Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun; so much so that it is impossible for us to believe that we’ve really been on the road for three full years. But it’s not all fun and games, you know? With great travels comes great responsibility. And so we once again find ourselves confronted with the hard task of selecting our favorite destinations from the past 365 days.
Moab’s scenic beauty is enough to warrant a spot on any “best of” travel list. Within a short drive of the small town are two distinct national parks (Canyonlands and Arches) as well as a spectacular state park (Dead Horse Point). The area is so overflowing with attractions that these parks can’t even contain it all. Along ordinary back roads we encountered landscapes that would be considered national park worthy if they were located in any other part of the country. In addition to all that, though, Moab also happens to be the perfect place for an inaugural skydive.
The twice named city lives up to its reputation for outsized awesomeness. It’s a place we (or at least I) never appreciated as a travel destination when I lived there (Shannon reminds me that she always knew better). But now that we get the opportunity to return as tourists, I see the city in a completely new light – exploring old favorites, and uncovering lesser known gems as well.
While we’re on the topic of old favorites, we can’t mention New York without also giving an honorary salute to our beloved hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey.
It is often called the “Crown of the Continent,” and for good reason too. With vaulting granite peaks soaring two miles high and ice carved valleys bejeweled by 762 lakes that sparkle like diamonds and sapphires in the mid-day sun, Glacier National Park is every bit a crown fit for a continent.
A surprise entry on this list, we were lucky enough to visit Yuma during their annual balloon festival – an event that completely overwhelmed us.
A millennia ago Ancestral Puebloan People settled in the canyons of southwestern Colorado and built a remarkable city. Today, the remnants of that metropolis are protected within Mesa Verde’s 5,000 archaeological sites which include some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the world.
Offering far more than just a water spout named “Old Faithful,” Yellowstone is probably the most diverse national park in the system. Beyond the “normal” natural beauty typical of such places lies otherworldly landscapes and pools of such unnaturally radiant color that they have to be seen to be believed.
It is hard to overstate the magnificence of this narrow, 600 foot long stretch of earth. Carved by water and pierced by bolts of sunshine, Antelope Canyon has to be one of the most remarkable places on the planet.
The extraordinary Mayan ruins of Lamani near Orange Walk, Belize, were among the highlights of our Central American excursion. But the long-dead city couldn’t hold a candle to the energetic spider monkey who took control of our vessel as we sailed along the New River toward the site.
Over the past three years we’ve visited 79 national parks and monuments. Bryce is our favorite, but not solely for its stunning scenery. What we enjoyed most about the park is the way its towering hoodoos and dusty trails made us feel as if we were walking through another era, perhaps along the corridors of an ancient Egyptian city.
Best Friends is not only the largest no-kill animal shelter in the United States it is also a movement dedicated to the realization of a simple goal: “No More Homeless Animals.”
For the past 29 years Best Friends has worked toward that goal, in part by sheltering roughly 1,700 animals on its sprawling 3,700 acre property, training them to be good pets, and working tirelessly to find them forever homes.