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Oceania Aruba – Prestige Vacations Aruba

 Oceania  Comments Off on Oceania Aruba – Prestige Vacations Aruba
Jun 302016
 

Oceania Deluxe Beachfront Condominium Resort On behalf of all the condo owners that we represent, we welcome you to stay at this luxurious condo resort and have the most wonderful vacation experience in Aruba! The Oceania Deluxe Beachfront Condominium Resort (also known as Oceania Residences) is a new, and currently the only BEACHFRONT residential condominium resort in Aruba. ALL OUR CONDOS HAVE OCEAN VIEW, even though ground floor units may have ocean views through property landscaping, whereas storey floor units have unobstructed ocean views. It is located along the Eagle Beach within the high-activity resort and hotel strip of the island. The surrounding areas are all timeshare and/or hotel resorts, which are much more crowded and with much less spacious rooms.

View Condos at the Oceania Deluxe Beachfront Condominium Resort

The Alhambra Casinois within 5 minutes walk from the Oceania Deluxe Beachfront Condominium Resort. The Links Golf courseis another 5 minutes walk. Many exquisite restaurants are within a short walk distance (Las Ramblas, Chalet Suisse, Screaming Eagle, The French Steakhouse, etc.). All other major hotels, casinos as well as many other restaurants are about 5-10 minutes drive away, including the Tierra del Sol Golf community and the downtown shopping areas. The amenities of the complex include e.g.three large swimming pools (beautiful at night, too), a kiddy pool, two gyms, men’s and women’s saunas, a business center, a kid’s play center, a racquetball court, a squash courtand two tennis courts. Click here to view a site plan of the resort.

If you are looking for an upscale, private and relaxing condo with spectacular ocean view and just a few steps from the beach, but still close to all main activities and with all the benefits from adjoining hotels and resorts; look no further! We have wonderful and luxurious condos of all sizes and at reasonable seasonal rates. The Mid-season runs from April 16 to December 17. The High-season runs from January 4 to April 15. The Super high-season are the two X-mas and New Years weeks, from December 18 to January 3. Weekly rates are already discounted by about 10%, so take advantage ofthe lower nightly rates by staying a week or more!Click here for condos

We have the largest portfolio of units at Oceania Residences, of varying sizes, sleeping capacity, design, furnitureand in-room facilities. And since the Oceania Deluxe Beachfront Condominium Resort is still the only beachfront residential condo resort on the island and ALL UNITS HAVE AN OCEAN VIEW, there is thus no comparable offering of luxury beachfront accommodation in Aruba! You can choose between the most economic studio condos to the largest and majestic three-bedroom condos, from groundfloor units withprivate gardens, deck, hot tub and full-size gas BBQ grill, to the most luxurious penthousetop floor units with roof terraces also with same outdoor facilities. Accommodation is adequate for singles or couples in our studio units, up to the maximum sleeping capacity for a group of 12 in one large unit! For groups that require more individual privacy, there is also the option to stay in adjacent units so that the group members are still close to each other, yet are able to enjoy their so needed moments of privacy. No matter what your accommodation requirements are, subject to availability (book early and make use of our easy payment schedule!) we are sure toprovide you with a luxury condo or combination of condos that will enjoy your utmost level of satisfaction!

This is Google Maps’ most recent satellite image of Oceania Deluxe Beachfront Condominium Resort along the white-sandy Eagle Beach of Aruba, and we assure you, the white sand is not photoshopped!

1-866-940-7453 (Toll Free)

Note: Please be aware that all condominium units are privately owned and all units are very different. The interior design and the rates of each unit are at the owner’s descretion.

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Oceania Aruba – Prestige Vacations Aruba

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Orange Beach – Alabama Gulf Coast Vacations – Gulf Shores

 Beaches  Comments Off on Orange Beach – Alabama Gulf Coast Vacations – Gulf Shores
Jun 212016
 

Adventure, fun, relaxationyoull find it all on Alabamas white-sand beaches. For years, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach remained a little-known vacation treasure, but more and more families are discovering the 32 miles of soft sand and clear waters that lace the edges of Alabamas southern border to the Gulf of Mexico. With attractions like zip lines, championship golf and water sports, travelers are escaping to the beach for their annual vacations and weekend getaways.

Made almost entirely of quartz grains washed down from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago, the white-sand beaches that make up Gulf Shores and Orange Beach shorelines are some of the finest in the world. But, dont take our word for it. Its one of the reasons families return to our Gulf Coast beaches, year after year. Theres no better way to unwind from everyday life than spending your days building sandcastles and soaking up the sun. Seagulls singing, waves crashing, children laughing; its everything you need to discover a whole new state of relaxation.

Cast your cares away when you cast your line during a deep-sea fishing adventure in Orange Beach, where the countrys largest artificial fishing reef awaits you. Or, hide a history lesson in a trip to historic Fort Morgan, the guardian of Mobile Bay since 1834 and where four wars were fought. After a day of adventure, refuel with seafood thatdoesn’tget any fresher than right off the boat.

Whether youre in the mood for fun and adventure or lazy days on the beach, you can do it all in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Bring the family and discover a whole new state of satisfaction while you explore the waterways, relax on the beach, eat your fill of fresh seafood or practice your golf game on the back nine. Its all here waiting to be discovered. Order a vacationguide and plan your Alabama Gulf Coast Vacation today!

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Orange Beach – Alabama Gulf Coast Vacations – Gulf Shores

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The Danger and Bounty of the Minerva Reefs

 Minerva Reefs  Comments Off on The Danger and Bounty of the Minerva Reefs
Jun 172016
 

Story and photos by Scott & Wendy Bannerot.

Few South Pacific voyagers miss a stop at the Kingdom of Tonga. The Vava’u Group attracts the highest number of visiting boats, with deep, protected passageways between a large cluster of picturesque islands, permitting relaxed cruising among lovely, sheltered anchorages. A growing number of boats venture south into the lower-lying, coral-strewn Ha’apai Group, and a steady annual proportion sail onward to the country’s southernmost main island of Tongatapu for a stop at the capital town of Nuku’alofa. There they provision and procure New Zealand visas from the consulate before heading south to escape the November onset of cyclone season. By this time nearly all have heard of North and South Minerva Reefs, two rings of nearly submerged coral lying some 270 nautical miles southwest of Tongatapu, somewhat to the west of the rhumb line to New Zealand.

This position, and the existence of navigable passes into the protected inner lagoons of both atolls, plays on various portions of a seafarer’s brain. No one wants to hear the roar of breakers dead ahead on a dark, stormy night or feel the crunching lurch of your hull piling forcibly onto a solid piece of real estate in mid-ocean. On the other hand, many dream of anchoring alone in tranquil, gin-clear lagoons teeming with sea life for a restful break during a passage, or of riding out a severe storm on the hook, protected from the brunt of the conditions by solid walls of coral. We were no different from anyone else, having made two passages between Tonga and New Zealand without laying eyes on either of the Minervas. By the time our third passage was imminent, we knew a stop was inevitable.

We’d arrived in Tonga’s Vava’u Group again after 18 months in New Zealand, including a four-month return to the U.S. for medical and business issues that could no longer be ignored. During this time our 41-foot aluminum sloop Elan awaited us on an Auckland hardstand. Our first time through Vava’u, nearly two years before, had been late in the winter sailing season. We’d spent only one short week before the looming storm season compelled us to set sail. We knew we hadn’t scratched the surface of what this group of islands had to offer, and our determination to do it justice on the second time around was strong. We’d sailed up the eastern quadrant of a fortuitously stalled high, fanned by southeasterlies coming over the starboard quarter on a direct 10-day shot from Auckland to Neiafu. We cleared customs one hour before my sister, her husband, and her father-in-law arrived at the airport on a long-planned visit from Wyoming. Our spirits soared as we loaded everyone’s gear aboard and made ready to cast off from the fuel dock.

Ambitious plans to visit Fiji and Vanuatu fell by the wayside as two other couples came out to visit, we were adopted by several local families, and we accepted an invitation to participate on a local fishing boat in the annual billfish tournament. Before we knew it, we’d been in Vava’u’s calm embrace for nearly the entire South Pacific winter. We’d had countless wonderful days, exploring Swallow’s and Mariner’s caves, photographing a mother humpback whale and her calf swimming laconically beside Elan, and spending time under and above water with some very special people and marine life. Suddenly the October spring window for the voyage back to New Zealand was upon us.

We fished and dived our way south through the Ha’apai and Nomuka Groups, and arrived in Nuku’alofa after an easy overnight sail. There we consolidated our crew with Kiwi friends Ken Kiddie and Hans Swete, who’d earlier committed to the trip south as a way of gaining their first offshore passage. The four of us plotted and dreamed about a stop at the Minervas over cold beers at Nuku’alofa’s waterfront Billfish Bar, and we kept a sharp eye out for an appropriate weather window.

As if on cue, the progression of strong winter highs passing by to the south of us slowed and settled, and on a sparkling sunny afternoon we picked our way around Atata Island, out the channel through the reef, and set a course for North Minerva Reef.

The mystique of the Minervas Elan’s hull bit into the ocean swell under full genoa and mainsail, close reaching into light south-southeasterly conditions. The trolling lines went out, and the conversation turned quickly to stories about the Minervas-boats that had survived the infamous Queen’s Birthday and lesser storms anchored inside the reefs; shipwrecks and disappearances, either documented or suspected, in the vicinity of the reefs; and reports of abundant fish and lobsters, and of an unspoiled environment little-disturbed by humans.

Capt. H. M. Denham, aboard the H.M.S. Herald, surveyed the reefs in 1854 and named them after the whaling ship Minerva, wrecked on South Minerva after setting out from Sydney in 1829. The captain of the Minerva was not aware of a large, poorly defined area called Nicholson’s shoals added to Pacific charts not long before departure, and was therefore quite surprised when the brig drove up hard on the reef at 0200 on September 9. Most of the 23-man crew, and a dog, made it from the wreck to the inner lagoon aboard two whaleboats, but the drunken whaling master and two crew refused to leave the wreck, despite the fact that it was under siege from heavy breaking seas. They survived the night lashed to the bowsprit of the broken hull, and the entire complement set sail the following day aboard three whaleboats loaded with water caskets and what provisions they could salvage from the wreck. One boat began leaking seriously, prompting one of the two remaining boats to sail off to save themselves. The remaining whaleboat eventually took aboard the entire crew of the sinking boat for a total of 15 men and the dog, leaving only six inches or so of freeboard. The desperate castaways, out of fresh water and food, sighted the island of Vatoa, an outlier of Fiji’s Lau Group, on September 15 and reached the outer reef, making their way ashore after splintering the whaleboat on the coral. Eight of the men remained with the friendly locals, and seven repaired the whaleboat and set sail again only to wreck once more on a Tongan island before eventually making their way home to Sydney. The crew of the boat that hastily abandoned the doomed men was never seen again.

Another famous incident occurred on the maiden voyage of the wooden schooner Strathcona, sailing north soon after completion in Auckland in 1914, only to unexpectedly crash up onto South Minerva Reef on the sixth day of the voyage and break apart. The crew of 13 consolidated materials and constructed a raft to live aboard in the lagoon, and then the captain and three crew sailed the schooner’s launch north to the nearest inhabited island, Ono-i-Lau, Fiji. Meanwhile a rescue vessel from New Zealand found the survivors on the raft at South Minerva, as well as the rescuers returning aboard a Fijian cutter to save their crewmates.

Many other wrecks on the two reefs are mysteries, with hulls and remains noted by passing vessels at various times and no signs of survivors. One such wreck was a largely intact Japanese fishing vessel that appeared in 1960 on South Minerva, the crew apparently taken off safely by the crew of another fishing vessel, whom they were able to contact by radio. This wreck was to play a critical role in what remains one of the most incredible maritime survival tales in recent history.

The tragedy of the Tuaikaepau Tuaikaepau was a 51-foot wooden cutter completed in 1902 at the same Auckland boatyard that later built the Strathcona. On the night of July 7, 1962, she was bound from Nuku’alofa for a refit in New Zealand, booming along close-hauled in boisterous southeasterly conditions. Experienced captain David Fifita commanded the seven-man crew and 10 passengers, mostly amateur boxers looking to make some money in New Zealand. The vessel smashed onto the eastern side of South Minerva Reef at seven knots in the darkness. This started a 14-week odyssey that would see only 12 of the men survive.

The 17 Tongans took refuge in the Japanese fishing boat wreck, constructed an ingenious water-distillation plant, and fed themselves by walking the reef flat to fish and collect seafood. Finally on Saturday, October 7, with three men dead, conditions becoming increasingly desperate, and hopes of rescue long gone, Fifita, his son Sateki, and ship’s carpenter Tevita Uaisele embarked on an epic rescue mission in a small craft crudely fashioned (with no tools) from remains of the two wrecks. David set a course for due north, armed only with a compass, sextant, nautical almanac, and a crude chart engraved on a plank, and no way to measure time accurately. He navigated by sun shots and dead reckoning. By Wednesday they were out of food and water. On Thursday they managed to catch a seabird that landed on the tiller and drank its blood. They bypassed treacherous, reef-encircled Ono-i-Lau and Matuku, and at midnight the following Saturday, in greatly weakened condition, David calculated that it was time to head due west in hopes of reaching much larger Kandavu.

The mountainous profile of the eastern end of Kandavu jutted above the horizon at dawn, confirming David’s emergency navigation skills and filling the severely dehydrated, starving men with hope. They sailed cautiously toward the reef, only to have an oversized breaking swell toss the sturdy wooden craft crashing over the reef, throwing the occupants overboard and capsizing the boat. This left little choice but to attempt a swim against the tide to the tiny outlying island of Nmbia approximately 1.3 nautical miles away. David’s son disappeared two thirds of the way to shore. The two survivors dragged themselves up the beach, quenched their thirst with green coconuts, and hiked to a village to summon help for their crewmates back on South Minerva. After some confusion, word finally reached the Royal New Zealand Air Force station at Suva, and the commander ordered an immediate night flight Monday to drop supplies to the survivors on South Minerva, followed by a rescue via Sunderland flying boat the following morning. The supply flight likely saved the life of at least one of the weakened castaways, though one man had died the previous evening. Olaf Ruhen’s Minerva Reef (Halstead Press, Sydney, 1963) is a worthwhile, highly detailed account of the entire ordeal, and voyagers can pick up the brief recent account Minerva Reef by survivor Fine Feuiaki in Tongan bookstores (Friendly Islands Bookshop, Tonga, 1992). Overnight at North Minerva Thoughts of the imperiled voyagers before us prevailed as light, fluky winds had us motorsailing for parts of the second and third days of the passage. By the third evening the southeasterly breeze stiffened. We made good time under double-reefed genoa and mainsail, and at first light sighted the white line of breakers along the north side of North Minerva that had been painting a radar target during the pre-dawn hours. Soon after, the left outrigger bait disappeared in a splashing strike, and Ken worked a 22-pound bull mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus, also called dolphin or dorado) to the gaff. We made our way into the wide, easy pass in the northwest corner of the submerged atoll at 0900 in good light and dropped the anchor 20 feet down to the deep fine sand. Soon the dinghy was in the water and we all piled in for a free-diving expedition to a series of nearby coral heads.

We already had plenty of fish, so we did some sightseeing and looked around for lobsters under ledges and domes of coral. The area teemed with fish, flourishing with the near total absence of hook and line or other fishing effort. We spotted only two lobsters, both far under the coral and inaccessible, before heading out the pass for a dive on the outside reef. Here the visibility was nearly limitless, the coral vibrant and dense. An occasional small gray reef shark wagged lazily by the steep drop-off below us, none bothering to investigate the newcomers.

As we motored back in the pass, taking advantage of the countercurrent along the margin of the now outgoing tide, we noticed Elan’s mast swinging irregularly. Despite being inside the lagoon, the vessel was rolling. The shield of coral rubble on the reef crest was mostly submerged at this nearly high-tide stage, offering less opposition to wind-driven waves piling across the reef flat. The formerly placid lagoon now had a distinctly lumpy surface-plenty tenable, just not as comfortable.

We dined on fresh-grilled mahi mahi and turned in early, awakening to a thin overcast, slick calm morning. We decided to stow the dinghy, rig up some fishing lines, and make a slow, fuel-saving motorsail the 20-odd miles to South Minerva Reef. Hans bagged a school-sized yellowfin tuna, and we all enjoyed the sight of a small (150 pounds) blue marlin crashing the left outrigger bait, missing, then playfully grabbing a small tuna lure before leaping in a graceful arc to freedom. Exploring South Minerva A pack of hungry wahoo attacked our lures just off the northwest corner of South Minerva Reef. Their razor-sharp teeth luckily missed the monofilament leaders of our tuna/billfish lures before taking off, but not before one rocketed vertically, high above the deck with our hookless teaser clamped fleetingly in its jaws. We entered the pass, which was less distinct than North Minerva, but no problem if one follows the well-defined southwestern (right-hand) margin into the lagoon, avoiding the easily sighted coral heads as they crop up from time to time inside the lagoon. We picked our way around the inner rim of the lagoon, anchoring near a large, block-like aggregation of coral on the eastern side. This turned out to be the work of an Australian survey team. The location was not far from the site of the long-gone Japanese wreck used by the Tuaikaepau crew, and some boat remains were strewn in the area. We drank in the desolate seascape, barely punctuated by a jagged rim of reef. The muted hiss of breaking seas was the only sound as we tried to imagine being shipwrecked here for 14 weeks, surviving by foraging and by consuming tightly rationed portions of water, distilled with great daily effort, bearing the sorrow of watching crewmates slowly die, and somehow building a boat capable of a substantial bluewater passage-with no tools. Firing up the grill and the music system returned us to the present, and soon the aroma of sizzling marinated tuna steaks dominated our thoughts. We suspended the tuna carcass into the water from a rope tied to the port transom cleat and retired below for the meal-we’d done the same thing the night before with the mahi mahi carcass and found the rope cleanly severed in the morning. Just as we finished dinner, a loud splash accompanying a sudden lurch of the boat sent us all topside in time to see several gray reef sharks circling hungrily. We didn’t need the bright arch light to see the dark silhouettes against the light sand bottom in the bright reflected light of the full moon, gracefully gliding in ever-tighter circles, then swimming off, only to wheel around and swim straight back in. We fed them the carcass after taking a few photos. Two solid days of non-stop reef walking, free-diving, dinghy fishing, and lobster hunting proved South Minerva to be every bit as bountiful and spectacular as we’d dreamed. We caught three different species of spiny lobsters during daylight hours hiding in shallow lagoon coral heads, at least two of which characteristically spend their days at significant depths on the outer reef at most tropical Pacific locations. Normally these are caught only at night by walking the reef flat on certain moon phases. Giant clams (Tridacna), increasingly scarce in most Indo-Pacific locations due to overexploitation, were abundant, as were innumerable other reef denizens of every description-brilliant blue starfish; colorful tropical fish species and moray eels; sea urchins and sea cucumbers; rich and brilliantly hued corals; big fat groupers or coral trout (Variola louti) arrogantly patrolling the pass. This was a chance to enjoy the natural South Pacific in all of its splendor, virtually unaltered by the strains humans exert on the planet. It was a good thing Ken and Hans were along, with the pressures of land jobs and responsibilities never far from mind. Otherwise our euphoria might have sorely tempted us to delay a prudently timed voyage southward. This trip should be made before tropical lows begin abutting to subtropical highs, spawning the hurricane-force easterlies not uncommon in later November and December in the vicinity of New Zealand’s North Island. So, at noon on the third day after arriving, we exited the pass in calm, sunny weather, with the weatherfax showing favorable timing for a jaunt south, with the exception of one mild low developing in the Tasman Sea. We paused outside the pass long enough to do some deep-dropping with an electric fishing reel, catching a couple of delicious groupers from as deep as 750 feet. The low gave us light northerlies and was not showing signs of deepening, so we finished securing the deck and set sail for New Zealand at 1700. Heading south We’d had two fast, uneventful previous passages between Tonga and New Zealand but were no less mindful of the possibility of experiencing heavy conditions. The moon loomed huge and orange out of the sea off the port quarter on the first night, making the ocean surface glimmer. We caught a cow mahi mahi of about 13 pounds the next afternoon and entered the scattered deluges and shifting wind directions of the still-weak low the following afternoon. The center of the low passed below us before sunset, and we’d never seen more than 22 knots of wind. Favorable winds from light to not more than 25 knots settled in for the remainder of the passage. We fished two billfish lures during daylight hours and caught and released both a rare shortbill spearfish and a striped marlin on successive days. Two days north of our destination a pod of (mammal) dolphin came alongside, immediately followed by a modest-sized marlin blasting onto the teaser and a big strike on the right outrigger lure, which turned out to be a 70-pound-class yellowfin tuna. With that we retired the fishing rods and concentrated on making maximum speed over the last 250 nautical miles to Opua, rather than hover in what might be fairly termed the “screw-up zone” for this particular passage. Many crews tend to relax a little early, knowing they’ve nearly made it, only to get a pasting when the bottom drops out of a low as it passes over warm ocean currents just above the North Island.

We sailed into Opua exactly seven days after departing South Minerva Reef on a beautiful and sunny, though distinctly cool, late afternoon and retired to the quiet of the Kawakawa River anchorage after check-in.

Bright smiles lit the aft settee over hot soup and rum as we celebrated our good fortune, and the rarified afterglow of visiting a place as magnificent and remote as the Minerva Reefs.

Scott and Wendy Bannerot, based in New Zealand as they voyage the South Pacific, are the authors of The Cruiser’s Guide to Fishing, recently published by International Marine in Rockport, Maine.

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The Danger and Bounty of the Minerva Reefs

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Ascension – Wikitravel

 Ascension  Comments Off on Ascension – Wikitravel
Jun 172016
 

Ascension

Ascension Island is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, just south of the equator, 700 miles northwest of Saint Helena, the United Kingdom territory by which it is administered.

The main settlement and “capital” is Georgetown where the tourist information office is in the Obsidian Hotel (see “Sleep” section).

This barren and uninhabited island was discovered and named by the Portuguese in 1501. The British garrisoned the island in 1815 to prevent a rescue of Napoleon from Saint Helena and it served as a provisioning station for the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron on anti-slavery patrol. The island remained under Admiralty control until 1922, when it became a dependency of Saint Helena. During World War II, the UK permitted the US to construct Wideawake airfield on Ascension in support of trans-Atlantic flights to Africa and anti-submarine operations in the South Atlantic. In the 1960s the island became an important space tracking station for the US. In 1982, Ascension was an essential staging area for British forces during the Falklands War, and it remains a critical refuelling point in the air-bridge from the UK to the South Atlantic.

The climate on Ascension Island is subtropical. It is arid and lacking in vegetation until the elevation increases where lush forest and fertile soil exists.

The tourist information office is in the Obsidian Hotel (see Sleep).

All visitors must apply for an entry permit in advance (minimum 14 days). An Entry Permit issued by the Administrator’s office allows a stay of up to 3 months. Passports must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Ascension, and visitors must also have full medical insurance which will cover the expense of medical evacuation, if needed.

There is no public transport (including taxis) on Ascension. Obsidian offers car rentals from 25/day.

Sport fishing is the main attraction for visitors to Ascension Island. There are also some beaches and ocean swimming in certain coves, such as Comfortless Cove and English Bay. Long Beach, as inviting as it looks, has a very hazardous undertow and is not suitable for sea bathing. However, it is a sheer delight for wildlife fans as this is where sea turtles go to nest. There are a few paths (such as Rupert’s Path) suitable for hiking into the more lush highlands, as well as mountainside lava tubes to explore. The British pastime of letterboxing – hiking to a destination that contains a “letterbox” containing a log book and a rubber stamp pad – is possible here.

Ascension Island features what was at one time reputed to be the world’s worst golf course. Located between the settlements of Two Boats village and Georgetown, the course has 18 holes and the greens are in fact ‘browns’, a reference to the sand and oil mix used to make them. The rest of the course is made up of volcanic ash and rock, which makes for some interesting rounds.

There is some terrific Scuba Diving in the waters surrounding Ascension Island. At present, however, there are only local enthusiasts and no recognized Diving Operation. Some of locals are often willing to take experienced visitors with them

There are Fumaroles and Lava Tunnels to explore (at Command Hill, near the Catholic Grotto)

The grocery store and almost every other business on the island have really odd hours of operation.(the gas station on Tuesdays is open 2-3 in the afternoon) so make sure you write up the times on the first day. The Obsidian Hotel has a nice gift shop with some good books and beach vacation-style t-shirts.

Because everything is imported prices for food are very high on the island. If you get the chance to go out fishing with the locals, you may walk away with a bag of tuna. Sometimes the community hosts a fish fry that is open to everyone.

There are very few places to eat, with odd opening hours

Visitors are accommodated by the Obsidian Group Accommodation and Tourist Services, +247 6246, which maintains a hotel (the Obsidian), two hostels, and two cottages (7 night minimum). Hotel rates range from 45 for a single to 79 for a VIP double. Hostel and cottage rates range from 25-50 per night.

Saint Helena is obviously the only reasonable destination you can visit from Ascension Island. See Get in/By sea

There is limited mobile service on the island, but service may be spotty at best. [1] (Numbers starting with 0 or 5 have been reserved for future services).

The country code for Ascension is 247 and the population is too small to need area or trunk STD codes. The International Prefix is 00. Subscriber numbers are typically 4 digits long and start with a 2 for the US Base, 3 for Travellers Hill or Airhead, 4 for Two Boats and a 6 or 7 for Georgetown.

There is a Wi-Fi hotspot in Obsidian Hotel’s lobby and patio for 10/day. The Post Office in Georgetown offers a vast array of Philatelic items for sale from the three islands of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha. Airmail is possible, thanks to the airfield.WikiPedia:Ascension Island

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Ascension – Wikitravel

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A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Wikipedia, the free …

 Artificial Intelligence  Comments Off on A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Wikipedia, the free …
Jun 172016
 

A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also known as A.I., is a 2001 American science fiction drama film directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay by Spielberg was based on a screen story by Ian Watson and the 1969 short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss. The film was produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Spielberg and Bonnie Curtis. It stars Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor, Brendan Gleeson and William Hurt. Set in a futuristic post-climate change society, A.I. tells the story of David (Osment), a childlike android uniquely programmed with the ability to love.

Development of A.I. originally began with producer-director Stanley Kubrick in the early 1970s. Kubrick hired a series of writers until the mid-1990s, including Brian Aldiss, Bob Shaw, Ian Watson, and Sara Maitland. The film languished in protracted development for years, partly because Kubrick felt computer-generated imagery was not advanced enough to create the David character, whom he believed no child actor would convincingly portray. In 1995, Kubrick handed A.I. to Spielberg, but the film did not gain momentum until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Spielberg remained close to Watson’s film treatment for the screenplay. The film was greeted with generally positive reviews from critics, grossed approximately $235 million, and was nominated for two Academy Awards at the 74th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Score (by John Williams). The film is dedicated to Stanley Kubrick.

In the late 21st century, global warming has flooded the coastlines, wiping out coastal cities (such as Amsterdam, Venice, and New York City) and drastically reducing the human population. There is a new class of robots called Mecha, advanced humanoids capable of emulating thoughts and emotions.

David (Haley Joel Osment), a prototype model created by Cybertronics of New Jersey, is designed to resemble a human child and to display love for its human owners. They test their creation with one of their employees, Henry Swinton (Sam Robards), and his wife Monica (Frances O’Connor). The Swintons’ son, Martin (Jake Thomas), had been placed in suspended animation until a cure could be found for his rare disease. Initially frightened of David, Monica eventually warms up enough to him to activate his imprinting protocol, which irreversibly causes David to have an enduring childlike love for her. He is also befriended by Teddy (Jack Angel), a robotic teddy bear, who takes it upon himself to care for David’s well-being.

A cure is found for Martin and he is brought home; as he recovers, it becomes clear he does not want a sibling and soon makes moves to cause issues for David. First, he attempts to make Teddy choose whom he likes more. He then makes David promise to do something and in return Martin will tell Monica that he loves his new “brother”, making her love him more. The promise David makes is to go to Monica in the middle of the night and cut off a lock of her hair. This upsets the parents, particularly Henry, who fears that the scissors are a weapon, and warns Monica that a robot programmed to love may also be able to hate.

At a pool party, one of Martin’s friends unintentionally activates David’s self-protection programming by poking him with a knife. David grabs Martin, apparently for protection, but they both fall into the pool. David sinks to the bottom while still clinging to Martin. Martin is saved from drowning, but Henry mistakes David’s fear during the pool incident as hate for Martin.

Henry persuades Monica to return David to Cybertronics, where he will be destroyed. However, Monica cannot bring herself to do this and, instead, tearfully abandons David in the forest (with Teddy) to hide as an unregistered Mecha.

David is captured for an anti-Mecha “Flesh Fair”, an event where obsolete and unlicensed Mecha are destroyed in front of cheering crowds. David is nearly killed, but the crowd is swayed by his fear (since Mecha do not plea for their lives) into believing he is human and he escapes with Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a male prostitute Mecha on the run after being framed for murder.

The two set out to find the Blue Fairy, who David remembers from the story The Adventures of Pinocchio. He is convinced that the Blue Fairy will transform him into a human boy, allowing Monica to love him and take him home.

Joe and David make their way to Rouge City, a Las Vegas-esque resort. Information from a holographic answer engine called “Dr. Know” (Robin Williams) eventually leads them to the top of Rockefeller Center in the flooded ruins of Manhattan. There, David meets an identical copy of himself and, believing he is not special, becomes filled with anger and destroys the copy Mecha. David then meets his human creator, Professor Allen Hobby (William Hurt), who excitedly tells David that finding him was a test, which has demonstrated the reality of his love and desire. However, David learns that he is the namesake and image of Professor Hobby’s deceased son and that many copies of David, along with female versions, are already being manufactured.

Sadly realizing that he is not unique, a disheartened David attempts to commit suicide by falling from a ledge into the ocean, but Joe rescues him with their stolen amphibicopter. David tells Joe he saw the Blue Fairy underwater and wants to go down to her. At that moment, Joe is captured by the authorities with the use of an electromagnet, but he sets the amphibicopter on submerge. David and Teddy take it to the fairy, which turns out to be a statue from a submerged attraction at Coney Island. Teddy and David become trapped when the Wonder Wheel falls on their vehicle. Believing the Blue Fairy to be real, David asks to be turned into a real boy, repeating his wish without an end, until the ocean freezes in another ice age and his internal power source drains away.

Two thousand years later, humans are extinct and Manhattan is buried under several hundred feet of glacial ice. The now highly advanced Mecha have evolved into an intelligent, silicon-based form. On their project to study humans believing it was the key to understanding the meaning of existence they find David and Teddy and discover they are original Mecha who knew living humans, making the pair very special and unique.

David is revived and walks to the frozen Blue Fairy statue, which cracks and collapses as he touches it. Having downloaded and comprehended his memories, the advanced Mecha use these to reconstruct the Swinton home and explain to David via an interactive image of the Blue Fairy (Meryl Streep) that it is impossible to make him human. However, at David’s insistence, they recreate Monica from DNA in the lock of her hair, which Teddy had saved. One of the Mecha warns David that the clone can live for only a single day and that the process cannot be repeated. The next morning, David is reunited with Monica and spends the happiest day of his life with her and Teddy. Monica tells David that she loves him and has always loved him as she drifts to sleep for the last time. David lies down next to her, closes his eyes and goes “to that place where dreams are born.” Teddy climbs onto the bed and watches as David and Monica lie peacefully together.

Kubrick began development on an adaptation of Super-Toys Last All Summer Long in the early 1970s, hiring the short story’s author, Brian Aldiss, to write a film treatment. In 1985, Kubrick brought longtime friend Steven Spielberg on board to produce the film,[5] along with Jan Harlan. Warner Bros. agreed to co-finance A.I. and cover distribution duties.[6] The film labored in development hell, and Aldiss was fired by Kubrick over creative differences in 1989.[7]Bob Shaw served as writer very briefly, leaving after six weeks because of Kubrick’s demanding work schedule, and Ian Watson was hired as the new writer in March 1990. Aldiss later remarked, “Not only did the bastard fire me, he hired my enemy [Watson] instead.” Kubrick handed Watson The Adventures of Pinocchio for inspiration, calling A.I. “a picaresque robot version of Pinocchio”.[6][8]

Three weeks later Watson gave Kubrick his first story treatment, and concluded his work on A.I. in May 1991 with another treatment, at 90 pages. Gigolo Joe was originally conceived as a GI Mecha, but Watson suggested changing him to a male prostitute. Kubrick joked, “I guess we lost the kiddie market.”[6] In the meantime, Kubrick dropped A.I. to work on a film adaptation of Wartime Lies, feeling computer animation was not advanced enough to create the David character. However, after the release of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (with its innovative use of computer-generated imagery), it was announced in November 1993 that production would begin in 1994.[9]Dennis Muren and Ned Gorman, who worked on Jurassic Park, became visual effects supervisors,[7] but Kubrick was displeased with their previsualization, and with the expense of hiring Industrial Light & Magic.[10]

Stanley [Kubrick] showed Steven [Spielberg] 650 drawings which he had, and the script and the story, everything. Stanley said, “Look, why don’t you direct it and I’ll produce it.” Steven was almost in shock.

In early 1994, the film was in pre-production with Christopher “Fangorn” Baker as concept artist, and Sara Maitland assisting on the story, which gave it “a feminist fairy-tale focus”.[6] Maitland said that Kubrick never referred to the film as A.I., but as Pinocchio.[10]Chris Cunningham became the new visual effects supervisor. Some of his unproduced work for A.I. can be seen on the DVD, The Work of Director Chris Cunningham.[12] Aside from considering computer animation, Kubrick also had Joseph Mazzello do a screen test for the lead role.[10] Cunningham helped assemble a series of “little robot-type humans” for the David character. “We tried to construct a little boy with a movable rubber face to see whether we could make it look appealing,” producer Jan Harlan reflected. “But it was a total failure, it looked awful.” Hans Moravec was brought in as a technical consultant.[10] Meanwhile, Kubrick and Harlan thought A.I. would be closer to Steven Spielberg’s sensibilities as director.[13][14] Kubrick handed the position to Spielberg in 1995, but Spielberg chose to direct other projects, and convinced Kubrick to remain as director.[11][15] The film was put on hold due to Kubrick’s commitment to Eyes Wide Shut (1999).[16] After the filmmaker’s death in March 1999, Harlan and Christiane Kubrick approached Spielberg to take over the director’s position.[17][18] By November 1999, Spielberg was writing the screenplay based on Watson’s 90-page story treatment. It was his first solo screenplay credit since Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).[19] Spielberg remained close to Watson’s treatment, but removed various sex scenes with Gigolo Joe. Pre-production was briefly halted during February 2000, because Spielberg pondered directing other projects, which were Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Minority Report and Memoirs of a Geisha.[16][20] The following month Spielberg announced that A.I. would be his next project, with Minority Report as a follow-up.[21] When he decided to fast track A.I., Spielberg brought Chris Baker back as concept artist.[15]

The original start date was July 10, 2000,[14] but filming was delayed until August.[22] Aside from a couple of weeks shooting on location in Oxbow Regional Park in Oregon, A.I. was shot entirely using sound stages at Warner Bros. Studios and the Spruce Goose Dome in Long Beach, south LA.[23] The Swinton house was constructed on Stage 16, while Stage 20 was used for Rouge City and other sets.[24][25] Spielberg copied Kubrick’s obsessively secretive approach to filmmaking by refusing to give the complete script to cast and crew, banning press from the set, and making actors sign confidentiality agreements. Social robotics expert Cynthia Breazeal served as technical consultant during production.[14][26] Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law applied prosthetic makeup daily in an attempt to look shinier and robotic.[3] Costume designer Bob Ringwood (Batman, Troy) studied pedestrians on the Las Vegas Strip for his influence on the Rouge City extras.[27] Spielberg found post-production on A.I. difficult because he was simultaneously preparing to shoot Minority Report.[28]

The film’s soundtrack was released by Warner Bros. Records in 2001. The original score was composed by John Williams and featured singers Lara Fabian on two songs and Josh Groban on one. The film’s score also had a limited release as an official “For your consideration Academy Promo”, as well as a complete score issue by La-La Land Records in 2015. The band Ministry appears in the film playing the song “What About Us?” (but the song does not appear on the official soundtrack album).

Warner Bros. used an alternate reality game titled The Beast to promote the film. Over forty websites were created by Atomic Pictures in New York City (kept online at Cloudmakers.org) including the website for Cybertronics Corp. There were to be a series of video games for the Xbox video game console that followed the storyline of The Beast, but they went undeveloped. To avoid audiences mistaking A.I. for a family film, no action figures were created, although Hasbro released a talking Teddy following the film’s release in June 2001.[14]

In November 2000, during production, a video-only webcam (dubbed the “Bagel Cam”) was placed in the craft services truck on the film’s set at the Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach, California. Steven Spielberg, producer Kathleen Kennedy and various other production personnel visited the camera and interacted with fans over the course of three days.[29][30]

A.I. had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2001.[31]

The film opened in 3,242 theaters in the United States on June 29, 2001, earning $29,352,630 during its opening weekend. A.I went on to gross $78.62 million in US totals as well as $157.31 million in foreign countries, coming to a worldwide total of $235.93 million.[32]

The film received generally positive reviews. Based on 190 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 73% of the critics gave the film positive notices with a score of 6.6 out of 10. The website described the critical consensus perceiving the film as “a curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick’s chilly bleakness and Spielberg’s warm-hearted optimism. [The film] is, in a word, fascinating.”[33] By comparison, Metacritic collected an average score of 65, based on 32 reviews, which is considered favorable.[34]

Producer Jan Harlan stated that Kubrick “would have applauded” the final film, while Kubrick’s widow Christiane also enjoyed A.I.[35] Brian Aldiss admired the film as well: “I thought what an inventive, intriguing, ingenious, involving film this was. There are flaws in it and I suppose I might have a personal quibble but it’s so long since I wrote it.” Of the film’s ending, he wondered how it might have been had Kubrick directed the film: “That is one of the ‘ifs’ of film history – at least the ending indicates Spielberg adding some sugar to Kubrick’s wine. The actual ending is overly sympathetic and moreover rather overtly engineered by a plot device that does not really bear credence. But it’s a brilliant piece of film and of course it’s a phenomenon because it contains the energies and talents of two brilliant filmmakers.”[36]Richard Corliss heavily praised Spielberg’s direction, as well as the cast and visual effects.[37]Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars, saying that it was “Audacious, technically masterful, challenging, sometimes moving [and] ceaselessly watchable. [But] the movie’s conclusion is too facile and sentimental, given what has gone before. It has mastered the artificial, but not the intelligence.”[38] On July 8, 2011, Ebert reviewed A.I. again when he added it to his “Great Movies” pantheon.[39]Leonard Maltin gives the film a not-so-positive review in his Movie Guide, giving it two stars out of four, writing: “[The] intriguing story draws us in, thanks in part to Osment’s exceptional performance, but takes several wrong turns; ultimately, it just doesn’t work. Spielberg rewrote the adaptation Stanley Kubrick commissioned of the Brian Aldiss short story ‘Super Toys Last All Summer Long’; [the] result is a curious and uncomfortable hybrid of Kubrick and Spielberg sensibilities.” However, he calls John Williams’ music score “striking”. Jonathan Rosenbaum compared A.I. to Solaris (1972), and praised both “Kubrick for proposing that Spielberg direct the project and Spielberg for doing his utmost to respect Kubrick’s intentions while making it a profoundly personal work.”[40] Film critic Armond White, of the New York Press, praised the film noting that “each part of Davids journey through carnal and sexual universes into the final eschatological devastation becomes as profoundly philosophical and contemplative as anything by cinemas most thoughtful, speculative artists Borzage, Ozu, Demy, Tarkovsky.”[41] Filmmaker Billy Wilder hailed A.I. as “the most underrated film of the past few years.”[42] When British filmmaker Ken Russell saw the film, he wept during the ending.[43]

Mick LaSalle gave a largely negative review. “A.I. exhibits all its creators’ bad traits and none of the good. So we end up with the structureless, meandering, slow-motion endlessness of Kubrick combined with the fuzzy, cuddly mindlessness of Spielberg.” Dubbing it Spielberg’s “first boring movie”, LaSalle also believed the robots at the end of the film were aliens, and compared Gigolo Joe to the “useless” Jar Jar Binks, yet praised Robin Williams for his portrayal of a futuristic Albert Einstein.[44][not in citation given]Peter Travers gave a mixed review, concluding “Spielberg cannot live up to Kubrick’s darker side of the future.” But he still put the film on his top ten list that year for best movies.[45] David Denby in The New Yorker criticized A.I. for not adhering closely to his concept of the Pinocchio character. Spielberg responded to some of the criticisms of the film, stating that many of the “so called sentimental” elements of A.I., including the ending, were in fact Kubrick’s and the darker elements were his own.[46] However, Sara Maitland, who worked on the project with Kubrick in the 1990s, claimed that one of the reasons Kubrick never started production on A.I. was because he had a hard time making the ending work.[47]James Berardinelli found the film “consistently involving, with moments of near-brilliance, but far from a masterpiece. In fact, as the long-awaited ‘collaboration’ of Kubrick and Spielberg, it ranks as something of a disappointment.” Of the film’s highly debated finale, he claimed, “There is no doubt that the concluding 30 minutes are all Spielberg; the outstanding question is where Kubrick’s vision left off and Spielberg’s began.”[48]

Screenwriter Ian Watson has speculated, “Worldwide, A.I. was very successful (and the 4th highest earner of the year) but it didn’t do quite so well in America, because the film, so I’m told, was too poetical and intellectual in general for American tastes. Plus, quite a few critics in America misunderstood the film, thinking for instance that the Giacometti-style beings in the final 20 minutes were aliens (whereas they were robots of the future who had evolved themselves from the robots in the earlier part of the film) and also thinking that the final 20 minutes were a sentimental addition by Spielberg, whereas those scenes were exactly what I wrote for Stanley and exactly what he wanted, filmed faithfully by Spielberg.”[49]

In 2002, Spielberg told film critic Joe Leydon that “People pretend to think they know Stanley Kubrick, and think they know me, when most of them don’t know either of us”. “And what’s really funny about that is, all the parts of A.I. that people assume were Stanley’s were mine. And all the parts of A.I. that people accuse me of sweetening and softening and sentimentalizing were all Stanley’s. The teddy bear was Stanley’s. The whole last 20 minutes of the movie was completely Stanley’s. The whole first 35, 40 minutes of the film all the stuff in the house was word for word, from Stanley’s screenplay. This was Stanley’s vision.” “Eighty percent of the critics got it all mixed up. But I could see why. Because, obviously, I’ve done a lot of movies where people have cried and have been sentimental. And I’ve been accused of sentimentalizing hard-core material. But in fact it was Stanley who did the sweetest parts of A.I., not me. I’m the guy who did the dark center of the movie, with the Flesh Fair and everything else. That’s why he wanted me to make the movie in the first place. He said, ‘This is much closer to your sensibilities than my own.'”[50]

Upon rewatching the film many years after its release, BBC film critic Mark Kermode apologized to Spielberg in an interview in January 2013 for “getting it wrong” on the film when he first viewed it in 2001. He now believes the film to be Spielberg’s “enduring masterpiece”.[51]

Visual effects supervisors Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Michael Lantieri and Scott Farrar were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, while John Williams was nominated for Best Original Music Score.[52] Steven Spielberg, Jude Law and Williams received nominations at the 59th Golden Globe Awards.[53] The visual effects department was once again nominated at the 55th British Academy Film Awards.[54]A.I. was successful at the Saturn Awards. Spielberg (for his screenplay), the visual effects department, Williams and Haley Joel Osment (Performance by a Younger Actor) won in their respective categories. The film also won Best Science Fiction Film and for its DVD release. Frances O’Connor and Spielberg (as director) were also nominated.[55]

American Film Institute lists

Excerpt from:

A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Wikipedia, the free …

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Reggae (Adults-Only) Riu Republica (Adults-Only) Riu Santa Fe Riu Vallarta Riu Yucatan Robert’s Grove Beach Resort Rooms on the Beach, Ocho Rios Royal Decameron Club Caribbean Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Royal Decameron Los Cabos Royal Decameron Montego Beach Royal Hideaway Playacar All Inclusive Adults Only Resort Royal Solaris Cancun Royal Solaris Los Cabos Resort and Spa Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium (Adults-Only) Royal West Indies Resort Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino Royalton Riviera Cancun Royalton White Sands Samsara Cliff Resort San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel Sanctuary Cap Cana (Adults-Only) Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort Sandos Caracol Eco Resort Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos Sandos Playacar Beach Resort Sands At Grace Bay Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort Savannah Beach Hotel All Inclusive Sea Breeze Beach Hotel Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya Secrets Aura Cozumel Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa Secrets Playa Bonita Panama Resort & Spa Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun Secrets St. James Montego Bay Secrets The Vine Cancun Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay Seven Stars Resort Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel Sibonne Beach Hotel Silver Point Hotel Sirenis Punta Cana Resort Casino & Aquagames Sivory Punta Cana Somerset on Grace Bay Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa Sonesta Kura Hulanda Village & Spa Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino Sonesta Ocean Point South Gap Hotel Spice Island Beach Resort St. James’s Club & Villas St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, Saint Lucia St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino Experience Inclusive St. Lucian by Rex Resorts, St. Lucia St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort Sugar Bay Barbados Sugar Bay Club Sugar Bay Resort & Spa Sugar Bay Resort & Spa All Inclusive Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort Sun Palace SunBreeze Hotel SunBreeze Suites Sunscape Bavaro Beach Punta Cana Sunscape Cove Montego Bay Sunscape Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino Sunscape Dominican Beach Punta Cana Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa Sunscape Puerto Plata Sunscape Puerto Plata (STI) Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Sunscape Sabor Cozumel Sunscape Splash Montego Bay Sunset at the Palms Resort & Spa Sunshine Suites Resort Grand Cayman Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive Tamarind Hotel Temptation Resort & Spa, Cancun Tesoro Los Cabos The Club, Barbados The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical The Palms Turks & Caicos The Pyramid at Grand Oasis The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan The Royal Suites Punta de Mita by Palladium (Adults-Only) The Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium (Adults-Only) The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua Time Out Hotel Timothy Beach Resort Treasure Cay Beach, Marina & Golf Resort Tropical Princess Beach Resort & Spa Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino Turtle Beach Resort All Inclusive Valentin Imperial Maya Velas Vallarta Verdanza Hotel VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort VIK Hotel Arena Blanca VIK Hotel Cayena Beach Villa del Arco All Inclusive Beach Resort & Grand Spa Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Grand Spa Villa del Mar – Turks & Caicos Resort Villa del Palmar All Inclusive Beach Resort & Spa Cabo San Lucas Villa del Palmar All Inclusive Beach Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Cabo San Lucas Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta Villa del Palmar Cancun Luxury Beach Resort & Spa Villa del Palmar Flamingos All Inclusive Beach Resort and Spa Villa del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort and Spa Villa La Estancia Beach Resort & Spa, Nuevo Vallarta Villa La Estancia Cabo San Lucas Villa La Estancia Cabo San Lucas All Inclusive Viva Wyndham Azteca Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace Viva Wyndham Fortuna All Inclusive Beach Resort Viva Wyndham Maya Viva Wyndham Tangerine Viva Wyndham V Samana W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island Waves Hotel & Spa West Bay Club Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa Westin Playa Bonita, Panama Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive Westin St. John Resort & Villas Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort & Spa Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort All Inclusive Windsong Resort Windward Passage Hotel Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa All Inclusive Wyndham Reef Resort Grand Cayman Wyndham Reef Resort Grand Cayman, All Inclusive X’tan Ha Resort Zoetry Agua Punta Cana Zoetry Montego Bay Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres

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Orlando Beaches: The 5 closest beaches to Orlando and more …

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Jun 032016
 

1. Cocoa Beach, driving time: about 1 hour, 5 minutes. Read the guide.

2. Daytona Beach, driving time: about 1 hour, 7 minutes. Read the guide.

3. New Smyrna Beach, driving time: about 1 hour, 8 minutes. Read the guide.

4. Canaveral National Seashore, driving time: about 1 hour, 9 minutes. Read the guide.

5. Melbourne Beach , driving time: about 1 hour, 24 minutes. Read the guide

For those interested in the Gulf Coast beaches from Orlando, here are popular choices within 2 1/2 hours drive.

1. Treasure Island (Near St. Petersburg) driving time: 1 hour 57 minutes. Read the guide

2. Clearwater Beach (Near Tampa ) driving time: 1 hour, 59 minutes. Read the guide

3. Fort De Soto Park (Near St. Petersburg) driving time: 2 hours, 3 minutes. Read the guide

4. Caladesi Island State Park (Near Tampa ) driving time: 2 hours, 7 minutes. Read the guide

5. Anna Maria Island (Near Bradenton) driving time: 2 hours, 17 minutes. Read the guide

6. Siesta Key (Near Sarasota) driving time: 2 hours, 20 minutes. Read the guide

7. Longboat Key, Lido Key and St. Armands Key (Near Sarasota) driving time: 2 hours, 21 minutes. Read the guide

Click here to view other popular destination beaches in our Florida Beach Guide. and for those interested in taking a dip in Florida’s other popular watery destination, check out our Florida Springs Guide.

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Orlando Beaches – Orlando’s Closest Beaches …

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Jun 032016
 

Central Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and some of Florida’s best beaches are within an hour’s drive of the Orlando attractions. Beaches in Central Florida are also known for surfing as they are completly exposed to the Atlantic storms. So grab your suit and board, take a break from the crowds and cool off at Orlando’s closest beaches. Cocoa Beach Cocoa Beach is all about the beach. The small wave capital of the world is perfect for beginning and experienced surfers alike. There are so many great hotels on Cocoa Beach, you can stay on the beach at the end of your day of fun in the sun. If you’re ready for some fun and a break from Cocoa Beach’s fabulous beaches, the Orlando attractions and the airport are less than an hour to the west, Making Cocoa Beach, Orlando’s closet beach. More about Cocoa Beach Cocoa Beach Pier The historic Cocoa Beach Pier stretches 800 feet in to the Atlantic Ocean. The Cocoa Beach Pier is located right on the beach there is so much to do here it could take you all day and well into the night if you choose. You can surf, go fishing, boating, swimming, play volleyball, shop, go to a restaurant or a bar or you can choose to do nothing but hang out and catch some rays. More about Cocoa Beach Pier Jetty Park at Port Canaveral Jetty Park is a great place to spend the day or weekend. You can hang out on the beach, fish on the jetty, have a picnic or camp overnight. Jetty Park is located in the southeast corner of Port Canaveral in Cape Canaveral. The park is 35 acres with a 4.5 acre family beach with designated areas for swimming and surfing, lifeguards are on duty year round. The 1,200 foot fishing pier is lighted and open 24 hours. It features fish-cleaning tables with running water and is fully accessible to the physically challenged. There’s also a concession area on the beach where you can eat under a seagrape hammock. More about Jetty Park Cape Canaveral Cape Canaveral is one of busiest cruise ports in Florida, and a perfect home base for your Florida adventure. There are so many things to do in Cape Canaveral, like sail to an exotic Caribbean port on a luxury cruise ship, or stay in a posh hotel like the Ron Jon Cape Caribe Resort. Your Cape Canaveral vacation can include fishing, boating or surfing on the Atlantic Ocean; trying your luck on a gambling cruise or touring Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Later, you can relax and enjoy Port Canaveral’s waterfront restaurants and nightlife. More about Cape Canaveral Sebastian Inlet Sebastian Inlet is home to the best surfing on the East Coast and the Sebastian Inlet Pro surfing contest, the largest annual tournament on the Atlantic Seaboard. In addition to surfing, Sebastian Inlet State Park is also home to some of the best snook fishing in Florida. With two fishing jetties, a tidal pool and camping, Sebastian Inlet is one of the most popular State Parks in Florida. The Sebastian Fishing Museum, The McLarty Treasure Museum, a boat ramp, the mile-long Hammock Trail, picnic areas, a restaurant and wildlife viewing opportunities just add the available activities. Sebastian Inlet State Park near Melbourne, Florida has so many things to do it sometimes it’s hard to decide, luckily the park offers more than you can do in one day. More about Sebastian Inlet Daytona Beach & Ponce Inlet Daytona Beach is about 90 minutes northeast of Orlando. Daytona Beach’s vibrant shoreline, lined with hotels, motels, condominiums and houses, attracts over 8 million tourists each year. One of the best things about the beach is that you can drive on it. Ponce de Leon Inlet connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Halifax River and is located approximately 12 miles south of Daytona Beach, yet it’s secluded and seems a million miles away. You can fish from the jetty, walk along the beach and even drive up to the jetty from the beach. More about Daytona Beach More about Ponce Inlet More about Daytona Beach Pier

By Beverly Martinez-Collins PlacesAroundFlorida.com

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Orlando Beaches – Orlando’s Closest Beaches …

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Southern California Beaches | Best Vacation Spots

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May 292016
 

Whether you are considering a California Beach Vacation or just an outing, you will find that Southern California Beaches are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In Los Angeles County, from Leo Carrillo Beach in the North to Redondo Beach in the South, you will enjoy surf, sand, and sunny weather.

There are also plenty of opportunities for water activities, sight-seeing, shopping, dining, and people watching. Keep your eyes open and you just might spot some of the many famous celebrities who make California beaches their home, or come to shop, dine, and enjoy the beautiful weather along the coastline.

From Santa Monica to Redondo Beach is about a 17 mile ride on a scenic stretch of smooth concrete beach path with a few bike lanes along the way.

The communities listed below are popular hotspots for locals and tourists alike. Although this is officially part of the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, this is a multi use trail shared by pedestrians, rollerbladers, joggers, runners, skaters, cyclists, dogs, seagulls, and anything else that loves the beach. You might find it handy to have a bell on your bike.

These popular beach hot spots are top choices for event organizers to hold their events.

The Southern California Beaches in the Los Angeles County region begin in North with Leo Carrillo Beach and travel along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway to the South at Redondo Beach. Further South towards the City of Long Beach is San Pedro and Cabrillo Beach.

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Southern California Beaches | Best Vacation Spots

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North Carolina Beaches: Come as Guests. Leave as Family!

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May 262016
 

Whoever coined the term “antidote to civilization” must have visited the peaceful and tranquil shores of North Carolina. A warm sunny day, little traffic, a gourmet picnic lunch and a bottle of wine it just doesnt get any better. To help you plan your visit, we present you with information on where to stay, fine dining establishments and some ideas on what to do while you enjoy the coast of North Carolina.

There’s something about North Carolina’s legendary coast that attracts visitors from all over the globe. The commanding splendor of the ocean, sunny and temperate climate of the pristine beaches and the abundant marshes and wetlands are just some of the reasons that North Carolina beaches are one of the hottest attractions in the nation. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, NCBeaches.com helps you find the ideal spot for your next trip. With more than 300 miles of unspoiled coast, it’s easy to find the perfect beach for your getaway … whatever the occasion. Take a complete tour, beach-by-beach, of North Carolina’s peaceful shore.

The east coast boasts of the largest sand dunes in the United States, as well as more than 3,375 miles of shoreline (including the offshore barrier islands.) North Carolinians are also quite proud of the beaches as they provide not just a wealth peaceful beauty, but an abundance of history. The United States named Cape Hatteras, NC as the first national seashore in 1953; yet its discovery was well documented nearly four centuries earlier as Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano set out to find a westward passage to Asia and discovered the unspoiled land. North Carolina was also home to the first English settlement in North America. Roanoke Island, an island situated between the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, first welcomed explorers in 1585. The second group came to the area in 1587 and from their mysterious disappearance the tale of the Lost Colony was born.

The shores of North Carolina became a huge commerce area for fishing, yet the maritime heritage stands apart from other coasts because of the many shipwrecks rather than the monetary gains. Graveyard of the Atlantic, as it is called, has been responsible for over 600 shipwrecks since the 16th century. The wrecks were due largely to the unique shape of the beaches, especially around the Outer Banks. The area is home to Diamond Shoals, where two great ocean currents meet: the cold Labrador and the warm Northbound Gulf Stream. As the currents meet, the difference in temperatures creates constantly-shifting sandbars that have aided in the numerous wrecks. Historian and author David Stick poetically describes the angular coast. In his book Graveyard of the Atlantic: Shipwrecks of the North Carolina Coast , Stick writes, “You can stand on Cape Point at Hatteras on a stormy day and watch two oceans come together in an awesome display of savage fury; for there at the Point the northbound Gulf Stream and the cold currents coming down from the Arctic run head-on into each other, tossing their spumy spray a hundred feet or better into the air and dropping sand and shells and sea life at the point of impact. Thus is formed the dreaded Diamond Shoals, its fang-like shifting sand bars pushing seaward to snare the unwary mariner. Seafaring men call it the Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

It is because of these wrecks that North Carolina constructed 10 lighthouses along the coast, seven of which stand today as reminders of the rich coastal culture. Perhaps the most famous of the lighthouses is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, completed in 1870. Two additions to add height were made 50 years later making it America’s tallest lighthouse at 208 feet high. Construction took roughly 1.25 million bricks and cost $155,000.00 in the eighteen hundreds. Today more than 175,000 visitors flock to climb the 257 steps to the top. Recently the lighthouse made quite a stir in the media as the enormous structure was moved nearly 3,000 feet in the summer of 1999 to ensure its preservation from the encroaching Atlantic Ocean.

From the Southern shores of Holden Beach and Wilmington to the narrow stretch of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks, visitors can choose the destination based on the different activities offered or atmosphere of the beach itself. Historians relish in the many museums, national seashores and legends surrounding the coast. Environmentalists enjoy the wildlife refuges, bird watching and nature trails scattered down the beaches. Adventurers enjoy the windsurfing, scuba diving, hang gliding and many more activities. The Southern beaches, such as Wilmington, Oak Island and Holden Beach, are well known for their plethora of nationally acclaimed golf courses. Known as “North Carolina’s Golf Coast,” the area between Wilmington and Calabash boasts of more than 35 champion golf courses. Famous golf pros such as Palmer, Couples and Dye designed some of the best courses in the area. Whether you’re looking to rent or own a fully equipped villa or beach front cottage, the southern beaches accommodate all styles.

The northern beaches of North Carolina, from Emerald Isle to the Outer Banks, offer many different sporting activities. Because of the great winds, kites are a favorite way to enjoy the beach and are found decorating many of the shops in the area. Families flock to the beach with brightly decorated kites to enjoy hours of fun. Kiteboarding, a sport unique to the Outer Banks and growing in popularity, has become one of the biggest activities of the area. Kitty Hawk Kites, a store that offers everything from toys to tours, has every kind of kite possible. Whether it’s single line kites for kids on the beach or Stunt kites that for those who want to perform tricks and advanced maneuvers, you will find everything you need to enjoy the Outer Banks wind.

One of the more popular activities with a long history, fishing brings in many travelers from around the nation. North Carolina beaches provide the perfect spot for fishing as the nearby The Gulf Stream warms the Atlantic. The collision of the warm The Gulf Stream and the cold Labrador currents create a hotspot for all types of fish, and fishermen catch anything from Wahoo to Sailfish, depending on the season. From deep sea fishing to pier and surf fishing, North Carolina beaches have everything you need.

Yet the beaches of North Carolina are more than just a vacation spot; they are a year-round beach community where people work and play. Come visit our spectacular sites and sandy beaches all along North Carolina’s shores. The NCBeaches.com comprehensive database of anything from restaurant coupons and menus to vacation rentals will help you plan your ideal trip to anywhere on the North Carolina coast.

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North Carolina Beaches: Come as Guests. Leave as Family!

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North Shore Beach 70458 Slidell, LA Neighborhood Profile

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May 232016
 

The Neighbors: Income

How wealthy a neighborhood is, from very wealthy, to middle income, to low income is very formative with regard to the personality and character of a neighborhood. Equally important is the rate of people, particularly children, who live below the federal poverty line. In some wealthy gated communities, the areas immediately surrounding can have high rates of childhood poverty, which indicates other social issues. NeighborhoodScout’s analysis reveals both aspects of income and poverty for this neighborhood.

The neighbors in the North Shore Beach neighborhood in Slidell are upper-middle income, making it an above average income neighborhood. NeighborhoodScout’s exclusive analysis reveals that this neighborhood has a higher income than 78.8% of the neighborhoods in America. In addition, 6.3% of the children seventeen and under living in this neighborhood are living below the federal poverty line, which is a lower rate of childhood poverty than is found in 74.1% of America’s neighborhoods.

The old saying “you are what you eat” is true. But it is also true that you are what you do for a living. The types of occupations your neighbors have shape their character, and together as a group, their collective occupations shape the culture of a place.

In the North Shore Beach neighborhood, 31.9% of the working population is employed in executive, management, and professional occupations. The second most important occupational group in this neighborhood is sales and service jobs, from major sales accounts, to working in fast food restaurants, with 31.5% of the residents employed. Other residents here are employed in manufacturing and laborer occupations (23.5%), and 13.1% in clerical, assistant, and tech support occupations.

Culture is shared learned behavior. We learn it from our parents, their parents, our houses of worship, and much of our culture our learned behavior – comes from our ancestors. That is why ancestry and ethnicity can be so interesting and important to understand: places with concentrations of people of one or more ancestries often express those shared learned behaviors and this gives each neighborhood its own culture. Even different neighborhoods in the same city can have drastically different cultures.

In the North Shore Beach neighborhood in Slidell, LA, residents most commonly identify their ethnicity or ancestry as Italian (21.0%). There are also a number of people of German ancestry (16.7%), and residents who report French roots (15.7%), and some of the residents are also of Irish ancestry (10.7%), along with some English ancestry residents (8.6%), among others.

The most common language spoken in the North Shore Beach neighborhood is English, spoken by 97.1% of households. Some people also speak Spanish (2.5%).

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North Shore Beach 70458 Slidell, LA Neighborhood Profile

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Naples Florida Beaches | Beaches in Naples FL

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May 182016
 

Overview of Naples Florida Beaches

Naples Florida beaches consist of long expanses of fine white sand, offering spectacular Gulf views and fantastic sunsets. Naples area beaches stretch over 30 miles from the Ft. Myers Beach to the City of Naples beaches. Beaches are only interrupted by the occasional pass to rivers and inland bays. It is forbidden to swim across a pass because of boat traffic, swift currents and tides in the channels.

All beaches are public beaches. Within the Naples area, just drive west and you will reach the beach. Within the city of Naples the streets end at the beach, with meter parking.

Designated beach areas that have concessions available are either state, county or city parks, or areas that facilitate parking and access to the shore.

Naples is different than many beach communities in that there is no retail along the Naples beaches in terms of shirt shops, fast food, restaurants, stores, etc. Those types of services are away from the beach. Naples beaches differ in that are bordered by single family homes neighborhood, condos, or parks and preserves.

There are only a few hotels on the Naples beaches and these are very upscale accommodations, including the Ritz Carlton. Unlike many beach communities, condos on the beach do not allow daily or weekly rentals. The most common restriction would be a 90 day minimum, with a few allowing monthly minimum rental.

Naples designated beach areas differ by their surroundings, facilities, activities and amenities. You can always bring in your own cooler, beach gear and toys with you. Once on a beach, you can walk until you reach a pass. But, in most cases, once you walk away from the designated beach area, the opportunity to find refreshments are very limited or nonexistent. You could have a 3 mile walk before you came upon another designated beach with a concession available.

Naples Beach areas from north to south are:

Part I

Part II

This beach is at the western end of Bonita Beach road. Parking is available, but is somewhat limited. There are outdoor picnic tables under roof, playgrounds and showers. Renal chairs, umbrellas and jet skis are also available. Directly north of the beach facilities is Doc’s Beach House, a good stop for grabbing breakfast, lunch, dinner or refreshments.

About 100 yards from the western end of Bonita Beach road is a turn south onto Barefoot Beach Blvd. The park comprises 342 acres of an undeveloped barrier island. Many trails and boardwalks crisscross through the preserve. Rangers conduct interpretive sessions and a daily guided canoe tour through the back bay. Wildlife and turtles can be abundant at times. Because Barefoot Beach is such a desirable place to visit, it is possible that available parking could fill later in the day during the season. Call 239.591.8596 for activity information.

This park is at the western end of Immokalee Road just south of where the Cocohatchee River empties into the Gulf. The park is a lush wildlife habitat with mangroves covering 80% of the area. The park offers several shaded picnic and grilling areas along the length of the beach. A concession stand is available that offers food, drinks and beach items. A bathhouse is also available with changing stalls. Phone 239.597.6196.

This park is at the western end of Vanderbilt Beach Road. A parking garage is available off of Vanderbilt Road on the south side of the street. Vanderbilt beach is located near several hotels, and concessions and water sport rentals are available. A their are a few hotel restaurants near buy, in the Naples Ritz Carlton.

This park is at the western end of Pine Ridge Road. Theres a 0.6-mile boardwalk that winds through the mangroves to the beach from the parking area. Golf cart trolleys ferry those not wanting to walk. The concession area has plenty to offer making it great for kids. The rental stand has towels, chairs and beach umbrellas, along with a wide assortment of beach gear, including wind surfers, canoes, Hobie Cats and aqua bikes. The food concession offers a shaded eating area.

Driving to the Beach you’ll pass a Barnes and Noble bookseller, located at the NW corner of Pine Ridge Road and Tamiami. It’s a good stop to or from Clam Pass to grab reading materials or a coffee.

Lowdermilk is at the very northern end of the Naples City Beach, just off of Gulf Shore Blvd. The landscaped area next to the beach has a playground facility, pavilion, bathhouse and a concession stand. The beach is a very short walk from the parking area.

The Naples City beach stretches 6 miles from Gordon Pass on the south side to Doctors Pass on the north side. The nice thing about the Naples City beach is easy access. Parking for the beach is available at the western end of most residential streets between 7th Avenue North, to 19th Avenue South (26 blocks of parking). Many of the access points also have an outdoor shower available for rinsing.

The Naples Fishing Pier is located at the west end of 12th Avenue South where plenty of parking is also available. The Pier is near the midway point of the Naples Beach where you can walk 3 miles south to Gordon Pass, or 3 miles north to Doctors Pass. The area on and around the pier usually has interesting activity, and a refreshment stand sits on the pier. Pelicans are regulars visitors there and you can find them begging for leftovers from the fisherman. Dolphins, schools of stingrays and fish can also be seen from the pier.

The beach is bordered on the east by multi-million dollar single family residences. On the entire six mile length of beach you will only find food and drink available at a few places, including the Pier, Lowdermilk Park or at the Naples Beach Hotel. There’s a beach bar and food available at the hotel, and fine restaurants.

The Marco Beach is lined by luxury hotels and high rise condos with spectacular views. You’re fortunate if you are a Marco Island resident or a visitor at one of the beach hotels. But for nonresidents, beach access can be limited.

Marco Island is a 35 minute drive south of downtown Naples. Tigertail Beach is the best bet for Marco Beach access. Tigertail is a 31 acre Collier County park (that’s big) and is loaded with amenities, concessions and water toys. There’s a large playground facility at Tigertail Beach for children 5 to 12 years of age, and a butterfly garden. If you’re in the mood to relax, you could easily spend the day under a beach umbrella here. Bring your own gear or rent whatever you need at the concessions.

During the busy season, it’s best to get there before 11:00 am to secure your parking and rentals. Turn north off of Collier Blvd onto Tigertail Court (about 1.6 miles from the Marco Island bridge) then then left on Hernando Drive (Map).

Fort Myers Beach is about a 45 minute drive north from the Naples area beaches. Fort Myers Beach is “the area” with vacationer type beach activities, hotel, weekly rentals, etc. Parasailing, jet skis, boat racing, partying and people watching, are all regular activities at Fort Myers Beach. This is the closest beach to the Naples area that draws sizable spring-break crowds.

The beach is lined with many affordable beach hotels with weekend or week-long vacationers. When you walk the beach you are never far from a meal, refreshment, beachwear shops or a Pina Colata. Fort Myers beach is 9 miles north of Bonita Beach. At the end of Bonita Beach Road, head north on Hickory Blvd (which turns into Estero Blvd). The road winds through the beautiful barrier islands that separate Estero Bay from the Gulf. Along the way you’ll see many scenic beach areas and preserves.

If you plan on going to Fort Myers Beach then go early. The beach is very popular. and traffic often moves at a snails pace during the busy season. If you go early you can find public parking available at the pier or at private lots for a fee. If you want a break from the relaxed atmosphere of the Naples beaches, then head up to Ft. Myers beach, it’s worth a visit.

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Beaches – Kissimmee Florida Vacations

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May 172016
 

Relax. Feel the white sand between your toes. Listen to the splash of waves. Build castles close to the ocean’s edge. Isn’t that what you’ve been dreaming about for what seems like forever? You just know that the cool breeze gently caressing your skin while the water laps at your feet will wash away all that stress you’ve been carrying around. You’re probably beginning to relax even now as you imagine sunsets along a broad horizon dotted with seagulls and billowing sails. You can have it all, just a short drive from your Kissimmee, Florida vacation destination.

A family or romantic seaside beach getaway is almost a must for a Florida vacation. Just an hour’s trip from the Orlando area are some of the best east coast beaches of theAtlantic Ocean, the ideal setting for lounging, surfing or deep-sea fishing. To the west, theGulf Coastis about a 90-minute drive from Kissimmee, offering sprawling beaches and blue waters where colorful shells arrive with every splash of the surf.

It doesn’t matter if you want to indulge your playful side with some water sports on a Spring Break retreat or just relax with the kids beneath the Florida sun, some of the top beaches in the world are delightfully within reach when you stay in Kissimmee.

Explore our guide map below for ideas on where you can enjoy Central Florida’s beaches.

ViewQuick Beach Day Trips From Kissimmeein a larger map

See allActivities

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Beaches – Kissimmee Florida Vacations

best and worst beaches in Massachusetts – Julie A. left tips …

 Beaches  Comments Off on best and worst beaches in Massachusetts – Julie A. left tips …
May 152016
 

This is my favorite beach on the North Shore. the sand is so soft and fine it’s like powder, and it’s got a lot of mica in it so it’s sparkly and glittery. The beach is kept very clean and for some reason always feels warmer than other North Shore beaches. They have a pretty good consession stand and showers and changing rooms which is a plus if you are traveling a long ways home. The beach has a slow decline, so at low tide you can go out for a mile and still be up to your knees. You can actually bring boogie boards and other ‘floatation devices” and just chill in warm water.

As far as I am concerned the beach is separated into 3 areas. The best part, the Private side. If you are not lucky enough to know someone to get over there, you can always drive your boat to it (because we all have one of those) or walk over at low tide. It’s around the big rocky point on the left. It is way less crowded, even warmer than the public side and goes on for a nice several mile long walk (with a sweet sandbar detour or two) The public side as two areas. The nice sandy area when you first enter the beach. then to the right there are some great rocks and tide pools, marsh area and then a whole other sandy beach area. No one knows about the beach in the back, so no one is ever there! when the sand gets wet it’s turns into quicksand and is fun to walk through. There are 2 weeks in July where the blackheads get a little nasty and annoying, but nothing like at Cranes beach.

This is my favorite beach on the North Shore. the sand is so soft and fine it’s like powder, and it’s got a lot of mica in it so it’s sparkly and glittery. The beach is kept very clean and for some reason always feels warmer than other North Shore beaches. They have a pretty good consession stand and showers and changing rooms which is a plus if you are traveling a long ways home. The beach has a slow decline, so at low tide you can go out for a mile and still be up to your knees. You can actually bring boogie boards and other ‘floatation devices” and just chill in warm water.

As far as I am concerned the beach is separated into 3 areas. The best part, the Private side. If you are not lucky enough to know someone to get over there, you can always drive your boat to it (because we all have one of those) or walk over at low tide. It’s around the big rocky point on the left. It is way less crowded, even warmer than the public side and goes on for a nice several mile long walk (with a sweet sandbar detour or two) The public side as two areas. The nice sandy area when you first enter the beach. then to the right there are some great rocks and tide pools, marsh area and then a whole other sandy beach area. No one knows about the beach in the back, so no one is ever there! when the sand gets wet it’s turns into quicksand and is fun to walk through. There are 2 weeks in July where the blackheads get a little nasty and annoying, but nothing like at Cranes beach.

See the article here:
best and worst beaches in Massachusetts – Julie A. left tips …

Welcome to the Chincoteague Island, Virginia First …

 Islands  Comments Off on Welcome to the Chincoteague Island, Virginia First …
May 122016
 

Are you ready for a change from the big city beach resorts? In Chincoteague there are no high rises, board walks, or traffic jams. Chincoteague Island is a serene, yet fun filled, tourist destination. Chincoteague Island is Virginia’s only resort Island. Located on Virginias Eastern Shore, Chincoteague is within easy reach from all major cities on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Chincoteague is the gateway to the Virginia portion of Assateague Island, home of the famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies. Chincoteague offers a relaxed atmosphere and the beauty of unspoiled nature. From relaxing on the beach to viewing a spectacular sunset over the Chincoteague Bay, there is never a shortage of things to do in Chincoteague. We hope that you will fall in love with our Island, the way so many others already have.

Chincoteague Island gained national fame in 1961 when Twentieth Century Fox premiered the movie Misty of Chincoteague. The movie was based on author Marguerite Henry’s award-winning children’s book Misty of Chincoteague, which she wrote in 1947 while staying at Miss Molly’s Inn on Chincoteague Island. The book and movie helped to forever transition Chincoteague Island from a small fishing village into a world-class tourist destination.

Featured Businesses – Click on pictures below for more information.

Plan Your Chincoteague Vacation: Places To Stay Places To Eat Places To Shop Things To Do Interactive Chincoteague Map

Area Information: Specials and Discounts Local Events Calendar 2015 Pony Swim Guide Chincoteague Newsletter Where is Chincoteague? Chincoteague Photos Chincoteague News Chincoteague Articles Movie Showtimes Local Services Advertise With Us Local Area Links Viewing Rocket Launches

Connect With Chincoteague:

May 7: Chincoteague Seafood Festival

May 7: Chinco De Mayo

May 7: Earth Day Festival

May 14: Migratory Bird Celebration

May 20 – 21: Saltwater Brew ‘n’ Que

June 24 – 25: Chincoteague Carnival

View Full Event Calendar

Next Rocket Launch From NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility: Mission: RockOn!IX Date: June 23, 2016 Backup launch day is June 24 Time: 6 – 10 a.m. Type: Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital More information

Chincoteague News:

Rocket launches to the ISS from Wallops Island, VA will continue through 2024. Click here to learn more

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved a new Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) that will guide management of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years. Click here to learn more

Registration for summer camps at Chincoteague Bay Field Station is open! Click here to learn more.

Chincoteague Bay Field Station is looking for families with middle school-aged students to join their Creekwatchers group! Contact Elise Trelegan elise@cbfieldstation.org / 757-824-5636.

More Chincoteague News

More Chincoteague Articles

Link:
Welcome to the Chincoteague Island, Virginia First …

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Beaches – Tourism in Chicago

 Beaches  Comments Off on Beaches – Tourism in Chicago
May 092016
 

Chicago boasts 26 miles of shoreline, 26 beaches and an 18.5-mile long bike path along Lake Michigan. While most cities build industrially all the way up to their respective lakefronts, Chicago’s remains an open playground to the public.

We’re proud to boast wildlife sanctuaries, golf courses and, of course, beautiful sandy beaches along our celebrated shores.

Located in Jackson Park, 63rd Street Beach is one of Chicago’s oldest and most storied parks. The designers of New York City’s Central Park, Olmsted and Vaux, planned Jackson Park in 1871. By 1888, an area made from granite bricks extended the lakefront, creating a paved beach. In 1899, when Chicago’s innovative Drainage Canal began diverting sewage to other locations, the lakefront became a common sport for public bathing. They were simpler times.

By the early 1900s community planners extended the beach’s sand area by ten acres. An elaborate bathing pavilion was constructed in 1919 and is better known today as the historic 63rd Street Beach House, a celebrated landmark of the area.

In 1909 the North Shore District concentrated its resources on purchasing beachfront real estate and developing a boating basin known as North Shore Park. Less than ten years later the District had acquired nine more acres of lakeshore property, built a small fieldhouse and provided public game rooms. The popularity of the park quickly sky rocketed, bringing droves to the beach in the summer months and filling the ice with skaters in the winter.

In the mid-1930s the Chicago Park District took control of the property and held a contest to choose a new name for the area. Neighborhood residents favored the name Loyola Park, an ode to nearby Loyola University. Over the next half century Loyola Park grew to over 20 acres in size. Today, it’s a central hub for a series of street-end beaches in Rogers Park.

The largest beach in Chicago is a favorite for dog lovers as it contains one of only a pair of Park District-run dog beaches. A fenced off section on the beach’s northern end is open to playful pups who are free to run without a leash once inside the contained area.

The location’s beach house was designed by EV Buchsbaum and, unfortunately, lost the east wing to a fire in the 1950s. Although the east wing was never rebuilt, the house has been remodeled recently with a 3,000-square-foot patio deck and a full service restaurant. Chicago’s July 4th fireworks are held in three locations throughout the city, Montrose Beach hosts the procession for the City’s North Side.

Widely considered Chicago’s trademark beach, North Avenue is conveniently located just north of Downtown Chicago in the picturesque neighborhood of Lincoln Park. Boasting a seven million dollar beach house and the immensely popular Castaways bar, it’s a favorite amongst locals and visitors.

The beach hosts international volleyball tournaments like Volleywood and the AVP Chicago open. It’s also a popular vantage point for the always exciting Chicago Air and Water Show.

The site of the former Miegs Filed airport is now a 91-acre peninsula just south of the Adler Planetarium. The area boasts a 30-acre prairie reserve and, given its proximity to the Lake Michigan, is a popular “hang out” for migratory and resident birds. The prairie was burned for the first time in 2007 to manage invasive plants and encourage native prairie grasses.

In 2005 the city introduced a temporary concert hall that’s reconstructed every year in accordance with the city’s insistence on the area remaining a nature preserve. The venue holds more than 7,000 people and is a popular destination for boaters who seek some from-the-water entertainment. In December of 2010, the Chicago Park District announced its plans for Northerly Island over the next quarter of a century featuring educational themes and year-round use.

In the late 1800s, the construction of a breakwater system at the mouth of the Chicago River led to a buildup of sand just north of the area. As the space grew in size, it became a haven for squatters who claimed the newly formed land as their own. Naturally, this led to a bevy of property disputes.

Most famous, perhaps, is the land quarrel between the City and George Streeter in 1886. Streeter encouraged dumping around a small sandbar, which eventually turned into a sizeable island. He claimed this manmade oasis for himself, sold parcels to nave buyers at the Tremont Hotel, and, to the bafflement of his neighbors, declared the area “The District of Lake Michigan” – neither a part of Chicago or Illinois. This, predictably, triggered a dispute between Streeter and the City that, at times, involved gun fights. Eventually, Streeter was evicted and the island was filled in, giving birth to the micro-neighborhood known today as Streeterville – and the home to Oak Street Beach.

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Beaches – Tourism in Chicago

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Milwaukee County: Beaches

 Beaches  Comments Off on Milwaukee County: Beaches
May 082016
 

Open mid- to late-June through late August

Enjoy sun, sand, and surf at the Lake Michigan beaches of the Milwaukee County Park System.Seven beaches have water-quality monitoring; however, lifeguards are on duty at Bradford Beach only.

Get Real-Time Data -INCLUDING CLOSINGS- on Milwaukee County’s Lake Michigan Beaches at milwcountybeaches.org

We strongly advise against bringing inflatables into the water, and at Bradford Beach, inflatables are not allowed during guarded hours. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices are allowed at all beaches.

Beach & Pool Information: (414) 257-7230

For everyones safety and enjoyment of the beaches:

Bradford Beach has . . .

Blue Wave Certification

Visit Milwaukee’s most popular beach for swimming and sunbathing.

The beach isscheduledto be guardedmid-June through Mid-August, 7 days a week,11am – 5pm Please check back for additional hours. Amenities: sand volleyball courts, a bathhouse, and two concession buildings. For information on programs, visit bradfordbeachmke.com (external link)

Note: In addition to the rules above, during guarded hours, inflatables are not allowed in the water

Amenities: sand volleyball courtsand concessions. For information on programs, visit http://www.csmilwaukee.com/page/Leagues (external link)

Questions? Contact Us Milwaukee County Parks Aquatics Office 9480 Watertown Plank Rd., Wauwatosa, WI 53226 MondayFriday 8am4pm 24-hr Pool Hotline (414) 257-8098

Se hablaespaol

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Milwaukee County: Beaches

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A Guide to Beaches in the Milwaukee Area

 Beaches  Comments Off on A Guide to Beaches in the Milwaukee Area
May 082016
 

A view from Miwaukee’s South Shore Park. Image by Carrie Trousil

By Carrie Trousil

Updated November 25, 2014.

Milwaukee is located on the west side of Lake Michigan, and where water meets land one will often find a beach. Warm weather brings the people of Brew City flocking to the lakefront hubs of Bradford and McKinley beach, but there are other great beaches dotting our shoreline to the north and south as well. But be warned! Taking a dip in Lake Michigan is nothing like sliding into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or diving into a heated pool. Be prepared for a “refreshing” experience — especially if you decide to take the Polar Bear Plunge in the middle of winter.

It’s always a good idea to check the water quality at any beach before taking a dip. Check out the WDNR’S Beach Advisories for Great Lakes Beaches website for up-to-date beach water quality monitoring data.

Atwater Beach Where: East Capitol and North Lake Drive, Shorewood Atwater Beach is a north shore beach located in Shorewood that can offer a relatively uncrowded visit.

Atwater recently underwent a concentrated clean-up effort.

Bender Park Where: 4503 E. Ryan Rd., Oak Creek Bender Park is a far southside lakefront gem featuring a safe harbor, boat launch and beach.

Big Bay Park Where: 5000 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay Another nice beach tucked away in Whitefish Bay, Big Bay Park is not recommended for swimming, but is great for soaking in some sun on a hot day.

Bradford Beach Where: 2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee When it’s hot in Milwaukee, the masses flock to Bradford Beach. After undergoing a massive clean-up and concerted efforts by local non-profits, businesses and the County Parks to bring entertainment to this lakeside gem, Bradford Beach is experiencing a renaissance.

Doctors Park / Tietjen Beach Where: 1870 E. Fox Ln., Fox Point Nearly 50 acres set on the bluffs north of Milwaukee, Doctors Park is a great place to work off some calories on the hills before you head down to the beach.

Grant Park Beach Where: 100 S. Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee Grant Park Beach is located in Grant Park (surprise!) in South Milwaukee. Hike the Seven Bridges Trail of Grant Park then hit the cold water of Lake Michigan.

Klode Park Where: 5900 N. Lake Dr., Whitefish Bay Located north of downtown Milwaukee in Whitefish Bay, Klode Park offer an uncrowded beach on which to lay a towel in hot weather.

McKinley Beach Where: 1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee You’ll find McKinley Beach south of Bradford Beach on the lakefront. Located on the same stretch of Lincoln Memorial Drive, both are popular warm-weather hang-out spots.

South Shore / Bay View Park Beach Where: 2900 S. Superior St., Milwaukee Located in Bay View, south of downtown, South Shore park is a gem of a park with a sandy beach offering beautiful views of South Shore Yacht Club.

Read the rest here:
A Guide to Beaches in the Milwaukee Area

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Inland Beaches | Public Beach | Travel Wisconsin

 Beaches  Comments Off on Inland Beaches | Public Beach | Travel Wisconsin
May 062016
 

Wisconsinites know you dont have to be on one of the Great Lakes to find a great public beach. With literally thousands of lakes, Wisconsin is known far and wide for having some of the most pristine and beautiful inland beaches around. These inland beaches offer clean calm water, attractive atmospheres, and are truly great places to relax on sunny summer afternoons. Here are eight awesome options to explore with family and friends.

Naga-Waukee Park Beach Hartland

Located on picturesque Nagawicka Lake, Naga-Waukee Park offers 130 feet of sandy beach, a beach house with restrooms, and a great concession stand. The 414 acre park also features an 18-hole golf course, 8 miles of trails, and endless opportunities for fun. All just 25 miles west of Milwaukee!

Firemans Park and Swimming Beach Elkhart Lake

With a great sandy beach and crystal clear water, Firemans Beach is one of the best in the state. This fun park features a concession stand, picnic tables, grills, sand volleyball courts and shelters for rent. All for a bargain gate admission of $3 for adults and $1 for those under 12.

Friendship Lake Public Beach Friendship

Located in Adams County, Friendship Lake Public Beach is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. With an average depth of just 6 feet, Friendship Lake is great for family swimming.

Lions Beach Janesville

Who wouldve thought that there is a beautiful sandy beach just minutes from downtown Janesville? Lions Beach, located on a 5-acre spring fed pond next to the Rotary Botanical gardens, features a grassy picnic area and restrooms.

Memorial Park Shell Lake

Come play at the Memorial Park Beach on the 2,600 Shell Lake in Washburn County. The beach is located right downtown and offers a dock, swimming rafts, and lifeguards during the summer months. If the kids want to take a break from swimming, they can play on the playground equipment right within view of the water.

Hattie Sherwood Campground Green Lake

Hattie Sherwood is known for its beautiful scenery, sandy swimming beaches, and great fishing. When visitors arent enjoying the pristine waters of Green Lake, they can be found monkey-ing around on the jungle gym and exploring the many hiking and biking trails.

Keyes Lake Park Florence

With its crystal clear waters and world-class fishing, Keyes Lake Park is a true Northwoods treasure. The park itself features picnic facilities, a sandy beach, swimmers raft, and a water slide.

Shawano Lake County Park Shawano

Known far and wide as a great swimming beach, Shawano Lake County Park is just an hour drive from Green Bay, Appleton, and Wausau. Swim in the calm refreshing water, or rent a canoe and paddle boat to explore with a little more speed.

Read more:
Inland Beaches | Public Beach | Travel Wisconsin

Illinois Beaches from Kidzooie.com including a complete …

 Beaches  Comments Off on Illinois Beaches from Kidzooie.com including a complete …
May 012016
 

Central East

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Clinton Lake

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area

Clinton, Illinois

Open Memorial Day – Labor Day

Swimming, Water Skiing, No Pets Allowed, Showers, Restrooms

Effingham Beach

Lake Sara

Effingham, IL

Swimming, Beach Volleyball, Concession

Moraine View State Recreation Area

27374 Moraine View Park Road

LeRoy, IL 61752

(309) 724-8032

Open Memorial Day – Labor Day

Lake Shelbyville Beach

Shelbyville, IL

Public Beaches are at Dam West, Sullivan Beach, Wilborn Creek, and Wolf Creek State Park.

Swimming, Picnicing, Camping, Boating, Hiking, Marina

Central West

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Lake Springfield Beach

Center Park just north of Lyndsay Bridge

Springfield, Illinois

(217) 786-4032

Admission is FREE

Swimming, Fishing, Boating – Canoes, Motorboats, Pontoons, Rowboats, Sailboats

Chicago Area

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. Chicago Park District Beaches

Calumet Beach (9600-9900 South) Chicago, Illinois

Swimming, Fieldhouse, Bathrooms, Beach House, Park Concessions, Baseball Fields, Basketball Court, Bike Racks, Drinking Fountains, Tennis Courts, Launch/Land Site, Parking

Rainbow Park & Beach

East 75th Street & Lake Michigan

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Bathroom, Beach House, Baseball Field, Basketball Courts, Benches, Bike Racks, Drinking Fountain, Spray Pools, Tennis Courts, Dunes, Water Trail Launch/Land Site

South Shore Cultural Center

7059 S. South Shore Drive

Chicago, IL

Cultural Center, Lakefront Trail Starts, Bathroom, Beach House, Benches, Bike Racks, Drinking Fountains, Nature Area, Bird Sanctuary, Dunes and Prairies, Parking

63rd Street Beach House

6400 Street and Lake Shore Drive

Jackson Park

Chicago, IL

Beach House, Bathroom, Subway Sandwiches, Bike Racks, Drinking Fountains, Play Lots, Interactive Spray Fountain, ADA and Stroller Beach Mats, Parking, Serenity Courtyard, Posts, Beach Chairs, Water Trail Launch/Land Site, Jackson Park Harbor, Nature Area, Lagoons, Prairies, Bird Sanctuaries

57th Street Beach

5700 Street South

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Bathroom, Rib Inn

49th Street Beach

4900 Street South

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Bathroom, Drinking Fountain

31st Street Beach

1200 Street South

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Bathroom, Drinking Fountain, Playground, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs, Tri State Novelty Balloons, ADA and Stroller Mats, Parking, Burnham Skate Park (offers 20,000 square feet of smooth skate surface featuring various “spine”, “pyramids” and “bowls” to accommodate skateboarding stunts as well as curbs, rails and stairs. Pedestrian Underpass, Nature Area, Prairies, Water Trail Launch/Land Site

12th Street Beach

1200 Street South

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Bathroom, Museum Campus Cafe & Ice Cream Shop, Prairie Concessions, Kim & Carol’s Chic Hot Dogs, Classic Carousel, Pretzels & More, Benches, Bike Racks, Drinking Fountains, Pedestrian Underpass

Ohio Street Beach

400 North

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs, Shan’s Sunglasses, and Pedestrian Underpass

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Oak Street Beach

1000 North

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Bathroom, Shan’s Sunglasses,Oak Street Beachstro, Volleyball Posts, ADA and Stroller Beach Mat and Pedestrian Underpass

North Avenue Beach

1600 North

Chicago, IL

Swimming, Bathroom, Ship Shaped Beach House, Bike Chicago, North Avenue Beach News, Crunch Fitness, North Avenue Hockey, Shan’s Sunglasses, Sunshine Beach Toys, Stefani’s Castawayas, Benches, Volleyball Posts, Drinking Founains, Pavillion, Parking, ADA and Stroller BEach Mat, Pedestrian Underpass, Lagoons

Wilson Avenue

4800 North

Link:
Illinois Beaches from Kidzooie.com including a complete …

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution