All have populations of under 100,000, and often as much to offer as cities ten times their size.
Waterfalls, large and small, tumble down the cliffs every few yards - and, alas, a zillion selfies click every few nano-inches on the observation platforms with a gazillion inane and insane grimaces, grins and grunts. I must be in a proud minority of one in my aversion to the selfie craze.
The location is spectacular -- separated by the narrow Gastineau Channel from Douglas Island, surrounded on all sides by snow- and glacier-capped mountains gouged into tortured folds and precipices by the retreating glaciers of the ice age.
Cities are great for so many reasons (the convenience, the culture, the 127 different kinds of Thai delivery). But there's also something to be said for small towns (quaint Main Streets, kooky annual festivals and charm out the wazoo).
We're on a catamaran in Icy Strait off the tip of Chichagof Island in Alaska's Inside Passage, 20 miles from Glacier Bay National Park, looking for whales - and I'm hoping we don't see any since we're guaranteed a $100-rebate on the $179.75 per-person cost if we see none.
There's hardly a cloud in the sky, the fjords are bathed in glorious sunlight belying their name, and the panoramas that are usually shrouded in clouds and rain are superb.
Summer is a time for leisure and travel. To escape the daily grind and take that lone vacation that we've strived for the other 51 weeks out of the year. Many people fly to these destinations.
Virtually every other rail company I have traveled on throughout the world issues a numbered reservation, thus avoiding such a circus.
We're off to a roaring start. My wife Rivka is coming along on an 8-day/7-night cruise up the Alaska coast. Roaring in this case means we start the great royal hunt for her passport three months before departure.
We're envelopped in impenetrable fog thicker than a London pea-souper and the Radiance of the Seas is blaring its foghorn every few minutes. Thank Gawd for radar. At this rate we'd be running smack into the Hubbard Glacier and doing a Titanic instead of just admiring its supposedly brilliant blue-hued full frontal pose.
Short of visiting in winter and hiking deep into the backcountry, the parks' popularity can make it tricky to find your own slice of solitude. Tricky, but not impossible. Here are 10 scenic spots you can have all to yourself.
There's nothing wrong with going full tourist when you're visiting a new state--you'd be blowing it if you didn't make time for a trip to The Statue of Liberty or the Golden Gate.
Some people save up for years to meet Mickey and friends at the resort's four enchanting theme parks, two water parks and Downtown Disney. But with so much to see and do at the 40-square-mile resort, it can also zap a family's energy and finances.
Crossing through the glades adorned with marsh rabbits and waterfowl to arrive at Jekyll Island its hard to imagine that this sleepy, secluded island was once home to what a 1904 issue of Munsey's Magazine heralded as "the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world."
We took a look at cities with populations between 100k and 300k, and picked out eight that, for one reason or another, just haven't gotten the national love and attention they deserve. Here's where they get that much-deserved love.
We envy the people that live in the dream destinations we visit. But we understand it can be hard for locals to deal with crowds of tourists day after day. So we asked our readers, "What are the most annoying things tourists do in your city?"