"Wow, these tomatoes actually taste like something." The vibrant produce grown in gardens mere steps from where we dine during our Backroads trips through Croatia often garners this reaction. Leaders often jokingly respond, "Because it's grown with love," but, in all seriousness, that's the simple truth. After leading Backroads trips here for the past two years, I've been lucky enough to dine on some of the most delicious, fresh and original meals in all of Croatia, in some of the most undiscovered places. More than just great meals in the homes of our local hosts, these are experiences that offer a window to the genuine culture, passions and real day-to-day world of the people who call this place home.
The sights and sounds of waterfalls have always captivated me. Whether it's due to the security my brain feels near a clean freshwater source or the aesthetic beauty of the surrounding ecosystem, I just feel so invigorated. I've chased waterfalls from Western Canada to South America to Asia and have marveled at them all. But there's a place, right in the heart of the Western United States, that might be the best kept secret of all the cascading sheets of water. It's called "Waterfall Alley" and it's nestled in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.
It might seem ironic to highlight the benefits of disconnecting from technology via an online blog, but I'm not here to say technology is bad. On the contrary, smart devices help us connect with others, allow for new learning, and can provide deeper insights into topics as diverse as politics and science. But when do the scales tip in the other direction? At what point does constant connectivity begin to do more harm than good?
Nothing beats traveling with your family - experiencing new things through the fresh eyes of your kids, while instilling in them a sense of adventure and new perspectives. Europe is full of ideal family trip destinations that are close enough to be accessible, yet far enough away to be new and exciting.
It has all the makings of a fairy tale. Storybook castles. Towers, flying buttresses and flawless gardens. Fertile fields, graceful rivers and idyllic biking routes. Exquisite treats at patisseries and gourmet meals. The Loire Valley—a family getaway that ends with "happily ever after."
Croatia's Dalmatian Coast is one of the premiere family adventure destinations in Europe.
Northern Italy's Dolomite Mountains are one of Europe's great alpine playgrounds. When we were lucky enough to have world-travelers Roamaroo join us on our Dolomites Multi-Adventure Tour, we challenged them to create a video that captures the excitement, beauty, luxury and adventure of this amazing corner of the Alps.
Here are our top picks for some of the best family adventures this summer!
Active travel is immersive. It's tangible. It awakens every one of your senses. You're not on a tour bus with a window between you and what's around you. As Backroads founder Tom Hale puts it, "On foot or on a bike, you can really get a visceral sense of place. Without any filters, you're free to truly be where you are." In my experience, it doesn't matter if where you are is sitting at a roadside café sipping a perfect Italian espresso or hopping in the Backroads shuttle so you can freshen up before taking a tour of an Oregon brewery. The beauty of the Backroads approach to active travel is that you'll always have the freedom and flexibility to create your perfect adventure, with all the details and logistics planned to perfection by Backroads so that you can stay focused on what matters--the memories you're creating.
When my kids were small, I poured over Backroads catalogs while they slept. I dreamed of exotic vacations where I’d bike through amazing scenery and eat better food than the boxed macaroni and cheese my children liked. But those were just pleasant daydreams.