Author Archives: Jeska

About Jeska

Jeska is a twenty something mother of one tiny human, lover of hawaii, a tad bit of a runner, one with the ocean, and last but not least a hopeless wanderer.

Beach vs. Ski Vacation – Which One Should You Choose This Year?

skier-999279_1920Vacations provide us with much needed downtime to decompress, relax and forget about all of our stresses back home. But when planning your upcoming holiday, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want to go on a summer or winter break. With a host of options to choose from, it can be difficult to make the right choice for both you and your family, so it’s important to take all factors into consideration when exploring the options of a winter or summer break.

In this article we look at holiday options in the hope that we can make it slightly easier for you to make a decision on where you want to go for your next vaycay.

What is your Budget?

Your budget, regardless of whether you have decided to go away for the weekend or take a two-week long trip, should be addressed first and foremost. It is important that you know how much you have to spend on your holiday in order to find one suited to your price range so you can not only get the most out of your vaycay, but do not have to stress about how much cash you have left over to spend while you are there. By planning in advance you will be able to save money on flights, which in turn will give you a few more options when it comes to choosing your accommodation.

Beach holidays tend to be cheaper, involving reasonably priced accommodation, but the same cannot be said for most skiing holidays, although part of the enjoyment of a skiing holiday is the resort itself, with a buzzing atmosphere and guests full of excitement and adrenaline. But when you factor in the cost of renting your skiing equipment, it could end up costing a pretty penny depending on where you choose to stay.

Are you Interested in Nightlife?

While on a summer holiday, evenings are often spent enjoying an array nightlife venues – from beach bonfires to clubs and bars. So if you’re single or in a relationship and don’t have any children and want to spend your evenings dancing the night away, you might want to opt for a beach holiday. And although some ski resorts have their own nightclubs and bars, there isn’t much of a variety in comparison to beach holidays as you are limited to what is available at the resort you are staying at.

What would the Kids Enjoy?

father-656734_1920Both skiing holidays and beach holidays offer a variety of fun activities for those that are single, couples and families. From a variety of water sports available at beach resorts, to an opportunity for your children to learn how to ski, build a snow man or see snow for the first time on a skiing holiday.

However, if you’re children are quite young, be sure to do some research into whether the resorts have play areas and childcare services (in case you need them). While there are many more options to take into consideration when planning your holiday, these are three of the main concerns to keep in mind when choosing the right holiday for you and your family. And, while each offer completely different experiences, there is always the option of enjoying one this year, and the other next year.

How to Pack Light and Still Have Everything You Need

packing lightPacking light is an amazing accomplishment if you are going on a long vacation and something you should definitely consider. Travelers need to bring a small part of their life with them, but life is cumbersome and often heavy. It can ruin a travel experience, yet light travel requires hard decisions. It doesn’t need to be too hard, however. There are strategies you can use to make things easier on yourself.

Here are a few tips that you might find useful:

See What You Can Buy There

Being economical on a trip does not mean taking everything yourself. Sometimes it means supporting the local economy and buying an umbrella when you get there. It you are going to a well-travelled location you will most certainly be able to get whatever you might need (including heavy items).

If you think about it, waiting to get what you need makes the most sense. Everything you need to survive and thrive is also needed by the locals, and they need to shop as well. It is an opportunity to immerse yourself more in the place you are travelling. You don’t need those snacks from home, they will be waiting for you when you get back. Similarly, you can get basic gadgets and large items when you arrive. You don’t want anything to happen to them in transit, and carrying around half your body weight isn’t fun.

Smartphones Are Your Friend

Smartphones are great for travel. You can use them in the place of a GPS, computer, guidebook, some documents and quite surprisingly a cellular phone. You can even watch Netflix if you’re stuck waiting with no one around (just use a VPN if you’re out of the country so you can look as though you’re browsing in your home country). Take a look at what you might bring and ask yourself if your smartphone can fill the same need through an app or program.

You will just want to make sure you have an emergency backup plan in case your phone is damaged or stolen. You don’t need anything too complex, but it might be best to bring a laptop or other device that can access the internet with you. A friend with another smartphone helps as well. Try to find protection in the form of a case and something to strap your phone to your body.

Have Cash

If you’re packing light, there is no way you can be prepared for every eventuality. This means that you will need to know how to accommodate yourself wherever you are travelling. Most of the time (nearly all the time) this will require money, but credit cards are extremely popular. This isn’t enough for everything, though, as you may run into problems with your credits cards or the merchants in less well-known destinations will not be able to process them. All businesses take cash. Try to get some of the local currency to carry around so that you’ll have it when you need it.

It is also a safer option. Criminals love to target tourists and travelers because it is difficult for them to both notice identity theft right off the bat. It is also difficult to track down the criminals once their card information has been swiped.

Tools with Multiple Functions

Just like you can use a smartphone to watch Netflix on the train while you are texting your friends about how amazing your trip is, you can find other tools with additional functions. A Swiss Army Knife, bookmarks that function as rulers and other devices certainly exist and if you ask friends who travel they will certainly be able to share some of their favorite items with you (or at the very least steer you clear of the ones that don’t work).

You need to take into consideration the tools that you will most certainly need and the tools that you may not. Try to consolidate the functions of tools that are of secondary importance, so that you will be able to get by with perhaps secondary quality but much less weight on your back.

Packing light is a skill that takes practice and patience, but with the right advice and tools you’ll be able to travel burden-free soon enough. Do you have any other tips that might be useful for packing light? Are there any items that you find particularly useful or helpful when trying to pack? Any items that you just can’t live without? We’d love to hear what you think!


Why Dubai is So Much More Than Just a Quick Stop Over City

For many, Dubai is a stop over from one destination to the next, a place that you normally see from inside the glass walls of the airport. However, so many do not know that Dubai is one of the most exciting cities in the world, with luxury accommodation, fun family activities and unforgettable experiences just waiting to be encountered! Let’s look at three of the top experiences that you can enjoy in Dubai, which should help you change your mind by staying on in this Emirate just a little bit longer the next time you are heading to or from a holiday break.

Eat at Le Petit Maison

jess1Time Out’s top restaurant of 2015, Le Petit Maison is a famous French Bistro with branches in London, Miami and Dubai. This restaurant is special. So special, in fact, that you have to order their signature dishes, the Poulet “La Petite Maison”, Contre Filet 1.5Kg et Galettes de Pommes de Terre and Carré d’Agneau (the chicken, fillet or rack of lamb) when you book a table (which should be weeks in advance). Local produce is the name of the game and healthy, fresh fish, chicken and meat are all on offer for your culinary indulgence. Described by tourists as the best meal of their stay, this is a restaurant not to miss out on.

See Dubai from the Burj Khalifa

jess2The tallest building in the world is situated in Dubai and the good news is that you can go and visit this tourist attraction and head up to a floor near the very top! Buy a ticket and step into the dark elevator and wait in anticipation. You will soon be taken on a ride of a lifetime as you speed to the top and experience Dubai from a birds eye view. The glass floors add to the dizzying effect, but the view of the Dubai skyline is one that is unbeaten. This self-guided tour explains the architecture and the building of this skyscraper through boards scattered throughout the building. Entertaining and educational, it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions of the area, and we can see why.

Sleep at Atlantis the Palm

guest_rooms_signature_suites_24_09_2014_9711extSituated on the stunning man-made island of the Palm, Atlantis the Palm is a beach resort like you’ve never experienced. Under water rooms and restaurants, buffets beyond your wildest dreams and a waterpark that has everything from zip lining to waterslides, dolphin encounters and shark safaris, there is everything you need at this luxurious hotel. There are over 23 restaurants alone in this establishment, rooms that spans over 925 square meters, various entertainment areas for young and old alike and shopping areas that will give even your credit card a headache. Regardless, if you are looking to splash out and live the Dubai high life, then this is the best beach resort in Dubai for you.

Dubai is like no other. A great melting pot of modern life mixed with traditional culture, there is no way you can simply pass through this city without stepping out of the airport and taking it all in.

Rimini, a Culture Filled Destination In Italy

riminiWhen you think about Rimini, you might think of its center or of its amazing beach. However, Rimini is much more than meets the eye and has hidden parts that can surprise you. I visited Rimini with my husband’s family last year and I discovered more than I could imagine thanks to the help of

Famous Artists

I discovered the beautiful countryside near Rimini that is full of tradition, culture, excellent food, and easy access even with your bicycle. Rimini gave birth to many famous people that gave an important heritage to the area. One of particular person is Tonino Guerra, a poet and movie director with international fame. This artist dedicated his life to many artistic disciplines like ceramics, painting, and architecture as well as participated in designing and building fountains, gardens and cities-decorations. In Rimini and surrounding territory, you can find many works of Tonino Guerra.

Another person that gave a important contribution to the city is Federico Fellini, born in Rimini in 1920. He has also been an important movie director known worldwide. “Amarcord” is probably the most famous movie made from Fellini, with the help of his friend, Tonino Guerra. The movie shows all the traditions of Rimini, the dialect, the street, the people and others aspect that show the deep love that Fellini had for his city.


The Valle del Conca is a region that has a very ancient history connected with an important Italian family, the Malatesta, that ruled the area for several centuries. If you visit this area you will appreciate the Montegridolfo Castle, one of the most beautiful and well preserved castles in Italy, formed by a village with ancient square, small street, churches and many others things that reveal the magic history of this place. Another beautiful and massive castle located in Montefiore, is one of the most famous symbols of the Malatesta family. The castle is located in a hill where you can contemplate a breathtaking view down to the coastline. San Giovanni in Marignano, Saludecio, Mondaino, San Clemente, Coriano, Montecolombo and Montescudo are also beautiful villages where you can discover the history and tradition of this area.

In other valleys like Valle del Marecchia, there are many ancient little villages with an important inheritance. In Poggio Berni you will see well preserved aristocratic palaces. If you want to go back in the history even more then don’t forget to visit also Verucchio, a little village in a strategic position between the hills and the beach. The origin of this place is very ancient, in fact, Verucchio is where more than 600 Villanovan civility tombs of the X and VII century B.C. were found.

So next time that you visit Rimini take some time to not only sun bathe on the beautiful beach but also go inland to explore all the beautiful architecture and culture it has to offer.

Exploring One Tree Hill

If you were a teenage girl growing up between 2003-2011 you probably watched One Tree Hill. I was obsessed with the show and it was my favorite. I was, of course, disappointed when Peyton and Lucas left the show and they didn’t take time to cover it in the show but I remained a loyal fan regardless.

In 2009, my sister decided that she was going to go to school in Wilmington, NC which was about 1-2 hour drive from where we were living. She wouldn’t be close but definitely not far. Well I moved off to Hawaii but came back to visit yearly and on one particular visit she mentioned that One Tree Hill was filmed there. I was immediately stoked and made it a MUST do for that day.

After some research on Google, I found every location the show was filmed at and made a list. My best friend, who was also obsessed with the show, and I headed out to see what we could find. After exploring “One Tree Hill” for a couple of hours, here is a collection of all the popular spots that were used in filming that we were able to find.

exploring one tree hillexploring one tree hillexploring one tree hillexploring one tree hill

exploring one tree hill exploring one tree hillexploring one tree hill102B0650exploring one tree hillexploring one tree hill


exploring one tree hill

exploring one tree hill exploring one tree hill exploring one tree hill

exploring one tree hill exploring one tree hill

Every time I visit Wilmington, I always find myself wanting to visit the locations time and time again to relive my teenage years in a sense. Though these photos were taken 7-8 years ago now and Peyton’s river court love letter is long gone, the locations and my teenage mind still live there.

Summer Fun At Utah Ski Resorts


The lifts have stopped spinning and the season’s melting snow is filling countless small streams. Soon, Utah’s mountainous ski resorts will pop with wildflowers, offering a scenic escape from the heat in the valleys.

Ski-town locals know resorts are a great place in both winter and summer. The high elevation and rugged terrain combine to provide not only great skiing, but lots of summer activities as well.

We researched summer activities and events at Utah’s ski areas and found so much it wouldn’t all fit in this post. However, I’m going to try to share as much as I can! If you’re ready to summer like a ski-town local, keep reading.

First of all, the resorts normally close during the early snowmelt, we sometimes call this the shoulder, or mud season, so make sure to check summer opening days before making plans:

Utah Ski Resort Summer Opening Days


July 1 – Sept. 13

Beaver Mountain

May – October

Brian Head

June 26 – September 7


Closed for Summer


June 18-TDB

Cherry Peak

Closed for summer

Deer Valley

June 19 – Sept. 7 (Sept. 12-13 & Sept. 19-20)

Eagle Point

June 26 – Sept. 7

Nordic Valley

Closed for Summer


May 22 – TBD

Powder Mountain


Snowbasin Resort

June 13 – Sept. 27 (Open Weekends)


June 13 – Oct. 11

Solitude Resort

June 15 – Sept. 7


May 15 – Sept. 7

Now let’s talk about all the fun you can have and how to pick the best resort for your vacation. First, have a look at the events calendar for each destination. You may see something you know you simply cannot miss. Next, look at the activities to decide what fits your vacation style.

For example, if you have children, you may want to pick a resort offering child-centric fun. From zip-lines to roller coasters, you’ll have some a lot to select from. If a romantic getaway, or even a destination wedding, is more your style, check out the fine dinning and spa packages offered at several properties. Suffice to say, there is something for most everyone.

Here are summer highlights at Utah’s ski resorts:

Ski Utah Summer Activities 2015

Alta Ski Area

Alta Ski Area includes the Albion Basin, a prime wildflower hotspot in the Wasatch Range. Visit during July and August for the best display. Cecret Lake is tucked into the base of the mountains and makes a perfect picnic destination.

Alta Lodge

Alta Lodge opens for summer season on May 31 with Sunday Brunch. The brunch is a favorite for many locals and features a rich variety of entrées, salads, baked goods and desserts, as well as made to order Belgian waffles and Eggs Benedict. Brunch is served from 9:30 am to 2 pm. Prices are $24.95 for adults, $13.95 for kids ages 7-12 and $6.95 for those under age 6. Beer, wine, and cocktails are served beginning at 11:30 am. Saturday lunch begins on June 20 and is served from 11 am to 2 pm.

Alta Lodge is open seven days a week during the summer season from June through mid-October, for weddings, conferences, retreats, private parties, and individual lodging. Continental breakfast is included with overnight lodging.

Beaver Mountain


Mark you calendars for the multi-day Beaver Mountain Music Festival featuring up and coming bands, kids activities, and venders, August 21st through the 23rd. Beaver Mountain also offers tent and RV sites, plus lodge and yurt rentals for larger events.

Summer is almost here, and the warm weather doesn’t mean high altitude excitement stops. Rock your world this summer at Southern Utah’s Premiere Mountain Destination, Brian Head Resort. Entertain your inner adrenaline junkie with our zipline and bungee trampoline. If that is not enough give base-jumping a try with our 50’ x 50’ airbag. If you are up for a physical challenge, spend the day at the climbing wall and then ride your cares away at our alpine tubing attractions at the base of the Giant Steps Lodge.

If you want to raise your game, ride the Giant Steps Express or Navajo chair lift 4 into improved mountain bike trails, disc golf, scenic hiking and lift rides. Summer lift operations run from June 26 – September 7 Friday-Sunday 10 am – 6 pm for Giant Steps and 10 am – 4:30 pm for Navajo. For the water enthusiast, look no further than the Brian Head Pond for fishing and other water activities.


Canyons is one of the country’s largest four season destination resorts offers you an expansive variety of summer adventures and events. In addition to fresh mountain air, Canyons provides luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, scenic gondola rides, breath-taking hikes, expansive array of mountain bike trails and instruction, plus live music concerts.

From zip-lines to golf, Canyons has something for the whole family in summer.

Deer Valley

Deer Valley Resort is filled with nonstop activity such as lift-served mountain biking, hiking and scenic chairlift rides, Summer Adventure Camp for children and music-filled evenings at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. The resort offers award-winning cuisine served on the outdoor decks of Royal Street Café and Deer Valley Grocery~Café, or enjoy Deer Valley-inspired brick oven cuisine at their newest restaurant, The Brass Tag. Grab a custom Gourmet Picnic Baskets or Bags for one of the many evening concerts and don’t miss the Silver Lake Snack Shack for a quick bite on the hill.

Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Camp for children 2-months to 12 years-of-age is based out of the Children’s Center at Snow Park Lodge surrounded by incredible mountains with hiking trails, hillside playgrounds, and duck ponds. The center has built-in nooks for entertainment and performances, a bouldering rock climbing wall and a full supply of craft projects, games, puzzles, videos and books to complement our outdoor activities. Summer Adventure Camp is open June 8 through August 19, 2015. Camp will not be held Friday, July 3 and July 24, 2015.

Eagle Point

Eagle Point is an authentic mountain getaway especially for guests living in the surrounding desert heat of Las Vegas, Arizona, southern Utah and southern California. Plan your next summer time event at Eagle Point Resort. Weddings, reunions, team-building events or even a romantic getaway are some of the many occasions to spend at this beautiful location.

Here are some of the many activities at Eagle Point Resort:

  • 12,000 square foot Canyonside Lodge with restaurant, bar and lounge facilities
  • The village of Eagle Point, over 120 condos and cabins with many affordable rental options
  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Paintball
  • Disc golf
  • Horseback riding
  • The Paiute ATV Trail System
  • Day trip to Zion National Park
  • Day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort’s Alpine Slide is one of the longest slides in the world, with over 3,000 feet of gliding and sliding down a luge-like track. The slide is only one of many activities offered at PCMR, you can also hike or bike the resorts many trails, zip-line, and too much more to list. Check out their site for a list of all the activities offered.

Snowbasin Resort

Snowbasin Resort will be open for operations Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer staring June 13th. Enjoy scenic Gondola Rides to Needles Lodge, mountain bike and hike on 26 miles of trails, go on one of the free Saturday guided tours, play some Frisbee Golf on the 9-hole course, enjoy Sunday brunch at the top of the gondola, explore your cravings at a themed mountain top dinner, or come to a free outdoor concert series starting Jun 14th in the beautiful high alpine environment. They also have family oriented activities this summer including a playground, a euro bungee, and new climbing wall for the kids.

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

Snowbird invested heavily in their summer offerings including mountain bike trails, Alpine Slide, Mountain Coaster, ropes course, and much more. Additionally they feature barrier free trails and a partnership with Wasatch Adaptive Sports to offer:

  • Nature hikes
  • Fishing
  • Adaptive Mountain & Road Biking
  • Snowbird activities including Tram rides, bungee trampoline and alpine slide
  • Mine and Water Tunnel Tours
  • GPS/Orienteering classes
  • Boundless playground
  • Bowling

Solitude Resort


This year, summer at Solitude includes mountain biking, hiking, trail running, and lots of special events including the Vigor Half Marathon and Trail Run Series and Midweek  Mountain Bike Series. In August, Utah’s premiere culinary event, Taste of the Wasatch, will feature food tastings presented by chefs from over 50 top Utah restaurants and resorts.

Sundance Mountain Resort


Summer at Sundance includes adventure, culture, and romance. Take a nearly 2-mile long scenic zip-line tour, and then finish the evening with a mountaintop gourmet dinner at the Bearclaw Supper Club or a full-moon lift ride (offered monthly during the…you guessed it…full moon.) Wow, it sounds like a great date night! Also check out their concert and theater schedule.

Now that you know about all the fun to be had at Utah’s ski resorts in the summer, the next question is where to start. What sounds like the most fun to you? Personally, I like a high picnic spot or outdoor dining. If there is yummy food with a view, look for me, Erika Wiggins, Ski Utah Travel Blogger. In the meantime follow me on instagram and twitter at @Active_Explorer.

Ski Utah is a membership association representing Utah’s $1.3 billion dollar wintersports industry, including 14 alpine ski resorts and a membership of over 250 industry partners. The organization has been creating brand awareness of and demand for the Utah wintersports product since its inception in 1978. Ski Utah’s primary functions are concentrated in marketing, public policy and public relations. Information about Ski Utah and its members can be found at, on Twitter @SkiUtah and on Facebook at

9 Best Vacation Souvenirs for Families

There are plenty of factory tours with interactive experiences for kids (and kids at heart), but the best of them include handmade souvenirs to take home. Let your family enjoy one of these take-home experiences, from creating candy bars to making candles.
Jewelry – Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, N.Y.
A museum devoted to glass might seem an unlikely destination for a family outing. But at the Corning Museum of Glass, a kid-friendly venue situated in the heart of the Finger Lakes, kids and their adult chaperones can watch a hot glass show, learn about science in hands-on exhibits, and make their own artistic glass creations in an in-house studio. Project choices include glass beads or pendants (ages 10 and up), picture frames, mirrors, clocks, nightlights and sun catchers (ages 4 and up), sculptures and ornaments (all ages.)

The Turkey Hill Experience in Pennsylvania.

Turkey Hill Experience Taste Lab, Columbia, Pa.
Create your own ice cream flavor, add embellishments, and then try it out in the Taste Lab at the Turkey Hill Experience, just outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Available as an add-on to the traditional ticketed ice cream production tour, a visit to the Turkey Hill Taste Lab takes around 40 minutes and includes an Ice Cream 101 lesson and a pint of your personally designed flavor.

Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, Vermont.

Chocolate – Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vt.
Just a stone’s throw from the famed Ben & Jerry’s Factory, you can gain inspiration on a cocoa-rich Lake Champlain Chocolates factory tour, then step next door to a hands-on kitchen where you can design your own chocolate bars to take home. Chocolate Bar Making classes at Lake Champlain Chocolates affiliate, South End Kitchen, are $5 per person and are open to children ages 6 and up (children under 9 must be accompanied by a parent.) Participants learn how to temper, mold and hand-wrap their specialty creation. Each apprentice goes home with four full-size candy bars.

Farris and Foster's Famous Chocolate Factory in Orlando.

Chocolate – Farris and Foster’s Famous Chocolate Factory, Orlando, Fla.
After touring Orlando’s theme parks, take a sweet detour to Baldwin Park, just east of downtown Orlando, where you and the kids can become chocolatiers for the night. Ninety-minute Family Night sessions at Farris and Foster’s Famous Chocolate Factory are held on Mondays at 5 and 7 p.m. For $29, four people can create a pound of hand-made chocolate, including clusters, truffles, chocolate-covered treats and molded chocolates. Participants get to take a turn manning the conveyor belt, as well as sample shop specialties like chocolate-covered bacon and chocolate covered-potato chips. The cost for additional family members is $5 per person. Farris & Foster’s also offers 45-minute Kids Kitchen classes on Wednesdays in the summer.

The Kazoo Factory in Beaufort, S.C.

Kazoo – The Kazoo Factory, Beaufort, S.C.
If your family travels take you to North Carolina, be sure to make a stop in Beaufort, where you and the kids can take a factory tour, create your own kazoos, then play them in an impromptu family concert at The Kazoo Factory. Forty-five- to 60-minute guided factory tours ($5 per person, children under 3 free) are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and culminate in a visit to a make-your-own-kazoo station, where you can choose from 14 colorful body styles. Afterwards, pay a visit to the onsite gift shop.

The Yankee Candle Village in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Candles – Yankee Candle Village, Deerfield, Mass. or Williamsburg, Va.
It’s not a factory tour, but after you’ve sampled the homemade fudge, dips and gourmet popcorn, taken a stroll through the Bavarian Holiday Park, enjoyed regular sprinklings of “snow,” and been entertained by an animatronic jug band, you’ll see why Yankee Candle Village is a favorite family tourist attraction. In the Wax Works workshop, amateur artists can create their own jar candle, wax hand, candle critter or taper candle. Project prices range from $2 to $36, depending upon size and selection.

It’s Christmas year-round at Yankee Candle Village, but holidays like Valentine’s Day and Easter are celebrated, too, with special character appearances and fun family-oriented events, like kids’ cooking classes, carnivals, Mad Science activities and cupcake decorating.

The Muppet What-Not Workshop at FAO Schwarz in New York City.

Muppet – FAO Schwarz, New York City
Toys ‘R Us acquired the FAO Schwarz toy store chain in 2009, but fortunately for faithful fans, the flagship Fifth Avenue FAO Schwarz location in New York City has retained its original branding and signature look, from a playable BIG floor piano to an amazing selection of over-the-top toys, “schweetz,” large-scale LEGO figures and super-sized stuffed animals. Also unique to the Midtown store is an onsite Muppet What-Not Workshop, where visitors can design a custom Muppets, then watch it being made by an in-house apprentice. Prices start at $99.

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company in Shelburne, Vermont.

Teddy Bear – Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Shelburne, Vt.
Sure, you can take a trip to your local mall if your kids want to build their own bear, but if you want to combine nostalgia with an interactive take-away experience, plan a trip to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. See how signature Vermont teddy bears are made from start to finish, pay a visit to the Bear Hospital — where injured bears are repaired free of charge — and then step into the Bear Shop (additional charge applies), where you can watch your own Vermont Teddy Bear being made before dressing him or her and even adding custom embroidery.

Crayola Experience in Easton, Pa.

Crayons – Crayola Experience, Easton, Pa.
Kids will have a ball making crayon critters, creating custom markers, puzzles and other super artsy souvenirs at Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania. Plan on spending several hours at the sprawling family-friendly attraction, which features multiple hands-on activity areas plus a Water Works, Toddler Corner and jungle gym play area.

Best Diving Locations In Australia

Millions of tourists flock to Australia every year and it’s not hard to see why. From the warm weather and stunning beaches to vibrant cities and awesome natural landscapes, it’s a dream destination for many travellers. It’s also great for scuba diving, boasting some of the most incredible diving locations in the world.

Australia is home to the famous Great Barrier Reef, which has been attracting divers for many years. Whether you’ve done it before or you’re a complete beginner, there’s no better place to explore the ocean than Australia. Here are some of our favourite diving destinations.

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island in New South Wales is one of the most southerly diving spots in Australia. It’s located at the meeting point of five ocean currents, meaning that it’s a place brimming with oceanic diversity.

You’ll find temperate, sub-tropical and tropical fish all in one place – and there are over 500 species here for you to discover! It boasts 60 diving sites, including Balls Pyramid, where you can swim with dolphins in their natural environment.

Neptune Islands

Another great diving location is the Neptune Islands. Found just off of the coast of South Australia, these islands are famed for their great white sharks. Beginners can get up close and personal with these beasts of the sea from a cage; but it’s a different story if you’re a trained diver.

You’ll be able to dive all the way to the ocean floor and take in the scenery from a completely different angle. Don’t worry about the sharks feeling a bit peckish, you’re going to be well looked after and completely safe!

Ningaloo Reef

The state of Western Australia is home to the Ningaloo Reef. This stunning 300km long reef is the largest reef in the world that is found so close to a main land mass – so it’s easy to get to. There are hundreds of species of coral to be found here, with even more different species of fish.

Manta rays, turtles and sharks all call this reef home, so you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re keen to spot some of the local marine life.

Tasman Peninsula

One of our favourite things to do is dive around Tasmania’s Tasman Peninsula. Here you’ll be able to find giant kelp forests that stretch down to the deepest parts of the water, awe-inspiring caves at Waterfall Bay and even spot some cute sea creatures! Yes, this is the perfect place for seal spotting; with both New Zealand and Australian fur seals to be found. The waters are pretty cool, so we recommend diving here between November and March.

Dive in to all that Australia has to offer

So there you have it, our top picks of all the diving sites that Australia has to offer. Of course, there are so many more out there, so why not discover them for yourself?

Diving offers you the chance to see our planet from a completely different perspective, taking in sights and sounds that you just don’t get on land. Whether you go for one of our favourites or discover another magical location, we can guarantee that you’ll want to do it time and time again!

Jeffrey Glenn is the Founder of one of Thailand’s most sort after professional Dive Training Resorts – Go Pro Asia. Jeffrey is a PADI Course Director and Technical Diving Instructor Trainer and has over 20 years’ experience in the dive industry.

The Worlds of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is known for its vast array of casinos, strip clubs, and shows but when you visit Vegas on a short time frame it changes things up a bit. We headed up to Vegas to run in the Spartan Super Race and to enjoy the strip afterwards. Sadly, little did we realize that our poor feet would end up in huge blisters that pretty much wanted us to avoid walking at all costs.

Since we didn’t bring our 5 year old with us and our feet were on fire, we decided to check out Hershey’s Chocolate World to grab him a little gift to let him know that he was thought of. As we were headed that way I found out that Las Vegas actually has 3 worlds, Hershey’s, M&M’s, and Coke so I decided that we should check out all three.
hershey's world3hershey's world1hershey's world2

hershey's world4Hershey’s Chocolate World has entrances inside the New York Hotel as well as from the street. When we walked in there was a bakery in the center of the floor filled with delicious Hershey treats. I wanted a taste of everything! The bottom floor was dedicated to mostly chocolate and the next floors was to more chewy/gummy candies like twizzlers. I would say the gifts were moderately priced but they sadly didn’t have much to offer for kids. We luckily found a Hershey lego race car for Little E and made our way to the next world.
m&ms world1

M&M’s World was probably the best world of them all. As soon as you walked in you were great with the vast array of M&M’s colors. Every floor had a different type of gift and something different to offer. There was a section to make your own customized M&M’s, a movie theater, a race car, and lots more! There were gifts of all colors and ages especially kids. I had an option to grab something for my 5 years and 4 month old there.

m&ms world2

Lastly we headed to Coke world which was probably the most disappointing of them all. They offered lots of Coke product gear and a small wall of the different Coke options. On the second floor they had a cafe that offered Coke flights for you to try all the different sodas. I will say that is pretty clever and a neat attraction. Other than that, it was all it had to offer.

coke entrancecoke world

Overall, the Worlds of Las Vegas were mostly not that enjoyable other than M&M’s world. It was neat to get to see the products and what they had to offer but not something I’d recommend others to visit.

Have you ever visited the Worlds of Las Vegas? What were your thoughts on them?