Amazing Outdoor Recreation Activities Found in Utah

Outdoor enthusiasts will find an endless playground in Utah. Utah has a plethora of activities at its numerous state and national parks. In fact, about 80 percent of the state is set aside for public use, perfect if you live in or are traveling to Utah for a little adventure. Utah gives you 47 state parks, 5 national parks, 7 national monuments, 2 national recreation areas, and 6 national forests to explore. Within minutes, you can be exploring the tranquil mountains, away from the bustling city.

Recreation adventures are available in Utah for every skill level. In the winter months, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing are popular. The snow is so renowned here that it is on the state license plate as the best on earth, obviously good enough for Olympic athletes in 2002. Rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, boating and camping are exciting endeavors for visitors from spring to fall. Spelunking and canyoneering are fast becoming popular throughout the state as well.

With a wide variety of climates and topography, Utah can fit any recreation need. Utah’s topography ranges from 13,000 foot mountains in the north to deep canyons and gorges as low as 3,000 feet. The Wasatch Mountains provide a myriad of available land for activities up north. The Bonneville Salt Flats is a barren land west of Salt Lake City available for racing (ever seen The World’s Fastest Indian?).

Central Utah holds a majority of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, an ample region for exploring the National Forests through horseback riding or ATVs. Farther south, Southern Utah has beautiful red cliffs located in the numerous national parks. Although it’s a desert, there is plenty of water down south for white water rafting at Green River or boating at Lake Powell.

Caribbean Vacation Activities – Outdoor Recreation For Your Holiday

The name Caribbean is almost synonymous with Sea, Sun and Sand. Magnificent beaches abound ranging from dazzling white sand, to pink sand to rich golden brown sand through to beautiful black sand beaches. These beaches seem to call you to dive into the sparkling blue water and then relax on the beach soaking in the sun and admiring the beauty of the scene. For those who want more activity at the beach than reclining on a lounge chair sipping a cold drink, Caribbean vacations offer a range of beach activities. On almost every island you can find jet skis, ocean kayaks, parasailing, surfing, wind surfing, kite boarding, water skis and banana boat rides at the major beaches.

The opportunity to go surfing is a key element in deciding on a vacation locale for a growing number of people and Barbados is the surfing paradise of the Caribbean. The island’s location far out in the Atlantic Ocean allows waves to travel thousands of kilometers across the sea before finally unleashing their power over Barbados’ coral reefs. Barbados receives waves to surf from all directions thus providing for unlimited surfing conditions all over. The number one surfing location in Barbados is the internationally recognised Soup Bowl in Bathsheba. All over the island however there are beaches suited to surfing, from Brandons Beach near Bridgetown to Accra Beach. South Point Beach has a fairly powerful and clean wave while the shorebreak at Inchcape on Silver Sands Beach seems to break 365 days a year. For those who do not know how to surf but want to learn while on vacation, Barbados has many surfing shops to provide instruction.

The Dominican Republic is known as the kiteboarding capital of the world and for the past four years the Kiteboarding World Cup has been held in the Dominican Republic town of Cabarete. Along this region of the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, nature has created the perfect blend of wind, water and waves to generate incomparable kiteboarding and windsurfing conditions. In June of every year, Windsurfers also flock to Cabarete for the annual World Cup Windsurfing Competition.

As fun-filled as Caribbean beaches are, today there is much more to a Caribbean vacation than activities at the beach and these activities are both beyond and behind the beach. As you move beyond the beach there is a range of activities including Deep-sea Fishing, Dolphin/Whale Watching and Diving.

Fishing is a recreational pastime on every Caribbean island and throughout the Caribbean certain pelagic game fish can be found with some of the more sought after species being sailfish, marlin, tuna and wahoo. As these species are migratory fish they are more abundant at certain times of the year on each island but there are other species that can usually be found year round at different islands. The game fishing off the waters of Tobago is a sport angler´s dream with some of the world´s most exciting game fish, including blue marlin, white marlin, swordfish, wahoo, tuna, barracuda, dolphin (mahi-mahi) and shark. Jamaica’s northern waters are also well-known for deep-sea and sport fishing. Anglers can hook a large number of fish, including mahi mahi, wahoo, blue and white marlin, sailfish, tarpon, barracuda, and bonito.

Visitors can now go whale and dolphin watching in a number of Caribbean countries including: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. In fact, there are an amazing thirty species of whales and dolphins in the Caribbean. The most frequently spotted species include humpback and sperm whales, and bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins. Whale watching vessels are usually medium to small-sized vessels carrying less than 75 people, which offer an excellent opportunity to get a great view of the whales. While each of these islands offers whale watcing, the activity has developed in Dominica to the point where Dominica has become known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean.” The island boasts a 90% success rate in spotting whales or dolphins during a whale watching excursion. The island offers excellent year round whale watching opportunities including spectacular sperm whale mother-calf pairs, whose spouts can sometimes even be seen from shore.

Those sparkling blue waters that provide so much enjoyment topside also provide a world of adventure below its surface. The Caribbean is one of the top regions for scuba diving and snorkeling with breathtaking marine life. The Cayman Islands are one of the premier areas in the world for diving with crystal clear turquoise waters that run deep with wondrous walls, shallow coral reefs, new and old wrecks and some of the most dynamic marine life. Tobago is another island that offers a myriad of diving opportunities for both the new and experienced diver plus the holiday snorkeler. Home of the elusive manta rays and the Caribbean’s largest brain coral, Tobago is a year round scuba diving destination.

Behind the beach on each Caribbean island there is also a range of vacation activities that can include hiking, bird watching, river tubing, visiting natural attractions, history tours and enjoying a vibrant nightlife.

The natural landscape of the Caribbean allows bird watching to be a popular year round vacation activity. Trinidad and Tobago has some of the most diverse bird species to be found in one location with over 460 species in a combined land area of 1,868 square miles. Asa Wright Nature Center, is Trinidad and Tobago´s premier birding location and it has been widely recognized as one of the most successful eco-tourism stories in the world. Asa Wright, with a listing of 159 bird species, is a 270-acre conservatory, located on a former cocoa-coffee-citrus plantation partly reclaimed by secondary forest and largely surrounded by impressive rainforest. The center has several cottages that are available for rent and one can choose to spend a night, a weekend or even longer. There are numerous trails throughout the property and very knowledgeable guides. Two of the highlights are the short walk to the manakin leks to see these beautiful little birds dance to attract a mate and to see and hear the Bearded Bellbird. Another special attraction of the Asa Wright Nature Centre, is a breeding colony of the nocturnal Oilbird, or Guacharo (Steatornis caripensis). Located in Dunston Cave, this is the only known easily accessible colony of this species. These visits must however generally be booked in advance as the number of visits and visitors is limited.

The natural landscape with abundant rain forests also makes hiking a popular vacation activity in the Caribbean and Trinidad has a range of hiking opportunities with hikes varying in difficulty from 1 to 8. There are tour guides for those who want guided tours and almost every weekend hiking groups visit various natural attractions. The 32-kilometer trail from Blanchisseuse to Matelot on Trinidad’s north coast is considered a jewel. Along the hike one alternates from unspoiled rainforest to untouched beaches. The trail rambles over a succession of small ridges, crossing several small streams and passing through abandoned estate lands with cocoa, coffee, tonka bean, nutmeg and papaya (pawpaw).

Dominica, lying in the Eastern Caribbean between Martinique and Guadeloupe, calls itself the Nature Island and rightfully so. Its landscape is covered with lush untouched natural rain forest. Within those forests are tall cascading waterfalls, hidden fern grottoes, mountain lakes, boiling lakes, hot springs and mysterious regions of volcanic activity. All these natural wonders within a 29 mile by 16 mile island that has almost 300 miles of footpaths, so that in almost every part of the country, trails weave their way into gorges and across valleys, climbing up to 4,000 foot mountains, creating a hiker´s paradise. In Dominica, there are trails for every level of hiker, varying from easy 30-minute walks to more moderate 45 minute to 2-hour hikes to strenuous 6-hour treks. All of these in a land that seems to bear fruit everywhere, so that all over you see oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, bananas, papayas, guavas, star fruit, breadfruit, passion fruit.

Wet, wild and wonderful are the words that describe yet another popular outdoor Caribbean vacation activity; River Tubing. On Grenada’s Balthazar River, Dominica´s Layou River, Jamaica´s White River or Great River you can spin and swirl in large modified tubes as the river currents take you on a thrilling ride down river. Along the way you can enjoy the scenery of natural untouched rain forest and at the end of your ride you can swim in the river´s natural pools.

Nature has blessed the Caribbean in innumerable ways and provided it with a host of natural attractions. On the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands is a national park known as The Baths. Here giant granite boulders are scattered about a beach lapped by the blue Caribbean Sea. Standing almost 50 feet tall, these massive boulders form a series of grottoes in which to play and explore. Within this seaside labyrinth are many placid pools that create a truly romantic locale.

St. Lucia boasts of one of the most unique Caribbean natural attractions with what is probably the world´s only drive-in volcano. Located at La Soufriere you can drive your car to the semi-active volcano and then take a guided tour. The five acre wide hissing crater is a red, blue and green tinged landscape, which has 24 steaming vents that hint at deposits of iron, copper oxide, magnesium and others minerals bubbling to the surface. The entire area gives a fascinating picture of what the earth must have looked like 400,000 years ago when the dome of molten lava collapsed.

The bioluminescent bay found at Puerto Mosquito (Mosquito Bay) located on the southern shore of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico has to be rated as one of the things you must see before you die. A trip into the bay on a balmy night is a magical experience because when the calm waters around the bay are disturbed, the microscopic organisms in the bay emit a blue-green light and so swimming or kayaking in the bay is like floating among the stars. The 2008 Guinness Book of World Records has officially declared this magical bioluminescent bay the brightest recorded in the world.

The Caribbean was considered desirable property in the 17th and 18th century, which led to numerous battles between France, England, Spain and Holland and many islands changing ownership several times. The need to protect these islands resulted in numerous fortifications, while the change of ownership led to varying architectural styles. Many of these historic sites are well preserved and provide interesting glimpses of the past. Two of these sites are Brimstone Hill in St Kitts and the Garrison Historic District in Barbados.

The Brimstone Hill Fortress has been converted to a National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of historical, cultural and architectural significance. The fortress is considered one of the best preserved historical fortifications in the Americas. It has been described as “a monument to the ingenuity of the British military engineers who designed it and to the skill, strength and endurance of the African slaves who built and maintained it”. Tours of Brimstone Hill are conducted daily, and highlights include the hospital, ammunition stores, artillery officer’s quarters, the Prince of Wales Bastion, and the Citadel of Fort George. In addition to learning about the historical significance of the fort, a visit affords one the opportunity to enjoy attractive panoramic vistas of forested mountains, cultivated fields, the historical township of Sandy Point, and the neighboring islands of Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts.

The Garrison Historic Area in Barbados surrounds the Garrison Savannah, which is the center of much of the sporting and recreational activity in Barbados. The Savannah however is a historic location for much more than sport. The historical significance of the Garrison Savannah goes back to 1650 when Charles Fort was erected in the area and then in 1705, St. Ann´s Fort was added. This area developed into a military complex and being the site of a military complex, numerous buildings were constructed from the 1660´s to the 1800´s. These buildings today give the Garrison area much of its historical and architectural interest. On any walk around the Garrison area you cannot miss seeing the numerous cannons that are located in the area. These form part of the Barbados National Cannon Collection, which constitutes the largest cluster of 17th Century English cannons in the world. One of the prominent buildings in this area is the Main Guard building facing the racetrack. This elegant Georgian building from 1802 with its handsome clock tower and wide verandah is now an information centre and houses exhibits about the West Indian Regiment. As you continue around the Savannah there are numerous 17th- to 19th-century military buildings constructed from brick brought as ballast on ships from England and also several memorials. Another significant building in this area is the Barbados Museum, which is housed in a compound that was formerly a military prison, and centered around a large airy courtyard with trees and flowering shrubs.

When night falls your activities do not end as the Caribbean has an array of bars, clubs and world class restaurants. For true local flavor however, the weekly street parties are unmatched. On the island of St Lucia the fishing village of Gros Islet transforms itself every Friday night into a colorful carnival scene, featuring soca and reggae music and a “jump up” (dancing in the streets). The Fish Fry on Friday´s in Grenada´s village of Gouyave provides you the opportunity to sample an array of freshly caught local seafood to the backdrop of calypso rhythms. Not to be outdone the Sunday School in Tobago´s Buccoo Village held every Sunday night allows you to dance to the music of the steelband while looking out on the fishing boats gently rocking in the bay.

Bicycling – An Outdoor Recreational Exercise Or Sport For People Who Like to Think

Besides the typical benefits and pleasures of bicycling outdoors, one of the its biggest advantages is an increased capacity for thinking and making positive self-needed decisions while riding. In some cases, regular bicyclists will become creative in ways not known to them earlier.

Typical benefits gained from bicycling.

Better fitness. Improved physical condition from the exercise, sweating, and breathing clean air.
Better health. Improved cardiovascular activity, muscle tone, bone density, and skin condition.
Stress relief. Reduced mental pressure and stress by getting outside and changing the scenery.
Active lifestyle. Bicycling can be done regularly for years.
Longevity. Bicycling can increase life spans.
Recreational fun. Experiencing the joy of being outdoors; seeing great vistas and lots of nature (animals, plants, birds, and colorful foliage).
Social activity. Great outing or vacation for families and friends.
Greener transportation. Bicycling saves on energy, road wear, polluting emissions, money, and is good for the environment.
Increased mobility. Provides and alternative mode for getting around, like, commuting to and from work or other places.
Inexpensive. Comparatively, it costs less than many other hobbies or activities. An initial one-time investment for a bike and related items can seem fairly expensive depending on the choices made. But, it is worth it.
Accessibility. It is fairly easy to jump on a bike and go for a ride, almost anytime.
Safeness. Bicycling is very safe when making use of the well-established bike trails, which are found everywhere. The trails made from old railroad beds are especially well managed and maintained.
Therapeutic. Bicycling is therapeutic for the mind, spirit, and self-esteem if the rider allows it to happen.

Many of the above benefits can be attributed to other outdoor activities as well, like, golfing, boating, fishing, jogging, walking, and others to name a few. However, these other activities and sports can require a certain amount deliberate concentration, inter-relational activity, communication, or focused teamwork. This extra mental work can prevent the rider’s mind from approaching newer deeper resources.

Bicycling as a mode for thinking, making decisions and commitments, and being creative.

Once a new bicyclist learn to ride with most of its necessary awareness factors tucked into his or her subconscious as part of their safe-riding habits, another eventful process begins to occur – real latent thinking. Particularly, this process occurs with the bicyclists who take the time to ride fairly long distances (50-miles or so), or who take to the wooded back-country and hills. These riders are also willing to ride alone from time to time.

Thus, the rider’s mind begins to work more deeply than usual, often on atypical subjects. This thinking process might come on through a faster blood flow and by not having deliberately preconceived issues to dwell on while riding. Thus, when a rider’s mind is allowed to probe more deeply on its own, any vague unanswered personal questions or other similar issues suddenly become visibly clear. As a result of this enhanced vividness, the bicyclist makes newly affirmed decisions and commitments regarding these issues.

Even more astounding is when certain bicyclists suddenly find themselves being highly creative at something they did not realize about themselves before. This discovery is another benefit for sure.

Out And About In Nassau – Enjoying Outdoor Recreational Activities In The Bahamas

Mention the name The Bahamas and sparkling blue water with pink or white sand beaches spring to mind. Conch fritters, Conch salad, 700 islands, duty free shopping and Junkanoo are all terms that are synonymous with the Bahamas. This island nation has a total land area of 5,300 square miles and consists of 700 islands plus 2,500 cays (low banks or reefs). New Providence Island on which Nassau (the capital) is located is 21 miles by 7 miles. Paradise Island, which is 5.5 miles long by 2/3 of a mile wide is connected to Nassau by a short bridge. Thousands of tourists visit Nassau every year to enjoy the clear water or place their bets at the gambling tables at Paradise Island.

Nassau however has myriad outdoor recreational activities that are perfect for burning off the pounds gained from eating all those conch fritters or adding some variety to your holiday. For the business person who wants to catch some recreational activity on a business trip or the individual who wants to get some fresh air after all the time at the gambling tables, Nassau’s outdoor recreation can be all day or just a few hours.

Those sparkling blue waters make Nassau an ideal location for snorkeling. Some of the more popular snorkeling destinations for excursions leaving from Nassau include Rainbow Reef, Blue Lagoon Island (home to Stingray City as well as other snorkeling venues), Blackbeard’s Cay, Pearl Island, and Rose Island Reef. Rainbow Reef is approximately 45 minutes from Nassau by catamaran or other high-speed boat. The water at Rainbow Reef is about 15 feet deep throughout the viable swimming and snorkeling area. Blue Lagoon is a circular island encircling water. A narrow opening in the land leads into a large pool of water. A 15-minute walk through some of the most beautiful beaches and on bridges spanning absolutely calm sparkling blue water leads to Stingray City. Another stingray encounter can be had at Pearl Island which is a 30-minute boat ride from Nassau. Yellow tail snapper, Grouper, and many other tame fish make Athol Island in Athol Island National Marine Park at the eastern end of Nassau Harbor an outstanding snorkel site.

Those sparkling blue waters also make Nassau a wonderful location for the sport fisherman. Fishing charters are available for half day or full day with a choice of deep-sea fishing or reef fishing. Wahoo are abundant between November to January and 100 pounders are frequent. Dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi) are found between April and June, while Sailfish can be fought during April and May and again between October and November. Barracuda and Marlin (Black, Blue and White) are found year round.

For the landlubber, there is off-road cycling, away from traffic and noise. On all-terrain bicycles, you can enjoy a guided tour of shady woodland trails, open forest, the seashore and mangrove creeks and visit the historic village of Adelaide. You can have a relaxed, easy ride or a longer route. For the seasoned cyclist there are more challenging rides.

The Bahamas sits on the migration route for birds moving north and south on their winter and spring migrations. As such there are two opportunities to see many northern species. Of course, no visit to the Bahamas would be complete for a birder without viewing the Bahama Pintail duck (also known as the White-cheeked Pintail). These inhabitants of lagoons and mangrove swamps are widely distributed and the clear water of the mangroves makes viewing them a pleasure. Other species that are generally seen include eurasian collared doves, neotropic cormorants, american coot, great blue herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, reddish egrets, green herons, white ibis, blue winged teal, northern mockingbirds. Some of the locations for viewing various species include the Paradise Island ponds, Clifton Heritage site and the Harold & Wilson ponds.

For those who want to be outdoors but simply want a walking pace, Nassau has retained much of its older architecture and blended it with modern buildings so that it creates a harmonious whole. The original part of the city is small enough that you can wander along and see much of the historic architecture. Parliament Square with the Houses of Parliament, the Old Colonial Secretary’s office, the Supreme Court and the Statue of Queen Victoria is definitely worth a visit. Nearby at Parliament and Shirley Streets is the Nassau Public Library that was originally a prison. Not far away at Shirley and Elizabeth Streets is the Bahamas Historical Society with numerous exhibits.

If it is “action” and people watching you seek, Arawak Cay is not to be missed. This lively gathering spot has a row of small wooden restaurants fronted by a large park and backed by the sea. You can sit on the verandah of any of the restaurants or in the open air and watch the parade of people as they stroll by. Have a Kalik (Bahamian Beer) and enjoy the West Indian atmosphere and when hunger strikes you can have a conch salad or conch fritters or fried fish prepared before your eyes.

So the next time you are in Nassau or if it is your first time remember there is an interesting world to discover beyond the beach.

Outdoor Recreation Strengthens Families

As a boy, I don’t think there was anything that I enjoyed more than family excursions to the mountains, lakes, sand dunes and deserts. Living near Salt Lake City, Utah provided convenient access to a wide variety of beautiful outdoor environments, and my parents loved to get out of town and change the scenery. As a result, we packed up and hit the road often, in one direction or another. We did have a few favorite destinations (including Palisades Lake, Jackson Hole and the Little Sahara dunes), but no two trips were alike, and we often found ourselves in new and interesting places. Our travel accommodations and recreational pursuits also varied. Some trips involved sleeping in tents and hiking in the woods. On other occasions we had the comforts of a trailer or boat, and spent hours each day exploring our surroundings on ATVs, bicycles or wave runners. Each of these excursions was an adventure that we experienced together as a family, and each created fond memories that I continue to reflect on today, as an adult with children of my own.

Based on my own experience, both as a child and as a parent, I firmly believe that participation in the outdoors provides unique opportunities for strengthening family relationships. I think there are a few reasons for this. The first, and probably most important reason is that being outdoors together provides quality time. Time that is free from the interruptions of phone calls and email. Time that is free from work responsibilities, household chores, and television shows. When a family is together in the great outdoors, they generally have a substantial period of time in which to simply enjoy being with and talking to each other, without all the distractions. In this setting parents and children are more likely to open up and share genuine thoughts and feelings, thereby overcoming communication barriers. Certainly spending such time together is important to establishing and maintaining strong, healthy relationships.

Second, outdoor participation places the family in an environment where each member is experiencing and learning new things, and all are doing so together. At home, our surroundings are commonplace and familiar, and parents are often focused on being productive. Outdoor environments offer a setting that is unfamiliar and often very stimulating. Parents and their children have an opportunity to experience and learn about their surroundings together. This increases family unity by placing family members on a more equal level. Similarly, while experiencing the outdoors family members’ perspectives are more alike. The way in which each sees the world and how they exist within it is more similar than usual, and each is likely to enjoy a greater sense of appreciation for the positive elements of their lives. At home, there is generally a disparity of perspectives between parents and children and both may find it easy to forget those positive elements. By physically removing themselves from their comfort zones families are able to create opportunities to grow closer together and learn to rely on each other more.

The third reason outdoor recreation strengthens families is based on the premise that most people are happier than usual while participating in outdoor recreation, and when individuals are happy, their relationships and associations with others will inevitably be stronger and healthier. I base this underlying premise on more than thirty years of observing people engaged in outdoor activities. They generally have something in common. Think of the people you came across during your most recent adventure in the outdoors. Were they smiling? Were they laughing? Chances are that they were. This method of analysis is not particularly scientific, but the significance of consistent behavior demonstrated by thousands of people in many locations over a period of three decades is undeniable. A detailed discussion of the specific reasons people are happier recreating outdoors is beyond the scope of this article, but the list surely includes such considerations as being surrounded by natural beauty, engaging in physical activity and being free from typical responsibilities (even if only temporarily).

Today families need strengthening more than ever. Increasing numbers of people are experiencing childhood and adulthood without the benefits of strong family relationships. Outdoor recreation provides opportunities for families to grow closer. Youth, in particular, need to be encouraged to enjoy the outdoors. In its 2008 Participation Report the Outdoor Foundation stated that “from 2006 to 2007, there was an 11.6% drop in participation in outdoor activities among American children ages 6 to 17.” As one who was blessed to grow up enjoying the adventure and awe of the outdoors, this trend is saddening. I firmly believe that there are great benefits to be enjoyed by any family that will take the initiative to spend time together in the outdoors. My wife and I have three young children, and while I admit that it usually requires some time and effort for us to plan a successful outdoor excursion, I can say without hesitation that we’re always glad we did. We’ve already had many wonderful experiences hiking and camping together throughout Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona, and I’m looking forward to many more in the years ahead.

With Winter Arizona’s Willow Beach Offers Mild Weather Outdoor Recreation

With year round good weather, interesting topography, colorful rock formations and much more, Northern Arizona’s Willow Beach, located along the Colorado River, is one of the best locations in Northern Arizona for wildlife watching, shore fishing, boating, and picnicking.

Even in summer the river will often only be 50 degrees and the water’s transparency four-feet or greater, but it is winter when sportsmen can best appreciate Willow Beach. If desert wildflowers interest you, late winter or early spring is the time to take in the floral displays near Willow Beach, where with little or no prodding whatsoever, wildflowers burst forth in riotous swaths of color.

Below Lake Mead, 14-miles south of Hoover Dam, Willow Beach is less crowded then many of the river’s other beaches. With its access to scenic Black Canyon, Willow Beach is a good location to launch boats or rent a boat. By the edge of the deep blue water, there are often boats, green and white, bobbing up and down. Below the canyon the river lessens in its ascent.

The Colorado River, below the dam is usually tranquil and the lofty canyon walls more often than not, protect visitors from the canyon’s sometimes excessive winds, allowing many happy anglers at Willow Beach to have reported catching rainbow trout weighing five-pounds or more.

If you watch closely, sightings of bighorn sheep are not unusual here. At dusk deer venture from thickets of grass and anytime ducks paddling leisurely in the water are a common sight and it is a sure thing you will attract them over to you are if you bring bread crumbs, crackers or popcorn for them to feast upon. A fun activity if you bring children along, too.

Thirty-four million people depend on the Colorado River and the water at Willow Beach is kept at a fairly high level. Water levels in general along the Colorado are low and demand for water is rising. To experience the river is to understand the rivers limits.

If You Visit

Located in Mohave County, about 50 miles from Las Vegas, the turn off is south of the dam and another 3.5 miles off Highway 93. Willow Beach has picnic sites, a convenience store, launch ramp, boat rentals and marine fueling services. Weekdays are a good time to visit, as frequently you will have the place to yourself.

Exploring America’s southwest is a great experience, it is a place with a lot of outdoor recreation possibilities and holds a tremendous amount of western heritage.

End

Kathy Manney is the nationally recognized author of autobiographical, lifestyle and travel articles and the travel columnist for “The Vegas Voice,” a monthly regional senior lifestyle newspaper.

As the travel expert-at-large for the “Voice” Kathy has seen a lot of the world, she enjoys traveling to new and interesting places and in the process of becoming an adventure Diva, finds some of her articles. Kathy’s “must see before I die” travel adventures continue, each filled with enthusiasm.

Outdoor Recreation Strengthens Families

As a boy, I don’t think there was anything that I enjoyed more than family excursions to the mountains, lakes, sand dunes and deserts. Living near Salt Lake City, Utah provided convenient access to a wide variety of beautiful outdoor environments, and my parents loved to get out of town and change the scenery. As a result, we packed up and hit the road often, in one direction or another. We did have a few favorite destinations (including Palisades Lake, Jackson Hole and the Little Sahara dunes), but no two trips were alike, and we often found ourselves in new and interesting places. Our travel accommodations and recreational pursuits also varied. Some trips involved sleeping in tents and hiking in the woods. On other occasions we had the comforts of a trailer or boat, and spent hours each day exploring our surroundings on ATVs, bicycles or wave runners. Each of these excursions was an adventure that we experienced together as a family, and each created fond memories that I continue to reflect on today, as an adult with children of my own.

Based on my own experience, both as a child and as a parent, I firmly believe that participation in the outdoors provides unique opportunities for strengthening family relationships. I think there are a few reasons for this. The first, and probably most important reason is that being outdoors together provides quality time. Time that is free from the interruptions of phone calls and email. Time that is free from work responsibilities, household chores, and television shows. When a family is together in the great outdoors, they generally have a substantial period of time in which to simply enjoy being with and talking to each other, without all the distractions. In this setting parents and children are more likely to open up and share genuine thoughts and feelings, thereby overcoming communication barriers. Certainly spending such time together is important to establishing and maintaining strong, healthy relationships.

Second, outdoor participation places the family in an environment where each member is experiencing and learning new things, and all are doing so together. At home, our surroundings are commonplace and familiar, and parents are often focused on being productive. Outdoor environments offer a setting that is unfamiliar and often very stimulating. Parents and their children have an opportunity to experience and learn about their surroundings together. This increases family unity by placing family members on a more equal level. Similarly, while experiencing the outdoors family members’ perspectives are more alike. The way in which each sees the world and how they exist within it is more similar than usual, and each is likely to enjoy a greater sense of appreciation for the positive elements of their lives. At home, there is generally a disparity of perspectives between parents and children and both may find it easy to forget those positive elements. By physically removing themselves from their comfort zones families are able to create opportunities to grow closer together and learn to rely on each other more.

The third reason outdoor recreation strengthens families is based on the premise that most people are happier than usual while participating in outdoor recreation, and when individuals are happy, their relationships and associations with others will inevitably be stronger and healthier. I base this underlying premise on more than thirty years of observing people engaged in outdoor activities. They generally have something in common. Think of the people you came across during your most recent adventure in the outdoors. Were they smiling? Were they laughing? Chances are that they were. This method of analysis is not particularly scientific, but the significance of consistent behavior demonstrated by thousands of people in many locations over a period of three decades is undeniable. A detailed discussion of the specific reasons people are happier recreating outdoors is beyond the scope of this article, but the list surely includes such considerations as being surrounded by natural beauty, engaging in physical activity and being free from typical responsibilities (even if only temporarily).

Today families need strengthening more than ever. Increasing numbers of people are experiencing childhood and adulthood without the benefits of strong family relationships. Outdoor recreation provides opportunities for families to grow closer. Youth, in particular, need to be encouraged to enjoy the outdoors. In its 2008 Participation Report the Outdoor Foundation stated that “from 2006 to 2007, there was an 11.6% drop in participation in outdoor activities among American children ages 6 to 17.” As one who was blessed to grow up enjoying the adventure and awe of the outdoors, this trend is saddening. I firmly believe that there are great benefits to be enjoyed by any family that will take the initiative to spend time together in the outdoors. My wife and I have three young children, and while I admit that it usually requires some time and effort for us to plan a successful outdoor excursion, I can say without hesitation that we’re always glad we did. We’ve already had many wonderful experiences hiking and camping together throughout Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona, and I’m looking forward to many more in the years ahead.

Out And About In Nassau – Enjoying Outdoor Recreational Activities In The Bahamas

Mention the name The Bahamas and sparkling blue water with pink or white sand beaches spring to mind. Conch fritters, Conch salad, 700 islands, duty free shopping and Junkanoo are all terms that are synonymous with the Bahamas. This island nation has a total land area of 5,300 square miles and consists of 700 islands plus 2,500 cays (low banks or reefs). New Providence Island on which Nassau (the capital) is located is 21 miles by 7 miles. Paradise Island, which is 5.5 miles long by 2/3 of a mile wide is connected to Nassau by a short bridge. Thousands of tourists visit Nassau every year to enjoy the clear water or place their bets at the gambling tables at Paradise Island.

Nassau however has myriad outdoor recreational activities that are perfect for burning off the pounds gained from eating all those conch fritters or adding some variety to your holiday. For the business person who wants to catch some recreational activity on a business trip or the individual who wants to get some fresh air after all the time at the gambling tables, Nassau’s outdoor recreation can be all day or just a few hours.

Those sparkling blue waters make Nassau an ideal location for snorkeling. Some of the more popular snorkeling destinations for excursions leaving from Nassau include Rainbow Reef, Blue Lagoon Island (home to Stingray City as well as other snorkeling venues), Blackbeard’s Cay, Pearl Island, and Rose Island Reef. Rainbow Reef is approximately 45 minutes from Nassau by catamaran or other high-speed boat. The water at Rainbow Reef is about 15 feet deep throughout the viable swimming and snorkeling area. Blue Lagoon is a circular island encircling water. A narrow opening in the land leads into a large pool of water. A 15-minute walk through some of the most beautiful beaches and on bridges spanning absolutely calm sparkling blue water leads to Stingray City. Another stingray encounter can be had at Pearl Island which is a 30-minute boat ride from Nassau. Yellow tail snapper, Grouper, and many other tame fish make Athol Island in Athol Island National Marine Park at the eastern end of Nassau Harbor an outstanding snorkel site.

Those sparkling blue waters also make Nassau a wonderful location for the sport fisherman. Fishing charters are available for half day or full day with a choice of deep-sea fishing or reef fishing. Wahoo are abundant between November to January and 100 pounders are frequent. Dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi) are found between April and June, while Sailfish can be fought during April and May and again between October and November. Barracuda and Marlin (Black, Blue and White) are found year round.

For the landlubber, there is off-road cycling, away from traffic and noise. On all-terrain bicycles, you can enjoy a guided tour of shady woodland trails, open forest, the seashore and mangrove creeks and visit the historic village of Adelaide. You can have a relaxed, easy ride or a longer route. For the seasoned cyclist there are more challenging rides.

The Bahamas sits on the migration route for birds moving north and south on their winter and spring migrations. As such there are two opportunities to see many northern species. Of course, no visit to the Bahamas would be complete for a birder without viewing the Bahama Pintail duck (also known as the White-cheeked Pintail). These inhabitants of lagoons and mangrove swamps are widely distributed and the clear water of the mangroves makes viewing them a pleasure. Other species that are generally seen include eurasian collared doves, neotropic cormorants, american coot, great blue herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, reddish egrets, green herons, white ibis, blue winged teal, northern mockingbirds. Some of the locations for viewing various species include the Paradise Island ponds, Clifton Heritage site and the Harold & Wilson ponds.

For those who want to be outdoors but simply want a walking pace, Nassau has retained much of its older architecture and blended it with modern buildings so that it creates a harmonious whole. The original part of the city is small enough that you can wander along and see much of the historic architecture. Parliament Square with the Houses of Parliament, the Old Colonial Secretary’s office, the Supreme Court and the Statue of Queen Victoria is definitely worth a visit. Nearby at Parliament and Shirley Streets is the Nassau Public Library that was originally a prison. Not far away at Shirley and Elizabeth Streets is the Bahamas Historical Society with numerous exhibits.

If it is “action” and people watching you seek, Arawak Cay is not to be missed. This lively gathering spot has a row of small wooden restaurants fronted by a large park and backed by the sea. You can sit on the verandah of any of the restaurants or in the open air and watch the parade of people as they stroll by. Have a Kalik (Bahamian Beer) and enjoy the West Indian atmosphere and when hunger strikes you can have a conch salad or conch fritters or fried fish prepared before your eyes.

Camping & RV Campgrounds for Outdoor Recreation

Camping is a fantastic outdoor experience for the entire family. Campgrounds exist throughout the world and there are plenty of sites for setting up tents, pop ups and great resort style campgrounds with RV parking in many campgrounds.

Camping is one of the ultimate outdoor recreation experiences and many campgrounds have all the facilities needed to provide campers with certain “creature comforts” we like to have available. Hot showers, clean and spacious restrooms, public areas to name a few. Whether you’re pitching a tent for a weekend camping experience or parking your RV, there are many campgrounds throughout the USA that are ready to accommodate the camping enthusiast.

Camping trips for family vacations are very affordable, even on a modest budget a family can have a fantastic camping vacation and experience the wonders of the outdoors. Pitch your tent, pop up trailer or park your RV at one of America’s campgrounds and you’re sure to have some great times with family and friends.

Hiking, fishing, boating, canoes, kayaks, swimming, these outdoor recreation activities abound at most campgrounds. Adults and children all can benefit from a family camping trip and will enjoy the adventure that awaits with a camping outing.

Camping trips provide many good times and fond memories for young and old. Even a novice can cast a line in the water for a little fishing. If fishing is not your thing, enjoy a nice walk in the woods and explore the great outdoors. Maybe hiking, boating, swimming or other water activities are more appealing. Whatever the case, there’s sure to be something to please everyone.

Pitching a tent is a little work but most campers don’t have much trouble getting the tent up once they arrive at the campsite. RV parking has some set up too, getting hooked up and settled in at the campground is an experience in itself. Sure RV’ers have some advantage with RV camping, it’s a different level for sure.

Being outdoors is a good experience for everyone and what better way to experience it than a good old fashioned camping trip. Camping is highly recommended, great family fun by day and who doesn’t like a good bonfire in the evening. Roast some marshmallows, make s’mores, sing a few folk songs, tell a few jokes, have some laughs and enjoy the company of friends and family. Camping is great, get out of the house, away from the TV and spend some quality time at a nice campground. Summer is coming and there’s no better time for a camping trip. Why not plan one soon…..easy on the budget and so much FUN!

Jump Start Your Day – The Associated Benefits Of Outdoor Recreation For Youth And Adults Are Amazing

You can have fun and excitement in the great outdoors all through the year with a variety of different activities including biking, paddling, birding, snowshoeing or something else. The associated benefits of outdoor recreation for youth and adults is very beneficial for everyone’s mind, body and soul.

No matter if you are a thrill seeking adventurer or someone who prefers a quiet walk in the woods, a neighborhood local or a curious tourist, make a point to get outside and discover some of the wonderful beauty that is just around the corner or on the other side of the world because the associated benefits of outdoor recreation for youth and adults is truly amazing.

Adventure And Serenity Awaits

Whether you are hiking by foot, skiing across the snow or snorkeling in the waves, a thrilling and enjoyable time is waiting for you.

Does city life sometimes get to you? Do you ever feel the need to connect with nature? Do you daydream about getting away from it all to a place that has fresh air and is quiet enough that you can hear your own thoughts? Well, you will find that there are many great things that you can do to bring some fun and excitement to your weekends and days off whether you want to spend time on your own or with family or friends.

There are many outdoor recreation activities to choose from. There is sure to be something that interests you. Choose your own path! No matter which activities you choose to do, you are sure to enjoy getting outdoors and doing them.

Nature Near And Far

Amble alongside a winding creek, stroll among the forest, camp under the stars or bird watch in your backyard and thrill at the magic of the wonders of nature at your own pace. There are many large and small parks and wildlife reserves that offer lots of variety of trails, lakes and an abundance of other landscapes.

No matter what outdoor recreation activities you decide to do, just remember to have a lot of fun and stay safe. Also, the associated benefits of outdoor recreation for youth and adults is very positive for everyone involved.

For more outdoor tips and other recreational activities, you can download a copy of my report, Jump Start Your Day – 20 Amazing Activities For You To Have Fun Doing. Click here [http://www.greatoutdoorstoday.com/]. Just go to [http://www.greatoutdoorstoday.com/] to learn more about enjoying the great outdoors.