Don’t mistake it’s placement on International Drive as yet another tourist trap attraction. Titanic the Experience* just may surprise you. That’s the discovery I had this past weekend as I explored this fascinating exhibit nestled between a Chinese buffet and Indian Restaurant.
Your experience begins with a tour from a “passenger” aboard the Titanic. At first I was a bit skeptical at this approach. I mean, I want to explore the artifacts at my own pace. But after five minutes, I was convinced that this was the best way to explore the Titanic.
I have to admit, I was a bit jealous. My buddies Rori from RoriTravels and Mike and Catrell from Cooney World Adventures had both experienced Stand Up Paddle Boarding with East Coast Paddle and both reviews of their trip were awesome. They spotted manatees, dolphins and more on this eco-tour through the estuaries of the Canaveral National Seashore.
So last weekend (perhaps the last nice weekend before the cooler weather advances into Florida), Brian and I had the chance to travel to New Smyrna Beach, FL and try Stand Up Paddle Boarding with East Coast Paddle*.
“If there’s one thing you have to do in Palm Springs, it’s Big Wheel Tours* Bike Tour,” my friend said.
There are a lot of reasons why people would pass on this adventure…
- It’s 20 miles long
- You have to bike it
- It’s in the desert, and deserts are hot
- You have to wake up early
I didn’t want to do it at first… riding around the desert in a jeep and looking at the stars. After several long days of hiking and biking, I wasn’t in any kind of physical mood to go. The 3-hour tour sounded like an eternity on this last evening in town. But after five minutes in the jeep my opinion changed 180 degrees.
Our provider was Desert Adventures*, known by their signature, open-top red jeeps. We boarded our 4×4 in the parking lot of a local shopping plaza and were quickly whisked away to an almost alien landscape, leaving the comfort and safety of civilization behind us.
And that’s just one of the reasons why this hotel was so great. But there are many others.
1. Entry into The Magic Castle
Clearly, the top reason why I love the Magic Castle Hotel is because you can gain entry into it’s namesake club. If you’re not a member, or know a member, there’s no other way to gain entry, period! You’ll still need to pay a cover and dine in the restaurant, but you’re in! You can learn more about The Magic Castle Club by reading about my prior visit.
Hawaii ranks as one of those once-in-a-lifetime destinations everyone must visit. I finally had my chance, albeit on a work related trip, to explore the 50th State in the United States. Though much of my time was spent in the hotel and in meetings, I did get to explore a bit of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu (above) and the town of Kona. With a whirlwind 5 days on the ground, here are my initial thoughts/impressions of Hawaii.
- Waikiki Beach and Honolulu are nothing but mega tourist centers. I couldn’t believe the crowds.
Aside from an ongoing taste test of McDonald’s overseas (where I eat things like the Mega Mac), I generally avoid eating at American Chain Restaurants. And if you’re like me, you’ll be pleased at not only the abundance of unique, eateries in Palm Springs, but at their price and quality.
Stop number one is the unassuming Thai Smile Palm Springs. Towards the end of the main downtown strip rests this small, award-winning restaurant. With one of the best Thai meals I’ve ever had, it’s no surprise that every table was full at 10 P.M. at night!
I could wander around the streets of Palm Springs all day… admiring the mid-century modern architectural style. But a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway provides both a fresh perspective on the city, great hiking trails and an excellent way to escape the insanely hot, desert heat (temperatures are significantly cooler at the top)!* It’s a must-do on any Palm Springs Itinerary.
The journey begins by taking a long road up towards the mountainous landscape. From the bottom of the valley, you’ll travel over a mile up the mountain, gliding above rocky, barren, terrain, on a cable that’s less than 2 inches thick – making it one of the largest in the world!
I’m not one to usually indulge in nice hotels, but on a trip to Palm Springs, it’s almost a necessary part of the experience. And I’m awfully glad to have discovered The Saguaro in Palm Springs*.
Every corner you turn is another color from the rainbow.
The hotel was formally a Holiday Inn, but you’d never know it. New carpeting, paint and furniture turn a usually drab room into a hip, crisp retreat.