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4 Adventurous Experiences Around Pittsburgh

If you’re a fan of adventure, Pittsburgh is the place to be. With three rivers in the downtown area as well as numerous state parks in the surrounding countryside, you’ll never have a lack of physically challenging activities to keep you busy. Be sure to add the following experiences to your list of things to do when vacationing in this city.

Kayak the Three Rivers

Image via Flickr by alexander geoff

The Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela Rivers meet at a confluence at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. While it’s a beautiful sight to behold, it’s also a fun one to explore. Get out on the water by renting a kayak at Kayak Pittsburgh on the North Shore.

In your telltale yellow boat, you’ll be able to glide next to the Riverfront Trail to see both PNC Park and Heinz Field from the rivers. Head over to Station Square to dock and grab a bite to eat, or paddle down the Allegheny to check out Washington’s Landing.

Bike the Great Allegheny Passage

Pittsburgh is lucky to be a stop on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), a trail that starts at Point State Park and connects to the C&O Canal Towpath in Cumberland, Maryland, for a continuous path all the way to Washington, D.C. The 150-mile GAP prides itself in being nearly level at most points, with an average grade of less than 1 percent. Because the whole trail is made of crushed limestone, it’s perfect for walking, biking, or jogging for as long as you feel like going.

Float Down Natural Water Slides

Image via Flickr by brittreints

Ohiopyle State Park is a little over an hour drive from Pittsburgh; however, it’s well worth the trip thanks to one unique feature — natural water slides. The park encompasses land in the Laurel Ridge, which includes rocky terrain. Over time, a shoot of the Youghiogheny River carved a path through these rocky gorges, creating a smooth natural slide that carries riders downhill.

Swimmers can slide about 100 feet into a shallow pool. Just make sure the water levels aren’t too low or high, or you could end up getting stuck or being carried away by the current.

Since Ohiopyle State Park has myriad more opportunities to explore, considering booking your hotel close to this area. Check out Pittsburgh hotels on Hotel Planner to find a place that’s between the hustle and bustle of the city and the relaxing atmosphere of the country.

Zoom Around Mines and Meadows

Feel like zooming through the forest on a motorized vehicle? Then the Mines and Meadows ATV Park in Wampum is just the place for you. Just 45 minutes outside the city, this park has a twist— it was built on the site of former underground limestone mines. This means that you can take your journey underground to zoom around the abandoned caves and paths. Splash through underground lakes in near darkness for an experience that will get your heart beating.

Pittsburgh is any adventurer’s dream city. Whether you are alone or in a group and crave stimulating experiences downtown or thrilling journeys in the country, Pittsburgh can appease your needs.

Beach Resort vs Traditional Town: Where to Stay in Turkey?

Looking at a guide book of Turkey you might be tricked into believing that your only option for accommodation is in an upmarket resort or seaside town however Turkey is also has many small villages and traditional towns which lie inland from the Aegean and Mediterranean sea and offer a slightly more cultural experience. If you plan to visit some of Turkey’s many ancient ruins then one of your first choices may be between staying in Kusadasi, on the Aegean Sea, or in the mountain town of Selcuk, just 18 km inland.

Reasons to Stay in Kusadasi:

For Excellent Location…

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Kusadasi lies on the southwestern shores of Turkey’s Aegean sea, within an hours drive of Izmir’s international airport and just a stone’s throw from the Greek Island of Samos. This seaside resort has regular bus connections to sites and towns of interest along the coast including Bodrum, Fethiye, Pamukkale and Izmir and daily ferries to Samos. If you’re interested making daytrips then Kusadasi has an abundance of sites in the area, you might want to hop on a Jeep Safari to the Dilek National Park or take a bus to the shopping outlets at Soke. Agencies offer guided Ephesus tours or excursions to Didyma and Pamukkale on a daily basis so there’s no need to have your own transport if you choose stay in Kusadasi.

For the Beaches…

Kusadasi is one of the few coastal resorts to have a beach right in the centre of town, so if you choose to make this spend your vacation in this harbour you can be sure that it will only be a short stroll to white sand and transparent water. Aside from ‘Ladies Beach’ – don’t be fooled by the name because it is open to both men and women – on the outskirts of town are 4 privately owned beach clubs. If being served cocktails as you lounge on a shaded sunbed is you style you can head to any one of these. Alternatively take a national park bus to Guzelcamli and relax on the town’s more quiet and scenic beaches.

For the Nightlight…

Kusadasi is one of the top spots in Turkey for dining and nightlife, second only to the country’s party capital, Bodrum which lies further south on the Aegean coast. Start your evening with a glass of wine in an elegant rooftop restaurant as you watch the sunset over the sea. When you’re ready for dinner take advantage of the excellent Aegean cuisine, which will undoubtedly include fresh fish and sea foods. Then head to the Old Town to enjoy live music and quirky bars in the maze of streets before heading to the modern ‘Bar Street’ where you can party through the warm summer night until sunrise.

Reasons to Stay in Selcuk:

For a Little Ancient History…

Visit Turkey

Unlike its seaside neighbors Selcuk had retained much of its Ottoman architecture and examples of its Roman/Byzantine heritage. Just wondering about the town’s old streets you’re sure to notice the remaining pillars of an aqueduct which once supplied the town with clean water. Or you might notice the Byzantine fortress which sits upon a hill overlooking the town. Selcuk is also just 3 km from the 2nd largest city of the ancient world and UNESCO world heritage site of Ephesus. Walking through colossal theatre, well preserved library and marble pillar lined entrance way, far away from modern buildings and technologies, is sure to give you a feel for life over 2,000 years ago.

For Old Trains and Famous Caves…

While most of Selcuk’s visitors have come to for Ephesus Tours and other sites such as the Temple of Artemis, House of the Virgin Mary, St. Johns Basilica and Isa Beya Mosque, the town is also the host of some uniquely interesting sites. Even in the centre of the Old Town there is some exploring to do as one of the country’s first steam locomotives sits between the streets, waiting patiently as tourists and locals aboard for photos. Travelling further afield there is the Camlik Outdoor Museum and the mysterious Cave of the Seven Sleepers, where 7 young Christians hid from persecution and allegedly awoke from a deep slumber 180 years later.

For Family Guesthouses and Homemade Cuisine…

Much of the accommodation offered in Selcuk is in family run guesthouses, built into traditional Ottoman homes, each of which has its own story to tell and it’s own host to tell it. You will probably find yourself dining on a delicious Turkish buffet breakfast of olives, cheeses, fruits, pastries and homemade jams and benefiting from the local knowledge of your host. Far from the modern chain hotels that you would find in coastal resort towns, Selcuk accommodation give visitors the opportunity to experience real Turkish hospitality, taste homemade Turkish dishes and maybe even learn a few words of the local language.

So Where to Base Yourself?

Whether you choose to base your holiday in stylish beach resort or a tranquil mountain town you’re sure to find plenty to do, Selcuk and Kusadasi are actually close enough together that you can easily travel between the two. Stay in Selcuk and take a Ephesus to Samos day tour to visit the beach and Greek Island or check into a hotel in Kusadasi and take a day trip inland to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the village as well as the lively atmosphere and parties of a Turkish beach town.

How to Ensure Your Group Fishing Trip Goes Smoothly 

I have been organizing an annual fishing trip for my buddies and I for around 6 years now and each year is better than the one before it. This year we are looking at some Miami yacht charters listings to see if we can’t up the ante a little from previous years, a feat that will definitely be difficult.

Deepsea

As much as I love these fishing trips, organizing them does take quite a lot of work and in the first few years I made many mistakes. After such experience in organizing these things, I wanted to share with you a few tips on how to ensure that you organize a trip that everyone enjoys and nobody forgets.

Keep it Democratic

If you simply choose the destination and then tell everyone where they are going, you will run into all kinds of complaints from your friends. This is something that I did for the first two years and I frankly got sick of the moaning. In order to avoid this then, the best option is to put together 3 different options in 3 different destinations and then take it to the vote amongst your friends. Once you ahem reached a conclusive decision there can no longer be any moaning and groaning and it will save you a great deal of earache.

Deal With Simplicity

As the organizer of the trip, your only responsibilities are to book the accommodation, the flights or transport, the fishing trip itself and absolutely nothing else. Once you start organizing equipment rental and the like, you are treading into dangerous waters that can leave you open. In order to avoid problems, the best thing to do is stick to these things only and leave the worries about baggage and equipment to the people going on the trip. Just because you are organizing it does not mean that you need to be on hand for every minor problem that goes wrong. Keep it simple, focus on the big events and leave the details to those who are going on the trip.

Put Your Money Down

Three years ago I lost $700 because two people backed out of our US trip at the last minute and I was too foolish to get them to put their money up front. Trust is an interesting thing amongst friends, especially when it comes to money and I would strongly advise you not to pay for anything until you have received some money first. Anyone could back out for any number of reasons and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you have their money first, there is no reason that you or anyone else should have to pay for someone else’s problems. It may be tempting to put it all on you credit card, but for security sake, I would urge you to think again about this idea.

You will learn more from experience like I have but the best advice is to keep things simple and don’t get overly involved.

Which Theme Parks You Should Visit In Florida

Florida is truly a magical wonderland which gives both kids and adults the perfect place to enjoy a vacation like no other. Whilst there is much to a vacation in Florida which you can do from beaches to hover-crafting over marshlands, today we are going to focus solely on the many theme parks which are in operation in the Sunshine State. Theme parks in the USA are like no other nation and it is Florida which regularly sets the benchmark for everyone else to follow.

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There is a whole host of theme parks to choose from when you go to Florida so we have whittled them down and created a list of the ones which you simply cannot miss out on.

Disney World

Let’s start with the juggernaut that is Disney World, the park that shook the world of theme parks to their foundations when it came along and the franchise which is constantly seeking to create magic for everyone. The complex is split into the following four theme parks:

  • Epcot – Based on human discovery
  • Animal Kingdom – Animal-themed rides and wildlife roaming the park
  • Hollywood Studios – Celebration of Disney at the movies
  • Magic Kingdom – The original theme park and a park packed with Disney-themed rides

Seaworld

For those looking to indulge in some marine life adventure, look no further than Seaworld, a theme park which is based upon all of our favorite underwater animals. Aside from the rides that are available at the park you can also discover a great deal of information about marine life, watch the animals in action with dolphin and whale shows as well as going beneath the depths in the aquarium to watch them in their habitat. You will most certainly enjoy a visit to Seaworld Orlando and you should not miss out on a day at the park.

Busch Gardens

If you want to enjoy all of the magic that an african Safari can offer, in the very heart of Florida then Busch Gardens is the place for you. This long standing theme park is entirely based around the natural splendor of the African Bush and visitors can enjoy themed rides as well as seeing their favorite animals up close and personal. From cheetahs to elephants roaming around to rides that fly at breakneck speed, Busch Gardens truly is a park like no other.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios is a theme park which is dedicated to all things film and TV and for movie buffs, this place is like paradise. All of the rides are based on smash hit movies and through the years they have allowed visitors to ride on E.T.’s bike, get chased by King Kong and help out Indiana Jones. The theme park is ever changing and each year it alters one of the rides in order to stay current or launch a new ride based on an industry classic. Even if you aren’t a fan of the movies, you will absolutely love this theme park and it should not be missed.