Tag Archives: Nature

Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Wildlife. Lots of it.

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If you’re looking for scenery and wildlife, this is it!

Antelope Island State Park, about an hour drive from Salt Lake City, makes for a good day trip. Your drive out there will treat you to an outstanding view of the Great Salt Lake as you cruise along Antelope Island Road, just off I-15. Odd that the drive reminded us of cruising the causeways of South Florida, but in fact nothing could be more opposite.

As you cruise around the Park roads, you’ll notice the wildlife is hard to miss. Although named for the antelope, you’ll probably see more bison. Lots of them.

A simple $10 entrance fee will let you in, then you’re free to explore. Perfect for a cool down on a hot Salt Lake City day. We recommend checking the link below for current Park conditions before visiting.

Links
Antelope Island State Park

Painted Canyon

On Your Way to Fargo, Stop and See the Sights

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Let’s say you’re heading into North Dakota coming from Montana on I-94. Let’s say you want to take in the view of the amazing scenery, including and especially Painted Canyon. Let’s say we’ve got a place for you!

Fargo wasn’t our only stop in this great northern state. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is only about 20 miles from the MT/ND border, will make your day. This is historical Dakota Territory, with a park aptly named for a U.S. President who spent a lot of time here. This is no ordinary scenic overview.

There’s plenty to see in the Park itself, but if you’re in a hurry, there’s an amazing scenic overlook of Painted Canyon as you’re heading East on I-94 towards Fargo (see map point above). Watch out for bison.

Perfect stop for the All-American Summer Road Trip. Adventure on!

   

Links
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Painted Canyon Visitor Center

 

Weirs Beach, New Hampshire: Retro Americana

Escape Reality in Style

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This summer, forget the big beaches on the coasts. It’s the hidden gems, tucked away in the wilds and behind the forests, that really count. Enter Weirs Beach.

We visited Weirs Beach, right on Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia, NH, back in October. Even though it wasn’t prime swimming season, we really felt like we journeyed to a magical place. Weirs Beach comes with a retro arcade–no really, an actual arcade–right on the boardwalk, which was next to the train station, which was right across the street from the Victorian houses, which overlooked the spectacular lake, which had really ginormous houses on it, which you could see from the amazing boat tours, which…well, you get the point.

By the way, those cool Victorian houses we mentioned above, you can rent those, plus there’s plenty of other places to stay, including the Half Moon Motel and Cottages, which we’re happy to recommend. We enjoyed our time there. A nice slice of New England.

This is one of those articles where pictures say more than words. If you’re looking for a place off the beaten path to spend your summer, if you don’t want to contend with the major beach resort cities where you can’t even hear yourself think…if you’re looking for a little slice of Americana with a retro feel in a small lake town in New England…then Weirs Beach is for you!

We know we’ll be back.

OK, now pictures.

Lake Winnipesaukee is beautiful. Don’t believe us? Check out the time-lapse video we took while out boating

Then there’s the famous Vegas-like “Weirs Beach” sign, complete with a light show. We got a video.


Weirs Beach official website

Travel & Dating: Some Ideas For the Unconventional

A UWanderings Reader Shares Her Perspective on Hiking and Dating

A very special thanks to one of our readers, Sally Perkins, who graciously offered her insights into combining hiking and dating. Sally is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and traveling as much as possible. Sally also writes for Backpackerverse. You can read her other article about prepping for a hike by clicking the link immediately following this article. As she explained to us:

“Whether it’s a first date or a wedding anniversary, hiking can be a wonderfully romantic way to spend time with someone…”

Sally was kind enough to share her thoughts about hiking and dating from a woman’s perspective, and today offers suggestions for those in the Bay Area and SoCal. Pay attention, guys! Since we’ve covered a lot of California lately, and since summer’s around the corner, her contribution couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you, Sally! 

Two Hiking Trails That Know What a Lady WantsBy Sally Perkins

Cute animals, wine, and a romantic hike – it doesn’t take an expert on women to know that these are the elements of a perfect date. With its extraordinary wildlife, vast wineries, and gorgeous scenery, California is the perfect state for a date spot. Here are two different hiking trails in the sunny state that will put you up close with animals, nature, and wine to create the perfect romantic date for any couple.

Freemont Older Open Space Preserve 

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A 763-acre open space preserve, Freemont Older is the perfect destination for a romantic hike. With incredible views of the oak studded hillsides of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Freemont Older is home to many native animals such as bobcats, coyotes, deer, and bird species. If these animals aren’t cute enough to make your date say “Aww”, the horses of the park are sure to. The preserve borders the Garrod Farm Stables to give you and your date an up close and personal experience with some of their horses. You can even ride one through the trails if you’d prefer.

Regardless of whether you hike on two feet, or are assisted by a four-legged friend, you will start the trail in the Cooper Garrod Estate Vineyards parking lot and end in the tasting room. The grand finale will have you tasting their wine and even munching on a mini buffet. Wine, horses, food, and romantic views – What more could a girl want?

Malibu Wine Hikes 

Directions

Located in Malibu, California, just thirty minutes from Los Angeles, you and your date can sign up for a hike through the Malibu Vineyard and Saddlerock Ranch for a day filled with precious animals, breathtaking scenery, delicious wine, and ultimately romance. You can choose between a group hike or a private hike to fit your needs. The 2.5-mile hike is classified as an easy to moderate hike and will take you about two hours to complete. Therefore, you should wear clothing that is comfortable to do a light workout in, and make sure you have proper footwear as closed-toed shoes are mandatory.

Your romantic hiking trip will take you through the Saddlerock Ranch where you can meet the animals that live there. These exotic animals include zebras, camels, alpacas, and bison. You can even meet Hollywood’s retired superstar, Stanley the Giraffe. As part of your hike, you can feed Stanley and maybe even ask for his autograph. After you’ve worked up a sweat on your hike, you will go to the Malibu Wine Tasting Room to taste a flight of five different wines. Grab a spot on the lawn or pull up a chair at a table to enjoy the beautiful wine, weather, and scenery.

From animals to wine, and incredible scenery, these hikes will be sure to have your women falling in love with the area, and ultimately, falling in love with you.

Learn how to get prepared for your hiking date: tips, prep ideas and more!


We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

Photo credit: Austin Neill. Point Dume, Malibu, United States. Used under Creative Commons Zero License.

Top of California: Crescent City

NorCal, Times Two

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Special thanks to the Crescent City Harbor District and Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce for assisting UWanderings with this article.

As we made our way through California last summer, we couldn’t wait to get to the aptly named Del Norte County. Located in California’s far northwest, right on the coast and just below Oregon, this area is famous for its jagged coastline and fantastic views. When you hear the words “Northern California”, your first thought might be San Francisco or San Jose, but Del Norte is a good four-hour drive north of Silicon Valley. It’s a beautiful drive up to this remote oasis, especially if you take Route 101 through the redwood forests. There’s nothing else like it on the planet. Seriously.

After a pleasant drive through unfamiliar terrain, we finally made it to Crescent City.

Crescent City is small
, and at first glance resembles, as one local explained to us, an “Alaskan fishing village” more than a typical California city. Its location puts it in rough waters, jagged and cliff-filled coastlines, and a cool climate, where 75 degrees is considered a heat wave, even in August. It’s windy, rain comes and goes, but that doesn’t stop the masses of tourists, backpackers, fisherman, outdoor adventurists, and wanderers from visiting. In fact, that’s exactly what brings them here. Crescent City attracts people from all over the world, visitors and residents alike. The reason we heard most: it’s the best place for the outdoors. No surprise there: plenty of outdoors in this neck of the woods…and there’s a lot of woods! And yes, CC is near the famous redwood tree that you can drive through. 

Panoramic view of Crescent City Harbor, September 2016

The most famous place in Crescent City? The harbor, which thrives on commercial fishing. Fishing is a way of life here, including at the Gold River Lodge just 20 miles south in Klamath, which we stumbled upon by chance.

The harbor is a must see for visitors looking for amazing views and exploring–no, experiencing–a place with so few equals in the world. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet the local sea lions, who hang out on their very own dock in the middle of the harbor. They were nice enough to say hello to us when we visited (video below). 



The beach may be chilly
, and the water’s not so warm for swimmers, but a walk along the beach will clear your head and make your trip feel complete. In a strange way, it felt like the best possible terminus for our cross-country road trip, since we drove all the way from New York. What a difference! With giant boulders sticking out of the coastal waters, you might be on the beach, but you also might be on some alien world on the other side of the galaxy, especially at sunset. That’s how different and unmatched this place is. The background noise from the waves crashing onto the giant rocks and driftwood resting on the beach is oddly relaxing. We knew Crescent City would be different from most places we’ve seen, but it is truly an Undiscovered Wandering, a title we give to places that are so offbeat, so interesting, that we award it with the hope that everyone visits someday.

So why does this part of California still seem unknown to the mainstream tourist? Maybe because it’s a little out of the way, or because it’s not a big “California city”. Yet for those who endeavor to find a place more foreign, more unique, more unconventional and even unexplored, Crescent City is waiting for you.

There’s so much more to see, but we don’t want to spoil it for you. We’ll leave you with some snapshots to give you a taste. But these pictures don’t do Crescent City justice–you have to visit for yourself to truly appreciate little corners of the Earth like this!

With the breathtaking scenery, endless outdoor options, friendly people and, yes, the sea lions, it’s easy to understand why so many people are proud to call Crescent City and the land of Del Norte home. 

Helpful Links
Explore Del Norte–The Crescent City/Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce

Official City website

Crescent City Harbor District