Posts tagged with "family vacation"

Saddle Skeedadle’s Cycling Myths Unlocked:

Busting the Roadblocks Keeping Travelers out of the Saddle

Leading cycling operator Saddle Skedaddle sets the record straight on cycling’s biggest misconceptions.

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Feb. 3, 2020: Cycling tours have become increasingly more popular in recent years thanks to North America’s focus on wellness travel, sustainable transport methods, and getting away from centers of overtourism. As such, cycling operators are adapting to the modern traveler.

Saddle Skedaddle, the world’s leading bike tour operator with itineraries in nearly 40 countries, recognized a 140% increase in bookings from North Americans between 2014-2018, according to Paul Snedker, director and co-founder. But even as cycling tours are on the rise, Snedker says there are still a lot of misconceptions about this kind of travel that limits new riders from hitting the road.

“There’s are these ideas that you have to be a really fit athlete to do a cycling trip, or that it would feel more like going to the gym than a true vacation,” says Snedker. “But actually, they’re quite accessible for all fitness levels and a great way to explore a destination in an even deeper way.”

Here are some common cycling misconceptions, unlocked:

Myth 1: You have to be an Olympian to do a cycling tour

According to Snedker, the biggest customer concerns are that they won’t be fit enough to do it, or they’ll be the slowest one of the group. While some bike trips are designed for hard core cyclists, there is quite a range in terms of level of difficulty, and many of the tours designed for family or leisure purposes are quite gentle. 

“Many travelers think the whole group will be decked out in lycra and be world-class cyclists on a bit of a holiday,” says Snedker. “The reality is most of our guests are over 50 and are simply looking for a way to stay active on vacation. So long as you’re reasonably fit in your daily life, you’ll be able to keep pace on a lot of our trips.”

Snedker says one of the biggest game changers and gateways to cycling holidays for people who are nervous about their endurance level has been the introduction of electric bikes to Skedaddle’s roster.

“E-bikes are so fantastic at leveling the bike lane, so to speak,” Snedker says. “Not only do they provide that extra push when you need it the most, but they take away the fear factor in the build up to a trip, so travelers can really get excited without being nervous about the physical side of things.”

Responding to strong client demand, Saddle Skedaddle has been steadily introducing self-guided and guided electric bike trips over the last few years, including several to far-flung destinations including Vietnam, China, and Chile.

Myth 2: You won’t have time to explore off your bike

North Americans typically get very little vacation time, so when they do get away, they want to see more, do more, and experience more. According to Snedker, there’s a common misconception that cycling trips don’t give you time to explore the destination. In reality, Snedker says the opposite is true.

“At Skedaddle, we’ve always said we prefer pedaling through, not passing by,” he says. “What that means is your bike can take you so many places your car or a coach bus can’t, so you’re able to really bike deep into the culture and check out the little nooks and crannies of a village or a rural stretch of a dirt path you may never otherwise encounter.”

Some of Saddle Skedaddle’s most popular trips include activities like remote camping under the stars in the Simien mountains, hiking in the jungle of Jordan’s Ajloun Forest Reserve, spotting orangutans on a family-focused journey through Borneo, and hunting for the best tapas bar in a small Spanish village.

“Our customers have evolved; they want cycling to enhance their travel experience, not the other way around,” Snedker says.

Myth 3: International cycling travel is complicated

According to Snedker, many potential bike travelers get antsy about the logistics behind a bike trip, from how to transport their bike to how to read road signs in a different language. The reality is, though, it’s never been easier to cycle in other countries than this decade thanks to technology and updated airline policies.

Just last year, American Airlines dropped their overweight charges for traveling with bicycles, and thanks to apps like the one Saddle Skedaddle has developed, road signs and directions for self-guided trips are simple as keeping your phone mounted on your handlebars.

Of course, rentals and guided trips make all these logistics even easier. “While we have a full-service team on the ground that’s ready to greet guests – and their bikes – the moment they arrive, we also offer bike rentals throughout each trip to make things as seamless as possible,” says Snedker.

Myth 4: You can’t bring kids on a cycling trip

It’s no longer just empty-nesters – family cycling travel continues to grow in popularity as parents look for active ways to keep the whole gang engaged on vacations. However, a common misconception is that group cycling trips don’t really work for families, something Snedkern says couldn’t be more wrong.

“Cycling provides a memorable way to bond as a family on holiday – and I daresay is more exciting than driving around in the rented minivan!”

Saddle Skedaddle makes sure all its family trips include a variety of activities out of the saddle that interest teenagers as well as younger children. They welcome kids as young as two on its family adventures, ranging from exploring Viking history on the Lofoten Islands of Norway to zip-lining and camping through the Moroccan Desert , and rent bike trailers, tag a longs and kids’ bikes so the whole family can keep up at their own pace.

For more information and to pedal through your next adventure, please visit: www.skedaddle.com

About Saddle Skedaddle

Saddle Skedaddle is the UK’s leading independent cycling vacation specialist that is all about doing something wonderful on two wheels. Our team of experts have searched far and wide for nearly 25 years to bring you some of the world’s most incredible locations and enchanting cultures to enjoy at the speed of the bike. It’s time to really meet a place, and its people, you’ll never want to forget.

AL BAIT SHARJAH × SHARJAH, UAE

A Family Guide to Sharjah with Al Bait Sharjah

Sharjah is the hidden gem of the UAE, a destination well known to the art connoisseurs that visit for the Art Foundation Biennial every other year. For families looking to explore an authentic destination, Sharjah is the region to visit now as it celebrates an exciting cultural renaissance.  Sharjah will be hosting the first Fringe Festival on the Arabian Peninsula. The inaugural Sharjah International Fringe Festival will take place in January 2020 and will host music, circus, comedy and theatre productions aimed, primarily, at families and children, together with an extensive street theatre programme.

Here are five top experiences for families in Sharjah:

Discover MLEIHA Archeological Site 

Visit Mleiha for an adventure deep into the deserts of Sharjah where you can uncover the secrets of the region’s ancient Bedouin culture. Get your adrenaline rush by exploring the beautiful landscapes of Mleiha on a dune buggy visiting Camel Rock, the Faya Dunes and the Mleiha Desert. Pay a visit to the Mleiha Archaeological Centre where you can learn about life in the region in years gone by as well as take a closer look at the wide variety of artifacts on display.

Spend a day at Al Majez waterfront

The unique Al Maraya Art Park is located here. At this outdoor art exhibit, adults can observe artists work from international destinations in the Sculpture Park while their kids learn and explore in the Children’s Art Park. The Children’s Art Park is specially designed to introduce young kids to the world of art through sculptures, educational activities, and games. Also at Al Majez waterfront is a mini splash park where kids can cool off and play in its tunnels while watching the aquatic displays.

Play at Al Montazah Water Park

Al Montazah Water Park is the first of its kind, offering electronic games along with water rides and a go-kart race track for kids and adults. The water park has a wide range of pools appropriate and suitable for kids of different ages. For added fun, an amusement park is conveniently located next to the water-park. The parks contain 35 attractions with state of the art facilities all around the grounds and a picnic area.

Reflect at the Islamic Botanical Garden

Located in Sharjah Desert Park, this garden allows visitors to take in the horticulture of this exotic destination. With over 100 varieties of plants, you and your family will be mesmerized by the incredible biodiversity present. The gardens are a peaceful environment designed to promote reflection through paved walkways, ornamental pools, and narrow waterways. Before or after strolling through the grounds, be sure to take time to visit the interpretation center and Arabic cafe. 

Learn at the Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum

Take your family through these exhibits to unveil the complexity of the emirate’s aquatic life, animals, fauna, and flora. You will be able to learn how Sharjah’s massive sand dunes were created along with viewing a collection of meteorites. Kids will be entertained throughout their visit to the museum by digitally erupting volcanoes and prehistoric fossils in addition to the dinosaur models on display.

Where to stay in 2019: Al Bait Sharjah

The Heritage House at Al Bait Sharjah is the perfect place for families. It offers 4 Al Bait Heritage Rooms and 2 Al Bait Heritage Suites, allowing guests an entire house and full privacy.  Al Bait Sharjah which translates to ‘The Home’ is set to raise the bar for luxury resort accommodations in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE). Located 20 miles or 16 km (10 miles) from Dubai in the UAE’s most ambitious historical restoration project known as Heart of Sharjah, the resort will be home to 53 luxury guest rooms and suites. The resort facilities and amenities at the boutique property will include a museum, library, ice cream shop, pool, and an array of dining offerings spotlighting local and international cuisine. The architecture and design will sensitively reflect Arabic culture, in tune with its surroundings and blending harmoniously with the heritage buildings in the district. 

About Sharjah:

Sharjah is located on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that form the UAE. The emirate of Sharjah comprises the capital city of Sharjah and smaller towns including Khorfakkan, Kalba, and Dibba Al-Hisn.  Ruled by the Al Qasimi family, it is bordered by Dubai to the south and Ajman to the north. Sharjah is a diverse destination with many layers that represent chapters in the emirate’s rich and varied history, from the atmospheric streets in the Heart of Sharjah to the ancient archaeology sites deep in the desert. These riches have led to the city being named the 1998 Cultural Capital of the Arab World, the 2014 Capital of the Islamic Culture and the 2015 Capital of Arab Tourism.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark

by Krishan Narsinghani, Kelsey Welsh × Vaughn Lowery

Planning a family getaway? I bet you haven’t thought of adding New Braunfels, Texas to the list of possible destinations, but you really should. New Braunfels, Texas is home to one of the largest immersive theme parks in the United States. Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort is home to the most eclectic collection of water rides in the world. Guests dive headfirst into constant adventure as they float down one of the 51 rivers, slides and chutes that the park has to offer.

Schlitterbahn translates to “slippery road” in German, honoring the heritage of the family who started it all. Bob and Billye Henry uprooted their three children in 1966 and moved from Houston to New Braunfels to pursue Bob’s dream of owning and operating a small family business. The Henrys responded to a “for sale” ad in a local newspaper and purchased a cabin resort along the Comal River. They installed a tube slide that would dump their guests into the river. A few years after studying Floridian waterparks, the Henrys realized that they could incorporate the concept into their own resort; and voilà, Schlitterbahn was born. The flagship property was established in 1979 and has been offering both thrill seekers and sight seers ideal vacation experiences for nearly four decades. Since its founding, four additional properties have opened up: Galveston Island, Texas; South Padre Island, Texas; Corpus Christi, Texas (which included a 9-hole golf course); and Kansas City, Kansas.

Staff members of 360 Magazine were invited to get our feet wet and dive into the fun at the original New Braunfels location. Schlitterbaun Waterpark & Resort is a hotspot for family vacations, corporate outings, and friendly getaways. The park maintains a refreshing 72-degree temperature for the spring water that flows into the rides, tube slides and pools. The famous Boogie Bahn surfing simulator, which is one of the first of its kind in the world, is a favorite of pro-boarders, inexperienced newbies, and everyone in between. Over 50,000 gallons of water circulate over the ride’s foam surface, which was built to cushion the occasional gnarly wipeout, yet the water depth measures just a few inches.

Guests can take a break from water coasters, such as the award-winning Master Blaster, and enjoy the miles of scenic river that flow amidst the 100-year-old oak, cedar and cypress trees. The river serves as a water source to the park’s attractions as well as a backdrop for guests to gawk at while they slip and slide their way to an amazing vacation experience. During our visit, we found out exactly what it is about Schlitterbaun that has made it worthy of 19 consecutive, 36 overall, Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket award wins.

Calling all grill-masters; Schlitterbahn is littered with BBQ stations so that guests can whip up everything from hamburgers and hotdogs to grilled tofu and corn-on-the-cob. Those who are not quite so grill-savvy or simply don’t feel like cooking can make use of the park’s catering services or head down to one of the food stands and pick up a delicious BBQ brisket or a cheeseburger topped with flaming hot Cheetos. Guests 21-and-over can enjoy their favorite drinks by visiting one of the bars or bringing their own from home since, unlike most other theme-parks, the park is BYOB. Families can relax and enjoy their meals by taking the time to sit and snack at one of the park’s many picnic spots.

The resort accommodations and beautiful surroundings set Schlitterbaun apart from all other waterparks. It is perfect for all sorts of travelers: visitors can choose any of the seven room types or even opt for a stylish seven-room vacation home. Resort guests who choose to stay at one of the luxurious Riverbend Cabins are treated to an unbeatable view of the Canal River as well as given an Early Access pass to the Blastenhoff Section, where Master Blaster is located. Schlitterbahn has various room configuration options complete with a living space, kitchenette and stackable washer/dryer to keep the family’s clothes fresh.

360 Magazine had a blast; we didn’t want to leave! So, water you waiting for? Book your vacation and experience an aquatic adventure like no other.

“Splash. Sleep. Repeat” at Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

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Drakes Beach Sand Sculpture Contest

Point Reyes National Seashore invites you to 

the 36th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest 

at Drakes Beach

Sunday, August 27, 2017

from 9 am to 3:30 pm

Prizes awarded in each of several age and group categories. Free to participants and spectators. Registration begins at 9 am at the Ken Patrick Visitor Center. Judging begins at 12 pm and prizes will be awarded at 3:30 pm.

Please note the change of date. The Annual Sand Sculpture Contest will be held on the Sunday before Labor Day weekend, as opposed to the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

We welcome all ages at this free community event located at Drakes Beach. Categories include: Children (14 and under), Families, Adult Individuals, and Adult Groups. Three prizes will be awarded in each of those categories, along with prizes for the sculpture with the most recycled plastic included.

Please be aware that parking will be extremely limited during the contest and Drakes Beach will be heavily impacted with contest participants. To avoid crowds here, please consider visiting another beach in the park.

This event is family based, but please remember no dogs are allowed on this designated swimming beach (no lifeguard on duty).

Bring a picnic and spend the day! Or, patronize the PRNSA Bookstore for hot and cold drinks, breakfast pastries, oatmeal, snacks, sandwiches, books, and gifts for sale. All proceeds benefit Point Reyes National Seashore!

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Point Reyes National Seashore Association’s Drake’s Beach Bookstore stocks a selection of apparel and field guides in addition to a wide variety of snacks, drinks, and hot coffee to provision your excursion into the park.

We’ll be open this weekend, Saturday, August 26, at 10am, and Sunday, August 27, at 9am, the store closes at 5pm both days.

While you’re out on the Point, make time to visit the newly restored Drakes Estero, the only West Coast marine wilderness south of Alaska, and the restored Drakes Estero Trail, both made possible in part by PRNSA and donors like you.
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PRNSA works with the park and the public to preserve, restore and maintain wildlife habitat, trails, and historic sites in our beautifulcoastal park. If you would like to renew your membership or give an additional gift, let them hear from you!

 

Learn about PRNSA’s many varied programs and events at

www.ptreyes.org