Some people like to make new year’s resolutions, but at EF Explore America we like to make travel plans. Here are our top 5 travel to-dos for the new year:
1. Bioluminescent bay boat tour in Puerto Rico
This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. In Puerto Rico’s Mosquito Bay, Laguna Grande and La Parguera, the water has a very special characteristic: it glows in the dark! The luminescence actually comes from tiny microorganisms in the water called dinoflagellates, which emit a magical green or blue light when the water is churned up (as by a passing kayak or boat). When early Spanish explorers first encountered the phenomenon hundreds of years ago, they thought it was the work of the devil. For travelers on student trips to Puerto Rico, it’s a much more welcome sight.
2. Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
The most iconic symbol of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is a stunning work of engineering and aesthetic achievement. When it opened in 1937, it had the longest span in the world, and it is still among the most picturesque (it is widely assumed to be the world’s most photographed bridge). Connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge boasts some amazing statistics: 8,981 feet long, 220 feet above the water, 80,000 miles of wire in the main cables, and approximately 1,200,000 total rivets.
3. The top of the Empire State Building in New York
Speaking of iconic symbols, perhaps no landmark represents an American city quite like the Empire State Building. As a historic landmark, it can’t be beat—the building was constructed during the heart of the Great Depression and was the tallest building in the world from 1931 until 1972. As for the modern-day experience, a trip to the observation deck of the Empire State Building is a major highlight on almost all of our educational trips to New York.
4. The edge of the Grand Canyon
While the views from the Empire State Building make one marvel at the ingenuity and technological prowess of humankind, the panoramas at the Grand Canyon inspire a whole different kind of wonder. This is nature at its mind-blowing best. The Grand Canyon is so big, and the distances so vast, that your eyes actually play tricks on you as you gaze out at the expanse. Here are some numbers to ponder: the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and more than a mile deep in some places. That is grand indeed.
5. A night view of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.
A visit to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a powerful experience. Not only was Abraham Lincoln among our most significant and influential Presidents, the memorial itself is one of America’s great works of art. Most EF Explore America student tours to Washington, D.C. include the Lincoln Memorial on a night tour of the city. It’s a dramatic sight—the sculpture and monument illuminated in golden light against an otherwise dark landscape—evoking appreciation and admiration for the man who played such a profound role in making America what it is today.
So, now you know what EF Explore America is looking forward to in 2015. What about you and your students? What’s on your list?