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This place is special to me because it is where i spent my childhood summers, at my grandparents’ house. Bueu is a charming fishing village where you can eat the best seafood, octopus, fish... and spend the day at any of its beautiful beaches! Worth the visit just for that sea breeze in any corner.
This place is special to me because, in the words of beloved broadcaster and naturalist, David Attenborough, "it's a place so extraordinary it is almost unbelievable". Only two hours after boarding a small plane in Sydney, myself, on of my closest friend and her lovely mum landed on Lord Howe Island and what I can only describe as absolute paradise. It is home to only 350 residents, up to 400 tourists and an abundance of animals, plants and sea life, many of which are endemic to the island. With virtually no cars, no keys to your accomodation, and no mobile reception or internet coverage it is the place to come and completely recharge your batteries and soak in the natural environment. Surrounding Lord Howe is the world’s most southern coral reef, and it only takes 5 minutes to get there from the shore. I’ve never seen such vibrant coral and abundance of tropical and sub-tropical fish, turtles, sting rays and dolphins. The rest of the time was spent hiking through the unspoilt forest and mountains, kayaking, cycling, watching the abundant bird life and eating the freshest fish I’d had in ages. There was no need to deprive ourselves of all modern day privileges though. Fine dining was only down the road at a nearby retreat as was a massage for those tired muscles. I feel so privileged to have experienced this World Heritage listed piece of heaven and hope to take my son one day before it too disappears (I might need to save up for the airfare though!). Despite the island’s conservation efforts, last summer was the worst coral bleaching seen due to warmer ocean temperatures. It would be a real tragedy to lose this unique haven.
This place is special to me because it's where we go on vacation every summer to visit my mother-in-law, who moved to the town of Carvoeiro over 20 years ago. Drawing this map, I kept thinking of all the wonderful reasons I love it here. The rocky cove beaches, the amazing azulejos (tiles) covering the outsides of buildings and insides of churches, delicious fresh fish (grilled sardines!), the scent of eucalyptus trees up on Monchique, where you can refill your water bottle directly from the spring, the beautiful doors everywhere, the crystalline turquoise water and deep blue skies, the curious cork trees halfway stripped of their bark, (and shops that sell everything made of cork), the dolphin sightings, the delicious pastry called pastel de nata (custard cups...think flan pie!), the fabulous soaps I bring back, the hill towns and medieval castles. The soulful fado singing. The fields of crooked almond trees, and almond liqueur. The piri-piri hot sauce that I'm obsessed with! A million stars pinned against a clear black night sky. Sooooo many good things. My daughter took her first steps and went to her first beach here, on Praia Grande. The weather is always sunny and perfect, and each time we go it's a combination of visiting all of our favorite places (like Porches, for pottery) and trying new ones. One time we drove to Sagres which is the most southwestern point in Portugal. You can walk out to the tip of the cape, atop tall vertical cliffs, surrounded by water on 3 sides. The place is magical and really feels like the edge of the world. A nearby beach made of smooth black rocks is a good place to watch surfers. The people in the Algarve are so friendly and welcoming, it really is an easy place to just be. By the end of our visit we always realize how this place has taught us to slow down and relax.
This place is special to me because it's one of the most magical place in the world and it has changed my life! I have met people there that have been so inspiring and I've experienced so many great things that it literally influenced the way I live today. I've been living a nomadic life for 6 years now travelling across 4 continents and nowhere else in the world have I seen so many pristine beaches and native wildlife in such a small area. Can you believe there are more than 100 beaches in less than 160km (100miles) of coast?! And how about meeting kangaroos, wombats, cockatoos, dolphins, whales and many more birds and animals almost on a daily basis?! You thought that would be it but you can also see powerful blowholes, impressive waterfalls, visit significant cultural places, eat at great vegetarian cafes, hike in the bush, surf... A friend of mine living in Huskisson one day described it as "living in Paradise"... well I totally agree on that!
This place is special to me because I grew up on the Florida beaches, and one year worked for an architect whose office was within walking distance of this architectural gem. I remember the incredibly designed cabinetry, trim work, and built-ins I saw in the interiors, and the painstaking deliberation over small details such as exterior paint colors. Many houses have names, picket fences line foot paths (cars aren't needed), and a short walk through artsy pavilions will take you to what everyone comes to see -the fine, powdery white sands and aqua blue surf. When hunger strikes there are plenty of food options, and for entertainment there is shopping, theater/fine arts performances, educational lectures, and bike rentals. I would love to go back with my camera to recapture memories from long ago. Seaside has been heralded as "probably the most influential resort community since Versailles" by Newsweek. I highly recommend visiting here if you love the ocean, architectural beauty and design, and want a peaceful, urban-modern vacation in a small community.
This place is special to me because I grew up there, and have many fun memories of riding my bike down the crazy steep hills to the beach, and walking on the pier, the Sandcastle competitions, and the smell of the ocean. This little seaside town has changed a LOT since I lived there, but my favorite places remain the same. The museum was originally a train station, and trains still come along the rails along the beach. There's a little bit of Surrey snuck in there too, since they have an off-leash doggy beach that my dogs adore!
I went to Savannah College of Art and Design years ago (earned my BFA in Computer Art in 1999!) in historic downtown Savannah, Georgia; during my four years there I fell in love with the South. Upon my return to southern California after graduation, Georgia remained as a murmur in the back of my mind; eventually, in 2012 my husband Josh and I moved our family to a rural area just outside the city.
Coming back to the city as a family opened our world up to all kinds of new adventures seen through the eyes of our hilarious kids, and I wanted to pull together all my very best don't miss places for you to have a fun family vacation in a spot that skews very much towards "visit these historic (translation: usually boring for kids) places". If you're a history buff, this map could be a great help in compromising! Visit a historical landmark, then throw in one of these kid-friendly locations to give them a brain break!
Here's my list of do not miss places to take your kids in Savannah, from left to right on this map:
1) City Market - Pizza at Vinnie Van GoGos, Ice Cream at Savannah Candy Kitchen. Because pizza and ice cream. Afterward, if it's a warm day advance token to Ellis Square and let the kids play in the splash pad that's technically a fountain (if it's flat and people run through it every day I'm sorry you built yourself a splash pad).
2) Free River Ferry Ride on River Street - If you take the ramp down to River Street at City Hall (I believe there's a Hyatt hotel right next to it), you can hop on the river ferry and take a ride on the Savannah River for free. Ride across the river during the holidays and you can see the gingerbread house display they put up every year in the hotel lobby across the way!
3) Savannah Bee Company store on Broughton Street - You get to visit the honey tasting bar (which will blow your mind), and your kids will get to play in what's basically a beehive themed fort. It's amazing.
4) Leopold's on Broughton Street - because ICE CREAM.
5) Forsyth Park - Travel down Bull Street from City Hall, and you'll run right into Forsyth Park. The last Saturday in April is Savannah College of Art and Design's Sidewalk Arts Festival, and they let kids participate in drawing on a sidewalk square with chalk for free!
6) "The Globe" at Derenne and White Bluff Road (Southside Savannah) - Every time we drive past this globe, my daughter Joy and I play a game where we try to guess what's inside it and what we would do if that's what was in there. (e.g. - "What if it was full of blue and green M&Ms?" "I would eat them all but I would share with you.")
7) Exotic Underworlds pet store (Southside Savannah) - this pet store is like a tiny aquarium. Tons of really cool fish and reptiles to see, and a huge tortoise that walks around free through the store.
8) Chatham County Aquatic Center (Southside Savannah) - this is the city's public pool, and it's super affordable to go play for a couple of hours in their gloriously heated pool. (Usually heated to around 88 degrees.)
9) Oatland Island - If you only take your kids to one place on this list, Oatland Island should be it. Like a zoo, this animal rehabilitation center has a long trail through the woods where your kids will see animals like a mountain lion, alligators, deer, foxes, and wolves. Phil's favorite exhibit for AGES was the wolves - if you're a detective you can find our Calvert family board on the wooden walkway near the wolf building.
10) UGA Marine Science Center and Aquarium - This isn't a full-size aquarium like the huge one in Atlanta, but there's still tons of great exhibits, a touch tank, and a beautiful nature trail outside. We discovered it when we received tickets to go during the library's summer reading program a few years back!
11) Captain Mike's Dolphin Adventure: There are a few different dolphin tours out towards Tybee Island in Savannah, but this is the one we've been on and can recommend. We went during the solar eclipse a couple of years ago and it was super fun!
12) The Crab Shack on Tybee Island is one of my happy places. There's nothing better than sitting in their outdoor area on the dock, looking out at the wetlands, eating a ridiculous pile of seafood. Wait, the only thing better is seeing random raccoons in the trees above and the cats that wander around outside helping to keep the pests away. And did I mention they have a gator pit? Full of live gators? THAT YOU CAN FEED FOR $2???
13) Fish Art Gift Shop - as you head out towards Tybee Island Lighthouse on Highway 80, you can't miss this shop. The outside of it is literally COVERED with all kinds of interesting sculptures for sale. Last time we were there we saw a life-size metal great white shark sculpture with a mannequin leg hanging out of its mouth. Inside, you'll find an entire section of gems, minerals, and rocks, and your kids will keep you there for an hour or more while they try to decide what they're bringing home.
14) Tybee Island Lighthouse - Don't skimp. Pay the money to walk up into the lighthouse. You won't regret it.
15) Marine Science Center on Tybee Island - If you're going to the beach on Tybee, this is an easy stop to make and another super cool and educational place to check out!
16) The Sandbox Children's Museum (Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) - I included two locations in South Carolina because it's literally RIGHT THERE. And we went there a ton when we lived there. Plan to make a day of it, and let your kids explore the whole place on their time. If you do, make sure to bring a sack lunch! No restaurant or vending machines, but they do have picnic tables out in front. The age range on this museum I think tops out at about 7-8 years old, but I have heard they have plans to expand in the future to make more exhibits for older kids.
17) And if you're driving to Hilton Head Island, make a stop at Coligny Beach! After years of taking our family to Tybee, once I went to Coligny that quickly became our beach of choice for the free parking and the splash pad to rinse off in.
Want to visit these places in person? I created a Google map to share - you'll find exact locations of all these spots along with gobs of other gems that couldn't quite fit in my layout! Click here for more information on these places: http://bit.ly/SAVwithKidsMap
This place is special to me because this is where I used to spend my summer vacations as a child and teen. I always stayed in my cousin’s house. It was an adorable typical little house. Ericeira is a small and lovely village. Is a very calm, charming, typical fishing town that is situated along a coastline of outstanding surfing beaches. Nowadays, and because of the boom of surf lovers, Ericeira is a nice fusion of Portuguese heritage houses and atmosphere with a cool surfing ambience, where traditional fishermen’s cottages live amongst trendy lounge bars and cafes. The fresh smell of the sea is all over this place. It’s truly just wonderful.
This place is special to me because I completely fell in love with the area, driving through it seven years ago. Then I met my husband and he also had a love for Montana (we are midwesterners so mountains are hard to come by). We recently took a trip to Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park, and enjoyed every minute! The mountains! The lakes! The wildlife! It's beautiful big sky country.
This place is special to me because my husband and I go to Cabo every February. It's such a magical getaway, full of delicious food and drink, generous hospitality and natural beauty. I created this map to highlight a few of our favorite places, but there is so much more to discover!
Bondi beach is special to me, because It was one of the places I always wanted to visit when I was living in Europe. Now I am lucky enough to live in Sydney, very close to this iconic place. I find it absolutely amazing that I can go to the beach whenever I like and after 3 years I still feel like I am on holidays. What a great feeling! Why did I choose cockatoos? Because this noisy birds are all-around and they are absolutely gorgeous.
My boyfriend Jim and I have been visiting the Lido di Venezia since the mid-90s! This year we took my sister Salli. We swam and cycled every day. We also took little trips into Venice (a 10-minute vaporetto ride away!) to visit the Biennale and see the sites.