As a Backroads leader. I rely on books to help connect me more deeply to the social and natural histories I encounter along my hikes and bike rides, which makes each step or pedal stroke feel that much more meaningful. For anyone heading into the open skies west of the Mississippi this summer, here are five terrific reads that will enhance your travel experience.
Everybody loves a great hotel. And we all love that moment of discovery: walking into an elegant lobby or stepping into our luxurious room with a view out the window that reminds us we're somewhere special--whether it's a sweeping seascape or a snowcapped mountain peak. I've been fortunate to stay at some truly amazing hotels while leading trips for Backroads, and here are seven that stand out.
Hawaii. The paradise of the Pacific. It’s a place that stems jealousy every time you tell someone you're going. And I get to live and work here. With its tranquil beaches, tropical breezes, exotic fruits and island pace, the Big Island—the youngest of all the islands—embodies all that is Hawaii.
Set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the world's most remote island chain, Hawaii is a melting pot of different cultures from around the world. With its rich cultural heritage and diversity, you may hear myriad languages being spoken here. Learning some key phrases in Hawaiian (or Hawaiian pidgin) is a fun way to prepare for your trip to this island paradise!
When I first started working for Backroads, I remember flipping through catalogs, stunned by the photographs of the places we visit. And I remember my eyes lingering a little longer on the page for the Santa Fe & Taos Biking Tour, drawn in by the warm colors of the adobe. So when a friend encouraged me to visit her in New Mexico, I jumped at the chance to explore the Southwest.
Backroads Family Adventures are fun, stimulating trips designed to captivate the whole gang. Whether you're biking to castles or spotting wildlife from a kayak, you'll connect with your kids and do things they enjoy in an environment that positively transforms family interaction. Each itinerary balances quality time together and apart, with opportunities for everyone to take a break and recharge--something that's virtually impossible to achieve when you vacation on your own.
After more than 30 years of running trips in Hawaii, backed by a team of highly experienced Trip Leaders and an amazing network of local experts, we're just going to say it: you won't find a more thoroughly researched, carefully designed and seamlessly executed trip on the Big Island - or any of the islands.
My love affair with the national parks began when I was 9 years old. I learned at that young age that the best family memories are the ones where we shared an adventure, where we set off and explored something new and exciting together. Those are the memories of my childhood and of my parents that I still carry with me today.
At Backroads we're lucky to admire the world from a wide range of elevations. I've surveyed the Backroads Trip Leader community and reflected on my own hiking memories to pick seven of the most breathtaking hikes in the United States. Each of these trails offers that "pinch me" scenery and an unforgettable challenge. Plan one a year or one a month! But don't go without seeing these iconic vistas.
Bend lies in the shadow of the Cascade Mountain Range and sits on the edge of the Deschutes River. She's quaint. She has a huge food scene, roasts amazing coffee, brews delicious beer, hosts live music on the river every week, and offers incredible hiking, biking and fly fishing within inches of her city center.