10 Destination Races Worth the Trip

Any runner will tell you that there are few greater moments than when you cross that finish line during a race. It’s not just about having completed the race, but marks the achievement of all of the training that you’ve done to get there. If you feel like you may have plateaued a little in your training, or want some extra incentive, here are a few destination races that will make you want to get those feet moving.

10. Big Sur International Marathon -Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

This April race has the tagline of “running on the ragged edge of the western world”, which is a pretty apt description of the vistas that runners will take in during their race. Runners understand uniquely the effort/reward relationship in training, and they’ll take full advantage of some spectacular ocean views after tackling the challenging hill that spans almost two miles about a third into the race up to Hurricane Point. This race winds its way along the Pacific Highway, and is closed for the most part to vehicular traffic, providing for a serene, scenic run experience.

Photo by: Big Sur International Marathon
Photo by: Big Sur International Marathon

9. Not Since Moses -Five Island, Nova Scotia

Wanting to change your run routine up a bit? How about going for a run on the ocean floor? That’s exactly the terrain that runners get to cover in this August race at Sand Point, Five Island, Nova Scotia. Runners can choose between 5km and 10km distances, and will get to run across the Bay of Fundy at low tide. While the tide is out, runners run alongside scenic, ragged cliffs.

Photo by: Runner's World
Photo by: Runner’s World

8. Swiss Alpine Marathon -Chur, Switzerland

This 30-year old race began as “a race for the insane”, most likely named so for the number of height inclines and uphill portions in the races, as well as the extra challenges that are present when running at higher altitudes. It has evolved over the years to appeal to a wide variety of runners abilities and also promotes itself as a family friendly event by offering several different distances from a grueling 78km ultra marathon to a 500m kids fun run. It takes place in and around Davos in the Swiss Alps in July.

Photo by: Swissalpine Marathon
Photo by: Swissalpine Marathon

7. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend -Orlando, Florida

Who couldn’t use a little magic to carry them through the tough times in their next big race? How about magic from the Magic Kingdom and surrounding parks? The Walt Disney World Marathon weekend offers several different distances over a single weekend, including a full marathon that winds its way through four of the Disney parks, and the Goofy Challenge (which is truly goofy) that involves running a half marathon on the Saturday, followed by the full marathon the following morning. This race weekend occurs in January every year.

GSPhotography / Shutterstock.com
GSPhotography / Shutterstock.com

6. National Capital Marathon Race Weekend -Ottawa, Ontario

The Ottawa Race weekend is Canada’s largest race weekend and several of the races consistently sell out every year. This particular race weekend usually takes place during the second last weekend in May before the summer heat really sets in. Distances include the full marathon, half marathon, 5km and 10km as well as a Kids Marathon. Runners are treated to some great views along the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill and other famous landmarks as they wind their way through downtown Ottawa and over the bridges to Gatineau, QC. Almost the whole route is accessible for spectators, so runners can expect lots of fan enthusiasm, beginning to end.

Photo by: Ross Dunn via Flickr
Photo by: Ross Dunn via Flickr

5. Reggae Marathon -Negril, Jamaica

Sun, surf, Reggae music and cold beer when you’re done running? Sounds like a runner’s delight (although the beer may not usually be part of post-run recovery, but when in Rome…). Set for the first weekend in December every year, the Reggae Marathon goes in Negril with a full marathon, half marathon and 10km distances. This event is promoted as having “good vibes and irie spirit”. Once you’re done, there is a party on the beach with Red Stripe Beer and lots of live music.

Photo by: Jamaica Experience
Photo by: Jamaica Experience

4. Great Wall Marathon -Tianjin, China

The Great Wall of China may already be on your bucket list, but what about combining that visit with a once-in-a-lifetime run at the same time. Promoted as “5,164 steps into history”, this race offers full and half marathons, as well as an 8.5 km race. This course is challenging, with lots of steps and inclines, but the views are reportedly worth the work. Runners will wind their way through towns and villages as well. This race takes place on the third Saturday in May every year.

Photo by: Great Wall Marathon
Photo by: Great Wall Marathon

3. The Polar Circle Marathon and Half Marathon -Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

If running in one of the most remote, yet scenic spots on the planet appeals to you, then this is your race. Otherwise known as “the coolest marathon on earth” (for obvious reasons) these races take place in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland in October. Runners will run through glaciers tongues, along ice caps and along some more forgiving gravel-based terrain. This route takes them just north of the Polar Circle.

Photo by: Polar Circle Marathon
Photo by: Polar Circle Marathon

2. Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon -Kauai, Hawaii

After running through the Polar Circle, runners may want a more temperate climate, namely the islands of Hawaii. Held annually in September, these races let runners wind their way through tropical rain forests and stunning views atop oceanside cliffs, the kind that lessen the burn in your thighs as you climb those hills.

Photo by: The Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon
Photo by: The Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon

1. Bay Shore Marathon -Traverse City, Michigan

This May race offers a full marathon, half marathon and 10km distance run. As far as scenery goes, this run is tops. Runners will be treated to lovely views of Lake Michigan on one side and Traverse City’s orchards and cherry trees on the other. This course is known for being fast and flat which is popular for runners seeking those elusive personal bests.

Photo by: Bayshore Marathon
Photo by: Bayshore Marathon

7 Vacations that will Appeal to Teens

Traveling with children presents challenges, no matter what stage of the game you’re at. Traveling with little ones means preparing for anything by packing nearly everything you own; traveling with teens means trying to find cool experiences and activities that will give them the right balance of independence and convince them to put their phones down. Oh, yeah and that aren’t totally lame.

7. Hotel Del Coronado- San Diego, California

This beachfront resort near San Diego has something for everyone in your family, including your teen. Teens can take advantage of surfing and paddleboard lessons, or rent a bike and explore the area. Every weekend in the summer, there is a teen pool party at one of the pools, open to teens 13 to 17 years old (sorry, no parents allowed!), complete with games, a DJ and snacks. There are also teen Dive-in movies, so they can watch some of their PG-13 faves under the stars or while floating on a pool noodle.

meunierd / Shutterstock.com
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

6. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge- Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica

If your teen loves to give Mother Earth a hug, taking a vacation at an eco-lodge surrounded by flora, fauna and lots of wildlife may be just the ticket. Lapa Rios is located right in the midst of the rainforest on their 930 acre reserve. Daily activities include guided nature hikes, and ecological educational experiences. Nearby, visitors can arrange for boat tours in the mangroves, dolphin and whale watching, surfing or kayaking.

Photo by: Lapa Rios
Photo by: Lapa Rios

5. Lake George- Glens Falls, New York

Does your teen prefer shopping, the beach or screaming on a roller coaster? Why not do all three? Scenic Lake George, located in the Adirondacks, is jam-packed with action and activity. It’s the kind of town where a stroll down main street means running into something else to do. There are loads of cool restaurants, mini-golf, haunted house attractions and much more. Hit the Six Flags Amusement Park for the day- and don’t forget your bathing suit for the waterpark. Unwind for the day on Lake George’s Million Dollar Public Beach, which provides some million dollar views of the surrounding mountains. There is also great shopping in Lake George for your teen who covets name brands, with an extensive network of outlets.

Lake George, NY

4. Hawks Cay Resort- Duck Key, Florida

Located in Duck Key, about mid-way down the Florida Keys, Hawks Cay is a sprawling resort on a key unto itself, with plenty to keep your teen entertained. At the center of the resort is a man-made lagoon, with plenty of water activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking. A highlight for sporty teens is the Indies club that has basketball courts, putting greens, volleyball court and a full-size soccer and football field. There is a “Teens Night Out.” from 9 pm to 11 pm nightly, where teens can hang out and play in the games room.

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

3. Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas- Bahamas Islands, Caribbean

Cruises are a good choice for teens because of the wide variety of activities that are going on at any given moment. And if choice of activity is key to a teen’s enjoyment of their vacation, than Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas fleet is “the” spot. There is a skating rink, zip lining, rock climbing, surf simulator, arcade, mini golf, 3D movie lounge, teen lounge and disco. And that’s not including all the things they can do once in port! Try cruising more low key, but still vibrant excursions like the Bahamas. This way the trip doesn’t require as much planning as further international expeditions, but still involves some great cultural indulgences and adventurous ports for the kids and adults to explore.

Ozphotoguy / Shutterstock.com
Ozphotoguy / Shutterstock.com

2. Jay Peak- Jay, Vermont

Jay Peak’s village at the base of their mountain is an excellent spot for teens. The village is fairly self-contained. Being able to have this kind of pedestrian atmosphere is great for parents (they can know where their kids are) and teens can enjoy some of that independence that they crave while in a controlled environment. In the winter, there is skiing, obviously, along with a host of other winter outdoor activities. Available year-round is the indoor waterpark, the Pump House, which offers a number of different raft water slides, a surfing simulator, and a slide with a huge vertical drop. There is nothing lazy about their lazy river. Attached to the waterpark is an arcade. Onsite in the village is the Ice Haus, where there is skating available year-round, complete with skate rentals, if you forgot yours at home.

Photo by: Hanumanix via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Hanumanix via Wikimedia Commons

1. Beaches Resorts- Providenciales, Turks and Caicos & Negril and Ocho Rios, Jamaica

All-inclusive resorts are often a good choice of teens, and the Beaches family of resorts are particularly good. They have games rooms with a good selection of games and organized activities. There are arcades, music and a great tagline: “Teens do whatever they want; your parents paid the bill, so from here on out, everything’s included”.

Photo by: Britt Reints via Flickr
Photo by: Britt Reints via Flickr

Romantic and Luxurious Honeymoon Destinations

Choosing a destination for your honeymoon can be as stressful as planning your wedding. It’s your first week together as newlyweds and you want everything to be perfect. Fortunately, there are several resorts in some of the world’s most beautiful places that are dedicated to serving your every need.

If you’re researching honeymoon destinations, consider one of these popular locations:

1. Bora Bora

Perhaps one of the more luxurious (and subsequently more expensive) honeymoon destinations, Bora Bora epitomizes the word romance. The island is famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts that sit on stilts over the sparkling blue water.

Activities and  Attractions

Most of the activities and attractions in Bora Bora are water-related, but there are a few things you can do on land as well. Snorkeling and scuba diving around the lagoon are popular activities for many tourists but to kick up the romance, many newlywed couples opt for a breathtaking sunset cruise along the lagoon. Couples can enjoy fine dining in several ravishing seafood restaurants  or sip on cocktails at the world famous Bloody Mary’s restaurant and bar.

Bora Bora

2. Paris, France

Paris is known as one of the most romantic cities in the world. Stroll the streets and take in the amazing sites and culture of this captivating city. There are many reasons why Paris is considered one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world.

Activities and Attractions

The Eiffel Tower is, obviously, a must-see for any couple in Paris. In addition, the Centre Georges Pompidou and The Musee d’Orsay are also great landmarks to view while on vacation. When you’re not taking in the sites of the city, many couples choose to sip on wine or champagne a patio of a local restaurant while listening to live music.

Paris

3. Maui, Hawaii

Maui is a truly breathtaking destination for honeymooners looking for a luxurious getaway. The popular destination offers tourists unique landscapes such as black sand beaches, captivating waterfalls and fascinating volcanoes.

Activities and Attractions

Some of the popular activities on the island of Maui include windsurfing, surfing and kiteboarding (or kitesurfing). Main tourist attractions include the Hana Highway (where you’ll see black sand beaches and breathtaking waterfalls), Lahaina (featuring many shops and restaurants)  and Heleakala National Park (home to a dormant volcano).

Maui

4. Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Villefranche-sur-Mer is a quaint beach resort and residential town located on the French Riveria. Nestled just beside the popular city of Nice, this quiet destination allows couples to experience the true culture of the South of France.

Activities and Attractions

Unlike some of the resort destinations on the list, Villefranche-sur-Mer does not offer many excursions. However, newlywed couples can stroll the streets of the beautiful Old Town which features intricately designed churches, chapels and homes. No honeymoon would be complete without a beach and this romantic destination hosts a public beach that stretches for 1km under the railway line linking Nice to Italy.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

5. Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos is not only a popular honeymoon destination but a notorious location for luxurious weddings as well. The beautiful islands have been host to many high profile weddings including the ceremony of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner in 2005 as well as Eva Longoria and her now ex-husband Tony Parker in 2007.

Activities and Attractions

The breathtaking views of the pristine beaches are reason enough to visit the islands but there are many activities for adventure-seekers as well. Similar to many other resort destinations, Turks and Caicos offer many romantic cruises, diving excursions and snorkeling trips. In addition to the excursions, the islands offer tourists 81 fine dining experiences featuring delicious seafood prepared by world renowned chefs.

6. Venice, Italy

Regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, there’s no better way to celebrate the union of marriage than a gondola ride through the rivers of Venice. The city is known for its amazing art and architecture and is considered a top destination for honeymooners.

Activities and Attractions

Gondola rides through the rivers of the city are a popular tourist attraction. In addition, there are countless sites and buildings to see. Some of the must-see places include St. Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal and the Piazza San Marco.

Venice

7. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a top choice for many honeymooners. Its amazing views, eclectic culture and vibrant nightlife make it one of the most sought after cities for travellers. From listening to live music while enjoying cocktails outdoors to riding the  famous cable car buses, there’s no better way to enjoy your first days of wedded bliss than in this fascinating city.

Activities and Attractions

The Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most notable landmark. A trip to the big city just isn’t complete if you don’t make it to see one of the world’s most notorious bridges. Have a celebratory drink in a nearby restaurant and enjoy the views of the structure. Other landmarks include Colt Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid and Alamo Square Park.

San Francisco

8. Negril, Jamaica

Jamaica is quickly becoming a popular destination for weddings and many couples choose to extend their stay after the wedding for a romantic honeymoon. The culture is a big part of why this island country is so renowned. The relaxed atmosphere of island life is a great way to spend your first few weeks of marriage.

Activities and Attractions

Jamaica is home to several pristine beaches, amazing waterfalls and mystic rivers. Located in Ocho Rios, Dunn’s River Falls is a must-see when vacationing. You can climb up the breathtaking 600-foot cascading falls to a view that is absolutely priceless. Additionally, hiking, snorkeling, horseback riding, jet skiing, and kite surfing are all popular activities. When you decide to relax for a drink, make sure you hit up Rick’s Cafe, where you can view a spectacular sunset and watch amazing cliff diving shows.

Jamaica

9. St. Lucia

The breathtaking views of St. Lucia have been host to many high profile weddings and honeymoons. Famous faces who have chosen the beautiful island as their top destination include Matt Damon and his wife (who just renewed their vows in a lavish ceremony at the Sugar Beach Resort) and Kellie Pickler and her husband (who secretly wed on the island as well).

Activities and Attractions

Visiting the drive-in volcano, the sulfur springs, the botanical gardens and “The Pitons” are all fascinating attractions when visiting the island of St. Lucia. In addition to the landmarks, honeymooners can set sail on a sunset cruise, tandem zip line in the tropical rain forests or stroll through the luscious grounds of Pigeon Island National Park.

St. Lucia

10. Mayan Riveria, Mexico

Mexico will always be a popular destination for honeymooners. With an array of luxurious resorts ranging in price from very affordable to incredibly lavish, there’s a place for everyone in Mexico. Like most resort destinations, Mexico offers a variety of excursions that will keep you and your partner fascinated during your stay.

Activities and Attractions

If relaxing on the beach becomes too mundane, there are countless attractions and excursions offered in Mexico. Some of the notable landmarks include Tulum and Chichen Itza while some of the popular activities include snorkeling, whale watching, volcano tours, riding the Copper Canyon Railway and white water rafting.

Mexico