It’s taken centuries for tequila to achieve its status today: It’s a sophisticated spirit offering all the subtleties and cachet of wine. So take your time choosing a variety that matches your palate, mood, and menu. And don’t imbibe impatiently — tequila is a sensory journey best experienced at a slow speed.
where to go
VARIATIONS ON A THEME
Orlando has the recipe for a perfect family vacation: Start with world-class theme parks, then add large amounts of water, sand, wildlife, wilderness, history, and culture. It makes endless servings of fun — with memories left over to box up and take home. Here’s a closer look at the key ingredients.
DELIGHTFUL DAY TRIPS
Dreaming of running away from it all, with your best friend by your side? Here are a few spots where the playing will be fun and friendly for both you and your furry pal.
These days, pets rack up almost as many vacation miles as their humans. Make journeying with your favorite four-legged companions a breeze with these safe and comfortable travel-ready carriers.
On a whirlwind weekend in the Windy City, sandwich in time for classic handheld Chicago cuisine. Here’s an edible itinerary.
SEE THE RESULTS
You can’t go wrong choosing a national park to visit, but this quartet dramatically demonstrates how widely the wonders of nature vary as you travel across the U.S.
Mexico’s idyllic island of Cozumel — the name means “land of the swallows” — enchants visitors who find its beautiful beaches, laid-back vibe, fusion cuisine, and blend of cultures easy to swallow.
This spring, don't just get away. Get it all. Spacious villas with full kitchens. In-villa or on-site laundry. Room to spread out. City, beach, desert, mountain, sunny, and snowy destinations to choose from. And family amenities like indoor water parks, lazy rivers, mini golf, horseback riding, arcades, and more. Join us at one of our 28 resorts this spring and you'll know what it means to get it all when you get away.
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5 Pet-Friendly Spots to Rove with Rover >
Pack Your Pet >
Tequila 101: Everything You Need to Know >
Eating Your Way Through Chicago >
Orlando Is Your Ticket to Family Fun >
Your Take >
Passport to Cozumel >
4 Must-See National Parks >
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A towering point reference in San Miguel and one of Mexico’s most photographed churches, the 17th-century Neo-Gothic structure features pink pinnacles that point toward the heavens. It never looks the same way twice, thanks to how the position of the sun throughout the day changes the colors and shadows. And it’s a view accessible to all from the street.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
on the cover
Mexico’s idyllic island off of the Yucatan Peninsula enchants visitors with its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe.
In these vacation spots, the playing will be fun and friendly for both you and your best friend.
These four parks dramatically demonstrate how widely the wonders of nature vary across the U.S.
in the issue
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Vacation Village at Parkway offers the best of Florida in one great location. Minutes from Orlando’s theme parks, the resort offers spacious accommodations. After a full day enjoying the theme park capital of the world, you’ll be ready to return to the spacious, well-appointed one- and two-bedroom suites at Vacation Village at Parkway.
The Colonies at Williamsburg is your home base for making your own history in historic Virginia. The property is adjacent to outlet shopping and seafood restaurants, and is close to experiential colonial adventures, theme park thrills, and sites rich in maritime history.
The colonies at williamsburg
Located just a few miles away from the world-famous Las Vegas Strip,
The Grandview at Las Vegas is your gateway to the magical neon lights of Las Vegas. When you’ve had your fill of entertainment, shopping top brands, and gourmet dining, The Grandview at Las Vegas is your desert oasis. Relax and unwind in spacious suites with fully appointed kitchens.
Located just a few miles away from the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, The Grandview at Las Vegas is your gateway to the magical neon lights of Las Vegas. When you’ve had your fill of entertainment, shopping top brands, and gourmet dining, The Grandview at Las Vegas is your desert oasis. Relax and unwind in spacious suites with fully appointed kitchens.
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This year, it’s time to focus on yourself. Embrace a brighter tomorrow with bold travels and familiar faces. Surrender to adventures far and wide and bask in the glow of a comforting sunset. Bet on yourself and go all-in with your travel desires.
The Big Easy is full of big adventures for you and your dog. NOLA City Bark, inside City Park, offers off-leash fun. Stroll St. Charles Avenue to gaze at stately mansions. Enjoy views of the Mississippi River and historic Jackson Square from elevated Washington Artillery Park, then head down to Moonwalk Riverfront Park for a Mississippi-side saunter. Feel the city’s voodoo vibes on a walking ghost tour — Haunted History Tours has pet-friendly options. When you and your pooch are parched, try Fido-friendly French Quarter bars like The Voodoo Lounge, Cafe Lafitte in Exile, and Claire’s Pour House. And stop at Cafe du Monde for beignets on the pups-welcome patio.
In the Sonoran Desert, Greater Palm Springs beckons travelers seeking sun and serenity with their pets. Start a dog day with a brew and breakfast at 4 Paws Coffee Co., where your furry traveler can get a Pup Cup — a dog biscuit atop a dollop of whipped cream. Go free-range at Palm Springs Dog Park, a 1.6-acre grassy, fenced-in paradise for pets to roam and socialize. Or hike together at Mission Creek Preserve and La Quinta Cove Oasis, two favorite dog-friendly nature spots. For dinner, take your pet on the patio at Boozehounds restaurant and order a treat from the special canine menu.
Earn two (sandy) paws up from your four-legged friend when you vacation along New Jersey’s 130-mile coast. One bowwow-loving town is Brigantine, where leashed dogs are welcome on the city-owned north end of Brigantine Beach (October through May), and in the wilder North Brigantine Natural Area during the off-season (mid-September through May). Restaurants Pirates Den and Yianni’s Cafe, both near the beach, offer dine-with-your-dog tables outdoors. Feel like a short-but-sweet coastal road trip? About 17 miles south along the Manasquan Inlet, the eastern stretch of beach at Fisherman's Cove Conservation Area is full of rugged terrain waiting to be explored — and it’s especially photogenic at sunset.
When the weather warms, this skiing mecca transforms into a dog-friendly destination full of attractions to sniff out. Stroll the walkable downtown with your leashed companion to shop for souvenirs, or cool off with a swim in wakeless Pearl Lake, also an ideal spot for kayaking with your canine. (Rent gear from Paddleboard Adventure Company.) After a day of exploring, unwind in a taproom like Mountain Tap Brewery or Storm Peak Brewing Company, where leashed pets can kick back with their owners. Or dine on the patios at Back Door Grill, Moe’s Original BBQ, and Hypnotic Chicken, all populated with good boys and girls.
It’s easy to get swept up in the desert magic of Phoenix and Scottsdale, where urban charm meets natural splendor. Spring brings a burst of wildflowers to the pet-friendly Waterfall Trail in White Tank Mountain Regional Park, and Lost Dog Wash Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve passes through scenic natural desert wash. Many restaurants and breweries welcome pets to patios, and some include special treats for furry companions. Weekend brunch at O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery will give your pooch its social fix. (Plus their spent-grain biscuits made from the craft brewing process are a tasty reward.) At Morning Squeeze, another popular breakfast joint, pets can nosh on dishes from the Tail Wagger menu.
This airline-compliant pet carrier is made from a sturdy, waterproof polyester well-suited to travel wear and tear – and it collapses for easy storage on your journey. Size small holds pets up to 15 pounds; large fits furry companions up to 25 pounds. From $149, Roverlund.
A tisk-it, a task-it, you’ll want to pedal everywhere with your pooch in this handle-mounted basket. The padded, sherpa-lined design features reflective panels for extra visibility, and it can accommodate pets up to 25 pounds. Bonus: The carrier comes in eight colorways. $128, Amazon.
The exterior of this modern travel backpack features a clear, durable plastic bubble that gives kitty a window into your world while keeping her secure. A built-in leash clips onto a harness or collar, and two mesh side panels and nine vent holes allow for plenty of air circulation. (This is best suited for cats 12 pounds or less.) $43, Halinfer.
A bed, car seat, and carrier all in one, this streamlined product for pets up to 15 pounds is a smart choice for road trips. Hook-and-loop latches allow for easy seat belt positioning, and the mesh dome is removable for cozy snoozing outside of the car. $230, Amazon.
One of the greatest joys of traveling with a furry companion is bringing them along for hikes, walks, and bike rides — but sometimes, they need to rest those weary paws. This lightweight, durable Sport Sack keeps Fido in an upright position, with his paws and head out to take in the scenery. A padded back and generous shoulder straps make the ride extra comfortable for you, too. It’s available in three sizes for pets from 8 to 40 pounds. $95, Chewy.
Tequila is a variety of mescal, a distilled spirit derived from a spiky-leaf succulent plant called agave. Though mescal can be made with any of 200-plus agave varieties, tequila comes only from blue agave. And it’s produced in only five designated Mexican states: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. By law, tequila is required to be at least 51 percent agave; the good stuff is 100 percent agave (and labeled as such). Ancient Atzecs get credit for first making a fermented beverage from agave. Hernán Cortés and the Spaniards later brought distilling techniques that paved the way for modern tequila.
Blanco, also called plata (silver), is generally not aged. That gives it a clear color and a sharp taste — a good choice for cocktails. Reposado (rested) ages in a barrel for several months. That smooths and warms the flavor, taking it easier on your taste buds. Añejo (old) gets more rest, aging for one to three years. Even smoother, this type is designed to be sipped. Extra Añejo is older still, aging for at least three years. It’s primo stuff, with complex flavors (and priced accordingly). Cristalino, a newer type, is aged tequila that’s filtered to remove tannins and color. It’s like a gentler blanco.
Salty shots and fruity margaritas are the old go-tos for tasting tequila, but the trend today is to sip and savor the spirit like a fine whiskey or wine. That’s especially true of the aged, high-end varieties, sales of which soared in the last decade. If tequila neat feels too naked, it’s fine to add water or ice. If you prefer it in a cocktail, order a Paloma — the classic Mexican drink with lime and/or grapefruit soda. And if you do drink tequila straight, sip it from a flute, which brings out the flavors and aromas better than a shot glass.
Chips and salsa with tequila is tried and true, but going beyond that yields surprisingly sumptuous pairings. For example, steak grilled over wood or charcoal enhances the flavors of most aged tequilas. Smoky cheeses have the same effect — try Gouda with a reposado. Fried chicken, with its oil and spices, flatters an añejo tequila. Sushi and charcuterie both take to tequila well, especially blanco. Sweet foods pair pleasingly, too — aged tequilas are often viewed as dessert varieties. Try them with a box of chocolates, a plate of brownies, or fruits like apples and bananas. Ice cream with tequila has its fans, as well.
Cofounded by Eduardo “Lalo” Gonzalez, descendant of an iconic tequila-making family, LALO Blanco is distilled only twice and contains no additives. An all-female team distills La Gritona Reposado in the Jalisco highlands. It’s made using only older agave plants at the height of their sugar production. Tequila Fortaleza Añejo comes from century-old copper stills at an historic Jalisco site. Bertha González Nieves, the first woman Maestra Tequilera (tequila teacher), heads Casa Dragones, maker of small-batch sipping tequilas. Ultra-premium Clase Azul Reposado celebrates Mexican culture with its silky flavor and shapely appearance — each decanter is hand-made and hand-painted by local artisans.
On a whirlwind weekend in the Windy City, sandwich in time for classic handheld Chicago cuisine. Here’s an edible itinerary.
Once settled in your weekend digs, head to the Chicago Architecture Center for a 90-minute architectural tour on the Chicago River, courtesy of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. The excursion imparts fascinating facts about more than 50 buildings. Afterward, cruise on down to Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen for your first signature Chicago sandwich, the Reuben. Manny's mega model comes with the deli’s award-winning corned beef, but you can sub pastrami or roasted turkey. (Or order the vegetarian-friendly option.)
While you’re in the South Loop, explore Grant Park, a vast green space stretching from the Museum Campus on the south to Millennium Park (home of the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture) on the north. Grant Park’s centerpiece, Buckingham Fountain, is one of the world’s largest. It delivers 20-minute water shows on the hour. For more evening entertainment, follow Lake Shore Drive north to Navy Pier, a people magnet that includes the 200-foot-tall Centennial Wheel, the Chicago Children’s Museum, restaurants, shops, Imax movies, and boat rides. Offshore Rooftop, the pier’s rooftop deck (the nation’s largest), offers splendid views of Lake Michigan and the skyline.
Start by shopping on The Magnificent Mile, a stretch of more than 460 high-end stores — boutiques, department stores, and high-rise shopping malls — along North Michigan Avenue. Since you’re so close, check out the view from 360 Chicago, a 94th-floor observation deck in the former John Hancock Center.
For lunch, indulge in a classic Italian sub at J.P. Graziano. Chicago’s version may lack the catchy name other cities use — hoagie, hero, or grinder — but it’s filled with history and flavor. Vincenzo Graziano started a grocery store on the city’s west side in 1922. More than 80 years later, Graziano’s great-grandson opened a sandwich shop inside the original store, and customers thought it was the greatest thing since, well, sliced bread. Graziano’s sub features hot capicola, Genoa salami, mortadella, hard salami, and provolone. After lunch, visit another institution, Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the nation's oldest — it opened in 1868. The free zoo exhibits 1,100 animals from 200-plus species.
At dinner time, take a bite of Chicago’s sandwich soul: an Italian beef — “a beef” to locals. It’s thinly sliced roast beef and green peppers piled on crusty French bread and soaked in jus. A street peddler named Anthony Ferreri gets credit for inventing the sandwich to feed a wedding crowd — slicing beef thinly and serving it dripping on bread made the meat stretch further. Ferreri's son, Al, opened a beef stand in 1938 that’s now Al’s #1 Italian Beef. Dozens of other Italian beef joints beckon in the Chicago area, such as beloved Johnnie's Beef in Elmwood Park. Follow dinner with a show at The Second City, the legendary comedy and improv club that has launched the careers of many famous funny folks, like Saturday Night Live cast members past and present.
If you haven’t had time to hit museums yet, some of the biggies open fairly early on Sundays, including Shedd Aquarium, home to beluga whales and other aquatic attractions; The Field Museum, a must-see treasure trove of science and anthropology; and Adler Planetarium, the setting for stellar sky shows.
Before you leave town, make one last sandwich stop, Superdawg Drive-In, for a Chicago-style hot dog. There’s a location not far from O’Hare International Airport you can hit before you board your flight home. Carhops at the family-owned stand have been serving hot dogs since 1948. Look for the Maurie and Flaurie figures on the roof, namesakes of the restaurant’s founders. A true Chicago Red Hot consists of an all-beef frank, a steamed poppy seed bun, and curated toppings. Yellow mustard is a must, but more importantly, no ketchup — an abomination to purists.
Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen
Al’s #1 Italian Beef
Many of these parks offer inclusive services for guests with disabilities, including electric vehicle transport rentals, wheelchair rentals, printed guides, and Disability Access Service (DAS) for guests who cannot tolerate waiting in long lines.
Theme parks didn’t start in Orlando, but it’s now the world’s unofficial capital of them. The biggies: Walt Disney World Resort boasts the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Universal Orlando Resort beckons with Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay water park. And LEGOLAND Florida Resort celebrates the beloved little bricks with rides, shows, a water park, and building activities. But don’t overlook Crayola Experience Orlando, a colorful, hands-on attraction for creative kids inside The Florida Mall. Nona Adventure Park thrills visitors with a floating obstacle course, a ropes course, and 50-foot-tall climbing walls. Peppa Pig Theme Park Florida caters to younger travelers with activities inspired by the pink porcine TV character.
Travel less than an hour north to Wekiwa Springs State Park for canoeing and kayaking on the Wekiva River (yes, the park and river are spelled differently), an Old Florida-feel respite from modern civilization. South of its namesake theme park, the Disney Wilderness Preserve is 11,500 acres of former ranchland now returned to its natural state. It has a short loop and two wide, flat, and well-marked hiking trails that lead past pines and saw palmettos, plus resident red-cockaded woodpeckers, wood storks, and sandhill cranes. Take a voyage into the real Florida — that’s what the captain of your Premier Boat Tours pontoon promises as you cross Lake Dora on the way to the Dora Canal. The narrow waterway is shaded by cypress trees, one estimated to be 2,250 years old — it’s still standing, despite being dead for more than 300 years. The canal’s lush foliage hides herons and baby turtles. The pontoon boats accommodate some wheelchair types — check when booking.
If you can arrange some just-the-two-of-us time, do a little horsing around on a private trail ride for couples at Hidden Palms Ranch, just 45 minutes north of Orlando in Sanford. Marvel at native birds, fields of wildflowers, and beautiful Lake Jesup as you ride horseback. Afterward, have a romantic dinner at one of Historic Sanford’s many restaurants and bistros, then stroll hand-in-hand on the Sanford RiverWalk. Harry P. Leu Gardens, a botanical oasis minutes from downtown Orlando, hosts a monthly outdoor movie night. Pack a picnic basket, comfy chairs, a blanket, and a bottle of wine so you and your sweetie can do dinner and a show under the stars. Free wheelchairs are available. For an entertaining indoor date night, try the accessible Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. Its multiple venues host Broadway shows, ballet, operas, classical music, rock concerts, and comedians. Come a little early and enjoy drinks and snacks before the show.
Discover historic St. Augustine, the oldest European-settled town in the U.S. (it was founded in 1565), about two hours north of Orlando. Stroll the charming cobblestone streets of the National Historic Landmark District, browse the museums, and be enchanted by the Spanish Colonial architecture. If you seek a sandy Shangri-La, head about two and a half hours southwest from Orlando to Clearwater Beach on the Gulf Coast, consistently ranked as one of Florida’s best beaches. Relax on a 3-mile swath of soft, sugary sand (free beach wheelchairs are available) or take a dip in the calm, jade waters. Wildlife-lovers will want to make the two-hour drive west of Orlando to Crystal River for underwater encounters with endangered West Indian manatees. The gentle giants, sometimes called sea cows, swim in Crystal River’s warm waters, where guided tours include swimming and snorkeling with them.
On a tandem hang glider flight at Wallaby Ranch in Davenport (an hour from Orlando), the world’s first full-time aerotow hang gliding flight park, an experienced pilot rides along to teach and guide you. And the aerotow method means an ultralight towplane carries the glider aloft — no launching from a steep hill. Be dazzled by the dawn’s early light on a sunrise excursion with Bob’s Balloons in Championsgate, near Clermont. On an hour-long flight, your hot-air balloon rises anywhere from treetop height to 1,000 feet, providing bird’s-eye views of the Orlando skyline, the theme parks, and the area’s many lakes. After landing, share in a traditional post-flight brunch. Vicariously experience flights of much higher altitudes at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, a little more than an hour’s drive from Orlando. Walk among giant rockets from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo program; meet a real astronaut; and get a close look at Space Shuttle Atlantis. Wheelchair users will appreciate the center’s wide, flat areas. Rentals are available.
Though SeaWorld Orlando is a theme park with roller coasters and other rides, it’s the dolphins, whales, sharks, manta rays, and other marine life that make a splash. You get face-to-face views of the creatures and maybe even be able to touch some. Gatorland was Orlando’s first theme park, opening in 1949. The self-proclaimed Alligator Capital of the World still captivates with its collection of gators and crocs, from babies to giants. At Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, watch graceful swans and other birds from your seat in a swan-shape paddleboat. (A wheelchair-accessible boat is available.) The Giraffe Ranch, west of Orlando in Dade City, invites you to feed the zebras and giraffes as you ride a coach around the 47-acre property. See ostriches, donkeys, antelopes, llamas, deer, warthogs, Indian rhinos, and pygmy hippos too.
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Courtesy of Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
lake eola park
walt disney world resort
It’s a classic hypothetical: You’re on a desert island and can have only one thing with you. What do you pick? For our purposes, let’s assume lodging and meals are provided, you have a way to contact the outside world, and you can bring along a companion. Which of these things would you pack? Based on your answer, we suggest these island destinations — none of them deserted.
if you choose
you should go to
You don’t trust your brain to save the visual memories. You want to capture, preserve, and share them digitally. Dozens of islands provide fodder for powerful images, but it’s hard to top Indonesia’s Bali, a land of brilliant blue sea, wondrous waterfalls, towering volcanoes, and a curving coast. You could keep busy for days, weeks, or months clicking pics of standout scenery like the Campuhan Ridge Walk, the infinity pool at Hanging Gardens of Bali, the heavenly ray of light at Tukad Cepung waterfall, the temple in the clouds on the eastern slope of Mount Lempuyang in Karangasem, a swath of golden marigolds near the village of Besakih, and a glorious sunrise on Mount Batur.
Photographs quickly and realistically capture a moment, but you’d rather slowly create an impression of that moment through a painting, sketch, or other work, filtering the scene through your emotions and perspective. Artists find endless inspiration amid the beauty of the Maldives, an island chain in the Indian Ocean. Tranquil blue water, sugar-white sand, verdant coconut palms, and stunning equatorial sunsets invite painters to interpret the breathtaking colors. The world's lowest-lying nation rises only a few feet above sea level. (It’s 99 percent water.) More than 5,000 coral reefs lie below the surface, along with incredible numbers of fish, corals, and other marine life to influence your next great work.
if you choose
you should go to
Island time is an opportunity to nurture your spiritual side, and you’ll find your flow on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Do a sun salutation at dawn atop Mount Haleakala, a dormant volcano, or get into downward dog with a darling goat on the peak’s leeward slopes. Practice peaceful asanas among the redwoods in Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. Drop your mat for a quick session along the Waihou Spring Trail Loop, breathing in the scent of pine and eucalyptus trees. Strike a pose on the black-sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park, or bring a board instead of a mat and do SUP yoga on the beach at Kamehameha Iki Park in Lahaina.
if you choose
you should go to
You prefer grass, dirt, or rock underfoot to concrete. You like to follow a trail — or blaze your own. And you don’t mind an uphill climb, as long as there’s a payoff at the top. Italy’s Ischia, in the Tyrrhenian Sea about an hour ferry ride from Naples, boasts thermal springs, picturesque villages, and pristine beaches. The hiking highlight is a climb to Mount Epomeo, more than 2,500 feet above sea level. Lush greenery and verdant vineyards lead to panoramic views from the peak. You can also trek up to Castello Aragonese (a medieval castle), hike through magical Falanga Forest, or follow a vista-rich route along the southern cliffs overlooking Maronti Beach.
if you choose
you should go to
For you, island time is a chance to relax your mind as much as your body. You can empty your brain of its daily clutter and focus on positive intellectual stimulation — like an audiobook or favorite podcast — in an idyllic outdoor environment. A great choice for that is Hawaii, the largest island in the Hawaiian chain. And specifically, the Kona region on the Big Island’s west coast. It’s a land of crystal-blue water, vivid sunsets, fragrant tropical blooms, and aquatic wildlife, all sheltered from the winds by a volcanic mountain. Find a spot on Maniniowali Beach, put in your earbuds, and savor the soothing soundtrack as you indulge in the visuals.
if you choose
you should go to
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan
We asked, you answered. How do your travel preferences stack up against those of your fellow members?
Bring ‘em on!
Not for me
Yes, it's a necessity
No, not my vibe
Cozumel. Just saying it is a momentary vacation, the way the name glides off your tongue and conjures up an exotic place of sand, water, warmth, history, and hospitality. The island itself, off the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is all that, making it one of the most popular spots in the Caribbean, especially as a port for cruise ships. As island getaways go, Cozumel is unusually flat — its highest natural point is less than 50 feet above sea level. That makes it relatively easy for everyone to get around, even those with limited mobility. The ferry to the island is wheelchair-accessible, and many attractions have ramps, especially around San Miguel, Cozumel’s largest city and tourist hub.
With its clear, warm Caribbean waters and proximity to the world’s second-largest barrier reef system, Cozumel is a top destination for divers and snorkelers. Tour options abound. One of the best spots is Palancar Reef, a large coral reef on the island’s southwest side. To get a similar experience while staying dry, Atlantis Submarines plunge 100 feet below the surface to provide passengers with close-up looks at sea life. Divers with mobility issues can book an Accessible Cozumel Scuba Dive Experience, in which two dive masters accompany each diver underwater.
Cozumel’s turquoise waters are accompanied by an abundance of powdery beaches. Favorites include Palancar Beach on the southern side, Paradise Beach on the western side, and Stingray Beach in San Miguel, where you can encounter the namesake sea creatures without scuba gear (or fear of getting stung — the rays here have had their barbs trimmed). Wheelchair users will find a special beach experience available through Accessible Caribbean Vacations.
The Mayans settled Cozumel centuries ago, and remnants of their culture remain on the island, including the San Gervasio ruins, once a sacred center for Mayans who worshiped Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility. The ruins are also said to have been a site for trade and political development. It’s now a park containing a series of temples and other structures connected by paths. Explore them on your own or book a guided visit with Cozumel Tours. The terrain around the ruins limits access for wheelchair users.
The best view here is the 360-degree one at the top of Celarain Lighthouse (it’s a 133-step climb), but there are plenty of other vistas at this park on the southern tip of Cozumel. It offers 2,500 acres of white sands and wildlife, including exotic birds, crocodiles, and sea turtles. Walk a nature trail, tour a navigation museum, take a catamaran tour of a lagoon, or just hang out in a hammock or beach chair.
Inside Cozumel´s National Reef Marine Park, Chankanaab (Mayan for “small sea”) is a 20-acre swath of beaches, gardens, ponds, and coral reefs on the western coast. It promises a reward for every seeker: lovely lagoon views, fluttering butterflies, migrating birds, vivid green parrotfish, bug-eyed squirrelfish, dolphin encounters, a spa, and a tequila tour. Wide, wheelchair-friendly boardwalks make it easy to explore the grounds, and beach wheelchairs are available. Splurge on a private cabana for your own ocean views.
A towering point of reference in San Miguel and one of Mexico’s most photographed churches, the 17th-century Neo-Gothic structure features pink pinnacles that point toward the heavens. Though useful in getting your bearings around town, the church is also a destination in its own right, a sight that invites long gazes and reflection, even meditation. It never looks the same way twice, thanks to how the position of the sun throughout the day changes the colors and shadows. And it’s a view accessible to all from the street.
Multiethnic flavors clash intentionally and creatively at this family-run place on the beach with a wide-open ocean view — it’s spectacular at sunset, as torches blaze and reflect on the Caribbean waters. The food lives up to the setting, anchored by what’s freshly caught that day. Start with Lobster Nachos or Grilled Local Mayan Octopus, then savor entrees like Butter Lobster and Cheese Ravioli, Chef’s Seafood Risotto, Achiote Rubbed Shrimp, or Lobster Tempura Tacos. And sample the sushi — some say it’s the best on Cozumel.
Experience authentic Mayan cuisine through top Mexican chef Karla Enciso, who has studied the cooking traditions of the Quintana Roo region’s Mayan communities. Signature dishes include Sikilp’aak’, a Mayan appetizer of coal fire-roasted tomatoes. Cochinita Pibil Tacos are piled with pork that’s been marinated in a mixture of sour orange juice and spices, wrapped in banana leaves, and cooked in an underground oven called a pib. Other favorites: Octopus and Shrimp Ceviche, Fried Octopus with Garlic Tostada, and the Beans with Pork.
For 45 years, this spot has charmed locals and visitors alike with its seafood and traditional Swiss-Italian cuisine, including house-made pastas, their famous garlic bread, and pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven. The leafy courtyard dining area, shaded by trees and colorful bougainvillea, is a big draw too. Choose from the seasonal menu’s all-time favorites (like lasagna) or consider the daily specials menu, which focuses on fresh-caught fish and other ingredients available that day. Save room for dessert, like the Mango Ice Cream Cake, served dramatically with flaming orange liquor.
Sorry, you can’t take home Cozumel’s magnificent coral reefs, but you can pack up some of the island’s signature treasures. Carry home a piece of Mexican culture as a reminder of your days in the sun.
The Mayans believed chocolate was a gift from the gods — and maybe you do too. At the Mayan Cacao Company, learn the origins of cocoa, how the ancient Mayans prepared chocolate with traditional techniques and ingredients, and how it used to be a drink reserved for priests and emperors. Then browse a variety of cocoa products, including chocolate bars made from cacao beans selected by Mayan farmers in the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula. Sample different flavors before choosing your favorites to take home.
Save room in your suitcase for some slivers of silver. Cozumel abounds with shops selling silver jewelry. One of the favorites among visitors is Sergio’s Silver From Taxco, a family-owned business (Sergio Hernandez and his son, Sergio Jr.) that’s been in Cozumel almost 30 years. It began in Taxco, a town known as Mexico’s Silver Capital and the center of silverwork in the west. At Sergio’s, find silver rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and custom pieces created by Mexican artisans.
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Hammocks are a mainstay of Cozumel markets, plus they’re light and easy to pack. Check out the selection at Mercado Municipal, the island's municipal market, or seek out smaller shops. Connoisseurs prefer natural materials and tight weaves. Genuine handcrafted Mayan versions are works of art — it can take an artisan up to 100 hours to create one. Each time you hang out in your new hammock back home, you’ll feel an island breeze.
The name of this sweet liqueur native to the Yucatán may be hard to spell and pronounce (ish-tah-ben-TOON), but the stuff goes down easy. It’s made from anise seed and distilled with rum and fermented honey — produced by stingless bees from the nectar of local xtabentún flowers. It’s served straight, cold, with ice and honey, or in Mayan Coffee drinks. Look for xtabentún in Cozumel liquor stores.
punta sur ecological beach park
chankanaab adventure beach park
parroquia de san miguel arcángel
They’ve been called the best idea America ever had — a way to preserve and protect the country’s special places for all to enjoy and explore. Yellowstone was the first, authorized in 1872, and New River Gorge the latest, added in 2021. In all, 63 sites carry the National Park designation, and you’ll find them in 30 states and two U.S. territories. All are worth a visit, but four parks stand out for their sheer size and distinctive natural delights: Grand Canyon, Glacier, Great Smoky Mountains, and Shenandoah.
Teddy Roosevelt said the Grand Canyon was the one sight every American should see. The massive gorge, formed by the Colorado River in northern Arizona, is an astonishing 278 miles long, 600 feet to 18 miles wide, and up to 6,000 feet deep. Grand Canyon National Park, established in 1919, draws millions of visitors each year to its two public areas, the North and South rims. In addition to unmatched vistas from the rims, the park provides spots for hikes, mule rides, camping, and whitewater rafting. A good place to start is the South Rim Visitor Center. Park there and get your first look at the canyon from nearby Mather Point, or board free shuttle buses (they accommodate wheelchairs) that travel around Grand Canyon Village — home to lodges, restaurants, gift shops, and campgrounds. The Rim Trail, mostly flat and paved (some sections are accessible), offers a nice introduction to the park. It’s an easy walk/hike with quiet views of the inner canyon and minimal elevation changes.
You can’t go wrong choosing a national park to visit, but this quartet dramatically demonstrates how widely the wonders of nature vary as you travel across the U.S.
You can rent wheelchairs and trailers and tag-alongs for bicycles at Bright Angel Bicycles next to the South Rim Visitor Center. Some wheelchairs are available to borrow for free from the North Rim Visitor Center.
Prehistoric ice rivers carved out the mountain ranges in this region of Montana (near the Canadian border) that Native Americans called the Backbone of the World. Others refer to it as the Crown of the Continent. Established as a National Park in 1910, Glacier features about two dozen of its namesake ice masses, plus alpine meadows, deep forests, waterfalls, and 700 dazzling lakes. Though few roads traverse the park’s 1,600 awe-inspiring square miles (better to preserve the primitive, unspoiled feel), more than 700 miles of trails take visitors through layers of wilderness and human history. Trail of the Cedars, a gateway to towering trees, is one of the easiest, most-accessible, and most-popular hikes. However, there is one drive you must experience at least a portion of — the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a stunning 50-mile, paved two-lane highway that spans the width of Glacier, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet.
The road offers a visual sampling of the park’s diverse terrain through scenic points and pull-offs where you can stop for leisurely views and pics. It also provides access to some of the park’s more accessible trails, such as the Lake McDonald Trail, the Upper McDonald Creek Trail, and the Oberlin Bend Trail.
The peaks and valleys of America’s most-visited national park often hide behind the shrouds of low-hanging fog and blue mist that earned the majestic mountains their name. Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers more than 500,000 acres in parts of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, preserving a portal to natural beauty and Appalachian culture. Get an overview of the scenery from your vehicle: Two-lane US-441 cuts through the heart of the park, and it’s lined with overlooks like the jaw-dropping Newfound Gap. For a closer look, explore the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, where you can see preserved historic log buildings, picturesque mountain meadows, wildflowers (in spring), and the park’s famous elk. The Deep Creek area abounds with streams and waterfalls — a loop hike takes you to the three main cascades. The Big Creek Trail is another popular route, leading to Midnight Hole (a swimming spot) and Mouse Creek Falls. The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, just south of Sugarlands Visitor Center, is an accessible trail that winds through a forest along the Little Pigeon River. A black bear walked on the freshly poured concrete when the trail was built — look for the tracks it left behind.
Waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife, woods, and wow-moment views await at this Virginia treasure only 75 miles from Washington, DC. Deer, songbirds, wild turkey, and black bear find refuge among more than 200,000 acres of protected lands, as do humans — namely hikers, bicyclists, campers, climbers, bird-watchers, and anglers. Get the grand tour on Skyline Drive, one of the country’s most scenic roads. It’s a 105-mile route along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and at the posted 35 mph speed limit, takes about three hours (more if you pull off frequently to marvel). But you’ll appreciate the two-lane’s leisurely pace, which lets you take in the panoramas safely. When you’re ready to explore on foot, choose from more than 500 miles of trails, including several to waterfalls, like Dark Hollow Falls, Rose River Falls, and Doyles River Falls. The route to Old Rag Mountain is the park’s most popular trail, but it’s strenuous even for experienced hikers. Fortunately, there are easier routes, such as Blackrock Summit, a short hike to the top of a rocky slope for awesome views of the Shenandoah Valley, and Limberlost, a fully accessible 1.3-mile circuit hike through a beautiful stretch of forest.
Food might not be the main course on your Helsinki travel menu, but the city surprises with its varied and creative cuisine, including a two-star Michelin restaurant, Palace, and 5 one-star recipients. Whether you get meals from harbor-front stalls, charming cafes, or the hippest spots near the Design District, you’ll find plenty of flavors to savor. Fish is everywhere, as is rye bread, coffee, and salmiakki (a salty black licorice). Local meats such as moose, elk, and reindeer star in innovative dishes. Pastries are quite popular, and Finnish bread cheese (“squeaky cheese”) is a traditional dessert served with cloudberry jam.
Shop for Finnish food, crafts, and souvenirs at this bustling open-air market on the eastern side of central Helsinki, between South Harbour and Esplanade Park. Vendors sell fresh-caught fish, fruits and vegetables, coffee, and other treats — try some classic salmon soup with rye bread. And take home some easy-to-pack juniper wood trivets as fragrant mementoes. While in Market Square, see The Stone of the Empress, Helsinki’s oldest public memorial, and the beloved Havis Amanda mermaid statue and fountain.
Forests and lakes cover much of Finland, and you needn’t travel far to be invigorated by their freshness and beauty. Two national parks, Sipoonkorpi and Nuuksio, lie less than an hour from Helsinki’s center, both offering lakes and wilderness settings. Or ferry to Suomenlinna, a mid-18th-century sea fortress where little green paradises have sprung up amid the rocks and coves. The Uutela Nature Trail in eastern Helsinki is a figure-eight route through glaciated rock formations, forest, marshland, and pastures.
Design District Helsinki, spanning 25 streets in the heart of the city, is a mosaic of fashion boutiques, museums, art galleries, showrooms, antiques stores, and restaurants. You’ll find the most intriguing names in the design world, including the Finnish house Marimekko, which gained global fame in 1960 when Jackie Kennedy wore their dresses. The Design Museum, a few blocks from the Esplanade, gives a good overview of Finnish design history.
Saunas are the soul of Finnish culture. There are millions in the country, roughly one for every two people. Though most residents have home saunas, public versions still flourish — it’s a social rite for strangers to share the therapeutic heat. Löyly, a newer and sleek waterfront spa, is one of the most popular. Sauna Hermanni, built in 1953, has more of a retro aesthetic. Kaurilan Sauna, in the woods a few miles from the city’s core, recalls a traditional log-cabin sauna.
Helsinki’s stunning architecture includes white marble Finlandia Hall, classic Parliament House, and subterranean Temppeliaukio Church. Oodi library, Musiikkitalo concert hall, and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma are newer icons, while 1938’s Olympic Stadium is an older monument to functionalism. Senate Square showcases Neoclassical gems Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the National Library of Finland, and the main building of the University of Helsinki. The Central Railway Station, designed by architect Eliel Saarinen, anchors another cluster of must-see buildings, like Amos Rex art museum and Kamppi Chapel.
Known to locals as Espa, the city’s main drag is a wide and welcoming boulevard featuring an elegant park sandwiched between shop-lined avenues. The green space invites strolls, picnics, street performances, and people watching. Buildings on the north side of the boulevard house upscale boutiques, bistros, and lodging. At one end of the Esplanade, you’ll find the flagship store for Stockmann, a Finnish department store founded in 1862.
Immerse yourself in Finnish history and folk culture at Helsinki museums. The National Museum of Finland holds half a million artifacts from the Stone Age to the present. Seurasaari Open-Air Museum brings together 87 buildings from all over the country to re-create rural Finnish life of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The Ateneum Art Museum walks you through chapters in Finland’s long art history through the country’s largest collection of paintings and sculpture. Kiasma focuses on the country’s contemporary art. The building itself is an artwork, designed to change its character as light shifts throughout the day and season.
Nuuksio national park
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Helsinki outdoor market