TripAdvisor Names Best Hotels For Families

family travelWant to know where to travel with the kids? TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel review site, has named their top family-friendly hotels in 25 markets around the world, based on those ranked highest by travelers who identified themselves as traveling with family in their reviews.

The good news? The hotels on the list aren’t too pricey – the average rate is $274 per night with larger properties averaging $292 in the US (100 rooms or more) and small properties in the US averaging just $131 per night.

Here’s the full list:

Top 10 World Large Hotels and Resorts

  • Treasure Island Resort & Holiday Park, Biggera Waters, Australia
  • KeyLime Cove Resort and Water Park, Gurnee, Illinois
  • Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, Highland, New York
  • Hope Lake Lodge & Conference Center, Cortland, New York
  • Protur Bonaire Aparthotel, Cala Bona, Spain
  • Holiday Village Rhodes, Kolimbia, Greece
  • Beaches Turks & Caicos, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
  • Aparthotel Playa Mar, Port de Pollenca, Spain
  • Alfagar II Aparthotel, Albufeira, Portugal
  • Aquafantasy Aquapark Hotel & Spa, Selcuk, Turkey

Top 10 U.S. Large Hotels and Resorts:

  • KeyLime Cove Resort and Water Park, Gurnee, Illinois
  • Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, Highland, New York
  • Hope Lake Lodge & Conference Center, Cortland, New York
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Orlando, Florida
  • WorldQuest Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida
  • Woodloch Pines Resort, Hawley, Pennsylvania
  • Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, Orlando, Florida
  • Marriott’s Harbour Lake, Orlando, Florida
  • Floridays Resort Orlando, Orlando, Florida
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim-Main Gate Area, Garden Grove, California

Top 10 U.S. Small Hotels and Motels:

  • Pollace’s Family Vacation Resort, Catskill, New York
  • Starlight Motel & Luxury Suites, Ortley Beach, New Jersey
  • Lampliter Oceanside Resorts, Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
  • VIP Motel, Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
  • Echo Motel & Oceanfront Cottages, Old Orchard Beach, Maine
  • Sierra Sands Family Lodge, Mears, Michigan
  • Park Vue Inn, Anaheim, California
  • Country Inn & Suites Hershey at the Park, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
  • The Suites at Hershey, Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • Sun Viking Lodge, Daytona Beach, Florida

[Flickr via GomiGirl]

Meet the coldest cities in America

coldest cities americaFeeling chilly? Chances are, if you’re not a resident of the following five cities, you really don’t have it that bad. The Weather Channel recently released a list of the coldest cities in America, according to NOAA National Climatic Data Center average annual temperature data from the last 30 years.

Caribou, Maine, came in fifth on the list. Dubbed the “Most Northeastern City in America”, Caribou’s average annual temperature of 39.7 degrees is partially due to a “polar vortex” over the Hudson Bay, which directs cold air from Canada into northern Maine. It gets more than 9 feet of snow each winter – youch.

Fourth was Jackson, Wyoming, with an average annual temperature of 39.4 degrees. Because of its proximity to Grand Teton, Yellowstone National Park, and Jackson Hole, Jackson is a popular tourist spot, but visitors should pack warm. Since Jackson is surrounded by mountains on three sides, cold air settles into the valley at night, resulting in morning freezes approximately 250 days of the year.
Coming in third on the list was Gunnison, Colorado, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. With an elevation of 7640 feet and an average annual temperature of 38.1 degrees, visitors can expect freezes almost every day of the year.

International Falls, Minnesota, is the second coldest city in America, with an average annual temperature of 37.8 degrees. An all-time record low of -55 degrees has earned it the nicknames “Frostbite Falls” and “Icebox of the Nation”.

For the most part, researchers limited the list to cities with more than 5,000 people. The one exception was the number one spot, which went to Barrow, Alaska, located 5 degrees north of the Arctic Circle. With an average temperature of — get this — 11.7 degrees, Barrow is in a league of its own when it comes to cold. In fact, from late November to mid January, the sun does not even rise over the horizon. Brr.

[via weather.com, Flickr image via Bob Johnston]

Video of the Day: Remote camera captures action on Maine hiking trail

One of the best aspects of hiking is the escape that it provides from your everyday life. Getting lost – even briefly – in nature allows you to forget that the rest of the world exists. But what happens when you leave the trail and return home? Someone up in Maine decided to plant a remote camera along a trail that cuts through his property. Along with hikers, he recorded footage of moose, deer and even a bear traversing the exact same trail. It’s an eery reminder that while you’re hiking, you’re in animals’ homes.

Portland’s International Cryptozoology Museum to get a bigger home

cryptozoology, Mothman
One of Maine’s most offbeat attractions is about to get five times the space.

The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland will be moving from its current home in the back of the Green Hand Bookshop at 661 Congress St over to 11 Avon Street, where it will have much more room to show off its collection of Bigfoot print casts, monster photos, movie props, and thousands of other strange items. The move, according to the Portland Daily Sun, is to give the museum a more visible location and attract more visitors.

Cryptozoology is the study of animals thought by science not to exist. The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and the Mothman all qualify. Sometimes animals thought extinct, like the coelacanth, turn out to be still alive and move from cryptozoology into mainstream biology.

Museum founder Loren Coleman hopes this success will be repeated with other monsters. Coleman was born in 1947 (the same year the term “flying saucer” was coined) and has dedicated much of his life to studying strange sightings of things that shouldn’t exist. His books show a skeptical eye, an open mind, and most importantly a sense of humor. He probably wouldn’t be impressed by this purported photo of the Mothman. Considering that it was uploaded by someone whose Wikimedia Commons handle is Mostlymade, I have to say I’m skeptical too.

Despite being a skeptic I love museums like this. Once while hiking in the Himalayas I found some Yeti footprints that turned out to be from a normal animal, but I have had a strange experience with the legendary Thunderbird.

The museum’s “Grand Monster Reopening” is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. on October 30.

The Acadia Night Sky Festival begins today

The Acadia Night Sky Festival begins today!Starting today, and running through next Monday, Acadia National Park, located near Bar Harbor Maine, will play host to the third annual Acadia Night Sky Festival. The event, which is designed to celebrate and promote the stunning night skies above the park, will mix live music, art, and science, with a healthy dose of stargazing.

The event is designed to be family friendly, offering plenty of activities that both kids and adults will enjoy. Some of those activities include daily children’s book give-a-ways, photography workshops, lectures, picnics, and more. Tonight there will be boat cruises to take in the night sky while out on the water, and the rest of the weekend includes scheduled “star parties” at various locations around the park, including Cadillac Mountain and Schoodic Peninsula.

The skies above Acadia are described as “the largest expanse of naturally dark sky, east of the Mississippi,” something that is seen as a spectacular natural resource by the organizers of this event. As our urban environments continue to expand, and bring plenty of light pollution with them, fewer and fewer people actually get to experience a night sky in all of its glory. This festival hopes to remind us just how beautiful – and humbling– that view can be.

The Acadia Night Sky Festival comes to a conclusion at dawn on Monday, September 26th, with early risers enjoying a sunrise on Cadillac Summit, as the night sky fittingly gives way to the sun.

And don’t forget, entry into the park is free on Saturday.