Boyacá, with its brightly-colored colonial architecture and beautiful churches. Geronemus recommends visiting the Rosario Islands for hiking, biking, SCUBA diving and snorkeling. There are plenty of diving opportunities: Colombia is the only South American country with coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Backroads’ 7-day Colombia Walking & Hiking Tour hits many of the key spots, as does smarTours’ 11-day Discover Colombia adventure. 3. Hokkaido, Japan YTL Hotels Japan’s northernmost island, a winter wonderland that averages 59 feet of snow a year, could soon become a skier’s mecca. Hokkaido also has a growing culinary scene, featuring artisanal ramen, locally produced sake and world-class sushi. The Kiroro, Tribute Portfolio’s first hotel in Japan, opened recently with a ski school, a snow park for children and snowshoe and snow cat tours. YTL Hotels’ Niseko Village, at the foot of Mount Niseko Annupuri, is known for its elegant architecture, wooden lattice façades, sliding screens and lantern-lit walkways. 4. Arosa, Switzerland Tschuggen Grand Hotel This area in the Swiss Alps, a health resort...

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Best US cities to escape the snow

Best US cities to escape the snow

By Hristina Byrnes Published January 01, 2016 Facebook8 Twitter0 Email Print iStock Next Everything has a limit. Even the biggest winter lovers have had enough of snow at one point. Carrying 20 pounds of layers of clothes, hats, gloves, and big boots can be discomforting. Suddenly warm-weather trips for the holidays sound very appealing as opposed to going to a ski resort. This winter is likely going to be similar to last year’s, according to Farmers’ Almanac. So if you have bad memories from 12 months ago, pack your bags. Most of the North Central States, the Great Lakes, New England, and parts of the Ohio Valley will be snowier than usual (again). We’ve compiled a list of cities in the U.S. – so you don’t have to spend a lot on traveling abroad – where you’re most likely to find refuge from the cold and unpleasant winter weather. 1. Palm Springs, Calif. iStock This water desert resort city in California is an ideal place to escape to if you’re craving for some popular summer activities such as golf, hiking, biking, horseback riding, or swimming. With about 350 days of sunshine per year, comfortable sunny weather is almost guaranteed in Palm Springs. The resort is a paradise for adventures out in the open. You can hike through ancient palm groves and along stunning scenic trails, go to the top of Mount San Jacinto, and enjoy spectacular Native American heritage and modern architecture at the same time. 2. San Juan, Puerto Rico iStock This vibrant city in Puerto Rico has a lot of Spanish colonial buildings, mostly in El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan). You can visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site there – the El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century citadel. San Juan National Historic Site includes forts, bastions, powder houses, wall and San Juan de la Cruz, defensive fortifications that once surrounded the old, colonial portion of the region. Then you can relax your brain after processing a lot of history information at any of the city’s wonderful beaches. A free water taxi can take you to Palomino Island, a place to sunbathe, hike to the top of a small mountain, and snorkel. 3. Maui, Hawaii iStock The second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands has much more than beach resorts. A tourist favorite is the Haleakala National Park, which has to Maui’s highest peak at 10,023 feet above sea level. If you want an authentic experience, you can visit Hana along Maui’s rugged eastern coastline. The small town is among the last “unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers.” Among the most interesting diving experiences in Maui is around the tiny, crescent moon-shaped island of Molokini. Early morning is the best time...

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Healthy vacations to start the New Year right

Healthy vacations to start the New Year right

By John Wogan Published January 01, 2016 Facebook24 Twitter0 Email Print Relax and refresh at this thermal bath spa in New York City. (Aire Ancient Baths New York) Looking to get your 2016 off to a healthier start? Boost your energy and get prepared for the New Year with a trip to one of these fitness focused locales. An urban escape.  It’s easy to be a glutton in New York City, where there’s a bar or amazing restaurant on every corner. But you’ll also find some of the best urban health escapes in the world, such as TriBeCa’s Aire Ancient Baths, a soaring, candlelit subterranean spa that makes you forget all about the Manhattan bustle. The bath and yoga treatment package includes a 30-minute vinyasa session and dips in three pools—from cold to steaming hot—which are meant to improve circulation (212-274-3777; treatments from $75). Bootcamp for the stars. Enjoy yoga by the beach. (Amansala Resort) It may be one of the fashion crowd’s favorite vacation spots, but Tulum, Mexico (an hour-and-a-half drive south of Cancún’s airport), is also home to a tough-as-nails fitness retreat. Amansala’s Bikini Bootcamp offers a daily regimen of cardio circuit training, ab workouts, yoga, and salsa or African dance classes—all on the beach or in open-air studios next to the aquamarine sea. There are also bike rides to explore the Mayan ­ruins (bikinibootcamp.com; weeklong boot camp from $1,875 per person, all-inclusive). Check out more healthy getaway ideas. More from Conde Nast Traveler The Complete List of Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 The Best U.S. Airlines: Readers’ Choice Awards The Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities in the World The 100 Best Hotels & Resorts in the World   Originally available...

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The deadliest mountains in the world

The deadliest mountains in the world

Published December 30, 2015 Facebook35 Twitter0 Email Print iStock Next Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, is the most talked about mountain. However, not the most dangerous mountain to climb. For decades, climbers have attempted, succeeded, and failed on their missions up these dangerous mountains. They have endured severe weather conditions as well as natural occurrences the mountain may throw their way.  Below are some of the deadliest mountains on the planet. 1. Mont Blanc Massif iStock Location: Western Alps Height: 15,782 ft summit Mont Blanc Massif has the highest peak in all of Europe. People die every year due to the high altitude and rock slides, making it arguably the most dangerous mountain to climb. There have been dozens of deaths every year. The total number of fatalities is between 6,000-8,000. 2. Annapurna iStock Location: in Central Nepal Height: 26,545 ft. 183 people have attempted to climb this mountain climb this mountain, 61 climers died trying. Annapurna has the highest fatality rate in the world. According to AdventureJournal.com, “The first 8,000-meter peak to go down is also arguably the worst.” In Oct. 2014, 39 people were killed because of snowstorms and avalanches. 3. K2 iStock Location: between Pakistan and China Height: 28,251 ft. Also, called Chogori or the Savage Mountain. K2 is the second tallest mountain on the planet. First you drive to the mountain, which according to experts is extremely dangerous, then you endure a 8 day hike. After, you begin your hike up the mountain. K2 has 300 successful summits and 80 fatalities. It has never been attempted to climb during the winter. 4. Nanga Parbat iStock Location: Northern Pakistan Height: 26,657 ft. Nanga Parbat is the 9th highest mountain in the world. It is also known as the Man Eater. Yes, the title speaks for itself… This mountain is covered in rocks and ice, making it extremely dangerous for climbers. The death rate has improved to 5.5 percent mainly due to the frequent storms and hazardous avalanches. 5. Kangchenjunga iStock Location: Nepal and India border Height: 28,169 ft. Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. It has a 22 percent fatality due to the serious avalanche and weather hazards that occur on the mountain. The last part of the climb is almost vertical for more than 1,000 ft! Check out more of the world’s most dangerous mountains.  More from The Active Times Hike with a Guide: Treks Totally Worth Paying For Mountaintop Views Worth the Climb Top U.S. Mountain Towns for Relaxation This Winter The Most Dangerous SCUBA Dives in the World Originally available...

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14-year-old hunter survives night in 4-degree weather after becoming separated from friend

14-year-old hunter survives night in 4-degree weather after becoming separated from friend

Published December 27, 2015 FoxNews.com Facebook1212 Twitter0 livefyre140 Email Print A 14-year-old boy who became separated from a friend on a northern Utah hunting trip was found safe Sunday after spending the night in 4-degree weather. The boy was taken to the hospital after he called 911 from a landline just before 6 a.m. Sunday at the Anteploe Island Causeway in Syracuse, Fox 13 in Salt Lake City reports. “The juvenile had somehow made his way to that location and was calling for help,” the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said in a new release. “It was reported he appeared confused and was somewhat delusional.” His condition is unknown at this time, the station reported. The boy and his friend had gone hunting in the marshes of Ogden Bay in Hooper around 2 a.m. Saturday. Around 9 p.m. Saturday the friend notified authorities that they had become separated. As searchers arrived on the scene the missing boy called 911 a couple of times on his cellphone but it appeared he was disoriented, the sheriff’s office said. Several agencies responded to assist in the search for the boy, Fox 13 reported. Click here for more from Fox 13. Originally available...

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Tourist stabbed to death in psychedelic Amazon jungle ceremony

Tourist stabbed to death in psychedelic Amazon jungle ceremony

Published December 18, 2015 SkyNews Facebook1073 Twitter0 Email Print A British man has been stabbed to death during a hallucinogenic ceremony in the Peruvian Amazon. A Canadian man is in custody after killing the Briton, Unais Gomes, 26, in apparent self-defense on Wednesday night. Witnesses said Gomes attacked the Canadian, 29-year-old Joshua Andrew Freeman Stevens, with a knife after suffering a bad trip. The pair had been drinking a hallucinogenic plant brew known as ayahuasca at a spiritual retreat near the jungle city of Iquitos. Ayahuasca, which is a combination of an Amazonian vine and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), gives users a psychedelic experience although it is not normally associated with violence. “It might be folkloric, spiritual or whatever else, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a drug that dramatically alters your state of mind,” police chief Normando Marques said. A local police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Gomes is believed to have used a knife from the kitchen of a nearby alternative health center to attack Stevens. Stevens allegedly used the same knife to kill Gomes, stabbing him in the chest and stomach, the source said. Ayahuasca, also known as yage, is used by Amazonian tribes in Peru and Brazil as a spiritual or medicinal tool. Dozens of jungle retreats offer the brew to tourists. In 2012 an American teen died after drinking ayahuasca during a ritual in the Madre de Dios jungle region of Peru. A shaman later admitted trying to cover up the death by burying him in the grounds of the retreat. Click for more from Sky News.   Originally available...

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