If you’re looking for a laid-back place to make your Gulf dreams come true, Cedar Key, about an hour from Gainesville, on Florida’s northwest coast, is the place to do it.
With a population hovering around 700 and a location that puts a firm emphasis on salt water — including a national wildlife refuge, a state park, nature preserves, stretches of sandy beach, and a thriving fishing industry — Cedar Key basically challenges you not to relax. Set aside a few days to get to know this beautiful corner of the Sunshine State.
The 13 islands of Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge offer unique opportunities for birdwatching (including migratory birds and majestic pelicans), dolphins in season, and colorful butterflies. Cedar Key Museum State Park combines the best of the region’s natural beauty with rich history, including the restored 1920s Whitman home and memorabilia from the town’s past. Speaking of history, when you’re not soaking up some sun at the beach, you’ll want to soak up some history via photographs and artifacts at Cedar Key Historical Museum.
But who are we kidding? With all that Gulf water lapping the shores, seafood may be your number-one priority here — clam bars, seafood joints ranging from modest to posh, and chowder abound in Cedar Key, with enough options to satisfy every taste.
More about Cedar Key
Cedar Key is a place where time stands still and allows you to enjoy the unique qualities of our coastal environment. Cedar Key is a quiet island community nestled among many tiny keys on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Keep Reading...
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Morro Bay, California - Coolest Small Towns 2022:
You will likely approach the town via inland Highway 101 before heading west, winding through coastal hills down toward the water. As you arrive in town, you’ll find you are a world away from the hustle-bustle of Cali’s big cities to the north and south. Here in Morro Bay, life moves at a pace well-suited to a “vacation for real people.” Tour the wharf, where kids of all ages will love watching fishing boats delivering their daily bounty. And you don’t have to just watch — local restaurants such as Bayside Cafe transform each day’s catch into fresh, imaginative meals such as contemporary riffs on fried clams and crabcakes. Stroll Morro Bay’s main drag, and drop into charming shops like Kites & Surreys, and Revolve Thrift. Explore exceptional parkland, including Morro Bay State Park, or the nearby beaches. Rest your head in a comfy, affordable room at The Landing motel, with views of the bay — and iconic Morro Rock — out your window. Morro Bay is one of those little towns that touches your heart in a big way, making a return visit just about mandatory. More about Morro Bay Morro Bay Morro Bay is unlike any other California seaside town. Just off its shore an ancient volcanic monolith known as Morro Rock rises 576 feet from the ocean, amplifying the magnificence of this stunning coastal backdrop. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/Presented by Have Fun Do Good
Fredericksburg, Texas - Coolest Small Towns 2022
In the heart of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg celebrates both its German roots and its pioneer heritage. In fact, the town’s Pioneer Museum is a good place to get your bearings, tracing the area’s settler history, which dates back to the 1840s. While you may associate fine wine more with the West Coast, Hill Country is home to a good number of major wineries, including several in the Fredericksburg area — explore the local tasting rooms and bring home a bottle (or a case). Even less on-the-nose here in Hill Country is the National Museum of the Pacific War, dedicated to the history of World War II in the Pacific, inspired by local Chester Nimitz, born and raised in Fredericksburg, who served as an admiral in the U.S. Navy during the war. But getting outdoors should be at the top of your Fredericksburg to-do list, with Enchanted Rock State Natural Area offering distinctive pink rocks, endless trails for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding, and ample opportunities for climbing. Fredericksburg is also home to more than 300 species of bird, and millions of bats that attract visitors (really!) More about Fredericksburg Fredericksburg, TX For a relatively small town, it’s easy for you and your family to get lost in Fredericksburg. In the serene beauty of the Texas Hill Country. In the rich German history. The countless unique and sophisticated shops. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/Presented by Have Fun Do Good
North Adams, Massachusetts - Coolest Small Towns 2022
We love the Berkshires, in Western Massachusetts, for the way they combine gorgeous outdoor vistas with fine art, music, and food — what’s not to love? North Adams is Exhibit A: Sure, it’s a small town, but, with a population around 12,000, it boasts of being the “smallest city” in Massachusetts. Browse along downtown’s artsy streets where cool pubs, cutting-edge cuisine, and cafes beckon. A truly vibrant place to live — or visit — North Adams offers indie music, endless opportunities for outdoor activities (especially popular in fall, when the forests burst into their signature oranges, reds, and golds), great food, small shops, and, of course antiques. Immerse yourself in the town’s Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) for groundbreaking work as well as masterworks of some of the giants of modern art housed in a restored 19th-century mill complex. The museum isn’t just for ogling art — MASS MoCA brings visual and performing artists to town for residencies and presentations of new work. We’re especially fond of The Porches Inn, which allows visitors to bed down in a pleasantly kitschy environment. And your art odyssey doesn’t have to end in North Adams: Nearby Williamstown is home to the Clark Museum, and Bennington, just across the Vermont border, boasts the world’s largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings. More about North Adams North Adams, MA North Adams is a vibrant community located in the Northwest corner of the beautiful Berkshires. Steeped in art, culture, and community..Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/Presented by Have Fun Do Good
10 bucket list adventures in Alaska
This content has been produced in partnership with Visit Anchorage. Alaska has no shortage of things to do! Adventurers will discover that Anchorage is a great “anchor” point for a wide variety of amazing adventures that are sure to provide lifelong memories. 1. See a glacier Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers, that have shaped the landscape for thousands of years! Anchorage has over 60 glaciers within 50 miles for explorers. Take a glacier cruise for a few hours and listen to the loud rumbling as these massive landmarks continue to carve through the land. mv Ptarmigan cruising in front of Portage Glacier. Credit: Donna Dewhurst, Visit Anchorage 2. Take a sightseeing trip Anchorage has several incredible day-trip options for sightseeing. Take the Glacier Discovery Train to Spencer Whistle Stop for the day, take a flightseeing plane to see Alaska from the sky, or ride the Alyeska Tramway 2300 feet up a mountain. No matter which you choose, you’re guaranteed to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States! 3. See a whale A trip to Alaska isn’t complete without some whale-watching! Pods of beluga whales spend their summers in the waters outside Anchorage. Or, head to Seward and hop on a sightseeing cruise to see some of the biggest species of whales in the world! 4. Bear Viewing near Anchorage Bears at the zoo. Credit: JodyO.Photos, Visit Anchorage Alaska is the only place in the US that has black, brown, and polar bears! Take a short flight to Katmai or Lake Clark National Parks and see these fascinating creatures as they feed near a salmon-filled steam. In October, make sure you vote in Katmai’s annual fat bear week. To see a polar bear, check out the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. 5. View the northern lights The northern lights are a beautiful phenomenon of auroras that dance in the night sky. They are active in Alaska between mid-August and April. Popular spots for viewing them are Eklutna Tailrace, Girdwood, and the Knik River. The northern lights. Credit: JodyO.Photos, Visit Anchorage 6. Enjoy the Midnight Sun Alaska is so far north that it has more summer daylight than anywhere else in the lower contiguous US! In June, the sunset happens around midnight, providing plenty of time for outdoor activities. It’s incredible how much fits in a day when the sun barely ever sets! 7. Go Dog Sledding Dog Sledding is Alaska’s state sport, and visitors can experience dog sledding year round (though best in winter!). In summer, several mushers will camp out on top of glaciers to provide an authentic sled-dog experience. Dog sledding Girdwood. Credit: Nicole Geils, Visit Anchorage 8. Alaska Art and Shopping Anchorage has lots of excellent shopping options for the discerning shopper. Peruse a downtown filled with authentic art galleries, and support Alaska native art. Pick up some fresh-caught salmon for dinner, or some homemade candy for dessert! Anchorage provides tax-free shopping Denali National Park. Credit: Ashley Heimbigner, Visit Anchorage 9. Visit National Parks Anchorage is a dream for National Park enthusiasts! Its close proximity to Alaska’s major parks provides tons of options for adventurers. Take a sightseeing plane over the soaring peaks of Denali, take a day cruise to the Kenai Fjords, or (safely) see a bear from Katmai or Lake Clark! Make sure to stop into the visitor’s center to get a stamp for your National Park passport book. 10. Take a road trip Anchorage has several different options for a scenic day trip drive, allowing you to get out of the city and see some of Alaska’s beautiful scenery. Take a coastal trip down the Seward Highway, and see huge mountain peaks topped with ice. Head up to the Glen Alps for a breathtaking panorama of Anchorage and its surrounding area. Head up to Hatcher Pass for some dramatic landscapes and stop to explore some of the old remnants from the gold rush. There's never been a better time to cross of your bucket list adventures in Alaska! This content has been produced in partnership with Visit Anchorage.Presented by Visit Anchorage