4 Things You Can’t Miss on Your First Visit to Jacksonville

The following article was originally published on awesometravelling.com on 4/6/18.

With its oceanside location and exciting attractions, it’s no surprise that Jacksonville is a top Florida destination. If you’re heading to this city in the First Coast region for the first time, be sure to add these attractions to your itinerary.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

One of the city’s top attractions is Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. With more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plant varieties, it has plenty for visitors to explore. The zoo exhibits focus on various regions, including the plains of East Africa and Australian Outback. Jaguars, apes, giraffes, tigers, stingrays, bobcats, and elephants are just some of the many animals you’ll encounter as you explore the zoo.

Consider checking out the calendar of events before you visit. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens often hosts fun activities, like scavenger hunts, after-dark events, and conservation speakers. There are plenty of affordable Jacksonville hotels located nearby if you’re looking for a place to stay.

Jacksonville-Area Beaches

Some of Florida’s best beaches can be found in Jacksonville, so take advantage of the chance to see the gorgeous white sand and clear ocean waters. There are a number of popular beaches in the area, so you have plenty of options when it comes to finding the right fit for your trip.

Atlantic Beach is a great choice if you like a relaxed, laid-back vibe and the opportunity for shelling. Jacksonville Beach is known for its excellent surfing conditions along with plenty of restaurants, shops, and activities available near the water. For jaw-dropping sunsets and sunrises, head to Neptune Beach. Beachfront accommodations can be pricey, but you can save by staying at one of the hotels near the University of North Florida, which is just a short drive inland.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

A trip to Jacksonville wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, one of the 12 flagship breweries this company has in the U.S. And thanks to a number of affordable hotels near the Jacksonville Anheuser-Busch Brewery, you can stay close to this popular attraction.

There are a number of tour options at the brewery, but the Beermaster Tour is highly recommended since it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing of Budweiser; it even includes a sample of beer taken directly from a finishing tank. Another fun option is the Beer School, where you get to learn about beer styles, ingredients, pouring techniques, and food pairings.

Tree Hill Nature Center

Take a day to explore Jacksonville’s exquisite natural surroundings with a visit to the Tree Hill Nature Center. This wilderness preserve covers more than 50 acres and features plenty to keep visitors of all ages entertained. You can explore miles of walking trails, visit the butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and view native animals like turtles, snakes, owls, alligators, and pygmy goats.

The preserve also features the Florida Natural History Museum. Explore the many hands-on displays and check out the Florida Wetland exhibit room. The area surrounding the preserve is especially scenic, so consider staying at one of the hotels near the Tree Hill Nature Center.

If this is your first visit to the area, see the many exciting things Jacksonville has to offer by checking out these attractions.

4 Cheap Things to Do in Tucson

The following article was originally published on awesometravelling.com on 4/6/18.

Whether you’re passing through for a night or spending your entire holiday in one spot, Tucson has plenty of entertainment and attractions to keep you busy, especially if you’re traveling on a budget. With affordable activities and other low-cost options, you won’t break the bank on your visit to this Arizonan town. Here are a few suggestions to guide you though your budget-friendly trip to Tucson.

University of Arizona Sporting Events

With average ticket prices to professional sporting events hovering between $31 and $92, going to a game isn’t an option for a shoestring budget. Fortunately, the excitement of collegiate games is on par with professional sports, but at a fraction of the cost. The University of Arizona has 18 varsity sports, giving you a range of choices for entertainment. Popular sports include football, basketball, baseball, and softball, but you can also grab a ticket for under $10 to watch golf or sand volleyball.

If you’re a fan of University of Arizona football, don’t miss a game at the legendary Arizona Stadium. With seven home games each year, you can choose between regular season games or early-season, non-conference matchups. Tickets vary depending on the opponent, but you can get in the door for $20 to $30.

When that’s outside your budget, you still have other options to get your fix of football. Book a hotel near Arizona Stadium to take part in the tailgating festivities or to explore the lobby and the grounds of the stadium.

Turquoise Trail

Stretching 2.5 miles through downtown Tucson, the Turquoise Trail is a free yet fun and informative way to spend a day in the city. Beginning at the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson, this easy-to-walk loop takes you by the most important historical sites, buildings, and other areas.

If you stay in downtown Tucson, hopping on the trail is easy. Just look for the turquoise stripe painted on the sidewalk or grab a map at the Tucson Visitors Bureau at 811 North Euclid Avenue.

Discover Tucson’s Natural Beauty

Nestled in a valley amidst five mountain ranges, Saguaro National Park, and several state and local parks, Tucson’s natural beauty is undeniable. The rocky terrain is ideal for climbing and mountain biking, while the height of the mountains provides excellent hiking and photography opportunities, all at zero cost to you.

Tucson also has seven designated dog parks within the city limits and several more in neighboring towns. Pet-friendly hotels are everywhere, and you’re sure to find one close to a park you’ll love.

Tucson Convention Center

Comprised of a two theaters, a 9,000-seat arena, and 205,000 square feet of floor space, the Tucson Convention Center always has something going on, including events on the cheap. The Tucson Roadrunners, an American Hockey League team, has promotions such as $1 food nights, $2 beer nights, and tickets as low as $16.

Other affordable events at the convention center include Tucson Symphony concerts, local plays and musicals, and conventions throughout the year. If you pick the right hotel and weekend, you can do it all without spending extra on transportation.

No matter what you decide to do in Tucson on the cheap, you’ll find a warm, inviting city that invites you to return year after year.

The Best Things to Do in Monterey, California

The following article was originally published on backpackingworldwide.com.

The central coast of California is a beautiful place to visit and is one of my favorite places to enjoy the Californian sun. Monterey is one of your best bets for a great time on the central coast, and I enjoy visiting as often as I can. I have written this article to give you all a taste of what is on offer in one of my favorite parts of California.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

This beautiful Aquarium is home to many species of marine life. Here you can see stingrays, jellyfish, sea turtles, and sharks, just to name a few. Aside from simply seeing the classic aquarium tanks that we are all used to when we think of an aquarium, there are a number of interesting and interactive exhibitions to enjoy with a number of other types of animals, like reptiles and birds. You should definitely take a tour too to learn more about the local wildlife and hopefully something new!

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Located not too far from the Monterey Conference Center, this quaint little seaside village is one of the more unexpected places that you are likely to visit in Monterey. From the outside, it looks like a place that is rather placid with some small shops and cafes. But there really is more to it than that. It is full of chic designer shops, gourmet restaurants, and a number of art galleries. The beach is definitely the place to be, and you will find a number of Monterey’s famous residents there too! This is one of my personal favorite places in Monterey, so be sure to have a look at this great spot.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

This reserve is only a short way south of Carmel-by-the-Sea and is somewhere that you need to have on your bucket list. The beautiful rock formations here rise majestically from the ocean and are naturally the focal point of this nature reserve. These are complemented by the various hiking trails of varying difficulties, the groves of twisted and gnarled cypress trees, and the various diving sites in the area. I love this place for its variety and the fact that it truly has something for everyone looking for a beautiful sight or some adventure.

Monterey Fairgrounds

The Monterey Fairgrounds are situated in the very heart of Monterey and are a place that comes to life with a number of local and international events. This is also the site of the annual Monterey county fair, which is a wonderful place to enjoy carnival rides, games, and amazing food as well as the opportunity to learn a bit more about the local area and its unique heritage and agriculture. There are also a number of other fun events at the fairgrounds too, including the Reggae Festival, Jazz Festival, and the California Roots Music Festival. There should be an event to enjoy any time of the year here, so be sure to do a little bit of research before you travel.