Water splashes up against their toes, which are firmly planted on the board. Arm and back muscles tighten as they push themselves forward with their paddles. Thus do novice paddleboarders from Long Beach Adventure Tours ride slowly glide their way across Long Beach, from the shore of the Hotel Maya to the behemoth hull of the Queen Mary. But they aren't the only patrons out for fun in the sun. On the beach nearby, students carrying surfboards rush into the water to catch their first waves, as a certified instructor shouts out encouragement and instructions behind them. Further out in the water, a colorful arched sail cuts through the air, sending the kiteboarder holding the reigns jumping and twisting into the air. Whatever the sport or activity, instructors that live and breathe water activities unleash their expertise onto both novice and experienced students.
In order to pursue his passion for flying, Anaheim Helicopters founder Mark Skinner left his home in England and began the journey to his current West Coast home. Now, in stable, modern, and air-conditioned helicopters, Mark stirs the air above Los Angeles and Orange County to provide passengers with views of rugged mountains and iconic buildings. During tours, Mark points out landmarks such as the Sunset Strip, the Capitol Records Building, and Dodger Stadium before soaring between skyscrapers, over famous homes, and in V-formation with migrating geese. In addition to piloting helicopters, Mark joins with a team of FAA–certified flight instructors to lead aviation lessons for aspiring pilots.
Enthusiastic instructors at OEX Sunset Beach invite beginning and experienced adventurers into the cerulean waters of the Pacific Ocean. The outpost is an offshoot of the original OEX center in La Jolla, which began as a kayaking and freediving center but has since branched out to include standup paddleboarding and poker tournaments with local sea bass. Staff members happily help guests get fitted with the perfect-size gear and lend basic safety tips before their expeditions over and under the blue bay waters.
Over 13 days, 31 people screamed as a madman stole their lives. The bitter, vengeful whispers of the dead urged him onward—drove him to slaughter—until he could bear it no longer and dug a grave for himself. He used his bare hands, scraping his knuckles raw, until the earth collapsed over him. Only then did the town quiet.
But the grave has been unearthed, and the horrors of that killing spree once again haunt the living. Inside the abandoned family mausoleum, visitors encounter dismembered bodies, a bride whose throat spills blood onto her white gown, and a skeleton with rotting flesh still clinging to its bones. As guests creep through hallways covered with gory handprints and stumble past broken fences, the grave’s fleet of masked monsters leaps out, raising goose bumps with impolite greetings—ranging from growls of “fresh meat!” to “arrrrrrgh!”—that would make Emily Post scream in horror.
The Canadian Rockies are a nature lover’s paradise and a photographer’s dream come true. But to describe the landscape as “dramatic” or “picturesque” would barely begin to capture the spirit of the place. Contiki Vacations aims to share some of its favorite destinations throughout the Canadian Rockies with young travelers aged 18–35. With a group of no more than 30, you’ll have a chance to visit national parks, towering peaks, and mountain towns during an 11-day guided tour. In addition to organized hiking, sightseeing, and local color, each tour comes with ample free time for travelers to put their feet up and enjoy the experience. Tour managers use firsthand local knowledge to deliver commentary, logistical planning, and social recommendations, and each tour follows a relaxed itinerary with prearranged transportation and hotel accommodations.Click here to see a detailed itinerary of the trip.Days 1–2: You and your tour mates meet up with the tour manager in Vancouver and exchange handshakes and blood pacts before hopping aboard an air-conditioned coach for a whirlwind tour of the city. As the night sets in, the coach points its nose toward Crystal Lodge in the village of Whistler. The next day, you can choose from a lineup of alpine activities, such as hiking, canoeing, or exploring Whistler, the 2010 Winter Olympics host.Days 3–5: The landscape alters dramatically as the coach, by this time nicknamed, winds down the mountains into the valley town of Lillooet, a former gold-rush capital. In 1860, Lillooet was the largest North American city between Chicago and San Francisco, but now it feels like a quaint backwater. Picture-perfect lakes, mountains, and rivers line the road into Kamloops, where you’ll spend the night at the Sandman Inn Kamloops. The next morning, after swinging past the sky-high Mount Robson, the coach heads east through the Rockies into Jasper National Park. A guided trek through Maligne Canyon's limestone is one of highlights this leg of the trip. You’ll spend two nights in the small town of Jasper at the historical Athabasca Hotel.Days 6–7: The Columbia Icefields Parkway passes the largest ice field south of Alaska en route to Banff. Stops along the way include the turquoise-hued Lake Louise and Athabasca Glacier, where you can sample pure glacial water in a blind taste test against Coke. Four-person loft rooms at the Tunnel Mountain Resort become the staging ground for the next two days in the resort town of Banff, with the options of hiking, shopping, and exploring the famous Banff Springs Hotel.Day 8: On the ride from Banff to Vernon, you’ll pass through three national parks. Craggy peaks dissolve into the terraced hills of the Okanagan Valley—British Columbia's wine country—just before the coach pulls into the Sandman Inn & Suites Vernon.Days 9–11: The tour finishes where it began in Vancouver. You and your travel mates get a few days to acclimate back to city life and check out some of the sights glimpsed on day 1. The Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre is an ideal base camp for exploring the historical neighborhood of Gastown and Stanley Park's seawall promenade.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.