Posts tagged with "outdoor activities"

360 MAGAZINE, outdoors, Vaughn Lowery, travel, adventure

Winter Staycations In The Lake District

Sometimes there’s nothing better than going on holiday but making it a staycation. After all, the UK has so much to offer that we often forget about when it comes to booking a holiday. This season, the Lake District in particular has so much to offer; from cosy pubs with roaring fires to traditional Lake District hotels set amongst the fells.

A winter staycation has a certain romance about it, especially in an area as beautiful as the Lake District. With that in mind, here are some top tips on how to enjoy a winter staycation in the heart of the Lake District National Park.

Pack your walking boots

The temperatures may not be high, but get out amongst nature anyway and enjoy the crisp winter weather. The scenery is stunning all year round, and gives you the perfect excuse to switch off and enjoy being outside; just remember to wrap up! 

The Lake District National Park was recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status, joining the likes of the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu; and it’s right on your doorstep! 

Get on the water

While we don’t recommend getting in the water during a winter visit to the Lake District, you can certainly get on the water! There are a number of lake cruises and boat trips you can book on your winter staycation, allowing you to take in the true beauty of the area. 

The Ullswater Steamers in particular are very popular, with a history spanning 160 years of operating on Ullswater. It operates 363 days a year and gives you a chance to experience some breath-taking views across mountains like Helvellyn. 

Check out the local food 

After you’ve spent a day exploring in the cold wintry weather, treat yourself to one of the many local pubs and restaurants that offer a great gastronomical experience. There are many restaurants in the area that have won awards for their food and drink menus, as well as décor and service.

Unwind in the beautiful surroundings of towns like Keswick and Penrith as you sample local cuisine like sticky toffee pudding and Cumberland sausages. From AA Rosette restaurants to cosy village pubs, you’ll find something to suit every budget and every taste!

Soak up the culture

In the winter months, you might find the Lake District much quieter which can be lovely for exploring some of the heritage sites in the area. Just north of Ullswater you will find the Aira Force waterfall, while just outside of Penrith you will find Lowther Castle. Near Keswick, you will discover Castlerigg Stone Circle, one of the country’s earliest stone circles.

There are also a number of Roman forts left behind, dotted in various areas of the Lake District. No matter where you are staying, it’s worth travelling to the likes of Hard Knott or Ravenglass for a fascinating look at the area’s history.

Whale watching, San Diego, food, travel, adventure, 360 MAGAZINE

Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour

Five-year Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award Winner Baja AirVentures offers an active travel program completely unique to the world of adventure travel. No other tour operator combines the best opportunities for marine mammal encounters on both sides of the Baja peninsula in one all-inclusive six-day ground and air-supported package. 
 
The 6-day/5-night Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour departs weekly from Feb.3 through April 11, 2020. The all-inclusive per person rate, including round trip private air carriage from San Diego across the peninsula and back, is $3,695 (exclusive of 13% IVA Mexican tax and 3% Marine Park entrance fee).
 
The package includes private roundtrip air from San Diego with ample opportunity for aerial flightseeing, Pacific whale watching in Scammons Lagoon by motorized panga, two nights at a B&B in the Mexican hamlet of Guerrero Negro and three nights of total seclusion at Baja AirVentures’ Las Animas beachside eco-lodge a scenic hour’s boat ride south of Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez.
 
“The unique combination of seeing marine mammals on both coasts of the peninsula is something no other whale watching operator in Baja is able to offer in one itinerary,” says Kevin Warren, founder and owner of Baja AirVentures. “In fact, the opportunity to view these magnificent creatures from a bird’s eye perspective is a thrill and rarity in itself.”
 
According to Warren, through conservation efforts, the Grey whale population in the Pacific continues to rebound and grow. Last year saw a new record with over 1,800 breeding adults and babies sited at Ojo de Libre (Scammons Lagoon). This prime location has the largest concentration of the Grey whales on the planet.
 
After departing from San Diego in a private plane for Scammons Lagoon, participants spend the better part of three days scanning and interacting with migrating California Gray whales by boat. This is where guests often get to actually “pet friendly whales” in their natural environment. Two nights are enjoyed at a cozy B&B in the small village of Guerrero Negro. Days Four and Five are spent desert hiking, kayaking, birdwatching and snorkeling with sea lions and dolphins. Boat excursions from Las Animas provide an added opportunity to view several types of whales, including Blue and Fin whales (the two largest species in the world).
 
A recent guest had this to say on Trip Advisor about their intimate encounters with the Grey whales, “The small-plane flights alone, with one pilot and five passengers, were a treat. Once on the water of Scammons Lagoon, we did not merely ‘watch’ wales! Instead, our skiff was at times surrounded by these magnificent creatures. Playful and seemingly curious calves met out-stretched hands, allowing themselves to be stroked and patted, while their enormous mothers swam watchfully close by.”
 
After crossing the peninsula via a scenic 2-hour drive through the Valley of the Cirios (Valle de los Cirios), a large wildlife protection area filled with exotic Cirio cactus, guests arrive in Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of the Angels) on the Sea of Cortez. A boat transfer follows, past bird-filled deserted islands and bays to Las Animas Wilderness Ecolodge. The only boat-in ecolodge along the entire coast Las Animas is a remote, eco-friendly property that accommodates up to 16 guests in eight romantic and private beach-side yurts equipped with bathroom, solar shower, composting toilets, comfortable queen- and king-sized beds, covered decks and skylight roofs. The yurts are built around the spacious main palapa which offers an expansive deck that serves as a central dining area, game area and communal lounge space.
 
The all-inclusive tour price of $3,695 includes double occupancy B&B and yurt accommodations, roundtrip air from San Diego, naturalist guided outings and lectures, boat transportation, healthy homemade meals, beverages (including beer and margaritas) and such activities as kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, sailing and hiking.
 
For details on the Best of Baja tour call 1-800-221-9283 or visit online:
https://www.bajaairventures.com/bestofbaja/
 
For information on other adventure packages offered year-round by Baja AirVentures please go to: https://www.bajaairventures.com/.

Spotlight: Japan 2020

With major hype surrounding the upcoming summer games in Tokyo, Japan is poised to have its best year yet. Plus: a roster of luxury hotel openings and exciting destinations beyond the popular tourist track.

Opening in January, the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono will offer a refined hideaway in one of Asia’s best ski destinations: Hokkaido. In May, the HOSHINOYA Okinawa will open in the Yomitan Village, an archipelago of serene coral reefs, as a sleek beachfront hotel with an innovative fusion restaurant.

A 90-minute bullet train from Tokyo is the Tohoku region, an ideal addition to an adventurous Japan trip. Known for its bustling capital city, Sendai, and dramatic landscapes allowing for myriad outdoor activities, Tohoku is home to off-beat culture and festivals, like the Namahage Festival in February.

Tamara Yomour, illustration, japan, miyagi, 360 MAGAZINE

Miyagi Prefecture

From its dramatic coastline cliffs to its picturesque mountain ranges, Japan’s lesser-known Miyagi Prefecture boasts some of the country’s best terrain and natural environments for adventure travel and fitness aficionados.

As the cherry blossoms begin to bloom across Japan this spring, Miyagi will get ready to host two of the biggest marathons in the country. The Tohoku Food Marathon in Tome City is one of the biggest events in the region with hundreds of participants, including many from overseas. Inspired by France’s whimsical Marathon du Medoc, the multifaceted event features participants in costumes from their favorite shows and video games. The marathon events begin on April 25, 2020 with a relay marathon, followed by a full marathon, half marathon and several smaller races for teenagers and children on the April 26, 2020. Multiple food festivals are held in conjunction with the races, allowing runners and spectators to sample regional delicacies including over a hundred varieties of sake.
For those looking for more of a challenge, the Sendai International Half Marathon will be held in Miyagi’s capital on May 10, 2020. The annual marathon hosts over 10,000 runners from around the world. The route begins in Kohshin Rubber Athlete Park, traversing the city’s parks, lush avenues and stadiums. The race has several divisions, including 5K and 2K races, and is accessible to those in wheelchairs.

From the big cities to the picturesque landscapes of mountains and forests, Miyagi’s title as the “Land of Contrasts” comes from the prefecture’s incredibly varied environments. One of the best way to experience its diversity is by hiking the Michinoku Coast Trail, one of Japan’s longest hiking trails. This 560-plus-mile trek runs from Fukushima to the Aomori Prefecture, passing through four of Miyagi’s inner regions. The most sought-after hiking location is the Northern Kesennuma Section on the Sanriku Coast, which features a scenic rocky coastline and the Ogama Hanzo Monolith and Dairiseki Coast, a shore composed of natural marble. 

Along the trail, hikers can take a break at Matsushima Bay, one of the great views of Japan, and paraglide along the bay’s iconic islands. At Shobutahama Beach, Takeshige Yamaya, a three-time paragliding national champion, offers tandem paragliding experiences. These experiences last around twenty minutes and offer incredible bird’s eye views of Matsushima Bay and, at higher heights, the city of Sendai and Mount Zao.

While the Michinoku Coast Trail and Matsushima Bay provide the best views along the coast, the Zao Hill Climb Eco event on May 24, 2020 is one of the best ways to see Mount Zao. Every spring, Miyagi Prefecture hosts this mountain biking tournament on two of Mount Zao’s roads: the Zao Echo Line and the Zao High Line. The challenging courses reach an altitude of 43,000 feet and a total length of 11.6 miles, starting from green terrain and ending at the snowy mountaintop. While many participants race, others go at their own pace to admire the incredible landscapes of Miyagi, including a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Asahi Mountain Range (only accessible from the peak).

North of Mount Zao, the Onikobe Ski Resort offers the best ski runs with a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes and boasts the longest ungroomed powder run in Miyagi. Skiers can also hit the slopes after dark, as night skiing is offered on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Many of the lodges feature on-site onsens – a cozy way to unwind after an eventful day of skiing.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com