TRAVEL BLOG

The Best Travel-Themed Activities & Games To Play with Your Family During the Holidays

Phew! The holidays are rapidly approaching and we are officially in the home stretch of 2020.  During this time of year, we are usually hearing about the massive airport and travel delays, but in true 2020 fashion, this year will look different from what we are accustomed to.  Many of us will likely be staying at home and spending time with local family and friends, rather than traveling to see extended family or taking much-needed vacations.  

For those of us who are itching to get out and travel or are used to being on-the-go during the holidays, it may be challenging to simply stay put.  Although traveling may not be an option this holiday season, we have a unique opportunity to spend time with friends and family in more traditional ways.  So if you are struggling to come up with fun activities for your tribe, let us help you out! When was the last time your family or friend group had a proper game night? Let’s bring it back!

While Monopoly or Sorry may be shoved to the back of a random closet, we strongly recommend you upgrade your go-to game selection.  There are some seriously fun travel-themed games on the market.  We recommend visiting your local game and toy shops first, but if you are really down to the wire, these games are available on Amazon.  Here are a few of our favorites:

United States Bingo:

This game is perfect for families and is a great introduction to geography for kids!  Additionally, players learn key facts about different industries and recreation across the United States.  If you have been here for a while, you know that Travel Guides Free believes that there is so much adventure right in our backyard.  This game will give your family the opportunity to experience all of the excitement the US has to offer from the comfort and safety of your living room. View Game on Amazon.

Passport to Culture Travel Edition:

If you want to learn more about the world we live in, this game is definitely for you.  Players have the opportunity to travel the world by answering various trivia questions on top attractions, various languages, and local culture.  This game is a great way to explore new places and learn fascinating facts about different places and cultures. View Game on Amazon

Itchy Feet:

If you have card game lovers in your family, Itchy Feet may be the game for you!  Players pick up and swap cards in order to collect all 3 items needed to travel to a new place and to go on a specific adventure.  And… steals are allowed, so you better watch your back because we all have that one family member or friend who is ruthless!  This game is also great for anyone in your family who loves to plan every little detail in advance. View Game on Amazon.

BrainBox All Around the USA:

If you have kids, this game is a great option!  Not only is it super affordable, but who doesn’t love games that teach?  This game is an excellent aid for kids to improve their memory skills, while also testing their knowledge of state capitals, famous landmarks, and US geography.  For the adults in your family, this will be a great way to find out who is truly smarter than a 5th grader! View Game on Amazon

Trekking The National Parks:

Just about everyone knows that Travel Guides Free loves National Parks, so naturally, we had to save the best for last.  This award-winning game was originally created by National Park enthusiasts, who are also parents and have traveled to every National Park.  Their goal was to create a game that inspired others to travel to and experience all of the beauty National Parks have to offer.  Players will have the chance to travel across the country visiting and learning about different parks along the way.  This game is a great option for families and friend groups with outdoor enthusiasts or board game lovers. View Game on Amazon

These are just a few of the travel-themed games currently on the market.  If none of these piqued your interest or organized games, in general, are not really your style, there are great ways to add your own twist on more traditional games and activities to engage, and fill your family time.  Here are our favorites: 

Travel Charades:

Most of us are familiar with the game of Charades, acting out words or phrases to get your team to guess what the word or phrase is.  It is super easy to create your own version of this classic game, so why not act out top attractions and places around the US?  Have each of your family members or friends write out different attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.  If you are struggling with thinking of more than just a couple of places, check out this article from the US. News on 50 US Attractions to Cross Off your Bucket List!

Once you have a good amount of places written down, fold them up and throw them in a cup to pull from.  Travel Charades also provides a great opportunity to learn about new places, as everyone might not be familiar with every place or attraction that is written down. 

Trivial Pursuit:

Trivial Pursuit is a fantastic trivia game, even if you don’t use the game-board!  You can split your family and friends into teams and keep score on who answers the most questions correctly.  This game already is jam-packed with questions relating to history, geography, sports, culture, and top attractions, so everyone will have the opportunity to learn something new!   And hey, maybe you want to raise the stakes a bit…whichever team loses has to do the dishes after dinner.    

Get Trivial Pursuit on Amazon.

Don’t Hate on Puzzles:

Many of us likely think about puzzles as a hobby or a way to simply relax. The holidays can definitely be a crazy stressful time, so puzzles may be the perfect activity to keep everyone in your family as stress-free as possible.

The truth is that while puzzles are a great way to wind down after a long day, there are so many mental benefits associated with putting puzzles together.  Not only can it be insanely therapeutic, but puzzles actually help improve problem-solving skills, aid in developing better visual-spatial awareness, as well as greater attention to detail.  Even putting kids into teams or having your family work together can strengthen collaboration and teamwork skills.  Check out this article to learn more about the surprising mental benefits associated with puzzles.  There are some beautiful puzzles of landscapes, National Parks, cities, etc. Make sure to check your local toy shop, other online game/toy retailers, or Amazon.  Puzzles on Amazon

These are just some of the many travel-themed games available. For those that desire more games or some traditional or trending games to engage and fulfill your family time, we have listed a number of favorites below.

Just because we will be spending more time at home this holiday season, doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to create lasting memories with family and friends.  These games and activities might even help you get your travel fix, as well as spark great ideas for future trips.  So hunker down, bundle up and have yourself a good old-fashioned game night. Let’s still make this holiday season one to remember – Have FUN!

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Additional Holiday Activities & Games for the Family

Don’t forget any of these activities and games are good for anytime, and make great gifts too. Get your guest or holiday gifts now.

Trending & Fun:

Heads Up: 

Use on an individual’s mobile phone.  It’s the game The New York Times called a “Sensation,” and Cosmopolitan said “will be the best dollar you’ve spent.  Love playing charades games? Heads Up! is just that, a fun twist on charades! From naming celebrities to singing to silly accents – guess the word on the card that’s on your head from your friends’ clues before the timer runs out!  Get your simple download now!

On Google Play – Heads Up

On Apple IOS – Heads Up

Speak Out and The Mouth Game:

Brings friends and family together for laugh-out-loud fun as players try to say different phrases while wearing a mouthpiece that won’t let them shut their mouth. 

          Get Speak Out on Amazon

          Get The Mouth Game on Amazon

Games – No Board Necessary: 

Minute to Win-It:

These are one of the easiest types of games to play at any gathering, for individuals, teams, groups at any age. With a little bit of ingenuity and some common household items, you can come up with tons of Minute to Win It-inspired activities for the whole family. The object is to complete a certain task in less than a minute, and the ticking clock definitely ups the excitement. Check out this ultimate guide of Minute to Win It games for some ideas.

Never Have I Ever: 

This is among the many favorite games, but it must be played with at least several people, the more the better. The concept is similar to musical chairs in that there is one less chair than there are people. Arrange the chairs in a circle looking inward. One person stands in the middle and announces one thing that they have never done. For instance, the person in the middle might announce, “Never have I ever ridden in a hot air balloon.” Anyone who has ridden in a hot air balloon would then get up, leaving their chair unoccupied, and find a new chair. The person in the middle would also find a chair. Whoever is left without a chair is the new person in the middle and will take a turn announcing what they have never done. There are many varieties of how to play with the same basic concept.

Would You Rather: 

The more creative you are, the more fun this game can be. For this game, the players move to one side of the room or another depending on what they prefer given two options. For example, the first set of options might be wearing shoes or going barefoot. The person who is “it” would announce, “Would you rather wear shoes or go barefoot?” If your answer is you prefer to wear shoes, you would go to the left, but if you would rather be barefoot, you would go to the right. Keep track of the answers to see who has the most in common with each other.

Favorite Classic & Traditional games:

 Whether you are digging one of these games out of the closet or buying a new one, they bring back great memories and fun to play again.  Also note, for those that may be desiring to play on the road, the beach, or wherever your travels may take you many of these games come in various travel editions, digital and mobile versions too.

Monopoly

Pictionary

Scrabble

Yahtzee 

Boggle

Jenga

Dominos  

Backgammon

Chess/Checkers

Cards: 

Always great fun to play your favorite card game with friends and family.  Whether Rummy, Spades, Crazy 8’s, Hearts, Pinochle, Bridge, Poker, or other favorites.  Find more games and all the rules here

Get Playing Cards on Amazon

Puzzles:

As referenced earlier in this post an alternative to playing a game is to do a puzzle. This will give you a good opportunity to talk and catch up with family and friends instead of only discussing what is going on in the game. Puzzles come in a wide range of sizes, number of pieces, designs, and prices, but you can find some pretty good ones at your local dollar store.  Puzzles on Amazon

  Get My Custom Puzzle

For those desiring to be more creative, you can create your own puzzle with your own artwork and pictures including one of yourself or your family.  Makes a great gift too.

The post The Best Travel-Themed Activities & Games To Play with Your Family During the Holidays first appeared on Travel Guides Free.

RV Travel: Where to Start!

In our opinion, RV vacations are truly underrated. While traveling in an RV, you are able to explore new places in your own time, while being spontaneous and taking your accommodations along with you. 2020 has undoubtedly created many challenges for travel. For those who are itching to get out and explore, touring the USA in your own mini home has never been more appealing, especially since RV travel provides a safe alternative to traveling by air or renting hotels or Airbnbs. For RV newbies, there are definitely some aspects of RV travel that can be intimidating and unknown. If you are new to RV travel, let us help you make your trip as smooth sailing as possible.

Camper Van Summer Trip

So…where are you headed?

Typically the act of traveling is focused on getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible.  One of the many benefits of RV travel is that there is no set timeframe you have to abide by, outside of how long you rented the vehicle.  Between where your trip starts to your final destination, there will be so many interesting places to visit and explore.  If you need some travel inspiration, make sure to check out travelguidesfree.com for local destination guides. 

RVs are more often than not associated with camping.  While the traditional camping experience is not for everyone, RV travel can be an extremely practical and cost-effective way to tour bigger cities. Many cities across the US are RV friendly and have urban campsites not too far away from all of the action.  Some great resources to find RV friendly cities across the US are The RV Atlas, as well as Campanda

Definitely don’t be afraid to try (legal) boondocking, which is just parking your RV without access to a sewage hook up. Many visitor and convention centers allow free RV parking overnight.  You will want to look at the visitor center’s website or give them a call to confirm if this is allowed in the city you’re visiting.  Visitor centers’ websites are also a great resource to find urban (and traditional) campsites in or near a city. 

If your end destination is a bigger city or town, you can still build in some fun outdoor activities to create a bit of variety and change of scenery on your trip.  RV travel offers a great opportunity, where if you are traveling with a group of friends or family, you can easily accommodate the preferences of whoever likes to get outside to camp, go hiking, fishing, etc.  If you are a bit wary of more traditional campsites, make sure to make your reservation ahead of time on a site like reserveamerica.com.  And for that super scary question about hooking your RV up to a campsite, watch this video to learn how.  

Wherever RV travel takes you, take time to experience the campgrounds where you stay.  If you are wanting to explore somewhere other than a bigger city or town, check out the guides on travelguidesfree.com.  Some of our favorites are the Olympic Peninsula, which features diverse experiences for the outdoor enthusiast, or Cody Yellowstone Country, which is ideal for the cowboys and cowgirls in your life.  

The post RV Travel: Where to Start! first appeared on Travel Guides Free.

5 Tips to Travel Economically

2020 has presented many challenges across the board, especially economically. As we all know, traveling can be fairly pricey, but there are ways to create and experience an adventure for much cheaper than you might think. And sometimes, the best memories are made when we adventure economically. So, if you have been bitten by the travel bug, consider these five tips to make sure you get the most bang for your buck on your next trip!

Rent an RV and bring your accommodations with you!

“From sea to shining sea.” There are so many amazing opportunities for adventure while traveling in the United States, so why not make it a road trip? But, accommodations can be expensive. Although hotels and Airbnb may have implemented stricter policies for cleaning, it’s much safer to have direct control and as limited interaction with others as possible.

So rather than booking a hotel in the center of a city, consider renting a Recreational Vehicle (RV) from a site like outdoorsy.com or RVshare.com instead. These rentals are similar to an Airbnb, but allow you to be mobile and take your accommodations along for the ride. RVs are available all over the country to either pick up, be delivered, or set up at your campsite for you. Don’t forget you will need to pay for the campsite in addition to the nightly expense for the RV.

Take time to drive through National and State Parks:

Now that you’ve rented an RV… where are you headed? Don’t forget about all of the National and State Parks across the US. These parks give you the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, experience beautiful historic and natural wonders, as well as engage in exciting recreational activities for all age groups and interests. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, how about water rafting or kayaking? If you are traveling with children, many of these parks have Junior Ranger programs.

Make sure to check visitor center hours, so you can get the necessary paperwork and booklets, as well as learn about all a specific park has to offer. We also offer National and State Park guides on TravelGuidesFree.com. For example, check out the guide for Greater Zion, Utah. The majority of these parks have relatively cheap or very reasonable entry fees, which are perfect for adventuring economically.

Pitch a tent or pop out your RV:

After an exciting day of driving and exploring, you’ll probably want to park the RV and get some much-needed rest and relaxation. Camping is not only inexpensive but also allows you to continue to experience all the great outdoors have to offer, including fishing, hiking, biking, etc. You’ll definitely want to check out reserveamerica.com for online campground reservations. To be even more frugal, there are plenty of free campsites all over the US. campendium.com is a site to find free campsites, as well as reviews to give you an idea of what you’re getting into

If you are not a fan of campgrounds, how does parking your RV overnight at a winery or brewery sound? Harvesthosts.com is a membership network that invites self-contained RVers to stay overnight for free at 1,240+ wineries, breweries, farms, and more, all across the US. Keep in mind that while the physical parking of an RV is free at these locations, Harvest Host guests are expected to support the local business by making a purchase.

Plan your meals:

We can all agree that sampling local cuisine is an enjoyable part of the travel experience, but it can definitely get expensive when you’re eating three meals a day or if you are trying to feed an entire family! One of the added benefits of renting an RV is being able to prepare your own meals and snacks, just like you would at home. Check out these great tips for RV cooking from Rvshare.com While cooking some of your own meals is a great way to save money, definitely leave some room in your budget for eating out!

Eating like a local is an awesome way to experience the local culture of the city or town you are in. We recommend doing research in advance to find the favorite local spots. A great resource is the TravelGuidesFree website, where you can often find guides from a destination’s Tourism Department or Chamber of Commerce.

You can also check out sites like eater.com, Foodietrip.com, and Travelandleisure.com. When reading through reviews on sites like Tripadvisor, make sure to take them with a grain of salt. It is not only important to understand the context of a review, but also what the person is comparing their experience too. Once you have an idea of the restaurants you want to try, make sure to check Groupon for any additional deals or discounts.

Definitely don’t be afraid to talk to locals in order to find the best places to grab an inexpensive bite to eat. We recommend asking the concierge at a hotel (even if you are not staying there), contacting the local Chamber of Commerce, or asking bartenders, store clerks, etc. Trust us, the best food is rarely in the touristy areas of a city.

Don’t forget about air travel:

Is renting an RV and going on a road trip not your idea of fun? No worries! Air travel is still a great option and there are easy ways to find great deals on flights! Airlines have been able to resume operations post the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have implemented much stricter safety protocols. Some of these protocols include requiring facemasks and limiting seating for social distancing.

Although air travel is typically a more expensive option, many airlines are currently offering discounted fares, as well as no change fees as incentives for travelers to book a ticket. This past week, Delta, United, and American Airlines all announced not charging additional fees for changing a flight. This provides a great opportunity to take advantage of a special fare without being charged for changing the flight if needed. Of course, you will want to double-check all of the terms and conditions, as they can vary for each airline.

In general, some great websites to find cheap or discounted flights are Skyscanner, AirFare Watchdog (great for finding error or sale fares), and Scott’s Cheap Flights. Another pro traveler tip is to always search for flights while in incognito or private browsing mode to ensure you are seeing the lowest prices. While you are searching normally, you are accumulating cookies in your browser and after that search is repeated, the prices you see may increase. This is a practice among some airlines to prompt travelers into booking flights quickly.

Remember that travel isn’t about checking off a list of places you’ve been or a collection of photos you’ve taken. Traveling is truly about creating adventure and enjoying the experience of being somewhere new. With everything that has happened in 2020, it is important for all of us to savor small moments, slow down, and enjoy time alongside family and friends. Practice presence in the moment and truly take in the beauty of all that’s around you. And remember, all of this doesn’t have to be expensive. Go and plan your next adventure today!

The post 5 Tips to Travel Economically first appeared on Travel Guides Free.

Tips for Traveling During COVID-19

The ability to travel is one of life’s luxuries. Even though the number of people traveling has been down as much as 90%, travel is slowly starting to pick back up as states and countries continue to reopen.  Airlines and hotels are witnessing an increase in bookings as travelers are more confident in their safety with measures airlines, hotels, restaurants and other retailers have put in place. Until then, if you intend to travel it’s important to plan ahead and follow important tips to stay safe. 

Here are a few tips to keep you safe whether you are traveling close to home or a distance destination!

Plan Ahead

Figure out what works for you and your family, based on the current health condition of each individual traveling, individual physical or dietary restrictions, and restrictions of the destination you intend to visit.

Visit and/or contact the tourism board and .gov site of the destination and look up the current restrictions, phase of opening to help guide your decision on where to go.   Review your travel and accommodation options and the availability of the safety measures you may require. 

Being intentional with your travel plans will not only help you choose a destination, but it will help you prepare for any restrictions you might encounter during your trip. Take the time to think about what you liked about your favorite trips in the past. What would you like to get out of your next trip, and how can you make it memorable during this time? Get detail-oriented about the excursions and places you’d like to visit and experience. Check our free travel guides to find places to eat, shop, etc. Many places have changed their operating hours or may require masks and other sanitary requests, and reservations. Looking into that ahead of time can prevent frustration and ensure that your trip runs smoothly.

Fly Safe

Since the pandemic, many airports around the country have updated their policies and procedures. As a result, this has changed the entire experience from the time you arrive at the airport to the time you land at your destination. This includes available areas within the airport, security, waiting areas, onboarding process, and seating on the aircraft. If you’re thinking about flying, here are a few things to consider:

  • Before booking, check with the airline on their safety procedures. Many airlines, are not filling the middle seat and require every passenger to wear a mask the entire flight. There may be baggage restrictions including onboard baggage.
  • Plan your ride to the airport. Try to have someone that you’ve been isolating with to drop you off. If you decide to take an Uber or Lyft, you may want to avoid touching the handles, using a wipe as you open and close the doors. If you’re able to, wipe off the seats and handles when you exit as a courtesy.
  • Research any changes at your local airport. As previously mentioned, many airports have changed a few operating measures to make sure that traffic continues to flow at all times to avoid crowds. Look ahead of time to see if your local airport has changed its pick-up and drop-off procedures. Make sure you’re up to date on their current policies.
  • Remain patient and try to arrive early. You can expect a lot of cleaning and screening before you get to your seat. Be patient and arrive at the airport ahead of time to accommodate for these safety procedures. Make sure that you carry a mask with you, bring wipes, and hand sanitizer to stay clean while you’re in the airport. Many places are also discouraging the use of cash. Save yourself the time and hassle by updating your Apple pay and other contactless payment to make purchasing items a breeze.

Pack Your Snacks and Meals

No state, city, or town has the same restrictions when it comes to dining. Avoid being hangry while traveling by packing your snacks and light meals. Not only can you ensure the preparation of your food was safe, but you can cut down on the number of stops you’ll have to make while you’re traveling.

Keep Your Travel Space Clean

The American Hotel and Lodging Association released an industry-wide guide called Stay Safe that outlines new policies to keep hotels clean and safe. Chains like Marriott have adopted the use of electrostatic sprayers–which mists disinfectant across wide areas–and UV light to sanitize surfaces and objects. While they’re doing their part, here are some ways you can ensure that your hotel room is germ-free:

  • When you enter your room, take your shoes off and head straight to the sink. You don’t want to bring any outside germs into your room with you and you’ll want to wash your hands as well.
  • Don’t sit or place any of your belongings on your bed until you make sure it’s clean. Your suitcases have traveled through the airport, bumpy roads, and Uber trunks. This makes them the perfect place for germs, so you definitely don’t want to transfer any of those germs onto your bed! 
  • Grab your disinfectant wipes and clean all high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, toilet handles, light switches, your phone, and even the TV remote.
  • Wash any dishes like wine glasses and mugs with hot soap and water if they’re not sealed in a wrapper. Utilize the liners for the ice bucket after cleaning that out as well.
  • Check the bed covering, sheets and the mattress, and make sure all seems clean. You may want to spray your own disinfectant. For those, feeling more comfortable and extra safe, ditch the bedspread and bring your own travel sheet set.
  • Either way, better to be safe and on the side of caution.

Follow the Basic Safety Procedures

As always make sure that you’re following the CDC guidelines and practicing social distancing. Do your best to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more and wash your hands well. Wear your mask in public places and avoid touching your face at all times.

Pro-Tip:  Clean off your cell phone. Our phones go with us everywhere, especially when we travel. Scientists at the University of Arizona have found that cell phones can carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. That’s gross right? Make a practice of cleaning off your phone after public outings, trips to the store, etc.

While the experience of traveling might look and feel different for a while, travel experts are confident we will be back in the swing of things. We’re hoping that the changes and considerations for one another’s safety will not only change us but the destinations we visit for the better! As always stay safe and travel on!

The post Tips for Traveling During COVID-19 first appeared on Travel Guides Free.

3 Hidden Gem Destinations to Visit in the Northeast

Planning a trip or vacation with family or friends can be super challenging, as more people equals more opinions. We all have that one friend or family member who just can’t seem to go with the flow. This can make planning especially difficult as you want to travel to places with a variety of different activities and attractions

The northeast offers so much adventure whether you’re outdoorsy, or prefer being in a city or town. The sad reality is that most people do not make it north of New York, which means they miss out on some of the hidden gems located in the northeast. Whether you are planning a last-minute trip this year or getting a jump start on your 2021 plans, consider heading to the northeast to explore these three hidden gem destinations.

New Hampshire’s White Mountains:

To consider the White Mountains a hidden gem is almost an understatement. This mountain range is one of the best scenic destinations in the northeast and covers nearly a quarter of the state of New Hampshire, as well as a small portion of Maine. The White Mountains offer a wide variety of activities that will satisfy different preferences within your group of friends or family.

We recommend you plan a road trip, where your route takes you through several of the small towns and villages throughout the region, to not only take in the beautiful scenery but fill your trip with different activities that accommodate your group

If you are looking for an outdoor adventure, the White Mountains offer some of the best kayaking, hiking, boating, and bike riding on the East Coast. If you are not looking for such an adrenaline rush, other outdoor activities include moose and scenic tours, as well as horseback riding and plenty of golf

If you would prefer to spend most of your time in small towns and villages, there are plenty of fun activities to occupy your time. One of the best-kept secrets of the region is the tax-free shopping opportunities, where you could spend an entire day popping in and out of old fashion country stores, local gift shops, and boutiques. If you are wanting to get a little pampered during your time in the White Mountains, there are plenty of spas that will leave you feeling refreshed and looking good!

This region is also rich in history, so we recommend carving out some time to take one of the many historic tours offered in many of the small towns and villages. If all of this sounds like the perfect vacation and you are ready to start planning, be sure to download our free guide to get started

Maine:

Maine is the northeasternmost state in the U.S. and is known for its scenic, rocky coastline, maritime history, quaint small towns, and family-friendly beaches.  And don’t let the cold deter you!  Maine offers a wide variety of activities during all four seasons.

If you are planning a trip to Maine, you should definitely make sure to spend some time in Portland.  As Maine’s largest city, Portland is rich in history and charm, which can be experienced by walking down its cobblestone streets, popping into local stores, and admiring the ornate architecture of mansions built in the 1800s.  If you’re a foodie, well…you better get yourself to Portland!  This waterfront city sits on a peninsula extending into Casco Bay, which means its seafood is off the charts!  Make sure to check out Portland’s visitor center website for more information on all of the top attractions and places you’ll want to visit. 

Lobster roll served with waffle fries, in a restaurant in Portland Maine.

If you are looking for an outdoor adventure, you’ll definitely want to head to Bar Harbor, which is the gateway to Acadia National Park. Acadia has a more rugged landscape, which presents great hiking opportunities and incredible scenery while camping.  Along with Maine’s maritime history comes beautiful rocky coastlines and sandy beaches, as well as small beach towns to explore, such as Old Orchard Beach, Kennebunkport, and Popham Beach State Park.  

We definitely recommend you visit Maine during the offseason.  If you only visit during the summer months, you are definitely missing out!  Since the state experiences fewer crowds during spring and winter months, typically accommodations are cheaper during these times.  If you are planning a road trip, the offseason is a perfect time to take a drive up to Maine.  Depending on if you are visiting in the Fall or Winter, you will have the opportunity to see beautiful Fall foliage or Winter wonderlands.  For more information on all that Maine has to offer in terms of cities, towns, beaches, and national parks throughout the year visit the Visit Maine page on the TravelGuidesFree website!

Columbia-Montour Counties, Pennsylvania:

It is probably safe to assume that East Central Pennsylvania is not a destination on your bucket list if it even makes the list at all.  Well… we are here to tell you that you should definitely be considering Columbia and Montour Counties for your next road trip or vacation.  These counties not only offer breathtaking scenery but will give you a good taste of hometown hospitality.  Plus, this region offers a wide variety of activities for your group of friends or family to enjoy no matter the time of year you plan to visit.  

Columbia-Montour truly has an appreciation for preserving and sharing its history and stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The region is most known for its authentic wooden covered bridges.  Bridges were covered for a multitude of reasons and less than 900 of the original 14,000 covered bridges remain in the United States today. Each bridge is unique in not only its design but also its history. 

While visiting, you will also have the opportunity to soak up as much history as possible, as the river towns of Danville, Bloomsburg, and Berwick all have historical societies where you can browse documents and records from the area.  We recommend that you spend the day walking through the historic downtowns of Bloomsburg or Danville to admire all of the beautiful Victorian architecture. Make sure to visit our destination pages for Columbia-Montour to learn more with access to the Columbia-Montour Tourism site to dive further into the history of the region before your trip!   

This area of Pennsylvania also offers incredible opportunities for Antiquing, as well as a multitude of wineries and breweries.  The more outdoorsy folks have the opportunity for fishing, biking, hiking, and water activities.  We definitely recommend launching a kayak or canoe and paddling down the Susquehanna River. 

Golden hour photo of cracked pack ice on the Susquehanna River, Wrightsville, PA. Winter 2015

Columbia-Montour is also perfect for a road trip! Why not pack your family or friends in a car and head through the region not only taking in stunning views but exploring multiple small towns to get your fix of hometown hospitality?  If you are interested in either planning a trip to Columbia-Montour, or just want some additional information on all the area has to offer, make sure to download our free guide!

The United States is approximately 3.797 million square miles, which means there is more adventure than we could ever experience in a single lifetime.  While thinking about the destination for your next road trip or vacation, we encourage you to look past the top touristy destinations and take the road less traveled.  Get out there and make some memories in these hidden gems of the northeast.  And don’t worry, we know there are plenty more hidden gems across the U.S that are perfect for road trips or simply just to visit, so be on the lookout for more blogs in our new Hidden Gems series.

The post 3 Hidden Gem Destinations to Visit in the Northeast first appeared on Travel Guides Free.