Guest Post by Jane Meyers
The world is full of stellar travel destinations. It always seems that the closer you look at a particular region or area, the more you notice specific locations and attractions that appear lovely to visit. But before you look too closely at a given spot, it’s always helpful to learn about the main destinations that draw people to the area. So, along these lines, here are my top 5 destinations in North America.
1. Montreal, Quebec – Canada
Often noted as perhaps the most European city in North America, Montreal is unlike any other place on the continent. Dripping with French influence, the city is as beautiful as it gets with an array of fascinating architectural sights and wonderful museums. But for a lot of visitors, it’s the food that’s the highlight. Check out Le Jardin Nelson for some authentic French cuisine in a beautiful setting in Old Montreal.
As for the culture in Montreal, one of the best places to go to get a feel for the city is the Place des Arts, which is essentially a collection of theatrical venues that showcase the very best in the city’s wonderful musical and theatrical productions. Montreal is known for a sort of combination of French and traditional North American influences when it comes to the arts, and the venues at Place des Arts will give you a taste of both sides, with the highlight for many being the local Montreal orchestras.
2. San Francisco, California – USA
Mentioned by many as one of the top-10 must see destinations in the U.S., San Francisco has truly become one of the hottest city destinations in all of North America. From the “Postcard Row” neighborhoods, to the picturesque cable car rides, to the beautiful San Francisco bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, there’s a lot to see in this Bay Area city. It is also known as one of the most progressive and generally relaxed destinations in the U.S.
Regarding specific activities, San Francisco truly is largely about beautiful sights and simply “soaking it all up.” That, and friendly people, a great indie music scene, and wonderful restaurants. However, there are still some highlights you shouldn’t miss. The Golden Gate Park is one of the most beautiful urban parks in the U.S., for example, and if you enjoy sports, AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) is thought by many to be one of the best ballparks in America for a baseball game.
3. Cancun and Cozumel – Mexico
By noting both Cancun and Cozumel, we’re essentially addressing the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, which, as mentioned by Yahoo Travel, offers stunning beach and ocean activities and attractions. The resorts of Cancun are legendary for their festive, fun-loving atmospheres. Also, the snorkeling and scuba diving activities at both locations are world class.
If you’re looking past the basic resorts and mainstream beaches, it’s an absolute must to visit “El Cielo,” which is essentially an expanse of shallow, incredibly clear water and breathtakingly soft white sand located off the Cozumel shore. Visitors must reach El Cielo by boat, and it’s included in several snorkel tours of the area, offering one of the most pleasant, relaxing destinations in either Cancun or Cozumel.
4. The Bahamas
Cancun and Cozumel are spectacular. However, for a true island paradise, it’s very hard to beat the Bahamas, specifically Paradise Island. Sure, it’s a haven for tourists, so you’ll run into a crowd here and there, but the jaw-dropping beaches, perfectly turquoise waters, and ideal temperatures just make for an excellent vacation. Plus, the Atlantis Resort may be the very best in all of North America, including those on the Vegas Strip.
The Bahamas are in general a popular destination for those interested in “swim with the dolphins” tours, and while there are locations for this on the islands, you can actually enjoy this activity at Atlantis as well. The Marine Habitat housed at the hotel is fairly incredible, offering guests not just the chance to observe wildlife (everything from rays and fish to sharks and sea turtles), but in many cases, the chance to interact with fascinating animals. Swimming with dolphins, feeding rays, and sliding through a shark tank in an enclosed tube are all options!
5. Oregon Wine Country
While California has always been known for its Napa Valley wines, the American northwest is becoming increasingly respected for its own wine production. Oregon, in particular, is an up-and-coming destination that’s simply wonderful for wine tourism. Check out the Willamette Valley Wineries for some of the best in both scenery and wine in all of America.
If you’re looking for particular wines to try, the best option is often to do tastings at a few different vineyards and accept the recommendations and opinions of those in the know. However, the highlight of the Willamette Valley tends to be its incredible Pinot Noir, which in some cases has even brought awards to the valley wineries.
Jane Meyers is a freelance writer and artist who enjoys getting to travel the world and share her experiences with others.