Vancouver Island Campsites That You Need To Visit

British Columbia’s Vancouver Island is 32,134 square kilometers of old growth forests, snow-capped mountains, rugged beaches, and endless wilderness trails. In fact, it’s one of the planet’s most diverse ecosystems. While a road trip is certainly fun, there’s no better way to explore the nooks and crannies of the island than by camping, which is home to 150 provincial parks, 2 national parks, hundreds of recreation sites, and dozens of private campgrounds. So whether you’re planning on traveling as a family, couple or with friends, or solo, check out this guide to the Vancouver Island campsites you can’t miss!

Pachena Bay Campground, Bamfield

Nestled among a virgin rainforest on the west coast of the Island, this camping spot provides the idyllic setting for a weekend away in nature. The campground is located directly next to a huge sandy beach and at the head of the West Coast Trail, offering visitors many opportunities for hiking, beachcombing, and more. The campground is open from April until September and with great rates and stunning scenery, visitors planning on camping here should book early to avoid disappointment. Pachena Bay has recently been upgraded to provide water throughout the entire campground and with a new wash-house with hot showers and flush toilets. It’s also fully wheelchair-accessible.

The ocean sites are a visitor favorite and throughout the year grey whales can be seen coming into the bay. Getting out here is part of the fun with a gravel road leading into the grounds that can only be described as treacherous. But what’s a little island camping without roughing it?

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, Parksville

This popular family camping site is loaded with waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking trails. Open from May until September, there are 93 campsites available, with 63 of them being reservable. Visitors should make reservations early in the season to secure a spot. The trails and boardwalks give access to the upper and lower parts of the waterfall and swimming is permitted in marked areas.

Just a short drive away is Cameron Lake, a perfect place for swimming and relaxing in the breath-taking landscape. Activities range from canoeing to cycling and hiking to scuba diving and fishing and more. This park is often used as a home base for campers that are exploring Cathedral Grove and the Mt. Arrowsmith CPR regional trail. Steep cliffs and thundering falls, along with great weather make this the perfect camping spot on the island.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, Parksville

This picturesque camping destination fills up fast and is only open from May until September. The scenery and surroundings make this a superb camping spot, including two stunning waterfalls that descend deep into a canyon, an old-growth and second-growth forest, a deep crystal-clear swimming hole, and picture-perfect bridges to trek across.

There are plenty of hiking trails throughout the park for all visitors to experience. The campground includes 103 sites, each with its own picnic table and campfire ring and sites are well spread out with large concrete pads on each. Expect great privacy, quiet nights in your tent, and some spectacular scenery here at Englishman River Falls in Parksville.

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Parksville

This relaxed family campground will be enjoyed by anyone and everyone with its large sandy beach, majestic old-growth trees, and incredible ocean sunsets. Open year-round, it generally fills up quickly during the summer months, with 174 drive-in sites and 25 walk-in sites available. Guests love the 5 km sandy beach and forested trails, including a spectacular ocean trail loop and nature center hosts an awesome kids program.

There is no bad campsite at this park as all are just over a 5-minute walk to the beach. At low tide the water recedes almost a kilometer, making the beach the perfect place to build sandcastles, kick the soccer ball, or throw a Frisbee around. With three playgrounds, excellent swimming, hiking, windsurfing and interpretive programs; there will be no shortage of fun activities to keep the whole family engaged at this Vancouver Island campsite.

Elk Falls Provincial Park, Campbell River

Elk Falls is one of the most popular provincial parks on Vancouver Island and with year-round salmon fishing and incredible scenery, it’s easy to see why. Located west of the Campbell River, this quiet riverside campground fills up quickly during the warmer months and is open all year. From November to March, campers can expect steelhead to run right by the campsites while spring visitors can look forward to Chinook and Coho salmon.

Located just 3 kilometers from the campground is the day use area, which is loaded with trails and an incredible 35-meter waterfall. In recent years the park has added new walkways, railings, and a suspension bridge which make viewing the falls even more fun. If you want a site on the river, be sure you book well in advance as they book up quickly.

Green Point Campground, Tofino

If you are looking to hike in the middle of the Pacific Rim Park, you need to visit Green Point Campground. Be sure to book early to avoid disappointment as this campground with 94 drive-in sites and 20 walk-in sites fills up quickly in the summer months. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is known for its temperate rainforests and long sandy beaches and this campground sits right in a forested terrace above Long Beach – the only campground in the area.

It’s a short trail walk to the beach below – a beach known for having the best surf waters in Canada. In the summer months, there is a great interpretive program that runs out of the theatre as well. Amenities include flush toilets, fire pits, and potable water but do not include any showers or cooking facilities.

Cape Scott Provincial Park, Cape Scott

If you are looking for rugged wilderness camping, Cape Scott Provincial Park, located on the northwestern tip of the island, is the perfect place to go. Cape Scott was only established in 1973 but offers over 115 km of ocean frontage with 30 km of stunning remote beaches. Most people come here to hike the North Coast Trail, a 46-kilometer backcountry adventure that takes hikers through incredible wilderness landscapes.

There are many places to set up camp here including 11 designated camp pads located at Eric Lake, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Random wilderness camping is also allowed in this park, though no facilities other than food and pit toilets are provided, and campers are asked to camp on the beach to reduce their footprint whenever possible. The hike here is not for beginners though, and visitors must be prepared for variable climate and lots of rain.

Tribune Bay Campsite, Hornby Island

Tribune Bay is not technically on Vancouver Island, but it’s located close enough to group it into this amazing collection of camping spots. This campsite is actually located on the neighboring Hornby Island and adjacent to Tribune Bay Provincial Park. Only open from June until September, this campground features over 100 sites all with fire pits and picnic tables.

There are a ton of trees throughout the campground providing privacy for each site. Once you’ve set up camp, there’s no need to move the car as everything is in walking distance, including an unusual playground and a long stretch of white sandy beach. Hiking and cycling trails await visitors in the provincial park and the waters are calm and perfect for swimming, kayaking, or paddle boarding. This private campsite is perfect for families, couples, and small groups of friends. For those of you looking to party, skip this campground as quiet time starts at 10pm and is strictly enforced.

Strathcona Provincial Park

This rugged mountain wilderness dominates central Vancouver Island and has been called the most beautiful provincial park in the country. With towering mountain peaks – some covered with snow, lakes, creeks, rivers, valleys and old-growth forests – there is no contest for its beauty. There are two campgrounds here, both equally amazing with Buttle Lake featuring 86 sites and Ralph River with 75. If you stay in the Buttle Lake campground make sure to grab one of the lakefront sites.

The Ralph River campground is perfect for those interested in doing some serious hiking along the corridor as sites are located inside a towering old-growth Douglas fir forest. If you are looking for something really special, head over to Delta Falls in the southern part of the park where you can witness Canada’s highest waterfall – eight times higher than Niagara Falls!

Alder Bay Resort, Port McNeill

Alder Bay is one of the nicest campgrounds in Northern Vancouver Island, along with being one of the friendliest. This RV Park and Campground offers incredible scenery, friendly staff, and great rates. Visitors here can enjoy watching eagles soar overhead and Orca’s play in the waters – right from your campsite in some cases. Nearby are trails that lead you to Telegraph Cove where you can walk the boardwalk or hike in historic Alert Bay.

Salmon and Bottom fishing are popular sports in the resort and they offer a convenient on-site fish cleaning station. Expect friendly neighbors, quiet nights, a clean campground, and no shortage of activities. Both the campsites and the RV sites offer ocean views, but make sure you book early if you want to stay at this incredible camping spot on Vancouver Island.

Loveland Bay Provincial Park, Campbell River

This small rustic provincial park is perfect for those campers looking for a quieter, more intimate setting. Every site here (except two) are on the waterfront, right on Campbell Lake, so it doesn’t get much more picturesque than this. The campground is open from May until September and only features 31 sites so if you planning on staying here, book early. The sites are perfect for the kayak or canoe enthusiast as it is possible to set out right from your campsite or a boat launch nearby.

There is no designated day use area at this park, nor designated swimming area which means each camper has their own personal beach in front of their site. Visitors here should be warned that this is rustic camping and only one water pump and a handful of pit toilets are located throughout the park. If you are looking to escape reality for just a few days, this is the place to do just so.

China Beach Campground, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park offers scenic beauty, spectacular hiking, marine and wildlife viewing and roaring surf along the Pacific coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The China Beach campground is the best place to set up if you’re car camping, as it has 78 reservable campsites and 47 first-come, first-serve sites.

The campground is located in a forested area about 1 km away from the China Beach Trailhead with several trails connecting the campground to both China Beach and Second Beach. Amenities are basic and include pit toilets, cold water taps, and campfire rings. What visitors really come here for though is access to the incredible beaches, tidal pools, and wildlife. Be on the lookout for whales, marine birds, shells, and fascinating creatures that gather in the tidal pools on the west side of the park.

10 Seriously Strange Places on Earth

If you’re up for a little adventure, you should add these travel destinations to your bucket list. They may not be traditional spots to visit, but venturing beyond can result in some of the strangest, scariest, and most fun memories of a lifetime. So book a flight, check your (Google) maps, and pack your suitcase, because it’s time for a vacation at one of these locations. To help you decide where to go, we’ve put together a guide that lists the 10 strangest places on Earth.

The Wave, Arizona

Of all the mystical cures awaiting believers in the Arizona desert, the Wave, a colorful, wavelike, Navajo sandstone rock formation, will leave you awestruck. This pinnacle stands proud between the borders of Arizona and Utah, and is thought to hail from the Jurassic period.

The Nazca Lines, Peru

The Nazca Lines are a well-visited site by Sci-Fi fans and extraterrestrial aficionados. However, it’s difficult to explain why the prehistoric Nazca culture created the enormous geoglyphs in 500 BC, depicting an array of spiders, monkeys, figures, and flora. Many theorize that their creation was part of a ritual or out of the belief that the glyphs linked up to constellations in the sky.

Cano Cristales, Serrania de la Macarena

Cano Cristales is undoubtedly the world’s most extraordinary river. Commonly called the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow”, much of the time it resembles any other river. But between the wet and dry seasons (typically from July to November), the river bursts with vibrant ruby red blossoms. The stream itself is overgrown by the macarenia clavigera plant (which are red), with contrasting patches of yellow sand, green moss, and aqua water running in between. It’s a true feat of nature that you’d be lucky to see, if you can catch it.

Marieta Island’s Hidden Beach, Mexico

Totally tucked out of view is the phenomenal beach on Marieta Islands, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The volcanic activity that occurred here over the ages has created a rather unique marine ecosystem, and a true tropical paradise for snorkelers, deep sea swimmers, and scuba divers who love to explore the crystal clear water and the sea life that exist here – a mix of Humpback whale, dolphins, and sea turtles.

Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands

Loch Ness tops the list for both the mythical monster, Nessie, that is said to live in the loch and for the eerie lake hidden away in the Scottish Highlands. Ness, the loch itself goes 755-feet down at its deepest point and 21.8 miles long. Unlike most lochs, this massive water body makes you wonder what could possibly be lurking in the depths.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Have you ever dreamed of walking on the clouds? Your dreams can become reality (thanks to science) at the whimsical Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, home to the world’s biggest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers. Walk on the crusty surface while gazing dreamily off into the clear, blue yonder.

Bermuda Triangle

The triangle of ocean between Florida’s southern tip, Bermuda, and San Juan in Puerto Rico has been the site of numerous shipwrecks and plane crashes throughout history. Legend has it that anything traveling over the triangle will be sucked up into a mysterious void, even though storms did brew during one or more “mysterious disappearance.” Either way, it’s a bit of a scary place on this planet.

Area 51, Nevada

Do you believe? Most people who explore this notorious and unusual site in Nevada do. Officially known as Groom Lake, its claim to fame dates back to 1947 as it’s often linked with the Roswell New Mexico UFO incident. The legend says this top-secret military base hosts a lab where alien bodies and technology are still hidden today after a UFO crash-landing occurred there, making this one of the weirdest places on Earth.

Stonehenge, Salisbury, England

There are differing bizarre theories about Stonehenge, the mythical striking stones near the city of Salisbury, England. They could indicate an ancient burial ground, a UFO landing spot, a ritualistic druid site, or a Pagan winter solstice monument. However, there are as many speculations as there are invalid answers. The only thing we do know is that whoever is responsible for building the structure over 5,000 years ago left no written explanation.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are full of wonders and some of the most beautiful in the natural world. The glowworms, or Arachnocampa Luminosa, hang out here in the thousands, casting their light against the caves walls while tourists glide through in boats. It’s really an amazing, fairy tale-like experience and a seriously strange place on Earth.

The 10 Most Stunning Sea Caves Around the Globe

Sea caves are incredible, forming along cliffs through erosion with only the power of wind and water. There are many stunning sea caves around the world that are well-known with hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting each year, such as New Zealand’s Matainaka Cave (the largest sea cave in the world). However, there are many more sea caves that are less known, tucked away along coastlines that aren’t as popular or easily accessed. From the beaches of Portugal to the island of Scotland, why not plan a trip to one of the most spectacular sea caves around the globe.

Waiahuakua Cave, Kauai, Hawaii, USA

It ranks as one of the world’s longest sea caves in the world at 1,155 feet. It is often referred to as the “double door cave” as it has both an entrance and an exit. The cave is located along Kauai’s Na Pali and is only accessible by water. Visitors sometimes refer to it as dark and spooky, but fear not when you head into the cave as you’ll be treated with some incredible sights. Unusual features include a large cathedral room, a white-lit tunnel hallway and a pinkish-red rock shaped like a hippo. The most magical part of this cave though is the waterfall that streams through a fissure in the ceiling. At certain times of the day when the light catches it the right way, the waterfall looks more like a bolt of lightning.

Benagil Beach Sea Cave, Algarve, Portugal

This beautiful dome of a sea cave is located in the tiny town of Benagil and is one of the best gems of the whole Algarve coast. To get there you either have to take a local boat or rent a kayak and paddle out, though some visitors have swum out, as it’s located just to the east of the village on the beach.

The cave is simply stunning, with a skylight at the top letting the light shine in, illuminating the sand below and warm waters which you can swim in. Whether you visit during high or low tide, you can expect the same amazing experience. If you take a tour with a guide, be sure to choose one that lets you spend some time exploring, as many buzz in and out of the caves in a hurry.

Smoo Cave, Durness, Scotland

This impressive geological wonder includes both fresh water and sea water and was actually carved into the limestone by the Alt Smoo, a river that runs above and pours into a cavern through a sinkhole. Nearly 40,000 people visit each year and recent improvements include new walkways, washrooms and other amenities for visitors. The main entrance to the cave is quite interesting in that it has one the largest entrances in Britain at 50 feet high that was formed by the sea while the inner chambers were created by the river.

Going there to view the entrance and main cave is free but for a small amount visitors can take a tour into the smaller chambers and see a beautiful waterfall. The tour is definitely recommended, but be sure you go early as they fill up fast. One of the most unique sea caves on this list, it’s not to be missed if you happen to be in Scotland.

Sea Lion Cave, Florence, Oregon, USA

It wouldn’t be a complete list of sea caves without including America’s largest sea cave, the Sea Lion Cave, which gets its name from the resident sea lions that lounge around, barking excessively. The formation of this cave happened about 25 million years ago and now is as large as the length of a football field and as high as a 12-storey building. Although it has become quite a popular tourist attraction – there’s even an elevator that takes you down to the cave – it’s simply a wonder that must not be missed.

Besides sea lions, visitors will have the chance to take in the colors of the cave as over years lichen, minerals and algae have painted it in hues of pinks, purples, and reds. Other animals you may see in and around the cave are sea birds and whales. Visitors must be able to walk along the trails and steps down to the cave and should be prepared that there are not always sea lions present (to avoid disappointment), as this is the wild, not the zoo.

Fingal’s Cave, Staffa, Scotland

This sea cave is located on the island of Staffa and is known as the cave of melody or as novelist Sir Walter Scott explained, “one of the most extraordinary places I have ever beheld”. Fingal’s Cave is well-known for two things: the eerie sounds it makes and the arching cathedral-like geological features. In fact, the entire cave is made up of hexagonal basalt columns and is the only one of its kind in the entire world. Visitors can discover this cave by taking a sightseeing cruise from the town of Hull. The cruise ship will land close to the cave and the basalt columns actually provide the perfect stepping stones to enter into the cave. When it groans and moans, just know that these sounds are quite normal for this sea cave.

Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy

The Blue Grotto is one of the most well-known sea caves around the world, and for good reason. Back in Roman times, it was the personal swimming hole for Emperor Tiberius and in the 1960’s there were three Roman statues of sea gods found on the ocean floor. For years this cave was avoided as locals believed it was inhabited by evil spirits and monsters. Today though, it is enjoyed by many, though swimming is not allowed.

To enter the cave, visitors must take a boat and lay flat down on the bottom in order to get through the small 4×4 entrance. What makes this cave so special is the color of the water inside, as it glows a bright and brilliant blue, a color so unworldly it’s hard to believe it exists. Visitors wanting to go inside this cave should be aware that inclement weather may lead to an unsafe passage and therefore trips may be delayed or canceled on short-notice.

Painted Cave, California, USA

Located on the craggy coast of Santa Cruz Island in California, this is one of the largest and deepest sea caves in the world. At over 130 feet high and nearly a quarter mile long, this sea cave gets its name from the numerous colors that make it up. Colorful rocks, lichen, and algae adorn the walls of the cave, turning it into a colorful piece of art. The cave is made up of several inner chambers and the best way to explore them is by taking a boat to the island and then kayaking your way through the cave. Visiting in the springtime is perhaps the best time, as a beautiful waterfall cascades down in front of the entrance to the cave. There are many guided tours to choose from which will provide you with all the gear, flotation devices, snorkels and information you need.

Apostle Island Sea Caves, Wisconsin, USA

The Apostle Islands are home to some of the most spectacular caves on the planet, and although they aren’t located in the “sea” (instead they are in Lake Superior) they are still technically referred to as sea caves. Summertime brings boaters and kayakers to the lake to explore the caves that feature red sandstone cliffs, the sparkling lake, and forested trees in the distance, with forceful waves spraying and breaking into the caves. It is extremely important to check weather and water conditions before you head into the caves as it can be quite dangerous.

Wintertime is when these caves really shine though. As Lake Superior freezes in the winter, so do the damp caves and waterfalls, creating incredible ice formations both in and outside the caves. When the lake is sufficiently frozen over, visitors can hike, snowshoe or ski to gain access to this winter wonderland.

Cathedral Cove Sea Cave, Coromandel, New Zealand

Cathedral Cove holds a total of five incredible sea caves along the Catlins Coast of southeastern New Zealand. There are actually two main cave systems that join together with the cliff, one having a ceiling height of 100 feet. Getting to the caves at the right moment is the hard part as they are only accessible for two hours on either side of low tide. The reward is worth it though – getting to explore an area that is otherwise always underwater, a place where visitors can often spot blue penguins and fur seals from the gloomy end of the cave. If you’re planning on visiting be sure to check the tides and bring a headlamp or flashlight, as the caves are extremely dark.

Cuevas de Mármol, Chile Chico, Chile

It seems that Mother Nature has outdone herself with this last set of stunning sea caves. Carved into the Patagonian Andes, the Cuevas de Mármol are located on a peninsula of solid marble bordering Lake General Carrera, a remote glacial lake that spans the Chile-Argentina border. This block of marble is said to weigh over five billion tonnes. The caves have been formed over thousands of years of waves washing up against the calcium carbonate. The colors of both the lake and caves change depending on the time of year and water level and the luckiest visitors can experience swirling blue cavern walls and azure waters.  To get here, visitors must take a boat a thirty minute tour, operated by a local guide company (weather and water conditions permitting, of course).

The 10 Most Fascinating Forgotten Cities & Why They Fell

There are many cities around the world that were once vibrant, with people going about their daily lives just like we do, in many ways. However, natural disasters, war, disease, and genocide have been the cause of many once-populated cities turning to ruin. A lost city is defined as “a settlement that fell into terminal decline and became extensively or completely uninhabited, with the consequence that the site’s former significance was no longer known to the wider world.” Left abandoned to rot and fall apart, cities all over the world have been unearthed by archeologists, sometimes thousands of years later. Today, tourists can visit some of these places to see the relics and learn the culture and history of the life and demise of these civilizations. So if you’re feeling adventurous, why not get lost in one of these 10 ancient forgotten cities?

Pompeii, Italy

The city of Pompeii is most closely tied to stories of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Today, you can wander the site of the ancient Roman town-city, located near Naples. Remains from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and many nearby villages, which were once buried under approximately 20 feet of volcanic ash and pumice (the reason for its demise), have since been unearthed, and Pompeii is touted as a popular tourist destination, drawing about 2.6 million visitors per year, along with nearby Vesuvius National Park.

Ephesus, Turkey

This ancient Greek and Roman city, rests languidly on the coast of Turkey’s Izmir Province. During the Roman occupation in 1st century B.C., Ephesus was populated by more than 250,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean. It’s believed that it was abandoned for two reasons. Changing leadership multiple times in a short period, as well as a demise in its places of worship (which attracted tourists) put the city on the decline. Additionally, silt built up in the harbor, preventing ships from reaching the city and destroying trade opportunities, which rendered the city undesirable. Today, tourists stroll the marble and mosaic sidewalks to see and touch history in abundance—including the Temple of Hadrian, the Great Theater and Church of the Virgin Mary, the city’s trading center, and stare in wonderment at the last remaining column from the Temple of Artemis.

Carthage, Tunisia

Founded by the seafaring Phoenicians in 760 B.C., Carthage, located in what is now known as Tunisia, offers tourists an opportunity for massive cultural discovery in the western Mediterranean. The city was destroyed by the Romans in second century B.C., when, at the time, it was populated by an estimated half a million residents. However, relics from the Roman occupation still remain, as well as archeological excavations and mosaics derived from Punic, Byzantine, and Vandal occupations.

Machu Picchu, Peru

This 15th-century Incan site is located 7,970 feet above sea level in the Cusco Region of Peru. Constructed in the classical Inca style, with dry-stone and polished walls, the three primary structures of what’s referred to as the Sacred District of the site consist of the Intihuatana (Hitching post of the Sun), the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Perhaps of all of Machu Picchu’s treasures, the Intihuatana stone is the most marvelous. These ritual stones point directly at the sun during the winter solstice. The Inca believed the stone held the sun in its place along its annual path in the sky while archeologists believe it functions as an astronomic clock or calendar. The civilization is believed to have been abandoned 100 years after it was built, after the Spanish brought disease and military campaigns to the Incan empire. However, there is no evidence that Spanish military ever reached the citadel, which has caused speculation that smallpox may have ultimately wiped out inhabitants.

Kourion, Cyprus

Perhaps most visited for its impressive Greco – Roman Theatre, the city of Kourion is believed to have been constructed during 2nd century B.C. Today, visitors can visit the fully restored theater and even catch a modern day musical and theatrical performance. Other site treasures include the House of Eustolios, once a Roman villa and bath house; and the Early Christian Basilica, both built in 5th century A.D., as well as the House of Achilles; the House of the Gladiators; and the Nymphaeum, devoted to the water nymphs, all elegant Roman structures with stately mosaic floors. Earthquakes hit the island in 332, 342, 360 and 364/5, causing significant damage and requiring remodeling of the city. During the seventh century, Arab raiders ransacked Kourion though it’s unknown if they caused the looting and burning that there is evidence of. Ultimately it’s not known exactly why this forgotten city was abandoned.

Petra, Jordan

Not for the physically unfit, the rose colored city of Petra, flagged by massive red mountains and its vast mausoleums has to be seen to be believed. Carved from the sheer red rock by the Arabian Nabataeans, who called this city home for more than 2000 years ago, Petra linked the silk and spice trades of China, India, and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. Upon entering the city via the Siq, a narrow gorge that stretches 1 kilometer in length, you’ll pass by 80-meter high cliffs on either side, which draws you immediately to the dazzling rocks that form what was once the city’s Al-Khazneh (or Treasury). Keep wandering along the colonnaded streets (as long as you’re wearing sturdy shoes) to the Roman-style theater with seating for 3,000 people, and the site’s many obelisks, temples, and sacrificial altars or take the 800 rock steps to the Ad-Deir Monastery.

Sanchi, India

Sanchi lays 68-kilometers north of Bhopal, India, in the country’s Madhya Pradesh state. The hilltop here is celebrated as home to more than 50 magnificently well preserved Buddhist monuments, or “stupas,” symbolic burial mounds and hearken from somewhere between the 3rd Century BCE and the 12th Century AD. Visitors can view the miraculous beauty of these examples of Buddhist art from Sanchi hilltop. With the decline of Buddhisim in the 13th century, Sanchi was abandoned and the jungle quickly took over until this lost city was rediscovered in 1818.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Teotihuacan, believed to be the place where the gods originated, is located just 50-kilometers north-east of Mexico City. Built gradually between the first and 7th centuries A.D., Teotihuacan is celebrated as Mesoamerica’s most powerful cultural and artistic. Tourists flock to explore the immense Avenue of the Dead, a unique group of sacred monuments to pay tribute to the site’s Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon as well as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Teotihuacan’s origins, history, and culture remain a mystery for the most part, but states that it “was settled as early as 400 B.C. and became the most powerful and influential city in the region by 400 A.D. By the time the Aztecs found the city in the 1400s…the city had been abandoned for centuries.” It is unknown why the civilization of Teotihuacan collapsed.

Persepolis, Iran

A view of the immense terrace of Persepholis, Iran is nothing less than a regal. This was the site where king of kings ordered construction of the massive palace complex, which became the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire in 515 BCE. Brimming with Mesopotamian influence, the Persepolis of today sits 70-kilometers northeast of Shiraz, in Iran’s Fars Province. The civilization is believed to have been destroyed on purpose by Alexander the Great and his men, who made the rash decision because of the 480 BCE invasion of the Persian wars, but were also noted (in every single account) to be under the influence of alcohol when they burned it down.

Palmyra, Syria

A gleaming gem in the vast Syrian desert, Palmyra still holds the secrets of a great city that was one of the most important cultural, artistic, and Graeco-Roman-Persian architectural centers of the ancient world. Built between the 1st and 2nd century, Palmyra was a major trading post on the Silk Road and a wealthy caravan oasis with its grand colonnaded street, the great temple of Ba’al with its carved sculptural archway, and Valley of the Tombs (which are large-scale funerary monuments scattered around the city walls) all echo of the influence of multiple civilizations.

Canada’s Fishing Lodges: Stunning Fly-In Vacations

The Great White North is dotted with lakes, rivers, and bays, making it the perfect place for anglers. In fact, Canada’s fishing scene is one of the largest in the world, with vacationers flying in from all over the world to cast their rod into Canadian waters in one of the country’s many fly-in fishing lodges. These wilderness lodges offer stunning northern landscape and wildlife, warm hospitality, and many a delicious shore lunch. For anglers looking for a True North experience – one that’s uncrowded and peaceful – here are 5 incredible Canada’s fishing lodges worth checking out.

Tukto Lodge, NU

This “ultimate 5-star Arctic experience” is home to the best Arctic fly-in fishing trip available in Canada. Located in the remote Canadian Arctic, getting to Tukto Lodge is surprisingly easy, with a special air service available from Winnipeg, Manitoba. And it truly is worth the trip. Only about 50 anglers a year get to experience the lodge’s one of a kind experience to one of the most remote lakes on earth, which is abundant in lake trout and grayling and sees so little traffic that record-breaking catches are almost guaranteed. Day and overnight packages are available, ranging in price from $1000-1500 per person and include a location consultation, personal guides, and in the case of the overnight trip, a good night’s sleep at the comfortable base camp with housekeeping and hefty amount of food and supplies.

Milton Lake Lodge, SK

One of the best fly-in fishing experiences in Northern Saskatchewan, the Milton Lake Lodge is accessible only by private plane from Saskatoon and offers luxury all-inclusive fly-in fishing packages at the main lodge, as well as packages for one of the two private outposts on Walker and Misekumaw Lakes. Also boasting several fly-out locations, the lodge is the premier destination to snag some trophy northern pike, lake trout, arctic grayling, and whitefish. All-inclusive packages start at $4195 for 4 days and include everything except booze, taxes, tips, and fly out trips. Private outpost packages are $1895-4495 (depending on length of stay and outpost choice) and include round-trip transportation from Saskatoon and various other amenities specific to each outpost.

Stewart’s Lodge and Camps, BC

Based on Nimpo Lake, 850 km North of Vancouver, Stewart’s Lodge and Camps has some of the best fishing British Columbia has to offer, with 6 fly-in outposts to choose from on 4 different lakes, as well as a myriad of daily fly-out locations for some of the country’s largest wild rainbow trout. Outpost packages range from 3-7 days, priced $1000-1600 and include floatplane transfer, private log cabin with food, bedding, propane and ice, boat with fuel, and fish smoking and vacuum packaging (so you can easily take your catch home with you!).

Clark’s Resorts and Outposts, ON

Ontario is known for having some of the best fishing in the whole country, making this spot an obvious choice. Located in Northwestern Ontario’s Vermilion Bay, Clark’s Resorts and Outposts is one of the biggest fly-in fishing lodges in the province. Providing 17 different outposts on 17 different lakes, fishermen (and women) have the chance to pursue some of the greatest concentrations of Pike and Walleye in the world. Prices run anywhere from around $1050-1400, depending on length of stay, and include all the amenities of modern cabins (the lodge insists that you won’t be roughin’ it) as well as your flight to and from base, 14 or 16 foot boats with swivel seats and an 8 or 9.9HP motor, fuel for the outboard motor and cabin generator, and pretty much all of the fishing supplies you’ll need, including live minnows! Choose this location to experience the very best of what fishing in Ontario has to offer and take in the beauty of the rugged wilderness as you reel in your next record catch.

Anderson’s Lodge, ON

Found on Lac Seul at Sioux Lookout, Anderson’s Lodge provides the very best value for what money can buy in terms of fishing vacations. The Lodge offers 4 distinct outpost locations on the lake, with packages ranging in price from $884-2082, depending on the length of stay and number of people (groups get a way better price). The package includes transport between the lodge and outpost, new 16 foot boats with 20HP motors and fuel, cabin accommodations, and unlimited amounts of ice. The lodge offers incredible service (they pack and ready your groceries need be – just send them a list!) and an incomparable fishing experience, with Lac Seul hailed as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” as well as a premier destination for world-class Northern Pike and Muskie angling.

The 7 Spookiest Haunted Houses In America

While you may initially associate Halloween with trick-or-treating and scary movies, there’s a whole other aspect of the spooky holiday that you may have overlooked: Haunted Houses. There is actually a surprising number of haunted houses across America, many of which use advanced technology and elaborate sets to give their guests the ultimate spooky experience. If you’re curious about the best and scariest haunted houses in America, follow along as we roundup the top 7 haunted houses with the scariest reputation. 

7. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride – Glen Mills, PA

Bates Motel and the Haunted Hayride has been ranked one of the scariest and most entertaining haunted houses in the country by America Haunts, a national association of top-tier haunted attractions. The location includes three chilling features: the high-action Bates Motel, a hayride that will leave your heart pounding and a Revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Corn Trail.

6. Bennett’s Curse – Baltimore, MD

Bennett’s Curse in Baltimore, MD is a 40,000 square foot space that actually boasts FOUR haunted houses at one location. You first walk through Medieval Underworld, which takes you through a medieval abyss, complete with dungeon cells and terrifying monsters. The second haunted house is The Sanctuary of Insanity which many consider the most disturbing of the houses. It features an asylum with criminally insane patients, dark hallways, a maze of prison cells and pulsing music. Next, there is the 3D haunted house, known as Inferno 3D, which offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves fully into one of the most feared places imaginable, the depths of hell. You will enter the circles of greed and violence and gluttony, while confronting monsters, demons and other hideous creatures along the way. 

5. Spooky World, Nightmare New England – Litchfield, NH

Spooky World is just 45 minutes from Boston and features not just a haunted house but many other terrifying experiences. The outdoor attraction takes visitors to the spooky countryside to explore a whopping five haunted attractions. If you are brave enough to enter the Brigham Manor, prepare for dark hallways, screams of terror and surprises around every corner. Visitors can expect spooky surprises like chainsaws, clowns and zombies, among others. The attraction also boasts a spooky hayride from hell, which is a one-mile long journey where visitors must face horrors such as a spider-infested campground and a compound riddled with terrifying disfigured experiments.

4. The Disturbance, The Haunted Hotel – San Diego, CA

Located in Mission Valley, The Haunted Hotel is the longest running haunted house in San Diego and known as the scariest in the city. The attraction has many scary elements such as over the top heart pounding effects, the creepiest doll island you will ever come across and a unique clown subway. There are even emergency exits located throughout the house as many who enter cannot finish and luckily have the option to leave. This park is not recommended for children under 10 and visitors should prepare for up-close encounters with actors, fog machines and low visibility. Try to escape the torturous grasps of the Dissectors, take a ride on the Hellevator and try to stay in one piece through the Slaughter House at this terrifying walk-through haunted house.

3. Cutting Edge Haunted House – Fort Worth, TX

The Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth. Texas, currently holds the record for the largest walk-through haunted house in the world. Filled with live actors, mind-blowing special effects and horrifying monsters, this haunted house features multiple storylines and themes.. Part of what makes this haunted house so scary is its location which is an abandoned meat packing plant that has been turned into a human processing area. The warning on this haunted house includes things such as “You will receive electrical shocks and be enveloped by creeping fog and vapors”, along with “You will be videotaped and broadcast on our website with no compensation”. This is indeed one of the scariest haunted houses in the country.

2. The Beast and The Edge of Hell – Kansas City, MO

The Beast in Kansas City is one of the largest haunted houses in the country featuring elaborate sets, state of the art technology, a slew of talented actors and an open floor format. What this means is that monsters come at you from all directions, keeping you scared and jumping the entire time. Prepare to get lost in the fog, roam in the real life werewolf forest and try to find your way through the maze. Your heart may just stop on the exhilarating 4-story straight chute slide at the end. The Edge of Hell on the other hand is a converted five-story warehouse that offers old-fashioned high impact scare techniques including vampires, monsters and a real live 20-foot anaconda.These haunted houses are generally way too scary for anyone under the age of 10, or those who fear claustrophobia or snakes.

1. Kersey Valley Spookywoods – Archdale, NC

This haunted house has been running for 30 years now, instilling fear into everyone that visits and boasts the award of being the scariest haunted house in America, as voted by in 2015. Beware that this scary property is not suitable for anyone under the age of 12 and that as soon as you drive onto the property, you are fair game for every creature that resides here. It’s not just one haunted house that awaits visitors here, but a slew of back-to-back attractions that features things like psycho clowns, evil witches and trolls, a corn maze stalked by a forgotten spirit and a creepy mental hospital. Prepare for special light effects, sounds and smells, a feeling of claustrophobia and contact with liquid substances. No cameras, no flashlights and no costumes allowed in here; just a willingness to to be scared beyond your wildest dreams.

The Safest Cities For Women To Travel Alone In The U.S.

Traveling the world alone as a female can seem quite intimidating, but it’s actually much more safe than you’d think, especially once you learn the right tips and advice. If you’re looking to start your solo-traveling somewhere, we suggest trying smaller trips around the United States and then expanding your horizons to countries around the world which will help you become more comfortable with solo traveling. From the hilly streets of San Francisco to the sunny city of Honolulu, follow along as we round up the safest places in the U.S. for women to travel alone in 2020: 

5. Portland, Oregon

Portland is an exciting and popular city that not only offers a ton of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities as well as cultural events, but is extremely safe for solo-traveling women. One reason is because the people are just so genuinely friendly around this city, so if you get lost don’t hesitate to ask for directions as likely the first person you ask will be happy to help. The Portland International Hostel and Guest House is a great place for solo female travellers to stay as the staff and volunteers are excellent, plus they offer many freebies, group walking tours and more. The Northwest district of Portland is loaded with cafes, unique stores and incredible coffee shops. Visit during the fall and experience Forest Park, which is loaded with hiking trails ranging from beginner to advanced. Getting to the city center is easy as one train will take you straight from the airport, and from there you can start your travels.

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

It can be intimidating to visit Hawaii as a single woman, not because it’s unsafe, but because most people are expecting to see a lot of honeymooners and romance. We are here to tell you that the island is not just full of lovers and the city of Honolulu is actually quite popular for solo females. Stay in the tourist area of Waikiki, where most of the hotels are and you will have access to the beach all the time. From here, you can do a variety of things including hike up Diamond Head, visit Pearl Harbor and relax on the beach. It is here where you can book tours to visit one of the islands beautiful waterfalls, take a whale watching tour or snorkel at Hanauma Bay. Having a car is definitely the easiest option when it comes to exploring the island but you can also get around by renting a moped. 

3. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a popular travel destination and whether you are a solo female traveler or not, it has the added bonus of being extremely safe. Getting into the city is a breeze, one simply has to hop on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train that runs from the airport directly downtown, which is only a 35-minute ride or so and not to mention, budget-friendly. The city is also super easy to navigate without a car as there is a great combination of cable cars, streetcars and buses that are easy to use. Stay near Union Square which is the main area for hotels as well as big restaurants and stores since the area is well lit at night and it’s easy to get to other parts of the city via transit from here. Not to miss attractions include Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, North Beach and more.

2. New York, New York

For those who are a little more adventurous and want to take on the big city of New York, you’re in luck, it is actually surprisingly safe to be a solo female traveler here. Getting to the city’s downtown core is a bit of a trek from one of the two airports but can be made easy and affordable with public transit. Make sure to book your hotel room in advance and find out the fastest and easiest way to get there. Once you are all checked in, it’s into the city you go. Wandering the streets is easy once you get the hang of the grid system and the great thing about New York is that there are so many other people around and so many other tourists that you never feel out of place. Join a sightseeing tour, visit Central Park, pay tribute at the 9/11 memorial and window shop at all those expensive stores you can’t afford. Dine alone, at one of thousands of restaurants, drink wine while listening to jazz and do it all over the next day.

1. Seattle, Washington

An exciting urban city center surrounded by unmatched natural beauty awaits travellers in Seattle. Add in the bonus of it being one of the safest cities for solo female travellers and you’ve got automatic plans for your next travel destination. Belltown is the most recommended place to be if you are a solo traveler here, full of awesome hip venues, cool cafes and unique boutiques. Don’t miss out on visiting Pike Place Market, where after you get past all the flying fish you will discover a ton of things to explore. Join in on a historical walking or food tour, wander through Olympic Sculpture Park or dine at one of many local restaurants. It is effortless to get around the city and there are plenty of smiling people to greet you and make you feel welcome. If you want a really good cup of coffee, there is no better city in the US than Seattle.

The Most Interesting Ancient Ruins in Turkey

Turkey is home to some of the most impressive ancient ruins in the world. These historical sites range from ancient Greek towns to Imperial Roman capitals of wealth and power. If you’re planning on visiting Turkey these places of myths, legends, and history are a must-visit. Check out our list of the most interesting ancient ruins in Turkey you don’t want to miss! 


Situated in northwestern Anatolia, Turkey, is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, the ruins of Troy. According to the legends of ancient Greek and Latin literature, Troy was the city center and setting for the Trojan War, one of the most notable stories from the Greek myths. 

In 1870, the site was discovered and excavated by the famous archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann. The archaeological research demonstrates that it was inhabited for almost 4,000 years beginning around 3000 B.C. When one city was destroyed, a new city would be built on top and thus created a human-made mound. Come see it for yourself and take in the 4,000 years of history!


In central Anatolia, the Hittites of Turkey ruled the land and their sacred holy site, Yazilikaya, a series of cone-headed gods carved into the rock. Located within walking distance from the gates of the city, the Hattusas Sanctuary contains two galleries, including an impressive open-air pantheon filled with Hittite gods and goddesses that date back to the 13th century. 

In the larger gallery, there is interesting evidence that Hittites were open to accepting gods of other cultures into their pantheon like Enki, the Mesopotamian god of Wisdom, and the Teshub the Hurrian god. The sacred ruins mean “Inscribed Rock” in Turkish and can be reached from either nearby Corum, Ankara, or the little farming village of Bogazkale.

Göbekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe was founded roughly 11, 500 years ago and is arguably the oldest religious historical site in the world. The Neolithic megaliths (large prehistoric stones that were used to construct the temple) are still being excavated. Do date, only about 5% of the site has been discovered. 

The temple is located just 50 kilometers from Syria, in the region of Eastern Anatolia, modern-day south-east Turkey. Just in the last few years, this historical site has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. That said, it still has yet to be discovered by tourists. This is mostly because it’s located in a remote location. You can get to the site by air-conditioned tour bus but you can also check out some of the marvelous artifacts at the Sanliurfa museum. Either way, this is a must-see site if you plan on visiting Turkey. 


Ephesus is an ancient city in Turkey’s Central Aegean region, close to Selçuk. Here you can see the excavated remains which display centuries of history from the Roman Empire to classical Greece. Located in the heart of a fertile valley, Ephesus was once a major trading center of the ancient world before it became a religious center for early Christians. 

Today, the small village of Selçuk, a popular base from the site, surrounds the ruins. With its large theaters, magnificent pillars, and Hellenistic temples, it is considered one of Turkey’s most cherished open-air museums. It’s also interesting to note that the original site of Ephesus was on the Aegean coast, which over the centuries, opened up to the plain of the Kucuk Menderes. 

Lycian Rock Tombs

Take a boat ride near the islands of Dalyan, Kaunos, and Myra and you’ll see what looks like magnificent temples carved into the side of a Turkish mountain but they are actually ancient Lycian Tombs. Lycian’s believed the honored dead needed to be placed in geographically high places in order to reach the afterlife

The burial tombs are known for their elaborate funerary art that stand out with distinctive Gothic detailing in facades that resemble typical Lycian homes. In an incredible feat, some of the tombs were carved directly out of the face of the cliff. The unusually large tombs held more than one body, which suggests that Lycians were a family-oriented society, and sometimes depicted scenes from mythology.

Cappadocia Monasteries

The Cappadocia Monasteries are an ancient network of cave dwellings and chapels carved out of the soft rock of the Cappadocia mountains. This is a must-see during your tour of the ancient ruins in Turkey. The rocky landscape was once home to early Christians fleeing persecution from the Romans. Taking a cue from Mother Nature, settlers started carving out homes and structures in the soft rock of what is now the Goreme National Park in central Turkey.

By the 4th century AD, the Cappadocia Monasteries were an urbanized underground system of homes, churches, stables, and storehouses. Monks worked tirelessly to decorate their cave dwellings with biblical paintings in the 7th century, which are preserved in isolation to this day. Even more extraordinary are the hotels and homes still used in the ancient caves for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.


Explore Hierapolis, the “Holy City” of the ancients, located on hot springs in classical Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. The site is now considered a World Heritage Site and has become a popular tourist destination for both common tourists and history buffs. Today, you’ll see ancient theaters, crumbling relics of white terraces, and stone pillars overlooking the modern town of Pamukkale. 

Thought to have been created by the god Apollo, people were drawn to the spot for centuries for its healing hot springs. It was believed that the vapors from the hot springs had healing powers granted by Pluto, the god of the underworld. In fact, scholars believe many ancient people went here in their old age to retire and relax in the warm waters. Although its origins are still debated by scholars, it is believed that the Seleucid Kings founded the city in the 4th century AD, a time when Turkey was a thriving trade route between Africa and Europe.


Aphrodisias was a small ancient Greek Hellenistic city and is located in the historic Caria region of western Anatolia, Turkey. The site consists of two ancient segments. First, there is the archeological site of Aphrodisias, and second, the marble quarries northeast of the city. 

The temple of Aphrodite (dedicated to the goddess of love), dates back from the third century BC, and the city was built one century later. The city contains an unusually large amount of sculptures and Hellenistic monuments. In the peaceful, open-air museum, you’ll discover the spirit of the ancient world among relics from a great civilization. 


Prepare to witness the ruins of a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in the Western region of Turkey overlooking the ancient Acropolis. The city of Pergamon was one of the most influential cities of the ancient world. Today, you can still see outlines of its former glory such as the acropolis, broken pillars, and the public theater that overlooks a grassy plain. 

The settlement was established during the Archaic Period, a time of great wealth from the export of fine carpets, cotton, and gold. The Pergamon ruins are located near the modern city of Bergama in the western Izmir province. This popular tourist destination will allow you to witness the broken pillars of the Temple of Trojan, the Hellenistic Theatre of Pergamon, and the ancient library that looks over present-day Bergama.

St. John’s Basilica

Situated near the ancient ruins of Ephesus is St. John’s Basilica, one of the most cherished religious sites of the Middle Ages. Today, visitors can witness the rare, haunting beauty of a once-great ancient civilization, including broken pillars on the slopes of the Ayasoluk Hill. 

According to legend, Emperor Justinian built the church in the 6th century in tribute to St. John whose 300-year-old tomb was buried at the site. During the medieval era, thousands of people made the long journey here to pay their respects to one of the most sacred sites in ancient times. Over the centuries, the church has seen its share of destruction starting with the Arab raids. In 1330 it was converted into a mosque and finally destroyed in 1402 by the Mongols. Although, today you can still see the traces of this marvelous site from its glory days when Turkey was the epicenter of trade and culture.

The Best BBQ Restaurants in America

Americans really know how to prepare the best barbecue from juicy, smoked brisket and slow-cooked pork smothered in drool-worthy sauce, to chicken, and turkey. Some would even say that there is nothing more debated across the country than who has the top-ranked barbecue. Luckily for us, traditional American barbecue is expanding across the country which means you likely won’t have to travel far to visit one of the best barbecue restaurants in America. Some restaurants use family-owned recipes while others have developed their legendary flavors through extensive research. But if you’re looking for the best tasting barbecue in all the U.S. check out our list of the hottest spots you don’t want to miss! 

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que -Syracuse, New York

Starting out in 1983 with a 55- gallon drum made into a smoker, owner John Stage and a couple of partners started selling barbecue meals at motorcycle rallies, fairs, and festivals. Later, in 1985 a place in downtown Syracuse was opened where John could serve up his high-quality southern-style barbecue. 

Since opening the original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, seven additional locations throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have opened. There is even a Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Manhattan! The restaurant has been featured on Good Morning Today, as well as various Food Network shows and Travel shows. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que stays true to their calling, delivering consistently good barbecue. Be sure to pair your barbecue with one of their delicious side dishes such as collard greens, black beans, and rice or carrot raisin salad!

Snow’s BBQ -Lexington, Texas

Fifty miles northeast of Austin, Texas lies the small town of Lexington. This is where you find Snow’s BBQ, named best in Texas in by Texas Monthly annual BBQ rankings. In 2003 Owner Kerry Bexley along with Miss Tootsie Tomanetz as pitmaster opened the doors and things in Lexington haven’t been the same since. 

Featured on various food shows, Snow’s is open only on Saturday from 8 am until the meat sells out. If you want to try their barbecue we highly recommend you get there early! On any given day you can find regulars who make the one hour trip from Austin, while people from all over the US and even from other countries all come to Snow’s to get Miss Tootsie’s BBQ. Miss Tootsie is the young age of 85 years old, she works five days a week at the local school before smoking up brisket, chicken, ribs, and sausage.

The Joint -New Orleans, Louisiana

Owners Pete and Jenny Breen opened The Joint in 2004 and since then have been serving up some of the best barbecue in New Orleans. In 2008 the restaurant was featured in Guy Fieri’s Food Network program ‘Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives’. Soon after that, the restaurant built up a national reputation for consistently good food and service. 

The menu is full of drool-worthy offerings from smoked brisket and ribs to pulled pork, chicken, and locally made Cajun sausage. The pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw is a favorite along with the brisket. Regulars will tell you it is all good so you might need several trips to zero in on your favorite dish. Even the dessert menu is full of delicious offerings from pecan pie to key lime pie, and they’re very special peanut butter pie. 

Smoque BBQ -Chicago, Illinois

Smoque BBQ all started because a group of guys fell in love with barbecue. One of the founders quit his job and traveled the country to learn all he could about various styles. When he returned, they all went into business together and started serving Chicago the best barbecue in the city! Settling on “Texas Style”, where the meat is the start, not the sauce, and cooked “low and slow”, Smoque serves top-notch barbecue that you do not want to miss.

In less than 10 years Smoque has been featured on Food Network shows, radio, magazines, and newspapers and has received top honors by Zagat. Not many barbecue places publish their barbecue manifesto on their website. These guys take barbecuing seriously. Ribs, brisket, chicken pulled pork, and sausage are served up with all the fixings! When you’re ready for dessert be sure to try their peach cobbler.  

Pecos Pit BBQ -Seattle, Washington

Seattle isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind when you think of great places for barbecue. That said, Ron and Debra Wise have been serving up some of the best barbecue in the US to the residents of Seattle since 1980. 

In a town where coffee bars and smoked salmon are the reigning champs, Pecos Pit has consistently satisfied barbecue fans. Slow-cooked, brisket, chicken, and hot links are served up in sandwiches and piled with mouthwatering sauce and on plates with proper side dishes such as beans, potato salad, and coleslaw. Be sure to try their legendary alder smoked, slow-roasted, beef, and pork! But don’t expect fancy plates or silverware; this is a true BBQ joint with quality barbecued food.

Gates BBQ -Kansas City, Missouri

George Gates opened the doors of this family-run empire in 1946 and now Gates has six barbecue restaurants in the Kansas City area. According to Gates, the reason their restaurants are so successful is due to their famous BBQ sauce.  

The sauce was originally manufactured for barbecue restaurants but demand quickly grew and soon the sauce was being sold in stores across the area. From the minute you step in the door and are greeted by the trademark saucy smell, you know you are in barbecue paradise. From sandwiches to plates and party trays, Gates consistently offers high-quality barbecue that you need to try!

Interstate Barbecue -Memphis, Tennessee

In 1979 Jim Neely bought an old grocery store in a rundown part of town and started his journey to becoming a nationally known barbecue master. The restaurant uses a specially built barbecue pit that uses a combination of natural gas and hickory wood. This unique pit slowly cooks the meat without a flame ever touching them. What’s even more impressive is that Interstate Barbecue can cook up to 500 slabs of ribs at a time!

Through extensive research, trial and error, Neely finally mastered the special BBQ sauce that has helped him in being recognized by publications like People, Vogue and USA today and has him being featured on the Travel Channel. While ribs are the specialty you might want to sample other local favorites like the Bar-B-Q Spaghetti, Bar-B-Q pork, spices and sauce mixed in with spaghetti pasta. 

Arthur Bryant’s BBQ -Kansas City, Missouri

Arthur Bryant’s BBQ began in 1930 and has served Presidents, celebrities as well as regular folks. Presidents Truman and Carter both stopped in and so have celebrities such as Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, and a slew of famous athletes. 

After Arthur passed away in 1982 Gary Berbiglia and Bill Rauschelbach bought the restaurant keeping it true to tradition and maintaining the Arthur Bryant quality. People will stand in a long line just to get in the door to try their ribs, pulled pork, sausage, chicken, brisket, and their famous burnt ends. The food is so impressive that New Yorker columnist Calvin Trillin once called it “the best restaurant in the world”.

Louie Mueller BBQ -Taylor, Texas

Not many barbecue joints can boast a James Beard Award-winning chef, but Louie Mueller’s can! Honored in 2006 with America’s Classics Award, Louie Mueller only uses salt and pepper to spice and slowly smokes the brisket for up to six hours in a 50-year-old pit. 

The restaurant first opened in 1949 and then was passed on to Louie’s son Bobby Mueller in 1974. Bobby ran the smoker for over three decades for passing the restaurant over to his son (third generation), Wayne Mueller in 2007. The restaurant has been featured in three films such as ‘The Rookie’, two documentaries, and also the Food Network show ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ hosted by Guy Fieri. Served on butcher paper, the slow-smoked brisket, sausage and ribs have won fans from all over Texas. Be sure to order the BBQ sauce on the side, because it’s all about the meat here. You’ll also enjoy their side dishes from pinto beans, potato salad, and coleslaw. Finish off your meal with their homemade peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Franklin Barbecue -Austin, Texas

James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef in the Southwest, BBQ cookbook author, publications, television shows, and a host on the BBQ Pitmasters television show. All this came about when Aaron Franklin began selling barbecue out of a trailer in Austin in 2009. Today the trailer is gone, but not the legendary lines that show up Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am until the food is sold out. 

The restaurant has a strict policy of no one cutting in line. People will wait for two hours or more to get a taste of Franklin’s slow-cooked brisket, sausage, ribs, pork, and turkey. You can even say Franklins has inspired at least one budding entrepreneur, a 13-year-old middle schooler has opened a business called BBQ Fast Pass where he will wait in line for you. For $50.00 he takes on one client per day and is fully booked a month in advance.

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q -Decatur, Alabama

In 1925 Bob Gibson began serving barbecue from a makeshift pit in his backyard. Coworkers at the railroad told him “Your future is not in the railroad, but in Bar-B-Q”. With that, the 6’4”, 300 pound Bob Gibson began on a path that would endure for over 80 years and four generations!

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q’s menu features delicious pulled pork, chicken, ribs, brisket, and turkey! The restaurant quickly established itself as the best barbecue place around Decatur, Alabama. Evan a competition cooking team was put together and has since won numerous BBQ contests. Finally, be sure to save a little room for a slice of their homemade pie when you’re finished!

Skylight Inn BBQ -Ayden, North Carolina

Since 1947 the Skylight Inn has been cooking whole hogs over open pits. The BBQ at Skylight Inn has been enjoyed by Presidents and politicians, featured in several magazines and the restaurant is a 2003 James Beard “America’s Classics” winner. 

Further, the restaurant has also been featured on the Food Network, Travel Channel and History Channel. The restaurant is now run by the founder, Pete Jones, son Bruce, Pete’s grandson Sam and nephew Jeff. Bruce is carrying on the legacy that Pete left serving up whole hog BBQ and chicken along with cornbread and slaw. You will get your choice of pork on a bun, with or without coleslaw, or in a paper tray with cornbread.

The Best Street Foods In Italy

When you think of street food, Italy doesn’t usually come to mind. Italian cuisine is more commonly thought of as extravagant meals, with multiple courses. While this is true, Italy is also home to some of the most delicious street food you need to try. Italian vendors are masters at making fast and delicious food from the best quality ingredients. This results in fresh, flavorful food offerings you can enjoy while you wander the beautiful streets of Italy. From the best Italian pizza to deep-fried seafood served in a paper cone, here are the best street foods in Italy you don’t want to miss! 


Piada, also known as Piadina, is a popular Italian flatbread sandwich. It’s a specialty of the Emilia-Romagna region, located between the Apennine mountains and the Adriatic sea. Recipes for Piadas have been passed down for generations and in some cases are reinterpreted with modern techniques. When you find yourself in the Emilia-Romagna region, do not miss your chance to try one fresh from the hot oven!

The thin, round flatbread is traditionally made with white flour and extra virgin olive oil. As soon as it’s prepared it’s immediately stuffed with cheese, cold cuts, and vegetables. Be sure to enjoy it right away to appreciate the aroma of the freshly baked bread. 


This succulent, savory boneless pork roast is seasoned with salt and herbs and roasted on a spit until perfection. It is often stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel, and other herbs. You can find Porchetta throughout Italy but it originates in Ariccia, a town in Rome. 

The typical way porchetta is served is sliced and piled on a crusty roll, making for one savory sandwich! That said, you can also often buy it by the kilo from a food truck. Either way, you do not want to miss your chance to try this delicious street food in Italy! 

Pesce Fritto Al Cono

Is there anything better than wandering the streets of Italy, eating fresh seafood out of a paper cone? We didn’t think so. This awesome street food called Pesce Fritto Al Cono can be found in many Italian port towns. 

When they say fresh seafood they mean fresh. The catch of the day is brought in from the fishing boats each morning and vendors buy directly from them. The seafood is lightly battered and fried right in front of your eyes. Depending on the catch of the day you may be treated to a mixture of fish, shrimp, or squid. We highly recommend squeezing a little lemon on top for an extra kick and then enjoy eating it with your hands or the spear provided.


Zeppole are deep fried balls of dough that can be found literally everywhere in Italy, from bakeries to cafes to street fairs. They are said to have originated in Naples and Rome but nowadays every city and town has put their own unique twist on them. 

These mini beignets or donuts can be found filled with pastry cream, jelly, custard, and even a butter/honey mixture. They are usually topped with powdered sugar and range in consistency depending on where you get them. Even though many people rush to the bakeries to get these enticing treats, the best ones come from the food stalls. The vendors will pop them right out of the fryer into a paper bag and then they are passed to you. Be sure to enjoy these hot and fresh! 


This Sicilian food specialty is mainly found on the streets of Palermo. If you’re looking to try something unique be sure to give this a try. Stigghiola consists of intestines of a lamb, or sometimes a chicken that has been washed in water, seasoned with salt, skewered, and grilled. 

Other seasonings often include parsley, onion as well as other herbs. Further, you’ll often find that the intestines are skewered around a leek. Don’t worry, this particular street food is a lot tastier than it sounds! We suggest heading to an outdoor market after a few bottles of wine and indulging in this odd but otherwise delicious street food.


Panelle may be the simplest of all Italian street foods but don’t let that fool you, this food is both popular and delicious. If you like falafel you’re going to love these golden fried chickpea fritters. They can be enjoyed alone or piled high in between a bun and served as a sandwich.

Many people like to enjoy this with a little lemon squeezed on top or with a sprinkle of pecorino romano (a salty Italian cheese). Even though Panelle has been known as a peasant’s food or food for the poor man, both locals and tourists will line up at the street vendors just to try them!


Arancini means “little oranges” in Italian but don’t be surprised to find there is nothing fruity about these amazing rice balls. These golden-orange deep-fried rice balls are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. 

They originate from Sicily in the 10th century and are now a popular snack that you can find across Italy. These delicious rice balls are commonly stuffed with ground meat, cheese, and peas. Tourists often make the mistake of ordering just one rice ball. So do yourself a favor and order at least 2 or 3, with a side of tangy arrabbiata sauce, and prepare yourself for the perfect meal. Keep in mind, if you want the best you have to go to the original source and head to Sicily for true authentic arancini.


If you find yourself in Florence, you need to try their famous local street food, Lampredotto. It starts with a cow’s stomach and while that doesn’t sound overly appetizing it is simmered in a delicious herb-infused tomato broth. Locals line up daily for this delicious food and if you ask them, they highly recommend you try it too.

Lampredotto can be enjoyed as a standalone on a plate but you can also have it served on a bun. If you opt for the sandwich, be sure to ask to have it dipped in the tomato broth and topped with salsa verde! 

Crema Fritta

Fried custard, do we really need to say more? Crema Fritta is actually thick custard cream that has been breaded and then deep-fried. This results in one of the most delicious street foods you have ever had. 

These deep-fried delights have a diamond shape and are best enjoyed when they come straight from the fryer. They’re served in a paper cone so you can enjoy the delicious gooey treat while wandering the picturesque streets of Italy. Fair warning, you won’t want just one of these amazing desserts!


Panzerotti is kind of like a hot pocket only a lot better. This half-moon shaped pastry is similar to a calzone but with a lighter dough. A combination of cheese and tomatoes make up the filling of this delicious street treat. The pastry is then fried until it’s perfectly golden and crispy.

Even though you can find panzerotti in every restaurant, and pretty much in every country, nothing beats eating this off a napkin from a street vendor in Italy. Look for the stall which has the longest line and head there. With a plethora of options for fillings, you will be devouring this cheesy parcel in no time.

Olive All’ascolana

These fried olives are a culinary signature in the Le Marche region, a region that lies between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. The green olives are stuffed with spiced ground meat, and sometimes parmesan cheese. Then they’re lightly breaded and fried to golden perfection. 

The green olives that make up this remarkable tasting dish are actually only found in this region so be sure to head here to try one! They can be found in wine bars but the best ones are often found in a paper cone or bag, straight from the street vendors. You will be hard-pressed to find a snack this size that offers such great flavor.

Pani Ca Meusa

Pani Ca Meusa, known as a traditional Sicilian sandwich, is another unique food from the streets of Palermo. It is made up of chopped veal lung and spleen. In Palermo, you will find people lining up at every street corner to buy this delicious sandwich. 

If you can get past the fact that you are eating spleen and liver, these sandwiches are in fact quite tasty. The meat is tender, the grated caciocavallo cheese is amazing and the bread is both nutty and soft. Most people like to squeeze a little lemon on top for extra zest.