benefits of traveling

Embark on your greatest adventure yet: a hot air balloon safari. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Whatever You Dig (Beaches? Beer? Art? Adventure?) These 11 Places Straight-Up Rock

Travel’s benefits are immense: seeing the world and meeting its people enriches and inspires, and gives wanderers the opportunity to see and experience more of what they love.

So, whether your passion is hang gliding from mountaintops, surveying contemporary art, peacing out on a beach or giving back to local communities — there’s somewhere in this great, wide world to embrace it.

Here’s a look at 11 places to experience a variety of interests.

Beaches: Miami

Most travelers to Miami assume the only stretch of sand on which they can wiggle their toes is the crowded (though stunning) shores of South Beach. Though the masses do flock to SoBe, it’s far from the Magic City’s only — or even best — coastline. Dig a little deeper to discover Miami’s most stunning beaches.

Visitors flock to the sandy shores of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park for sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, biking and picnicking, while those in the know play along the dunes and explore the plethora of ecosystems supporting the wildlife at Crandon Park. For a beach with open ocean surf, gorgeous coastal vegetation and an open-minded, clothing optional attitude, Haulover Beach is your scene.

For more travel information, check out our Miami Travel Guide.

Literature: Boston

Hotels, theaters, churches: it seems every building in Boston has a rich history, and many claim a storied literary past, as well. Home to acclaimed writers Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, the city offers bibliophiles a varied selection of libraries, bookstores, and literary hot spots to peruse and get their academic fix.

Declared a national Historic Landmark, the Boston Public Library’s McKim building is a spectacular example of classical Beaux Arts architecture, while the brilliant MIT Press Bookstore offers a meticulously organized selection of books that are perfect for the tech- or science-minded reader.

For more travel information, check out our Boston Travel Guide.

Craft Beer: Beijing

Gone are the days when Beijing’s beer drinkers had few imbibing options aside from generic local lagers such as Qingdao and pricey international imports from Europe or the United States. A string of sophisticated microbreweries with stylish pubs is encouraging citizens of the Chinese capital to drink local.

For starters, check out Jing A Brewing‘s all-natural brews like Black Velvet Vanilla Stout, with chocolate, coffee, and heady vanilla beans from Papua New Guinea, have legions of fans around town. Or pay a visit to Great Leap Brewing, which draws on Chinese traditions and ingredients like tieguanyin tea to produce one-of-a-kind homebrews.

Learn more about Beijing’s craft beer scene.

Whisky: Edinburgh

benefits of traveling
Learn the finer points of Scottish whisky at these classic pubs. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Scottish Gaelic word for whisky is uisge beatha, or “water of life,” and a trip to Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without takin’ a dram: having a glass of whisky. Prepare your senses for sampling the world´s finest blends and malts, such as Laphroaig, Talisker and Glenmorangie, in Edinburgh — one of the world´s most beautiful and historical cities.

Pay a visit to The Bow Bar, a traditional pub with a cozy, old-school vibe that’s popular with a local crowd. Its grand wooden gantry (bar shelving) is stocked with more than 310 single malts from across the Scottish mainland and islands. Meanwhile, in the heart of Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town, close to the castle, Whiski Rooms offers clientele from around the world the chance to sample different whiskies in classic, refined surroundings.

For more travel information, check out our Edinburgh Travel Guide.

Barbecue: Buenos Aires

benefits of traveling
La Carnicería stands out from the crowd for its grilled and smoked cuts. (Photo: Getty Images)

The barbecue is a quintessentially Argentine ritual, synonymous with huge amounts of delicious grilled meat, great red wine and time spent after dinner chatting with friends and family. And Buenos Aires is no exception.

Dig in at La Brigada in San Telmo, one of the oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods in the city. The walls are covered with soccer memorabilia, and the sheer pleasure that comes from seeing how the waiter cuts the meat with a spoon to show how it’s cooked, makes it an obligatory stop when visiting the neighborhood. Or try Don Julio, which ranked 55th on a list of the best restaurants in the world, and was voted the fourth best restaurant in Latin America.

For more travel information, check out our Buenos Aires Travel Guide.

Photography: Zion National Park

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Zion National Park is filled with epic perches perfect for your Insta feed. (Photo: Brandon Sharpe)

There may be 59 national parks spread across the United States, but Zion National Park is unique in its distinctly Southwestern feel, with undulating rock formations and bold red hues set against bluebird skies.

While in this grand environment, photographers are apt to pay attention to the small details when photographing such a journey, like the cavernous slot canyons and concealed petroglyphs. From snapping nature shots, to overlooks, adventure activities and more, Zion is a photographer’s dream, and an Instagrammer favorite.

Learn more about photographing Zion National Park.

Nature: Tanzania

When you commit to going on safari, don’t settle for anything less than the best, and in Tanzania, the wildlife viewing is so extraordinary, it will literally feel like the animals are coming to you.

Depending on the time of year (typically between December and July), visitors have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Great Migration, a treacherous trek of survival that millions of animals take every year from the country’s Serengeti National Park and across East Africa’s plains.

It’s the circle of life in action (cue the “Lion King” theme song), and it’s possible to witness wildlife compete for food, mate and give birth — is there a bucket list item more magical?

Learn more about travel to Tanzania.

Art: Rome

The Eternal City’s 3,000-plus years of history are visible every time you walk its streets — turn any corner and it seems an ancient ruin rises before you. But lately it’s become apparent that Rome’s sidewalks are also dotted with more modern interests.

Turn away for a spell from the city’s storied wonders and lean in to new museum and gallery initiatives — you may discover contemporary art as Rome’s newest wonder. While the city has an incredible and limitless lineup of museums devoted to Italy’s ancient, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art, Rome keeps its eternal vibe with a dynamic modern and contemporary art scene.

For more travel information, check out our Rome Travel Guide.

Live Music: Austin

If you like a little reggae with your punk rock or honky-tonk saddled up with your samba, The Live Music Capital of the World is calling.

Austin is packed with live music venues for local concerts and plenty of other weird diversions, because, you know, Austin is weird. But it always comes back to the music in this town, in fact, you can’t get out of the airport without hearing a local artist performing live.

For more travel information, check out our Austin Travel Guide.

Adventure: Calgary

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Make a splash at Waterton Lake on an adventure travel vacation in Calgary. (Photo: Getty Images)

Though Calgary is a bona fide cosmopolitan city with enough amazing architecture, art, bars and restaurants to keep you entertained for an entire trip, it also has several unique adventurous attractions right in its backyard.

With plenty of outdoor adventures, including five of Alberta’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, located just a short road trip away from the comforts of the city, Calgary is an excellent base for these excursions any time of year. From Banff and Jasper National Parks to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures.

For more travel information, check out our Calgary Travel Guide.

Doing Good: Costa Rica

Voluntourism, or volunteer vacations, is a fast-growing travel trend and volunteer opportunities abound in Costa Rica for every type of traveler. Volunteer opportunities vary widely by skill. Orphanages, caregiving for elders, turtle conservation and teaching English to children and adults are all areas where travelers can volunteer their time in Costa Rica.

Some communities need other specific skill-sets as well, such as construction, sports and physical education and mother and infant nutrition education. Still looking for a way you can help? How about jaguar research and conservation? Most voluntourism companies and NGOs offer opportunities for individuals and groups. A couple offer trips specifically for families as well.

For more travel information, check out our Costa Rica Travel Guide.