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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    One day, it's sunny and warm. The next, it's winter again.

    So goes springtime in much of Canada. But for folks in Alberta beach towns, the switch can happen in just minutes.


    In Alberta Beach, strong winds pushed huge piles of ice off Lac Ste. Anne and onto residents' properties. The phenomenon can create massive walls of ice in just a few minutes.

    Watch the video above to see how it all goes down.

    More from HuffPost Alberta:

    Controlled Avalanche Does Not Go According To Plan

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    Mother's Day is around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with a vacation that builds the bond between mom and kids? Whether you're reading this as a mom or as a grown child thinking about taking your mom on vacation, we've got you covered.

    It can be hard deciding where you want to go when travelling with family, trying to find a destination that will ensure everyone involved has something to see and do. So to inspire your next group getaway, has come up with our picks for the best places to travel with mom -- at any age or any stage.

    Mom and young kids

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States
    Image: James Willamor, Myrtle Beach via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    While kids of all ages will find something to do in sunny Myrtle Beach, this is a particularly ideal destination for moms with younger kids. Nearly 100 kilometres of beaches mean plenty of opportunities to play in the sand, swim or toss a Frisbee around as a family. Beyond beach-hopping, Myrtle Beach is home to plenty of other activities well suited to younger kids. Check out the oceanfront amusement park Family Kingdom, which offers over 30 rides and a water park, play a game of mini golf at one of the city's many courses or take a ride on the SkyWheel, a massive ferris wheel on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

    Mom and teenage kids

    Whistler, British Columbia
    Image: Richie Diesterheft, Whistler, British Columbia via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

    Well known as a fantastic ski and snowboard destination, Whistler is actually packed with things to see and do no matter the time of year you visit. In winter, of course, there are the aforementioned snow sports, but if you need a break from hitting the slopes, there's snow tubing, winter zip lining and snowmobile tours. Any time of year, you can hop on the longest and highest lift in the world, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. In the summer, moms and teens can explore over 50 kilometres of alpine hiking trails, do some mountain biking or relax at the beautiful Scandinave Spa.

    Mom and 20-something kids

    Barcelona, Spain
    Image: José Manuel Romero, Barcelona via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Looking for a place filled to the brim with things to do and see? Barcelona has it all: stunning architecture, rich culture, amazing food and wine, beaches and a variety of neighbourhoods, each with their own flavour and personality. Wander the Picasso Museum or the National Museum of Catalan Art, people-watch along Las Ramblas, shop and snack your way through La Boqueria and be wowed by Gaudi's architecture with a peek at Park Güell and La Pedrera.

    Mom and adult kids

    Cape Town, South Africa
    Photo credit: Scott Webb

    If ever there was a time for a big bonding trip, this is it. And Cape Town is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for an epic vacation. The city is home to Table Mountain, which you can opt to hike up or take a cable car to reach the summit. The views over the city are well worth the trip no matter how you get there. You'll also want to make time for the picturesque V & A Waterfront for restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and markets. Beaches are also a huge draw in Cape Town (check out Boulders Beach, just outside of town, for a chance to see penguins), as is the Old Biscuit Mill for shopping local, artisanal souvenirs and snacks. And if you really want to do it up, combine a visit to Cape Town with a weekend safari in Kruger National Park.

    Mom in her golden years
    Image: prayitnophotography, Downtown Palm Springs via Flickr CC BY 2.0

    Palm Springs might have a reputation as a top golfing spot, but there's plenty more to see here. Easy to explore on foot at whatever pace you're moving, Palm Springs is experiencing a culinary boom thanks to some innovative chefs, so foodies can get their fill. Fans of mid-century modern architecture will want to take a tour of the many architectural gems around the city, while anyone who just wants to get a real feel for the city's natural beauty should take in the epic views from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

    For more top getaway picks for mom and kids at every age and every stage, go here.

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    When the allure of a wild spring break trip to Cancun has lost its lustre, there is a fast-growing alternative for experiencing the lush landscapes of Mexico: enter glamping.

    Through Glamping Hub, an AirBnB-esque company dedicated to unique accommodations in nature, I recently discovered this award-winning, beachfront bamboo treehouse in Mexico.

    While the stereotypical spring break scenario has its perks, particularly the cost, they aren't known to be relaxing and rejuvenating. I recall nursing a horrible, self-induced hangover for days after my Grad trip. Don't get me wrong, it was fun at the time, but I'm no longer a spring chicken (using that term probably doesn't help), so when seeking an all-inclusive vacation to Mexico this time around, I was looking for something that would allow me to unwind and de-stress.

    Instead of trying to find a patch of sand on a loud, crowded beach or witnessing a wet T-shirt contest by the pool, my boyfriend Geoff and I were able to fully immerse in the natural habitat of our surroundings. We ate fresh food from the on-site garden, watched as the sun rose during daily morning yoga, released baby turtles out to sea, and walked for hours on a stunning stretch of secluded beach.



    See my detailed travel diary below for more on the breathtaking Glamping Hub tree house:


    Nestled between the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean, near the small village of Juluchuca, Mexico, I recently returned from a luxury eco-resort called Playa Viva.

    We flew into Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa and were greeted by Oscar, part of the Playa Viva team who drove us to our destination (approx. 45 minutes south of the airport). My jaw dropped as we turned off the desolate road into a secluded oasis.




    As an eco-luxe resort, I was blown away by their dedication to sustainable tourism - a concept that revolves around the commitment to renewable practices. They promote the idea that development should be a positive experience for the surrounding community, while making a low impact on the environment and local culture.

    The more I learned, the more impressed I was at how well they balanced luxury with sustainability.

    Some of Playa Viva's renewable and regenerative features are:
    • Supporting an on-site nature reserve
    • Cultivating an edible landscape and permaculture
    • 100% off-grid solar system (which uses cleaner and more abundant energy)
    • Sustaining the resort on smart water conversation measures
    • Eco-friendly materials - all of the pottery, light fixtures, soaps etc were made by local craftsmen, while the building materials were harvested on site (such as the palm fronds, bamboo, and clay used in wall pigment colours)



    The property is over 200 acres and includes an estuary, a turtle sanctuary, coconut grove, miles of private beach, state-of-the-art outdoor yoga pavilion, as well as their own organic farm and garden where local workers and international volunteers come to learn about the ecology and ecosystems in this part of Mexico.


    On our daily beach walks, Geoff and I remarked at how rare it was to be exposed to such unspoiled and untouched land. It felt like a privilege to walk for hours along the white sandy beach without coming across another soul - or any other development for that matter. We were flanked only by the ocean and a coastal forest.





    "Tropical glamping" definitely isn't for everyone but it is part of what makes Playa Viva so charming and unique.


    The twelve "Eco Casitas" (casita means little house) are all open-air with unparalleled oceanfront views.

    Every night we returned to our private bamboo hut in the sky to find anonymous fairies had re-stocked the gorgeous ceramic water jug (as an enviro-friendly spot they don't have any plastic bottles on site) and had set up our white mosquito nets, which made me feel like a jungle princess.


    At night, it's usually hard for me to turn off my brain but the sound of the ocean waves lulled me into the deepest sleeps.



    With their emphasis on wellness and self-care, mornings were spent watching the sunrise as we indulged in the complimentary daily beachfront yoga. The fresh green smoothies and coffee they served at breakfast were a sweet treat afterwards. The java beans are sourced from a local, family-run coffee farm, a short ATV ride up the mountain.


    We were lucky to be there when the baby sea turtles from the adjacent sanctuary hatched overnight so we learned about them and released them into the ocean! Years later, after maturing and enduring epic sea migrations, they return to the EXACT BEACH where they were born to mate and lay their own eggs. Apparently, they are able to find their birthplace and navigate by sensing the invisible lines of the magnetic field. Each part of the Earth's coastline has its own "magnetic signature" which the animals remember and later use as an internal compass. What smart creatures!





    As an all-inclusive, sustainable resort, all meals provided were locally produced and organic. They catered to all kinds of allergies and food intolerances, which they inquire about prior to arrival. As a hearty eater, I was a little worried that I might be left feeling hungry in-between each "healthy" meal.



    I left Playa Viva, CRAVING their fresh food and wishing I could eat like that every day. Not only did it taste amazing but I felt good about what I was putting into my body and was MORE THAN sufficiently full. The local Chef would present each meal in Spanish and the host would translate in English. Even Geoff, who's a self-proclaimed "meat and potatoes" kind of guy, raved about the food.





    Tropical glamping showcased the natural beauty of Mexico while highlighting the very best of sustainable tourism. I couldn't have asked for a better alternative spring break.


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    It’s unlike anything paleontologists have ever seen before.

    The dinosaur fossil of a Nodosaur is the best preserved fossil of its kind and the oldest dinosaur ever found in Alberta.

    Estimated at 110 million years old, the creature was found with its armoured skin and guts intact.

    In the dinosaur’s time, the climate in Western Canada was more like southern Florida, according to National Geographic.

    Fans of the prehistoric can see the fossil on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alta.

    Watch the video above to find out more about the accidental discovery dug up on Canadian soil.

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    With the warm weather finally upon us, many travellers are looking to shed those cumbersome layers and book a last-minute escape.

    But which destinations are worth travelling to in the Springtime? We've put together the top nine destinations that are at their most beautiful during Spring. From bustling metropolises to sandy beach locales, these are the must-visit cities to visit around the world before the Summer tourist crowd hits!

    Vancouver, Canada
    The trees are blossoming, gardens are blooming and the city comes alive- this is the perfect time for Vancouver's mix of cosmopolitan living and outdoor adventure to be explored. The spring is prime time to walk around in the mild weather and explore the city's gardens and parks.

    New York City, USA

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - no other city quite captures the United States of America's founding principles. Ripe with anticipation, every turn reveals something new and unexpected and there's no shortage of things to do in spring in New York City. See the city come out of hibernation while enjoying a stroll in some of the best city parks in the world.

    Holbox Island, Mexico
    Located on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Holbox Island is separated from mainland Mexico by a shallow, warm water lagoon. Possibly Mexico's best kept secret, the waters of this laid-back island are home to a diverse range of marine life including dolphins, sea turtles, flamingos, pelicans, barracuda and more!

    Polignano a Mare, Italy
    Known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic', this small and unique town is home to a captivating historical centre, a jagged coastline and hidden inlets for sandy beaches. Spring is the best time to visit Polignano a Mare as temperatures are just beginning to climb, but remain mild and humidity is still low.

    Kinsale, Ireland
    Kinsale is located in County Cork on the southern coast of Ireland. Historically known as a port and fishing town, today it's better known for the tourist that arrive from March through May to enjoy the fresh air of a cool, Irish spring. Top endorsements by travellers include scenery, food/restaurants/pubs and relaxation.

    Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
    Due to its balance of sub-tropical and tropical climate, Guatemala is known as 'The Land of Internal Spring', and city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua Guatemala, is no exception. Historically the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala, today it's best known for its mild climate and elaborate religious celebrations during Lent.

    Lynton, Great Britain
    Known for its natural beauty and unspoiled landscape, Lynton is a small, coastal town perched on top of a high sea cliff and overlooking the picturesque harbour village of Lynmouth. In the springtime, travellers can see purple orchids standing proudly amongst the lush, green grass in the valleys between the high sea cliffs.

    Barcelona, Spain
    There's an undeniable ease to life in Barcelona. Its glorious climate and lively beach culture dares you to live your life in the sun. For adventure, head to the Gothic Quarter, with intriguing alleys and artists' haunts from bygone days. In springtime, Barcelona is bustling from various festivals, events and exhibitions.

    Jasper, Canada
    Located in the heart of Jasper State Park, Jasper is an alpine town amongst the snow-capped Canadian Rockies. It is home to crystal-clear lakes, thick green forests and glacier-fed rivers. No matter what your outdoor activity of choice may be (top endorsements by travellers include scenery, mountains, nature, hiking and wildlife), nothing beats springtime in Jasper.

    Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria
    Koprivshtitsa still preserves the atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Revival period of the 19th century, making it one of the most characteristically Bulgarian towns in the country. Endorsed by travellers for history, architecture and museums, travellers to Koprivshtitsa will feel like they've taken a step back in time while enjoying this magical city in the warm spring air.

    For more information, visit

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    Hold onto your hats, Calgary, because the folks over at the Calgary Stampede have announced what's probably the best deal they've ever offered.

    For the first time ever, they'll be selling a "SuperPass" that allows visitors unlimited admission for all 10 days — and it will only set you back $39 plus GST.

    That means anyone wanting to check out the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth can come and go as they please (and eat mini doughnuts every damn day, thankyouverymuch.)

    A single day's admission usually costs $18, so this is a pretty sweet deal.

    You have to act fast, though. The SuperPass is only available for sale from May 22 to June 12. The pass is designed to go directly to your smartphone, but anyone who wants a hard copy pass can purchase one for an additional $5.

    The 2017 Calgary Stampede kicks off July 6 and runs to July 16.

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    Summer is for road trips. And mobile companies know how much North Americans love hitting the highways, discovering roadside attractions, dining at legendary hole-in-the-wall diners and making it to their final destinations without missing an adventure along the way.

    It's common to feel inclined to go off the grid while traveling with your family or friends on the open road, but many road travelers don't know just how helpful their smartphones can be. The app store is loaded with applications designed to help you locate the cheapest gas prices, find a cozy (and affordable) hotel at the last minute and discover eateries and attractions that far surpass McDonald's or a local Wal-Mart.

    These three lesser-known, must-have road trip apps are guaranteed to change the way you travel this spring and summer.


    Photo credit: (vincent desjardins)

    It's easy to focus on routes, hotel reservations and attractions when planning a cross-country road trip, but many road warriors forget about a key element of traveling by car -- it needs to be parked somewhere. ParkMe is a free app that offers the world's most accurate parking database, spanning 84,000 locations in 64 countries. Whether you're searching for cheap garage parking in Vancouver or a free place to park on the street outside your hotel in St. John's, this app will become a go-to every time you hit the road.

    ParkMe is able to let you know how many spaces are left in a parking garage or on a street and will warn you when your meter or time limit is running low. You can even pay for a parking space ahead of time by credit card, so you're guaranteed a space upon arrival. Want to have your car washed while you're resting in the room? This must-have road trip app can help you with that too.


    Photo credit: Kevin Dooley

    Just as the name implies, Roadtrippers is the ultimate road trip app. In fact, it's the nation's fastest growing mobile and web travel planning platform. More than 5.5 million trips have been planned and booked on Roadtrippers to date, and you're about to add to that list. The goal of the app is to introduce travelers to off-the-beaten-path places along their journey, helping them create unique, lasting memories that they wouldn't have experienced otherwise.

    Roadtrippers offers a step-by-step trip planning platform that makes planning your route, booking accommodations and discovering local gems along the journey easier than ever before. This app is the only place on the web where a traveler can easily plan, book, discover, and navigate throughout a trip on his or her mobile device. Whether you're seeking a family museum, lesser-known national park or an unforgettable slice of pizza, Roadtrippers will help turn a typical road trip into an extraordinary one.

    Flush Toilet Finder

    Photo credit: Phillip Pessar

    You're probably assuming rest stops will have you covered, but avid road trippers know how important finding clean restrooms on the road can be. Flush Toilet Finder is the easiest way to find a public restroom when you're in a pinch. This free app, with no in-app purchases, provides more than 190,000 bathrooms in a database that spans Canada, the U.S., and a long list of other countries around the world. Flush Toilet Finder informs travelers of which wash rooms offer disabled access, require fees for use or involve grabbing a key from an attendant. Toilets can be rated and reported, making it easy for weary travelers to find sanitary stops. This is the road trip, and general travel, app you didn't know you needed.

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    This upcoming weekend is Victoria Day long weekend. For us Canucks it's often the first big camping weekend but this year I'm doing something a bit different. This year I'm spending my Victoria Day in Vegas for a vachelorette party... I know... I'm nervous. It's been awhile since this old gal has stepped foot on the strip but I know that it's going to be a ton of fun! We have an amazing group of girls going and have lots of fun things planned for the bride to be!

    As the summer approaches with calendars stacked with camping trips, weddings, beach days and whatever else you've got planned, I thought I'd share my survival kit to help you stay hydrated, energized and fresh no matter what summer brings your way!


    1. Natural Deodorant

    I have been wanting to try a natural deoderant for a long time. I had the pleasure of meeting the sisters and founders of Routine a little while back and fell in love with their products (and them!). I've been known to get a little sweaty and I always thought that the natural stuff wouldn't cut it for me but this stuff is the real deal! I love the smell, which is one of the things that has put me off of other brands in the past, and most importantly, it actually keeps me dry and smelling good all day! I love that they are a Canadian company and that they make environmental and human health their top priority. This has quickly become a must in my daily routine and I've stocked up on a couple of the trial sizes to throw in my beach bag for those hot Vegas pool days!


    2. Energy Boosters

    Gone are the days of chugging energy drinks to pull through all night study sessions. I thought that for me, energy drinks were a thing of the past, but with a jam packed weekend full of festivities a little extra boost definitely won't hurt. I'm not talking about the fluorescent liquids that you might be picturing. These days my energy drink of choice is one that provides a natural boost from caffeine and antioxidants. I love these Runa Clean Energy Drinks. Just good ol' clean caffeine from Guayusa leaves, a tea leaf from the Amazon. I also always keep a couple stick packs of Matcha Ninja in my purse. Because it's a cold brew matcha you don't need hot water, just pour into your water bottle, shake and you're good to go!


    3. Hydration Helpers

    When you're out in the sun all day or travelling here and there, it's easy to forget to hydrate. Unfortunately this can also mean headaches, low energy and feeling pretty rough if you're out in the sun all day. A reusable water bottle is a must. I try to take a few sips every time I reach into my purse to grab something and this helps to keep me hydrated throughout the day!

    I'm also throwing in a few packs of Ener-C. I like the bit of flavour and carbonation they add to water and the extra electrolytes can help to rehydrate more efficiently. When you're on the go like this, it is also likely that you're not in your regular eating routine so the extra vitamins may come in handy for a bit of a recharge!


    4. Skin Savers

    I hang my head in shame when I think back on all the years I didn't wear sunscreen! What was I thinking!? I am now a dedicated sunscreen wearer and include it as part of my morning routine in my moisturizer, and re apply every one to two hours or so when I'm out in the sun.

    What we do out of the sun is so important too! I am addicted to skin hydrating oils. My skin is on the oilier side so I used to avoid them like the plague until I learned that using oils can actually help balance your skin out. When your skin is being well hydrated, it doesn't feel the need to produce extra oil to compensate for the dryness. I love Harlow's products, they are natural and organic and all have 12 ingredients or less (reading labels doesn't just apply to food!). My fave is the Sun Face Elixir because it's packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants. I talk about this a lot when it comes to food and our skin is no different! Our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it also absorbs into our body so I like to know what goes into these products I'm lathering on. I also use the Body & Bath Elixir for the rest of my body and love it!


    5. Snacks

    I get made fun of for this all the time but I truly don't go anywhere without them. Hanger is real, and I am someone who suffers badly. When I get hungry, not only do I really notice it in my energy but I can also get kind of irritable and that's not pleasant for anyone! I know this weekend is gonna be go-go-go and you never know what's going to come up throughout the day so better to be safe than sorry!

    Although I like to pack my own snacks from home whenever I can, sometimes you just need something quick and easy in a pinch. My faves are fruit (fresh if possible or dried if you're worried about them getting bumped and bruised), whole food bars (Vega, Kind, Lara are a few of my faves), or individual packs of nuts or trail mix. Find more of my fave Road Trip Snack Picks here.

    What are your favorite products or tricks? Please share! I'll need all the help I can get Check out my other must have travel companions for smooth flying.

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    Just when we thought the Calgary Stampede couldn't top its $100 hot dog of 2015, it went and deep fried Jell-O.

    This year's Stampede, running from July 7 to 16, will feature a bunch of completely new, completely over-the-top food items.

    Check out some of additions for 2017:

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    2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of beloved British author Jane Austen and for bookworm fans worldwide, why not mark the occasion by planning an exciting getaway to visit some of the U.K.'s finest stately homes with a direct connection to the great author's works?

    Whether you're a literary buff or just love the splendour, we have delved into our more than one million properties to select fantastic accommodations near to these grand, historical residences. Step back in time and take a leaf out of Jane Austen's book.


    Chatsworth House
    This striking Derbyshire stately home starred as Mr. Darcy's residence Pemberley in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. It's believed that Jane Austen actually based her idea of Pemberley House on Chatsworth as she penned the novel in the nearby town of Bakewell. Chatsworth is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and offers over 30 rooms to explore, including grand staterooms and lavish bedrooms, an astonishing art collection and a beautiful 105 acre landscaped garden.

    While visiting, stay at the Innisfree Cottage - a charming B&B based in the historic village of Eyam, situated just a 15-minute drive from Chatsworth House. Serving a full English breakfast each morning as well as continental options, this cottage B&B is a great base for exploring the area's many attractions. If you're taking a trip here, it's good to note that Eyam, Derbyshire has been endorsed by our travellers for walking, the countryside, history and scenery.


    Montacute House
    This beautiful Tudor house was used in the Oscar winning adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. Completed in 1601, this magnificent house is a great example of Elizabethan architecture and design. Located just outside Yeovil in Somerset, it combines grand architecture with inspiring art collections, surrounded by beautiful gardens.

    Stay at The Keep, an elegant guest house in the town centre of Yeovil, close to an array of restaurants, and just a ten-minute drive from Montacute House. Providing spacious rooms and freshly cooked breakfasts using local produce, this comfortable guesthouse is an inviting place to relax after an exciting day exploring Montacute House's impressive history.


    Belton House
    Belton House is a beautiful Restoration building in Kent completed in the 1680s. It starred as Rosings, Lady Catherine de Bourgh's exemplary residence in the BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Today the house attracts a wealth of visitors thanks to its expansive deer park, grand display rooms and collections of art, porcelain and silver.

    For a luxurious countryside retreat, Grade II restored Allington Manor is a perfect choice. This sleek B&B, located less than a 15-minute drive from Belton House, offers elegant accommodation with period features and luxurious touches, including free-standing roll top baths and a beauty lounge with a range of beauty and holistic treatments available.


    Basildon Park
    This grand Georgian mansion served as Mr Bingley's house Netherfield in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and was also used as an interiors location for Downton Abbey. In addition to its period drama credentials, the house is home to an impressive art collection including Old Masters, and has beautifully restored 18th century rooms and kitchens.

    After a Pride and Prejudice inspired tour, retreat to The Royal Oak - a cozy hotel less than five miles from Basildon Park. Offering charming rooms with every comfort, the hotel also includes an on-site restaurant with garden dining in the summer months.


    Claydon House
    Claydon House was used as a filming location in the 1996 film of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow as the spirited would-be match-maker. This beautiful 18th century building offers a wealth of history to explore, including close connections with Florence Nightingale. It is set amidst scenic Buckinghamshire countryside, with expansive parkland and landscaped gardens.

    Located in the nearby pretty market town of Winslow in Buckinghamshire, Just So Cottage is a characterful historic building that's over 400 years old. All the rooms offer luxurious details like original oak floors and quality period furniture. The breakfast menu serves locally sourced organic ingredients, making the charming cottage the perfect retreat after a day of exploration.

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    Aurelio Montes gestures out the window and toward the mass of granite and ice in the distance.

    "That wall," he says with awe, "it is incredible what it can do."

    Montes's "wall" is the highest barrier in the Western Hemisphere, the stretch of the Andes Mountains that divides Chile from Argentina and includes Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas. The natural obstruction has been a catalyst for all kinds of occurrences, including having an impact on the life one of South America's most distinguished winemakers.

    A Chilean, Montes founded his eponymous winery in the 1980s after years as a winemaker in his home country. In the late 1990s, not long after Argentina began exporting wines for the first time, Montes became more curious about what was on the other side of the wall. The continental divide, it turned out, forged a drastically different terroir, and for a winemaker that presented a challenge. In Chile, the cooling breezes from the Pacific and the steep rise from sea level to the mountains created a climate for flavourful whites and lighter-bodied reds, emblematic of Montes Wines. On the other side of the wall, however, were hot temperatures, summers that were long and dry, and land with rocks embedded deep into the ground, lending minerality to the vines and firmer tannin structure to the grapes.

    Montes began operations in Argentina in 2002 at one of the nation's oldest wineries, a location where grapes were first planted in the 1920s. He eventually purchased the entire property and dubbed it Kaiken, named after the caiquen -- a bird that migrates back and forth over the Andes, just like Montes.

    Kaiken is one of the more than 1,500 wineries in the province of Mendoza, which has three primary viticulture regions: Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. The Andes Mountains make for a dramatic backdrop, and a range of accommodations, restaurants and tours provide amenities to complement the winery operations.

    More than 15,000 visitors arrive at Kaiken each year. It was the first of three wineries I visited in May. Here's what I learned from each of them:


    When you visit the cellar at Kaiken, you'll be treated to Gregorian chants, which are piped through speakers to tickle the wine and cajole the liquid in the French oak barrels to better enjoy the aging process. It's a method Montes has used in Chile for years, citing scientific studies of the positive effect soothing music has on wine production.

    A biodynamic operation, Kaiken is also home to sheep, chicken and a flock of very friendly ducks, one of whom greets guests with affectionate pecks on the leg and proved to be an accomplished photobomber.

    Like the approachable duck, Kaiken's products and the craftsmanship will win you over. The best and most expensive of the wines, Mai, is a Malbec blend with complex flavours of fruit, hints of pepper and spice, and a soft texture that gives the quality of elegance that is characteristic of all great wines. It reminded me of Brunellos I have enjoyed, but at about one-third of the price.


    Like Montes, Susana Balbo is a pioneer and an innovator. The first female winemaker in Argentina, Balbo has been making internationally acclaimed wines since the 1980s. Many in Argentina credit her for bringing Torrentes, a grape grown in the north of the country, into mass production. A white grape unique to Argentina, Torrentes produces a dry, light-bodied wine that's easy to drink and excellent for pairing with light fare such as salads, pasta and fish.

    At the winery, you can sample it -- or one of Balbo's other distinct wines -- with cuisine from the on-site restaurant, Osadia de Crear, which prepares beautiful plates featuring Argentinian favourites, including Patagonian trout and steak.

    I visited on the day of an end-of-harvest feast, where Balbo, who is also a politician, oversaw a feast of barbecued fare and took part in discussions about the quality of the winery's products. Notably, Balbo's Crios line of entry-level wines are gaining attention in Canada, thanks in part to strong reviews and a social media-focused marketing campaign targeted at millennial consumers.


    A fascinating operation, Salentein is a full-day attraction by itself. Founded in 1992 by Mijndert Pon, a Dutch entrepreneur and automobile industry magnate, Salentein boasts a facility featuring an art gallery that draws visitors all on its own. Pon's collection of Dutch landscapes and Argentinian contemporary art is an odd coupling but it works in a space designed by staff from Buenos Aires' acclaimed MALBA (Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires).

    Its airy restaurant overlooking the upper Uco Valley serves gourmet cuisine. Pair a glass of Salentein's Killka Malbec with grilled tenderloin and you'll be overjoyed. The tasting room is often bustling as the winery sees more than 33,000 visitors per year. Luckily there are wide open spaces to linger and a separate winemaking facility to tour.

    Salentein also has accommodations at its Posada, where there is also a separate restaurant operation. The rooms are in cottage-style abodes that include contemporary decor.

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    Travelling can open your mind. Travelling can give you untold experiences. Travelling can be damn expensive.

    As any Canadian who's ever booked a plane ticket knows, getting a flight out of the country — or even more relevantly, within the country — is a pricey endeavour. So that's why we appreciate travel companies providing us with some hints as to which spots can help us save our hard-earned loonies.

    cheap place to travel has just released its Compass Report for 2017, detailing the most budget-friendly places to visit when you book from six major Canadian cities (Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg). A caveat, of course — this data is limited to their search engines. But considering the company gets 120 million users a year, it paints a pretty solid picture of the Canadian travel scene.

    So first off: the cheap spots. New York City took first place, with an average price of $348 per round trip, with Boston, Washington, D.C. and Chicago following close behind. It's no surprise the U.S. proved to be the winner in this case, thanks to its proximity and access.

    new york city

    Meanwhile, Canadian cities didn't even crack the top 10 on the cheapest list. As CTV noted in 2016, Canada is one of the most expensive countries to fly internally, thanks to the rent private airport companies have to pay to the government.

    The higher prices also create a vicious cycle, the article noted, as some people might opt to drive to the States for a cheaper fare, or not fly at all.

    The most popular places to visit according to, meanwhile, were much further away, with Delhi leading the charge, followed by London and Manila. And a few consummate favourites (Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando) were replaced by Paris (#4), Toronto (#8) and Cancun (#10).


    Considering Lonely Planet named Canada as its number one country to travel for 2017, we suppose we could just jump in our cars (or yes, take the train) to explore our nation's nooks and crannies.

    But if you want to go a little further afield this year, check out this giant list of where you can find cheap flights. And who knows? Maybe the demand will help them go down even further in price.

    cheapest cities 2017

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    At first glance, it appears the people living in Beachwood Estates might be at work and school. Or maybe it's a cool day and everyone's decided to stay warm inside.

    But, as U.S. photojournalist Seph Lawless discovered last month, the Southern Alberta neighbourhood has been completely abandoned. What were once million-dollar homes are now shells of their former function — houses void of the residents who used to live there.

    "It was just so eerie, really creepy," Lawless told HuffPost Canada about his walkabout in the town of High River.

    high river homes

    (Photo: Seph Lawless)

    Lawless, a Cleveland-based photographer, has made a name for himself travelling the globe documenting abandoned asylums, amusement parks and malls.

    He was in Banff giving a keynote address at a conference last month when government officials and locals told him he should travel to the flood-ravaged town to check out a community that had been totally submerged in the devastating floods that hit Alberta in 2013.

    And what he saw in High River led him to call Beachwood Estates "the creepiest neighborhood in the world."

    high river homes
    (Photo: Seph Lawless)

    "A lot of the places I photograph are eerie, but this was a little bit more eerie because it felt as though all the people just vanished, instantly."

    In a way, they did.

    Rising flood waters forced High River's entire population of 13,000 people to flee in June 2013, and many of them were given little or no time to collect their personal belongings.

    Watch Lawless's narrated tour of Beachwood Estates:

    From the outside, he said, the neighbourhood is deceiving, especially compared to other flood-ravaged areas he's documented, including New Orleans.

    "The houses were new, not a lot of graffiti or vandalism on them. They looked generally untouched, unscathed," he said, likening High River to the post-apocalyptic town of Alexandria on AMC's "The Walking Dead."

    high river homes
    (Photo: Seph Lawless)

    The Government of Alberta auctioned 26 of these High River homes earlier this year, with online bids starting at just a few thousand dollars.

    All the homes for sale were deemed suitable for relocation, with the stipulation the buyer pay the moving costs and that each home be moved off the property within 160 business days.

    After all the houses have been moved or demolished, as per the province's Floodway Relocation Program, the area will return to its natural state, town spokesman Kevin Tetzlaff told Global News.

    But Lawless says these homes should never have been built and sold in the first place.

    high river homes
    (Photo: Seph Lawless)

    "No one should be building on floodplains — this disaster could have been avoided," he said, adding that he hopes his work in High River will help raise awareness about how governments across North America aren't doing enough to protect citizens from flooding.

    "(Flooding) is something I've seen many times and I see how it affects people living in floodplains in America all the time.

    "It's gross negligence across the board. Totally irresponsible."

    high river homes
    (Photo: Seph Lawless)

    Lawless said he came under fire from Albertans after he first blogged about Beachwood Estates for HuffPost U.S. last month. People accused him of exploiting the hardships of the town for his personal gain, and some even went so far as to call his report "fake news."

    He swears, however, that he just wants to bring awareness to the situation and would "love to come back and document the changes to the neighbourhood in years to come."

    Check out more of Lawless's High River photography in the slideshow below:

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    Photo credit: Wilson Hui

    Banff National Park is one of the most esteemed national parks in the world. However, with fame comes crowds, and hordes of fellow hikers, campers and selfie-takers can put a major damper on your summer park getaway.

    As most adventurers are already aware, Parks Canada is offering free admission to all Canadian national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas to celebrate the Great White North's 150th anniversary. These four often overlooked national parks fall under most people's travel radar, making them ideal places to adventure, discover wildlife and experience Canada's unrivaled natural beauty this summer.

    Waterton Lakes National Park

    Photo credit: Rod Brazier

    Waterton Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Alberta's far southwest corner. Just a short 3-hour drive from Calgary, Waterton is littered with wildflowers and wildlife. Day hikes and horseback riding are seen as some of the best ways to explore the beauty of Waterton's backcountry, but the spectacular waterfalls, mountains, flora and fauna can also be explored by boat. Hop aboard the M.V. International for a truly unique scenic cruise through the deep, blue waters of Waterton Lakes. There's no denying that Waterton Lakes National Park is one of Alberta's best-kept secrets.

    Grasslands National Park

    Grasslands National Park brings the beauty of Saskatchewan's wide-open plains to life. It may not sound as mesmerizing as emerald lakes and Rocky Mountain peaks, but you'll be wowed by the adventures you have beneath the clear blue skies. Visitors can travel through time discovering dinosaur bones, backcountry hike through Valley of 1,000 Devils (including the famous 70-mile Butte Trail), then build a campfire and pitch a tent or sleep in one of the park's oTENTiks. Starry night skies, epic hiking trails, guided wagon rides, and a historic ranch are just a few of the many elements that make this underrated park one of the best for an adventure- and history-filled summer escape.

    Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

    Photo credit: David Stanley

    When you're seeking a scenic island escape in a Mediterranean-like climate without a costly plane ticket, there's no better place to look than the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in Sidney, British Columbia. The forested Gulf Islands are littered with scenic hiking trails leading to lighthouses, mountain peaks and lagoons loaded with seabirds, otters, seals, sea lions and porpoises. Camp along the shore and use a kayak, canoe or paddleboard as your means of traveling from islet to islet, exploring the beaches and rocky shorelines. The combination of sheltered waterways, rare and beautiful wildlife (including orcas), forested hiking trails and unhindered natural beauty is what makes this one of the most impressive parks in all of Canada.

    Sable Island National Park Reserve

    Roughly as far across the country as you can travel from the west coast's Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is another mind-blowing seaside park, known as the Sable Island National Park Reserve. This island of shifting sand dunes and freshwater ponds, sitting isolated in the North Atlantic, is home to a number of birds, insects and plants that can't be found anywhere else in the world. More than 350 ships have wrecked on the island due to submerged sand dunes and rough seas. The "Graveyard of the Atlantic," offers sprawling beaches, jaw-dropping ocean views and all of the makings of a one-of-a-kind summer escape.

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    26.2 miles. For many people, running a marathon is a bucket list accomplishment. For others, it's a chance to visit new exciting places while running a race or contributing to an important fundraising effort. Whether you're interested in the challenge of the race or travelling somewhere beautiful to feed your passion for running, we've put together the six best running destinations that are worth travelling (and training) for.

    The Great Wall Marathon, China

    One of the world's most difficult marathons, The Great Wall Marathon, gives 2,500 athletes the opportunity to run through one of the most iconic monuments in history. Taking place on May 20, participants pass over 5,164 stone steps and cross into the stunning Tianjin Province, which makes for a truly unforgettable experience.

    The Beijing Badaling Great Wall Cao's Courtyard Hostel, a 200-year-old traditional Chinese-style building from the Ming Dynasty, offers natural views, a large garden and simply decorated rooms with a private bathroom. The property is just a ten-minute walk from Badaling Great Wall, the starting point of The Great Wall Marathon.

    Athens Authentic Marathon, Greece

    One of the world's most famous marathons takes place in the ancient city of Athens. Like its host city, the Athens Authentic Marathon has great historical significance. Held on November 12, the race takes its athletes through iconic landmarks including the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis. Covering the same route that the Athenian messenger Pheidippides ran 2,500 years ago, this remarkable marathon starts in the town of Marathon and finishes in the extraordinary Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, which dates all the way back to the 6th century BC!

    Situated near the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens and 500 metres from the Panathenaic Stadium, the stylish Athens View Loft - 03 has stunning views of the Acropolis, a fully equipped kitchen and a terrace with a lounge area to relax your tired legs after the long race.

    Angkor Empire Full and Half Marathon, Cambodia

    The Angkor Empire Full and Half Marathon is being held on August 5 and 6 at one of the most famous wonders of the world. Angkor Wat is by far the largest religious monument in the world and was built between the 9th to the 12th century for the Khmer empire. The magnificent complex has since become the symbol of Cambodia. The course is within UNESCO World Heritage site itself, starting and ending in the Angkor Wat Ruins, right in front of the breathtaking Central Sanctuary.

    Just two miles from the race course, Hotel Nita by Vo offers runners the perfect place to wind down after the race and enjoy a drink or two while watching the sun set in the Kingdom of Wonder.

    3-Länden Marathon, Germany, Austria and Switzerland

    Literally translated as the three-country marathon, this unique race which will be held on October 8, starts from the beautiful Bavarian harbour of Lindau in Germany, passes through the Austrian towns Bregenz and Hard along Lake Constance, then crosses the Swiss border at St. Margreten, continues across the Rhine embankment back to Hard and finally finishes in Bregenz again. The scenic course is surrounded by beautiful, snow-capped mountain ranges and will pass by the world's largest open theater where the latest James Bond movie was filmed.

    If you're looking at fully embracing the Bavarian culture, check out Hotel Adara, the quaint boutique hotel located on the scenic island of Lindau on Lake Constance. This little gem is stylishly designed to exude the rustic charms of Bavaria in today's modern world.

    Rock n' Roll Marathon Series - Lisbon, Portugal

    The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series is one of the most popular marathons in the world and it will make its pitstop in the beautiful coastal city of Lisbon on October 15 this year. Runners will start in the beach town of Cascais, run along the coast on the river banks of Tagus River and end right in Central Lisbon. True to its name, runners also get to enjoy live music along the course - that's right, 26.2 miles of live music!

    Just a few minutes' walk to the starting line of the race is Villa Cascais Guesthouse. This beach front property features sea view straight from the bathtub, making it the best accommodation for a relaxing getaway after the long run.

    Niagara Falls International Marathon, Canada

    Last but not least, right in our own backyard, known as the race with the "world's most famous finish line", the Niagara Falls International Marathon will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year on October 15. The course begins in Buffalo, US and runs through the city towards the International Peace Bridge into Canada and ends near the famous Horseshoe Falls.

    If you want to steer clear from the touristy area, the Greystone Manor Bed and Breakfast would be your ideal accommodation to check-in to after the race. Located on River Road overlooking the picturesque Niagara River Gorge, this charming historical building offers the most delicious meals and has the friendliest host, making you feel right at home away from home.

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    Flights out of Canada got much cheaper this year, but it's still one of the most expensive countries for air travel in the world.

    The average cost of flying per 100 kilometres of travel from Canada dropped from US$38.71 to $23.90 this year, according to an annual flight price index from flight-booking site

    Canada went from from 70 to 65 in a global ranking of 80 countries.

    The priciest country is Belgium, at US$54.63 per 100 kilometres, making it more than double the price of a flight from Canada.

    air canada

    “Ticket prices fluctuate constantly for a myriad of reasons. Year on year changes can partly be attributed to fuel prices, sociopolitical shifts such as Brexit, recent elections and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, said CEO Oliver Dlougy in a release.

    "By tracking flight cost by country, travellers have more information with which to choose destinations that allow them to travel further on their budget."

    The site looked at short- and long-haul flights from the world's most frequently visited countries and cities during both low and high seasons from over one million flights to create the ranking. The site also split up low cost and full service airlines for each country.

    Here are the five countries with the most affordable flights:

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    Flying with your pet can be a stressful experience. Not only because of the rules, regulations and requirements, but also because us pet lovers know that flying can be hard on our fur babies. If you are planning on flying with your pet, here are some things you should know:

    Every airline is different when it comes to if and how pets travel. Where your pet is placed on the plane (the cabin or the cargo hold) also depends on the size of the animal. In addition to carry-on sized pets, service and emotional support animals are also allowed in most aircraft cabins, however, you'll need them to be certified as such.

    If you are planning to carry-on your small animal be aware that most airlines only allow a certain number of pets in the cabin. Make sure you call ahead and see if you are able to bring your pet on-board. The cost of bringing your pet varies from about $100 to $500 depending on the airline.

    Unfortunately, if you have a dog with a short snout you might not be able to fly with them at all. Certain airlines restrict dogs such as boxers, pugs, Shih Tzu, King Charles Spaniels and others because they have a higher chance of dying in the cargo hold due to respiratory issues related to a snub-nose. So to keep things consistent they are banned from the aircrafts entirely.

    Before booking any flights, make sure your pet is healthy enough to fly. Underlying or pre-existing conditions make up the majority of incident reports so make sure you get your vet to clear your pet for air travel. Opt for a direct flight whenever possible; the shorter the journey the better.

    When picking a pet carrier make sure that it is double the width of your dog and is tall enough so they can stand up comfortably in it. If they are flying in the cargo hold, a water and food dish should be attached to the inside of the door and a "live animal" sticker should be on the top of the carrier. Make sure your name, flight info, pet's description, name and photo is taped to the outside of the pet carrier in case your animal escapes. Be sure your pet gets plenty of exercise the day before and day of travel, a tired pet travels in a carrier better than a jumpy one. And it might be tough but try not to feed your pet for at least four to six hours before your flight. This will help prevent any accidents in the air.

    Finally, whatever you do, don't try to sedate your pet. The risks far outweigh any potential benefits as you don't know how your pet will react, especially 30,000 feet in the air. When in doubt, my advice is to leave your furry friend at home with a trusted care giver.

    I hope these tips help you and your pet have safe and happy flight the next time you travel!

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    If you like to dance until midnight, sample delicious food truck fare or rave to some of the world's best music, then there's definitely something for you in the Great White North this summer. Coast to coast, Canadians are gearing up for the start of another exciting season of music festivals. With a selection as diverse as its landscape, music lovers have their pick from folk to hip hop, EDM to country, and everything in between!

    To help you narrow it down, we've rounded up the top summer festivals in Canada and picked out only the chicest places to stay in the most prime locations.

    Cavendish Beach Music Festival - Cavendish, PEI (July 7-9)
    Get your cowboy boots ready and start practicing your line dancing - Atlantic Canada's largest outdoor country festival is back. This year the event has over 30 country artists confirmed including superstars Zac Brown Band, Little Big town and Kip Moore.
    Photo Credit: The Guardian

    Where to Stay? If you're looking for a truly wild experience, consider a stay at the Around the Sea Rotating House. This unique accommodation rotates slowly throughout the day giving each condo suite an ocean view. If that hasn't already convinced you, the property is ideally located only moments away from the festival grounds.

    Center of Gravity - Kelowna BC (July 28-30)
    Music and sports, is there anything better? This three-day beach party promises the best EMD, hip-hop and rock with options to play eight sports including beach CrossFit, basketball, wakeboarding, freestyle mountain biking, FMX, skateboarding and BMX.
    Photo Credit: Vancity Buzz

    Where to stay? Perfectly located on the shores of Okanagan Lake, the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort offers guests stunning waterway views as well as access to an indoor and outdoor pool, on-site casino and a full service spa. This will be the perfect escape from a long and busy day at the beach festival.

    RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest - Ottawa, Ontario (July 6-16)
    Taking place over eleven days in the capital city, The RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest showcases talent at every level - from local entertainment to international stars. Spanning well beyond the namesake genre, the festival boasts an impressive roster of alternative, rock, jazz, funk, soul, rap, folk, and urban artists as well.
    Photo Credit:

    Where to Stay? Less than ten minutes' walk from the famed Byward Market area, Swiss Hotel is the perfect locale for a Bluesfest attendee. Furnished with original artwork and hardwood floors, this European-style hotel allows guests to recharge and refresh to properly enjoy every day of the festival.

    Osheaga - Montreal, Quebec (August 4-6)
    Since 2006, Parc Jean-Drapeau has transformed into a massive three-day extravaganza of music, art and culture. This year the festival welcomes major international superstars like the Weekend, Muse, and Lorde expecting to draw in over 100,000 party-goers from around the world.
    Photo Credit: MTL Blog

    Where to stay? LikeAHotel-Ste Catherine is the perfect crash pad for a group of festival-goers. This apartment style accommodation is located less than five kilometres from Osheaga and is the perfect spot to chill out after a long day of rockin' out.

    OVO Fest - Toronto, Ontario (TBC)
    It seems no matter what the 6ix God touches it turns to gold. For the eighth year in a row, Drake's annual OVO Fest returns later this year. And while the 2017 headliners have yet to be revealed, we know the proud Toronto native will close out the musical event as he does every year.
    Photo Credit: Toronto Star

    Where to stay? The Drake Hotel might share a name with the Toronto native and founder of OVO, but it's the Queen West location, trendy suites and lively entertainment venue that attracts Toronto's young and beautiful.

    Edmonton Folk Fest - Edmonton Alberta (August 10-13)
    Regarded as one of the leading folk festivals in the world, it's no surprise that the event's official website crashed last year because interest was so high. Expect some of the world's best folk artists to perform including Juno winners and nominees like City and Colour, Martyn Joseph and Tift Merritt. Drawing in nearly 20,000 attendees each day to Gallager Park Hill, the four-day event promises a little something for everyone.
    Photo Credit:

    Where to stay? Union Bank Inn is located in the heart of Edmonton, just a five-minute walk from dining, shopping and entertainment. Each room is equipped with a flat screen television and luxury bedding, making it the perfect place to return to after a long

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    With wedding season fast approaching, the countdown is on until our newsfeeds explode with couples flaunting their newlywed bliss across every honeymoon locale imaginable. But who's to say honeymoons are only for those celebrating their nuptial vows? Why don't you deserve a great escape with your closest pals to commemorate your bachelor lifestyle?

    So, we present to you: the Homiemoon. Forget about the pressure to find the love of your life, stop swiping through singles for a moment, and jet off on a bro-cation of a lifetime. From Barbecue University to legendary clubs and nightlife scenes, here are the top seven homiemoon destinations for you and your buds to celebrate the #singlelife.

    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Photo Credit:

    Las Vegas, the holy grail of an all-boys vacation, is an obvious first choice for a homiemoon. With restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, pool parties and so much more, you and your friends will be living by the saying "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." The possibilities are endless as soon as you step off that plane, just try not to let your Vegas trip end the same way The Hangover did (or maybe do?).

    The ARIA Resort & Casino is the ultimate playground for the single guy, with 16 restaurants, a casino, adults-only pool lounge, Jewell Nightclub and more -- all within the hotel walls. Located on the Vegas Strip, the convenient location allows you to do everything and anything you would ever want to do in Sin City.

    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Photo Credit:

    Colorado Springs may seem like an unusual spot for your gents-acation, but if you and your buds like chill vibes and great food -- especially barbecue -- this is the place to be. Twice a summer Steven Raichlen of Planet Barbecue (the barbecue bible) teaches a three-day course that will change your BBQ game forever!

    The Broadmoor Resort, home of Barbecue University, offers spacious rooms and a fully stocked mini
    bar making it an ideal spot to chill out after a long day. With full service restaurants, bars, and lounges throughout, there will be zero reason for you to leave the resort.

    Miami, Florida
    Photo Credit:

    In the famous words of Will Smith, "Welcome to Miami" where "everyday like a Mardi Gras, everybody party all day." Expect packed beaches full of babes, vast nightlife and eternal sunshine in this Florida hot spot. You and your boys can enjoy days on the beach and nights on the strip, where you'll be bribed to walk in with the promise of free dranks and specialty slushies.

    Just a two-minute walk from the beach, the West South Beach has a convenient location for you to stumble home too after a long day getting your buzz on under the sun. To stay in shape while on vacay, the W also offers a rooftop fitness center where you and your friends can enjoy a game of basketball or tennis.

    Cancun, Mexico
    Photo Credit:

    Unlimited beverages, bites, and beaches -- what more could you ask for while on the ultimate dude trip? But if you're looking for something a little different and your gang is the adventurous type, why not book a diving excursion or fishing trip and explore all the Caribbean Sea has to offer? Don't worry, you won't have to take any breaks from enjoying the "Nectar of the Gods" as most excursions provide ice-cold beer throughout the day.

    The rooms at Grand Park Royal Cancun Caribe offer an incredible ocean view, a fully stocked minibar and in case you really don't want to lift a finger, you can also enjoy a butler service to take care of your every demand.

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Photo Credit: The Telegraph

    Known for their beautiful views and hot climate, Rio de Janeiro will provide the perfect backdrop for you and your blokes. If you're looking for parties off the resort, walk the beaches and mingle with the locals who are bound to invite you to join their evening affair. If that's not your scene, clubs like Rei do Bacalhau and Ilha dos Pescadores are both great options for an unforgettable experience.

    Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro offers luxurious beachfront accommodations, with a breathtaking rooftop pool that overlooks the beach. Baretto-Londra, the on-site bar, is also considered to be the best hotel bar in the world, with award winning cocktails, live shows and renowned DJs.

    Bangkok, Thailand
    Photo Credit:

    If you and your lads are ballin' on a budget, Thailand is the place to go. Cheap karaoke cafes and bars line the streets allowing you a never-ending good time. Not to mention the amazing food available in every corner of the city. Unlimited fresh pad thai? YES, PLEASE!

    If you thought the Hangover Part III looked like a good time, stay at the Lebua at State Tower where you can rent the Lebua Hangover Suite. The hotel has an outdoor lagoon pool, and provides a steam room to help that will allow you to rejuvenate (aka sweat out all of the booze you have consumed) before heading back home.

    Vail, Colorado
    Photo Credit:

    While vacationing in the summer means ski season in Vail is over, rest assured there are plenty of warm-weather outdoor activities for you and your pals to enjoy. Hiking, biking, golfing, river rafting, and even a machine gun tour are just some of the ways you to make your homiemoon an adventurous one.

    The Sebastian Hotel is the home to the machine gun tour -- making it worth the stay. You and your mates will spend three nights in a luxurious suite, followed by a helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountains to a local shooting range. Under the direction of ex-military and ex-police, and after completing a safety training course, you choose your guns and fire away.

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    Toronto is a great city to hang out in during the summer — but it is, unquestionably, a city, with all the associated noise, crowds and concrete.

    So in honour of Canada 150, a nearby park is giving city-dwellers a chance to get away from all of that urbanity for free on summer weekends.

    The ParkBus, a shuttle service that operates to more than 10 nature-oriented spots around Ontario, has done away with fees for Rouge National Urban Park, which is located about 30 kilometres from downtown Toronto.

    The space, which is being built up (but in a natural, protected way) as a wilderness getaway for Torontonians, will be almost 80 square kilometres when it's completed, but it already has tons of hiking trails, camping, beaches and boating spots.

    And plenty of people are getting in on the action.

    Now, there's a few things to note. The bus doesn't always take you to the main part of Rouge National Urban Park — it also goes to Bob Hunter Memorial Park (which is contained within the conservation area), and you need to check the schedule for the day to make sure you're going to the right place. There are scheduled tours that accompany the ride, but you don't need to follow them unless you want to.

    As well, though 50 per cent of seats on the buses are first-come, first-served, the other 50 per cent are able to be reserved, so if you're more of a plan-ahead kind of person, you'll probably feel more comfortable doing that.

    We also feel obligated to point out that there are plenty of gorgeous natural spots to visit even within the city that make you feel like you're somewhere else entirely, whether it's High Park or Evergreen Brick Works, and most are accessible by TTC.

    And while this might not be the exact intention of the ParkBus, on some of the day, it happens to drop you near the Toronto Zoo, which can otherwise be a pain to get to by public transit. And if that means the chance to see these guys, can you really resist?

    Happy #NationalPandaDay

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