Instagram Guide to Hawaii


We’re just going to say it: Hawaii is the most beautiful state in the entire U.S.

Made up entirely of islands in the Pacific Ocean, it provokes daydreams of Mai Tais enjoyed under palm trees as the sunset turns the sky pink and orange, and exploration of natural landscapes so unique they may as well exist on another planet.

Before you pack your floral patterned shirts and sunscreen, check out the top Instagrammable spots in Hawaii, from surfer-friendly breaks to verdant rainforest to stark black-sand beaches.

Let the fantasizing begin.

The North Shore on Oahu


While Honolulu and its vibrant Waikiki Beach get most of the attention on Oahu, the island’s North Shore is equally inviting. Specifically, this is the place to go if you want to watch the best surfers in the world ride waves that average an astonishing 16 feet in height.

Oh, and the sunsets are pretty amazing too.

Kakaako District on Oahu


This district hosts an incredible arts festival every spring with a name you can’t forget: “Pow! Wow!” The event brings in artists from all over the world, who turn blocks of the urban area into splashy murals that stay up for a year.

Hanalei Valley Lookout on Kauai


Stop along the road at the Hanalei Valley Lookout to see the bright green valley floor, taro fields and, if you’re lucky, a rainbow or two looming above. For good measure, you’ll also see the Namolokama mountain standing watch in the background.

Chain of Craters Road on the Big Island


The Chain of Craters Road is part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a must-visit on the Big Island that is truly unlike any other national park. The 19-mile long paved road offers coastal views and examples of where lava has flowed over the roadway across the years.

Makena Beach on Maui


Maui has what feels like countless beaches to check out, but Makena Beach, aka Big Beach, is the favorite of many locals and tourists. This mile-long stretch of sand met by blue-green water is quintessential Hawaii, in the best possible way.

Go early in the morning if you want to enjoy a sun-kissed swim before the wind picks up.

Onomea Bay/Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens on the Big Island


With its waterfalls, black-rock beach, palm-tree-shaded hiking trails and expansive views of the Pacific, Onomea Bay fulfills every expectation you have for a scenic Hawaii destination.

The bay, located on the Hamakua Coast, also features the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, with over 2,000 types of flora. Zoom in for a shot of a brightly colored flower that typifies the Hawaiian landscape.

The Cliffs of Molokai


Molokai is a small, remote Hawaiian island that offers spectacular views of sheer cliffs dropping into the ocean. The natural features were left behind when the island’s two volcanic ranges, East Molokai and West Molokai, collapsed.

Hookipa Beach on Maui


Watch the sunset as monk seals nap at Hookipa Beach. Just make sure to keep your distance, as the species is endangered.

Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu


In addition to housing stunning pieces of art, the Honolulu Museum of Art is Instagram-worthy itself. Intricate tile work, gardens and sculptures are just a few of the property’s standout features.

Lahaina Banyan Tree on Maui


One of the most charming towns on Maui, if not all of Hawaii, Lahaina features restaurants located directly on sandy shores and historical attractions like a small former prison from the 1850s. But what revelers love most is its banyan tree.

Planted in 1873, the tree looms large over town, and makes for a dramatic backdrop in Insta shots.

Kalaupapa National Historical Park on Molokai


On the oft-overlooked island of Molokai, you’ll find this off-the-beaten-path historical park, where you can take a guided tour, camp or ride a mule down 2,000-foot sea cliffs.

Spouting Horn on Kauai


Spouting Horn Beach Park is one of the most visited spots in all of Kaui. When waves crash into the lava tube, water is sent as high as 50 feet into the air, a truly astonishing natural feat.

Akaka Falls on the Big Island


Take a short hike on the northeastern Hilo Coast to see Akaka Falls dropping 442 feet into a deep gorge. On the trek through the rainforested state park it’s named after, you’ll also see Kahuna Falls — at 100 feet, not quite as impressive as Akaka, but still striking — alongside bamboo, orchids and ferns.

Waikiki Beach on Oahu


While people often complain that Waikiki Beach is too crowded, you can beat the masses by visiting in the early morning. Plus, this beach on the south shore of Honolulu is beloved for a reason: It’s gorgeous.

Napali Coast on Kauai


You’ve likely seen photos of the Napali Coast all over Instagram. But what you might not know is that one of the best ways to see this state park is via helicopter. Gaze upon sea cliffs, streams, waterfalls and beaches from the sky, enjoying a new perspective on one of the most photographed places on Earth.

Waipio Valley on the Big Island


You might recognize the Waipio Valley from the ending of the cult-classic movie “Waterworld.” The abundant valley is home to epic waterfalls and captivating black-sand beaches. And rainbows are also, but of course, a common occurrence.

Kualoa Ranch Jurassic Valley on Oahu


The Kualoa Ranch Jurassic Valley has everything you could want for an adventurous day out, from ziplines to horseback riding to rough-and-tumble ATV tours. You’ll recognize the Ka’a’awa Valley on the ranch from its role in “Jurassic Park,” “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0.”

Diamond Head on Oahu


For views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu, head to Diamond Head State Monument. The park is one of Hawaii’s most popular and picturesque spots. It is equally stunning from afar, as shown in the photo above from the Queen Kapiolani Hotel, where Diamond Head meets Waikiki.

Anini Beach on Kauai


If you find yourself on Kauai, make sure to check out Anini Beach on the north shore. From here, you can see one of Hawaii’s largest coral reefs, protected by unusually calm waters.

The island is also famous for its windsurfing, should you be in the mood for a more thrilling experience.

Pipiwai Trail on Maui


Waterfalls and cliff-side views of the ocean wow, but the real star of this trail is its bamboo forest, featuring stalks that tower over tourists who wander through.

Waikolu Valley Lookout on Molokai


Check out the deep ravine in Molokai’s rainforest at the Waikolu Valley Lookout. On a clear day, you’ll see the ocean in the distance. After a rainstorm, you’ll see waterfalls.

Wailea Beach on Maui


Don’t be shocked if you see a celebrity on this wide beach flanked by several high-end resorts. From the sand, you can sometimes see the smaller islands of Kaho’olawe, Molokini and Lanai. During the winter you might spot whales from the shoreline.

Lanai City on Lanai


Lanai City used to be the center of the pineapple industry, at one point producing 75% of the fruit consumed worldwide. Nowadays, you’ll find shops, restaurants, galleries, cultural centers and local businesses in the bustling city.

Go here to connect with locals in a part of Hawaii not yet overrun by tourists.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences on Oahu


Influencers and more casual Instagrammers alike make their way to this uber-posh property for pics of its adult-only infinity pool, perched above the sea.

Keahiakawelo on Lanai


Pass by boulders, spires and rock towers at this rock garden that also touts sweeping ocean views. Go at sunset to see the rocks painted in vivid shades of orange, red and purple.

They don’t call this “Garden of the Gods” for nothing.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oahu


Enjoy sandy beaches surrounded by verdant green cliffs at this picture-perfect nature reserve. Rumor has it that Hawaiin royalty loved using the bay for fishing and relaxing in the 1800s.

Time to pack your bags ?





Top 10 Most Haunted Places

Just in time for Halloween, Whether you’re a believer or not, America’s towns are filled with spooky stories passed down through time. From haunted fortresses to grisly tales of suffering and death, here’s a list of some of the spookiest spots in the US.

Moundsville Penitentiary


During its more than 100 years in operation, the Moundsville Penitentiary in West Virginia was one of America’s most violent correctional facilities and the final stop for almost 1,000 criminals. The prisoners lived in cramped quarters, which led to riots. Many men were hanged or killed in the electric chair, while others were murdered by other prisoners. The prison closed in 1995, but according to some, the tortured spirits are still behind bars and in the bowels of the prison and may be seen or heard on a tour.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Once known as the Weston State Hospital, this asylum was home to thousands of people with mental illness, starting in 1864. Hundreds of people died here before the facility closed in 1994. The spirits that are said to haunt the site today date back to the Civil War era, when the asylum’s grounds served as a military post. Paranormal tours of the facility feature 2-hour visits to the asylum’s 4 main hot spots. The more intense Ghost Hunt is an 8-hour, overnight paranormal adventure with experienced ghost-hunting guides.

Villisca Axe Murder House
On June 10, 1912, the old white frame house at 508 E Second St became a grisly crime scene. The heinous murder of Josiah B. Moore, his wife, their 4 children and 2 young girls who were overnight guests rocked the small town of Villisca, IA, and the murderer was never identified. Over the years, residents of the home reported visions of a man with an ax, children crying and unexplained paranormal activity. In 1994, the home was restored to its original condition with no indoor plumbing or electricity. These touches add to the chilling ambience during a lamplight tour from April through November or an overnight experience available by reservation for groups.

Sammie Dean

Jerome, AZ, is a former copper-mining town with a paranormal reputation that dates back to the Wild West. The town is now home to just 400 residents (down from 15,000 in its heyday), but legend has it there are plenty more ghostly residents from the days of mining accidents and gunfights. One well-known spirit is the working girl Sammie Dean, a prostitute who was strangled by a customer in the old Crib District. Her beautiful spirit roams the alleys looking for her killer, who was never found.

Cuban Club

Cuban Club, also known as Circulo Cubano de Tampa, can be found in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood. In 1917, this spot was a popular hangout for Cuban immigrants who enjoyed the ballroom, outdoor band shell and cantina with a stage and dance floor. Today, the compound, which is protected by the National Historic Register, hosts concerts and special events and is the setting for many ghost stories about spirits playing the piano and riding the elevators.

Fort Mifflin


Built in 1771, Fort Mifflin is the country’s only Revolutionary War battlefield that is still intact. There are 14 restored buildings on the grounds on the Delaware River and reportedly plenty of spirits from the past. Among the ghosts said to haunt the fort is a screaming woman whose cries are so loud that the Philadelphia police have been called to investigate, only to find no one there. Other characters in the local ghost stories include a faceless man wandering around the fort, a tour guide dressed in revolutionary garb and numerous children and dogs.

Moon River Brewery
The Moon River Brewery brought its beloved beers to Savannah in 1999, but the building is one of the oldest in town, dating back to 1821. In its original incarnation, it was the City Hotel, a high-end hotel with a history of violence during the Civil War. Men were killed in the hotel during heated skirmishes, including a Yankee who was beaten to death by locals in 1860. Some bar patrons today say they’ve seen bottles mysteriously fly through the air and have witnessed guests being pushed, touched and even slapped by unseen forces. One resident apparition, Toby, is said to skulk around the billiards room looking for the next great bar brawl.

The Sultan’s Palace
The house at 716 Dauphine St is a classic French Quarter beauty with classic wrought-iron balconies and a large courtyard. But in the 1800s, this residence was a house of horrors for the Sultan, a wealthy man with a depraved lifestyle, multiple wives and children, and a harem of women and young boys held against their will. Neighbors complained about the mysterious habits of this man who had a predilection for partying, opium and torture. But the greatest mystery in the house was the Sultan’s demise, when he was buried alive in the courtyard after his family and harem were hacked to pieces in a bloodbath by an unknown perpetrator. Today, his angry spirit is thought to be responsible for the unusual noises, loud music and strong incense smells that waft from the home, as well as unwelcome advances on past female residents who swear the Sultan is still up to his old tricks of groping female visitors.

Calcasieu Courthouse

Toni Jo Henry has been the talk of the small town of Lake Charles since the 1940s, when she killed a man in cold blood. Just as notorious were her stunning good looks. The former prostitute charmed a gentleman in a pickup truck to give her a ride while she was walking the highway with a friend en route to spring her true love from a Texas prison. It took 3 trials for a jury to convict the wily Toni Jo, who had charmed the courtroom and jail staff and divided the town over her presumed guilt. In 1942, this murderous beauty known as Tiger Girl was the first woman in the state to die in the electric chair. Her spirit lingers in the courthouse today, and workers there swear they feel her presence, hear her screams and even smell her burning hair. Many believe that she tinkers with office equipment, locks doors and meddles with everyday office life at the courthouse.


A few places to visit if your nerves and heart can stand it !

Top 10 European Countries

OK, so someone had more time on their hands than usual and spent that time on making a top ten list of the best Euro countries.  Not France, Not Vatican City, not Switzerland.  So what countries did make the top ten list ?

10. Germany

There are many things that make Germany great, from its boots of beer to its divine cuisine (Pretzels! Spätzle! So many sausages!) to its distinctive mix of fraught history and progressive present.

But all that pales in comparison to its really big words.

We’re big fans of Germany mostly because of its language and the many awesome singular words that describe something more complex. Everyone knows schadenfreude and wanderlust, but how about kummerspeck and backpfeifengesicht? Respectively, they mean the weight gained from emotional stress and the need to slap someone in the face who definitely has it coming.

The German language is the best language, basically.

9. Hungary

You definitely need an appetite when you travel in Hungary, as it easily has the most underrated food scene in all of Europe. It might not be as refined as French food or as creative as Spanish cuisine, but it checks off all the boxes when it comes to simple and flavorful, starting with perfectly satisfying cheeses and breads.

Add to that a wine industry that’s also massively overlooked and enough urban-rural interplay to satisfy everyone, and we’ll pretend those centuries of autocracy were just a phase.

8. Italy

Italy has its quirks — half a million exorcisms take place there annually, wine flows freely from fountains in town squares and locals drink an unseemly amount of caffeine every day.

Then again, it has the best wine and food in the world and some of the oldest, most interesting cities you’ll ever see, from arts-hub Florence to history-mecca Rome to fashion-forward Milan.

So really, it doesn’t matter how weird Italy can be. We’ll still never want to leave.

7. Sweden

They put blonde hair dye in the water here and only eat cured fish, so how could it rank so high?

Because of its global contributions to those little things called prosperity, equality, science and technology, and health, that’s why.

Locals know how to treat strangers well, they actually give parents time off to raise their kids, and if the economy isn’t humming along, the government will pay you to leave your job and relax for a while.

Actually, forget visiting Sweden. Can we move here instead?

6. Netherlands

You must be doing something right when your country is known for its wooden shoes, mild cheeses, legal cannabis and insanely large flower industry. Bikes rule over cars. Dutch people are direct, tolerant and generally friendly. The cities are organized and clean, and the standard of living is as high as the tourists in Amsterdam’s red-light district.

What’s not to love?

5. Poland

We’re eagerly anticipating the reactions to this one. Yes, Poland is the fifth best country in Europe. Why?

First of all, Poland is likely responsible for the bagel — a food so perfect that God must be Polish. It also has natural beauty, incredible cities, interesting food and tons of history, good and bad. Plus it’s much more affordable to travel there than, say, all of Western Europe.

And it’s on no one’s radar. Shine on, Poland.

4. Spain

The siesta is real and you best not mess with it. In Spain, don’t expect to find a morning bun and coffee unless the morning starts at 1 p.m. What you will find is some of the best cuisine in the world, wines that are too delicious and affordable to be real, and a populace that just wants to party, sleep, party and sleep some more.

There are pretty beaches and fascinating cities, and a ham that takes three years to make from a pig breed that only exists here. Yes, please.

3. Greece

Where would Western Civilization be without Greece? The sentinel of the Mediterranean gave us democracy, the Olympics, sunny days, the Greek Salad, the oldest written language still around and, according to Hollywood, big fat weddings.

Aside from all those statues with the blank eyeballs, this place is magical.

2. Portugal

Portugal has everything people love about Western Europe — food, drink, scenery, sunny beaches, history, memorable cities — in a smaller, cheaper and more accessible package. You’ll never find the tourist crowds of France, Spain and Italy, and none of the smug locals either.

It’s also the third-most-peaceful country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. And none of its neighbors are remotely close.

Still, there’s one European country that bests even it…

1. Denmark

When it comes to the essentials in life, no one does it better than the Danes. They might not have the museums of France, the cuisine of Italy, the beaches of Spain and Portugal, or the wine of Croatia, but the overall quality of life in this Scandinavian country is tops in the world.

It starts with incredible and affordable health care, housing and transit. But there’s so much more. Jobs are plentiful, education is accessible, pollution and crime barely exist, and people spend very little time feeling sad and depressed about the future.

Danes even have a word called “janteloven” that basically means, we’re all equal and important and deserve each other’s respect. This makes it an awesome place to live in, an awesome place for all to visit, and the best country in Europe.

And that’s just a fact.


Here is the publication that is responsible for this article.  What say you ?  True or not so true ?  Oh, the article actually lists 40 countries, 30 of which rank from fair to forget-about-it.  Go, read it for yourselves.


How to spend 5 incredible days in Tenerife

By Marta

How to spend 5 incredible days in Tenerife - Where life is great #tenerife

Where is Tenerife?

Tenerife is the biggest of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa and about a 5 hour flight from Manchester.

What to do in Tenerife: 5 days itinerary

Day 1: Visit Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz is a city that overlooks the ocean, surrounded by banana trees, irrigated land, and vineyards, watched over by the great volcano: Mount Teide. Even though Puerto de la Cruz is one of the most popular cities in Tenerife among tourists, it remains Canarian in character, with plenty of Spanish bars and restaurants around the area.

Main sights of Puerto de la Cruz are the old harbor which local women used as a fish market, the promenade and the Lago Martiánez complex of swimming pools designed by the Canary Islands architect César Manrique.

My favorite activity was spotting street art around the city – I felt like in a giant open-air urban museum.

Havana na na na… Oh, wait! It’s Tenerife!

Day 2: Anaga Rural Park, Santa Cruz, La Laguna and Playa Las Teresitas

Anaga is a Biosphere Reserve protected by UNESCO located just a few minutes drive from Santa Cruz. It is home to over 800 endangered species of flora and fauna (for comparison whole Germany has only about 5). There are multiple hiking trails to follow for all levels. Some of them will lead you to its charming black sand beaches.

Important, you need proper hiking shoes for Anaga Rural Park.

Chinamada & Taganana

Truly interesting places to visit in Anaga national park are Chinamada (little village with cave houses) and Taganana, also called the village at the end of the world. That’s where you will be able to fill the real rural life of Canary Islands.

Lost in the village at the end of the World
Kids, don’t try this at home!

Once there, I recommend to take a stroll on its black sand beach and make room in your itinerary for lunch at Casa Africa.

Playa Las Teresitas

Next on my 5-day itinerary in Tenerife with Jet2holidays was visiting the most stunning beach of the island: Playa Las Teresitas. The Teresitas golden beach sand was directly imported from Sahara. All in all, 272800 tons of African desert sand was placed in Playa Las Teresitas. The ocean there is calm thanks to wave breakers which makes it a great beach destination for people scared of waves (umm who can relate?) 😉

Day 3: Casa del Vino & Teide National Park

The volcanic archipelago of the Canary Islands has been one of the most extreme winemaking regions in Spain. I love to try wines from different regions to feel how the natural environment affects its unique flavor. During my 5 day trip to Tenerife, I visited Casa del Vino where I learned about the tradition of winemaking and winery Monje where I was able to pair a variety of wines with traditional Canarian cuisine. My favorite wines from Tenerife are white and fruity from the north part of the island. Also, make sure to try its unique banana wine (made of banana instead of grapes!).

Teide National Park

Teide National Park was definitely the most exciting part of our trip. Not every day, you get to the top of a dormant volcano which by the way is also the highest peak of Spain (12198 ft above sea level). There are more than 300 volcanoes on Tenerife alone, so you can imagine my excitement to see the biggest and most powerful one from up close. Teide National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 and it is the most visited national park in Europe (welcoming 3 million visitors a year!). It is also home to the second most important astronomical observatory after Hawaii.

We stayed until late at night at Teide National Park to watch the sunset and the night sky. Unfortunately for us, the sky was a bit cloudy and it was a full moon so we were not able to see as much as we wanted to see but still were able to learn a lot about astronomy.

Day 4: Icod de los Vinos & La Masca

Icod de los Vinos is home to an ancient Drago tree, the natural symbol of the island of Tenerife. A visit to this tree is a must, as it is one of the top postcard views. In the surrounding area, there are also the World’s largest volcanic tubes.

Day 5: Charco de Isla Cangrejo & Los Gigantes

If there is one thing I love about volcanic islands, it’s the natural pools. The natural pools are enclosed spaces into which, due to their natural formation, the sea water seeps without any human intervention apart from adding steps, walkways and diving points. As you already know, I am not really a fan of waves but I still love to enjoy the ocean. That is why on the last day of my 5-day trip I decided to search for natural pools.

My first stop was Charco de La Laja. Unfortunately, the sea was very rough on that day and I was not brave enough to swim.

The situation has changed, once I arrived at the south part of the island. Charco de Isla Cangrejo looked very inviting to swim.

The last stop on my 5-day itinerary was Giants Beach. Los Gigantes is one of the most attractive natural wonders on Tenerife. The town is protected by impressive rock cliffs (called Giants) up to 800 meters high and which drop down to the sea almost vertically. A very impressive sight.

A great place For Lovers !


You can check out more about Tenerife accommodations and food at Marta’s web site

Disneyland rides you really shouldn’t skip

By Scott Craven, Arizona Republic

There comes a time in every adult’s visit to Disneyland that you’re so tired of the lines that you’re happy to ride anything, even the kiddie attractions that offer little in the way of excitement or legroom.

That’s exactly how Melissa and I felt on a recent trip as we bobbed in a sea of people in the middle of Fantasyland, writes Scott Craven for The Arizona Republic, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.

A check of the Disneyland app showed lines in the 50- to 90-minute range for the coolest attractions: Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn and the like.

We were hot, it was a fairly crowded Saturday, and we had neither the Fastpass nor the patience needed for an E-ticket ride. The dilemma offered this chilling challenge, to find a way out of yet another long wait.

a vase of flowers on a table: Taking a spin on the Mad Tea Party at Disneyland.© Scott Craven/The Republic Taking a spin on the Mad Tea Party at Disneyland.

Of course, there was Melissa’s way.

“What if we went on everything with a short line?” she said. “Try to go on as many things as we can regardless if we think they’ll be very fun.”

Quantity over quality? The approach was as anti-Disney as it was brilliant.

We set the parameters: We’d ride any attraction that had a 15-minute wait or less. We’d look for the hidden charms in each, rather than side with the masses who were skipping these rides.

With that, we noted the time – 2:19 p.m. – and began our journey through Disney’s tamer side.

Snow White’s Scary Adventures

a large stone building with a clock at the top of it: Snow White's Scary Adventures really are scary, at least for those willing to disembark from their strollers to take a ride.© Scott Craven/The Republic Snow White’s Scary Adventures really are scary, at least for those willing to disembark from their strollers to take a ride.

Posted wait: 10 minutes.

The experience: Board a mine car that encounters a witch who insists you take a bite of this ripe, juicy and no-cost-to-you apple. Now maybe if it had been a churro …

Hidden charm: This dark ride still has the power to frighten small children. The charm isn’t the frightened children, but the fact that you can find a bit of creepiness at Disneyland.

Total time spent: 13 minutes.

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

Riders enter the world of a string-free marionette in Pinocchio's Daring Journey in Disneyland.© Scott Craven/The Republic Riders enter the world of a string-free marionette in Pinocchio’s Daring Journey in Disneyland.

Posted wait: 5 minutes.

The experience: You follow the marionette as he makes a series of blockheaded decisions as he’s pestered by nosy insect. The ending appears to be happy until you realize the puppet-turned-boy will have to one day get a job and move out of the house.

Hidden charm: The ride offers two irresistible benefits: A consistently short line and air-conditioning. The quaint backdrops, boasting fluorescent paint, take you back to the park’s roots when blacklight was cutting-edge amusement technology. Comforting to see some things don’t (and shouldn’t) change.

Total time spent: 12 minutes.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

a group of teddy bears standing next to a window: Mr. Toad greets guests at Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland.© Scott Craven/The Republic Mr. Toad greets guests at Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland.

Posted wait: 15 minutes.

The experience: You are Mr. Toad, an amphibian who clearly does not have a firm grasp of driving skills as he piles up numerous moving violations.

Hidden charms: As I child, I marveled at how the car was unscathed in its collision with a train in a dark tunnel. I still enjoy that effect of the car rumbling over tracks as the light at the end of the tunnel hurtles toward you. And how can you not enjoy the demonic ending where children may scream without repercussion, “We’re in hell!”

Total time spent: 21 minutes.

It’s a Small World

a person sitting on a stage: A slow boat through It's a Small World at Disneyland.© Scott Craven/The Republic A slow boat through It’s a Small World at Disneyland.

Posted wait: 15 minutes.

The experience: Drift through a hellish, post-apocalyptic nightmare of dolls come to life, dancing and singing in hopes of freeing themselves from their restraints. At least that’s how I see it.

Hidden charms: Riders have 15 minutes to check texts, catch up on email or play Fortnight. Napping, however, is made impossible due to low-backed seats designed for toddlers.

Total time spent: An eternity (28 minutes).

Casey Jr. Circus Train

The Casey Jr. Circus Train heads over the trestle at Disneyland.© Scott Craven/The Republic The Casey Jr. Circus Train heads over the trestle at Disneyland.

Posted wait: 10 minutes.

The experience: Jump on a circus train with the kind of legroom that makes coach on a low-fare airline seem luxurious.

Hidden charms: While in line, we met a 30-something gentleman who was excited to ride Casey Jr. for the first time since he was a child, recalling the attraction as his favorite. Then we watched a half-dozen youngsters rush to be one of the “animals” in the cages. Turns out the train’s charms aren’t so hidden.

Total time spent: 17 minutes.

Storybook Land Canal Boats

a group of people riding on the back of a boat: The Storybook Land Canal Boats float serenely through a miniature landscape.© Scott Craven/The Republic The Storybook Land Canal Boats float serenely through a miniature landscape.

Posted wait: 5 minutes.

The experience: Take a short cruise in a small boat through a land of miniatures that includes castles, palaces and homes of Disney characters.

Hidden charms: Walt Disney was fascinated with miniatures, and once planned a traveling exhibit of detailed models (eventually shelved for larger projects). The minutia is impressive, down to the tiny trees in a London park that represents Peter Pan. It makes landscaping an art.

Total time spent: 18 minutes.

King Arthur Carousel

a group of people standing in front of a carousel: There is plenty of history that goes along with King Arthur's Carrousel at Disneyland.© Scott Craven/The Republic There is plenty of history that goes along with King Arthur’s Carrousel at Disneyland.

Posted wait: 5 minutes.

Experience: Hop on a steed for a slow trot in circles.

Hidden charms: Know that you’re gently galloping into history. The carousel dates to 1922, and a similar ride in LA’s Griffith Park inspired Disney to create Disneyland. As he watched his merry daughters go round, he yearned for a place that parents and children could both enjoy. He probably didn’t envision the lines.

Total time spent: 10 minutes.

Mad Tea Party

a vase of flowers on a table: Taking a spin on the Mad Tea Party at Disneyland.© Scott Craven/The Republic Taking a spin on the Mad Tea Party at Disneyland.

Posted wait: 5 minutes.

The experience: Step into life-size teacups that spin and twirl in ways that may cause motion sickness.

Hidden charms: At some point, every child capable of spinning the teacup does so in an effort to make mom or dad or both react in ways that require cleanup crews. What they don’t realize is what goes around, comes around.

Total time spent: 13 minutes.

Summing up

We did eight rides in two hours, 12 minutes, with roughly 11 minutes of travel time between each attraction. Ending time: 2:42 p.m.

The experience: Highly recommended.

Hidden charms: Just as we were about to get in line for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the wait jumped to 20 minutes, so the pachyderm landed outside our predetermined parameters. Thank goodness.

The Caribbean Bucket List | 5 Must Do Activities

The Caribbean is full of outstanding beauty and offers once in a lifetime experiences to be remembered. Here’s our list of amazing spots in the Caribbean that you should add to your bucket list.

The Ultimate Caribbean Bucket List | 5 Must Do Activities & Experiences

Frolic with flamingos on Aruba

Aruba’s private Renaissance Island is home to a flock of flamingoes which spend their days strolling along the beach and wading through the balmy Caribbean waters. The beach is primarily open to resort residents, however, a day pass can be purchased on the day for $99.00, which includes lunch, 1 drink, and a water float. It doesn’t get more Insta-pretty than this! Make sure you bring your camera, as you’ll want to remember the day you frolicked with flamingoes and got up close with these amazing birds!

For further information call Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino on 1-800-421-8188.

The Ultimate Caribbean Bucket List | 5 Must Do Activities & Experiences

Take a trip to Stingray City

A must-visit attraction on Grand Cayman, Stingray City is a series of shallow sandbars which are home to about fifty stingrays. Weighing in the region of 150 lbs. and approximately five feet in width, visitors can swim and interact with the stingrays. Charter boats depart daily to Stingray City from several piers along Seven Mile Beach.


The Ultimate Caribbean Bucket List | 5 Must Do Activities & Experiences

Explore underground lakes of Bermuda

Bermuda’s Crystal Caves are a sight to be seen, with crystal clear underground lakes, stalactites, and stalagmites. These huge formations, which grow slowly each year, began 30 million years ago. Even the most difficult to please tween will stand mouth agape at these incredible wonders of earthly beauty. Their sister property, Fantasy Caves, is equally astonishing and well worth the visit.

Visit Crystal Caves for further information and to book.

The Ultimate Caribbean Bucket List | 5 Must Do Activities & Experiences

Set sail to Iguana Island

One of the most popular attractions on Turks and Caicos is Little Water Cay’s Nature Reserve, which is home to the country’s endemic rock iguanas. These miniature dinosaur lookalikes bask in the sun as visitors snap their pictures. Easily accessed from the Leeward Marina by several boat tour operators, this island excursion is great for the whole family.

The Ultimate Caribbean Bucket List | 5 Must Do Activities & Experiences

Swim with pigs in The Bahamas

Pigs might not be able to fly, but they can certainly swim! If you’re staying on Nassau or The Exumas a day trip to Pig Beach should definitely be on your vacation wish list. There are several tours to choose from and many include a trip to Compass Cay to swim with the sharks and a stop at Allen Cay to see the iguanas. What are you waiting for? Book your trip to The Bahamas stat!

Instagram Guide to Mexico

From ancient Mayan ruins and stunning modern architecture to colorful cuisine and bright pink lagoons (yes, you read that correctly!), Mexico is a photographer’s dream.

Mexico City, the country’s vibrant capital, is stuffed to the brim with Instagrammable sites, but camera-ready destinations stretch west from the Baja California peninsula to the eastern tip of the Yucatan, encompassing hotspots like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas along the way.

This collection of the most photographable spots in the country will make you want to grab your passport and your camera phone.


Las Coloradas

Day of the Dead




By Cassandra Brooklyn on September 18, 2019





23 creative ways to decorate your home with your travels

Are you a world traveler ?  Or have a bunch of memories of one or two destinations ?  Here is a collection of clever ways to keep those memories alive.











































UPDATED 6.31.14