A visit to Denali National Park has the potential to be one of the most memorable adventures you will ever experience. The vast national park located in interior Alaska offers some breathtaking views, including spectacular sights like Mt. McKinley and other peaks. This expansive park also features scenic wilderness with a unique boreal and tundra landscape. 

The best part is that the national park offers something to all types of travelers and explorers. Whether you seek adventure, or prefer to relax in the wilderness, this national park provides options for both. Here’s a comprehensive list of the five best things to do in Denali National Park.

 

1. Bus Tours

The national park spreads across a whopping 7408 square miles, and bus tours are the best way to explore it all. No Denali expedition is complete without taking one of the three renowned bus tours of the National Park. Though all three bus tours are full-day activities, they cover different distances, sights, and experiences. The Tundra Wilderness Tour takes eight hours and is the most popular among the three. It covers wildlife, landscapes, and plants of the national park. You can expect a few restroom stops and quick breaks for stretching your legs and photographs.

2. Hiking

Denali National Park is an adventure enthusiast’s paradise. The national park offers adventurous hiking trails leading to scenic views. Whether you are looking for a day hike, customizable hikes for large groups, or multi-day hikes, you can find all these things to do in Denali. You can take one of the many guided hiking tours offered by professionals, or choose to hike on your own. If going your own way, the maintained hiking trails at the entrance of the park and the Denali Backcountry are the two options available for you. Any which way, hiking through the wilderness of this national park is indeed bliss. Ensure you pack the appropriate hiking gear and follow all safety precautions if you wish to hike on your own.

3. Flightseeing

Fancy a bird’s eye view of the national park and the reserve? Make a once in a lifetime memory and splurge on a flightseeing tour over Denali National Park. What better way can you take in the mighty mountain peaks than by soaring above them? Instead of a flight, you can also go for a helicopter, some of which actually land on the glaciers. Or maybe you want to opt for Heli-hiking to combine an epic helicopter ride with an adventurous hike through the backcountry. 

Flightseeing is an ideal option for people who prefer sitting in a relaxed airplane while witnessing the wildlife and plants from a higher view. The duration and distance of the flight seeing excursions differ from company to company. So, it’s better to compare various flight seeing services and select the one matching your preference.

4. Off-roading

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, it’s time to get your feet dirty by hopping onto an ATV or a Jeep across the muddy trails of this Alaskan national park. You can either enjoy an off road adventure as a passenger or take control by hiring a vehicle for yourself. The jeep excursions take you through the national park highways, whereas the ATV rides take you through the Denali backcountry. You can also stop your ATV wherever you want for a quick photoshoot. Regardless of the vehicle, off-roading is one of the best things to do in Denali National Park.

5. River Rafting

Part of the beauty of Denali National Park is the impressive rivers that cut through the landscape. Is there a better way to explore those majestic waters than in a raft? River rafting not just allows you to explore the rivers, but also offers a unique view of the glaciers and wildlife across river banks. You can opt for a relaxing trip on the Nenana River or go for a more adventurous rafting trip packed with adrenaline. Here again, there is a multitude of options depending on whether you want to grab a paddle along with the professional guide or sit back and enjoy the view. There are also options ranging from a quick two-hour rafting experience to an entire day trip that includes a picnic lunch on the beautiful riverbanks.

Final Thoughts

That sums up the list of the five best things to do in Denali National Park. Hopefully, the list inspires you to create a fantastic itinerary that matches your preferences. You can also check out the Visitor Center at the park’s entrance to get a better picture of the things you can do during your trip.

Are you planning a trip to Ireland in the near future? If so, you should consider adding one of the many long distance hikes in Ireland to your bucket list. 

The best time to hike in Ireland is between May and October as temperatures are slightly warmer and you can enjoy pleasant weather during your hike. However, it’s important that you pack the right gear, should random rainfall occur. 

Many of the long distance hikes in Ireland will allow you to enjoy Ireland off the beaten path. During a hike, you may come across quaint villages which are definitely not on the average tourist’s radar. 

There are a wide range of hikes In Ireland, where you can either camp along the way or  find accommodation in the middle of your chosen route. As there are so many long distance hiking trails to choose from in Ireland, we have narrowed down some of the best treks available to explore. 

1. Kerry Way  (214 km)

Torc Waterfall which stands at the base of Torc Mountain within the Killarney National Park.

Torc Waterfall in the Killarney National Park

Kerry Way is one of the longest signposted hikes in Ireland which begins and ends in Killarney, a popular coastal town in the Republic of Ireland. Killarney is known for its bright-coloured 19th century architecture, including St Mary’s Cathedral. 

This hiking trail is a circular route that typically takes around 7 to 10 days to complete. Despite the length of the hike, it is a fairly easy route that is accessible to all levels. Although the terrain does differ with everything from sturdy tarmac roads to boggy national parkland and farm areas. 

Along the way, you will discover interesting castle ruins and ancient Celtic monuments, as well as stunning mountain landscapes. At the start of the hike, you can also enjoy the beautiful Torc Waterfall which stands at the base of Torc Mountain within the Killarney National Park. 

2. The Wicklow Way (128 km)

Wicklow Mountains National Park along the Wicklow Way - one of the best long distance hikes in Ireland

The J. B. Malone memorial above Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains National Park

The Wicklow Way is one of the most challenging hikes in Ireland. The trail takes around 7 days in total, starting in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham and crossing 26 peaks throughout Dublin and the Wicklow mountains. The hiking trail ends in the small village of Clonegal in County Carlow.

The most popular route along the Wicklow Way is the north to south route, however, you can also take the south to north route if you wish to start on low terrain and work your way up. 

Whatever route you take, you will be able to enjoy a wide range of sights including Marlay Park, Fairy Castle, the Powerscourt waterfall, the peaks of Djouce and more. 

3. The Irish segment of the E8 Long Distance Trail (650 km)

Walk the start of the E8 Long-Distance Trail - one of the best long distance hikes in Ireland

Walk the westernmost portion of the E8 Long-Distance Trail in Ireland

The E8 trail was established as Europe’s first long-distance hike, and it starts in Ireland in Cork’s Dursey Island – the westernmost tip of Europe. The whole trail stretches to Istanbul, Turkey, although the Irish section begins at Dursey Island and ends in Dublin City.

Part of the route overlaps with some of the best long distances hikes in Ireland including the Wicklow Way, the Kerry Way, the South Leinster Way and the Blackwater Way. 

The Irish segment of the E8 trail goes from coast to coast, and allows you to see all of rural Ireland including the bogs, mountains, windy country roads, old castles and even ancient burial sites. 

4. Dingle Way (183 km)

Cliffs along the Dingle Way towards Slea Head

Cliffs along the Dingle Way towards Slea Head

Ireland’s Dingle Way is a circular hiking trail that covers the Dingle Peninsula and takes around 6 to 8 days to complete. This is an easy to moderate walk with well-maintained terrain throughout. 

The Dingle Way starts and ends in Tralee, in the South-west county of Kerry. Tralee is known for its yearly Rose of Tralee International Festival which is held every August. This is a contest that celebrates Irish women all over the world.

The Dingle Way offers stunning views of beautiful beaches, lively towns and mountains. When you get to the foot of Mount Bradon, the difficulty of the trail increases, however, it’s nothing the average hiker can’t handle. 

5. The Beara Way (206 km)

Beara Peninsula countryside on the Beara Way - one of the best long distance hikes in Ireland

Beara Peninsula countryside on the Beara Way

The Beara Way is a circular long distance hike in Ireland that begins and ends in Glengarriff, a tiny village in the Beara Peninsula of County Cork. It takes about 8 to 12 day to complete the entire trail, however, you can start the walk at various points.

Most of the walk is dry, there are parts of the walk that are boggy, so it’s advised that you bring waterproof shoes. There are also various steep climbs and rough terrain, so it’s important you stay focused while you walk.

During the walk, you will come across spectacular Atlantic views, as well as plenty of wild mountainous land. You will also have the pleasure of visiting Bere Island during the trail, where you will find historic military buildings, plenty of heritage and even the opportunity to go whale watching. 


The collection of long distance hikes in Ireland does not stop here, as there are plenty more trails and sights to explore on The Emerald Isle. 

For more facts on travel in Ireland, take a look at our Backpacking Ireland guide which uncovers everything you need to know about Ireland including where to stay. It also discusses things to do while you are there as well as Republic of Ireland visa requirements and work permit information. 

The Best Long Distance Hikes in Ireland

As a vacation destination, Florida is unmatched. From the picturesque barrier islands of the Panhandle to the stunning Atlantic beaches around Fort Lauderdale and the gorgeous Gulf Coast, there are plenty of famous places that draw people to Florida year after year. With all the amazing wildlife, vibrant cities, and natural wonders, Florida is a pretty special place. You can find amazing sights and experiences across the entire state. If you are planning to cruise from Fort Lauderdale and want to see some of the most amazing spots Florida has to offer, here are four amazing natural wonders of Florida.

 

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Florida's natural wonders - The white sand beaches of the Gulf Islands National Seashore

The white sand beaches of the Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola is a gorgeous panorama of long, empty beaches, rolling dunes, and picturesque waves punctuated by dolphins. A wonder at any time of the year, this spot truly comes alive in the fall when the vast migration of monarch butterflies pause here on their way to Mexico. During this time, the air is set alight with the fluttering of delicate orange wings.

Lake Okeechobee

Florida's Natural Wonders - Lake Okeechobee Sunset at Flood Dam

Lake Okeechobee Sunset at Flood Dam

You can shade your eyes as much as you like, but catching a glimpse of the far shore of Lake Okeechobee is nigh-on impossible. Even from the top of the bridge at Port Mayaca, Florida’s largest lake stretches out as far as the eye can see. One of the most well-known natural wonders of Florida, Lake Okeechobee has successfully resisted development and remains an untouched haven of natural beauty.

The Everglades National Park

The Everglades - one of Florida's Natural Wonders

The Florida Everglades

The Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US and one of the largest wetlands in the world. It is a unique ecosystem, stunningly biodiverse, and home to some of the most fascinating and rare species of plants, animals, birds, and marine life anywhere in the world. The Florida panther, the American crocodile, the West Indian manatee, and the snail kite are all only found in the Everglades, and exploring the 1.5 million acres of this ‘sea of grass’ is an astonishing adventure.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The Florida Keys - a natural wonder

The Florida Keys

Florida’s best reef is easily accessed from almost every beach in the Keys and provides access to an underwater fantasy world of bright, electric colors and bizarre marine life. Queen angelfish and vibrant parrot fish brush fins with manta rays and groupers, all surrounded by glorious corals and gorgonians. A truly magnificent world of magic found just below the surface makes this a true natural wonder of Florida.

Anyone who’s into world travel will be familiar with Tulum. This jungle coastline on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula has become a recent hotspot, with its stunning Cenotes and boutique beach hotels featuring prominently all over social media. While Tulum is no longer off the beaten path, the food scene, the funky artist vibe, and the stunning nearby sites make it the perfect destination in our books. If you’re in the area, be sure to take advantage of some great day trips from Tulum.

 

Renting a car is the best way to take day trips from Tulum, but you can also find local tour operators who will organize everything for you. You can check out Get Your Guide or Viator to get an idea of pricing and reviews and to book your tour ahead of time.

1. Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza - one of the best day trips from tulum

The Chichen Itza Pyramid – one of the New Wonders of the World

It’s safe to say that the number one day trip from Tulum is a visit to one of the New Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you see this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site and how it rises impressively from the surrounding countryside. Chichen Itza is best reached by car and takes about 2 hours one-way from Tulum. If you don’t have your own car, you can go on a full-day excursion that combines a visit to Chichen Itza, the Hubiku Cenote, and Valladolid.

2. Cenote Ik Kil

Swim in the stunning Ik Kil Cenote - a day trip from Tulum

Swim in the stunning Ik Kil Cenote

Located a 2-hour drive from Tulum is one of the most beautiful Cenotes on the Yucatán Peninsula. The ceiling of a former freshwater limestone cave has long since collapsed, creating a steep crater-like opening with jungle vines spilling into the pool below. It’s hard to believe that a place like this exists on earth. Keep in mind that there is a fee to enter which seems to get more expensive year after year so come prepared with your pesos. 

3. Swimming with Turtles in Akumal

For one of the best day trips from Tulum, head up the coast to Akumal, a Mayan word that means place of the turtles. In Akumal Bay, you can swim with juvenile green sea turtles who hang out here until they head to open waters in their adulthood. Akumal is a public beach, so it’s absolutely free to swim with the turtles. However, there are some privately-owned beaches near the area, so be sure to avoid trespassing and upsetting the local owners.

4. Coba Mayan Ruins

Climb the Coba Mayan Ruins on your daytrip in Quintana Roo

Climb the Coba Mayan Ruins

The Yucatán Peninsula is home to some of the most impressive Mayan ruins, and the pyramid at Coba is a must-see. This particular site is special because it’s one of the only Mayan ruins that you can actually climb. If you have your own car, it’s about a 45-minute drive from Tulum, but there are also local buses that connect Coba to Tulum.

5. Valladolid

The Suytun Cenote near the town of Valladolid

The Suytun Cenote near the town of Valladolid

The colorful quaint little town of Valladolid is a perfect day trip from Tulum for anyone who wants to see an eclectic colonial town in the heart of the Yucatán. If you’re making the trek to Valladolid, don’t miss the nearby Suytun Cenote. This Cenote is one of the most popular sites on the Yucatán, famous for its cathedral walls and stone platform that leads to the middle of the freshwater pool. It’s a popular spot, so it’s best to visit Suytun Cenote in the afternoon after the tourist buses have departed. 

6. Cozumel

Take a Yucatan Peninsula day trip to the paradise beaches of Cozumel

Relax on the paradise beaches of Cozumel

Cozumel is a mostly-undeveloped island that looks like an island paradise: white sand, turquoise waters, and palm trees that grow right up to the shore. Luckily, it’s possible to take a day trip from Tulum to Cozumel. There are ferries departing from Playa del Carmen every hour, so there is never too long of a wait. Once on Cozumel, you can go snorkelling among the reefs, or head to a sandy beach to relax.

7. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the impressive Mayan-built canals that can still be seen in this area. Located about an hour away, it’s one of the best day trips from Tulum for anyone looking to get a taste for the Mayan culture. Visitors can even take a kayaking tour through the ancient canals that were used to control irrigation in the region.  If you want to go with a guide through the vast Biosphere, you can take a half-day tour from Tulum that combines kayaking in the lagoon with exploring Mayan ruins in the surrounding jungle.

8. Rio Secreto underwater cave tour

Explore the Rio Secreto Caves and underground lakes

Explore the Rio Secreto Caves and underground lakes

The Rio Secreto is one of the most stunning sights on the Yucatán peninsula. This network of limestone caves has underwater rivers, hiking trails, and massive cathedral-like rooms. You’ll have to go with a guide to explore the underground area, and there are tours ranging from full-day experiences to shorter visits.

9. Swimming with Whale Sharks near Isla Mujeres

Swim with Whale Sharks off the coast of Holbox

Swim with Whale Sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres

If you’re spending a long vacation in Tulum, you should make time to take a day trip to the north. Here you’ll find a more remote and untouched part of the Yucatán peninsula, so it’s the perfect day trip for those looking to get off the beaten path. From June to September, you can find Whale Sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres, and it’s possible to book a tour from Tulum to swim alongside these gentle giants.

10. Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores

The Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores & Bacalar Cenote

The Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores & Bacalar Cenote

If you’re looking for something further afield from Tulum, you can head 3 hours south to Bacalar Laguna de 7 Colores. It’s a good idea to take a day trip to Bacalar from Tulum if you want to get off the beaten path in the Yucatán Peninsula. Although it’s a fair distance away from Tulum, the stunning lagoon is worth it. The best way to see the lagoon is from the water, so you might consider splurging on a full-day sailing trip that picks up from Tulum.

Anyone looking for things to do in St. Louis already knows to visit Tower Grove Park, the City Museum, the Grand Arch, and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour, but maybe you’re looking for something more off the beaten path. Read on for the top picks of the best hidden gems in St Louis, places that are lesser-known but still well worth a visit!

 

1. Laumier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park - a hidden gem in St Louis

Discover more than 70 large-scale works of art in Laumeier Sculpture Park

The Laumeier Sculpture Park is a free open-air museum located in Sunset Hills which covers 105 acres. Here, you can find sixty sculptures that you can inspect when walking along the various trails across the park. During your walk, you will come across a Tudor stone mansion which was built in 1816 and now houses a beautiful indoor gallery. 

You can opt to explore the park on your own with a self-guided tour or join the free walking tour, which takes place the first Sunday of every month from May to October. Whichever you choose, you will come away with a whole hoard of knowledge and you may even feel inspired artistically. 

2. Lemp Mansion

If you’re a fan of haunted houses and don’t scare too easily, you should definitely stop at the infamous Lemp Mansion. This historical house is located in Benton Park, where the Lemp family once lived. It is also known for the three suicides that occurred in the house, after the untimely death of the son, Frederick Lemp. 

Legend has it that the Lemp mansion is haunted by the Lemp family and has been named as one of the top ten haunted properties in the US. To see for yourself, you should consider taking the Lemp haunted neighborhood walking tour, where you will find out everything there is to know about the Lemp family, including their brewery business success and of course a few ghost stories. 

3. Union Station Whispering Arch

Hidden gems in St Louis' Union Station - The Whispering Arch

The Whispering Arch in St. Louis’ stunning Art Nouveau Union Station

The Whispering Arch in St. Louis’ Union Station isn’t hard to spot with its intricate green and gold decoration which stands out instantly along with the Tiffany stained-glass windows that feature three robed women. However, the arch is not just beautiful to look at, as it also has sound-altering abilities which make even the quietest of whispers sound clear as day. 

To test out the theory, head up to the second floor in Union Station with a friend. You should stand on opposite sides of the gallery and whisper as quietly as you can, and if the legend is true, it should be heard loud and clear. 

4. Forest Park Jewel Box

The recently restored Art Deco greenhouse is one of St. Louis' best hidden gems

Visit the recently-restored art deco Forest Park Jewel Box

One of the best hidden gems in St. Louis is the Forest Park Jewel Box. While this is not an actual gem, it is an art deco greenhouse that houses hundreds of flowers in the middle of the 17-acre park. 

The Jewel Box was first installed in 1936 and has since undergone a $3 million renovation to rejuvenate its glow by updating the flowers and creating a beautiful and bright space. You can take a look around the Jewel Box for just $1, although you can keep a look out for any upcoming special events during your visit, as they are bound to be spectacular. 

5. Central Library

Whether you’re a bookworm looking for a quiet space to enjoy a good novel, or want to do a quick search to find out about a travel extension, so you can explore more of St. Louis, the Central Library is the place to go. This is not only a building with great resources, but it is also brimming with history and beauty, so it’s no wonder that it is known as one of St Louis’ hidden gems and grandest works of art. 

St. Louis’ Central Library is a stunning building that was once voted one of the top 12 architecturally significant libraries globally. To uncover its beauty, you can take your own personal tour of the building or attend one of the many lectures held in the library, where you are guaranteed to come away with a whole host of knowledge. 

6. St. Louis Hills Art in the Park

Another hidden gem in St. Louis is the Art in the Park festival in the St. Louis Hills which takes place every September. Here you can enjoy an array of masterpieces from sculptors to musicians and more. 

If you decide to attend Art in the Park, you will be in for a treat as there is plenty of delicious food available from street vendors. Another great thing about Art in the Park is that admission is free, and it also offers a wide range of child-friendly activities which are guaranteed to entertain any little ones in your party. 

7. Turtle Playground

If you are bringing children along on your trip, then Turtle Playground should be at the top of your list of places to visit. The kids will be entranced by the huge sculptures of snapping turtles, box turtles, and even oversized turtle eggs which are all made of concrete. 

The Turtle Playground was designed as a gift to the children of St. Louis, offering a place to play and explore in the middle of such a busy city. However, just because it was built for the children does not mean you have to resist climbing on the back of a forty-foot-long turtle. 

 


Now that you’ve uncovered some of the best hidden gems in St Louis off the beaten track, it’s time to start planning your itinerary. Will you be brave enough to face the dreaded Lemp mansion, or would you prefer to discover the beautiful architectural wonders that St. Louis has to offer? Either way, enjoy your visit to ‘The Gateway to the West!’