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Witness the Wilderness of Shenandoah National Park

Escape into the horizon of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains through the protected wilderness of the Shenandoah National Park. Rolling valleys, plunging waterfalls, and caverns dating back millions of years line the 196,000 acre land that captivates the residents and visitors of historic Virginia.


Only 75 serene miles outside of our bustling nation’s capital, the Shenandoah National Park is home to over 500 miles of distinguished trails and the 105 mile long Skyline Drive. Originally built by a bankrupt copper miner, Skyline Drive spans the full length of the park providing awe-inspiring views, and four main entrances which serve as starting points for park adventurers.  Drivers use mile posts to navigate areas of interest throughout the park from northern starting point Front Royal to the aptly named Rockfish Gap located at the state’s bottom. At 35 mph it takes close to 3 hours to tour the entire winding Skyline Drive and its additional center entrances: Thornton Gap, the second entrance from the north and home to Mary Rock Tunnel and Swift Run Gap where the James River parts the Appalachian and Blue Ridge ranges.


Shenandoah National Park provides prime fishing, biking, hiking, climbing, earthcaching, camping, …



Geocaching Near Rangeley Maine


Rangeley Maine has been experiencing a high volume of what appears to be wanderers, who if followed, eventually arrive at the Coos Canyon located in Byron, Maine, a short 25 miles from Festiva’s Rangeley Lake Resort. Seemingly strange to onlookers, these nomads can be found focused on the ground around them as they make their way in to the lush forests, completely overlooking the white capped mountains cascading throughout the area. The area is in fact rich in gold, but these earth-enthralled hikers, sometimes consisting of entire families, aren’t carrying sifting pans. Clutched tightly in every hand is a GPS unit either from a car, smart phone or rented from a local camping site.  After much observation, it’s clear these sporadic explorers are searching for something.

Similar to a worldwide scavenger hunt, geocaching is what’s bringing travelers from across the globe to this exact spot, and many other locations throughout the world. The word geocaching is derived from the Latin term geo for earth, and the ancient French word cache meaning temporary hiding place. Sparked by a 2006 satellite upgrade that enabled all GPS units to pinpoint exact longitude and latitude coordinates, Geocaching gives participants the thrill of …



Cape Cod- A Whale of a Time

Located on the southeastern seaboard of Massachusetts, the hook of Cape Cod attracts more than avid sightseers of lighthouses and vineyards.  Globally celebrated as the “Whale Watching Capital of the World,” the Cape is home to many awe inspiring and endangered species of whales, dolphins and seals. Though surface waters appear silent and still, hidden feeding grounds raise these colossal creatures from the deep, shattering the glass-like boundary between ocean and atmosphere as they catch a second’s worth of sea air.  The centralization of these once in a life time events in a single area makes whale watching an absolute must when visiting the Cape Cod area.

Cape Cod is ranked in the top 10 whale watching locations throughout the world, flaunting close to 20 charter companies exclusively servicing visitors and marine naturalists from April to October. Voyagers age four and up are welcomed aboard these vessels in hopes of creating awareness, stimulating a whale friendly industry, and providing adventures day-trippers will always remember. The coast of the Cape contains countless feeding grounds almost 25 miles from the shore, giving sighting tours an average length of four to six hours. While many captains provide lunch for their visiting crew, sun …



Cheap Cruises . . . What’s the Catch?

Cruise lines are still one of the most inexpensive ways to see the world and squeeze a vacation out of your budget. With great prices and all inclusive room and board, many of the outliers that drive up overall costs are easily overlooked. Here are four things to watch out for to help avoid excessive expenses on cruises.

Remember, if you’re considering a cruise a booking agent is the best way to go! Contact your Festiva Platinum Rewards representative for savings and specials on cruise deals.

Fees- Fees are attached to almost every expense. The first fees travelers encounter are on their initial bill as “Federal Taxes and Fees,” which are port fees that can increase depending on the location of your cruise. While the primary quoted price of a cruise ticket includes room and board, these fees can be a minimum of 20%. Automatic gratuity or a “service fee,” is usually charged per service for each stateroom and for basic service. Travelers should not avoid the automatic gratuity, because it can help save money in the long run, but budgeting for it is a must! Gratuity rates average $3.70 USD per day for stateroom services, $5.80 USD per day …



Our Family Zoo-cation
Editor’s Note: This is something a little different than what we normally post on our blog. It was written by a Festiva employee in our corporate office who used her family’s WNC Nature Center membership to visit several other zoos in the area for free or at a 50% discount through the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s (AZA) reciprocity program. Festiva is a supporter of the WNC Nature Center, and many of our employees visit the Asheville attraction regularly. There are also several AZA accredited zoos and aquariums near many of our Festiva destinations, so we thought this might be a great story to share with our members for even more Festiva vacation ideas.
This summer I decided to stay home during my week off and do a few day trips. My two girls and I thought about amusement parks, water parks and zoos. Earlier this year I purchased a family membership to the WNC Nature Center. Being close to our home, we visit there several times a year. We knew we wanted to go to at least one zoo during the week. By the time the week rolled around, we had decided on one amusement park, one …


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