Gadling feeds; Gadling on Twitter, Facebook; other Gadling goodness

Here at Gadling we’re almost always on the go: packing, unpacking, ass-dragging through customs, reclining seat backs, putting up tray tables. Ugh: it can be exhausting. Of course, we know you’re probably at least as busy and as movious as we are. Therefore, we thought it’d be nice to remind you all the places you can get your Gadling on.

If you don’t have time to check Gadling.com every day, but you can breeze through your feed reader before rushing to the airport, don’t forget you can subscribe to our RSS feed. If you prefer to follow only certain writers, you can subscribe to any individual author’s feed (the feeds are located right next to the writers’ names, on each post).

If you’re less interested in specific writers, but you love to catch up on travel topics, be sure to check out some of our hub pages — including Travel Tech, Adventure Travel, Cockpit Chronicles, Galley Gossip, or The Accidental Chef Travels.

Finally, if you didn’t already know, you can become of a fan of Gadling on Facebook, and you can follow the site (as well as the writers) on Twitter. Here’s a handy list of names:

Team Gadling @Gadling

Mike Barish @MikeBarish
Kraig Becker @KungFuJedi
Catherine Bodry @CatherineBodry
Alison Brick @AlisonBrick
Scott Carmichael @ItsMeScotty
Justin Glow @JustinGlow
Stephen Greenwood @SPGreenwood
Katie Hammel @KatieHammel
Aaron Hotfelder @AaronHotfelder
Tom Johansmeyer @TJohansmeyer
Jeremy Kressman @Kressie42
Heather Poole @Heather_Poole
Jamie Rhein @Jamie_Rhein
Annie Scott @AnnieScott
Willy Volk @WillyVolk
Karen Walrond @Chookooloonks
Kent Wien @VeryJr
Brenda Yun @HIBren

If you’ve got travel photos to share, be sure to add them to Gadling’s Flickr pool. We spotlight the best of your photos every day.

Also: don’t forget to follow some of travel-loving brothers and sisters —

AOL Travel
Twitter: @aoltravel
Find them on Facebook

MapQuest
Twitter: @mapquest
Find them on Facebook

Digital City
Twitter: @digitalcity
Find them on Facebook

Best beaches in southeast Florida

With 1200 miles of sand beaches, Florida is the world’s premiere destination for vacationers seeking sun, surf, and sand. However, with so much coastline, how do you choose the beach that’s right for you? Here’s our list of the best beaches in southeast Florida (roughly the area from Stuart to Miami).

Best beach for photo ops: Blowing Rocks Preserve

Blowing Rocks Preserve encompasses a mile-long limestone outcrop riddled with holes, cracks and fissures; when the tide’s high and there’s a strong easterly wind (call for conditions: 561-744-6668), water shoots up, geyser-like. When seas are calm, you can hike through four coastal biomes: shifting dune, coastal strand, interior mangrove wetlands and tropical coastal hammock. Across the street, Hawley Education Center has rotating art exhibits with nature themes, as well as two short nature trails and a butterfly garden.

Entry to the preserve is $2 per person, and it’s only open from 9am to 4:30pm. A dedicated photographer would probably consider the best photo opportunities to be at sunrise (though we didn’t tell you to park south of the preserve and hike in with your camera and tripod). Finding the refuge is a little tricky, as there’s no signage: from US Hwy 1, take Bridge St (708 east) to Hobe Sound. Make a left on Beach St (707). Travel about 3 miles; the refuge is on your right.

Best beach for working: Hollywood Beach

This may seem an odd category for those looking for vacation, but Hollywood Beach — which recently enjoyed a massive $14 million renovation — is WiFi-enabled. You’re not likely to find people working on laptops at the beach (despite their ridiculous ads), but for visitors with Web-enabled cell phones, this is a great place to relax while catching up on email: the boss won’t even know you’re not in the office. If you choose to power down completely on vacation, you’ll enjoy Hollywood’s beautiful boardwalk and adjacent restaurants. Think of it as “the Venice Beach of Florida.”

To get here, take I-95 to Hollywood Blvd exit. Head east. Park.

Best dog beach: “Friends of Jupiter Beach”

Sandwiched between Jupiter and Juno, the 2.5-mile Friends of Jupiter Beach (FJB) may be the happiest beach in the state. Welcoming all well-behaved dogs, FJB regularly hosts impromptu canine photo shoots and sees plenty of happy hounds chasing Frisbees. If you want to enjoy South Florida’s waves with your pup, this is the place.

To get here from I-95, exit at Donald Ross Rd, head east to to A1A, and turn left. The dog-friendly beach begins at the intersection of A1A and Marcinski Road.

Best nude beach: Haulover Beach

Haulover Beach is the only officially-sanctioned nude beach in The Sunshine State. Nestled between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, this 0.4-mile stretch of beach lies to the north of the larger Haulover Beach Park and, though tiny, can attract several thousand visitors per day. Remember: while many people are nude on this beach, it’s impolite to stare. Also: given the kinds of people who like to sunbathe nude, you may not wish to stare. You’ve been warned.

To get here, take I-95 to NW 125 Street and go east across Broad Causeway (there’s a 50-cent toll) to Collins Ave (A1A). Turn left, pass over a bridge, and proceed to the North Beach Parking lot on the left at the far north end of the park. Parking is $5 per car.

(For some other tips on where you may be able to get in some nude sunbathing, check this guide.)

Best undeveloped beach: Hutchinson Island

Most of this long, skinny island — which begins near Stuart and stretches north to Fort Pierce — is a sprawling mess of condos and resorts. However, the determined beach-goer can find a stunning array of unspoiled beaches, all with free access, excellent for walking, swimming and even some snorkeling. Most of the access roads and parking lots are dirt on Hutchinson Island, but barring an epic, Noah-like flood, you’re unlikely to get stuck.

To get here from Stuart, take Ocean Blvd east to the barrier island and head north. The beaches get more remote the further north you travel. (If you’ve got your four-footed friends with you, be sure to head to the only dog-friendly beach in St Lucie County, Walton Rocks, across from the St Lucie Power Plant.)

Best beach to people-watch: South Beach

No surprises here, but we couldn’t make a list of the best beaches in southeast Florida and skip this. If you’re looking for bronzed goddesses (some of whom go topless) or beefcakes in banana hammocks, Miami’s South Beach area — roughly the southernmost 23 blocks of the barrier island separating the Atlantic Ocean from Biscayne Bay — is the place to be. The entire section of sand is public access, but the Lummus Park area (right off 10th St) is the most popular … and most familiar (remember “Miami Vice”?).

To get here, exit I-95 at Dolphin Exwy/US 41/MacArthur Cswy, and head east. When you hit the barrier island, the road becomes 5th St. Follow this east to US1 (Collins Ave), then head north. Parking in Miami Beach is always tough. Look for a meter or a parking garage along Collins Ave (one block West of Ocean Dr).

Best “nature” beach: John D. MacArthur State Park

While this park is one of the smallest in the region, the John D. MacArthur State Park offers excellent, free, ranger-led walks from its William T Kirby Nature Center (10am daily). The park has one of the best turtle-watching programs around, as loggerhead, green and leatherback turtles nest here in June and July. It’s also home to several aquariums and a spectacular 1600-foot boardwalk — which spans the mangroves of Lake Worth Cove — and the on-site nature center provides guided and unguided kayak trips ($10-35/hour). On alternate Thursday mornings, the park offers yoga on the beach, and on full moon weekends, there are moonlight concerts and Bluegrass shows.

To get here, take I-95 to PGA Boulevard, head east, and continue heading east (and a little south) after the road changes to SR 703. The park entrance is on your left.

Best party beach: Peanut Island

Originally created in 1918 as the result of dredging, Peanut Island is an 80-acre island in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway, north of West Palm Beach and east of Riviera Beach. Accessible only by boat, the island is popular with boaters who anchor off the northern edge of the island and party, either from their boats … or in the water. Fishing and swimming is allowed, and there are both developed and primitive campsites available for overnights (be sure to look for manatees swimming near the southern edge of the island). For history buffs, Peanut Island is also home to the Kennedy Bunker, which served as a fallout shelter for the family during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, the Bunker houses the Palm Beach Maritime Museum.

To get here, you’ll need your own boat. if you don’t have a boat, you can rent a kayak from Visit Palm Beach ($20/hour, or $30 for the day; bring plenty of water). Alternatively, you can take the water taxi ($10, round-trip) from Sailfish Marina (which boasts a terrific all-you-can-eat brunch on the weekends, for $17/person).

Best “local’s only” beach: Palm Beach (off Barton Ave)

Palm Beach — the exclusive enclave of the super-rich, like Jimmy Buffett, Donald Trump and (formerly) Bernie Madoff — has some beautiful beaches, much of which are difficult to access, due to the island’s near-endless “no parking” signs. However, a favorite “local’s only” spot is easy to access, offers free parking, and is almost always empty.

To get here from West Palm Beach, take Okeechobee Blvd east to the island (where the road becomes Royal Palm Way). At Ocean Blvd, turn left and head north five blocks to Barton Ave and turn left again. Park anywhere along Barton and walk back to the Ocean Blvd, being on the lookout for a small path leading to the beach. Unroll your towel. Enjoy.

Though these beaches aren’t in “Southeast Florida,” they’re also worth noting:

Enter Gadling’s “Perfect Road Trip” Contest!

Yesterday, we announced Gadling’s “Perfect Road Trip” contest, a fantabulous contest in which Gadling is partnering with Cadillac to send one lucky winner (and a friend!) on his or her perfect road trip, all expenses paid. All you have to do is describe your favorite road trip, and if you’re selected as the winner, Cadillac will provide —

  • airfare for you and a friend from your home(s) to the start of your road trip destination;
  • a new Cadillac SRX to drive for the duration of a the road trip (sorry, you have to give it back at the end of the trip);
  • money for fuel and expenses along the way (think: hotel and meals);
  • airfare from the road trip’s end point back to your home.

Here’s how the contest works —

  1. In the comments below, leave a comment telling us about your favorite road trip. (Please: no months-long trips here; the road trip may only be two days long, but that’s PLENTY of time to, say, cruise the Florida Keys.)
  2. You don’t have to have been on the road trip before — it can be one you’re dreaming about — but try to be specific. Make us drool over your imagined itinerary. (Hint: the prize will be available in September, so try to think of a relevant destination — and that destination must be in the Continental US.)
  3. You can only leave one road trip suggestion, so choose wisely. Successive road trip ideas will remain visible on the site, however, for other people to dream about.
  4. All submissions must be left by July 22, 2009, at 5pm EST, in order to be considered.
  5. Gadling’s road trip gurus will choose the 5 best road trip ideas from those left in the comments.
  6. We’ll present Gadling’s readers with the list early next week, and they’ll vote on which is the best road trip — and therefore, who should be the winner of the contest.
  7. Leaving a comment below constitutes having read, understood, and agreed to the complete rules (link is a PDF).

Good luck.

%Gallery-67676%

Announcing Gadling’s “Perfect Road Trip” Contest

There’s something transcendental about zooming along wildflower-rimmed country roads with the top on your convertible down. Fresh spring air, ripe with morning dew, floods your nostrils and tossles your hair. Hulking, weeping fig trees, thick with Spanish moss, sway in the breeze like a feathered boa on a dancing woman, and the sun — cresting the canopy of the roadside trees — plays hide-and-seek in the ripples of the nearby river.

Troubles at home? Far removed. Stressed from work? No longer. All that matters is the here and the now — driving along gorgeous back-country roads, mercifully traffic-free.

If road trips delight you, then Gadling’s “Perfect Road Trip” contest will make you ecstatic. We’re partnering with Cadillac to send one lucky winner (and a friend!) on his or her perfect road trip, all expenses paid. All you have to do is tell us your favorite road trip, and if you’re selected as the winner, Cadillac will provide —

  • airfare for you and a friend from your home(s) to the start of your road trip destination;
  • a new Cadillac SRX to drive for the duration of the road trip (sorry, you have to give it back at the end of the trip);
  • money for fuel and expenses along the way (think: hotel and meals);
  • airfare from the road trip’s end point back to your home.

Here’s how the contest works —

  1. Tomorrow, we’ll publish a post in which you can leave a comment telling us about your favorite road trip. ENTER HERE!
  2. You don’t have to have been on the road trip before — it can be one you’re dreaming about — but try to be specific. Make us drool over your imagined itinerary. (Hint: the prize will be available in September, so try to think of a relevant destination — and that destination must be in the Continental US.)
  3. You can only leave one road trip suggestion, so choose wisely. Successive road trip ideas will remain visible on the site, however, for other people to dream about.
  4. Gadling’s road trip gurus will choose the 5 best road trip ideas from those left in the comments.
  5. We’ll present Gadling’s readers with the list, and they’ll vote on which is the best road trip — and therefore, who should be the winner of the contest.

In the meantime, pull on your thinking caps and driving gloves, decide where you would go on your perfect road trip, and cruise the gallery below to see the new Cadillac SRX.

%Gallery-67676%

Afghanistan, an accordion, ‘Elvis’ and Johnny Cash

Some people travel to shop in different stores, or to eat different food, or to drink different beers. Jeff White traveled to immerse himself in a different culture. He believed so strongly in immersion, in fact, that he moved to Germany to live and work. This post of Jeff’s, republished in his honor, demonstrates Jeff’s interest in immersion and passion for connecting with people while traveling. Thanks, Jeff, for reminding us of the most important reason for travel.

A friend of mine just sent me this video from the start-up Web site GlobalPost, and it’s fantastic.

Gregory Warner, a freelance foreign correspondent living in Afghanistan, is an avid accordion player, and he tries to use the instrument as a means to connect with the people he’s covering.

The way Afghans respond to his accordion music is somewhat unexpected and reveals some truths about the country’s development during the last quarter century.

What does Warner do when asked to perform at a concert and realizing he doesn’t know any tunes by Afghanistan’s own pop icon? Well, Johnny Cash to the rescue. Watch and see what I mean…

(Thanks, Ed)