As the world begins to reopen and our lives begin to take on some resemblance of normalcy, one thing is certain – we’ll want to get out and explore. So, where’s the perfect place to do so? Our own backyard!
Imagine standing on top of 1/5 of the world’s fresh water supply, hearing the roar of 600 gallons per second, while taking in the beauty of one of the world’s natural wonders and simultaneously looking across the way at another country.
Sound far-fetched? Luckily, it’s not! Located in northwest New York State straddling the Canadian border, Niagara Falls is the perfect domestic destination for Americans and Canadians alike. And, no matter which side you visit (it’s recommended to visit both if possible), you won’t be disappointed.
The American side of Niagara Falls often gets overlooked and underrated. But, given that the actual Falls are on the American side, nowhere else in the world can get you closer. Consider exploring Niagara from the American side first to fully experience the sheer power of the Falls, followed by a trip to the Canadian side to appreciate its size and majestic beauty.
For the easiest access to the American side of Niagara Falls, fly into Buffalo, New York. From there, rent a car from the airport and explore. (Pro tip: Car rentals are typically inexpensive in the area as long as your pick-up and drop off locations are the same.)
If you fly into Buffalo in the evening, it’s recommended to stay at a hotel near the airport and get started on your adventure in the morning. If you arrive mid-day, consider exploring Buffalo for the remainder of your first day as the lines at Niagara Falls will already be long.
You’ll want to arrive at Niagara Falls as soon as it opens to try and beat the lines. And, if possible, try to purchase tickets beforehand so you don’t miss out on any of your preferred activities. On the American side, these main attractions are recommended:
But, do make sure to allow for spare time as the park on the American side offers several walking trails with exceptional lookout points.
Whether you explore the surrounding area before or after your trip to Niagara Falls, there’s plenty to do nearby. Consider spending a day in Buffalo and exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Darwin Martin House, and Anchor Bar on Main Street, home to the original Buffalo Chicken Wing. You could also take a 1.5-hour drive to Rochester, New York, spend a day relaxing at a public beach on Lake Ontario or Lake Erie, or explore the beautiful countryside of the Niagara Wine Trail, USA.
If getting up close and personal with 600 gallons of rushing water per minute isn’t the adrenaline rush you’re looking for, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls will be more your speed. Tourists flock to the Canadian side of Niagara, and it’s easy to understand why once you experience its full view of the entire Falls (typically with a rainbow in sight) and beautifully landscaped Falls-side pathway.
For the easiest access to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, fly into Toronto, Ontario. You can also rent a car from the airport there and then begin your trip. If you don’t feel like driving, consider other scenic options such as the GO train or bus, or the VIA Rail train. There are plenty of transportation modes available, including tour operators offering small-group private tours around the Niagara region.
If you’ve already experienced the rush of the Falls from the American side, it’s recommended to spend lunch on the Canadian side (Queen Victoria Place restaurant offers Fall-side views and casual dining in a historic setting), then let your meal settle with a nice pathway stroll. But, if you’re experiencing the Falls fully from the Canadian side, these main attractions are recommended:
And, if you want an outdoor bird’s eye view of the Falls and aren’t afraid of heights, you can also soar from a 220-feet high vantage point for more than 2,000 feet on the WildPlay Zipline. Take flight if you dare!
If you have the time, you should consider exploring Toronto – the capital of the province of Ontario, Canada’s largest city, and the fourth largest city in North America. But the true gem of Canada’s Niagara region is Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Niagara-on-the-Lake sits just 30 minutes north of Niagara Falls on the shore of Lake Ontario. This quintessential town boasts 19th century buildings, a picturesque old town and waterfront, and a wine country that has taken a backseat to its neighbor, Niagara Falls. Although underappreciated, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a destination that should be on everyone’s radar. Home to rolling vineyards with chateaus, iconic ice wine, and more than 20 wineries in a five-mile radius (with nearly 100 wineries in the entire Niagara region), Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect relaxing getaway that rivals California – but without the crowds.
For the perfect four-day trip to Niagara Falls, here is a “tried and tested” itinerary:
Note: If you’re starting your trip on the Canadian side, or if you can’t visit both the American and Canadian sides, this itinerary can easily be adjusted.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or simply needing a relaxing weekend getaway, Niagara Falls and its surrounding area is the perfect North American vacation. Get soaked, sip on wine, explore two countries, and take in the beauty of one of the world’s natural wonders – all within one iconic destination that attracts visitors from around the world.
Dreaming of a summer vacation that’s a bit closer to home? We caught up with Vikki Knudsen, Director of National Accounts, eDistribution and MICE, on the virtual and domestic experiences you can have with Club Med.
Q: During this time, what kind of virtual experiences is Club Med offering?
We can’t wait to welcome you and your clients back to our resorts but, in the meantime, we wanted to bring Club Med to you! Club Med at Home is our new activity series featuring resort-inspired recipes, workouts, games, and more for you to participate in with loved ones. Have you always wanted to bring our famous Sandpiper Bay white-chocolate bread home with you? Are you still thinking about that fantastic workout you had at Club Med Punta Cana? Now, you can experience all your favorite resort activities from home!
Q: What at-home activities has Club Med created for kids?
Club Med at Home makes kids feel as if they’re at one of our resorts’ top-rated Children’s Clubs! Your little ones can get creative with arts and crafts, test their skills with games and challenges, and take family game night to the next level with Club Med charades, pictionary, and more.
Q: Are there any Club Med at Home activities for adults?
Absolutely! We know just how to help parents relax and unwind as if they’re beachside at one of our Caribbean resorts. Check out our happy hour recipes on how to make our resorts’ signature cocktails, such as La Bruja from Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, curated playlists for when you want to turn things up or wind down, and workouts that can be done anywhere.
Q: Tell us a bit about Club Med’s North American properties and what makes them unique.
Club Med’s North American resorts are designed with the family in mind! Families can enjoy time together through our new Amazing Family Program and more than 50 sports and activities. Plus, kids can have their own adventures in the resorts’ top-rated Children Clubs, while parents relax in our adult-exclusive pools and relaxation spaces.
Each resort also offers unique activities only available through Club Med, including but not limited to: an acrobatic playground at Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil in Punta Cana, Secret Chocolate Room at Michès Playa Esmeralda, Aguamarina Family Oasis at Cancún Yucatán, and private sport lessons with top-ranked coaches at Sandpiper Bay.
I invite you to take virtual tours of our North America resorts here:
Q: Which North American property do you recommend most for a family vacation right now?
We understand domestic travel is currently at the top of many travelers’ minds, so Club Med is thrilled to welcome you to Sandpiper Bay, Florida’s best all-inclusive family resort, reopening June 12, 2020. Conveniently located between Miami and Orlando, Sandpiper Bay is designed to keep the entire family entertained with activities while reconnecting with each other. The resort offers endless activities and sports to choose from including tennis, golf, pickleball, soccer and beach volleyball, as well as an onsite 18-hole golf course. This close-to-home getaway is perfect for clients ready to go on their next family vacation.
Q: Describe a Club Med stay in one word.
Pictured above: Club Med Sandpiper Bay, FL (reopening June 12, 2020)
Even if travel restrictions are loosened and destinations start opening up again, there’s no doubt our summer vacation plans will need to be reshaped in one way or another.
One of Canada’s best-kept secrets, Whitehorse is the place for anyone seeking space, peace and quiet. The “Wilderness City” offers amazing outdoor adventure possibilities, wildlife all around, plenty to eat and drink … plus many wide-open, traffic-free roads. Easily accessible from town, the South Klondike Highway rolls through the stunning scenery and quaint villages of the Yukon’s Southern Lakes region, and its rich Gold Rush history makes it a highly memorable drive for travelers. Going south from Whitehorse, there are many photo opportunities along the way, like the beautiful Emerald Lake, known for its intense blue-green hue, as well as the one-square-mile Carcross Desert, often referred to as the world’s smallest desert, formed during the last Ice Age. And when you add in First Nation culture, arts and crafts, and friendly people, you have the perfect recipe for a road trip to remember.
Just 110 miles north of Phoenix and a few hours south of the Grand Canyon, Sedona is perfectly suited for those looking to truly explore the unique terrain North America has to offer. But you won’t have to venture far to immerse yourself into Red Rock Country. For a taste of Native American culture, visit the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village. Then, hop on the Red Rock Scenic Byway for stunning view you’ll want to capture with a camera. Popular stops along the way include Cathedral Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Little Horse Trail, and Bell Rock Vista and Pathway. Near the city, you can hike Airport Mesa, a scenic loop trail with sweeping panoramas of the famous red rocks, and you’ll also find Oak Creek Canyon northeast of Sedona and Devil’s Bridge to the northwest. For another unique and worthwhile experience, consider taking in Red Rock Country at sunrise from a bird’s eye view – a hot air balloon. Or, take in the night sky and go on an Evening Sky Tour where you’ll stargaze like never before.
Thanks to perfect soil and climate conditions that make it possible to grow a wide range of grape varietals, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley boasts 120 wineries ranging from world-class producers to family-run vineyards. And with an average of over 2,000 hours of sunshine every year, Kelowna, the valley’s hub, is a city with small-town vibes ideal for sipping vino and adventuring. Stay for a few days to indulge in the multitude of urban wineries, breweries, and local foodie options, and be sure to spend some time exploring the great outdoors, as well – a must is biking at Myra Canyon, a section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail passing over 18 trestle bridges and going through two tunnels. Then, head south on Highway 97 for a scenic drive along the Okanagan Lake towards Oliver, proclaimed Canada’s wine capital, and the desert town of Osoyoos. A backdrop of rolling vineyards, sun-soaked mountains and glistering lakes awaits.
Deep in the heart of Texas lies Fredericksburg, a quintessential Texas town known for its wineries and German heritage. With proximity to both Austin and San Antonio, it has become a domestic destination for local Texans and visitors alike. With over 50 wineries and tasting rooms in Fredericksburg and its surrounding area, you can spend the day sipping vino. Or, you can stroll down the picturesque Main Street stopping off at the several German restaurants, biergartens and bakeries. And, if visiting in the summer, make sure to pick up fresh peaches from a road-side stand. For an incredible outdoor hike, visit Enchanted Rock, the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States. Arrive early, and pack water and sunscreen in preparation for the Texas heat. If you’re spending the weekend in the area, head east on Highway 290. You’ll have to meander off the main route to reach some hidden gems, but it’s worth it. Visit Hamilton Pool Preserve, a natural swimming hole and waterfall and, for the adventurous at heart, dive into the deep blue waters of Jacob’s Well if you dare. And, if sightseeing on a Saturday, stop off at Wimberley for the Wimberley Market Days.
The charming village of Tadoussac – population 800 – is the gateway to Quebec’s remote Côte-Nord (North Shore). Located at the confluence of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers, the village is claimed to be one of the best places in the world for whale watching. If you want to take the experience up a notch, embark on a multi-day, coast-hugging road trip along the less-traveled, 546-mile Whale Route, stretching from Tadoussac to Kegashka where the road (literally) ends. Whether from a zodiac or directly from the land, you’ll get a chance to see the mighty blows of one of 13 whale species found in the St. Lawrence Estuary. This epic drive also leads you through the diverse Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve, and offers opportunities to learn about the region’s ornithology, mycology and geology, especially at Mingan Archipelago Marine Park Reserve, where you’ll find the country’s greatest concentration of eroded monoliths, dating back millions of years.
Asheville, North Carolina may be one of the most underrated U.S. destinations considering all it has to offer visitors. Known for its beer scene, Asheville was named Beer City USA in 2009 and has held onto its title almost every year since. With more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city, it’s the perfect beer-cation. But for those who aren’t looking to enjoy a pint (or two), Asheville also offers the unique Asheville Urban Trail that visitors can follow to learn about the city’s history, the Biltmore Estate (also known as America’s largest home) with an accompanying inn, gardens and winery, and the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. For an outdoor adventure, hop onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, take it slow, and enjoy the breathtaking views. The road is quite long, but you can hit many of the sights between Asheville and Blowing Rock, including several waterfalls. Make sure to stop at the overlooks to take in the views! You can also stop off at the Linn Cove Viaduct and go hiking underneath it to get an up-close look at its engineering. And, if there’s time, drive up Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in mainland eastern North America. All of this can be done in a day’s time with Asheville as your home base.
Stretching about 1,150 miles south of Los Angeles, Baja California Sur offers unique and worthwhile experiences. One of the most popular ways to explore the region is on a road trip down the trans peninsular highway. From cactus-covered mountainsides to lush oases, historic missions to the oldest bakery on the peninsula, here are our recommendations of places to drive by.
If you can’t fly to Cabo San Lucas, consider a round-trip road trip. For the first leg of your trip, drive from Southern California down to Los Cabos on Mexico’s Highway 1, and simply enjoy the beautiful scenery and surroundings. This stretch of highway is one of the most breathtaking destinations in Mexico with its deep blue sea coupled with majestic mountains and desert land dotted with cacti. It’s a 22-hour drive from Los Angeles though, so you may want to plan a few extra days along the way to stop, relax, and enjoy the beach. If you need places to stay, AMResorts has a range of all-inclusive properties to meet everyone’s needs from adults only and a sophisticated ambiance to families and spirited travelers.
You’ve now turned around, and Cabo San Lucas is in your rearview mirror. First stop is Todos Santos, about an hour north. Founded by the Jesuits in the 1700s, the town today is known for its great surfing, local art scene and a hotel that has come to be associated with one of the most popular songs in rock ’n’ roll history. Begin at the cultural center with its old photos and faded murals, and end at the bar inside Hotel California with a cold margarita.
Veer away from the Pacific Ocean and continue down the four-lane highway for Baja’s other coastline, the one that runs along the Gulf of California, better known as the Sea of Cortez. The state capital of La Paz is just an hour away. Upon arrival, park your car and, as the sun goes down, stroll the city’s famous three-mile seaside boardwalk, The Malecón. La Paz is home to a variety of offshore adventures from kayaking along the colorful cliffs of Espiritu Santo Island, to snorkeling with a large colony of playful sea lions at Los Islotes, and hiking up pristine sand dunes at Magdalena Bay. Most of these are multi-day expeditions, but if you have only a few hours, you can swim with whale sharks just off La Paz.
Continuing north on Highway 1, desert scrubland yields to farm fields near Ciudad Constitución. This is a good place to fill your tank before continuing the remaining 75 miles to the sleepy town of Loreto. Jesuit missionaries established their first mission in Loreto in 1697. Today, the reconstructed church with its beautiful bell tower and the museum next door, are open to visitors. Take an excursion offshore to look for blue whales, snorkel, or sink your toes into a white sand beach on one of the many islands.
Leaving Loreto, your goal is San Ignacio, 170 miles to the northwest. You could drive there in about three and a half hours, but it’s better to take an entire day because there’s a lot to see en route. The hilly landscape north of Loreto brings notable changes in vegetation. Cardon cacti, the largest species of cactus in the world, jut skyward from the pinkish-red volcanic soil. Early in the morning, when the air is still moist with dew, you’ll witness Baja’s iconic sight – turkey vultures sitting atop cardon cacti with their wings spread wide to dry in the sun. At Concepción Bay the road overlooks the most spectacular vista yet: an aquamarine sea fringed with white shell beaches and studded with arid islands. When the road dips down to the shore, stop for a refreshing swim, or feast on sea scallops at a fisherman’s restaurant on Playa Santispac.
Another hour and you’ll arrive in the historically French town of Santa Rosalía. In the late 19th century, Mexico’s president invited a French company to mine the rich copper deposit here in exchange for building the town. Instead of constructing houses in the local fashion with cement, the French used wood and attached porches and verandas. Just as fascinating is the metal church designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel in 1887 for the World Fair. The El Boleo bakery – the oldest in all Baja – still uses two of its four original mesquite wood-fired ovens from 1901 to bake its baguettes and sweets.
Leaving Santa Rosalía, the road climbs and twists around volcanic cinder cones and across old lava fields. Watch out for cows on the road; they’re free ranging throughout the state. When you pull into San Ignacio an hour later, you will hardly believe your eyes – it’s so lush and fertile. Jesuit missionaries planted date palms and citrus orchards when they settled here in the early 1700s. Visit the intact mission, built from thick blocks of volcanic rock and decorated with ornate carvings and statues of saints. On the leafy town square opposite, you’ll find tourism operators offering tours to the 5,000-year-old rock paintings in the nearby mountains. (The road there is off-limits to rental vehicles, so you will need a guide.) With a choice of hotels and restaurants, San Ignacio is a good place to spend the night. If you’re tired of fish tacos, try the seafood lasagna at the Desert Inn’s restaurant.
From San Ignacio, it’s a two-hour drive southwest to the lagoon of the same name, your final destination. Every winter, gray whales migrate here from Alaska to mate and give birth in the shallow, warm waters. Some of these gentle giants are known as ‘friendlies’ and surface right beside whale watching boats. Reach out and touch them – it’s not just allowed, it’s encouraged!
Give yourself at least a week for this rewarding more than 2,000-mile round-trip road trip – the longer, the better. And, until you can physically visit, explore Baja California Sur from home.
Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.
Inspired by legendary Master Chef Jacques Pépin, the cuisine of Oceania Cruises is renowned as the finest at sea and rivals Michelin-starred restaurants ashore. The commitment to cuisine shines in the artisanal ingredients and an array of gourmet restaurants, but truly comes to life with the passionate chef who craft each recipe from the heart. Oceania Cruises shares Master Chef Jacques Pépin's signature rotisserie chicken recipe.
In a spice grinder, combine the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, and oregano and grind to a coarse powder. Transfer the ground mixture to a small bowl and stir in the salt, paprika, ginger, coriander, mace, white pepper, cloves, and cardamom.
Rotisserie and grill set-up will vary depending on the manufacturer, so follow the instructions provided with your equipment. For a grill that has a separate burner or infrared heating element for the rotisserie, preheat that area to medium-high and preheat the grill under the rotisserie to medium.
Place the chicken on a work surface and place a long piece of kitchen twine under the wings. Bring the twine up around the chicken and tie, securing the wings against the bird. Tie the drumsticks together with a separate piece of twine. Trussing the chicken will help it cook more evenly.
Rub the chicken with an even coating of the seasoning blend. You won’t need all of it. Store the remainder in an airtight container at room temperature for future use. Lightly dab the surface of the seasoned chicken with canola oil to help the spice blend adhere.
Secure the chicken to the rotisserie rod using the prongs provided. Cook, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the chicken skin from becoming too dark as the meat cooks. The chicken is done when a kitchen thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh without touching the bone registers 165°F, about 1½ hours.
Remove the chicken from the rotisserie and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Gianlucca and the bar team aboard Seven Seas Explorer® have prepared a lovely summer cocktail, an Aperol Spritz, especially for you. Watch as they work together to craft the perfect version of this cocktail, followed by a surprise appearance by one of Regent’s favorite crew members!
Pour the Aperol and fresh prosecco into a wine glass filled with ice.
Top with sparkling or soda water and garnish with an orange slice.
Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.