Today’s tourists are demanding much more from their vacations. Gone are the days of a the simple sun/sand combo. Today, travelers want unique vacations coupled with customized, meaningful activities to ensure an unforgettable vacation. Tourists are looking for above-and-beyond adventures in exciting new or unexpected destinations. Here are my recommendations for some of the best places to go in 2011 for just such a trip.
Historic Gettysburg, PA makes a strong connection to everyone who visits, and experiences a very high level of repeat visitation. Starting in April 2011, Gettysburg will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War. Over the next five years, Gettysburg will feature battle re-enactments, living history presentations and lots of new programs and tours.
Most famous, and most visited, battlefield in U.S. This small Central Pennsylvania town attracts 3 million visitors/year where visitors learn about the historic battle, but also come to pay their respects to the soldiers who fought here.
Visitors will see 1,400 monuments and markers on the 6,000 acre battlefield, making it one of the largest collections of outdoor sculpture in the world. Each monument is a tribute to the men who fought in Gettysburg in July 1863, nearly 150 years ago.
In Gettysburg, visitors can sink their teeth into great food, including many period dishes from the Civil War era. Dining ranges from historic restaurants to great and unique taverns. Also, many great museums.
What many Americans don’t realize is that aside from history, the Gettysburg region is also famous for its apples. As one of the top apple growing regions in the U.S., the countryside north of Gettysburg is home to 20,000 acres of orchards, 25 farmers’ markets and dozens of varieties of apples. Scenic driving tours take visitors right into the heart of Apple Country.
Nestled between Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean coast of Central America, Belize is celebrating its 30th anniversary of gaining full independence in 2011, so its a special time to travel there. Plus, the annual Taste of Belize competition will also be celebrating its 10th year.
The longest barrier reef in this hemisphere, home to the Great Blue Hole, hundreds of islands, snorkel and dive locations.
Hundreds of ancient Maya sites both excavated and jungle-covered.
Lush tropical rainforest with many species of birds, and exotic tropical flora and fauna.
More than 10 English-speaking and diverse cultures of Belize invite you to share the country’s natural and cultural heritage.
Enjoy guided bird-watching treks, river kayaking trips and cave-tubing expeditions.
Explore coral gardens on a scuba-dive or snorkel excursion.
Climb the highest Maya temple of Belize or share the museum artifacts.
Cave tubing – Belize is home to the largest cave system in all of Central America.
Shark Ray Alley offers visitors the rare opportunity to snorkel up close and personal with docile rays and gentle nurse sharks
Blue Hole -- Visible from outer space, the Blue Hole is nearly a perfect circular hole 1,000 feet in diameter and 412 feet deep, with stalactites reaching up to 130 feet.
Florida’s Space Coast
Florida’s Space Coast is the only place in the country where you can watch a space shuttle launch live, and 2011 is the last year to experience a shuttle launch in person. There is one launch scheduled for Feb. 27, 2011 with possibly one more following that in the summer.
Even when there aren’t shuttle launches, the Space Coast offers a great chance to experience our nation’s space legacy at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Astronaut Hall of Fame and Space Walk of Fame. There are also unmanned rocket launches that can be viewed from the destination.
To find a schedule of shuttle and rocket launches, get tips on where to view the launches from and find links to hotel offers guest can visit www.spacecoastlaunches.com
As value continues to be a major point of concern for travelers in 2011, The Space Coast offers a great value for travelers with reasonable hotel prices and low cost activities for the entire family to enjoy including – 72 miles of beach, kayaking, air boat rides, the Brevard Zoo and numerous museums
There are more than 250 square miles of wildlife refuge, where Florida’s beautiful and rare creatures live. Among the wildlife visitors can see are dolphins, manatees and a variety birds. The beaches are home to sea turtle nesting areas.
With the recent Royal Engagement, all eyes are on England these days. In addition to this recent news and preparations for a Royal Wedding, London will be hosting the 2012 Olympics and is already prepping for this monumental event, so 2011 is a great time to beat the rush.
An interesting thing about the London Olympics is how many iconic existing venues are being used in these Olympic Games. For example, the soccer final will be played at Wembley Stadium and the tennis will be played at none other than the legendary Wimbledon tennis club! Non-Sporting venues that are equally iconic are also getting involved, such as the Horse Guards Parade, the venue for the Beach Volleyball! This historic location which sees daily Changing of the Guards ceremonies and hosts the Trooping of the Colour (the Queen’s annual birthday celebration) will be filled with sand to create a beach in the middle of the city. In addition, the two contender’s for the Royal Wedding location, St. Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey, are also iconic venues to visit.
Travelers visiting London in 2011 will feel the excitement of the Pre-Royal Wedding and pre-Olympic buzz, so this is a great time to visit. Before the Games and Wedding kick off, check out some of these places in person and then sit back and relish in the fact that you have been there and done that for yourself.