Since it’s my birthday as I’m writing this, I wanted to offer a few suggestions for creating an extra-special birthday adventure for yourself or a loved one – taking the basic travel premise and adding something memorable and remarkable for once you reach your destination.
- Camping Adventure – Plan a trip to your favorite campsite or pick a place you’ve always wanted to go but never had a chance to. Make it an intimate affair or gather a large group of friends together.
- Our suggestion: Gatlinburg, Tennessee, lies on the fringes of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which has 10 campgrounds – all with running water and toilets. It is America’s most-visited national park, and it’s known for its variety of animals and plants, serene mountain vistas and storied past. More than 70 structures remain from the prehistoric era, and the park now contains the largest collection of historic log buildings in the eastern U.S. The park is also packed with waterfalls, all of which make for perfect day hikes.
- Go on a Pub Crawl – Celebrate with friends and family by hitting a variety of local bars, taverns and the like. Make it more interesting with costumes or matching uniforms, or incorporate interactive activities, such as a scavenger hunt or – duh! – drinking games.
- Our suggestion: BrewCycle Portland in Portland, Oregon. These bikes make brewpub crawls a group effort. Onboard, they have a great sound system to rock out to your favorite tunes and plenty of room for coolers to bring on non-alcoholic beverages to keep hydrated (it is a biking workout, after all). During this two-hour ride, the BrewCycle will take you, as fast as you can pedal, to your next ice-cold brew.
- Vineyard Tour and Tasting – Are you a wine aficionado? Then take a tour of a lush vineyard. Embark on the next year of your like while sampling your favorite spirits and learning more about how they’re made.
- Our suggestion: Head to Kelowna, British Columbia and discover the spectacular vineyards of the Okanagan Valley. More than 30 wineries are located within Kelowna, with more than 200 in the sun-drenched region. Take in the old-world charm of Ancient Hill Estate, enjoy a picnicker’s paradise at Arrowleaf Cellars, thrill to the stunning panoramic mountain views of Gray Monk Estate or discover the place where the area’s wine heritage first started: Calona Vineyards Winery.
- Attend a Music Festival – If your favorite band is on tour or you’re just interested in what’s happening in the music scene, a festival is an excellent way to catch tunes for all tastes over the course of just a few days.
- Our suggestion: South by Southwest, held each March in Austin, Texas, is the best festival in the world for uncovering new raw talent. The festival known as SXSW means hopping around bars and venues in Austin, mingling with a mixed group of music fans and music industry people and watching future stars earn their stripes. Of course, you get the big names, too – among its 2,200 acts, the 2015 festival included 2 Chainz, Asleep at the Wheel, Ghostface Killah, Incubus, Wyclef Jean, Wynonna Judd, Plain White T’s, Wiz Khalifa, The Zombies and Grammy nominees Wolf Alice and Highly Suspect – but half the fun is stumbling across a brand-new act, loving them and then bragging about it when that act blows up four months later.
- Ghost Tour – What better way to forget about getting another year closer to death than by focusing on someone else’s?
- Our suggestion: Based on the book “The Ghosts of Williamsburg” by L.B. Taylor, the Original Ghost Tour and Extreme Tour are top attractions in Williamsburg, Virginia. Ghost Tour guide will lead you through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg by candlelight while sharing eerie and fun folklore of this very old city. Fun for all ages, the tours are performed in a “true storytelling” format.
- Visit a Theme Park – Get your blood pumping by riding the biggest, baddest roller coaster you can find!
- Our suggestion: Of course you want to head to the theme park capital of the world, Orlando, Florida. While there, buckle yourself in for a ride on some of the country’s top coasters, as listed on The CoasterBuzz 100. These include Manta and Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando, Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios, the two Dragon Challenge coasters at Islands of Adventure, Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Rock-n-Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Attend a Renaissance Faire – Experience life in a different time. Check out the theatrical entertainment, the fun medieval garb, the arts and crafts and a truly unique setting that will make your birthday unforgettable.
- Our suggestion: The Texas Renaissance Festival, which is held annually outside of Houston, Texas. It is considered the nation’s largest Renaissance theme park, and gets half a million guests annually. It features about 500 costumed performers on 17 stages; 340 shops including international food purveyors, unique artisans, merchants and craft vendors; human-powered rides; an abundance of performers walking among the guests; and the Queen’s Royal Finale (fireworks at dusk).
- Take a Cooking Class – When you take a class with a group of friends, you’ll learn how to cook a few new dishes, bond with fellow foodies and eat good food with good people – what more could you ask for?
- Our suggestion: Langlois Culinary Crossroads in New Orleans, Louisiana. From mis en place to plate, Langlois’ chefs take diners on a journey through the history and ingredients of Louisiana’s unique cuisine. The menus change monthly and explore all of the influences in Creole and Cajun cooking, including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Native American, African, and Vietnamese cuisine. Meals are prepared in a state-of-the-art open kitchen where guests watch, learn, lend a hand, and enjoy a three-course menu with wine pairings. Langlois attracts a great mix of locals and visitors who make every meal a different experience – think: Chef’s table meets spontaneous dinner party. It’s more than a meal, a restaurant or a cooking class; Langlois delivers fun New Orleans dining at its finest.
To learn more about planning a trip to one of the above-mentioned cities or any of our other travel destinations, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.